viernes, 28 de octubre de 2011

A weekend in Devon part 2

It was near dusk when we finally left the Cirl Bunting site... Happy with how the day had turned out we headed back to the Travelodge at which we were staying. Shortly after a delicious meal of fish and chips (Oh so British ) at Harry Ramsdens we headed back to our rooms and hunkered down for the night.

Dipper Quest ( Excuse the terrible name! )

Where too now? Dipper was the next target. Seeing as Dippers are a hell of a lot more common then from where I come from ( Dorset ) it was more of a case of finding a fast flowing river which would support the aforementioned bird...  So the next day we headed out into the Devon wilderness to find one.

After driving across Dartmoor for about half an hour we came across a little pocket of woodland located next to a little village. Having found what we were looking for, we parked the car and walked to the small fast flowing river. It was surrounded by families eating picnics. Not ideal, seeing as the children were also clambering over the stones inside the river... 

So we followed the course of the water further into heart of the woods to find a more peaceful spot. Weird red and white Mushrooms dotted the stony path as It progressively got more and more slippery. At one point I almost lost my footing but luckily managed to somehow grab a branch to stop myself hitting the ground. As a Tennis player I have to be extremely careful in situations like this, as anything like a twisted ankle could spell disaster and set me back by quite a bit. 

So walking a bit more carefully across the damp stone we carried on. I had been keeping an eye on the river 
as we walked and had seen nothing more then one or two Yellow Wagtails - Nice birds but not what I was looking for! Eventually the closed in path opened out into a sort of field and the river started to divert away from where we could follow it. This was good enough, we could not get any further so I propped myself up on a rock next to the water and scanned up and down the river. 

About ten minutes later I noticed a small bird appear far up stream. It was immediately obvious that this was my target! "Mission accomplished" I uttered ( This being my latest quote when obtaining a lifer.. Do not ask. ) and beckoned to my parents who were watching a mother pony and foal feeding to the far end of the field.  Sadly, that was my last view of the Dipper that day as It flew upstream within seconds... my parents unfortunately missed out on it... But anyway It was finally crossed out of my long list of  "Embarrassing birds I have never seen and should have list" So I was happy!

 The path where I nearly went "Arse over head"

Seawatching at Berry Head.

Happy with how that had turned out we now set our sights on a reserve going by the name of Berry Head to end the afternoon with a little bit of seawatching - Always a fan favorite in my opinion! What beats sitting on a cold windswept coastal cliff searching for seabirds? Preferably with a light drizzle to add that little touch of atmosphere.

Upon arriving, I noticed black clouds gathering in the distance... ( I said drizzle. Remember that ) So lugging the scope over my shoulder we hurriedly headed for the visit centre. A few drops began to fall as we arrived and within minutes developed into a full blown torrential downpour. Thank god we had got inside in time! Now, birding in the rain does not bother me to be quite honest but birding in something like this was not a good idea. I also had my parents to think about and they evidently would not venture out into "that", so the only viable option was to sit it out.

I amused myself for over half an hour watching the pirates and musketeers pack up their tents in the pouring rain. What a poor weekend to host an event where you dress up as things I thought ( Yes, I cant recall the name for it... ) The poor chaps.  Eventually the downpour eased down and we were able to venture out into open, but Mum was not all to keen all walking to the headland with all the mud everywhere so she headed for the car to read her book. So with just me and Dad we set off.

In the bushes located next to the head I counted up several Whitethroats, 1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Chiffchaff,  5 Willow Warblers, tons of Dunnocks, Blue Tits and Great Tits. Also Surprisingly two Sedge Warblers that had evidently chosen to shelter in a patch of thorny scrub.

Sedge Warbler ( Taken by my Dad )

Upon reaching the viewpoint I was surprised to see one other birder, looking rather comfortable with his fold out chair and red and black umbrella.

I joined him on his watch and he informed me that a few Balearic Shearwaters had been passing, along with 
the expected Manxies and Bonxies. I unfortunately only managed the Manx and Bonx, the former in  numbers of around 100. We also had around 20 Sandwich Terns, 15 Commons and the obvious large numbers of  Northern Gannets. But with the weather yet again threatening to unleash a torrent of rain half an hour in, my Dad and I decided it was promptly best to head back to the car before we got a soaking. All in all it was not the most thrilling sea watch I had ever been on but it was still enjoyable. You cant always get what you want!

So with a brilliant weekend now over, it was time to head home. I had ticked of Cirl Bunting and Dipper, two birds that I had set out to see and succeeded! Perfect!

Next: A short report of my ferry crossing from Portsmouth To Bilboa on the 21st of August ( Birds are Included! ) and Sorry for the delay.. I am slowly catching up to the present!

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