Took Jacob on his first camper-vanning (mobile obsing) adventure this weekend, to Devon to see Jaffa and Helen and have a look for The River Otter Beavers. Mission successful (although his mum got a bit stressed while I was trying to moth catch and sound record at night while trying to assist in meeting the demands of a six week old too and also she kicked off when we took the buggy off road through a swampy path- Jacob seemed to love it and slept better in the camper than he does at home).
We arrived Friday evening and I did a bit round the Ladram Bay camp site that we stayed in, Just a few House Martins overhead, Gannet and Fulmar at sea, Whimbrel and Oystercatcher calling at night and also a Bunting- presumably either Yellowhammer or Cirl Bunting calling at night (see sound files below).
Saturday morning I walked along the South West Coast path from Ladram Bay to Otterton Sewage Works- Cirl Buntings, Stonechats, Sand Martin, Swallows, Whitethroats and Brown Hares. In the afternoon we checked out Jaffa and Helen's wildlife garden, walked along the River Otter to Budleigh Salterton and in the evening we had a look on the river up from Otterton to find the Beavers.
A few plants I didn't recognise along the coast and also plenty of garden plants around Budleigh which would be very unusual in these parts back home. Will have a look through the pics to see if I can identify any of them later (i.e stick them on I-spot).
Here's a few weekend picture highlights:
Female Beaver (known as Patricia) presumably pregnant with swollen teats. Amazing paddle tail,
The size of a dog!
Rock Pipit (with prominent supercilium, if I saw that at Beddington in autumn I'd string it as a littoralis. This bird was singing and holding territory so presumably nominate petrosus).
Roe Deer in wetland meadow
Male Stonechat on Angelica hedges - a stunning bit of farmland between Ladram Bay and Budleigh- with singing Skylarks, Cirl Buntings, Stonechats and migrants.
Ladram Bay cross bedding- if I remember right from my days studying environmental geology in these parts these are Triassic sandstones laid down in sand dunes at a time when south west England was a desert. The red colour is oxidized iron formed in the arid conditions. Fulmars nesting top left.
Our Pitch Up at Ladram Bay- complete with moth trap (caught nothing as temperature down to 6 degrees at night).
Jacob's nest in the front of the camper
Jaffa and Helen
Jaffa and Helen's wildlife pond- stunning Foxgloves
Brilliant and original feature in the front garden with the front wall turned into a west country flowering 'lane bank'. Plenty of Short-tailed Field Voles using the bank.
View over Ladram Bay
Oystercatcher calling at night over the camper van and also a Bunting call- Yellowhammer?