Wednesday, 22 March 2017
A trip down to Devon and the beautiful area of Slapton Sands to hopefully get a sighting of the Humpback Whale that has been seen on numerous occasions in the area.
A beautiful sunny day but with a very cold strong wind but at least we had brilliant visibility looking out to sea. So good to see plenty of Gannets feeding out to sea, amazing watching them dive from a height into the sea like torpedos that beak must be lethal! Good views also of Porpoises as they fished below the Gannets. Great Crested Grebes, Cormorants and Herring Gulls also on the sea and to our delight our first Sandwich Terns of the year fishing along the sea edge for sand eels.
From the hide on the Ley side there wasn't too much on the lake apart from Coots, Tufted Ducks, Canada Geese, Great black backed Gulls, a Little Grebe and Sand Martins skimming across the water.
Along the Sandy rocky path we spotted 2 Wheatears another first for the year. We spent a good few hours sea watching and looking for the Humpback but alas the whale did not show. However we were highly entertained by the scanning and watching all the other wildlife, very relaxing and the time quickly passed.
Before the day was out we took a quick stop to Labrador Bay for the Cirl Buntings. The skies quickly blackened but between two very heavy showers we were able to spot just 2 Cirls, a nice end to the day. So tempted to return to Slapton again soon if the Whale is still around.
Porpoise, one of many seen today. Must be rich fishing grounds
Great to see the return of these birds from South Africa
Monday, 20 March 2017
An incredibly dull, misty grey day for a visit to the Levels and not good for photography. Once again an early start and we chose Ham Wall for a walk starting at the Tor view hide where we had a great view of the Glossy Ibis with some Snipe.
On to the Avalon hide where we stayed for some time and we were rewarded with great views of Bittern, mating Marsh Harriers, and a dance from the Great Crested Grebes. We were even able to see some Bearded Reedlings as they fed on the lower margins of the reeds. Another Glossy Ibis? Flew into the middle of the reeds as well.
On to Loxtons and as we approached the hide we spotted a Mink running up the path. Bitterns were continuing to boom and Great Egrets were flying overhead quite frequently. A round the trees at Loxtons was a large group of Goldfinches and on closer inspection there were a good number of Redpoll. Coming back to the first platform we had yet another view of a Bittern. Several groups of Sand Martins were also seen from all over the reserve.
A brilliant birding day in incredibly dull and misty weather - just goes to show, its all out there if you look for it what ever the weather wildlife and nature still goes about its business.
Glossy Ibis and Snipe