Met up with Sharpy at 06.00 yesterday morning and set off down the M4 for Darts Farm, Devon. We'd both only seen 1 Penduline before so were looking forward to the great views and photos that people had been getting of the popular trio on this site.
On arrival we soon found the small patch of Reed Mace the birds come to feed on, which fueled our enthusiasm for just how good the views were going to be, just as soon as the birds got peckish. An attention seeking Chiffy repeatedly tried to fool us with his best Penduline impressions as we waited.
3 hours later and colder than the coldest man on Planet Cold, we decided we needed to bank something from the trip, and we weren't far from Cirl Bunting country so that was the obvious plan. As we were about to leave site a veritable explosion of Lapwings, Black Tailed Godwits and Starlings off the deck signaled the arrival of a Peregrine followed by a pair of Ravens drifting over,scrapping and cronking in a display that passes for romance in Raven World. Something to warm the cockles at last.
We settled on Broadsands for Cirl Buntings and were immediately rewarded with a fine male sitting up nicely on the hedge around the overflow car park. This was about as good as it got as we could just make out the bulk of the resident population sheltering from the bitter wind in a hedgerow across the field.
We'd been told by local birders that the bay at Broadsands was good for Grebes ie Black Necked and Slavs so next up was a sea-watch. A brief and unfruitful sea-watch as it turned out as the bay looked like a small Tsunami was striking. In a light bulb moment we figured that any self-respecting seabird in the area would be taking refuge in Brixham Harbour just up the road. And guess what! They weren't. A handful of Shag was scant reward. More out of hope than expectation we agreed to go for anther stab at the day's target birds, the Pendulines. As I was loading my optics into the van, I got a shout from Sharpy. "Where are you? I've got a Glauc in my scope." I quickly got on his scope to nail the year tick before we moved to a closer, more elevated position up the hill to enjoy better views. Nice one Sharpy
We did return to Darts Farm for the last hour of daylight in the vain hope of Penduline Tits but alas, not to be. The birds weren't seen all day.
So, target birds dipped but as always the trip was worth the effort. Cirl Bunting, Glaucous Gull and just a day out birding in the fresh (very fresh) air.