Withycombe Raleigh Common
WRC as I call it (for obvious reasons!) is a tiny part of the important East Devon pebblebed heathland. Even more important as far as I'm concerned is the fact that part of it sits nicely within my local patch - namely Exmouth Civil Parish Boundary. It's not called pebblebed for fun. You can walk round it, and bruise a toe quite easily against a bleddy great pebble the size of a football if you don't look where you're going. When one is out birding here, one does tend to not look where one is walking. Hence yours truly has permanently bruised toes! Seriously though, it is a wonderful stretch of habitat, and contains a small selection of bird species which I would struggle to see on my patch otherwise. If you read this blog regularly you will see what WRC has to offer over the year. I'm not about to list all the species down here now!
To cut out my rambling, I will just say that I paid the area a visit at lunchtime today. It was sunny and quite springlike for the first time this year. We don't usually get much of a winter in these parts, so this season has been a bit of a shock to the system! However, today was one of our more normal January days weatherwise. A Blackbird, a Robin and a Great Tit were singing away, heralding the spring which won't hopefully be too far away. A Coal Tit was calling from a firtree. Then I heard the distinctive call of a Dartford Warbler, scolding me as I went past. Thank goodness, at least the cold spell hasn't decimated this species, which is always prone to very cold weather. A Raven flew over 'cronking' and shortly afterwards a Peregrine zoomed over the horizon heading towards the coast. (There is a fine distant view of the sea from up here!). All good things come to an end, and I had to retreat back to the office sooner than I would have liked.
Exmouth yearticks: Dartford Warbler (also a 2009 tick) and Peregrine.