Labrador Bay
Sunday 21st March
 
Labrador Bay is a new RSPB reserve just by the road running from Shaldon towards Torquay.As we assembled in the car park we were greeted by a Sky Lark flying over.Nigel Hewitt, our guide for this morning and a local volunteer conservation officer, told us a bit about the reserve before we set off.The reserve had been bought a year and a half ago with the help of funding from Devon County Council.Since then the RSPB has been working on improvements to the reserve, particularly aimed at increasing the local population of Cirl Buntings.
 
Our first stop was a stubble field, which was the remains of a barley crop sown last spring; this provides food for the birds through the winter.We then walked northwards along the top end of the reserve - which slopes steeply down towards the sea.As well as the Cirl Buntings, Nigel told us about some of the other birds that nest locally.Both Peregrine and Fulmars nest on the nearby cliffs and Ravens south of the reserve towards Maidencombe.A short walk along the side of the main road took us to another section of the reserve, with stunning views over Shaldon, Teignmouth and beyond.We heard snatches of Cirl Bunting song, but didnít manage to see them in the hedges.But we did get good views of a Sparrowhawk circling overhead.
 
Our walk back towards the southern end of the reserve took the more energetic of us up and down some steep paths.But still no Cirl Buntings.One slope had recently been cleared of most of the trees, and Dartmoor ponies had been brought in to keep the scrub under control.According to Nigel, Cirl Buntings like to nest close to the edges of scrub, so breaking it up into smaller blocks means increases the potential numbers of breeding pairs in the future.But we didnít see any of the Cirl Buntings on the scrub either.But we did see some of the Dartmoor ponies.After spending a while admiring the view towards Maidencombe (not to mention a Buzzard perched on top of a pine tree), we completed our circular walk back to the car park.While we hadnít seen any of the Cirl Buntings, it was good to see this new reserve, and hear all about it from Nigel.So we would like to thank him for a very interesting morning.
 
Number of species seen : 29
 
Richard Swinbank
 

 

 

Birds seen, in BOU order or alphabetic order

 

BOU order

Pheasant (heard only)
Great Crested Grebe
Cormorant
Sparrowhawk
Buzzard
Kestrel
Peregrine
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Wood Pigeon
Sky Lark
Wren (heard only)
Dunnock
Robin
Blackbird
Chiffchaff
Long-tailed Tit
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Magpie
Jackdaw
Carrion Crow
Raven
Chaffinch
Greenfinch
Goldfinch
Bullfinch (heard only)
Cirl Bunting (heard only)
 
 
 
Alphabetic order

Blackbird
Blue Tit
Bullfinch (heard only)
Buzzard
Carrion Crow
Chaffinch
Chiffchaff
Cirl Bunting (heard only)
Cormorant
Dunnock
Goldfinch
Great Black-backed Gull
Great Crested Grebe
Great Tit
Greenfinch
Herring Gull
Jackdaw
Kestrel
Long-tailed Tit
Magpie
Peregrine
Pheasant (heard only)
Raven
Robin
Sky Lark
Sparrowhawk
Wood Pigeon
Wren (heard only)
 

in BOU order