Monday, 7 May 2012

Here and there

I've been out & about a few times since my last post so here's a quick round up.....

Last Wednesday morning we had to go into Exeter for a quick spot of shopping. Talk about bad timing! We didn't know the Queen was visiting, so after trying to battle through the crowds, being unable to get where we needed to go & watching a marching band for a few minutes, we made a quick exit left & went to Exminster Marsh instead.

That was equally unsuccessful as I couldn't get far due to lots of wet stuff. The road was flooded beyond the first car park & I only had walking boots & not wellies. I had a quick look from the bridge, then saw the state of people that had attempted to walk along the back fields in walking boots, decided not to bother & bailed out. I hadn't seen any good birds, but I did see a weasel come out of the hedge opposite the car park entrance with a very large dead rodent of some sort in its mouth & then run up the road to the top of the bridge before disappearing in the hedge.  At least, I'm fairly sure it was a weasel & not a stoat as it had a fairly short tail & I didn't see a dark tip.

Flooded fields at Exminster Marsh
In the evening we took Vera for a short walk on Woodbury Common, parking by the Castle. I don't normally see much up there, but this time the trees near the car park were busy with Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers, Goldcrests, a Whitethroat, and hot on the heals of my first Garden Warbler on Tuesday, I actually saw another one!
Woodbury Commmon
On Thursday I had a walk up to Orcombe Point. There were 12 Wheatears in the field up to the holiday camp, but no Whinchats. Gore Lane & the cliffs were vastly quieter than on Tuesday with just a couple of Whitethroats & Chiffchaffs, and Swifts & Swallows swooping really low over the clifftop path. I then took Vera over to Littleham churchyard for a short walk & heard my first Cuckoo of the year singing, although I couldn't find it.

By Friday the Wheatears had all gone from their usual field. The cliffs were a bit busier with Whitethroats, Chiff-Willows & a Blackcap, and a couple of flocks of Oysercatchers flew east. Thrift & Green-winged Orchids are brightening up the fields & clifftop.

Green-winged Orchids
Passing Oystercatchers
Then for a complete change of scenery as we headed to High Wycombe in Bucks for my Dad's Birthday. There are always Red Kites over their garden but this time my Dad put a few small scraps of ham fat on the lawn. Amazingly it didn't take too long before the Kites spotted them & started to swoop down, grab a scrap & just keep going. It's impressive to see, they really are quite big & VERY fast! I tried to get a photo but I only had my little Lumix with me which was way too slow. We must have had 6 or 7 visits before it got dark & Vera went out to remove the one remaining scrap!

A Red Kite leaves with a snack (the best photo I could manage!)

The Cuckoo on 3rd puts my Year List on 179 + 2

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