Saturday, 22 November 2008

Berry Head

This morning Phil, Bun and me ventured off patch to Berry Head, we left very early to arrive there at dawn. We were hoping to see the Sardinian Warbler which has been showing on and off all week. Unfortunately it hadn't been seen since first thing Friday morning , so I wasn't too optimistic that we'd see it. When we arrived and set foot out of the car things looked even bleaker, the wind was strong, northerly and cold and the dim light of a grey dawn just didn't seem to want to brighten up.
Here's a picture of the visitor centre (with frustratingly closed toilet facility) a gate and a tree:

The tree covered in ivy to the left of the gate is, Phil was reliably informed, a favourite spot of the Sardinian Warbler. So all we would have to do is wait by this until it showed up, right?
There was a lot of scrub for it to hide in and the fierce, cold wind wouldn't be helping persuade it to be anywhere else but deep within this.

A small section of the scrub on Berry Head,

Bun is just visible in the distance in this shot, he had already seen the warbler last week and was therefore more relaxed and having a good look around for anything else of interest. Whilst Phil and I had our eyes fixed on a Dunnock or better in some scrub, he spotted a ring tail Hen Harrier, all too briefly though. I think all in all we spent around four and a half hours looking but I'm afraid to say we dipped. I was somewhat relieved to see that it wasn't seen after we had left so thankfully not gripped too!
As the morning wore on more and more birders arrived, including a few familiar faces. It was also nice to meet a couple of new Devon birders too.

Phil and Matt waiting patiently

To the left of this picture are mine and Phil's scopes, mine having been unceremoniously 'dumped' on the ground, because by now I somehow knew I wasn't going to need it. I wasn't actually too disappointed in not having seen the Sardinian Warbler because I got some lovely close views of my first ever Cirl Buntings. At first light a couple were in trees quite near to us but the light was poor, later though we had great views of some feeding on an area of seeded track and also on and around a bird table in a garden. I got a couple of passable pics of a female but the gorgeous male was always behind branches or on the chicken wire covered bird table playimg havoc with my focus! Not to worry though he was still stunning to look at!

Cirl Bunting a new bird for me :-)

Lovely Lifer!

I reckon by the time we were leaving there were 20 or so birders around, here's a view of some of them.

Doug, Clive, Bun and Phil + some other hopefuls...

With so many eyes watching every square inch of vegetation, chances of seeing the bird were higher, the downside was that any gallon of tea induced, closed toilet exasperated, urgent call of nature had to be taken with EXTREME stealth!!

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