Tuesday, 6 July 2010

A Delightful Day in Devon

It had already been decided last evening over a glass or two of cider that the 'rarity' in Devon was a reasonable bet, so this morning at 08-00 we set off to cross the county border. Together with Bowie (Lorne) and Sheila we made best haste for the tiny village of East Prawle, with few other map references other than Piglet Stores, The Cider House and Pig's Nose Inn. There, we immediately met just 6 fellow birders greeting us once again with those immortal words, "it was seen an hour ago, but not since".

So, before progressing, a little Devonshire trivia:- Q which small town in Devon has half of the letters of the alphabet in its name, with none of them repeated? Answer below.

With the Devonshire flag flying high at the 'truck' we started our search for the House Finch which is a vagrant from North America, and the first ever recorded in Great Britain. While it's provenance remains highly debatable, this is a common bird in the States but not in the central areas and barely at all in Canada. I have seen good numbers of them during my travels across 'The Pond' but always the usual 'red' variety, unlike the Devon bird which is a 'yellow' variant male. Said to be ranging all over the village, it had only been seen briefly today on a cottage roof close to the pub, so it looked like we had a search on our hands.

There were of course other things of interest, the first of which was this Small Copper Butterfly,

while elsewhere we found a 'man made' House Martins nest under the eaves of another house, complete with

young birds being fed by their parents.

The village too had its interest, this being the local pub 'The Pig's Nose'.

Outside of the pub we found this model which we immediately dubbed 'Making Bacon' while elsewhere there where

a number of interesting


Having put in 2 hours hard searching, I allowed Bowie & Sheila a 2 minute break before continuing the struggle.

Within 15 minutes they had found it, close to this more modern Devon cottage, and while no photograph was possible we where happy in the knowledge that we had all seen it.

As there were still at least 3 other things we wanted to see during our Devon visit, we left the village and headed for

Prawle Point just a mile or so down the road, where we hoped to find the specialty of the area

Cirl Bunting, but didn't have to wait that long. Within minutes we had encountered a single male right in the middle of the narrow road, and while the photograph is a little iffy, to say the least, we were afforded excellent views.

A little further on, these Sand Martins were already looking like beginning a mass exodus, while

further down the valley we found this beautiful Scarlet Tiger Moth.

Moving quickly on to Dartmeet we stopped to admire the river, bridge

a few Dartmoor Ponies, before finding a


Driving onto Dartmoor proper there was much to see

but we were now heading for a site

at the northern edge of the Moor

where we hoped to find High Brown Fratillary, but without success.

However, we did have our first Comma Butterfly of the year and similarly

our first Ringlet Butterfly.

so did you get it, of course it was BUCKFASTLEIGH!