9 Aug 2018

9 Aug 18 - Soaring In Devon

It's been a tough week recently, following, the desperately sad news that my good Birding mate, Brian Field died recently following an unexpected heart attack while out Birding in West Cornwall. I have known Brian since the early 1980s & we have spent about five months travelled abroad over seven Birding trips. I will come back to write a longer Post & tribute to Brian later this Autumn when I've got a bit more used to this sudden news. My last Birding trip with Brian was earlier this year when we both had a great trip to Northern Colombia in Feb/Mar 18.
Brian Field: Enjoying a late breakfast stop in the Santa Marta Mountains, Colombia (6 Mar 18)
Brian's funeral was in his home town of Truro on 8 Aug 18 & it was a tough & emotional day for everybody. It was good to catch up with a lot of old mates associated with the South West during the day. I stayed down West with another good mate, Pete Aley & his wife Ali in Plymouth that evening. It was Pete who first introduced me to Brian after they both arrived at Plymouth Poly together in 1980 & immediately they started putting the Poly on the map for young Birders to enjoying a lively Birding & twitching scene & come away with a degree as a bonus. The following day, Pete & I headed out to check out a couple of local Birding sites. The main stop was Soar to the East of Plymouth. There were a few migrant Willow Warblers & Whitethroats around, but low numbers of migrants overall.
Yellowhammer: I'm always happy to see Yellowhammers
However, it proved to be a better day for insects.
Migrant Hawker: Female
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary: Pleased to see these second brood individuals which have really declined in recent years in Dorset. Hope they are doing better in Devon
Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary: The same individual
Wall: I saw several, but this tatty individual was the only one that posed briefly for a photo
After nearly completing a circuit of Soar we reached the cafe Pete had said we would be able to get a drink. This proved to be a lot better than I had expected. It was a large open barn next to a few tents for hire & a few friendly farm animals. It certainly was a popular place for the local mums to natter, while their kids played & made some animal friends. Some excellent coffee & freshly made cake. A good day out given the circumstances.
Toy Snake at the cafe: This would catch a few of the local visitors out if placed on the Arne reserve