Part of our holiday over the summer was spent at Brixham in South Devon. My last blog post was about a small nature reserve nearby and this one will be more about Brixham itself.
As our house looked out over Brixham harbour, I was able to see all the action happening in the harbour, and so this was the perfect time to sit on the balcony with a pair of binoculars and identify gulls. I think overall, my knowledge improved greatly.
Also, from the house, it is possible to spot the occasional seal surfacing, although this requires a lot of patience.
Along the pier and along walls by the harbour, there are some very tame Turnstones which will allow you to walk within a couple of metres of them without being too bothered by you at all. Of course this time, there were as usual plenty of this beautiful birds with their mottled plumage. Some of them with some juveniles that had nearly gained their full adult plumage.
Also along the pier there are lots of Rock Pipits and various small waders at points too. This time, I saw the Pipits and some Dunlin amongst the rocks on the edge there. Often both of these species of bird (or any of the birds that I have seen on the rocks along the pier) are very hard to see because they blend in very well with their surroundings. Sometimes when watching them, they will suddenly disappear behind a rock or into a crevice when running around at high speeds to avoid the waves crashing down over them.
Last year when I came here in March, I saw several birds amongst these rocks that for some reason I assumed to be Redshanks or something, but when looking back at some of my photos from last year, I saw a photo of a bird that I was certain was a Purple Sandpiper, yet I have supposedly never seen a Purple Sandpiper. I suddenly realised that these ‘Redshanks’ were in fact Purple Sandpipers, and just to be sure, I even consulted by various bird books, and there was no doubt that it was a Purple Sandpiper. I still cannot believe my ‘stupidity’ as these birds look nothing like Redshanks. So, there’s a new bird for me. However, this time, there were none of these birds because Purple Sandpipers are present in the UK all through the year, apart from during the summer months.
One of the best things to do if you are staying in Brixham is to catch a boat out of the harbour, because in a small gap between two pontoons that is necessary to pass through, you can get up close to some big birds. On one of the pontoons is a flat surface where humans don’t pass over, and here Cormorants and Great Black-Backed Gulls sit and rest. Coming up so close to these two amazing birds is incredible and often, the Cormorants stretch out their wings in that well known position to sunbathe.
Sometimes, when the water is very clear and when you are lucky, you can see well enough to actually see Cormorants swimming underwater and chasing their prey. This is a very privileged moment and something amazing and very hard to see.
Jellyfish are also numerable in the water and sometimes these are caught along with some fish in the very popular activity; crabbing.
On Thursday, I am back to school, and this year is GCSEs for me, so hard work is about to get even harder. Although, hopefully I will still be able to spend lots of time with wildlife.