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Friday, 22 May 2015

Hare Walk

Sand Martins at their nests
Sand Martin nest colony
On 21st May, Bude Marsh and Valleys enjoyed their annual walk around Whalesborough. 

Seven people started from the Weir and walked via the Hare Walk to Widemouth Bay before heading north along the South West Coastal Footpath then headed west via Whalesborough Farm to the starting point.

It is an easy walk mainly on agricultural land although some has been planted with mixed woodland, and the beautiful north Cornish coast.

It was a very warm day tempered by an onshore breeze nearer the coast. Many birds were proclaiming their territories and the spring flowers were abundant and varied.

Southern Marsh Orchid
We were especially pleased to see many groups of Southern Marsh Orchids along the developing but damp mixed woodland.  Another eye-catching plant was the Dog Rose on the cliffs being attacked by a bright yellow smut.  The gorse continues to be spectacular.

The highlight of the birds we saw must go to the flock of 50 or so Sand Martins busily entering and exiting their burrows on the low sandy cliffs behind the Beach House on Widemouth Bay.

Bloody-nosed Beetle larva
Insects were plentiful too.  I was particularly pleased to look for and show Gorse Shieldbugs as well as a Hawthorn Shieldbug and the larva of a Bloody-nosed Beetle.  Butterflies were present, but not plentiful; we saw one or two each of Green-veined White, Orange Tip, Peacock and Speckled Wood.

An excellent walk with a total of 66 species recorded and submitted to ORKS ( database comprising 28 birds, 24 plants, 12 insects a millipede and a reptile.

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