Posts Tagged ‘South Devon’

Our journey on the Dartmouth Steam Railway starts at Paignton Station.

Paignton Staion

Paignton Staion

The line between Torquay and Kingswear was opened in 1864 and amalgamated into the Great Western Railway in 1876. The line was closed in 1967  and was sold in 1972 to a private heritage company and the first trains ran the following year.

dscn4320a

75014 Braveheart at Paignton Staion

75014 Braveheart at Paignton Staion

Heading out from Paignton we pass Goodrington Bay

Goodrington Bay

Goodrington Bay

As we travel south we cross the viaducts over Broadsands Bay before arriving in Churston, where passengers for Brixham alight to continue their journey by road.

75014 approaching Broadsands Viaduct

75014 approaching Broadsands Viaduct

75014 crossing the Broadsands Viaduct

75014 crossing the Broadsands Viaduct

Turning inland we pass through the long Greenway tunnel before emerging beside the River Dart alongside which we pass before arriving at a stop for Greenway, the former home of Agatha Christie, now open to the public.

Entering Greenway Tunnel

Entering Greenway Tunnel

Emerging beside the River Dart

Emerging beside the River Dart      

dscn4094a

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continuing alongside the river we arrive in Kingswear, from where we can catch a ferry across to Dartmouth. Originally the railway had intended to cross the river and terminate at Dartmouth. However they were to be frustrated in finding a place to cross the river and although the station was built it was never served by trains. It is now a cafe.

Kingswear Station

Kingswear Station

The station building from Dartmouth Station

The station building from Dartmouth Station

 

 

 

 

The final full day of our trip to south Devon and we decide not to concentrate wholly on wildlife watching today and instead took the Steam Train from Paignton to Kingswear and then a boat trip on the River Dart. Feeling the effect of storm Doris, albeit we were on the southern edge of the storm, there were still strong winds and this no doubt affected the quantity of wildlife seen. Highlights were a Gannet fishing in the river mouth, a Redshank feeding on the mudflats and a Grey Heron flying with a branch nearly as big as itself as it made its way back to the nearby heronry.

Greater Black-backed Gull

Greater Black-backed Gull

On our return to Brixham, we walked out to the end of the breakwater to look for Purple Sandpiper which roosts on a deserted jetty near the end of the breakwater. The wind got stronger as we made our way to the end and it seemed as though the birds, if present, would be hiding inside the jetty. However, we were lucky as we managed to see 5 birds roosting on a joist. A single Common Guillemot was seen on the sea and we made a rapid retreat back to the town to escape the wind. On our way back an obliging Rock Pipit perched for us on the harbour wall.

European Shag

European Shag

Purple Sandpiper

Purple Sandpiper

Rock Pipit

Rock Pipit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
European Shag [sp] (Phalacrocorax aristotelis)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Purple Sandpiper [sp] (Calidris maritima)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Guillemot [sp] (Uria aalge)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Eurasian Rock Pipit [sp] (Anthus petrosus)

River Dart

River Dart

Our second day in Devon found us exploring the southern part of the county with local birder Mike Langman. Our first stop was at Waddeton where we found some Cirl Bunting feeding on a cattle feeder. From here we moved onto a stretch of the River Dart near Buckfastleigh to look for Dipper. Although we did find 3 drake Mandarin ducks, a somewhat unexpected species, the Dipper was nowhere to be seen.

Mandarin Duck

Mandarin Duck

Our next stop was at Staverton where amongst the over-wintering Chiffchaffs we located a Yellow-Browed warbler that has been spending the winter here. Yellow-Browed is usually a species seen as a rare migrant but there appear to be a number over-wintering in Devon this year – maybe a result of the mild weather. Also present were a party of Fieldfare, together with single Mistle and Song Thrush. At the nearby river, we had a brief view of a Dipper flying under a bridge, but which we were unable to relocate.

Yellow-Browed Warbler. photo by Sergey Yeliseev (https://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/)

Yellow-Browed Warbler. photo by Sergey Yeliseev (https://www.flickr.com/photos/yeliseev/)

 

Still, we were not to be denied a good view of Dipper and at our next stop at Darlington Mill, we got some excellent views of one feeding in the stream.

Dipper

Dipper

On then to the south-west coast of Devon at Thurlestone to find another unusual over-wintering species, Desert Wheatear – a bird which is normally found in North Africa. The weather had taken a turn for the worse by the time we arrived and on our first look the small beach seemed deserted, but then Mike found the bird sheltering under the lee of the bank at the back of the beach. We managed excellent views as it began to feed amongst the undergrowth before returning to shelter from the conditions behind a stone.

Thurlestone Beach

Thurlestone Beach

Desert Wheatear

Desert Wheatear

Desert Wheatear

Desert Wheatear

Desert Wheatear

Desert Wheatear

Stonechat

Stonechat

We moved on down the coast to South Huish Marsh where a number of species were added to our list including Wigeon, Shoveller, Teal and Little Grebe. We checked out the Gull roost but only common species were present.

South Huish Marsh

South Huish Marsh

Next, we crossed to the south-east coast to Slapton Ley where Great Crested Grebe, Pochard and Tufted Duck were added to the day’s list, but no Scaup or Black-necked Grebe, which are regular here could be seen.

Slapton Ley

Slapton Ley

After crossing the River Dart, we stopped briefly at Noss on the Dart to search the small woodland for firecrest and other woodland species. A Goldcrest was seen and a Great-Spotted Woodpecker was heard. An excellent day. Thanks to Mike for driving us around and showing us these great sites.

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mute Swan (Cygnus olor)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata)
Gadwall (Anas strepera)
Eurasian Wigeon (Anas penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)
Eurasian Teal [sp] (Anas crecca)
Common Pochard (Aythya ferina)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Little Grebe [sp] (Tachybaptus ruficollis)
Great Crested Grebe [sp] (Podiceps cristatus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Ruddy Turnstone [sp] (Arenaria interpres)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Lesser Black-backed Gull [sp] (Larus fuscus)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Eurasian Skylark [sp] (Alauda arvensis)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Yellow-browed Warbler (Phylloscopus inornatus)
Goldcrest [sp] (Regulus regulus)
Common Starling [sp] (Sturnus vulgaris)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Fieldfare (Turdus pilaris)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Stonechat [sp] (Saxicola rubicola)
Desert Wheatear [sp] (Oenanthe deserti)
White-throated Dipper [sp] (Cinclus cinclus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)

Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Meadow Pipit [sp] (Anthus pratensis)
Eurasian Rock Pipit [sp] (Anthus petrosus)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Cirl Bunting (Emberiza cirlus)

 

Broadsands Bay

Broadsands Bay

Keith and I have made the journey down to Torbay in Devon for a few days birdwatching. On our first day, we make our way to Broadsands Bay in hope of Cirl Bunting. I last saw this bird at the southern tip of Devon about 25 years ago. At that point, it was just hanging on and many people thought in would become extinct in the UK. Thankfully conservation organisations along with local enthusiasts decided to try and reverse this situation and although it is still limited to south Devon and east Cornwall, the population is now healthy. One of the key sites for winter roosting is at Broadsands between Brixham and Paignton.

We began by walking along the bay. Northern Fulmar and Northern Gannet were flying out in the bay, but there was no sign of the Divers or Grebes which had been present the previous week. Great Cormorant and European Shag were seen close to the cliff face.On arriving at the Cirl Bunting site we began to search the hedgerows for these attractive birds with their Yellow and Black Striped heads and it was not long before a male was found in a tree. Over the next hour, we were treated to some excellent views as they perched in the hedgerow.

Cirl Bunting

Cirl Bunting

Cirl Bunting

Cirl Bunting

Cirl Bunting

Cirl Bunting

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Towards lunchtime, it began to go quiet and so we decided to walk back along the coast to Brixham. why is it that maps don’t show the ups and downs!!! It was much harder than we anticipated but eventually, we made it back to Brixham where we saw another European Shag in the harbour along with a large flock of Herring Gulls.

Shag

European Shag

Herring Gull

Herring Gull

Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Canada Goose [sp] (Branta canadensis)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Fulmar [sp] (Fulmarus glacialis)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Northern Gannet (Morus bassanus)
European Shag [sp] (Phalacrocorax aristotelis)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Eurasian Oystercatcher [sp] (Haematopus ostralegus)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
Great Black-backed Gull (Larus marinus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Common Pigeon [sp] (Columba livia)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Eurasian Jay [sp] (Garrulus glandarius)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Goldcrest [sp] (Regulus regulus)
Eurasian Wren [sp] (Troglodytes troglodytes)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Stonechat [sp] (Saxicola rubicola)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Pied Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla alba)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Carduelis chloris)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Cirl Bunting (Emberiza cirlus)