Friday, 5 April 2013

Ideford Common

Annabelle's leading a DBWPS meeting at Ideford Common on 12th April, so myself & Libby met her there on Wednesday for a recce. I'd been lulled into a false sense of Spring before I left home, having looked out of the window to see blue sky & sunshine. It was in fact pretty cold & windy, and I wished I'd put on more clothes.

We met in the car park at Ideford Common and I could have stayed there all day...there are loads of feeders there and the place was alive! Siskins & Coal Tits were probably the most numerous with a fair smattering of the other common tits & finches.

We had a lovely walk around the common enjoying the views & the sunshine, especially whenever we found a bit of shelter from the wind. We found a fair selection of birds including a stunning male Yellowhammer, Stonechats, Meadow Pipits & flocks of Linnets.

We ended up back in the car park watching the feeders where a female Brambling and a Marsh Tit took the list to 25 species. It would have been worth the walk even if we hadn't seen any birds at all.

Watching the feeders
Libby doing her impression of Little Miss Muffet!
We then headed to Dawlish Warren in the vague hope that we may find the Hoopoe that had been there for a few days. I've only ever been as far as the hide before, so it was nice to walk out to Warren Point. The Hoopoe hadn't been seen during the day & we didn't find it either. However we did find a mystery pipit on the way to the point which flew off before I had time to get the scope on it. I later checked the Dawlish Warren website to see that a summer plumaged Scandinavian Rock Pipit had been seen, which fits with what we saw, a new one for me.
On Warren Point looking across to Exmouth
I haven't done much patch birding since my last post, mainly due to the fact that Simon & I went off on a 10 day cruise with P&O. I spent most of our time at sea wrapped up on the promenade deck with the scope sea watching. And that's exactly what I watched as there were hardly any birds about, just a few Gannets, Great Skuas & a Fulmar! We also saw a distant pod of dolphins, probably Common Dolphin. I didn't have much luck during our shore visits either, although as this wasn't actually a birding trip it didn't really matter. We visited Cadiz & Caruna (Spain), Casablanca, Lisbon & Gibralter. Even without much at the other ports, I was hopeful that Gibralter would turn up trumps when we climbed the rock. However the weather was completely wrong for raptor migration across the Straight, and the best I found in the bushes during our climb were a few Sardinian Warblers. Still, we had a fantastic time & will definitely go cruising again. Next time we'll try & go a bit later in the year for better weather & more birds!

I have managed a wander around Orcombe Point which got me my first Wheatears of the year, lots of Chiffchaffs & 2 Peregrines sitting in a field. I must try & get out more...

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