Tuesday, 15 May 2012


I've never seen a Woodchat Shrike in the UK, so couldn't resist a visit to Noss Mayo, which is on the coast just East of Plymouth, a place I hadn't even heard of until the Shrike turned up. It was well worth a visit as the scenery was spectacular. And so was the shrike! We parked in the NT Warren car park. An earlier report had shown the Shrike as sheltering from the wind in the hedge on the way down to the coastal path and it was soon apparent why.We were the only people there when we first arrived, but gradually a few more birders turned up. There was no sign of the Shrike in the hedge, so we spread out along the Coastal Path.
I think Simon was actually watching the yachts & Navy ships rather than looking for the Shrike!
We must have been there about an hour when one of the couples waved....they'd found it being very shrike-like & sitting on the top of a bush at the bottom of a gully. It was a fantastic looking bird. Unfortunately it was a bit far off for a decent photo, but at least I can prove I saw it!
At least you can see what it is!
It was sitting on the top of the little round bush in the bottom of the grassy dip
The best of the other birds were a Cirl Bunting & a very yellow Yelowhammer.

We headed off to walk around the Coastal Path to Noss Mayo. The weather was still windy & chilly, and despite the forecast of a dry day, every now & again there was a squall & we got rained on. It was a fantastic walk along the coast & up the Yealm estuary. I even managed to get a new butterfly, a Wall Brown.

Wall Brown
A beautiful spot to stop for tea.....
.....and for lunch
We didn't walk all the way into Noss Mayo but headed up a big hill and back across the fields & lanes to the van.

The view across the Yealm estuary made it worth the climb
We rather liked the sign ......
It would have been a fantastic visit even if I hadn't seen the Shrike, but it was even better as I had.

As we would be passing quite close to Yarner on the way home, it seemed rude not to drop in. I was really glad that we did. The pond was full of Mandarin Ducks, I then saw male & female Pied Flycatchers, & best of all, I found my first ever Wood Warbler. I could hear several of them, but as I've never seen one I actually had to see one. It must have taken me about 30 mins before I finally spotted one high above. I was really pleased to have seen it, but was even more impressed when I managed to get a shot, all be it a pretty poor one!

Mr & Mrs Mandarin
My first ever Wood Warbler
What a brilliant day! A Life tick (Wood Warbler), a UK tick (Woodchat Shrike), and 2 Year List ticks (Pied Flycatcher & Mandarin). That puts the Year List on 186.

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