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Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Woolacombe wonderland of birds, birds, birds!!

This Easter my family and I had a holiday at our favourite destination, Woolacombe in North Devon!
  We couldn't have chosen a better time to go if we tried, the weather was glorious for the whole week!
 Once again we stayed at Woolacombe Sands Holiday Park. This is the best park we have ever stayed at, we always have a fantastic time, the atmosphere is relaxed and fun and the staff are a delight!
  It's also set on the side of a beautiful wooded valley with wonderful views of the sea, beach, hillsides and Lundy Island in the distance!
  We always stay at the secluded Waney Edge chalets. These are 6 chalets well away from the rest of the park, but linked to it via some delightful walkways through gorgeous countryside!


 I highly recommend staying here if you're thinking of holidaying in North Devon!
Such a peaceful place! The birdsong is wonderful! I recorded over 30 species of birds around our chalet, including 6 species of Crow (Carrion Crow, Raven, Rook, Jackdaw, Magpie and Jay!)
   As the chalets are positioned at the top of wooded valley, the tops of the trees are at eye level, so I could sit outside at the picnic table and see the birds singing clearly, as most like to sing from the treetops! Usually you wouldn't get this view! One particular evening my family and I were treated to views of a singing Nuthatch, something I'd never witnessed before!

^Above^ - Nuthatch in the treetops.

All around Chiffchaffs were belting out their repetitive 'Chiff chaff chiff chaff' song (Was a bird ever so aptly named?!)
  Other singers included Robins, Wrens, Dunnocks, Blackbirds, Blackcaps and Chaffinches. Great Spotted Woodpeckers drummed and the deep calls of Ravens were constantly overhead, along with the mewing of Buzzards.
  In the evenings, once the sun had set beyond Lundy (The sunset views are stunning from Waney Edge!) Tawny Owls called to each other from either side of the wooded valley!
   This really is a wonderful place to stay for any nature lovers!

Below are some birds and photo's taken in and around the Waney Edge chalets;

^Above^ - Male Blackcap.

^Above^ - Blue Tit.

^Above^ - Buzzards.

^Above^ - Male Bullfinch.

^Above^ - Female (top) and Male Chaffinches.

^Above^ - Chiffchaffs.

^Above^ - Singing Dunnock.

^Above^ - Great Spotted Woodpecker.

^Above^ - Jay.

^Above^ - Robin.

^Above^ - Raven.

^Above^ - Sparrowhawks. Male and female in courtship in the bottom pic!

^Above^ - Woodpigeons.

^Above^ - Jackdaw.

^Above^ - Wren.

^Above^ - Carrion Crow.

^Above^ - Another Nuthatch.

^Above^ - Squirrel.

^Above^ - Peacock Butterfly.

^Above^ - Comma Butterfly.

^Above^ - Even Ladybirds were enjoying the Spring...

^Above^ - Gorse.

^Above^ - Some Waney Edge sunsets!

^Above^ - One evening there was a mysterious mist rolling out to sea!

From Waney Edge, you can walk straight down to the sea through the Park. The walk is a delight and takes about 20-30 minutes either way. We looked around the shops in Woolacombe village for bodysuits so my 3 young daughters could go bodyboarding. I took photos of the Gulls, Jackdaws and Sparrows as I waited for my other half to battle the crowds in the shops!
    My daughters had a fantastic time in the sea! Woolacombe has a brilliant beach (Recently voted the best in Britain, 4th best in Europe and 13th best in the whole World!!)
   I particularly love the Warren area, between the sand dunes and hillside. It's a great place for birds, particularly Wheatears and Stonechats. Unfortunately I was a bit early in the year for Whitethroats, which love this area too! 
    There were loads of Dunnocks, Wrens, Blackbirds, Linnets and Magpies also, though strangely I didn't see a Kestrel this time! In fact, I didn't see a Kestrel during the whole holiday, which is very unusual!
Below are some pics taken in and around Woolacombe village, the Warren and the beach;

^Above^ - Herring Gulls.

^Above^ - Male House Sparrow.

^Above^ - Rook.

^Above^ - Carrion Crow.

^Above^ - Jackdaw.

^Above^ - Magpie.

^Above^ - Wren.

^Above^ - Wheatear.

^Above^ - Linnets.

^Above^ - Male and female Stonechats.

^Above^ - Male Blackbird.

^Above^ - Singing male Blackbird at sunset.

^Above^ - Dunnock.

^Above^ - Dunnock and male Stonechat.

^Above^ - Rabbit.

One of the days, my family and I went for a walk in nearby Ilfracombe.
  This is a larger town with a beautiful harbour and a tiny rocky beach. there is a small clifftop walk where you can look out to sea. 
   My daughter noticed 2 Terns a little way out, they were the rarer Sandwich Terns, birds I'd only ever seen once before, on the Isle of Wight! Well spotted Emily!
   I got some nice shots of Rock Pipits, which were fluffed up thanks to the incoming sea winds, plus more pics of one of my favourite birds, Stonechats. 
   We ate chips by the harbour, though our Flat Coated Retriever Charm knocked most of the chips off my daughters lap onto the floor, so the gulls ended up being better fed than we did!!  Still, at least it gave me the opportunity to photograph the acrobatic Gulls as they swooped in for an easy meal!!

Below are some of the pics taken in Ilfracombe;

^Above^ - Sandwich Terns.

^Above^ - Starlings and House Sparrows looking for nesting material.

^Above^ - Meadow Pipit.

^Above^ - Female House Sparrows.

^Above^ - Oystercatchers.

^Above^ - Rock Pipits.

^Above^ - Jackdaws.

^Above^ - Herring Gulls.

^Above^ - Male Stonechat.

^Above^ - Female Stonechat, chasing flies! 

 We had a fantastic holiday in Woolacombe, my girls had a brilliant time, Woolacombe Sands Holiday Park is a fabulous place to stay, and I got to take plenty of nature photographs!!
  All in all, a perfect week!

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Thank you! :)