Saturday, June 29, 2013

North Devon 24th - 28th June 2013.......

With a week of relaxation booked in lovely Devon this week Trace and myself had hoped to see some lovely scenery and perhaps if we were lucky,a few nice  birds and the outside chance of some Cetaceans.So after a long drive and our first evening relaxing,i was out early next morning to get tickets to Lundy.While waiting there were several flocks of Manx Shearwaters streaming past,totalling at least 300 birds and a hand full of Guillemots and Gannets and a single Harbour Porpoise,this was a good omen!.On the journey out only Guillemots,Razorbills,Puffins and Manx Shearwaters were logged and we arrived at the quayside on Lundy in sweltering weather.We were lucky to spend a whole 4 hours here with the highpoints including some stunning views of a family party of Ravens,which totalled 5 birds,Juv Peregrine,a few more Puffins,Guillies and Razors and at least 15 Wheatear.The latter included several hungry Juveniles,with their begging calls heard all over the place.Other highlights included at least 20 Grey Seal,including one which showed superbly along the quayside when we returned to catch the boat home and the 'Lundy Cabbage'.This plant is endemic to Lundy and found nowhere else in the world,so was an interesting sighting if not the prettiest flower i have ever seen.Also seen feeding/nectaring on the flower heads was the also endemic Bronze Lundy Cabbage Leaf Beetle,which you can just make out on the photo below.If only i had realised at the time how rare this tiny beetle is!!.As we boarded the boat for the return journey to Bideford,several Moon Jellyfish were seen in the crystal clear water along with a couple of Blue Jellyfish,shoals of Sand Eels and a couple of Spider Crabs,the Blue Jellyfish a new species for myself.So off we went on the return journey seeing more Manxies and Guillemots,Razors and Puffins,when as we got to mid channel i saw a sudden movement as 1,then 2,then 6 fins broke the surface.....Dolphins...Yessss!.As they got nearer and i got better views,they were quickly identified as Short-beaked Common Dolphins,my first ever.They came closer and closer and i struggled to rattle off some shots with the camera as they moved so quickly and i was moving with the boat.They then went under the boat and then bow rid the waves for a short while before breaking away.It was over so quickly,but what an experience!!.I was hyper now and was looking at every single movement on the seas surface,the only other highlight being a single Harbour Porpoise.As we neared Bideford i was just on a high and the rest of the evening was spent relaxing and looking through my images on the camera.Next day we spent having a chilled day visiting Lynmouth and driving through the beautiful Exmoor National Park.The only highlights at Lynmouth were 3 Grey Wagtail along the river and some very confiding local Jackdaws and Herring Gulls.The last day we had to ourselves and i began the day bright and early before breakfast photographing Ivy Broomrape which i had found the previous evening as we walked the coastal path,a rare flower by national standards.Also seen over the sea were a single immature Arctic Skua,100 plus Manx Shearwater and a feeding frenzy which included half a dozen Gannets,Manxies,Guillemots,Fulmars and 3 Harbour Porpoise,which had no doubt found a shoal of Mackerel to feed on.Today Trace and myself decided to travel the short distance over to Woolacombe on the local bus service and as we arrived we began to explore the sandy beach and beyond the rugged rocky coastline of Barricone Beach and Morte Point.We visited the little village of Mortehoe and there was a sign saying Bull Point Lighthouse,so we decided to have a walk to it,what a stroke of genius.Trace was walking slightly ahead of me and said she had just seen a huge black bird which looked like a Raven,sure enough it was and over the next hour and a half we were treated to the closest views i have ever had of the species.Two of the birds spent most of their time in the lighthouse compound,one sat on the windowsill of the lighthouse building staring at its reflection in the window.I had seen this behaviour before with Carrion Crows were i work and it did look comical,super intelligent birds!.Other birds seen around the compound area included a confiding male Stonechat and a few Wheatears and overhead a whopping female Peregrine carrying a Jackdaw to feed its young.We returned back to base slightly knackered but happy,after seeing all the goodies and beautiful scenery.So to say this wasn't a wildlife watching holiday,i think we did pretty well!!.
Herring Gull collecting nest material,Ilfracombe.


Short-beaked Common Dolphin,Bristol Channel.

Grey Seal,Lundy.

Female Pergrine with prey.

Ivy Broomrape,Ilfracombe.

Jackdaw,Lynmouth.

Juvenile Wheatear,Bull Point.

Lundy Cabbage,Lundy.

Lundy Island.

Male Stonechat,Bull Point.

Manx Shearwaters,Bristol Channel.

Mortehoe and Morte Point.

Raven,Bull Point.

Raven,Bull Point Lighthouse.

Skylark,Lundy.

Sunset,Capstone Point,Ilfracombe.

Moon Jellyfish,Lundy.

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