I was feeling a bit 'twitchy' so decided it must be time for another expedition. It was a toss up between the Long-billed Dowitcher in the Somerset Levels or the Night Heron in Woolacombe. The Night Heron won, so yesterday we headed to North Devon. Back on 13th March, 4 were reported, 3 adults & a 'first-summer', although the numbers have dwindled to the 'first-summer' & occasionally 1 adult.
We followed the directions on Birdguides & parked in the lay-by at the entrance to the Woolacombe Sands Holiday Park, and followed the footpath signs down the road to the stables. The road was so steep that poor old Vera had trouble controlling her decent, but she made it down to the more gently sloping footpath beyond the stables without crashing. The private garden with the pond runs parallel to the footpath & can be seen through a hedge. I started peering through the foliage in search of the Heron, but then went round a bend to find a couple with bins looking in the garden. They had seen it walking on the bank & go down into the reeds, which was lucky as it was pretty hard to spot where it was. The pressure was off! Number 145 was in the bag. Now I could just enjoy having a nice long look.
|The best photo I could manage|
We watched it for about an hour; most of the time it was motionless, standing at the bottom of the grass bank at the water's edge waiting for lunch. It moved along a few feet a couple of times, once briefly going onto the top of the bank. It caught a small fish, and something bigger that took a while to get down, but we couldn't see what. Meanwhile we were chatting away to Jill & Peter, a very friendly couple.
A few people walked past whilst we were there. "What are you looking at" asked one chap. "A Night Heron, its' quite rare" I informed him. "I won't even pretend to know what one is" he said, "it's a bit like a pheasant" replied Peter.
|"It looks a bit like a pheasant"|
We started off with a walk on the beach, not a bird in sight, but Vera enjoyed a paddle.
|Vera enjoys a paddle on Saunton beach|
There were a few shacks nestled in the dunes looking like something from the American South, but minus the banjo playing hillbilly.
|A set from Deliverance?|
Spring was in the air with a few Bumble Bees at work in the scrub. Unfortunately at least one of them was carrying extra passengers in the form of mites, although they didn’t appear to be effecting its ability to fly.
|Bumble-bee (sp Bombus locorum..I think) with mites. Nasty!|
|This one had a tiny reservoir of water at the centre|
|Hairy or what!|