Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Devon Visit 21/3/17 Slapton Sands - Terns, Gannets & Porpoise

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.

    Gannet flying across the sea with such ease


   Like a glider taking advantage of the air currents 


    Porpoise, one of many seen today. Must be rich fishing grounds 

                   Where there is a Porpoise there are usually Gannets


   A tiny dorsal fin this is all you usually see of a Porpoise 


   Sandwich Tern so very elegant as it fishes over the waves



   Characteristic dive of the Tern


   Like a bullet into the waves - fishing for sand eels


   Great to see the return of these birds from South Africa


   Labrador Bay near Torquay just before the downpour 


   Cirl Bunting, only 2 seen between the very heavy showers!


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