South Hams Weekend

Friday 26th-Sunday 28th August 2011

Above: female Cirl Bunting, Prawle Point
I spent a few days with Linda in South Devon last weekend for my birthday staying at the lovely Buckland Tout-Saints Hotel near Kingsbridge. The first birding highlight was a family party of CIRL BUNTINGS at Broadsands on Friday, followed by somewhat tame Turnstones wandering around the quayside at nearby Brixham, in the rain. The replica Golden Hind there is well worth a visit.
Turnstone, Brixham:

On the Saturday, my birthday, we headed for Prawle point, where in cloudy and breezy conditions, I eventually tracked down c10 CIRL BUNTINGS feeding in a more sheltered barley field, one allowing close views.
Another pic of the obliging female Cirl Bunting:

A rather shy male Cirl Bunting!:

Prime Cirl Bunting habitat, a view from near Langerstone Point looking towards Peartree Point:

Prawle Point and Arch Rock, the 'Horse's Head', at its tip:

Two Wheatears, two Chiffchaffs, two Whitethroats, a Lesser Whitethroat and several Stonechats were also seen along the coast path, and c15 Oystercatchers, a Shag, a Little Egret and five Rock Pipits were on the rocky shore. A short sea-watch from Prawle Point itself produced five Manx Shearwaters, six Gannets, all flying east, and a Fulmar.
Juvenile Wheatear near Prawle Point:

Later at East Portlemouth beach, after a trip over to Salcombe on the foot ferry followed by a crab salad back at The Venus cafe, I noticed an adult winter Mediterranean Gull scampering around on the sand, and took a short film with my brand new Lumix TZ-20.
Adult Mediterranean Gull in winter plumage:

Med Gull movie:

Sunday was best of the days for weather with unbroken sunshine by midday. We spent most of the day at Salcombe, visiting the nearby National Trust property Overbeck's. The upper floor of the house is like a mini natural history museum, with cases of stuffed birds and mammals, and displays of butterflies and moths and other curious objects like Walrus tusks. In the sun on the walk into the town of Salcombe I noted at least six Holly Blues dancing around the ivy-covered walls and terraces. A stop at Dartmouth on the way back on Sunday evening completed a very relaxing and enjoyable weekend.
Holly Blue (very worn), Salcombe:


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