Thousands of washed up fish provide easy pickings for fishermen and gulls

Fish stranded on the pebbled beach at Sidmouth

Thousands of whitebait washed up along Sidmouth seafront - Credit: Stuart Stevens - Iwitness24

For those of you that ventured onto the seafront last week it is quite likely that you will have seen a spectacle that is rarely seen in Sidmouth. This involved small fish known as whitebait being chased by mackerel who were in turn soon gaining the interest of a number of local fishermen! This activity was also soon noticed by the local gull population. Word soon spread along the coast as various other species of gull were soon in attendance joining in this bountiful fishing opportunity. Apparently whitebait is the general name given to the fry of various species including herring and sprat. You learn something new every day! The local fishermen were often bringing in four or five mackerel with every cast of their multi hooked rods. A number of the whitebait lay dead on the shoreline and I was surprised that the usually ravenous seagulls did not swoop and devour them. It could be the case that they only eat live ones?

Also on the nature front the local otters have once again been spotted near the river mouth and filmed. One had what appeared to be a flat fish which suggests they are going into the sea to get their prey. I haven’t seen the trout on the river this year where I usually see them so it is likely they have not bred in the numbers they usually do due to otter predation.

My first walk of the autumn took me along the South West Coast Path past Ladram Bay and back. I went as far as Brandy Head. I noted that the observatory there is available to hire. Quite a view for the evening although it is a way from the road to take belongings. There are some good hills to the west of Sidmouth to challenge walkers but they are nothing like as steep as the hills to the east of Sidmouth.

On the commercial property front I note that the premises in the High Street formerly occupied by Goviers is now available to rent. Details are on a poster in the window. I also noticed that the Travelworld travel agency just down the road has decided to close its Sidmouth operation and focus on its Exmouth outlet. I cannot think of another industry that has been hit as hard by the pandemic.

Last Friday we went to Paignton to see Jeremy Vine, a regular visitor to Sidmouth, in his one man show. It was very enjoyable and gave a good insight into his career in journalism and presenting. He has also written a novel which he touched upon in his show. It is based around a painting by Salvador Dali. Prior to the show we had the sight of anti vaccination protesters outside the theatre. Jeremy seemed baffled about their presence. All very weird.

On the sporting front Sidmouth Rugby Club are at home to St Austell this weekend. Kick off is at 3pm. Exeter Chiefs are also at home at 3pm against London Irish. This follows their excellent away win last Saturday against Wasps. On the football front Exeter City take on Mansfield also at 3pm.

With just over a week to go before the clocks go back the longer evenings will soon be upon us. This means that the skittles, pool, snooker, darts and cards teams will be back in action after missing one and a bit seasons due to Covid. These are important games for the night time economy in the local pubs and clubs and they also bring entertainment to many people at this time of year. Hence their importance should not be underestimated.

Finally the road out of Newton Poppleford going towards Exeter has been resurfaced. What a joy it is to drive on smooth tarmac without a pothole every few yards. And roadworks were also due to take place in Woolbrook Road this past week.

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