Tuesday, 5 March 2013

5 hours in a car park!

On Saturday I went to the DBWPS meeting at Broadsands, Paignton. It was gloomy with a strong & very cold wind, but at least it didn't rain. We met in the car park, and stayed there for most of the day! There are actually three car parks, only one of which is actually in use. The other two are closed to cars & are bordered by lots of bushes & trees with a narrow pond in between them. This all makes for a nice habitat for any birds passing through, or looking for a nice spot to over-winter.

Unfortunately it was actually really quiet, possibly due to the wind which was keeping everything down. The only birds I saw in the smaller closed car park was a Goldcrest & a couple of Greenfinch. Onto the larger closed car park where there was a Grey Wagtail & a Rock Pipit on the boggy patch in front of the beach huts & quite a few Cirl Buntings on the seeds that are regularly put down for them. The highlight of the day came as we were watching the Cirls when a Firecrest put in a brief appearance. Unfortunately only two of us saw it, despite staking out the corner of the car park for quite a while. Whilst most of us were up the adjoining footpath checking out the back of the hedge, David caught a brief glimpse of it as it left that hedge & flew into the mass of brambles on the south side of the car park. We waited there for ages but unfortunately it didn't re-appear.

Cirl Bunting & Firecrest stake out
We had a quick look at the sea whilst trying to shelter from the wind. There were a few Common Scoter & Great Crested Grebes which were visible occasionally between the waves, and several Fulmars, but that was about it. We then had a wander up a farm track towards Elberry Cove, but that was pretty quiet as well.

After lunch we had another go at finding the Firecrest. There was a lot of activity in the bushes with quite a few Goldcrests, Long-tailed Tits & a Chiffchaf, and a Sparrowhawk flew low across the car park & along the pond looking for a snack. There seemed to be more Cirl Buntings than in the morning & they were now joined by several Reed Buntings. We tried to count the Cirls but they were very jumpy making an accurate count impossible, although there were at least 10. We explored the paths out the back of the car park, where a Blackcap & Bullfinch were seen, although I missed them both.

Action! I think that was the Bullfinch flying off!
Eventually we gave up on the Firecrest & left at about 3.30pm, by which time our numbers had dwindled from the original 16 to a hard core of 7. Maybe '5 hrs in a car park' is a bit of an exaggeration, but not by much! Still, we enjoyed ourselves!

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