18 January, 2014

A Quick Type at Lunchtime

Very little to report on, only one bit of proper birding so far this week. It really won't do, you know.

This was yesterday, when I borrowed some time to have a prowl around the southern side of the peninsula - Harbour to Meadfoot - between two pieces of Stuff.

Haldon Pier - aka The Real Living Coast [as opposed to the Trawler Wreck next door] - came up with a very worthwhile 13+ Purple Sandpipers, which was lovely. These are my first of the year, having not seen any at Brixham [I may not have tried very hard, I prefer my 'own' ones ;) ], and yes, they're still wonderful little birds. One Rockit [one of those brown ones] and no Turnstones this time. The Harbour itself was seemingly dead; marked contrast from the birdfest on my last visit! The odd Shag and not even a half dozen Herring Gulls.. Weird.

The gulls turned out to be all offshore - the Constant Friend was hauling nets out in the Bay and 2000+ other friends were in attendance. I gave the whirling mass a good look, but couldn't pick any skuas out. The sea seemed pretty empty too, with only a couple of Razorbills and less than a dozen Shags.. Odder and odder - where are the grebes, even?!? As I was leaving, one [very] bright note; a stunning GND surfaced by the Marina channel and swam right up to the Harbour entrance, glowing in the glorious on-cue sunshine, before slipping away underwater. Wow.

A female Blackcap was in the bushes by the Trawler Wreck overlook; as I watched her, the Choughs called and the King and Spectacled Eider swam round and round in little circles, while above them the Fairy Terns flew their endless loops...  I know I go on about this, but the older I get, the more I think zoos need to justify themselves. Especially when they're keeping migratory and wandering species in confined environments. There's those sayings about caged birds, you know.


Between the Harbour and Meadfoot Beach is a big chunk of limestone and slate known as Daddyhole. The Coast Path along there is quite wiggly, and the interesting cliff woodland always seems to promise something interesting hiding in the close canopy. You know those places? The ones that just seem to smell like rare birds.. Warblers in this case, lots of interesting habbo for them. I've never seen anything better than a Firecrest there, though, and the potential for those has dropped markedly since the Council and Trust got into their 'destroy all foliage' campaign... It's probably too exposed; warm south-facing slopes are also right in the path of all the gales.

No exception here, all the fun was on the sea. A large diver was in the channel between the East Shag and Daddyhole Cove - it never posed side on and the light was horrific - so I can't call it GND as I can't rule out WBD! It gave three views before buggering off and being replaced by two more divers, which seemingly arrived out of nowhere [as they do]. These were much more obliging; BTDs! ::Sigh:: Normally, two BTDs like that would be quite a thing, but I guess I'm just spoiled.. ;)

Single BHG and LBB flew along the shore, but still no grebes, or many Shags, and only one Cormorant.. Well, birds are funny things.
Onshore the most interesting thing I saw was this - with apologies for my mobile's low-light function again - perched in a garden. Not impossibly early, with all the night rain we've had; the tan and white colouring was spot on, alas said colouring seems to be on a 'standard owl' body..

Barn Owl.
Slightly plastic, though..

Would have been a nice Year Tick.. ;)

Today so far I've been stuck inside doing Stuff, with only a few quick breaks to watch the Robin taking sunflower hearts and coo over the odd Blue Tit which braves the Sparrow hordes!

EDIT: Just as I finished this post it's absolutely thrashed it down. As one of my jobs was the rather overdue re-proofing of my coat, staying in seems like a very wise choice..

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