Taw/Torridge Field Trip – Woody Bay, April 2013

It was a damp misty morning as 17 members set off from Woody Bay to walk the coast path to Wringapeak, a rock formation favoured by nesting seabirds.  Bird song filled the air as we made our way through the ancient woodland, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Blackcap, and was that a distant Redstart?

Gradually the mist lifted revealing fine views towards Valley of the Rocks and Lynmouth, and below us a lone House Martin skimming over a garden lake.  Someone then spotted a Nuthatch going in and out of a nest hole and we stood watching for a while as it went to and fro with nesting material.

Wading over a small stream by a waterfall a Willow Warbler and a Chiffchaff were heard then seen.  As the sun came out, the coconut scent of gorse was heavy in the air and golden saxifrage and violets dotted the banks as we made our way to Wringapeak.  Telescopes were soon set and trained onto the ledges below, where Razorbill, Fulmar, Kittiwake, Herring and Great-black-backed Gull were nesting.  We wondered if the low numbers of Guillemot, only 5 could be seen on the sea, could be the effect of the sea pollution reported the previous week from the South Coast?  

After a picnic lunch we headed to Shallowford, an area high on the open moor above the village of Barbrook, passing 15 Wheatear perched on a paddock fence on the way.  Approaching Shallowford we spotted a Tree Pipit on top of gorse, and with Swallows flying overhead we parked and set off to walk a little way over the moor soon seeing another Tree Pipit.  As we approached the ford, we could see vigorous splashing in the water as a pair of Lesser Redpoll took a bath – the male in brilliant summer plumage – what a delightful scene  to end the day.               45 species seen.

Maria Fernandes