Friday, 30 May 2014

Devon - 24-29.5.14

The only problem with dating a teacher is having to wait until school holidays to go away anywhere so seeing as it was half term myself, Carey, my mum and my boy all went off to Croyde Bay in Devon for a few days. The supposed 4 hour drive down turned into a 6 hour drive in the rain as the M5 was horribly slow. On a brief toilet stop I heard an unfamiliar song coming from the trees and after racking my brains for a few seconds I realised it was a Pied Flycatcher!

The following day my son went and spent the day with his aunt who works on the park we were staying on so the 3 of us went for a wander up nearby Baggy Point. During the walk a few things were noted including a singing Lesser Whitethroat, a few Shag and Fulmar and a single Stonechat.

Tuesday dawned sunny which made a change for near constant rain but it soon clouded over. It was also the day we were going over to Lundy Island. With the cloud over head we wrapped up in a few layers only to overheat once on the island as the sun had come out again! The journey over on the MS Oldenburg was thankfully a smooth one and within 20 minutes I picked up a flock of skuas flying alongside us but at a bit of a distance. I got my bins on to them and I was amazed to see that they were Pomarine Skua! A quick count up totalled 12 birds 9 of them pale and 3 dark morph all with lovely spoon shaped tails. This was the first time I'd seen more than a single bird and they were my first adult birds. They soon vanished from view and so I concentrated on seeing what else I could see. The odd Kittiwake and Fulmar kept things ticking over and then 6 Manx Shearwater made an appearance and became my 170th species for the year. One of the passengers had started boozing within minutes of the sailing so when he shouted what's that over there I wasn't expecting anything but I looked anyway and out of the water jumped 3 Dolphins! They showed for about a minute before disappearing. Finally we arrived at the island and walked up the steep slope to the top. During the 4 hours we had there I noted 5 Raven (a nice family party), 3 Wheatear and a Sedge Warbler at the top of Millcombe Valley. But it was at the famous Jenny's Cove the site of the UK's and WP's only Ancient Murrelet that we finally saw the birds my son had wanted to see and the reason to come over. On the cliffs amongst Guillemots and Razorbills were over 60 Puffin. We all had a look through my scope and I managed the crappy photo you see above. With all of us happy and knackered we got back on the boat and on the journey back I added my final year tick of the holiday when a Sandwich Tern flew past. It was just a shame I was about 25 years too late for the murrelet!!

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