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23 April 2017

Trendelbere and Yarner

Had a great day on Dartmoor today, arrived a little later than I wanted but life getting in the way again. Plenty of birds about though, parked up in the middle car park on Trendlebere with lots of bird song about me with a couple of Blackcap and Willow Warbler really going for it!

Also saw Yellow Hammer, Lesser Redpoll, Linnet, Great Tit and Woodpigeon as I walked across the top of the Moor towards the lower carpark, surprisingly no Buzzards or anything flying up the valley.

From the Moor crossed the road to the triangle area of gorse with more birds in song, a Tree Pipit in display, I tried very hard to get a picture of this but just couldn't get the camera to focus on the bird. Also saw Chiffchaff, Yellow Hammer, Stonechat, Willow Warbler, Wren and fly overs of Raven and Buzzard.

Into the woods at Yarner, the trees starting to come out into leaf, such a stunning place to be. Not that many birds near the feeders, but still plenty about with Chaffinch, Lesser Redpoll, Robin, Blackbird, Pied Flycatchers, Redstarts, Great-spotted Woodpeckers, Nuthatch, 3 Mandarin Ducks, Mallards, Grey Wagtails, Siskin, Great, Blue, Coal, Marsh and Long-tailed Tits and a fly over Raven.

Plenty of humans about enjoying the moor, lots of birders and photographers about, some who need to learn some field craft and some basic manners. They thankfully were in the minority as most of the people I met today were just lovely!



22 April 2017

Crossbills

I spent a very enjoyable afternoon at Haddon Hill in Somerset looking for the two-barred Crossbill which typically didn't turn up.

I did though enjoy myself taking pictures of the common Crossbills which came in for a drink, the different colours showed up brilliantly in the sun.

I also saw several Buzzard, Hobby, Raven, Robin, Blackbird, Great and Blue Tit, Woodpigeon, Willow Warbler, Chaffinch, Pied Wagtail and several Swallow. Other birders there saw Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Swift, Wheatear and a Coal Tit which I missed.

Good see Tom and several other old faces as well as some new ones.



16 April 2017

Dunsford Woods

I spent the morning doing a recce around various sites looking for Grasshopper Warblers, I didn't find any but was certainly interesting looking around new places, looks like I could have some fun here!

I spent the afternoon at Dunsford and it appears the world and his mother and her dog had the same idea!!

I was pleasantly surprised and the amount of Birds, Butterflies and Flowers on show. Even though there was plenty of dogs and humans in the water there was Dipper and Grey Wagtails on show.

In the woods Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Robin, Wren, Blue, Great, Long-tailed and Marsh Tits, Blackbird, Song and Mistle Thrush, Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker, fly over Raven, Buzzard and Wood Pigeon.

Plenty of Butterflies with Orange Tip, Brimstone, Peacock and Speckled Wood.

The Daffodils have died off and have been taken over by Wood Anemone, Bluebells and Wild Garlic.

As I've said before plenty of humans about and plenty came up to chat about what was about and what I had seen, nice to see so many happy people and enjoying the great outdoors!



15 April 2017

Yarner and stuff!

Late start today as life getting in the way again. Thought I would spend the afternoon at Yarner to see if I could find a Pied Flycatcher amongst other things.

I parked up at the middle car park at Trendlebere with the idea of walking across the top of the moor to the triangle bit and go through to Yarner. I was hoping to see the reported Tree Pipit which has been seen several times in this area but sadly I failed to find it. It was quite windy when I got out of the car and there was very little sight of birds or humans for that matter. I only saw a Robin and a couple of Buzzards flying over, it wasn't much better on the triangle until you went further over and got out of the wind and plenty of birds singing here with Stonechat, Linnet, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler.

Plenty of bird song coming from Yarner with Chaffinch, Long-tailed, Blue, Great, Coal and Marsh Tits. Several Siskin, Bullfinch, Willow Warblers, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Robin, Blackbird, Redstart and a male Pied Flycatcher, did hear others but didn't see any.

Not that many humans about which was a surprise, a few families doing the Easter Egg challenge that has been set up which they seemed to be enjoying.

A few Birders/Photographers about the place and all seem to be behaving themselves, one birder even smiled at me!!



13 April 2017

Emsworthy Mire, Trendlebere and Yarner.

I spent most of today at Emsworthy before popping into Trendlebere and the top path at Yarner before heading home.

I just walked around the top half of this fantastic reserve, so diverse and different habitats.

Could hear the singing Redstart as soon as I entered the reserve, a stunning male. Also my first Cuckoo of the year, a bit far away for me to get a decent photo but still a joy to hear and see.

Also saw Stock Doves, Wood Pigeon, Stonechat, Meadow Pipits, Skylark, Chaffinch, Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tit, Reed Bunting, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Buzzard, Robin, Blackbird, Wren, Dunnock, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Magpie, Raven, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw and four wheatear.

Plenty of marsh flowers starting to come out with some stunning Marsh Violet.

Off to Trendlebere, the middle car park across the moor and over the road to the Triangle and into Yarner and back to the car. This little walk saw Stonechat, Willow Warbler, Redpoll, Raven, Woodpigeon, Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits, Robin, Blackbird and Skylark.



11 April 2017

Shapwick and Ham Wall

Went up to Somerset today to see if I can see some Bittern and some Marsh Harriers and wasn't disappointed!

The Bitterns were "Booming" over both reserves and managed to see a couple in flight but never close, the same was for the Marsh Harriers. They were displaying on both reserves and put on a great show in front of the Avalon Hide on Ham Wall, just fantastic birds!

Also had a bit of luck as I arrived a Black-winged Stilt just touched down in the Meare Scrape, these are stunning birds. Also saw about 25 Black-tailed Godwits on the scrape as well.

Plenty of ducks about the two reserves with the best being a Garganey which was in front of the Avalon Hide, with Tufted Duck, Pochard, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Gadwall, Little Grebe, Great crested Grebe, Cormorant, Glossy Ibis, Grey Heron, Great White Egret, Little Egret, Moorhen, Coot, Greylag Goose, Mute Swan, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Blackbird, Robin, Blackcap, Sedge Warbler, Wren, Cettis Warbler, Chiffchaff, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Sand Martins, Swallows, Buzzard, Pied Wagtail, Herring Gull, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Wood Pigeon and Pheasant.

Met plenty of old faces and new, well worth the journey



10 April 2017

Dawlish Warren and Exminster Marshes.

Just out for a few hours this afternoon visiting the Warren looking around the bushes then off for a late visit to the Marshes to see if the reported Short Eared Owl was around.

At the Warren all the birds you would expect with Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock, Wren, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Herring Gull, Linnet, Woodpigeon, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chiffchaff, House Sparrow, Stonechat, Great Spotted Woodpecker, total of 8 Swallows and 3 Female Wheatear. On the pond there was Mallard, Moorhen, Canada Geese and Little Grebe with 3 chicks which was nice to see.

Off to Exminster, the wind was starting to pick up giving a bit of a chill in the air. I parked up in the middle car park and there was lots of Sand Martins with at least 1 House Martin and a couple of Swallows hawking over the scrapes. Also Mute Swans, Canada geese, Shoveler, Mallard, Teal, Shelduck, Moorhen, Coot, Reed Bunting, Skylark, Pied Wagtail, Cormorant, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Curlew, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Chiffchaff and a couple of Sedge Warbler which was a welcome sound but sadly no SEO!



09 April 2017

Weekend Fun

Saturday morning saw me at Buckfast Abbey on a Beekeeping Course, its a long story so wont bore you why Iam doing this, but would say Iam enjoying every minute of it and meet some very nice people!

I decided to go to Topsham in the afternoon to look for the Spotted Redshank which has turned almost into full breeding plumage. Because Bridge Road was closed I decided to go on the M5 but that was a huge mistake and got stuck in several traffic jams but did eventually make it and parked up at Darts Farm, the place was packed, but not a bird in sight!

Down the cycle path brought Song Thrush, Blackbird, Robin, Great and Blue Tit, Wren, Chiffchaff, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow and Woodpigeon. Apart from a Moorhen and a Little Egret nothing to see and Goosemoor was even worse, the tide was out and it was devoid of birds which was depressing after all the trouble I had to get here.

Along the road towards the hide there was a few birds with Woodpigeon, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Robin, Wren, House Sparrow and Dunnock. There wasn't the usual amount of birds on the road side of the hide due to the new play park full of noisy kids! I didn't bother going in the hide but could see plenty of birds from the roadside with Shelduck, Mallard, Shoveler, Pintail, Tufted Duck, Teal, Widgeon, Moorhen, Coot, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Starling, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Jackdaw and Magpie were on view.

When I got to the Platform the tide was coming in and seemed quite fast, plenty of birds on view which cheered me up with both Black Tailed and Bar Tailed Godwits, Curlew, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Knot, Sanderling, Oystercatcher, Greenshank, Redshank, Shelduck, Mallard, Cormorant and a fly over Kestrel.

As the tide was coming in and the light was still good I went back to Goosemoor to see if the Spotted Redshank was there?

Well thankfully it was and Goosemoor was transformed from a empty place to a packed place full of birds with the Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwits some of which were in there summer plumage, Curlew, Shelducks, Little Egrets, Teal, Mallard, Herring and Black-headed Gulls. The trip turned out to be a success and worth going through the traffic agro.

Sunday morning saw me go up onto Dartmoor to look for some Summer Migrants, did my normal journey to Soussons stopping at several places to see what's about. Once at Soussons I walked through until I got to the open moor, over the top to Headland Warren, then to Challacombe and back to the car. Going through Soussons saw Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Redpolls, Robin, Wren, Chiffchaff, Green Woodpecker and a couple of mobile Crossbills high up in the trees. Came out into a scrub area and Chiffchaff, Willow Warblers, Robin, Blackbird and a stunning male Redpoll.

Then on to the open moor with Stonechat, Raven, Skylark, Wood Pigeon and a couple of Buzzard loafing about in the blue sky. They were joined later by 2 more and spent the whole time I was walking just flying around giving the occasional call.

At Headland Warren there was just a Pied Wagtail and a few Chaffinch to see. Onto the path to Challacombe saw Meadow Pipits, Skylark, Pied Wagtails, Wheatear, Wren, Carrion Crows and a single Swallow sat on a fence which was a welcome sight.

At Challacombe there was Song Thrush, Chaffinch, Blue and Great Tits, Chiffchaff, Pied Wagtail, Robin and Blackbird. From Challacombe across the fields to Soussons Farm saw more Skylarks, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Robin, Carrion Crow, Jay, Wren, Carrion Crows, Stonechat and a couple of Swallows hawking for flies. On the way back to the car there was Green Woodpecker, Jay, Robin, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch and Stonechat.

Around Dartmoor saw plenty of Skylarks, Stonechats, Meadow pipits, Buzzards, Raven, Carrion Crows, Jackdaws, Magpies, all the birds you would expect to see on the moor.

Met loads of people this weekend and had a great time, still another week of the holiday to go, should be fun! I hoping to catch up with some Grasshopper Warblers which will mean a early start, have been told the older you are the harder it is to hear the call, lets hope Iam not too old then! hahaha



07 April 2017

Ive been hacked!

Sorry if you received a email from me with "Dropbox", Even though I have all the protection my email contacts have been hacked and everybody on it seems to have had an email, apologies and hopefully it wont happen again!!



06 April 2017

West Charlton and South Huish Marshes

Just had a wonderful day looking around these two reserves. At West Charlton which I visited this morning was just full of bird song, saw 30 Species here and most of them was in full song! The hedgerows up to the hide were just full of birds with Blackcap, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Wren, Cirl Bunting, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits.

Around "Wals scrape" there was Teal, Mallard, Moorhen, Grey Heron. Carrion Crow, Magpie and Woodpigeon in the opposite Hedges with a couple of Buzzards loafing about in the sky.

From the hide looking out to the estuary there was Shelduck, Cormorant, Herring Gulls, Carrion Crows, Little Egret and Redshank.

Also saw Orange Tip and Speckled Wood Butterflies. Have to say this is a fantastic little reserve and well done to those who look after it!

Off to South Huish after I filled the car and myself up with fuel. For some reason I always go the long way to South Huish, but as it was such a lovely day it didn't really matter, but one day I will get it right!

There had been several sightings of white winged gulls amongst other sightings so hoping my luck would be in. Plenty of people about and I nearly choked when I was charged £5 to park up! Later I went for a cuppa and bit of cake at the café and they were a bit steep with the prices £1.80 for a plastic cup of tea!! I will need to come prepared with a flask next time I come here!

Back to the birds which I saw plenty of with 31 species including Iceland and Glaucous Gulls which was with Lesser-black Backed and Herring Gulls of all ages in the field to the left with the sheep. Also in here in the scrape at the bottom was a stunning Black-tailed Godwit in Summer Plumage which unfortunately was to far away to get a decent picture.

In the main marsh area there was Little and Cattle Egret, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Shoveler, Mallard, Teal, Widgeon, Coot, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Rock Pipit, Pied Wagtail, stunning Male Wheatear, Stonechat, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie with fly overs from Buzzard, Kestrel and several Swallows which was a great sight!

Met lots of happy people today including Mike Passman who I met at South Huish, good to have a chat. Mike is full of local knowledge and runs the local website for the area and well worth a look http://thurlestonebaybirds.co.uk/



05 April 2017

Dartmoor

I went up to Dartmoor today on the lookout for some summer migrants that had been seen this last couple of days.

First stop was Yarner as there had been a report of a Pied Flycatcher on the 3rd of April, after walking around the reserve it was a no show and I had met several other birders who also missed out, others were also looking for a Tree Pipit which had also been seen in the triangle area next to the reserve, but that also was missing. I did hear a Willow Warbler but didn't see it, I did though see a Redstart on the top path that flew out of a tree and caught an insect then flew back into the trees and went missing. Also saw Siskin, Blue, Great, Coal, Long-tailed and Marsh Tits, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Blackcap, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Mallard, Mandarin and Raven.

Then off on the road via Widdicombe and Soussons seeing more Ravens, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Wood Pigeon, Stock Dove, Magpie, Blackbird, Robin, House Sparrow, Skylark and Stonechat.

Stopped off at Challacombe Farm for a walk around, saw Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Chaffinch, House Sparrow, Meadow Pipit and a Reed Bunting.

Saw a few Brimstones, Common Lizards out in the sun and plenty of Wood Ants out gathering food at Yarner.

Plenty of birders and other humans out on the moor enjoying the sun and a pleasure to meet you all!



03 April 2017

Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers

I've been looking to find some LSW at both Dunsford and Yarner but hardly a sniff and then today I saw 3 all within half an hour, just like London busses!!

Saw a male and female not far from the bridge and another male further up the river, one male posed for me but the other two birds were always on the move.

Also saw Dipper, Grey Wagtail, Robin, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Green Woodpecker, Woodpigeon and a Buzzard loafing about in the sky. Good to bump into David Price again and plenty of other humans enjoying the reserve.

Seeing the LSW was certainly a joy and a privilege to find 3!!



02 April 2017

Aylesbere, Seaton and Exminster Marshes.

Had a great day out today, started off at Aylesbere, then off to Seaton Marshes and finishing off at Exminster Marshes.

Aylesbere is a great place to go bird watching, it has a diverse range of habitat although most people see it as heathland it has plenty of woodland and scrubland which gives the reserve a wide range of birds from Dartford Warblers on the heath to Green Woodpeckers in the Copse. Saw 3 Males and 1 Female Dartford Warblers today, although great views they were always on the move, also saw Stonechats, Linnets, Blackbird, Robins, Dunnock, Greenfinch, Wren, Great and Blue Tits, Raven and a Buzzard loafing about in the sky. Plenty of humans about including lots of people on mountain bikes cycling up and down the path, must have been some competition as I have never seen it before. Hope it doesn't happen to much as I wouldn't want to see damage to the paths?

Off then to Seaton Marshes to see what was about, there was very little from the Tower Hide as the tide was up and plenty of people in canoes enjoying themselves! Did see Shelduck, Mallard, Oystercatchers and about 30+ Herring Gulls of various ages.

In Black Hole Marsh there was lots of Shelduck all very aggressive towards each other with several fights going on. Also Pintail, Teal, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Little Egret, Black-headed and Herring Gulls, Black-tailed Godwits some in breeding plumage, Grey Plover, Knot, Oystercatcher, Cormorants, Canada Geese and a couple of Collard Doves.

Around the rest of the reserve there was Starling, Wren, Dunnock, Great and Blue Tits, Magpie, Carrion Crows, Robin, Chiffchaff, Blackbirds, Woodpigeons, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Mallard and some Mute Swans by the activity centre, there was a bit of a nasty scrap between two Cobs which brought a bit of a crowd, not sure how it ended but not something I would want to watch!

Then off home with a stop at Exminster Marshes, I walked the full circle from the RSPB car park with Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Teal, Shoveler, Mallard, Widgeon, Coot, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Lapwing, Herring Gull, Blue and Great Tit, wren, Robin, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Skylark, Pheasant, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and a Peregrine sat in the pylon. Also I saw my first Swallow of the year which passed over the car park as I parked up which was just great to see!

Plenty of flowers about with one of my favourites the "Cuckoo Flower" out in force at Exminster, saw a few Butterflies today but all were Peacocks which was a surprise, thought I would see some different ones but not today!!



26 March 2017

Dunsford and Yarner Woods

On this sunny day thought I would spend the morning at Dunsford Reserve on Dartmoor.

The reason being to try and get some pictures of Dipper in some good light. Trees were still bare of leaves and the sun was out and high in the sky, well that was the plan!

Typically for the first time I think ever not a Dipper in sight??

Plenty of Grey Wagtail so I had some fun with them, a few other birds around but not that many, Marsh, Blue and Great Tits, Robin, Chiffchaff, Blackbird, Wren, Buzzard, Raven, the call of a Green Woodpecker from the woods and some Mallard on the river. Plenty of Wild Flowers with the Wild Daffodils putting on a good show with Wood Anemone, Primrose and Wild Garlic in supporting roles. Butterflies also with Brimstone and Orange Tip which were the first of the year for me.

Off to Yarner, I parked up at the top to look over Trendlebere with just a Buzzard loafing about with Wren, Robin, Great and Blue Tits, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Chaffinch, Nuthatch, Mallard and 3 Mandarin Ducks, the male was just stunning!

So many people about enjoying the sun on this mothers day, great to meet and have a chat with David Price at Dunsford.



25 March 2017

Dawlish Warren

Went to the Warren today after hearing a Jack Snipe had been seen around the Main Pond for the last couple of days. Typically I dipped even though everybody else saw it today!

I did see a stunning Male Wheatear, sat and watched it for 15 minutes until it flew off, stunning bird!!

Went out to the point and watched the tide coming in and not that many birds about, 9 Sanderling on the Rivers edge but that was it, several Skylarks singing on the point with a few Stonechats.

From the hide there was Oystercatchers, Little Egret, Dark-bellied and Pale-bellied Brent Geese, Linnet, Godwit, Pied Wagtail, Great-Black backed, Herring and Black-headed Gulls of all ages, Cormorant and Shag.

Around the rest of the reserve Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock, House Sparrow, wren, Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Great and Blue Tit, Mallard, Moorhen, Little grebe and Chiffchaff.

Also saw a few Butterflies, Peacocks and a Red Admiral being blown about in the wind. Also saw plenty of the Sand Crocus with 40 out in flower.

Good to see everybody today, Kev, Alan, Steve and quite a few other birders I met today for the first time.



19 March 2017

Godwit Info

Last week I went to Seaton Wetlands and saw this Godwit with all its Jewellery on.

I got this reply from Peter Potts who is in charge of the ringing scheme.

It was ringed as a adult Female,

EX68145 N

WNO YRY 28-Feb-15 Axe Estuary, Seaton, E Devon Axe Estuary Ringing Group (Mike Tyler et al)

EX68145 S

WNO YRY 11-Apr-15 Belfast Harbour RSPB reserve, N Ireland Stephen Maxwell

EX68145 S

WNO YRY 20-Apr-15 Belfast Harbour RSPB reserve, N Ireland Stephen Maxwell

EX68145 S

WNO YRY 22-Apr-15 Belfast Harbour RSPB reserve, N Ireland Paul Elliott

EX68145 S

WNO YRY 04-May-15 Belfast Harbour RSPB reserve, N Ireland Stephen Maxwell

EX68145 S

WNO YRY 06-May-15 Belfast Harbour RSPB reserve, N Ireland Paul Elliott

EX68145 S

WNO YRY 06-May-15 Belfast Harbour RSPB reserve, N Ireland Michael Loughridge

EX68145 S

WNO YRY 24-Oct-15 North Frambridge, Blue House Farm, River Crouch, Essex, SE England Ian Murphy

EX68145 S

WNO YRY 17-Nov-15 Bowling Green Marsh, Topsham, Exe Estuary, Exeter, Devon, SW England Martin Unwin

EX68145 S

WNO YRY 03-Dec-15 Bowling Green Marsh, Topsham, Exe Estuary, Exeter, Devon, SW England Derek Carter

EX68145 S ? WNO YRY 16-Dec-15 Bowling Green Marsh, Topsham, Exe Estuary, Exeter, Devon, SW England Chris Marcol

EX68145 S

WNO YRY 14-Jan-16 Bowling Green Marsh, Topsham, Exe Estuary, Exeter, Devon, SW England Robert Williams

EX68145 S

WNO YRY 11-Apr-16 Axe Estuary, Seaton, E Devon Doug Rudge

EX68145 S

WNO YRY 12-Apr-16 Black Hole Marsh, Axe Estuary, Seaton, E Devon Doug Rudge

EX68145 S

WNO YRY 14-Apr-16 Black Hole Marsh, Axe Estuary, Seaton, E Devon Doug Rudge

EX68145 S

WNO YRY 16-Apr-16 Black Hole Marsh, Axe Estuary, Seaton, E Devon Doug Rudge

EX68145 S

WNO YRY 25-Apr-16 Belfast Harbour RSPB reserve, N Ireland Noeni Bryars

EX68145 S

WNO YRY 04-Aug-16 North Frambridge, Blue House Farm, River Crouch, Essex, SE England David Low

EX68145 S

WNO YRY 19-Aug-16 North Frambridge, Blue House Farm, River Crouch, Essex, SE England David Dives

EX68145 S

WNO YRY 12-Mar-17 Seaton Marshes LNR, Axe Estuary, E Devon, SW England Simon Thurgood



18 March 2017

Cattle Egrets and friends

Had some time before the rugby to pop up to Powderham to see the reported Cattle Egrets.

I found them in with the sheep, but difficult to see because of the crop the sheep were in, just the odd white flash of feathers, luckily for me one of the sheep enjoyed chasing them around and one of the birds flew off to the neighbouring field where there was 7 Little Egrets walking over a stubble field looking for food. I stood in the hedge and got some great views and they were still there when I left.

The rookery by the church was in full swing with birds flying to and fro, plenty of small birds singing away with Robin, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Wren, Great Tit, Goldfinch and Magpie.

A walk to the top of the bridge over the railway to find Canada Geese and Mallard on the pasture with plenty of Shelduck on the mud flats with very little else. A few grey Heron on there nests at Powderham, but again not a lot else.

On the way home I went by the back lanes via Chivestone Farm and found plenty farm birds with Pheasants, Red-legged Partridge, Carrion Crow, wood Pigeon, Blackbird and Skylark.

And back in time for the rugby!



12 March 2017

East Devon

Haven't been to the Seaton Wetlands for a while so off I went! Stopped off at Aylesbere Common to see if any Dartford Warblers about, one of my favourite birds and the thing about Aylesbere is all you have to do is stick to the paths and one always pops up, as today, a bit far for a pic but great views in the bins, such a stunning bird! Also saw Stonechat, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Robin, Greenfinch, Great Tit, Wren, Carrion Crow, Raven, Buzzard, Kestrel and a fly over Herring Gull.

Off to Seaton, parked up by the Graveyard and walked around to the Tower Hide, this is a great place to practice your Gull Id especially with the Juv and Immature gulls, I find it easier here when they are all together than seeing individuals on the beach, don't know why?? Hundreds of gulls here with Common, Black-headed, Herring, Lesser and Greater Black-backed Gulls, adults and young birds of all ages. Curlew, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover, Mallard, Shelduck, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Carrion Crow, Cettis Warbler calling from next to the hide and the weird site of a Cock Pheasant walking along the side of the river.

Along to the Island Hide, stacks of Shelduck, Coot, Moorhen, Teal, Mallard, Widgeon, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwits, lapwing, herring, Common, Black-headed Gulls and Little Egret.

Off to the Discovery Hut and a luvely mug of Coffee from the volunteers, sat down to this and a couple of chocolate bickies to the sound of another Cettis in song.

Around the rest of the reserve I saw 2 Great-spotted Woodpeckers using the telegraph Poles as drumming posts, Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Blackbirds, Buzzard, Woodpigeons, Long-tailed, Great and Blue Tits.

Off to Seaton Marshes which is a little car ride down the road, a look around the "Borrow pit" found Coot, Moorhen and Mallard with Woodpigeon in the trees. From the hide there was Widgeon, Mallard, Teal, Little Egret, Herring Gull and plenty of Black-headed Gulls, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwits and Redshanks.

A really good day in a very friendly place.



11 March 2017

Yarner Woods

I went to Yarner today and spent a while looking for the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, others did see a pair but I was unlucky.

I did see Nuthatch, Great, Blue, Coal and Long-tailed Tits, Wren, Chaffinch, Robin, Blackbird, Grey Wagtail, Raven, Woodpigeon and best of all, a Goshawk!!

I was looking up at the trees for the LSW on the top path and the bird flew at tree height, fantastic sight as it speed past, unmistakable and I've never been that close.

Met lots birders today, all looking for the LSW, a pleasure to see you all



05 March 2017

Odd Gull

I was at Beesands Ley yesterday and a gull flew in from the sea. It had quite odd markings on its wings. It did look like an Lesser Black-backed Gull but double checked with Kevin Rylands who said it was "a Lesser Black-backed Gull with an odd pattern of albino feathers matched on each wing"



04 March 2017

Torcross and Slapton Ley

I heard that the Humpback Whale was back in the bay so spent the afternoon by Slapton Ley but the weather was very changeable which I hate, I rather it rain all the time so at least you would know where you are!

The Whale had been seen a couple of times but at a distance but I never caught up with it while I was there.

Plenty of birds about with a Great Northern Diver, Gannets, Cormorant, Great-black Backed, Herring and Black-headed Gulls on the sea. Plenty of people on the beach ether looking for the whale an a organised beach clean which was great to see.

On the Ley there was plenty of Gulls which included a 1st Winter Little Gull, very smart bird!

Plenty of ducks with Mallard, Gadwall, Tufted Duck and plenty of cross breeds by the feeding area, Moorhen, Coot, Water Rail, Great-crested Grebes, Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Great and Blue Tit, Robin, Blackbird, Cettis Warbler, Skylark, Kestrel and Woodpigeon.

I then went off to Beesands to see what was there, plenty of Mute Swans, I lost count at 61 and most of them were Juveniles, Canada Geese, Shoveler, Mallard, Gadwall, Tufted Ducks, Moorhen, Coot, Lesser-black Backed Gull, Herring Gulls, Wren, robin, Blackbird, Woodpigeon and Great Tit.

Apart from the weather it was a good day!



26 February 2017

Torbay Boat Trip

Out in Torbay this morning, managed to get the trip done in-between weather fronts. The water was calm at the start but the wind and a bit of rain at the finish.

No Seals in the Harbour but one seen out in the bay, 6 Harbour Porpoise seen at Berry Head, didn't seem to mind the boat and came quite close, was a talking point, perhaps the quiet engine? Not sure but what ever it is Iam grateful to see these beautiful animals!

Saw Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls of all ages, Cormorants, Shags, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Oystercatchers, Purple Sandpipers, Raven, Carrion Crows, Fulmar, Gannets, a mixed flock of Scooters, about 15 birds but could have been more, Guillemots, Razorbill, Turnstone, Mallard, pair of Eider, 4 Black necked Grebes, 2 Canada Geese and 1 Peregrine that got into a scrap with a Raven who invaded his space.

Another great morning out with a nice bunch of people!!



25 February 2017

Humpback Whale

After some great reports and pictures about the Humpback Whale which had been in Start Bay for most of the week I went for a look, it was supposed to be raining and the wind was blowing but hopefully it will be worth it.

What a brilliant show, it swam past me down the beach, didn't put its tail up but still saw its "Blow", just a fantastic sight! I didn't take that many pictures as I was just busy watching it, don't think I will ever get that close to a Whale while on shore.

Supporting cast of Dolphin, Porpoise, Seal, Gannets, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls and a Black-necked Grebe close to shore.

Plenty of people watching the spectacle and recognised plenty of faces.



19 February 2017

Torbay Boat Trip

Went out today with a hope more than a expectation to see the Pacific Diver that was found earlier in the week, as it wasn't seen yesterday it seemed it had moved on and sure enough it was not to be seen.

The water compared with the last trip was a mill pond and the conditions were excellent. The boat was full and off we went!

In the harbour there was 3 Grey Seals, these great lumps were very photogenic and didn't move while we got some pics, must be used to us. Then on to the pier at the end of the breakwater to see the Purple Sandpipers, 6 seen here with a couple of Turnstone.

Off then to Berry Head and the joy of 6 Harbour Porpoise that swam around the boat, to be honest we could have stayed here all trip at these mammals are just mesmerising to watch! we didn't go near the cliffs but Nigel said there was at least a 1000 Guillemots on the cliffs, we also saw several other birds in small groups around the bay as well as some Razorbills.

Plenty of Gannets flying around the boat and doing some plunge diving, spectacular! Also saw approx. 50 Fulmar, most on the cliffs and others flying around, 3 Great-northern Divers, 4 Black necked Grebes, 6 Great crested Grebes, 3 Peregrine's, Grey Heron, Shags, Cormorants, 11 Common Scooter that flew in from the sea, Herring, Black headed, Great and Lesser black Backed Gulls and Common Gulls.

A really good Moring out on the "Optimist" and looking forward with next week.



18 February 2017

Along The Exe

On this stunning day a walk along the Exe was on the cards, stopped off on a few points to see what's about. Cockwood steps was the first, Oystercatchers and Curlew in the field behind the road, with Dark-bellied Brent Geese, Redshank, Greenshank, Cormorant, Black-headed and Herring Gulls on the River which had started to go out. Off to Cockwood Harbour which because of the state of the tide was showing some mud. A few Redshanks and a couple of Shelduck, plenty of Black-headed Gulls and a couple of Herring Gulls sat on the wall. Starcross Golf course was empty of all birds which is a first for me as normally something is there!

Off to Powderham and the River Kenn was empty as well with a few Shelduck, Canada Geese and Herring Gulls on the lake in front of the house. In the trees and bushes by road there was Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Blackbird and Robin. On the pasture there was Carrion Crows and several Grey Heron had taken positions on nests in the trees and making a racket calling to one another. I parked up at the Church and the Rooks had taken positions in the Rookery and was quite noisy with Robin, Great and Blue Tits in the Graveyard.

Walked up beside the River Exe up to Turf Lock, on the fields next to the path there was plenty of birds searching the pasture for food with Oystercatchers, Carrion Crows, Rooks, Jackdaws and Canada Geese. The water filled ditches had Mallard with Robin, Goldfinch, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Blackbird, Woodpigeon and Magpie all putting in an appearance. On the river there was good numbers of Shelduck, Redshank, Sanderling, Dunlin, Curlew, Grey Plover, Knott, Cormorant, Red-breasted Mergansers, Black-headed Gulls everywhere! At Turf there was Teal, Widgeon, Mute Swans, Avocet, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls to add to the numbers.

Spoke to another birder who said he thought that 14 Barnacale Geese where in a field the other side of the railway but I didn't check it. Plenty of people about today, all Cycling, running and walking fast, need to slow down and enjoy the view!



17 February 2017

Paciffic Diver and stuff

Went to Broadsands early to try and see the Pacific Diver while it was high tide, naively hoping it would be close enough for a picture, silly boy!! I was lucky enough to see it with the help of Mike L scope as it was swimming away, it was with a Black Throated Diver and absolutely no chance of a picture. This was the way it was for the rest of the day, ether too far or too dark! Also saw a Black-necked Grebe, plenty of Black-headed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Carrion Crow, Greenfinch, Woodpigeon, Long-tailed, Great and Blue Tits, Blackbirds, Song Thrush, Reed Bunting, Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Grey Wagtail and at least 6 Cirl Buntings on the feeding station. I came back later to see if it had moved towards the land but had stayed in the same place but had been joined by a Red-throated Diver and there was 2 Black-necked Grebes.

In between I went to Slapton Ley, plenty Black-headed Gulls, Tufted Ducks, Mute Swans, Coot, moorhen, Grey Heron, Herring, Great and Lesser-black Backed Gulls, Cettis Warblers, Gadwall, Mallard, Cormorants, Jay, Magpie, Buzzard, Woodpigeon, Blue and Great Tits, Wren, Goldcrest and best of all a Firecrest that wouldn't sit still and however much I tried I couldn't get a picture.

Nice to see everybody at the Diver twitch.



16 February 2017

Somerset Levels

Thought I would spend the day on the Levels, first stop was Aller Moor to try and find the Cranes that are here, most are part of the reinstated group but also some wild ones have joined them which is great. I parked up by the River Parrett next to "Oath Farm" which is were I had heard they were. Sure enough over the bridge and there they were! You couldn't get close enough for a picture which was fine because I could see them good enough and perhaps I will get a pic another day. There was over 20 birds in area of Maize by some water, great to see! Also saw Lesser-blacked Back Gull, Herring Gull, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Rook, Pied Wagtail, Starling, House Sparrow, Robin and Wood Pigeon.

Off to Ham Wall, great time here, saw several Marsh Harriers including 2 that were displaying, sadly too far for a good pictures, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Grey Heron, Great White and Little egrets, Glossy Ibis, Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Gadwall, Teal, Mallard, Widgeon, Moorhen, Coot, Snipe, Water Rail, Bittern, Great-crested Grebe, Cormorant, Lapwings, Raven, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Several Cettis Warblers, Woodpigeon, Blackbird, Robin, Blue and Great Tit, Black-headed Gull, Goldcrest and my first Bumble Bee of the year!

Catcott my next stop and I was met by 500+ Lapwing flying around the reserve, also Great White Egret, Shoveler, Pintail, Widgeon, teal, Mallard and Mute Swan. Stunning place!!

On the way home stopped off at Greylake, the light was fading but still plenty of birds with Pintail, Widgeon, Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Snipe, Blackbird, Robin, Great and Blue Tits, Reed Bunting, Mute Swan and Moorhen. Also plenty of Lapwing, not sure if its me but there seems to be a lot more this year??

Had a stunning day in a beautiful place but also met lots of nice people, one of those good to be alive days!



14 February 2017

Brixham Harbour

Popped into Brixham as I was in the area to have a look around the harbour. All the normal Gulls, Turnstone, Shag, Cormorant and nice to see 4 Great Northern Divers, 2 the sea side of the breakwater and the other 2 in the outer harbour, one quite close in.

Didn't see any Purple Sandpipers any where but perhaps as it was low tide they were out feeding somewhere?



13 February 2017

Blowing a hoolie!

It was blowing a "hoolie" today so thought I would try a few places along the River Exe and walk around Exminster Marshes to see if anything had parked itself out the way.

First stop was the steps at Cockwood, the Exe was a dirty brown colour with plenty of waves, could only see a few Gulls playing on the wind, other birds were trying to fly against it such as Curlew and Brent Geese which really struggled. In the field on the other side of the road Oystercatchers were sat in a group of about 50 birds out of the wind, a couple of Collared Doves were being blown all over the place and they eventually gave up and landed on the field. On to Cockwood Harbour and few birds here with Mute Swan and a lone Redshank, a few Black-headed Gulls enjoying the wind but nothing else. I was surprised to see fewer birds than normal on the golf course, thought it would be packed but just a few Canada Geese, Oyster Catchers and about 50 Dark-bellied Brent Geese.

On to Powderham, Grey Heron, Widgeon, Curlew, Greenshank around the River Kenn, Cormorant and about 25 Shelduck in the lake area. Also saw Woodpigeon, Pheasant, Carrion Crow and Jackdaws. On the Exe you couldn't see much in the dirty water with the Gulls playing in the wind.

I parked up at the RSPB carpark and walked down the back path to Turf Lock, plenty of Canada Geese and one definite Barnacale Goose possibly 2, Mute Swans, Widgeon, Shoveler, Teal, Mallard, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Rook, Jackdaw and Carrion Crow.

At Turf by the Canal there was 3 Red-breasted Mergansers sheltering by the boats away from the wind. Looking out by the River Exe I could hardly stand up and the water looked really dirty brown and apart from the odd gull very little to see.

Off up the road, birds such as Cormorants and Dark-bellied Brent Geese really struggling against the wind trying to get to the river. A few smaller birds and all keeping low to the ground out of the wind with Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Robin, Blackbird, Wren and Blue Tit.

Large numbers of Lapwing were put up by something, was it the Marsh Harrier?? Back home for Tea and biscuit's!!



12 February 2017

Yarner and stuff!

Unfortunately because of the high winds and predicted high waves, todays boat trip around Torbay was cancelled. So decided to go up on Dartmoor and Yarner woods to try and find a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.

I drove in a circle from Bovey, Widdicombe, Soussons and back to Yarner. I used the car as a Hide and it is surprising what you can see, I was lucky that there was hardly anybody about, only a few hardy soles out walking, looks like training for Ten Tors. Plenty of Fieldfare, a few Redwing, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Raven, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Rook, Magpie, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Several Buzzards of various shades of Brown, Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Stonechat, Nuthatch and Great-spotted Woodpecker.

At Yarner the feeders were very busy with Blue, Great, Coal and Marsh Tits, Bullfinch, Robin, Chaffinch, Great-spotted Woodpecker and several Nuthatch visiting the food. Grey Wagtail, Blackbird, Lesser Redpolls and I was very lucky to see a brief view of a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker just by the carpark, great to see if only briefly will need to visit again soon.

Had a good talk to the head warden about the pond which has dried up because the dam has failed, they are going to replace it with a bridge and dig out some small ponds in the remaining space, also he told me they will be opening an area which is the reservoir at the top and put an hide there, sounds good!



11 February 2017

Ring-billed Gull

There has been a Ring-billed Gull seen on and off at the No 1 Picnic site at Chew Valley Lake. Took the chance and drove up, it was snowing when I left Dawlish but the further I got up the M5 the less there was. I got to the site and plenty of gulls, lots of people about and the gulls were every where and the couple of birders told me that there had been no sign so far.

Luckily after 10 minutes it flew in with a couple of Common Gulls right in front of us and put on a good show, stayed about 15 minutes and flew off again, but I managed to get some good shots, I have been trying to get some pictures for some time so happy about this.

Looked about the Lake from several view points and saw Great and Lesser-black Backed Gulls, Black-headed and Herring Gulls, Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Golden Eye, Great-crested Grebe, Collard Doves, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Chaffinch, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird, House Sparrow and a Buzzard.

Good to meet a few of the local birders, worth the trip!



05 February 2017

Torbay Boat Trip

Went out with Nigel on the boat today around parts of Torbay, because of the sea state we didn't go to Berry Head but stayed in sheltered areas, still it was very " Lumpy " and we must of lost birds in the waves and I found it very difficult to get any pictures with the boat rolling.

We saw 3 Black-necked Grebes and 1 other small Grebe which I thought was a Slavonian Grebe but I couldn't confirm it, Lots of Great-crested Grebes 75+, lots of Cormorants and Shags, 2 Grey Heron, Fulmars, Gannets, some plunge diving quiet close in, 3 Peregrines, Great-black, Herring, Black-headed and Common Gulls, Oystercatcher, Rock Pipit, Purple Sandpiper, 2 Velvet Scooter, Guillemots and a couple of large Grey Seals on the Wave boards in the harbour.

Thought we might see some Divers but sadly no, although they and a Red-necked Grebe were seen by others on land.

Nice to be out though with a nice bunch of people on this day.



04 February 2017

Along the Exe

Started the day late and the first stop was Cockwood Steps, compared with yesterday it was a warm sunny day, the tide was in and the water was calm. From the steps the Slavonian Grebe was showing very well as well as 6 Red-breasted Mergansers, also saw fly-bye Oystercatchers, Cormorants and Black-headed Gulls. Onto Cockwood Harbour which was full of water but only some Mallard and a pair of Mute Swans. Because it was high tide Starcross Golf Course had plenty of birds looking for food on the turf with Canada and Brent Geese, Oystercatchers, Curlew and a few Herring Gulls.

On to Powderham with the River Kenn full to over flowing, not many ducks on view with just a few Mallard and 6 Shelduck on the lake in front of the house. Around the fields and hedges there was Robin, Blackbird, Blue and Great Tit, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Curlew, Carrion Crow, Buzzard, Pheasant, Woodpigeon and Mistle Thrush. There was nothing on the river because of sailing on this stretch of the river.

On to Exminster Marshes which was full of water and the road impassable without wellies. Very large numbers of birds on the marsh and another birder was correct when he said it looked like "a true wetland".

I stayed to the road to get some great views of the marsh. At times there was several thousand birds in the sky, just a fantastic sight! So many Waders with Golden and Grey Plover, Lapwing, Godwits, Curlew, Redshank, Greenshank, Dunlin, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Teal, Widgeon, Shelduck, Dark-bellied Brent Geese, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Pied Wagtail, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Robin, Blue and Great Tit and a Peregrine sat on the Pylon.

Really good day and as usual met some lovely people which always helps!



28 January 2017

Dartmoor

Today was supposed to be a nice day so thought I would spend the morning at Yarner looking for the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker and in the afternoon I would go to Soussons and go looking for some Crossbills, well that was the plan. Off to Yarner early and the weather was great with some sun and not much wind, plenty of birds about especially around the feeders both at the pond and the higher hide. Surprised to see the pond empty because was looking forward to seeing the Mandarin Ducks but they were all gone, learnt later that there is a big leak and all the water drained out, apparently its going to cost a lot of money to fix?

Anyway back to the birds, Great, Blue, Coal and Marsh Tits, Siskins, Robin, Blackbird, 2 pairs of Bullfinches, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Nuthatch, Raven, Chaffinch and Wren. I walked around the reserve but was unable to find a LSW but they are difficult to see and always a good excuse to go back for a look.

Off To Soussons for the afternoon but typically storm clouds came and it pored down so decided to drive around the lanes to see what's about, saw Kestrel, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Magpies, Woodpigeon, Blackbird, Robin, Herring Gulls on the fields, Several large flocks 40+ of Fieldfare and several smaller flocks of Redwing and some Stonechat on the gorse.

Met some nice people today, met Ian Tonkin (hope that's how you spell it?)in the top hide at Yarner which was nice and others around the place which always makes the day better!



21 January 2017

Somerset Levels

Haven't been up to the Levels for some time, it was going to be cold but clear and sunny so off I went.

Originally going to visit four reserves, Shapwick, Ham Wall, Catcott and Greylake. Didn't get to Ham Wall as I ran out of time and it was silly to think I was ever going to make it!

At Shapwick lots of people were out on the road next to the carpark looking for the Firecrest and I spent 5 minuets looking but didn't have time to stay so off around the boardwalk I went. Lots of small birds about hunting for food the best being a Treecreeper. Then on up the path towards Noah's and the lagoons were frozen over with the exception of an area were a lot of the ducks had collected. On of my Favourite birds show itself and another came up to join it, a Marsh Harrier! Stunning bird but never comes close, still great views of the pair of them.

Also saw Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Mute Swan, Great White Egret, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Teal, Widgeon, Gadwall, Shoveler, Pochard, Coot, Herring and Black-headed Gulls, Stonechat, Starling, Blackbird, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits. Possible "pings" of Bearded Tits by Noah's, Bittern, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Rook, Goldcrest, Cettis, Chaffinch, Robin and Wren.

Off to Catcott and again the water was frozen with all the ducks huddled in the middle with what looked like Pintail, Shoveler, Mallard, Widgeon and Teal. There may have been others but I couldn't see them. A Marsh Harrier appeared and took on some Corvides, looked like rooks, Mute Swans, Wood Pigeon and Pied Wagtail. A couple of Roe Deer were the other interest onsite.

At Greylake there was plenty of action around the car park with the feeders and surrounding fields with Redwing, Fieldfare, Lapwing, Reed Bunting, Starling, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Blue and Great Tits, Robin and Wren. In the ditches there was a few Water Rail and Moorhen, A few ducks about but mainly Shoveler, Teal, Mallard and Pintail, probably more but I could see them.

I did see a very bold Mink! stood on the ice, it was a bit dark by this time so the picture not great but still a surprise!



20 January 2017

Hudsonian Whimbrel and friends

Had a couple of days owing to me so thought I would make an effort to see the Hudsonian Whimbrel at Perranuthnoe in Cornwall. It has been there for some time but on the couple of other times I had been there I had missed it. But probably not enough time spent looking for it.

On Thursday I was there for the afternoon, it was a glorious day with brilliant sunshine and the tide was on the way out, with a bit of help from the few other birders there and we could see it on the beech, well some of the times as its camouflage was so good we kept losing it amongst the rocks. When it was visible the sun was directly behind it which was incredibly frustrating.

So decided to get up with the sun at and be onsite first thing today, hopefully with the incoming tide I might get lucky. I saw it a few times and thought I had blown it as when I looked through a gap in the hedge it was the other side on the rock but flew off, but not far, Steve another birder and his wife saw it on the other side of the beach and they had some good views, then it flew off and disappeared. Not happy about getting any pics I decided to stay, I must have walked past it a few times but I couldn't see it due to hits camouflage, a dog barked on the path which sent it up calling and it flew over to the place I originally saw it. This time I was a lot more carful and managed to sit down in front of it for about 10 minutes getting some great pics and also managed to get a diagnostic pic of its dark rump, a common Whimbrel has a white rump.

Saw tots of other birds around the beech and fields next to the path with Little Egret, Turnstones, Little and Grey Plovers, Redshank, Oystercatchers, Curlew, Cormorants, Shelduck, Herring and Black-headed Gulls, Rock Pipits, Robin Chiffchaffs, Blackbirds, Song Thrush, Starlings, Linnet, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, House Sparrows, Blue and Great Tit, Wren, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie and Kestrel.

Good to meet Steve and his wife and many other birders and locals walking there dogs or just enjoying the view. Happy Days!!



15 January 2017

Waxwings and friends

There was a report of 9 Waxwings in Exeter in the Sainsbury's car park so decided to get in there early before the place got busy with shoppers. As I arrived in the car park I saw them flying towards me and set down on a small hedge and started to eat the few remaining berries on that bush, I quickly got my camera and started to take some pics , couldn't believe my luck! They flew off to sit on a nearby tree and looked at the pictures in disbelief! I had forgot to set the proper settings and the pictures were black, What a Twat!

Anyway I stayed in the car which was parked up near a hedge that had berries on and waited for them to come back. There was plenty of other birders/photographer's around and they seemed to be chasing them around the car parks must to the amusement of the staff watching from the supermarket windows. Happily they came back to me and sat down on the bushes, it was still a bit dark but got off a few shots. But frustratingly a few idiots with cameras started to crowd the birds so they left the food and went back up in the trees. I shouted to one bloke to give them space and he just looked at me like I've got some mental illness! When a woman with a camera then came in the birds flew off and I left in disgust! There was No field craft, No common sense, No knowledge of the birds and that they were looking for food. Come on guys you let the likes of me down and give us all a bad name!!

I then went off to Topsham Rec to see what was around and found plenty to see, the tide was in and the gulls were spread out with mainly Black-headed Gulls with the odd Herring Gulls, up the river there was the Long-tailed Duck and around the trees there was the Yellow Browed Warbler which was always high in the trees and like on steroids as it didn't stop still for a second. Also saw Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Great and Blue Tit, Pied Wagtail, Starling, Wren, Collard Dove, Woodpigeon, Cormorant and Canada Geese.

Then off to Bowling Green, didn't park in Darts Farm today but close to Goose Moor, went along to have a look here first with a Curlew nice and close with Greenshank, Redshank and Spotted Redshank showing really well, Teal, Widgeon and Mallard with a couple of Great-black Backed Gulls flying over.

In the Reserve there was Widgeon, Shoveler, Tufted, Mallard, Teal, Moorhen, Black-tailed Godwits, Redshank, Lapwing, Snipe, Canada and Greylag Geese, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird, Robin, Great Tit, Goldfinch, Magpie, Woodpigeons, Carrion Crow and Jackdaws.

Along the road and especially by the hide with the feeding stations there was Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Robin, House Sparrow and Woodpigeon. Then at the Platform there was Avocets, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwits, Dunlin, Redshank, Cormorants and Shelducks.

At the Goatwalk there was great views of Avocet, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwits, Redshanks, Turnstone, Teal and Black-headed Gulls.

Came back the long way via Powderham and in the fields there was plenty of Pheasants, Carrion Crows, Rooks, Jackdaws and Curlew which were among the Fallow Deer in front of the house. On the River Kenn there was Widgeon, Teal and Mallard. On the other side of the train track over looking the River Exe you could see Red-breasted Mergansers, Greenshank, Redshank, Oystercatcher's, Curlew, Black-headed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Black-tailed Godwits and Carrion Crows. Then up to Starcross Golf Course were there was about 500 Brent and Canada Geese with Lapwing and Oystercatchers, Cockwood Harbour was empty of water and birds with the exception of a couple of sleeping Shelducks, then home and tea!

Good to catch up with Paul T, his wife and friends and lots of other birders and people around today which has made the day a whole lot better.



14 January 2017

Windy day

Bit of a late start today, so first stop was Dawlish Warren. To late for the high tide so kept to the entrance bushes and around the ponds. Plenty of birds about out of the wind, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Wren, Robin, Blackbirds, House Sparrows, Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Magpie, Carrion Crow and Woodpigeon. I was hoping to see the Yellow Browed Warbler that was in the Educational area behind the pond, but sadly it didn't appear for me, but it had been seen by others earlier. In the pond there was Shoveler, Mallard and Moorhen. Lots of birders around the Warren today and good to see you all even Lee! hahaha

Off up the road, wanted to look at the Exe from Cockwood steps but it was already busy with people so gave that a miss and off to Cockwood harbour. The tide was out and Teal, Mallard, Black-headed Gull and Redshank on view. I drove past Starcross golf course and could see a flock of 500+ birds, mainly Dark-bellied Brent Geese but with some Canada's as well.

Off to Powderham were there was Little Egret, Pheasant, Oystercatchers and a couple of Song Thrush in the field with Teal, Widgeon and Mallard in the River Kenn, there was also 11 Shelduck in the pond in front of the house. On the other side of the train track where the outflow from the River Kenn comes out onto the River Exe there was a lot of gulls, mainly Black-headed, but Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls as well. Carrion Crows, Oystercatchers, Redshank, Curlew and Mute Swans also on view.

Onto Exminster Marshes, as it was getting late just stayed to the road, plenty of Widgeon although have seen a lot more, Teal, Shoveler, Tufted and Mallard. Moorhen, Coot, Mute Swan and Grey Heron. Curlew, Lapwing, Carrion Crow and Woodpigeon.

As dark started to set in I went home via the back lanes to see what was about, Pheasant, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Woodpigeon, Blackbird and Great Tits which is what you would expect to see around farmland.

A windy but good day, good to see everybody.



08 January 2017

Torbay Boat Trip

Went on a boat trip around Torbay with Nigel and 9 others, setting off from Brixham harbour the water was calm as anything, so with sunny conditions it was great!

A Black Redstart and Turnstones around the harbour was a good start, Common Seal, Cormorants, Shags, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Rock Pipit and 2 Purple Sandpipers were seen in the harbour.

We then went off to Berry head with Guillemots and Razorbills singularly and in small groups and rafts on the water, we saw 60+ Razorbills on the day with 1000 Guillemots in total, Nigel S said there was 900+ on the cliffs the other side of Berry Head and must have been 100 on the water about the bay.

Plenty of Gannet feeding, 50+, also saw Little Egret, 10 Grey Heron, I counted 28 Fulmar and 5 Kittiwake and there could have been more, 2 Common Gull where also seen,1 Red Throated Diver flew over, singles of Great Crested and Black throated Grebes, single Common Scooter and 2 groups of Velvet (8&3). Also saw Eider Duck and Oystercatcher. Also saw the usual Peregrines who looked like they had just eaten as their crops were full.

Had a great day with a great bunch of people!



07 January 2017

Around the Exe

After this week, never was there a time to get out in the fresh air and go for a walk. Decided to go for a walk around Exminster Marshes, but first stopped off at Cockwood Steps, the tide was in and thought I would see more on the water but apart from the usual Slav grebe, some Cormorants and 11 Red-breasted Mergansers not a lot else. Onto Cockwood Harbour were there was Mallard, Teal, Shelduck, Mute Swans, Redshank and a single Greenshank. As I passed the Starcross golf course I could see Oystercatchers, Dark-bellied Brent Geese, Herring and Black-headed Gulls.

Stopped off at Powderham and on the River Kenn that flows through the park there was Widgeon, Teal, Grey Heron, Little Egret and Shelduck. On the surrounding fields apart from Carrion Crows, Woodpigeon there was a few Oystercatchers. Over the train track there was 100+ Black-headed Gulls at the outfall with Mallard on the water with Redshank and Greenshank on the sea wall.

Plenty to see at Exminster, parked up at the middle carpark and walked to Turf. On the Marsh there was plenty of Widgeon and Mallard, Teal, one Pintail, Canada Geese, Greylag, Dark-bellied Geese, Curlew, Grey and Golden Plover, Knott, Dunlin, Lapwing, Godwits, Carrion Crow, Pheasants, Magpie, Blackbirds, Bullfinch, Wren, Robin, Great and Blue Tit, Grey Heron, Moorhen and Coot.

At Turf the tide was starting on its way out and Redshank and Godwits were at the waters edge looking for food, Avocets, Curlew, Teal, Dunlin, Black-Headed and Herring Gulls, Cormorants and Grey Heron.

Took the back path to the car and saw Song Thrush, Blackbird, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tit, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Cormorants, Mute Swans 200+ Canada Geese, Loads of Widgeon, Teal, Mallard and Shoveler.

Weather was changeable and didn't use the camera as much as I would have liked, met some other birders about and all in a happy mood, great to get out!



02 January 2017

Happy New Year

Happy New Year everybody! Not been able to do any birding/photos etc. due to a family crisis, my brother Tony has had a massive Heart Attack, he's stable but very ill. It kind of puts things into perspective!

Anyway Hope you all have a great 2017 whatever you are up to and see you around!



30 December 2016

Around Topsham

I went to Topsham today hoping to see the Yellow Browed Warbler and Long Tailed Duck amongst others, but was disappointed to find it covered in fog and there was some hope it would lift sometime. But to be honest it never really did, well not properly. I arrived at the Rec were the YBW and Long Tailed Duck were reported, parked were I shouldn't as there was no space and wet off into the mist. I found the YBW with ease as it was were it has been all week next to the "Zip Slide" in the play park and showed very well and mightily surprised to get any picture at all! Then off to the side of the River Exe and plenty of birds could be heard if not seen and right in front of me was the Female Long-tailed Duck and got some "atmospheric" shots off. I suppose I could muck about with the picture on the computer but that's cheating!

Just got back to my car as a Traffic Warden was walking up the road so the timing was perfect. Off to Darts Farm which was covered in mist, it was busy too with plenty of people shopping, don't know were people get all the money from, Iam dreading my credit card bill next month!

Along the cycle path there was plenty of bird song and managed to pick out Blue and Great Tit, Blackbird and saw Wren, Dunnock and a Goldcrest. The Creek was fairly empty with Teal and Redshank seen. At Goosemoor there was some excellent views of a couple of Water Rail from one of the observation slits, a few Teal, Mallard, Redshank, Cormorant and Black-headed Gulls seen.

Along the road plenty of small birds especially by the feeders next to the hide with Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Blue and Great Tit, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Starling, Magpie, Woodpigeon and a Song Thrush using the road as an anvil to get at a Snail.

The tide being out not that many birds in front of the hide but some quality in the little pools by the road with Pintail and Snipe both visible from the road, also saw Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Widgeon, Tufted Duck, Moorhen, coot and more excellent views of a Water Rail, Black-tailed Godwits, Mute Swan, Canada and Greylag Geese, Stockdove, Magpie, Blackbird, Stonechat, Buzzard, Black-headed and Herring Gulls.

From the Platform you could see Teal, Avocets, Curlew, Grey Plover and Redshank.

From The Goatwalk you could see the cloud was starting to lift and you could see down the river. Plenty of Avocets and they came quite close, shame about the light! One looked a bit ill and possible had some oil on its front which was a bit sad. Also Curlew, Godwit, redshank, teal and Black-headed Gulls on view. As it was getting dark and cold decided to call it a day and getting back to Darts Farm I was amazed to see how busy it was with shoppers STILL!!!!



29 December 2016

Another day in Cornwall

Trying to make the most of my hols I went down to Cornwall, mainly to find the Hudsonian Whimbrel and then go onto try and get some better pictures of the Eastern Black Redstart in Mousehole.

I got to Pevranothroe and Perran Sands and went to Boat Cove were the bird had been seen, but after a couple of hours still not seen it, seen lots of other stuff but no Whimbrel. Its an incredibly beautiful spot over looking the bay and St Michaels Mount. Out to sea a few Seals and on the bird front Oystercatcher, Redshank, Turnstones, Little Egrets, Curlew, Grey Heron, Herring Gulls, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls. Around the path there was plenty small birds with House Sparrow, Wren, Goldfinch, Blackbird, blue Tit, Robin, Rock Pipit and Dunnock.

I made the decision to go to Mousehole and if I get time come back on the way home. I wasn't disappointed at Mousehole with great views of the Eastern Black Redstart but also a Rock Pipit, Wren, Robin, Grey Wagtail and a female Black Redstart. Brilliant!!!

Back to look for the Whimbrel but no luck so back home, even though I didn't find the Whimbrel which was disappointing it was a good trip, such a beautiful place and perhaps I should have stayed over and done a couple of days.



28 December 2016

Great Grey Shrike and other great stuff!

I was supposed to get up early and go to Somerset for a day there to find some Marsh Harriers, but was a lazy git and stayed in bed a bit longer than I should have done! The sun was out and there had been some good reports of the long staying Great Grey Shrike at Emsworthy NNR on Dartmoor and if time I would go to Soussons to find some Crossbills , well that's the plan which never work out for me hahahaha!

Got to Emsworthy in brilliant sun but there was a cold wind, I could see others looking but no sign but I knew it must be here somewhere.

I eventually found it not on top of a tree which is where its normally seen, but on the floor in front of a stone wall. Looks like it was a sun trap and insects were attracted here hence the Shrike. From the floor it went up on to a tree quite close, but I had a few issues focusing on the bird as the camera wanted to focus on the rocks behind, but luckily I managed to sort it out and get some pictures before the bird was disturbed by a birder. A young man with some bins with no "field craft" he just walked to the middle of the field frightening it off and it flew towards Holwell Tor and he stood there watching it in his bins. As I was behind a wall he hadn't seen me until I shouted out sarcastically "Thank You!" When he came closer I did offer him some advise about sticking to the outside of the field and I pointed out the Shrike which had appeared behind us, that sadly was the last I saw of the bird. It is good to see the younger guys out as we need them, but sadly these days, few have any "Field craft". Before all these scopes and big lenses we had to get close to get a good view!

Well off to Soussons, but drove slowly around the lanes as I was using the car as a hide, saw lots of birds. Plenty of winter thrushes about, one field had 70+ Redwing and 100+ Starlings on the ground. At the entrance to "Dury Farm" there was a flock of about 50 Fieldfare, as I stopped close to the bridge a Woodcock flew up and went up the valley, great to see but wished Id seen it earlier as I haven't got a pic of this bird.

Also seen Kestrel, Blackbirds, Robin, House Sparrows, Dunnock, Magpie, Pheasant, Jay, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Raven and Buzzard.

I got to Soussons and decided as there was so many cars parked up to give it a miss and started to make my way home. Lots of people about enjoying the moor on this glorious day!



27 December 2016

Exminster Marshes and other places!

Frustratingly a late start today and didn't get out until 1pm and it was already starting to be grey and moody, went off on the road towards Exminster.

I passed Cockwood Harbour which was empty of water and birds with the exception of one Redshank, Starcross Golf course which doubles up as a haven in the winter at high tide for Geese and Waders had a few birds still on there even though it was low tide with Oystercatchers, Canada and Dark-bellied Brent Geese.

In the fields by Powderham there was Oystercatchers, Carrion Crows and 30+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese with birds flying in all the time and the numbers rising to 100+. In the river there was a few Teal, Mallard and Little Egret.

On arriving at Exminster I parked up in the RSPB carpark and walked down the back path to Turf and then back along the road to the car.. At Turf the tide was starting to come back in and there was a few birds about with Avocet, Black-tailed Godwits, Curlew, Dunlin, Redshank and Lapwings feeding on the shoreline or mudflats with a few gulls around with Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls.

Around the reserve there was 1500+ Canada Geese, 800+ Dark Brent Geese, 2 Barnacale Geese, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Widgeon, Moorhen, Lapwing, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Song Thrush, Several Blackbirds feeding on the remaining berries, Robin, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Wren, Starling, Magpie, Carrion crow and just before I got in my car to go home I saw the Marsh Harrier!

It Turned out to be a great day out and met some nice people which is always a bonus!



26 December 2016

Eastern Black Redstart

Set off early for a trip to Mousehole in Cornwall to see the Eastern Black Redstart and it didn't disappoint!

Easy to find below the carpark on the beach, quite mobile but mainly chasing insects around the rocks. Didn't seem to mind people and dogs passing on the footpath. Do wish I could have positioned myself a bit better but got to be happy with seeing the bird and getting some pics!

There was some sightings of a 1st Winter Ring-Bill Gull at Marazion on the beach by "Long Rocks" but when I got there was stacks of gulls on the water and the rocks out on the water and without a scope I had no chance, probably needed to be low tide, good excuse to come down again!

Met some nice people today, couple of birders from North Devon, wish I got there names and others from Cornwall. That with it being a nice day just brilliant!!



23 December 2016

South Devon

Not wanting to waist any of my free time went to the south of Devon to see the Desert Wheatear at Thurlestone and then pop into Beesands and Slapton. The problem was the weather, supposed to be raining, it was grey and windy, not the ideal day to take pictures!

Anyway off I went and the first stop was at Aveton Gifford and to see what was along the tidal road, the water was choppy and the wind was wiping the water up even more so there wasn't that many birds on the water, just a couple of Mute Swans and a Cormorant who spent most of his time underneath. Along the shoreline there was 2 Common Sandpipers, Oystercatchers and a Redshank. A few Mallard, Little Egret and about 50 Gulls on the roost with Black-headed, Herring, Great-black Backed Gulls with what looked like 2 Lesser-black Backed gulls.

Then on to Thurlestone to see the Desert Wheatear and possibly the Black Redstart that has been around, when I got out of the car the wind had picked up and my car door blew open and I was beginning to think its going to be a wasted trip as the bird will have its head down somewhere. But No! it was quite active at the back of the beach picking anything up that had got blown to the back. The Rock Pipit on the other hand was on the shoreline working the seaweed. The Wheatear looked in good health but possibly in moult?

I left it in peace and went off to Beesands which was a lot more sheltered and was massively surprised by the lack of birds on the Ley, apart from 3 Mallards there was just a large number of mute Swans, in fact 42 Adults and 7 Cygnets and nothing else! in the field behind the hide there was 100+ Canada Geese and Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Starling and a Cettis exploded into song along the path as I was passing which was a welcome relief!

The Weather was starting to get rough and the rain had started so a walk around Ireland bay was called off but I did see large numbers of Coot, a few Tufted Duck on the water as I was passing.

Saw more than I thought as the weather held off for a while and good to see the Wheatear doing well.



22 December 2016

Blyths Pipit

A report of a Blyth's Pipit at Blagdon Lake in Somerset,(well just on the edge!)so took the chance and left early this morning to have a look. The weather was good so taking pictures shouldn't be a issue just got to hope the bird was still there. Got to the lake and followed the directions to find a group of birders/photographers all ready on the bird. It was quite flighty and always at a distance for me, but I still managed to get some shots to prove I was there!! Well done to who ever found it, because I don't think I would have picked it out of the Meadow Pipits it was with. Although as time went on I noticed the difference, it ran everywhere, long legs and one of the other birders described it "like a robin" and it was.

It flew off up the lake so I decided to pay Chew Lake which is just up the road a visit and come back in the afternoon for another look.

Chew was just full of birds, all the usual stuff but lots of it with Mallard, Pochard, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Widgeon, Shelduck, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Little and Great White Egret, Black-headed, Herring, Lesser and Great-black Backed Gulls, Kestrel, Carrion Crows, Moorhen, Coot, Water Rail, Grey Heron, Great-crested Grebes, Magpie and a Blackbird on show.

So went back to Blagdon and got some more and again distant views of the Pipit and plenty of views of other great birds, Little and Great White Egrets, in fact 8GWE put on a very elegant show, beautiful birds! Stacks of Cormorants 150-200 around the foreshore with Tufted Duck, Teal, Mallard, Golden Eye, Great-crested, Little Grebes, Coot, Moorhen, Mute and Whooper Swans, Canada Geese, Meadow Pipits, Grey Wagtails, Long-tailed Tits, Blue and Great Tits and Grey Heron.

Met lots of people today, some very helpful and friendly, some smiley and quiet and one miserable git!! To the local birders thank you for your help.



20 December 2016

Dawlish Warren

Didn't travel very far today due to the threat of crap weather and poor light so went to Dawlish Warren to catch the high tide at 11am.

Saw plenty of stuff on the way to the hide with Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Robin, Blackbird, Greenfinch, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Chiffchaff, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow and Wood Pigeon. On the Golf Course there was Carrion Crow, Canada Geese and Dark-bellied Brent Geese who didn't care much for the golfers and did there best to get in the way, saw one Canada attack a golf ball which was kind of ironic!

On the Beach there was a strange mix of birds with a small flock of Goldfinch, Dunnock, Robin, Rock Pipit and a few Turnstone. Apart from the odd gull didn't see much out to sea.

On the Bite and in front of the hide I saw Dark-bellied Brent's, Widgeon, Shelducks, Grey Plover, Redshanks, Turnstone, Curlew, Oystercatchers, Dunlin, Sanderling, Ringed Plover, Cormorant, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls and a few very annoying Carrion Crows who spent the hole time harassing the Dunlins.

Didn't see anybody else about which was a surprise!



19 December 2016

Dorset

There has been a Hume's Warbler for a while on Portland so I thought I would give it a try, I have though not had that much luck with rarities on Portland with a couple of wasted trips to see the Spotted Cuckoo until I eventually saw it at a distance. Unfortunately the only directions I had was by the hump on Avalanche Rd? Well I got there and even asked a local "Where's the Hump??" and got a mystified look so I went to the Observatory at the Bill and got told the "Hump" is a birders term not a "speed hump!! Martin told me were the bird should be and I went off to try again but I was still unable to find it. Very much aware that day light hours were short I didn't hang around too long and went off to Radipole Reserve in Weymouth to see one of my favourite birds the Bearded Tit for which I wasn't disappointed as some birds including a fantastic male were close to the path, Brilliant!!

I was also impressed with the numbers of Mediterranean gulls, a volunteer said they counted 250 last week! Plenty of ducks about with Mallard, Tufted, Teal, Shoveler and Gadwall. Moorhen, Coot, Shelduck, Mute Swan, Canada Geese Cormorant and Grey Heron were the other water birds with Black-headed, Common, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls as well as the Mediterranean Gulls in good numbers.

Around the reserve there was plenty of small birds to see with Blackbird, Dunnock, Robin, Goldfinch, Blue and Great Tit, Stonechat and Reed Buntings putting on a show. So after hot Mince Pies and a Coffee in the reserve visitor Centre I then went off to Maiden Castle to see another favourite bird the Corn Bunting but disappointingly when I got there the road was closed due to road works.

Anyway apart from disappointments still had a good day.



18 December 2016

Torbay Boat Trip

When I got up this morning Dawlish was covered in fog so when I looked at my mobile I was expecting to see a mobile message to say the trip was cancelled, but no. So off to Brixham which was through some thick fog and clear patches arrived to fog at Brixham but there was thumbs up as I arrived and off we went. It quickly cleared out to sea with some stunning views of the coast and fog bank out to sea. Plenty of birds seen and surprised on birds not seen as well, for example we didn't see any type of Grebe which considering the amount of write ups on Devon Birds you thought we might have seen at least one!

We did though see 6 Velvet Scooters, we kept our distance so not to flush them and got some great views, we also saw 6 Great Northern Divers on the trip as well as 11 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, Little Egret, Oystercatchers,1 Eider, double figures of Grey Heron on the cliffs, 3 Peregrines, Woodpigeons, Carrion Crows, Fulmars, Gannets, Common, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Turnstone, Shag, Cormorants and 800+ Guillemots both on the water and on the cliffs at their colony at Berry Head. We also saw 8 Harbour Porpoise around Berry Head, some popped up next to the boat which was just great!

Spent a great time with some great people, good to see you all!



17 December 2016

Powderham and Exminster Marshes

Only had a couple of hours today as its getting dark by 4pm so went up to Powderham to have a look around, found a flock of about 100 Dark-bellied Brent Geese on the fields with Carrion Crows, Black-headed Gulls and Pheasants looking for food etc. amongst the pasture. Further up there was plenty of Teal on the water with a couple of Grey Heron. On the other side of the road the tide was going out leaving mud flats with Godwits, Curlew, Redshank and Oystercatchers prodding for food, plenty of Widgeon and Mute Swans around with lots of Gulls washing in the fresh water coming out of the outfall from Powderham with Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls enjoying the communal baths!

Then off for a little walk along the road at Exminster Marshes where there wasn't as many wildfowl as I expected but still saw good numbers of Widgeon, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Canada Geese, Mute Swans, Moorhen, Grey Heron and a few fly over Cormorants.

The Marsh Harrier was sat on a bush in the middle of the Marsh for some time and Carrion Crows, Rooks, Magpies and Jackdaw's scattered all over the marshes poking around the pastures looking for food.

Plenty of small birds around the Trees and Hedges around the "Lions Rest" with a noisy and quite large noisy Tit flock consisting of Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, also a Chiffchaff, several Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Robin and Dunnocks in this area.

On my home to Dawlish I went around the lanes and there was loads of Carrion Crows on the pastures and sat on trees like a load of Vultures!



11 December 2016

Sunny Days!

As the report of a sunny day was for today, I thought I better make use of it! There had been reports of 7 Cattle Egrets at Teigngrace, thought that would be the start, then off to Labrador Bay to see the Cirls and finish off the day at Dawlish Warren as the high tide is at 4pm, well that's the plan!! Typically on this fine day Teigngrace was covered in mist and you couldn't see anything let alone a white bird in the mist! So went off to Bovey straight and the petrol station to pick up a Costa Coffee and a " Toasty ". I was hoping that the sun would burn off the mist fairly quick but that didn't happen.

So off to Labrador Bay to see the Cirl Buntings, one of my favourite birds. Parked up, the view over the channel was stunning! Would have loved to have been out in a boat. There was a group of birders over to the left looking at something not sure what but I was heading in the other direction. Experience has taught me to go to the small field towards Torbay and sure enough there they were, they were flying to and from the farmers field the other side of the main road, counted 32 birds but defiantly more about. They were on the ground looking for food and also sat in the hedge enjoying the sun, they didn't seem to bothered about me but I just stayed still and they came closer, just beautiful birds.

I also saw Linnet, Chaffinch, Starling, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Dunnock, Blackbird, Blue Tit, Jay, Robin, Skylark, Woodpigeon and a pair of Sparrowhawk which was a surprise as never seen them in flight together like that, they were following the hedge on the other side of the road looking for breakfast.

Well after having to drag myself away I went off to Teigngrace I went off to see if I could find the Egrets. Had difficulty to start off with but help from another birder I saw 2 birds who then flew luckily to a closer field with some cattle which enabled me to get some pictures. Although it was a bit dangerous as I had to stand on the road and take the pictures through the hedge and the idiots in the cars were taking no prisoners! Slow down guys, enjoy the view!!

I also saw Little Egret, Buzzard, Canada Geese, Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Robin, Blackbird, Magpie and Pied Wagtail.

Then off to the Warren, it continued to be a beautiful sunny day which the birds seem to appreciate as well as myself as they were all sunning themselves on the tops of bushes and trees. The Crab Apple Tree had a few Blackbirds on it as they were feeding on the Apples, other birds seen around the bushes were Song Thrush, Stonechat, House Sparrow, Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tit, Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Carrion Crow and Magpie.

At the hide there was stunning views up the river and the birds were starting to be pushed towards the hide by the high tide with Dark-bellied Brent, Shield duck, Widgeon, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Greenshank, Knot, Grey Plover, Curlew, Dunlin, Turnstone, Cormorant, Carrion Crow, Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gull.

A lot of birds came quite close to the hide, especially the Dunlin which I haven't seen very often. Great views of these birds in ideal conditions, a real privilege to be so close to all these beautiful birds!

Met lots of birders out today and it was great to meet all of you, hope you had as good a day as I did!



03 December 2016

Grey Day

On this blustery grey day wasn't sure were to go, originally hoped to get up early and go to Dawlish Warren but unfortunately "life" gets in the way and didn't leave the flat until 11.30am so decided to go up the river with a stop at the steps at Cockwood and apart from a few gulls nothing seen as the wind was wiping up the water.

Cockwood Harbour was also empty apart from a male Mallard and a couple of Black-headed Gulls, then around to the Golf course at Starcross which was out of the wind and full of birds! Canada and Dark-bellied Brent Geese in good numbers with Curlew, Godwits, Lapwings and a few Redshanks on view.

Then on to Powderham with lots of Corvides on the fields with Rooks, Carrion Crows and Jackdaws making quite a racket, I crossed the railway line to look at the Exe which was quite choppy and again apart from a few gulls nothing.

I then went on to Exminster Marshes and parking up in the middle car park and straight away you could see plenty of ducks but again in sheltered parts of the marsh and not all over. Lots of Widgeon, Teal, Shoveler and Mallard with Coot, Moorhen and Mute Swans dotted around the marsh. 1000+ Canada Geese with 5-700 Brent's in groups mainly towards Turf. Lapwings, Redshank, Godwits and Curlew also seen, 20+ Fieldfare and 100+ Redwing still finding plenty of food with the berries on the bushes. Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Stonechat, Starling, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Rook and a Male Sparrowhawk put in an appearance along the back path

At Turf there was Godwits, Curlew, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Redshank, Shelducks, Cormorant and some Brent Geese with a few Black-headed Gulls.

On the way back I stopped to finish off my Coffee in the carpark at Powderham Church to be entertained by a Grey and Pied Wagtail looking for food around the cars.

Saw a few birders today and all looked happy if not a bit cold!



26 November 2016

Exminster Marshes

Although there has been a sighting of a Long-tailed Duck which would be nice to see its not the main reason to visit the Marshes at this time of year, its the water fowl!

There is the added attraction of 14 Barnacale geese that flew in to join all the Canada and Dark-bellied Brent Geese which come to feed on the pasture at this time of year.

Other water birds include Mallard, Widgeon, Teal, Moorhen, Coot, Grey Heron, Little Egret and Mute Swan. Plenty of Waders about with Curlew, Godwits, Redshank, Lapwing ether flying over or on the pasture especially at dusk with large movements from the estuary to the marsh with the tide coming in. Counted 25 Snipe fly over me as I got to my car in the middle car park, its just a stunning place at dusk!

Also saw Rook, Carrion Crow and Jackdaw looking for food in the pasture with Woodpigeon and Stockdove flying over. A few Gulls with Great-black, Black-headed and Herring Gulls of all ages, Cormorants and Buzzard as fly overs.

Wren, Robin, Great and Blue Tits, Starling, Blackbird and a few Redwing that were a bit scatty and never really settled on a berry bush.

I did find the Long-tailed Duck that was on the Exe by Topsham and was showing well if not distant and in fading evening light not the best time to take pics! Plenty of Waders here with Curlew, Godwits, Dunlin, Redshank and Red Breasted Mergansers flying around in between the boats.

Good to meet Joe and Steve and other birders and members of public all enjoying the Marshes.



20 November 2016

Desert Wheatear

Went to Thurlestone this morning to see the Desert Wheatear which didn't disappoint!

It sat on the beach for sometime giving some great views. Also saw Rock Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Stonechat, Cormorant, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Rook, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls.

I did go to Aveton Gifford but the tide was in and the estuary was not accessible so decided to go to Dartmoor and Soussons to see some Crossbills and hopefully the Shrike.

While driving around Dartmoor I saw Carrion Crow, Magpie, Jay, Rook, Stonechat, Great Tit, Mistle Thrush, Fieldfare, Blackbird, Great Tit, Robin and a couple of Buzzard.

At Soussons it was very quiet and very few birds about, sadly no Shrike but did see 6 Crossbills right at the end of my walk as I got close to the car. Did see a couple of Raven, Magpie, Jays, Woodpigeons, small flock of 20+ Goldfinches, Chaffinch, Coal, Great and Long-tailed Tit, Robin and Wren.

Met lots of nice people at Thurlestone, birders and some interested Golf players. Around Soussons met a few birders looking for the Shrike as myself and disappointed likewise but all very philosophical about it



19 November 2016

ORCA Training

Went to Plymouth today to do a days training for ORCA, it was their Marine Mammal Surveyor training course which was run at the Marine Biological Association building at the Citadel.

It was a full day and an enjoyable one and something I would like to do so better get some practice in and sign up for the trips! They go on ferries across the channel and the North Sea and it was more scientific than I thought it would be, but then it will be worth something!



13 November 2016

Dartmoor

On this gorgeous Autumn day I thought I would go up to Dartmoor and try and see the Great Grey Shrike and some more winter Thrushes. Well like all my great plans they fail miserably!!

Sadly the Shrike wasn't showing very well for me and to my amazement I didn't see any Fieldfares or Redwing on my travels through Dartmoor, considering my last visit were there was loads I thought I might see a few?

Anyway saw lots of other birds with Raven, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw and Magpie, Woodpigeon, Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Stonechat, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock and a few Herring Gulls on the odd field seen while traveling around.

At Soussons I saw plenty of Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Coal, Blue and Great Tits, the Coal Tits were every where!

Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Jay, Kestrel, Buzzard, Raven, Green woodpecker and some great views of Crossbills, sadly those views although close were in the shade of the trees as they were feeding on the floor, frustrating about the pics but very rewarding to be so close to these great birds! Also saw a few at distance on the tops of a few trees. Really worth the petrol just stand and watch for 5minutes before they eventually flew off, Great Bird!!

Didn't see any other birders out, only normal people enjoying the countryside! hahahahaha



12 November 2016

AGM and Bats!

Had a great day today, went to the Devon Wildlife Trust AGM at Seaton town hall. All the usual stuff that you would expect at a AGM with the bonus of a talk from Professor Iain Stewart which was just great. I also met some very nice people which is always a bonus!

Off then to Seaton Jurassic for lunch which was a bit rushed and a bit cramped but I survived ;o) hahaha

Then off to Beer Quarry Caves to learn more about the Caves and "The Greater Horseshoe Bat Project". The tour of the caves was led by John Scott which was very informative and he had a great knowledge of the caves and their history dating back to the Romans. We did also see a few bats 1 Small Horseshoe and 6 Greater Horseshoe Bats which was brilliant, we had been warned that we might not see any because it was still warm and so not using the caves for their winter roost.

Didn't get a chance to take any pics as there was a ban on it, when we returned I asked what was behind it because we stood next to them and there was lights on down there as well, it was explained that the radio waves from the flash cause the bats harm? Never heard that one before, what about mobiles? anyway still had a great time with great people.



06 November 2016

Torbay Boat Trip

Went on the first trip of the winter season around Torbay with Nigel, this year we are on the "Optimist" the boat we use in the summer and must say its much better than the big one we used last year, less likely to spook the birds.

Saw some quality birds like the 8 Purple Sandpipers, Nigel the Captain managed to get us up close without the birds being troubled, also saw around the harbour and on the rocks 50+ Turnstone, 50+ Oystercatchers, singles of Rock Pipit, Male Teal, Female Eider, Little Egret, couple of Guillemots', 28 Grey Heron, Buzzard being mobbed by Carrion Crow, Raven, Gannet, Cormorants, Shags, Great-black Backed, Herring and Black-headed Gulls, Kittiwake, and a pair of Peregrine's putting on a show.

A really enjoyable time on the boat with some great company with the two Nigel's, Ian, Chris, Kevin, Ian and his partner



05 November 2016

Exminster Marshes

Went for a walk around Exminster Marshes this afternoon taking in Turf Lock. The Marsh was quite dry and so very ducks except for a few Mallard and some Widgeon. Plenty of Canada Geese and Mute Swan, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Little Egret, Pied Wagtail, House Sparrow, Wood Pigeon, Pheasant, Magpie, Buzzard, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tit, Lapwing, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Stonechat, Curlew, Dunnock and several good views of the female Marsh Harrier. Found it sat with some Canada Geese which was a surprise, they didn't seem to mind each other?

At Turf the tide was out and plenty of birds over the mud flats with Godwits, Curlew, Redshank, Dunlin, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Dark-bellied Brent Geese, Little Egret, Widgeon, Mallard, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Shelduck, Avocet and the electric blue flash of a Kingfisher.

Not that many people about which was a surprise on this lovely day!



30 October 2016

Dartmoor

Decided to go for another try at seeing the Shrike after my car broke down last time. Also to try and see some winter thrushes that had arrived. I found a huge flock of birds comprising of Starling, Redwing and Fieldfare comprising of must have been a 1000 birds between West Shallowford and Yar Tor. They were just stripping the Rowen Bushes, I sat in my car for half an hour watching and listening to the racket they were making. Such a fantastic privilege to witness this!

Then on to Soussons to find the Great Grey Shrike and with other birders I was quickly put onto it. Unfortunately a "photographer" chased the bird for a better picture across the ground and just sent it away, idiot!!!

Other birds seen while driving around were Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Robin, Mistle Thrush, Woodpigeon, Raven, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Great Tit, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Magpie and Buzzard.

Great to meet up with George and Lesley and other birders, great company



29 October 2016

Dawlish Warren

Went to Dawlish Warren this afternoon, it was a bit grey and not much hope of getting any worth while pics but worth a look, there had been a sighting of a Bonaparte's Gull on the beach. It sounds like the bird that regularly stays over the winter.

A few small birds about the entrance bushes and around the reserve with Robin, Blackbird, Blue. Great and Long-tailed Tit, Dunnock, Wren, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Stonechat, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Song Thrush and linnet. Looks like the Wardens have been busy with both the first and Main Ponds being cleared out, the first pond looks so much bigger with all the reeds cut back. The only bird I saw on the water though was a Mute Swan on the main pond.

The tide was still out so I walked to the point and could see plenty of Cormorants on Bull hill in the estuary. Not that many Gulls around to my surprise but still Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls seen. Oystercatchers, Curlew, Little Egrets and my first Black-bellied Brent's of the season.

Back to the hide and the tide still coming in but getting dark so didn't stay long but still plenty to see with lots of birds feeding on the tide line with Widgeon, Teal, Shelduck, Oystercatchers, Curlew, Grey Plover, Turnstone, Dunlin, Canada and Brent Geese. Also a few gulls around with a Little Egret putting on a show chasing fish.

I did witness a couple of people stood on the mound in front of the hide taking "selfies" which was a bit bizarre! Also a couple with a young lad with a scope arrived from the saltmarsh but went again when I said it was a protected area? Don't know how they got there? Golf Course?

Good to see Kev, Lee, Alan and Ivan, Also good to see the Warden Steve being harassed by the group of kids he had for an activity, very funny!!



27 October 2016

Topsham

Went on one of my favourite walks starting at Darts farm walking to Topsham via Bowling Green and back again. The weather was just right and I saw lots of birds today, some were a bit far for a pic but still great to see.

Starting off at Darts farm, plenty of small birds about with Blue and Great Tits, Robin, Pied Wagtail, House Sparrows, Woodpigeon, Herring Gull and Black-headed Gull.

On arrival at the cycle path by the road there was a notable amount of noise from a couple of trees by the side of the path the other side of the stream, on closer inspection there was 3 Goldcrests, Blackcap, Blue, Great and Coal Tit. There must have been loads of insects as the birds were just buzzing all around the tree, I tried desperately to get a pic of the Crests but failed miserably! Plenty of other birds down the path with Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Blue, Great, Coal and Long-tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Starling, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw and Woodpigeon. Very Little on the Creek with Black-tailed Godwits, Teal, Grey Heron and Black-headed Gulls.

At Goosemoor there was Teal, Mallard, Black-tailed Godwits, Greenshank, Redshank, Dunlin, Moorhen, Black-headed and Herring Gull, a flock of Long-tailed Tits and a Wren was in the bushes by the track.

Along the road there was Chaffinch, Goldfinch, blue, Great, Long-tailed Tits, Woodpigeon, Blackbird, Robin and Dunnock.

From the hide there wasn't that much as the tide was out but still saw plenty of Canada Geese, Greylag Geese, Black-tailed Godwit, Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler, Lapwing, Pied Wagtail, Robin, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Goldfinch, Woodpigeon, Buzzard, Magpie, Jay, Black-headed and Herring Gull.

Then down for my first visit to the platform with my first Avocet of the winter, sadly to far away for a pic. In fact none came close all day which was a bit frustrating! Still great to see them, apart for a couple of Godwits not a lot else as the tide was far out. Off to Topsham via the Goatwalk for a Bacon Sarnie and a cuppa!

On the way back the tide had started to come in and plenty of birds about with Curlew , Avocet, Black-tailed Godwits, Redshank, Mute Swan, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Mallard, Teal, Herring, Great-black Backed and Black-headed Gulls and plenty of Jackdaws especially in Topsham.

Back at the Platform for a second time proved to be fruitful with Greenshank, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwits, Curlew, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Avocets, Shelducks, Teal, Widgeon, Mallard, Lapwing, Oystercatchers, Canada Geese, Cormorants, Grey Heron, Little Egrets and a Cettis Warbler giving us a tune from the back of the steps.

Had a great day and met some great people, some birders/photographers but plenty of families out enjoying themselves which is great to see. Do wish though that kids would stop climbing over the platform onto the bank, lack of knowledge I think and parents not thinking ether!



26 October 2016

Start Bay

Had a great around Start Bay in south Devon, nice and early at the light house. Not many people around and the view out to sea was just great. A few boats out being followed by the odd gull and a few Gannets further out, noticed 5/6 Auks in the water but with my bins couldn't see if they were Razor or Gillis. A Peregrine put in a good show as it went around the point, didn't see it catch anything though and it drifted towards Hallsands. A few Seals about as well as Cormorants and a Shag, also saw a single Swallow and 4 House Martins getting ready for the forward journey across the channel. Plenty of Meadow Pipits, Robins, Wren, Stonechat, Dunnock and Blackbirds.

Then off to Beesands Ley and hide, plenty of birds in the bushes going up the path to the hide with Robin, Blue Tit, Chiffchaff, Dunnock, Meadow Pipit, Blackbird with Carrion Crow, Magpie and Woodpigeon in the field.

From the hide there was a noticeable rise in Duck numbers with 50+ Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Cormorant and Mute Swan, one of the Cobs was being very aggressive to all around and didn't stop all the time I was there.

Then off to Slapton Ley, unfortunately because of the main Car Park at Torcross was shut I couldn't find a place to park, so only looked around Ireland Bay which is at the Slapton end, did see plenty of birds with plenty of Tufted Ducks, Mallard, Gadwall, Coots, Great Crested Grebes, Mute Swans, Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls on the water. Heard 3 Cettis Warblers as well as Wren, Robin, Chiffchaff, Blue and Long-tailed Tits and some Goldfinches.

Very enjoyable day out, although didn't see any rarities a lovely day.



25 October 2016

Breakdowns and Birds

It being half term and plenty of great birds about thought I better get in my car and go somewhere! Reports of a Shrike on Dartmoor close to Soussons Woods sounded like a good destination for a Sunday. So With all the gear and flask of tea off I went. I went up past Haytor and saw plenty of birds especially Corvides, in fact I saw Raven, Carrion Crows, Rook, Jackdaw and Magpies all around. The Rowen Trees were full of Berries and it all looked promising for winter Thrushes as well. All was going well, saw a Male Sparrowhawk take out a Goldfinch from the bushes, also saw Redpoll, Redwing, Chaffinch and Blue Tits when all of a sudden the warning lights went on. Luckily I was close to the Dartmoor National park car park at Pounds bridge. As I parked up the water hose burst and water ever where! Couldn't get a Mobile signal so walked to the Telephone box by the post office and managed to get the AA how confidently said they would see me in half an hour?? Well 2hrs later they turned up, thank god for my flask of tea! The Alternator belt snapped as well so a tow home it was and a bill of £195 and Iam back on the road. It never breaks down when I am going to work always on holiday? What's all that about??

Well this afternoon I went to Exminster Marshes to see the Marsh Harrier which had been seen a couple of times. I parked up at the car park and could see straight away that since my last visit the bird numbers were up.

Several 1000 Starlings flying around with 500+ Canada Geese spread over the reserve with a few Mallards, Coot, Moorhens, Grey Heron, Little Egret and plenty of Mute Swans. A few Waders with Curlew, Black-tailed Godwits and some noisy Lapwings dotted about the place, Buzzards and a couple of fly-bys of a Peregrine put heads up. It must be shooting season as a few Pheasants were dotted about the fields.

Woodpigeons, Carrion Crows, Rooks, Jackdaws, Long-tailed, Great and Blue Tits, Goldfinches, Blackbirds, Wren, Robin, Poss Cettis, Chiffchaff, Pied Wagtails, Chaffinch, Stonechat, 15 Pintail flew over, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gull, Cormorant and best of all the Marsh Harrier which drifted sadly on the other side of the reserve to me but got some great views in the bins.

Had a great day, not many people about which was a surprise on this beautiful day.



16 October 2016

Shipley Bridge to Avon Dam

Normally this time of year is a good time to see Ring Ouzel in this area while they stop over to feed up before they head off to North Africa. With reports of 14 birds + I was quite confident in seeing some birds but was quietly getting worried when I had walked over half way and not seen anything, especially after meeting Dave Pakes and his wife who told me they had seen some in an area I had passed??

I decided to carry on as some birds had been seen further up and talking to another couple of birders who said they had seen birds in the distance it continued to look grim!

I then saw a couple of birds flying into a Rowen Tree with other birds such as Blackbird and Song Thrush in a small valley to the left of the Dam, another birder had also seen them and was heading up the valley so I joined him and after a half an hour we saw a couple of birds, Juv and Male bird showed well. The other birder left but I sat and watched for the next hour and got some great views with 5 birds at one time in the tree. Unfortunately with branches in the way I couldn't get a decent picture of them all together. Defiantly 2 Males,1 Female and 2 Juveniles. There may have been more as plenty of birds flying around, one bird came and sat in the tree where I was sat which was great! I did notice the birds were going to the tree from the Bracken rather than other trees so I think thee was a lot more there.

I also saw a Dipper which put in a great show, I can watch these birds all day but never seem to get a picture of them out in the sun! At least here they are used to humans and didn't seem to worry about me taking pictures. Also saw plenty of Ravens flying around as well as Carrion Crow, Wood Pigeon, Buzzards, Kestrels, Song Thrush, Blackbirds, Robins, Wren, Stonechat, Goldfinch, Grey Wagtails and a Great-spotted Woodpecker.

Also saw a couple of Butterflies with Spotted Wood and a lone White sp fluttering in the distance also close to the Toilets by the Car Park there was a Hawker Sp Dragonfly.

Good to meet all the birders about today and thanks to all for your help. Plenty of Dogs with their human owners behaving themselves!



09 October 2016

Bairds Sandpiper and others

After a frustrating two weeks being unable to go birding due to work and family matters I was on the road to Davidstow Airport in Cornwall Saturday morning looking for the Bairds Sandpiper and was quick to find the Control Tower where the bird was and started taking pics of the birds there with Dunlin, Ringed Plover and what I thought was the Bairds which annoyingly later on realised it wasn't!!

This was the first time I had visited Davidstow and has become quite a good spot for visiting waders and didn't realise how easy it was to get there.

While I was at the airport I picked up a Facebook update from James Packer that the Caspian Tern and the Dalmatian Pelican was at Fremington Quay so I bombed up the Atlantic Express way to Bideford.

As normal for me both birds were gone by the time I made it. But on the plus the café there does some great cake as many of the birders there will testify!!

While here I did catch up with the Glossy Ibis and saw plenty of Redshank, Greenshank and a Spotted Redshank, Oystercatchers, Little Egrets, Bar-tailed Godwits, Curlews, Rock Pipits, Grey Wagtails, House Sparrows, Carrion Crows and Jackdaws. While I was here the shout went up that both birds were at Hartland Point just up the road so off I went but yet again the birds had gone when I arrived, time I went home.

Once I had got home and checked the pics and found out I had nothing to say I was pissed off was a understatement so off to Cornwall again Sunday and luckily there it was by the side of the runway with some Dunlin and Ringed Plover and managed to get some great pics and made the journey worth while.

Over the two days I have met some great people, birders/photographers and interested members of the public which just makes these days even better!



25 September 2016

Road Trip!

Went for a second try to see the Lesser Grey Shrike at Mount Batten in Plymouth but it was a No show, some birders had been looking since 7.30am and as it was 10am I decided not to waist to much time, it was very windy and I thought it had moved or gone to ground out of the wind so got in the car and went towards the South Hams. The Shrike reappeared in the afternoon apparently about 2pm giving good views which is typical!!

Anyway off towards Slapton and Beesands Leys I stopped off at Aveton Gifford to go up the tidal road to the River Avon. It continued to be windy and the river was quite rough, a few birds about though with plenty of Mallards, Mute Swans, Little Egrets, Common Sandpiper, Ringed Plover, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Canada Geese, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gull present.

On to Beesands Ley and on hearing a Cettis Warbler from the carpark I thought I was in for a good visit but sadly the Ley was devoid of birds except a couple of Mute Swans and a Moorhen with fly over Cormorant and Woodpigeons. There was a couple of Dragonflies with Common Darter and a Hawker sp. Plenty of White Butterflies on the wild flowers and Brambles that were by the side of the field but not a lot else.

On to Slapton Ley and that too was quiet for there, plenty of Coot with a few Tufted, Mallard and Gadwall. A couple of Great Crested Grebes, Cormorants, Mute Swans with Cygnets, Black-headed, Herring, Lesser and Great-black Backed Gulls of all ages. Carrion Crow, Jackdaws, Pied Wagtails, Woodpigeons, Stock Doves and a Kestrel. A few Butterflies about with Red Admirals, Spotted Woods and White sp. I also saw what could have been a Migrant Hawker as well.

Plenty of people about and great again to meet some old faces, plenty of families out enjoying the good weather. I didn't take many pics but it was still a good day, got out in the fresh air and stretched the legs!



24 September 2016

Lesser Grey Shrike

As normal when Iam back at work all the rarities appear such as the Lesser Grey Shrike at Mount Batten, Plymouth.

Luckily for me it was still here today, sadly at a distance but still got some decent views in my bins and a couple of really nice birders let me have a look at this great bird through their scopes.

Saw lots of friends and old faces from around the south west and further afield. Iam going to try again tomorrow early to see if I can get a pic.



17 September 2016

Topsham

After yesterdays report of a Yellowlegs at Topsham I thought I might try my luck although it wouldn't be high tide until 8pm so waders might be thin on the ground.

Parked up at Darts Farm as normal and surprising very few birds around the place, just a few Pied Wagtails.

Down the cycle path again very few birds with a Magpie, Jackdaw, Robin and a couple of Blue Tits. On the way back though a stunning female Sparrowhawk flew past with its tea!

In the Creek there was Green and Redshanks, Curlew, Black-headed and Herring Gulls.

Goosemoor was empty due to the lack of water but on the return trip there was 20+ Greenshank, Redshank and a Spotted Redshank, Cormorant, Moorhen, Curlew, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Mallard and a couple of Widgeon.

At Bowling Green there has been a significant rise in Ducks with Widgeon, Teal, Shoveler, Mallard, Tufted and Pintails. Black-tailed Godwits, Common Sandpiper, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Mute Swan and a fly over Buzzard.

Along to the Platform which saw a very surprising scene of a Grey Squirrel crossing the estuary mud and then swimming the water to get to our side. Saw a couple of Ospreys down river and plenty of Greenshanks, Redshanks, Curlew, Godwits, Shelducks, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls of all ages, Cormorants and some Knott.

A really great day out and good to see everybody



10 September 2016

River Exe and Exminster Marshes

After hearing reports of 10+ Ospreys on the River Exe this week I thought I better pay a visit!

I caught it right, just on the turn of the tide and was lucky to see 3 Ospreys, one came over nice and close. Some pictures were ruined because of my position in regards to the sun, but managed to get a couple ok, but also got some brilliant views of this special bird.

Saw plenty of gulls with Black-headed, Great-black Backed, Herring and Common Gulls. Also saw a couple of Sandwich Terns, Black-tailed Godwits, Redshank, Curlew, Cormorant, Shelduck, Mallard, Kingfisher, Canada Geese, Mute and Black Swans, Little Egrets, Grey Herons, Swallows, House Martins, Rooks, Carrion Crows, Jackdaws, Blackbirds, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Wren, Robin, Dunnock, Cettis Warbler, Stonechat, Woodpigeon, Stockdove, Buzzard, Pheasants, Starling and a Female Sparrowhawk.

I did wonder if the Wheatear I saw was from the larger Greenland race? I need to send it to someone who knows!!

Plenty of Small and Large Whites, Comma, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown and a Painted Lady. Also plenty of very mobile Hawkers Sp and Common Darters.

Great to meet up with friends and other birders on this glorious day.



04 September 2016

Lyme Bay Boat Trip

Joined a boat trip this afternoon with Nigel and captain Nigel on the "Optimist" on what started on a very quiet journey out to sea, we went out 7 miles and still not many birds. When "Chumming" started it was a long time before any birds turned up. We saw Great-black Backed and Lesser-Black Backed and Herring Gulls of all ages, saw a couple of Fulmar and Kittiwakes and several adult Gannets. A Great Skua flew over the boat and we saw a couple of Shearwaters, Manx and Balearic who was joined by a couple of Storm Petrels which was great to see.

On the way back we passed a group of birds which included several Shearwaters which put the numbers up to 6 Balearic, 4 Manx and 1 shearwater I couldn't Id.

In Brixham Harbour there was 4 Purple Sandpipers, Turnstone, Cormorants and Shags. We also saw a couple of Harbour Porpoise close to Berry Head and then some more further out.

Nice to meet the birders from Gloucestershire who were also on the boat.



04 September 2016

Ring Information

This Sanderling was seen on Dawlish Warren Beach on the 30th August.

It was ringed at Ostgronland in Greenland and was ringed on the 7th July 2015.



30 August 2016

Dawlish Warren

In brilliant light this evening I went off to the Warren to see if I could catch up with some of the rarities that had been sighted this last week. I didn't bother going to the point to look for the Wryneck as other birders had reported that they couldn't find it so I sat in the Bite and waited for the incoming tide to bring the birds in. Sure enough Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Knott in good numbers with Little Egret in the back ground. Then looking in the group there was one little bird scurrying around, yes a Little Stint, then three Curlew Sandpipers sat together. Just about to take a picture and up they went when someone came down the path, all accidental as well as the odd Golfer. A bit frustrating, but that's they way it is!

Also saw a few Sandwich Terns fly over as well as Linnet and Pied Wagtails on the mud.

In front of the hide there was the usual high numbers of Oystercatchers, a few Knott, Cormorants, Great-black Backed, Black-headed and Herring Gulls, Carrion Crows, Pied Wagtails and Swallows hawking for flies.

On the beach there was 22 Sanderling, one with colour rings which Iam waiting for info about, Sandwich Terns and a bout 100 Black-headed Gulls along the tide line looking for food plus one Whimbrel looking lost!

Around the rest of the reserve I saw a Cirl Bunting, robin, Blackbird, Blue and Great Tits, Carrion Crow, Magpie and Woodpigeon.



28 August 2016

Lyme Bay Boat Trip

Went out again with Nigel out into Lyme Bay on the "Optimist" with Captain Nigel, it got a bit lumpy especially off Berry Head but as the trip went on it seemed to calm down.

On the way out we saw a pod of 20-25 Common Dolphin moving very fast to the rear of us, in ruff seas they just looked so spectacular as they breached out of the sea.

We started to chum and for a long time we just had large numbers of Gulls with Great-black Backed and Herring Gulls of all ages, 20+ Kittiwakes, Fulmars and both Adult and Juvenile Gannets. After a while the first of 4 Manx Shearwaters came to the back of the boat and landed on the oil slick (from the chum), but not close enough for a pic. Then an Artic Skua flew in quite close to the boat but I just couldn't get pic with the rocking and rolling of the boat and the speed of the bird. We saw at least 4 Artic and at least 2 Great Skua which didn't come anywhere near the boat. What did come close to the boat was three Balearic Shearwaters, coming really close and swimming underwater after the chum, spectacular sight! They did look a bit scruffy possibly starting to moult?

Also saw 6 Sandwich And 1 Common Tern, Guillemot, Cormorant and Shags close to the coast. We also had a surprise visit from a small wader sp. zig zagging across the waves, I couldn't work out what it was as it zipped through the gulls on the slick.

Company was great as always which always makes for good day!



26 August 2016

Exminster Marshes

I went to Exminster Marshes today to do a circular walk from the car park via Turf Lock and back. A beautiful day, sunny with a little bit of wind. There had been reports of Yellow Wagtails in the next door Powderham Reserve and as there was a few cattle about I thought I would give Exminster a go.

Sadly NO Yellow Wags, a Pied Wag but no Yellows. Still did have a good walk around. There has been quite a bit of work gone on with Hard-core gone down on the back path to make it easier but I think they need to upgrade it all the way otherwise it will be a wasted journey if you have to turn around and walk back because of flooding? Still it looks good and perhaps lack of resources to finish it?

Saw 100s of Swallows especially around the car park, also plenty of juveniles sat in trees waiting for food. The pastures which a lot had been "Topped" getting ready for winter were full of Corvides with Carrion Crow, Rooks and Jackdaws looking for food.

Other birds seen were Willow Warbler, Great and Blue Tits, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Starling, Wren, Woodpigeon, Stockdove, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Buzzard, Female Sparrow Hawk and plenty of Black-headed Gulls flying around. At Turf the tide was in and just 4 Black Swans the only birds about.

Plenty of Dragons about with Hawker sps but as they wouldn't settle I couldn't give a 100% id, a few Butterflies with Speckled Woods, Large and Small Whites.



24 August 2016

Dawlish Warren

While I was away in Cambridgeshire and the Birdfair there was plenty of reports of Wryneck, Little Stint and Curlew Sandpiper so I thought I would take a look.

Typically it was quiet and all the rarities had gone although somebody had out on Birdguides there was a Little Stint at 11.30am but I was there and nobody else had put it up so Iam not sure about that report??

There was a few Knot around that was causing some confusion including me, I and others thought one of the birds at a distance looked like a Ruff but on closer inspection of the pictures it clearly was a Knot.

One bit of excitement was when a Carrion Crow caught a Knott by the island in front of the hide, 2 pecks to the head and it was all over, the Crow then plucked and ate the bird with a few Juvenile birds picking up the scraps, impressed with how fast the crow was.

Other birds seen were Redshank, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Sandwich Terns, Black-headed, Herring, Great-black Backed Gulls, Cormorants, Oystercatchers, Curlew, Wheatears, Pied Wagtails, Swallows and House Martins.

Nice to see Dave, Phil and Steve and plenty of visiting birders.



23 August 2016

The Birdfair and other places

Normally when I go away I have a "I pad" to keep up to date but it failed miserably on this trip to Cambridgeshire and the Birdfair at Rutland Water so hopefully I cane remember everything and everybody!! I stayed at a very nice Premier Inn at Yaxley which was very close to Junction 16 on the M1 which gave me easy access to get to Rutland and the surrounding Reserves.

I arrived at the hotel at about 2pm after a good drive which for a change was trouble free, after checking in I went off for a look around part of the Great Fen, which is being developed where they are going to join up several Reserves which is quite ambitious. I parked up at the "Old Decoy Farm" and went off for a walk, as you would expect for this part of the country, Flat!!

Walking around the paths which were bordered by ditches and reeds, there was Dragonflies everywhere with Hawker and Darter Species in good numbers, lots of Butterflies too with Speckled Woods seen near the woods and Red Admiral, Peacock, White Sp, Small Tortishell and Meadow Browns. A few birds around with Pied and Yellow Wagtails, Wheatear, Wood Pigeon, Magpie, Blackbird, Wren, Carrion Crow, Reed Warblers, Meadow Pipits, Pheasants, Swallows, House Martins, Buzzard, Kestrel and Marsh Harrier. I would expect earlier in the year the place would be buzzing with stuff, still a good walk. On the way home I went to find "Holme Fen" which is another part of the "Great Fen". It is a large Birch Wood, it was obvious when I found it I wouldn't have time to walk the complete site so picked out a circular walk that I could do in the time allotted.

On a very wet and windy day I spent a very rewarding day at the Birdfair

Saw lots of old friends and enjoyed going around all the exhibits. Plenty of lectures and ended up in one about Moths believe it or not! Very enjoyable too!! So much to take in and glad I got a three day pass so will be back on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Much better day, spent the morning at the Fair and a quick look over Rutland Water.

I watched a talk by the BTO on Bird Ringing which was fascinating! Its something I always wanted to do but never found the time, Regrets, Regrets!!! I went also to the "Dunlin Hide" which overlooks Rutland Water where the Ospreys nest. The Osprey was sat on the nest as I arrived then flew off and flew in front of the hide, typically I had the small lens on the camera but still managed to get a shot!

Then off to "Holme Fen" which is a large Silver Birch woodland, the walk I did took in the "Trundle Mere" lookout which looked out on to the vast reed beds. To be honest I didn't see too many birds but did see vast numbers of Dragonflies especially Migrant Hawkers, they were everywhere!! Also saw plenty of Ruddy Darters and a couple of Roe Deer, from the lookout I saw Gadwall, Pochard, Mallard, Cormorant, Lapwings, Swallows, Carrion Crows and plenty of Wood Pigeons flying about with a couple of what looked like Stock Doves. In the middle of the Woods is a lake with plenty of ducks on the water with Gadwall, Mallard, Pochard, Little and Great Crested Grebes with a very large flock of Long-tailed Tits in the surrounding scrub.

A very enjoyable walk in some stunning landscapes, on the way home I noticed 7 red Kites over some buildings which turned out to be scrapyard. It looked like they were being fed but I couldn't get very close as it was shut off. Stunning birds and their ariel displays never cease to impress me.

On Sunday I spent the morning again at the Fair and as it was my last day say my goodbyes, The plan was to go to Fen Drayton Lakes and on my way back to the hotel visit "Woodwalton Fen" which will be another part of the Great Fen.

Again as time was tight I only walked around half of the reserve although I think I saw most of it, like most of the reserves around here it was packed with Dragonflies! I walked around the Ferry Lagoon which had plenty of Ducks with Mallard, Tufted and Pochard with Great Crested and Little Grebes. Grey Heron, Little Egrets, Coots, Mute Swans and several Egyptian Geese on the connecting river. Black-headed Gulls and several Terns sp. flying around. In the surrounding bushes there was several Cettis Warblers, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Magpies, Carrion Crows, Woodpigeon and a few Lapwings flying over.

Then off to Woodwalton Fen which sadly I didn't have enough time to explore as I wanted, such a beautiful place made famous by the "Rothschild's". I walked out to the far bank with the vane hope of seeing a Chinese Water Deer but sadly none seen, did see Woodpigeon, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Mute Swan, Blackbird, Jay, Swallow Buzzard and a distant Marsh Harrier. This place definitely needs a full day so a return is a must!!

On Monday I spent the day visiting Reserves, in the Morning it was Wicken Fen which is run by the National Trust. So many Dragonflies, a few Butterflies and a couple of Roe Deer, one just stood and posed which is rare, obvious feels very safe on the reserve. I walked out to a new hide that overlooks a lake which had plenty of Coot, Little Grebe, Shoveler, Mallard, Tufted Ducks. Little Egrets, Grey Heron, Lapwings and Canada Geese. Plenty Carrion Crows, Woodpigeons, Collard doves, Starlings, Swallows, House Martins, House Sparrows, Greenfinch, Goldfinch and a few Cettis Warblers, you easily spend all day here especially if you enjoy your insects!

Typically as its a National Trust property there was a café so it was Tea and Cake!! Don't know why RSPB places don't even have a vending machine, after a good walk a cup of tea is always welcome!

And in the afternoon I went to Ouse Washes. This I felt would just be a recce as this place is set up for winter birds, there was Tree Sparrows and other species on the feeders which was great but the washes were dry and apart from some Coot in the river very little else. I can see that in the winter the place will be packed with Waders, you though need a scope and photography would be difficult due to the distance, massive site though and worthy of a winter visit.

I did want to visit the RSPB reserve at Nene Washes but couldn't find it, apparently there is no entrance sign?? Surely they can afford one of those??

I've had such a great time these last 6 days and met so many wonderful people, old friends as well as new ones. New places to visit and some new ideas to put into practice.



15 August 2016

Aveton Gifford

I went down to Aveton Gifford to see if I could see the Spotted Sandpiper which had been around for a week, but been seen distantly and not very often from the hide at the Devon Wildlife Trust Reserve at South Efford Marsh.

I parked up close to the village and walked to the reserve along the busy road, always wary walking across here as nearly got taken out by a caravan on a previous trip!

Was expecting to see more people here but only passed one Birder leaving and one in the hide, between them they had been there since 8am and no sightings and it was now 12.15. I stayed for another hour and a half but no joy! As I was leaving several other birders arrived, so I hope they had better luck than me? Sadly no, nothing reported for the day.

Did see Common Sandpiper, Greenshank, Dunlin, Curlew, Canada Geese, Little Egret, Black-headed Gulls, Carrion Crows, Jackdaws, Woodpigeons, Pheasant, Blackbird, Wren, Swallows, House Martins and a Kestrel.

On return to the car I went up the Creek and there was about 30+ Mute Swans, Ringed Plovers, Mallards, Cormorants and plenty of roosting Gulls about 100+ Herring Gulls sat up on the mud.

A few Butterflies with Speckled Wood, Large and Small White, Peacock, Meadow Browns and Gatekeepers. Also saw a few Dragons with Common Darter and Southern Hawkers.

Didn't see the main bird but did enjoy the day out visiting this beautiful part of Devon.



14 August 2016

Lyme Bay Boat Trip

On another beautiful sunny day, I joined Nigel on the "Optimist" and went out 6-7 miles into Lyme Bay. We saw a couple of Harbour Porpoise and some Common Dolphins off Berry Head which was a great start to the trip. We saw another 12 or may be the same animals on our way back but a lot further out, fantastic to see!

Nigel "Chummed" twice and I was glad it was him as it stunk!! It certainly brought the birds in but sadly only gulls, Herring, Great and Lesser-black Backed Gulls of all ages. Lots of Juvenile Herring Gulls especially on the first chum. We also saw Gannett, Kittiwakes, Cormorants, small rafts of Guillemots and a Great Skua chasing some gulls in the distance, sadly never came anywhere near the boat. Saw about 25 Manx Shearwaters, lucky to find 2 rafts of 5-8 birds on the water, one of them had a Balearic Shearwater which was a lucky find.

Good mornings birding with a great bunch of people.



12 August 2016

Topsham

Took a trip over to Topsham and parked up at Darts Farm and walked to Topsham taking in Goosemoor, Bowling Green, The Platform, Goat Walk and Topsham. The weather was sunny and warm and the tide was coming in although it wasn't going to be very high.

At Darts Farm apart from House Sparrows I saw very little and along the cycle track there was Greenfinch, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Wren, Carrion Crows with House Martins and Swallows hawking over head.

At Goosemoor because of the lack of water there wasn't that many birds and those that were there, were distant. Redshank, Greenshank, Mallard, Shelduck, Canada Geese, Little Egrets, Lapwing, Moorhen, Carrion Crows, Magpie, Herring and Black-headed Gulls with Swallow and House Martins hawking over head.

Along the road there was Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Wren, House Sparrow and a Male Sparrowhawk hunting down the road.

Around the reserve there was Mediterranean, Black-headed, Herring, Lesser and Greater-black Backed Gulls, Dunnock, Lapwing, Little Ringed Plover, Pied Wagtail, Starling, Common Sandpipers, Redshank and Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Dunlin, Godwits, Mallard, Teal, Widgeon, Coot, Moorhen, Swallow, House Martins and a Buzzard.

Off the platform there was Black-headed Gulls, Greenshank, Godwits, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Cormorant and Shelduck.

Off the Goatwalk there was Shelduck and Black-headed Gulls and in Topsham there was just Swallows and House Martins hawking for food above the houses.

Saw a few butterflies with mainly Large Whites with a couple of Holly Blues, Small Copper, Meadow Browns, Peacocks, Gatekeepers and Speckled Wood. Also saw a few Southern Hawkers especially along the road.

lots of people about enjoying the sun, good to see the two David's in the hide.



11 August 2016

Somerset Levels

Thought I would go up to Somerset for a visit as I hadn't been there for some time. I knew from reading the SOS Forum that there had been plenty of changes with the new car park and new hides both on Shapwick and Ham Reserves so was looking forward to the visit. I was also looking forward to seeing one of my favourite birds the Marsh Harrier which is a resident on the Levels.

I thought apart from Shapwick and Ham I would visit Catcott and Greylake Reserves although because its August I wasn't expecting to see loads.

The weather was grey and windy which was a bit disappointing but the Marsh Harriers were out in force playing on the wind, I saw 3 alone at Mere Hide on Shapwick and I got some great shots. I also saw the Osprey on Noah's although I couldn't get in the hide as it was packed. I had to put up with watching it from the track as well as a Hobby and 3 Great Egrets which was a result! Saw lots of ducks on the scrape which was mainly Gadwall with a few Mallard, the Gadwall all looked like they were in Eclipse. Also Little Egret, Mute Swan, Coot and Moorhen, Herring, Great-black Backed and Black-headed Gulls in water and flying over. Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Buzzard also fly overs. Smaller birds seen were robin, Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits, Chaffinch and Wrens.

On Ham in front of the 1st Viewing platform they were clearing Reeds and burning them with smoke going over the reed beds I didn't venture any further up the track and didn't see the new Avalon Hide. I did go on the opposite side and watch the Little Grebes with their chicks which put on a show for me. Also saw Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Mallard, Gadwall, Tufted Ducks, Great Crested Grebes with young, Coot and Moorhens.

Then off to Catcott for a quick visit, not a lot on the field as it hadn't flooded yet but there was a Marsh Harrier quartering the far side, Kestrel, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Carrion Crow and Wood Pigeons flying over.

Greylake was void of birds but so many Butterflies and Dragonflies with Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Tortishell, Painted Lady and Large Whites all on the Valerian. Some great Dragons with Broad Bodied Chaser, Brown Hawker and Ruddy Darter all seen which brought this brilliant day to a close. Met some nice people today as well which always helps



09 August 2016

Meeth Quarry and Ash Moor Reserves

Went to Meeth Quarry in North Devon to try and take some pictures of some Wood White which is a Butterfly I have failed to connect with. I also took the opportunity to visit this new Reserve that had recently been acquired by the Devon Wildlife Trust. I also didn't realise that Ash Moor, another Reserve owned by the Devon Wildlife trust was next door so visited both of them.

There was so many White Butterflies, defiantly Small and Large but I cant 100% say I saw a Wood, I saw 15 Species of Butterflies without really putting in much effort! Apart from the Whites I saw a worn Dark Green and several Silver Washed Fritillaries, Small Skipper, Holly and Common Blue, Peacock, Red Admiral, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Copper, Speckled Wood, Brimstone and Painted Lady.

Also saw a few Dragons with Common Darter, Emperor and a few Hawker sp. probably Southern Hawkers.

Met quite a few other people looking for Butterflies and stuff, great day out and me thinks I will be visiting again soon!



08 August 2016

Dawlish Warren

Spent the morning on the Warren, sunny but windy day and not that many birds in front of the hide, probably down to the wind. Canada Geese, Mute Swans, Cormorants, Little Egret, Oystercatchers, Great-black Backed and Herring Gulls of all ages. A lone Whimbrel and a family of Pied Wagtails chasing bugs on the mud. Carrion Crows, fly by Woodpigeons, Swallows, Starling and Linnets. Noisy Sandwich Terns flew around but none landed in front of the hide.

Out of the wind in the bite there was 200+ mixed flock of Dunlin and Ringed Plover.

On the beach there was a couple of Turnstone, Pied Wagtail and lots of noisy Sandwich Terns flying up and down the beach. Compared with the River the sea was very calm and you could see Terns and Gulls in the distance but couldn't tell what species they were with my bins!

A few birds around the reserve with Wood Pigeon, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Long-tailed Tit, Blackbird, Dunnock, House Sparrow and Song Thrush.

Plenty of Butterflies about especially on Greenland lake although some looked quite warn. Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Small Copper, Common Brown, Red Admiral, Peacock, Large and Small White and a Painted Lady on the Dunes. Saw a few of Common Darters but no other Dragons.

Good to see Lee and Phil and chew the cud!!



07 August 2016

Lyme Bay Boat Trip

For a second week in a row I went out with Nigel S and Nigel the skipper of the "Optimist" 6 miles out in the bay. The boat was full and a great atmosphere, the sea was a bit more lumpy compared with last week which made it difficult to move around and take pictures, I had many pictures with other peoples heads in!

A great selection of birds which were brought in by the "Chumming" done by Nigel.

Plenty of gulls with Herring, Lesser and Greater-black Backed Gulls and of all ages! Gannets, again of all ages, Fulmar, several rafts of Guillemot and a few Razorbills. Oystercatcher's, Turnstones, Cormorants and Shags.

A couple of Storm Petrels were seen and gave great views, we also saw 60+ Manx Shearwaters, but some of these might have been birds flying around the bay so they might have been counted more than once. At least 1 possibly 3 Balearic Shearwater, one came and fed on the chum behind the boat! One Artic Skua flew over the boat and a Great Skua harassed some of the gulls around the boat, all exciting stuff!!

We also saw 2 Harbour Porpoise by Berry Head but the best of all was seeing a pod of 18-20 Common Dolphin, just a fantastic sight!

Had such a great time with a great bunch of people!



05 August 2016

Powderham, Exminster Marshes and Back

Went on a walk up the River Exe from Powderham Church then up to Turf then a circular walk around Exminster Marshes then back to the car which was parked up at the church.

The Rookery was quiet at the car park and the only birds about was the House Martins that nest in the "Vergers Cottage", they were busy hawking around the surrounding fields.

The tide was going out and the tideline was busy with Black-headed Gulls looking for food, there must of been hundreds of them along the river. Other birds seen were Little Egret, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Shelducks with Juveniles, Cormorants, Curlew and Redshanks. Also seen A Female Wheatear and a family of Pied Wagtails on the sea wall. At Turf there was 20+ Mute Swans and to my surprise 4 Black Swans, not sure were they have come from??

In the neighbouring fields there was a couple of Canada Geese, large numbers of Rooks, Carrion Crows and a few Jackdaws looking in the pasture for food. Goldfinches were feeding on the Thistles.

Around the reserve there was few birds, all the pools were dried up, but I did see a Moorhen and a Grey Heron in one of the ditches and a Buzzard loafed around in the sky.

Did see plenty of Butterflies, loads of Large Whites in the fields close to the church, Small White, Brimstone, Common Blue, Peacock, Red Admiral, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and Speckled Wood. No Dragons seen though which was a surprise?

Nice walk around and met some nice people which is always a bonus!!



04 August 2016

Seaton Marshes and Aylesbeare Common

Not originally going back to Seaton, but there was a call to say there was a Temmincks Stint as well as the Least Sandpiper. Typically by the time I got there the bird in question had flown off. It turned out to be a 2nd Least Sandpiper and not a Temmincks!

Plenty of people around and difficult to park, sadly a few less than sociable individuals who were there just to collect the "tick" than enjoy the moment, their loss!! Sadly a different atmosphere to yesterday

The Least Sandpiper was showing very well and gave some great poses, plenty of other birds about with Common and the Wood Sandpiper, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwits, Shelduck, Mallard, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Curlew, Oystercatchers, Moorhen, Cormorant, Goldfinch and Dunnock.

Then off to Aylesbeare Common to see if I could find some Dartford Warblers, it was quite windy and seemed nothing much about and sadly I didn't see any Warblers but did see Stonechat, Coal, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Linnet, Magpie, Raven and a hunting Kestrel. Met a few other birders who also had no luck with the Dartford's but did see Yellowhammers and Redpoll which sadly I missed!

I did see plenty of insects with 13 species of Butterfly and 3 species of Dragonfly! Small Heath, Grayling, Speckled Wood, Holy Blue, Small and Large White, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Red Admiral, Large Skipper and Silver Washed Fritillary. Dragons were Emperor, Southern Hawker and Common Darter.

Apart from meeting a couple of arrogant numpties its been a great day with far more nice people than not!



03 August 2016

Least Sandpiper

A Least Sandpiper, a North American Vagrant, had flown in to Blackhole Marsh at Seaton Marshes and as there is on average only 1 reported per year in the UK I thought I better go and see it!

When I arrived it was on a mud spit a little distance from the Island Hide and from the other end which was closer you had the sun right behind it. But I got lucky and it flew closer to the hide and showed very well. It was a bit of a bun fight as everybody wanted to see it and take some pictures and thankfully it was all good humoured and everybody got a view.

A Wood Sandpiper also showed very well, other birds on view were Common Sandpiper, Ringed and Little Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Shelducks, Moorhens, Woodpigeons, Goldfinch, Linnet, Carrion Crows and Little Egrets.

Great day out and good to meet so many old faces that I hadn't seen in a while, great atmosphere!



02 August 2016

Dawlish Warren

Thought I would try out the Warren at the evening high tide, especially as the rain had stopped!

Didn't really hang around the reserve, going straight for the hide. I still though saw quite a few birds with Swift, Swallow and House Martins hawking over the car park. Apart from Carrion Crow, Magpie and some Linnets that was it!

The tide was coming in and people were starting to leave the beach due to the lack of room, there was a mixed flock of Sanderling and Dunlin numbering about 50+ birds which didn't seem to bothered by the traffic down the beach, a few Sandwich Terns and Black-headed Gulls flying around making a racket.

Around the Bite and in front of the hide there was Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls of all ages. Cormorants, Oystercatchers, Turnstone, Sandwich and Common Terns with plenty of young Sandwich Terns, one had a ring on which was pointed out to me by Lee C, who also told me it was a "Welsh Bird".

Curlew, Carrion Crows, Little Egrets, Whimbrel, Pied Wagtails, Linnet, 100+ Starlings and a Woodpigeon!

On the Beach on the way back there was large numbers of Black-headed Gulls, Turnstone, Whimbrel and Pied Wagtails.

Back on the reserve going back to the car the 100+ strong flock of Starlings were flying around as well as Blackbird, Goldfinch and a Chiffchaff.

A few Butterflies about with Large and Small Whites, Peacock, Red Admiral, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Small Copper, Common Blue, Comma, 6 spot Burnet Moths and a Common Darter.

Apart from Lee no one else about with a pair of bins.



31 July 2016

Lyme Bay Boat Trip

Joined Nigel on his boat trip this morning and thanks to my son for getting me there on time, makes up for all the times I've had to run around after him!!

The weather was glorious and a great day to be out on a boat, the plan was to go out from Brixham 6miles and "Chum" and then move to another spot then complete the triangle back to Brixham.

Plenty to see on the way out including 5 Porpoise which put in a welcome appearance off Berry Head. Several rafts of Guillemots and a couple of Razorbills.

At our first Chum we saw several Manx Shearwaters, the whole trip we saw 50-80 birds, Fulmars, Gannets, Herring, Great-black Backed and Lesser-black Backed Gulls. With the excited shout of "Sooty!" this bird came direct for the back of the boat from nowhere and sat on the water behind for 5-10 minutes, beautiful bird!

A Petrol sp. was also seen as well as 5 Common Scooter, Cormorant, Oystercatcher, Turnstone and Black-headed Gull.

So back to Brixham for pasty and tea before heading home to Dawlish on the Bus and Train, coming along the River Teign was brilliant as was the day, Great company made it even better so looking forward to the next trip, hopefully next week!



26 July 2016

Topsham and Dawlish Warren

I haven't been to Topsham for a while so ventured over there, lots to see but also lots of disruption!

The creek from Darts farm to the Cycle bridge was empty of birds because a boat from the boat yard was being tested on the water and there was work being carried out at the bird hide so birds quite unsettled.

Also at the platform because of high tide no birds to be seen, but at Goosemoor plenty of birds with double figures of Greenshank and Redshanks, singles of Curlew, Whimbrel and Spotted Redshank, Herring, Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls. Kingfisher, Grey Heron, Shelducks, Lapwings, 7 Little Egrets, Black-tailed Godwits with most in summer plumage.

At the reserve the birds were at a distance but could see 2 Common Sandpipers, Lapwings, Dunlin, Godwits both Black and Bar Tailed, Curlew, Oystercatchers, several Juvenile Shelduck, Moorhen, Coot, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Little Egrets, Buzzard, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Starling, Cormorant and 100+ Black-headed Gulls.

Along the Goatwalk there was several Mute Swans and and juvenile Shelducks. In Topsham several House Martins nesting and chicks can be heard.

Plenty of Butterflies about with Large and Small White, Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns.

Popped into Dawlish Warren and had a quick walk around Greenland Lake, not many birds but plenty of Butterflies with Common Blue, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Peacock, Large White, Burnet Moths and plenty of Cinnabar Caterpillars on the Ragwort.



17 July 2016

High Brown Fritillary

On my second attempt at Aish Tor I was successful in getting a picture of a High Brown and very satisfying it was too!! I saw about 20 Fritillaries and all bar a couple were on the wing which I found totally impossible to tell the two species apart. Many of them were also starting to look warn and scruffy but then this butterfly just came down and landed in front of me and when it lifted its wing there was the tell tale sign of the High Brown, 2 dark spots on the underwing which the Dark Green Doesn't have. It being a rare and getting rarer was a privilege to see!

Also saw some fresh Grayling, Gatekeepers, Whites sp and Meadow Browns.

Also met some great people who were also looking for the High Browns, one man especially new his stuff and his help was gratefully received!



16 July 2016

Aish Tor and Challacombe Farm

I went to Aish Tor looking for some High Brown Fritillary which is a hot spot for this rare breed of butterfly.

It was quite hot this morning and no butterflies were sitting down in a easy place to take any pics, I saw a Marbled White, Gatekeepers, Large White, Meadow Browns and several Fritillaries which could have been either Dark Green or High Brown Fritillaries. Because they wouldn't sit I couldn't see the under wings to id correctly. Need to come back to have another look!

Saw a few birds with Linnet, Stonechat, Blackbird, Carrion Crow with Swallow and House Martins hawking for flies in the sky.

I thought I would go to Challacombe Farm to see if I could see some Spotted Flies or Redstarts which I did but not in favourable photo conditions. Also saw Woodpigeon, Swallow, House Martin, Pied and Grey Wagtail, Buzzard, House Sparrow and a Nuthatch feeding its chick.

Good day but not that many pictures taken.



01 July 2016

Dunsford Woods

Day off and my original plans were put off due to the weather so went up to Dunsford woods on Dartmoor to see what was about in the way of butterflies.

Started off at Stepps Bridge end and apart from a Red Admiral and some washed out Meadow Browns not a lot! There was a Dipper on the river and I tried to get a picture but it was disrupted by a dog running in the water, plenty of people about and all with dogs so gave up in this area.

So I got in my car and went up the other end by Clapper Bridge which was more successful with plenty of Meadow Browns, Ringlets, Spotted Wood, Large Skipper and six Dark Green Fritillary which were showing really well!

Other great insects included a Golden-ringed Dragonfly and great views of a Hornet devouring a Honey Bee.

Birds seen apart from the Dipper were Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blue and Great Tits, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Robin, Wren, Woodpigeon, Raven and Blackcap.



26 June 2016

Bowling Green

Managed a quick visit to Bowling Green, the Platform and a look over Goosemoor looking for some Med Gulls and the Summer Plumaged Spotted Redshank but sadly didn't find any!

Did see lots of Redshanks, Black-tailed Godwits, Curlews, Mallard, Teal, Shelduck with young, Little Egrets, Grey Heron, Black-headed Gulls, Great Black-backed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Chiffchaff, Wren, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Dunnock, House Martin, Swallow and a Fox!

Good to see David B and other friendly soles around the hide.



25 June 2016

Emsworthy Mire

After being told about this reserve from a friend I went for a look around and what a little gem it is!

It sits between Saddle Tor and Hound Tor on Dartmoor and is a new acquisition by the Devon Wildlife Trust. It was a bit muddy in places and I would expect a winter visit a difficult one! I lost my way a couple of times because the paths are not worn enough yet to see which way to go but that's a trivial complaint.

Saw plenty of Birds, Plants, Dragons and Butterflies. Was hoping to see a Marsh Fritillary but sadly no but did see some Small Heath, Ringlet and Meadow Browns. Saw some great Dragons with Keeled Skimmer, Emperor and lots of Damsels including some stunning Large Red Damsels around the ponds which look new.

Some great flowers with Ragged Robin, English Stonecrop and Heath Spotted-orchid.

On the bird front there was a wide range because of the different habitats from open moor, scrub, stream and woodland. Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Raven, Carrion Crow, Stonechat, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Willow Warbler, Buzzard, Robin, Great, Blue, Coal and Long-tailed Tits, Skylark, Meadow Pipits, Wren, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Magpie, Jay, Spotted Flycatcher and a couple of Snipe flew over on the moor.

Had a great day and surprised I had the place to myself!!



18 June 2016

Orchids

The day didn't quite go to plan, as it was quiet on the bird front thought I would find some flowers and Butterflies, it turned out quiet on the butterfly front as well but found some great Orchids, Pyramidal and Bee Orchid at Berry Head, Common Spotted at the Butterfly walk on Holden and Southern Marsh Orchid at Dawlish Warren, beautiful plants.

Good to meet and chat to a few fellow birders/photographers and great to have a chat as always with the head Warden at The Warren, Phil.



14 June 2016

Bee Orchid

After getting some information from Nigel S about these beautiful plants at Berry Head I managed to get there in between a split shift at work.

Some plants looked a little worse for ware but there was a couple that was out of the wind and people walking that looked just stunning!!.

Lots of other flowers out and hopefully will get down over the weekend to see some more



05 June 2016

Cuckoos, Owls and Buntings

I went to Portland in Dorset today to try and see the long staying Great Spotted Cuckoo which was into its 4th week. I was lucky enough to see it several times but unfortunately at distance so after a while I left it in peace and went to see the Little Owls in the Quarry, a adult was showing well and one of the two chicks put in a appearance. It took me a while to get a picture with its eyes open as every time I pointed the camera at it, it closed its eyes?? Great fun and a great little bird!

I then went off to Maiden Castle close to Dorchester which is a strong hold to the Corn Bunting, when I was young and work in farming I used to see loads of these fantastic bird but sadly they are becoming quite rare. Today I saw 6 from the car by the carpark as they were singing from the fence that follows the road to the monument. Just stunning!!

Met lots of birders from all over the place and the banter was great!



02 June 2016

Shetland day 6 and last day

A windy, wet and wild day! Trying to take pictures as you can see from these two side pictures was a thankless task.

So I spent the day birdwatching from the car. Looking around beaches,coves and lochs found plenty of Waders with Oystercatcher, Curlew, Whimbrel, Dunlin, Turnstones, Sanderling and Lapwings.

Went down to Sumburgh Head to look for Twite but the wind was blowing so much I could hardly stand up, there was no small birds to see around the Lighthouse. There was plenty of Auks though with Puffin, Razorbills and Gillimots including a couple of very smart Bridled bird's.

Gannets, Fulmar's, Shags an a Cormorant flying around the head as well as the Auks. Plenty of Fulmar's also nesting around the head as well as a couple of quarries.

Found a few Red Throated Divers as well as Whooper Swans nesting with Mute Swans seen as well, Shelduck, Tuffted and Mallards with Greylag Geese were the water birds.

Gull's a plenty with Common, Herring, Great-black and Black-headed Gull's. Rock and Collard Doves, Raven, Hooded Crows with a few smaller birds with Starlings, House Sparrows, Pied Wagtails, Blackbird, Wheatears, Meadow and Rock Pipits.

It's been a great week and a big thank you to Rebecca and Phil for their help and support.



01 June 2016

Shetland day 5

Went straight to Fetlar today and made sure that I wasn't distracted! The crossing wasn't the smoothest because of the wind and the boat was rolling especially on the outward journey. Managed to see Puffin, Black Gillimots, Razorbills, Gannets and Shags on the journey.

One of the target bird's was the Red-necked Phalarope which had returned to breed but sadly this year it wasn't to be. I think the wind was too strong and they were hunkered down somewhere. I did through see everything else and got some great photos, Pale phase Artic Skua, Whimbrel an Golden Plover all posed brilliantly for me. I saw 5 Artic Skuas in the end, 2 Pale and 3 Dark, these birds are fast becoming a favourite!

Saw also plenty of their bigger cousin the Great Skua Also Red Throated Divers, Great Northern Diver, Cormorant, Fulmar's, Common, Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls. Eider, Mallards, Dunlin, Turnstones, Redshanks, Curlew, Snipe Lapwings, Ringed Plover, Ravens, Hooded Crows, Artic Terns, House Sparrows, Starlings, Wheatears, Meadow Pipits, Skylark, Rock Dove's and a very sorry looking Swallow which was finding it hard to find flies in the strong winds.

Met some nice people out which just made the day better!



31 May 2016

Shetland day 4

The day didn't go quite to plan, was expecting to go to Fetlar after a look on some locks for some Red Throated Divers, I found some who put on quite a show! They were displaying, dancing on the water and flying around the Loch. Got some great views and hopefully some great photos.

I saw a total of 18 bird's and watching the pair display was a real privilege!

Saw several Great Skua and a single Dark phase Artic Skua which was chasing some Terns trying to get them to drop their fish. Greylags, Eider, Shag, Oystercatcher, Lapwings, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Redshanks, Curlew, Whimbrel all seen.

Very lucky also to see a Female Merlin when I was scanning the gorse, she was sat on a rock just chilling out, sadly too far away for a picture but great to see!

Gannets, Fulmar's, Common, Black-headed, Herring, Great and Lesser-black Backed Gull's all about the island. House Sparrows, Starting, Hooded Crows, Ravens, Rock Doves, Blackbird, Meadow and Rock Pipits, Wheatears and a Shetland Wren!

Had a fantastic day again and hopefully will get to Fetlar tomorrow!



30 May 2016

Shetland day 3

I've had a stunning day out, went to Unst to visit the "The Keen of Hamar" which is on the east of the island, to see all the Artic plants one the "Edmondstons Chickweed" which only grows here and is a stunning little flower, also saw Early Purple Orchid and Spring Squill, fascinating place and well worth the visit. You might feel as though you have landed on the moon when you first arrive at the reserve. The barren scene seems bleak and lifeless and looks totally different to the surrounding fields. But appearances can be deceiving. This is a landscape in motion and nestling in its stony ground are some of the rarest plants in Britain

Also saw some stunning views of some great birds with 7 Red Throated Divers showing well, also had Great views from the car of a stunning Pale Phase Artic Skua which came down not far from the road and just sat there while I took some pictures!

Also got lucky with a couple of Golden Plovers which just stood there and let me take some pics, I've been trying to get some pics of them in summer plumage but never thought I'd get this close!

Saw plenty of Waders around the pools, when visiting Unst in fact anywhere on the islands, spend some time looking around these pools, many waders spend time feeding and washing here giving great photo opportunities from the car! With Redshanks, Ringed Plover, Whimbrel, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Lapwings,Snipe, Dunlin, Turnstones and a Black-tailed Godwit which nearly flew into the car!

Again plenty of Gulls with Fulmar's, Great-black, Blac-headed and Herring Gulls, plenty of Great Skua and Artic Terns. Greylag and Mute Swans, Eider, Mallards and Red-breasted Mergansers, with Shags, Puffins and Gannets seen while on the ferries between the islands. Also saw Ravens, Hooded Crows, Wheatears, Meadow Pipits,Wren, Blackbird, Starlings, House Sparrowss, Pied Wagtails, Skylark and Rock Doves.

Also saw loads of Seals hauled up on the rocks. Had the pleasure to meet lots of nice people who made the day even better!



29 May 2016

Shetland day 2

Spent today around the West side of the mainland and Eshaness, the weather has been beautiful and has been a lovely clear day.

Eshaness is on the west cost of the mainland is one of my favourite places in Shetland, with its pools and heathland its a great place to go bird watching, but also the coastal scenery is stunning!

Saw lots of birds about with 6 very smart Red Throated Divers putting on a show and all views from the car! One Great-northern Diver and loads of Red-breasted Mergansers including a raft of 19 on Tofts Voe. Mallards,lots of Tuffted Ducks and a few Eider Ducks on the beach.Whooper Swans, Grey Heron, Greylag and a single Pink-footed Geese was a bit of a surprise!

Great Skua, Fulmar's and plenty of Artic Terns. Gull's in good numbers especially were the farmers were working the land. Common, Herring, Great and Lesser-black Backed and Black-headed Gull's all seen.

Plenty of Corvides with the biggest Raven I have ever seen! Rooks and Hooded Crows all seen in good numbers.

Lots of small birds too with Starlings, House Sparrows, House Martin's , Wheatears, Pied Wagtails, Blackbird, Siskins, Meadow Pipits,Skylark, Rock and some Collard Doves.

A few Waders seen with Ringed Plover, Curlew, Whimbrel , Oystercatcher, Lapwings and Snipe.

Brilliant Day!



28 May 2016

Shetland day1

Flew up to Shetland today which was a 4hr journey with a connection at Edinburgh with Fly-be. I arrived at Rebecca and Phil's where I stayed last year, at about 5ish with beautiful blue skies. So after a chat went for a walk down by the inlet. Lot's of bird's about,on my journey in from the airport I had already seen Great Skua, Artic Tern, Lapwings, Fulmar, Oystercatchers and loads of Starling.

At the Inlet there was Great-black Backed, Herring and Common Gulls, Pied Wagtails, Wheatear, Dunlin and a Ringed Plover that looked like it was sitting on a nest! Great start to the week.

This is my second visit to the Islands and hope I have learned from my last visit, I have 5 full days to enjoy myself and hopefully get a chance to go to Fetlar and Unst, do want to go and see the Artic plants that I missed last year. Also want to get better shots of Red Throated Divers and Pale Artic Skua, just hopping!! hahaha



22 May 2016

Yarner Woods and Dawlish Warren.

Not sure what to do today, go to South Huish to see the Pom or go to Portland to see the Cuckoo? Not wanting to spend to much money as Iam off to the Shetland Islands on Saturday I decided to stay close. So Yarner it would be to see the Pied Flycatchers, when I arrived it poured down but then brilliant sunshine and that was the way it went in the morning. Saw some very smart males around the woods and a couple of females but they always showed well when the clouds were over or it was raining, never when the sun shined! hahaha

Plenty of other birds about with Great, Blue, Coal and Marsh Tits, Chaffinch, Goldcrest, Siskin, Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Nuthatch, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Grey Wagtail and several Mandarin Ducks. Also there was a pair of Great-spotted Woodpeckers about and close to the carpark there was a nest in a tree next to the path, young could be heard but have no idea how many. Yarners a great place but never have understood why dogs are allowed to run free?

Then off to Dawlish Warren to catch the evening high tide, there had been plenty of small waders just lately but typically there was very few today! There was 10 Sanderlings on the beach and a Sandwich Tern out to sea. From the hide there was Oystercatchers, couple of Whimbrel, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Little egret and Cormorant and that was that!

Around the reserve there was Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, House Sparrow, Starling, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Swallow, House Martin, Swift, Dunnock, Chiffchaff, Great and Blue Tit, Wren, Whitethroat, Skylark, Linnet, Sedge Warbler and best of all a very smart Cirl Bunting!

It was warm but very breezy, a few Butterflies about with Orange Tip, Common Blue, Small White and Gatekeeper. Met lots nice people today out and about, all enjoying the great outdoors.



15 May 2016

Challacombe, Headland Warren and back via the Moor

On this beautiful day sadly a late start, wanted to go to Yarner but had a event there so went up to Challacombe and did a circular walk. It should have taken a couple of hours at the most but I was so busy enjoying myself it took 5!!!! hahaha

At Challacombe there was plenty of birds singing with Great and Blue Tits, Robin, Blackbird, Song and Mistle Thrushes, Wren, Dunnock, Jackdaw, Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Chaffinch, House Sparrows, House Martins and Swallows. The best of all was a couple of Spotted Flycatchers which were showing well, the House Martins were busy making nests on the side of the barn which was great to watch. Disappointed though not to find any Redstarts yet, unless they were there keeping there heads down?

Off across the fields to Headland Warren and to my surprise very little about apart from some Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, Stonechats and Swallows. At the buildings there was a Pied Wagtail, Linnets, Robin and some Swallows Flying around. I was expecting to see some Whinchats and Wheatears here but none, to my surprise I didn't see any Wheatears all day?? A pair of Whinchats did put in a appearance the other side of the buildings by the path as I went over the top, then more as I went along the path and in the bottom of the valley as you make your way back to Challacombe and Soussons Wood, I counted 13 in the end which was just great! Also heard but didn't see a Cuckoo, which seemed to be flying around me in a circle and quite mobile, well I think there was only one? Anyway great to hear. Also seen was Stonechat, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Magpie and a Buzzard loafing about in the sky. Into the Scrub area were there was Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Robin, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Blackbird and a Jay. Along the fields back to Challacombe there was Stonechat, Skylark and Swallows flying over the fields hawking for flies.

Saw a few people about and it was very nice to stand around having a chat, lots of nice people around which helped make it a great day!



14 May 2016

Aylesbere Common

I went back to Aylesbere today as there was less wind and the sun was out. I wasn't disappointed with 3 Dartford Warblers on show! One thing I would say here and that is at Aylesbere you don't need to leave the paths to see the birds or take pictures, keep to the paths and be patient. Normally I hear them first and wait for them to poke their head up, brilliant bird!

Plenty of Stonechats and Linnets about as well as Carrion Crow , Magpie, Blackbird, Robin and Goldfinch.

Around the common there are the odd conifer tree and some were filled with Tits, one at the top of the common was full of Great, Blue and Coal Tits, it looked like a bit of a feeding frenzie?

Not that many people about, not sure why on a beautiful day.



08 May 2016

Aylesbere Common and around Topsham

Haven't been to Aylesbere for a long time so thought as the weather was good I would pay it a visit. When I got there, while it was sunny it was also windy and very little about, I was lucky to see a couple of Dartford Warblers but they kept themselves low in the bushes, Stonechat, Robin, Great and Blue Tit, Goldfinch and Greenfinch and that was that on the bird front! There was though double figures of Brimstone Butterflies on the far side of the reserve out of the wind, 1st of the year for me.

Off then to Topsham and Bowling Green to see the 5 Ruff that had been reported in breeding plumage, when I got there, there was only 4 but stunning birds never the less. only one got close enough for me to get any sort of picture but great to watch with my bins. With the tide out there wasn't many other birds about and the other main attraction was a Vixen and her 3 cubs on the far side.

A few other birders about and very pleasant it was to meet them as well!



07 May 2016

Powderham, Exminster Marshes and Back

After last weekend of no birding, just had to get out! I parked up at Powderham Church and did a loop around Exminster Marshes. It was a bit windy but the sun was shinning and a lovely day!

At the Carpark the Rookery was in full song with Robin, Chaffinch, Woodpigeon, Great and Blue Tits. At the "Vergers Cottage" there was several House Martins building nests which proves summer is finally here!

The tide was going out but there wasn't very much on the river or mud banks except for a Grey Heron, Little Egret, Shelduck, Mallard, Curlew, Rook, Carrion Crow, Great-black Backed, Herring and Black-headed Gulls.

In the fields there was Grey Heron, Song Thrush, Chaffinch, Robin, Pied Wagtail, Canada Geese, Shelduck, Mallard, Rook, Carrion Crow and Jackdaw.

At Turf on the mud banks there was 20-30 Shelduck, Oystercatcher, Carrion Crow, Black-headed and Great black-Backed Gulls with Blackbird, Swallows, House Martins and Robins around the river edge.

Around the reserve plenty of singing birds about the place with countless Sedge Warblers, Reed Warblers and a couple of Cettis Warblers, one very friendly bird by the fisherman's carpark. Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Mallard, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Moorhen, Coot, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Cormorant, Blackbird, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Oystercatcher, Swallow, House Martin, Chiffchaff, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Wren, Dunnock, Skylark, House Sparrow, Lapwing, a fly over Sandwich Tern and Pied Wagtail.

A few Butterflies, Orange Tip, Small Tortishell and Peacock Butterflies.

lots of people about I seemed to be the only birder? Brilliant day!



24 April 2016

Soussons Woods, Headland Warren,Challacombe Farm and Back!

Thought I would get up early and head for Dartmoor and try and find some Grasshopper Warblers, I've heard them many times but never got a photo. So as by the side of Soussons Farm is a good spot, last year I heard a few here I thought I would spend some time for a look. Unfortunately it was a no show, but saw a few Tree Pipits and Willow Warblers, Lesser Redpoll, Meadow Pipits, Stonechats, Swallows, Great and Blue Tits, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Buzzard and Dunnock were all seen in this area.

Into the woods there were Great, Blue and a Coal Tit, Woodpigeon, Chiffchaff, Robin and a few Siskin in the tops of the trees, one was a really smart green male. On to the open moor and a few Stonechat, a Mistle Thrush and a few Skylark were the only birds on show here. At Headland Warren things started to get interesting with my first Whinchat of the year which turned into 3! Also saw a good number of Wheatear also seen with more Meadow Pipits, Swallows, Robin, Dunnock and Carrion Crows. Sadly most of these birds were at a distance so no pics, it might have been all the people out walking in the luvely weather and why not? At least I saw them!

Down to Challacombe Farm with Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Robin, Great, Blue, Coal and Stock Doves.

A great day out walking in a beautiful place. Met lots of nice people about which is always a plus!!



23 April 2016

Exminster Marshes

Again a late start, frustratingly there was a Blue Headed Wagtail with a group of Yellow Wags that had dropped on the Marsh. I thought I might catch up with them but as I got there I was told the flock of about 18 birds had flown north which would be typical for me! Luckily on further inspection and a bit of help from another birder I managed to see 7 more around the pools and scrapes of the marshes, a few Pied Wagtails about as well but no Blue Headed!

Lots of bird song, especially from the Sedge Warblers and Reed Warblers around the site, Swallow, Sand and House Martins, Blackcap, Whitethroat, Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Blackbird, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tit. Carrion Crow, Magpie, Jackdaw, Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Teal, Shelduck, Little Egret, Buzzard and Lapwing.

I just stayed around the Marshes and didn't go to Turf, a few Bumble bees and a couple of Common Lizards tying to find some sun.

Met lots of nice people today and Iam off to Dartmoor tomorrow to see what I can find.



16 April 2016

Exminster Marshes

Went to Exminster Marshes today and did a circular walk from the RSPB carpark, there was a chill in the air which was a reminder that summer is not here yet! There was though plenty of summer migrants with Sedge, Reed and Cettis Warblers, Chiffchaff, Swallows and House Martins hawking for flies over the pasture. Very few ducks about with just a few Mallard, Teal and Shelducks, other water birds were Coot, Moorhen, Little Egret and Grey Heron. Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Blue and Great Tits, Magpie, Carrion Crow and Woodpigeon also seen.

At Turf the tide was on its way out but very little seen with just Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Shelduck, Little Egret, Cormorant and Curlew.

The Wardens have been working hard and a impressive piece of hedge laying on the back path and the Mute Swans sitting on eggs, spring is definitely in the air!



11 April 2016

Exminster Marshes

Went out to Exminster Marshes this evening to see the Short Eared Owl that had been seen in the area and sure enough there it was quartering up and down the canal side of the fields and typically I was the other side watching on my bins. Had thought with all the people walking and on bikes it might move over my side and even after being harassed by a pair of crows still didn't move over! Watched it for about 45 minutes before it disappeared, might try again tomorrow if I get the time!

Most of the ducks have gone with only Teal, Mallard and a couple of Shelduck, other water birds included Grey Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Mute Swan and Canada Geese.

Also saw Chiffchaff and a possible Willow Warbler, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tit, Robin, Blackbird, Pied Wagtail, Woodpigeon, Rook, Carrion Crow, Magpie and Wren. Saw a couple of other birders who also reported a Reed Warbler and Common Tern but I dipped on both.

Lovely evening for a walk!

P.S Can you see the Owl in the picture above?



08 April 2016

Mull day 7

Had a excellent day, went looking for Otters and frustratingly saw one from the car but couldn't stop so by the time I had turned around it had gone!

Went around several Lochs and shorelines, the morning weather wise was good and the scenery was stunning, the afternoon though turned to wind and rain.

Plenty of other stuff with Golden Eagle and a Female Hen Harrier seen. I've actually seen more Harriers than Otters! But only one male, another good reason to come back to this magical island.

Raven,Hooded Crows,Mallards, GoldenEye, Teal, a pair of Eider Duck,Greylag and Canada Geese,Goosanders, Red-breasted Mergansers, Grey Heron, Great northern Divers some were almost in summer plumage, Wheatears, Song Thrush, Redwing, Blackbird, Robin,Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Stonechats, Pied Wagtails, Buzzards, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Redshanks, Cormorants, Woodpigeon, Skylark, Meadow Pipits, Great-black Backed, Lesser-black, Herring and Common Gulls.

Saw plenty of Mammals with several Red Deer, Seals and a Rabbit! Bet the Eagles love those!!

Sadly back home tomorrow!



07 April 2016

Mull day 6

Had a great day, went looking for Otters but typically didn't see any!

Did though see lots of other stuff, 2 female Hen Harriers, a Sea Eagle, Several Buzzards, Greylag and Canada Geese, Redshanks, Oystercatcher, Greenshank, Curlew, Red-breasted Mergansers, Wigeon, Mallards, Teal, Shelduck, GoldenEye, Raven, Hooded Crows, Cormorants, Pied and Grey Wagtails, Wheatears, Starling, Blackbird, Great Tits, Chaffinch, Grey Heron, Great-black Backed, Lesser- black Backed, Herring and Common Gulls.

Also saw several Red Deer and Seals. Going to try again tomorrow and find some Otters on my last day on the island.

Popped in to see Bryan Rains at Pennyghael stores who hasn't changed a bit since I first met him 5 or 6 years ago, Bryans full of local knowledge and does wildlife trips around the island if your visiting.



06 April 2016

Mull day 5

Had a great day today, sat and watched a Otter in Loch Na Keal for about 20 minutes while sat in my car. Afraid to get out and take some pictures incase I frightened it off so I enjoyed the moment!!

Plenty of stunning scenery about the island and the clouds adding to the atmospheric feeling about the place.

Lots of birds seen but no Eagles sadly today, plenty of water birds with Red-breasted Mergansers, Greylag and Canada Geese, Mallards, Teal, Shelduck, Great northern Divers, Herring, Common and Great-black Backed Gulls, Cormorants, Redshanks, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Ringed Plover, Lapwings, Blackbird, Meadow Pipits, Wheatears, Pied Wagtails, Hooded Crows, Ravens and a Common Seal.

The weather was much better today and it was a joy just to sit on the side of the Loch with a flask of tea and chill out and I just cant believe the wildlife this place has to offer, perhaps I should just bring a tent next time and stay on the side of the Loch??



05 April 2016

Mull day4

Had a full day and visited several Lochs and shorelines, saw White-tailed and Golden Eagles, while traveling back I was lucky to see a Female Hen Harrier which stayed around long enough for me to get a picture or two.

Also saw Great northern Divers, Little Grebe, Red-breasted Mergansers, Grey Heron, Greylag and Canada Geese, Redshanks, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Cormorants, Collard Doves, House Sparrows, Blackbird, Meadow Pipits, Wheatears, Stonechat, Black-headed, Great-black Backed, Herring and Common Gulls.

Also saw a couple of majestic Red Deer Stags, brilliant!!!



04 April 2016

Mull day3

Really looking forward to today as I had a planned trip watching Sea Eagles from a boat named "Lady Jayne" which is run by "Mull Charters". And the weather was good for a change, normally when I arrange things like this it tours with rain!

We went north from the Ulva Ferry landing and waited with the engine off and didn't have to wait long, a Female Eagle swooped down and picked up a fish and flew off, very quick but amazing!! We then turned around and went into the Loch Na Keal to the far end and turned off the engine and waited, it wasn't long before another Eagle this time a male swooped down and took the fish, fantastic!! We brewed up a cuppa and waited for about an half a hour and he returned, unbelievable views,just brilliant!

I took over 60 pictures of the three dives but deleted 90% of them. I should have got in a better position and perhaps I should have asked more questions about which side of the boat the fish would be. When the fish was put closer I found it difficult to focus quickly enough, which is all my fault for not being prepared enough. I had great company on board, a family of 5 who were as excited as myself at getting such great views of this wonderful bird. Martin the skipper and his son Alex were great hosts and look forward to doing this trip again.

Lot's of other birds seen, a Golden Eagle seen floated over the top of the cliffs as well as Ravens and a Buzzard. On the water there was apart from Gulls there was Great northern Divers, Red and Black Throated Divers, Razorbills, Gillimots, Shags, Cormorants, Oystercatcher, Grey Heron and plenty of Common Seals.

Brilliant day!



03 April 2016

Mull day2

The weather was crap today and my plan to go walking off road was put off. I decided to do a bit of exploring by car around the South of the Island and around Loch Na Keal were there was interludes of sun!!.

The scenery is stunning here with the steep rock formations, which are impressive!

Saw plenty of Ducks and other water birds with Goldeneye, Mallards, Teal, Wigeon, Shelduck, Red-breasted Mergansers, Greylag Geese, Grey Heron, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Redshanks, Greenshank, Mute Swan, Common, Black-headed, Great-black Backed, Lesser-black Backed and Herring Gulls. Plenty of Buzzards, Hodded Crows and Ravens. Cormorants and 12 Great-northern Divers, several Wheatears, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Starling, House Sparrows, Pied Wagtails, Chaffinch, Skylark and Meadow Pipits.

A nice treat was seeing some Red Deer, off on a boat tomorrow, let's hope the weather is better.



02 April 2016

Mull day1

After two ferry trips I arrived in Mull today and as I had a few hours before I could drop my bags off so went along the South Coast and up and around Loch Na Keal before going over the top to Dervag and then to Achnadrish House which is where I am staying.

Saw plenty of birds with Oystercatcher, Curlew, Redshank, Greenshank, Greylag and Canada Geese, Teal, Mallards, Grey Heron, Hooded Crows, Buzzards, Ravens, Lapwings, Stonechats, Robin, Blue Tit, Blackbird, Pied Wagtails, Skylark, Reedbuntings, Shags, Cormorants, Red-breasted Mergansers, Goosanders and 23 Great-northern Divers seen in Loch Na Keal. The best was though was 3 Hen Harriers including 1 smart looking male. Need to get back to see them again!

Iam staying in this great little cabin and is just great for me, I used it on my last visit a few years ago but have different owners who seem just as friendly and helpful as the previous ones!



01 April 2016

Scotland day 3

The weather was crap today and had trouble finding a dry place! I went to Loch Garten which seemed to be in a glow, to see the Ospreys at the RSPB reserve, both bird's were there. The female "EJ" was sat on the nest and the male "Oden" had left to go and get lunch.

"EJ" had arrived from Africa on 21th March and "Oden" had arrived on the 27th.

The visitor centre was full as it was its first day open this year and the cameras were giving great views of the nest. Outside the centre plenty of small birds on the feeders but again sadly no Red Squirrels, the volunteers said they had not seen any for a couple of weeks? Lets hope they come back soon!!

Then again off to Granton-on-Spey to get a bite to eat, I do love their Bacon Sarnies. I took my Coffee and Bacon sarnies off to lochindoub to see what was around, again plenty of Red Grouse and Common Gulls around the Heather with Oystercatcher, Redshank, Grey Wagtails, Mallards and Greylag Geese. Also plenty of fishermen on the bank which is probably why there was no divers!

Another really good day considering the weather!



31 March 2016

Scotland day 2

Went to the Cairngorm's ski centre to park up and go looking for Ptarmigans, I am especially looking for birds still in their all white winter plumage. But I couldn't get into the car park and looking to the side of the mountain it was packed with people, so I turned around and went down to Loch Garten to look for Crested Tits and Red Squirrels.

Sadly the area around the centre was closed until tomorrow but another birder/photographer had put some food out and plenty of birds turned up with Chaffinch, Siskin, Robin, Great,Blue,Coal and a Crested Tit which was just great to see! It was quite friendly as well giving some great views but not a Red Squirrel in sight.

Then off to Granton-on-Spey to get a bite to eat, there is a great cafe just down from the wildlife hotel and would recommend strongly. I took my Coffee and Bacon sarnies off to lochindoub to see what was around, plenty of Red Grouse and Common Gulls around the Heather with Oystercatcher, Mallards and Greylag Geese.

Then off to the Findhorn Valley, one of my favourite places! The road to the end is 10 miles long and has plenty of great views and chances to see the wildlife. Today I saw Mistle Thrush, Mallards, Oystercatcher, Chaffinch, Meadow Pipits, Pheasants, Red-legged Partridge and when I parked up next to a stream there was a Dipper but couldn't get a picture because I would have frightened it off. I didn't see any Golden Eagles but apparently further up the valley accessible by foot there was 4 giving great views, should have put my walking boots on!

Met some great people today especially the birders at Loch Garten.



30 March 2016

Scotland day 1

Arrived in Fort William for a 10 day stay in Scotland, came up the A82 with stunning landscapes on all sides and hoping the weather will be good enough to take pictures, from Saturday I am on the Isle of Mull looking for Eagles!

Glen Coe on the way up was just stunning, a beautiful clear day. On the way back it was shrouded in fog and it was mean and moody, just brilliant!



28 March 2016

Dawlish Warren

After all the wind and rain I thought there might be a fall of migrants, but sadly I couldn't find any! In fact I found very few birds, especially in front of the hide with only a couple of Grey Plover, Shielduck a few Oystercatchers which flew over from Finger Point. At Finger point apart from the Oystercatchers there was only Cormorants, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls. On the beach there was a few Turnstones with Cormorants and Gulls on the sea. Around the reserve there was plenty of Blackbirds, Robins, Dunnock, Stonechat, Wren, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Chiffchaff, Greenfinch, House Sparrow and Collard Dove. On the pond there was Canada Geese and a pair of Mute Swans, Mallards and Little Grebes. On the Golf Course there was 10 Dark-bellied Brent Geese and that was that!

A few people about but nothing exciting to talk about!

Off to Scotland tomorrow which I hope will be a lot more exciting!!



27 March 2016

Slapton Ley

The weather was very different today, one minute its sunshine the next its raining hard with Hail and Thunder and Lightning and I got wet in the process but still had a good day. I split it into two walks, 1st was from Slapton to Ireland Bay and 2nd was from the Tank to the hide at Stokely Bay.

From the bridge to Ireland Bay I heard 4 Cettis Warblers, Raven, Moorhen, Coot, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Great-crested Grebes, Mute Swans, Grey Heron, 30+ Tufted Duck, Mallard and Gadwall, Also in the bushes Blue Tit, wren, Chiffchaff and Goldfinch. There was a few Coot and Mute Swans sitting on nests.

From the Tank I could see more Mute Swans, Coots, Great-crested Grebes and Mallards, around the feeding area there was plenty of Mallard cross and a White Aylesbury Duck ( Well I think it was !! hahaha) Walking further around there was Carrion Crow, Jackdaw and Woodpigeon around the gardens and houses with Wren, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock and Greenfinches also present. At the hide there was Canada Geese, 20+ Tufted Ducks, Coots, Moorhens, 10+ Gadwalls,1 Pochard and several Great-crested Grebes and Mute Swans. at 3pm while sat in the hide 6 Swallows and a mixed group of Martins, at least 2 House Martins and the rest Sand Martins. After this winter it was great to see this sign of Summer!

No insects to be seen which is not a surprise but plenty of Spring Flowers with Red Campion, Lesser Celandine, Primrose, Dog Violets, Herb Robert, Bluebell and others.

Plenty of others about braving the weather and all in good spirits.



25 March 2016

Powderham, Exminster Marshes and Back

Managed to get out today and earlier than normal. Its a beautiful day and no coat needed! I rolled up to a busy Powderham Church Car park and the Rookery was in full song along with other birds enjoying the sun and who could blame them!! Blackbirds, Blue and Great Tits, Robins, Dunnock and Woodpigeon. Plenty of Rooks, Carrion Crows and Pheasants in the near by fields.

Off up the path and from the bridge I could see a white breasted bird in the field and to my joy it was a Male Wheatear! 1st of the year, also a Grey Heron and Mallards in the ditches, Rooks, Carrion Crows and Jackdaws looking for food in the pasture, Pied Wagtail, Dark-bellied Brent Geese and Canada Geese. On the way back the Wheatear was still there but there was 24 Meadow Pipits close by so there must have been a drop of birds.

The tide was on its way out and there was 20+ Shelduck on the mud by the bridge as well as Curlew, Carrion Crows, Little Egrets, Cormorants, Great Black-backed Gulls, Herring Gulls and several Teal and Mallard on the mud flats. At Turf I was surprised to see a lack of birds on the mud flats with just Gulls and Ducks to be seen.

On the reserve there was Mallard, Pochard, Shoveler, Tufted, Teal, Cormorant, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Dark-bellied Brent Geese, Coot, Moorhen, Lapwing, Chiffchaff, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits.

Wild flowers had started to show with Lesser Celandine, White and red Dead Nettle, Dandelion, Daisy and Cuckoo Flowers all showing well.

Insects out with plenty of Bumble bees, 3 Peacock and 3 Small Tortishell Butterflies which was great to see!

Another welcome surprise was a Stoat walk in front of me on the cycle path, I was to busy watching the Wheatear that I didn't get the camera in position quick enough!

Lots of people about of all ages and genders, walkers, runners and cyclists all having fun in the sun and why not!!



13 March 2016

Soussons Woods, Headland Warren,Challacombe Farm and Back!

After spending yesterday doing shopping and watching England beat the Welsh in the 6 Nations it was time to get out onto Dartmoor, the weather was great so decided I would do one of my favourite circular walks on Dartmoor which starts off at Soussons, then off to Headland Warren and back to Soussons via Challacombe. It has many different types of Habitat and you never know what you will find.

I walked through Soussons which if you have never been is a Conifer plantation of various aged trees from saplings to mature and cleared land. With clear blue sky I was surprised only to see one bird in the sky which was a Buzzard who was calling but no one joined him, saw this bird several times around the walk. A couple of noisy Raven with plenty of Greenfinch, Robin, Blackbird, Blue and Great Tit, Goldcrest and Wren seen. The Buzzard seem to follow me into the cleared area where a large number of trees were clear felled early last year, surprised they haven't started to re plant?

Into the Scrub area in the valley, here there is running water, reeds and bushes and can be a good area for birds like Redpoll but none seen today, did see though Great and Blue Tit, Robin, Wren and several Blackbirds. Also saw a Bumble Bee here which is a good sign of Spring although no flowers seen yet!

Onto the open Moor with plenty of Dartmoor Ponies enjoying the sun, several Stonechat, fly over Raven, Robin, Blackbird and Carrion Crows seen. Then over the top to Headland Warren and the habitat changes to fields with stone walls, this area is good for Wheatear and Whinchat but a bit early for these! 10+ Meadow Pipits though were seen in the fields and Pied Wagtails, Dunnock and several Stonechats seen on the walls. At Challacombe Farm lots of small birds about especially near a bird feeder with Blue, Great Long-tailed and Coal Tits, Chaffinch, Robin, Blackbirds and a couple of Mallards on the pond.

Then from Challacombe Farm to Soussons Farm which is fields with sheep in there was just a few Carrion Crows on the pasture looking for food and a Stonechat on the fence. At Soussons Farm there was House Sparrows, Chaffinch, Robin, Blue and Coal Tit, Wren and a Green Woodpecker which was a bit of a surprise.

Had a great day out with plenty of people out walking enjoying the sun and the moor, looking forward to all the migrants to arrive.



05 March 2016

River Exe and Exminster Marshes

With it being dry for a change decided to make a day of it with stopping off several places on my way to Exminster Marshes to look at the River Exe. The tide was coming in so thought I might catch some waders close in.

Well the first stop just outside Cockwood was a bit of a disappointment with very few birds close by with most still down the salt marsh by the golf course at Dawlish Warren. Still saw plenty of Brent Geese and Shelduck with Cormorant, Curlew, Oystercatchers and a few Redshank on offer.

On to Cockwood harbour, there was 40+ Redshank and 1 Greenshank showing well, Little Egret and a few Black-headed Gulls.

Off Powderham there was several Red breasted Mergansers, Redshank, Cormorants, Mallards, Black-headed and Herring Gulls.

Then off to Exminster Marshes, parked up in the RSPB carpark and walked to Turf using the road and plenty of birds on the reserve with Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Pintail, Teal, Wigeon and Shoveler, Plenty of Curlew and Lapwing all over the Marshes. Woodpigeon, Magpies, Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Pied Wagtails, Robin, Starlings, House Sparrows, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Pheasants, Peregrine sat on the Pylon and a few Goldcrests along the back footpath.

Off Turf there wasn't much except 4 Brent Geese and a large flock flying around further down the river looking for a field to land in. Lot of birds north of Turf with large numbers of birds on the mud flats with Avocets, Curlew, Dunlin, Redshanks, Godwits, Shelduck, Oystercatchers, Cormorants, Herring Gulls and large numbers of Black-headed Gulls, many already in their summer plumage.

A really good day out, especially as the days are getting longer, surprised I didn't see more birders about the place?



28 February 2016

Dartmoor

On a very sunny day I went up to Dartmoor, very sunny but also very windy in places sending a cold chill right through me! I had a walk in several places and most places were blown out.

Plenty of Corvides in the fields with Rooks, Carrion Crows, Jackdaws, Magpies and a couple of Ravens that flew over. Also a couple of Buzzards seen both on bushes and loafing around in the sky.

Several Stonechats seen on the Gorse with Robins, Great and Blue Tits, Wrens, Dunnock and Blackbirds.

Other than that very quiet on the bird front. Plenty of happy humans about either Walking, Running, Cycling, Horse riding or driving around, Dartmoor's roads was full of them!



19 February 2016

Dawlish Warren

Had an hour to spare so went down the Warren to walk around the bushes to see what was about. It was very dull and threatening rain which would explain very few people about.

The bushes were flooded out and some areas inaccessible without wellies which I stupidly left in the car!

Plenty of birds out singing with Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Robin, Dunnock, Blackbird, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Pied Wagtail, House Sparrow, Starling and a Firecrest! It just popped up in front of me and before I could get a pic disappeared into the brambles and not seen again!

Only a Little Grebe and a Moorhen seen on the pond.

Good to see Phil for a chat, otherwise didn't see anybody else, very quiet!



18 February 2016

Birding around Darts Farm and Topsham

Parked up at Darts Farm on a beautiful start to the day, plenty of birds singing with Robin, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Pied Wagtail, Blue Tit Wren, Dunnock, Magpie, Herring and Black-headed Gull with a few Carrion crows flying over.

Down the cycle track with Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Pied Wagtail, Blue, Great and Long Tailed Tit, Robin, Blackbird, Starling, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw and a Buzzard loafing around in the sky.

In the Creek there was several Redshank and one Greenshank, Goosemoor on the way through though was empty of birds.

Along the road there was plenty of birds especially around the feeders behind the hide with House Sparrow, Blue, Great, Coal and Long tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Dunnock, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Wren, robin, Blackbird and a Jackdaw.

The reserve because of the tide wasn't that busy but plenty of Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Pochard, Shelduck, Mallard, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwits, Redshank, Moorhen, Lapwing, Greylag, Canada and Brent Geese, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Magpie, Carrion Crow and Woodpigeon.

From the platform there was Avocet, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Dunlin and Shelduck with Black-headed and Herring Gulls.

The Goat walk was quiet as there was plenty of disturbance due to on-going work to the path. On to Topsham for a cup o char and a Bacon Sarnie. Plenty of House Sparrows about with the odd Jackdaw.

On the way back the tide was coming in and Goosemoor had quite a few more birds in with 20+ Redshank, Curlew and a Little Egret.

Great to see David B and a few other birders I hadn't seen in a while, plenty of people about and all behaving themselves.



15 February 2016

Holden Forest Park

Not been here for some time and at first was shocked by the changes and not seen so many people, first thought was to turn around but glad I didn't!

The car park was nearly full because of half term and lots of excited kids running around on bikes of allsorts, great atmosphere about the place. They must have made a fortune on the car parks at £4 a shout!

Made my way to the back of the rangers hut were the feeding stations are and was just bowled over by the number and diversity of birds. Next door they were giving lessons on "Segway's" but the birds took no notice of the noise, excited kids running around, bikes, horses and the odd dog!

Song Thrush, Coal, Blue and Great Tits, Robin, Nuthatch, Siskins, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Dunnock and the only skittish bird was a male Brambling that just flew in and out. Great site!!

I then went for a walk on one of the trails "Tree Trail" which is about 3 miles long and was at times a bit steep but rewarding with the views and being amongst the trees, saw a few Ravens, Mistle Thrushes, Wren, Robins, Blackbirds, Blue and Great Tits.

Also heard the excited shrill of excited children in the trees having a go at "Go Ape". I know some people wont approve but it was so good to see parents out with the kids in the big outdoors instead of being in front of a screen. Nearly got wiped out by a couple of mountain bikers, but that was my fault for not being on the right track and everybody saw the funny side of it!

Must try out some of the other tracks soon and recommend the place!



14 February 2016

Exminster Marshes

It was so good to get out for a walk today, not been out for over a fortnight due to weather, work and life getting in the way!

Not many people about when I first got to the RSPB carpark and decided because of the water to stick to the road. Plenty of birds about with Buzzard, Coot, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Brent Geese, Canada Geese, Mallard, Teal, Shoveler, Wigeon, Shelduck, Curlew, Redshank, Dunlin, Cormorant, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Rook, Mute Swan, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Redwing, Lapwing, Goldfinch, Robin and Woodpigeon seen.

At Turf the tide was in and there was very little to see, a couple of Grey Plover, Black-headed Gulls and a couple of Herring Gulls was all.

A few humans about and it was good to see the Turf open again for the season!



30 January 2016

Norfolk day3

Just went out this morning to try and catch up with the Shorelark at Burnham Overy Straithe but unfortunately it was a no show. I did have a great birding session but another crap photography session! Saw some great birds with a Barn Owl quartering the reeds,2 Marsh Harriers, Kestrel,Buzzard, Grey Plover, Curlew, Dunlin, Sanderling, Ringed Plover, Redshanks, Turnstones, 1000+Knot put up by the Harriers, Oystercatcher, several Red Legged Partridge, Red-breasted Mergansers,Greylag, Brent, Pink-footed Geese, Mute Swan, Wigeon, Little Egret, Shelduck, Coot and several Skylark.

Had a great couple of days but sadly few pictures taken, met lots of lovely people though and some very helpful birders!



29 January 2016

Norfolk day 2

The wind was still high from Storm Gertrude so started late and went to Burnham Straithe Overy to have a 2nd attempt at seeing the Shorelark, even though the wind had calmed down a bit, it was still difficult to stand up let alone try and take a picture. When I found the 3 Shorelarks was great but frustrating I couldn't get a picture because I couldn't hold the camera still!

It was a great day for birdwatching and a crap day for taking pictures, saw lots of great birds Pink footed, Greylag and Brent Goose, Mute Swan, Sanderling, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Lapwings, Oystercatcher, Redshanks, Grey Plover, Little Egret, Curlew, Shelduck, Wigeon, Mallards and plenty of Black-headed gull's.

Went to the Cholsey Drying Barns to see the long staying Rough Legged Buzzard which I did see but sadly too far for a picture.

Frustrating day but will try again tomorrow.



28 January 2016

Norfolk

I've come up to Norfolk for 3 days and the weather is looking good!

Today I went to Burnham Overy Straithe to start the day looking for the reported 3 Shorelark which had been regularly seen on the shoreline by Gunhill. Unfortunately after walking all the way out to the end there was a Sparrowhawk hunting over the dunes and not a small bird in sight. While they are a beautiful bird to watch I rather it waited until I was gone! I did see lots of other birds around the mud flats and surrounding fields with Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Curlew, Grey Plover, Redshanks, Shelduck, Little Egret, Lapwings, Wigeon, Oystercatcher, Brent and Greylag Geese,Coot,Red-breasted Mergansers, Dunlin, Sanderling, Turnstones, Wren,Blackbird, Dunnock, Pied Wagtails, Skylark, Magpie, Cormorants, Linnet, Little Grebe and a Kestrel.

I then went off to look for some Grey Partridge which are in the fields around the Holkham Estate, I saw 3! Sadly a bit far for a picture but still good to see, also saw some Red Kites over the fields!

Then off to Thornham Harbour to see some 20+ Twite which had been seen, typically they had moved but was able to find further up the path, great to see a large flock, normally I only see a few at a time.

Then next door Titchwell, the feeders were packed with birds with Coot,Woodpigeon and Pheasants picking up the droppings. Great,Blue and Coal Tits, Robin, Chaffinch, Brambling, Redpoll and Goldfinches on the feeders. Lots of quality birds to see with Water Rail, Little Grebe, Redshanks, Lapwings, Avocets, Oystercatcher, Greylag Geese, Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwits, Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal,Mallards, Shoveler, Pintails, Common and Velvet Scooters seen off the beach by others but I couldn't see them with my bins!

Saw lots of birders today and all very pleasant and helpful, really good day!



23 January 2016

Powderham, Exminster Marshes and Back

Started a little late on this grey windy day. Parked up by the church at Powderham and very few birds about unlike last time and the reason was stood in the middle of the carpark screaming its head off! A young child was not getting his own way and was trying his hardest to embarrass his parents into getting his own way and fair play to them he didn't! Moving down to the other side of the church and there was quite a few Great and Blue Tits in the Yew Trees with a Robin singing on one of the grave stones. Plenty of Rooks in the accompanying fields with a couple of Little Egret.

Over the foot bridge to the side of the River Exe, the tide was out and the mud flats had plenty of gulls sat down out of the wind, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls. Also a few Shelduck 30+ by the side of the bridge alone, on the way up to Turf also saw plenty Curlew, Redshank, Oystercatchers, Brent Geese, Cormorant, Red-breasted Mergansers Carrion Crows, Mallard with Pied Wagtails on the wall.

In the fields by the path there was Oystercatchers, Curlew, Brent Geese, Large numbers of Rooks, Goldfinch, Stonechat, Robin, Pied Wagtail, Little Egret and Mallard.

At Turf there was a few Avocet, most of them were upstream closer to Topsham, plenty of Dunlin, Redshank, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Lapwings, Little Egret, Cormorants, Red-breasted Mergansers, Mallard and a lone Kingfisher.

I then walked up to the middle carpark and because of the weather getting worse I walked back to the car from here instead of doing the complete circle, because of the wind bird keeping low but still saw Song Thrush, Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Great and Blue Tits, Goldfinch, Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, 300+ Brent Geese, 50+ Canada Geese, Shoveler, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Shelduck, Lapwing, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwits, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Coot, Moorhen, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Rook and a lone Peregrine.

A few humans about but few out with bins, all seem happy enough with the exception of the young kid in the car park! haha



16 January 2016

Exminster and Matford Marshes

Went to Exminster to see if the water level had dropped enough for me to walk around and it had! Some bits were a bit difficult and had to have my wellies on especially by the gate that goes into the field but made it.

Not so many birds around either, large numbers of Canada Geese and a single Greylag Goose and several hundred Wigeon in this part of the reserve, also saw Robin, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Carrion Crow, Rook, Lapwing, Song Thrush, Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Tel, Goldcrest, Dunnock, Wren, Curlew, Black-headed Godwit, Snipe, Grey Heron, Stonechat, Woodpigeon and Cettis Warbler.

A Peregrine was sat on Pylon and did a few swoops at the Wigeon and missed every time, looked like it was trying to make them fly but failed in this, they just "ducked" and dived in the water.

At Turf the tide was in the water was dead calm, plenty of birds sat on the water gently floating down stream, 200+ Avocets floated down and flew back again upstream, Brent Geese, Red-breasted Merganser, Shelduck, Black-headed Gull and Herring Gulls with 100+ Brent Goose flew over going south.

Walking back to the car saw Blackbird, Blue and Great Tits, Song Thrush, Reed Bunting, Cormorant, Wren, Magpie, Dunnock Tufted, Teal, Wigeon, Mallard Curlew, Redshank, Mute Swan, Carrion Crow, Rook, Mute Swan and more Canada Geese.

Then off to Matford to find the Cackling Goose which was showing well with the Mallards.

Again a nice selection of birds here with Wigeon, Tufted, Mallard, Mute Swan, Buzzard, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Robin, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Goldcrest and Moorhen.

A few humans about enjoying the rain free day!!



10 January 2016

Topsham

Went over to Topsham today to see the Brambling amongst others around Dart Farm before going down towards Bowling Green.

Plenty of birds about Darts Farm but I couldn't find the Brambling, they were probably in the stubble. Did see though Black-headed Gulls, Pheasant, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Rook, Blackbird, Robin, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Coot, Linnet, Woodpigeon, Canada Goose, Wren, Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, Blue and Great Tit, Reed Bunting, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Fieldfare and Stonechat.

Then on down the cycle track, didn't seem as many birds here as normal but did see a scrawny looking Buzzard on a roof top, Jackdaw, Woodpigeon, Robin, Magpie, Greenfinch, Great and Blue Tit, Carrion Crow and Dunnock. On the creek there was very little with jut a Redshank and a couple of red-breasted Mergansers, In Goosemoor again very little as the tide was out with just 1 Teal and 2 Redshank and nothing more than a Woodpigeon in the bushes next to the path.

Along the road past the Reserve plenty of birds especially behind the hide on the feeders with Blue and Great Tits, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock and a Collard Dove on the wires.

In the Reserve as normal plenty of ducks with Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Pintail, Mallard, Gadwall, Tufted and a lone male Pochard. Greylag, Canada and Brent Geese. lapwings, Curlews, Black-tailed Godwits were the Waders with Moorhen, Coot, Blackbird, Stonechat, Blue Tit and Magpie with a Peregrine flying over and causing some mayhem.

Along to the Platform that over looks the River Clyst and to start off it didn't look a lot was there but to the right there was a few waders with Red, Green and Spotted Redshank. Further out you could see Avocet, Curlew, Shelduck, Red-breasted Merganser and some fly over Dark-belied Brent Geese.

Around to the Goatwalk and plenty of Avocet, Redshank, Curlew, Redshank and Dunlin. Also Carrion Crow, Black-headed Gulls and Pied Wagtail on view.

Off into Topsham for Bacon Sarnie and a Mug of Tea!!

Back to the car and off to Matford Marshes to look for the Crackling Goose which I've not caught with yet. its also the first time Ive had a good look at this little reserve and very enjoyable it was too! Again didn't see the Goose but a nice range of birds here with again not big numbers but Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Tufted and Gadwall were the ducks with Mute Swan, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Coot, Moorhen, Herring Gull also around the water with Goldcrest, Blackbird, Robin, Magpie, Dunnock, Bullfinch, Blue and Great Tits with a Buzzard loafing about.

Saw lots of humans today and all looked happy to be out and not in the rain, a really good day out!



05 January 2016

Powderham, Exminster Marshes and Back

On my last day of my holiday, I managed with a bit of care to get to the carpark at Powderham Church from the north, water caught on a bend just up the road from the church, but went through ok in my little Fiesta!

I was the only car at the carpark, which would explain the large amount of birds around and on the floor, 2x Treecreepers and plenty of Tits with Coal, Blue, Great and Long-tailed in the bushes and Graveyard, Robin, Blackbird, Wren and Dunlin all present. The Rooks have made a noisy return and looks like they are already squabbling around the nests above the Carpark.

In the surrounding fields there was plenty of Carrion Crows, Jackdaws, Woodpigeons and Pheasants.

Off up the footpath and over the bridge to the River Exe, the tide was on its way in and the birds were on the move, Dark-bellied Brent Geese, about 100 of them were on moving from the river to the fields and some went back again. Also plenty of Black-headed and Herring Gulls on the fields too with Curlew, Grey Heron, Little Egrets, Oystercatchers, Carrion Crows and Rooks. Around the fence and the cycle path there was plenty of Stonechats and a few Robins and Goldfinches.

On the river there was Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Shielduck, Mallard, Cormorants, Black-tailed Godwits, Curlews, Grey Plovers, Avocets, Dunlin, Redshanks, Red-breasted Mergansers, a Little Grebe and a couple of Kingfishers close to Turf Lock. On the sea wall there was plenty of Pied Wagtails and a couple of Stonechats.

On the Canal there was Mute Swan, Cormorants and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers.

The Reserve was full of water and birds everywhere occasionally put up by the Peregrine which caused chaos!!

Large numbers of Canada Geese with Dark-bellied Brent Geese, Mute Swans, Moorhens, Coots, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Pintail, Mallard and Tufted Ducks. Also Curlew, Black-tailed Godwits, Lapwing, Redshank and Pheasants, Cormorants, Little Egrets, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls all present.

I could only get to the middle Carpark due to floods so turned back, plenty of birds in the bushes with Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Goldcrests, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Wren, Robin, Dunnock and Magpie.

At Turf a Red Admiral Butterfly, my first of the year was a nice surprise.

Not that many people about which was a shame as it was a glorious day!



03 January 2016

Brixham Harbour

Had a excellent time down at Brixham Harbour watching the influx of Great Northern Divers!

I parked up at the Freshwater Car Park and apart from the Grey Seal in front of me there was 6 Divers! Anyway I walked towards the harbour and picked up another bird but then when I got to the "Inner" harbour there was another 7 birds. The number got up to 15 birds later on in this area.

On walking around too the end of the sea wall I counted up to 22 Divers and 2 Great-crested Grebes in total. Fantastic sight but tempered with the sad sight of a couple of Guillemots trying to clean the oil off their feathers, I always find this sad because it is so unnecessary!

Plenty of Shags, all hunting for crabs with the Divers, also Cormorants sat around.

Plenty of Gulls about with Black-headed, Herring and good numbers of Great-black Backed Gulls sat on the pontoons and roofs.

Also 3 Purple Sandpipers at their usual roost and plenty of Turnstones all around the Harbour.

Saw lots of people about today and many birders enjoying the view and the general public full of questions. all very positive stuff!!!



02 January 2016

Exminster Marshes

This afternoon I thought I would visit the Marshes, but the place was flooded and access down the road was limited and the back path was also impassable! I parked up in The RSPB carpark and with wellies managed to get past the Red Lion Industrial site but couldn't get to the corner as the water was coming over the top of my boots. The back path to the Turf was flooded out almost immediately.

Plenty of birds about though with Redshank, Curlew, Dunlin, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Godwits, Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Dark-bellied Brent Geese, Shelduck, Shoveler, Pintail, Wigeon, Mallard, Teal, Moorhen, Coot, Lots of Gulls mainly Black-headed but some Herring Gulls, Rook, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon and Buzzard all on view. Around the Carpark a few small birds around the bushes with Robin, Blackbird, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Goldcrest.

I did try and get to the River Exe via Powderham but the road was flooded so had to turn back. It was good to get out though after being stuck indoors for various reasons!



31 December 2015

The Warren

Had a visit of about a hour to the entrance bushes at the Warren with an attempt to see the Firecrest. It was still sunny but the wind was picking up and the forecast said it would turn to rain. Luckily almost immediately lots of small birds around me, Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits with several Goldcrests. A Grey Wagtail sat preening over the first pond then just above it the Firecrest!! Just wouldn't sit still to have its photo taken, so frustrating!! Also saw a pair of Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, House Sparrow, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Wren and a very mobile Treecreeper.

Also saw what looked like a Red Admiral being blown along in the wind.

Plenty of humans about enjoying the fresh air, nice to see Phil and Steve.

Want to take this opportunity to wish everybody a Happy New Year and hope you get all you wish for!



29 December 2015

Dawlish Warren and Exminster Marshes

Up early and down the Warren to see the sun come up, always special to watch a new day start!

Went straight to the hide as high tide was about 8.30am, the light was great but all the birds were at finger point with the Brent Geese the only bird in good numbers near the hide, about 25 Grey Plover, Oystercatchers, Carrion Crows, a few Turnstones and Shelduck were on the mound in front of the hide, a couple of Redshank joined when the tide had gone out. A few Wigeon dotted around and plenty of Shelduck on the water, counted 70+ and 100+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese. Also another 50+ Brent Geese and 20+ Canada Geese on the golf course. When the tide had gone out a bit, Skylark, Linnet and a Rock Pipit were feeding around the rocks and grass. On Finger Point which was full of birds had Cormorants, Oystercatchers, Curlew, Dunnock, Godwits, Great-black Backed, Herring and Black-headed Gulls.

On the way back to the car I saw Great, Blue, Long-tailed Tits, Robin, Dunnock, Blackbird, Wren, Woodpigeons, Stonechat, Collard Dove, Magpie, House Sparrow and while I was looking for the Firecrest that had been on site for a while I saw 5 Goldcrest around the first pond and there could have been more!

Steve the Warden said he had seen a Swallow and a Female Golden Eye, sadly missed the both as well as the Cirl Bunting seen on Greenland Lake seen by Dave J.

The Cattle Egret had been reported back at Exminster Marshes so after a Bacon Sarnie off I went. Typically it had gone by the time I had arrived, so I walked to Turf and lots of birds on view with Canada Geese, Dark-bellied Brent Geese, Mute Swan, Little Egret, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Buzzard, Blue, Long-tailed and Great Tit, Wren, Peregrine, Robin, Woodpigeon, Lapwing, Curlew, Shoveler, Wigeon, Teal, Pintail, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Coot, Moorhen, Little Grebe and Pheasant.

At Turf the tide was out and the birds were well spread out but none close for some reason, all on the far mud banks with Avocet, Curlew, Godwits, Dunlin, Redshanks, Shelduck, Mallards, Grey Heron, Herring Gull, Black-headed Gull and a male Red Breasted Merganser.

Met plenty of humans today and good to see you all, lots of friendly birders about and a good day had by all!



28 December 2015

Exminster Marshes

Unfortunately another late start arriving at 1pm at the RSPB carpark, at least it wasn't raining, dark but not raining! I walked off towards the Turf via the back path which was muddy but passable. A few Mute Swan and plenty of Canada Geese in this section with Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler and Mallard in good number with a few Pintail spotted in the middle. A couple of Pheasant and fewer numbers of Carrion Crows than in previous visits, Female Sparrowhawk flew over sending some of the smaller birds for cover. A couple of Bullfinch, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, 2x Goldcrest, Blackbird, Robin, Wren and Pied Wagtail also seen in this section.

At Turf the tide was out and the birds were spread wide over the mud flats and would be difficult to give numbers but Avocet, Dunlin, Redshank, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Lapwing, Shelduck, Cormorant, Herring and Black-headed Gulls all seen. Also Grey/Golden Plovers seen on the other side-couldn't ID positively, might have been both? Also a Red-breasted Merganser close to the Canal entrance-smart bird but sadly flew off when someone on the other bank got too close?

On the way back I went along the cycle track were a Cettis Warbler who came into song, other birds seen on the way back, a lot more Canada Geese, about 100 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, Little Egret, Woodpigeon, Magpies, Carrion Crow, Rook, Starling, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Good numbers of Curlew, Lapwing, Mute Swans and ducks! Wigeon being the main with Teal, Mallard, Shoveler and Shelduck in supporting role, in the ditches there was a few Coot, Moorhen and a single Little Grebe.

Plenty of wild Flowers look like they are going to come into flower, not surprising with the mild weather.

Saw plenty of humans today, with Birdwatchers, Dog Walkers, Cyclists, Parents and just people out walking, all seem happy and that's the way I like it!!



27 December 2015

Torbay Boat Trip

After last nights gales and the heavy rain early morning I was expecting the trip to be called off, but on it was! Myself and 7 other soles joined Nigel and the Captain all waterproofed up on the boat. Like yesterday as it was so dark I wasn't expecting any pics and the ones I took of the pair of Peregrines in their roost were quickly deleted! Plenty of birds about with good numbers of Cormorant and Shags on the rocks and cliffs, Gannets making forays close to the shoreline and making spectacular dives. A few small Grebes with 2 Slavonian and 3 Black-necked Grebes and 3 of the larger Great Crested Grebes seen close to Broadsands Beach.

On the way to Berry Head I counted 24 Great Northern Divers with another 4 seen when we went to Preston Beach on the way back to Paignton Harbour. Surprisingly we didn't see any other species of Diver? Did see several times 7 Common Scoter and always at a distance.

Saw another Peregrine and plenty of Grey Heron, Raven, Little Egret, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Flyover Curlew, Guillemot, Razorbill, 3 Purple Sandpiper, Great-black Backed, Herring and Black-headed Gulls, a few Kittiwakes and Fulmar.

Also saw a couple of Grey Seals on our travels.

Great morning out in good company!



26 December 2015

Dull Day Out!

I know the forecast wasn't brilliant, but it has been a dull miserable day! Hence NO pictures.

Started the day off at Yarner, luckily there was one space left as everybody seemed to be out, kids and dogs all having a good time in there new coats and toys, parents, grandparents a real family atmosphere about the place. To be fare the birds didn't seem to care as they were all over the place. 5 Mandarins (3m1f)on the pond with plenty of birds on the feeders both at the pond and the higher hide. Plenty of Great, Blue, Long-tailed, Coal and Marsh Tits. Also Chaffinch, Nuthatch and Great Spotted Woodpecker all seen. Thought I would venture over to Challacombe thinking it would be more sheltered in the valley as the wind was picking up. My timing was great, as I went past Haytor I got caught up with the Boxing day Meet, stacks of people out and standing on every available viewing point. The wind seemed to be picking up as there was very few birds in the air, just a couple of Ravens who seemed to enjoy the ride. A Kestrel was having difficulty with the gusts while hunting, plenty of Herring Gulls of all ages sat on the fields out of the wind. Rooks, Jackdaws, Carrion Crows, Magpies, Fieldfares, Redwings, Blackbirds, Woodpigeons around the moor. House Sparrows, Starlings, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Pied Wagtail and Robin around houses and farm buildings. Got to Challacombe which was a waste of time as the bushes were all blown out.

On my way home I decided to pop into Stover, the M25 for dogs! It always depresses me here as they have ruined it! First the birds, in the lake and surrounding streams, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Male Red-Breasted Merganser, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Cormorant, Black-headed, Herring and Lesser-black Backed Gull. Other birds around Blue, Coal, Great Tits, Woodpigeon, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Robin, Blackbird, Wren and Chaffinch.

It was quite depressing walking around the lake, they have taken out a lot of shrubs that used surround the lake and put this path, Dogs out of control as I witnessed 2 unsuccessful attacks on water foul. One a Mute Swan and another a group of ducks also a dog in a fenced off area and no one about to manage the place.



24 December 2015

Exminster Marshes

After getting some Xmas stuff sorted and the rain had stopped I went off to Exminster Marshes, decided that I would give the back path a miss due to all the water and stick to the road to Turf and return via the Canal.

Nice bright sun with plenty of wind and loads of birds! The reserve was full of Canada Geese, 1000+ spread over the fields on both sides of the road, 40+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese and a single Greylag goose. Mute Swans, Moorhen, Grey Heron and good numbers of ducks, I have seen more but still a lot, Shelduck, Widgeon, Teal, Mallard and Shoveler. A few Snipe flew over and hundreds of Curlew in the fields ether side of the road. 100+ Lapwing quite mobile as well as Jackdaw, Rook and Carrion Crow looking for food in the pasture. Wood Pigeon and good numbers Pheasant again around the Red Lion buildings.

Plenty of Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits in the hedges. 4 Goldcrests very mobile with the Tit flocks as well as Blackbird, Starling, House Sparrow, Wren, Robin, Dunnock, Pied Wagtail, Goldfinch and 2 Fieldfare flew over.

At Turf is was quite windy and the birds were all tucked in by the waters edge, south of Turf large numbers of Curlew,150+ and 100+ Black-tailed Godwits. Just North of Turf there was 150+ Avocets, most stood by waters edge but some had ventured towards the pub giving great views, plenty of Redshank, Dunlin, Shelduck, Herring Gull, Black-headed Gull, Cormorant, Mute Swans, Mallard and 6 Red-breasted Mergansers.

Not that many people about, so almost had the place to myself.



23 December 2015

Birding around Topsham

The weather was supposed to be good today, the sun was out and I hadn't been to Topsham in a while so off I went. Understandably with Xmas around the corner Darts Farm was quite busy but still managed to park up, a lot more birds around in the sun with House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Blue Tit, Robin, Pied Wagtail in the bushes and on the buildings with Carrion Crow and Black-headed Gull on the fields.

Down the Cycle track found lots birds in the bushes with Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blackbird, Robin, Collard Dove, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Dunnock, Greenfinch, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie and Wren.

Not much on the creek with singles of Green and Redshank, Little Egret and a few Black-headed Gulls.

Goosemoor was also quiet with singles of Curlew and Greenshank and plenty of Black-headed Gulls. All the action was in the bushes between the railway and the walkway with Wren, Robin, Blue and Great Tit, Reed Bunting and 3 Goldcrests which were too mobile for me to get a pic, a bit frustrating when they were together-just not quick enough!

Along the road again more small birds with a female Bullfinch putting in a few passes between the bushes as I walked down the road, also seen House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Carrion Crow and Woodpigeon on view.

Lots of ducks at Bowling Green with Shelduck,Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Tufted, Mallard, Gadwall and Pintail. Moorhen, Coot and Grey Heron with Mute Swan, Canada, Greylag and Dark-bellied Brent Geese around the reserve. Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Snipe, Lapwing and Redshank were the Waders I saw. Plenty of small birds around the hedges with Blackbird, Goldfinch, Stonechat, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Robin, Dunnock and Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow and Magpie. Also a Sparrowhawk quartered over the back reeds before disappearing over the railway track.

Again very quiet from the platform with the exception of some Redshank and a Spotted Redshank nothing else!

When I got to the Goat walk I was surprised to see 20+ Turnstone close to the wall, a first for me. It then rained and I got soaked! should have brought my waterproofs, never mind so didn't hang around but still saw Great-black Backed, Herring and Black-headed Gulls, Avocets, Curlew and Black-tailed Godwits, Redshanks, Mallard and Pied Wagtail before heading back to the car.

Met lots of humans about today, all seem happy if not wet!!



21 December 2015

Dawlish Warren

A really wet start to the day so didn't get out until the afternoon to catch the high tide when the rain had stopped. It was 3.5m at the hide so I was hopeful to see plenty of birds. In the Bight just before there was plenty of Shelduck and Wigeon, I counted 74 Shelduck, but Iam sure there was more further around. Plenty of Dark-bellied Brent Geese with a further 50+ on the golf course. In front of the hide there was Oystercatchers, Grey Plover, a single Knot, Redshank, Dunlin, Turnstone, Shelduck, Wigeon, Cormorant, Carrion Crows, Great-black Backed and Herring Gulls with Curlew and Godwit sps on finger Point. Also a few small birds around with Pied Wagtail, Linnet and Water Pipit quite mobile in front and right of the hide.

Not much on the beach with Pied Wagtails and a single Turnstone, out to sea there was just Herring Gulls and Cormorants.

Around the rest of the reserve I saw Collard Dove, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Bullfinch, Dunnock, Robin, House Sparrow, Starling, Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits, Wren, Meadow Pipit and Stonechat.

Did notice lots of Pied Wagtails, 24 on one green alone on the golf course!

Not bad I thought for a couple of hours.

Good to see Phil and the ever happy Steve, not many other people about and not surprised considering the conditions.



20 December 2015

Exminster Marshes

Thought I would try out Exminster Marshes as there had been reported large numbers of birds including the American Wigeon which I had seen in Topsham last week.

The weather was supposed to be sunny with occasional showers, but went prepared as they always get it wrong!!

So with wellies and waterproofs I left the RSPB carpark down the footpath towards Turf.

Plenty of birds down here especially Finches with a small flock of 20+ Greenfinches a few Chaffinch, Goldfinch and 2 very smart Bullfinch who sadly wouldn't sit still long enough to get a pic. The Peregrine was sat on the Pylon looking around and with all the birds around it was spoilt for choice which one would be breakfast!

Several hundred Canada Geese in this section of the marshes with 200+ Wigeon, 50+ Teal and smaller numbers of Shoveler and Mallard. Grey Heron, Mute Swans, Coot and Moorhen also seen. Carrion Crow, Magpie, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Starling, Robin, Long-tailed, Great and Blue Tits, Wren and the sound of a Cettis was a welcome sound.

By the time I got to Turf it was raining and I had found out my waterproof coat wasn't very water proof?? Anyway plenty of waders on the edge of the tide, not going to give numbers as I couldn't honestly give it with all the movement but there was very large numbers of birds with Avocet, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Grey and Golden Plovers, Lapwing, Oystercatchers, Curlew, Redshank, Cormorant, Black-headed and Herring Gulls, Mallard, Shelduck and a single Snipe flew over. Also 5 Red-breasted Mergansers where the males were displaying-great site!

Making my way back to the car along the road in the rain, there was very few birds but as the rain eased off Blackbirds, Song Thrush, Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Long-tailed, Great and Blue Tits, Fieldfare, Redwing and Stonechat were around the hedges with Rooks, Carrion Crows and Jackdaws in the pasture looking for food. Large numbers of birds around the ponds and wet areas of the marsh with Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Black-tailed Godwits, Curlews, Redshank, Dunlin and Lapwing. Again large numbers of Canada Geese in this section with a few Mute Swans. Some of the fields had large gatherings of Pheasants especially between the Red Lion and the Railway Bridge, also saw a electric blue flash of a Kingfisher fly down the ditch. I didn't though see the American Wigeon as it had flown off somewhere.

Saw quite a few humans and plenty of birders and very nice they were too! It is great to be around such a happy bunch, more of it please!!



13 December 2015

Torbay Boat Trip

Another trip out into Torbay, this week though the weather was a lot better, very little wind and not raining!!

Paignton Harbour was full of water at 9am and the Turnstones were sat on all the boats and the Kingfisher was flying from perch to perch in search for breakfast.

Ashley the skipper took us out towards a couple of small fishing boats that were gutting fish and the boats were surrounded by 100+ gulls, lots of Great-black Backed and Herring Gulls with a few Gannets. We then went down towards Goodrington, 2 Peregrines in their usual roost with several pairs of Fulmar looking like they are already set up to nest? a bit early?

We saw quite a few Divers and Grebes with 5 Great-northern Divers, 1 Black-throated Diver flew behind the boat,11+ Great-crested Grebes, 6 Black-necked Grebes, 1 Slavonian Grebe and 3 small Grebes sp that we couldn't positively id. 4 Common Scooters around the Mussel Farm with plenty of Gulls around with Fulmar, Kittiwake, Herring, Black-headed, Great-black Backed Gulls, also 12+ Gannets, Cormorants, Shags, 12+ Grey Heron, Little Egret, Oystercatchers, 3 Razorbills and good numbers of Guillemots, 2 Ravens with Carrion Crow and Jackdaws also seen, 2 Mute Swans close to the beach and 4 Purple Sandpipers in Brixham Harbour with Turnstone, Rock Pipit and Pied Wagtails on the Harbour wall. At Berry Head we were lucky to see 2 Harbour Porpoise which sealed the day for me.

Had a really good morning with some lovely people.

Shame to hear some "Birders" criticising the boat trips because we are disrupting the birds? Today the Scooters were put up by a Gig and Grebes were put up by pleasure boats and a Trawler, do we here you complaining to them? Because pictures have been put on Devon Birds of birds flying it doesn't mean we have put them up! Have you not heard of "Cropping"? To me its just sour grapes from so called "Elite" Birders who want to keep it all to themselves!! Instead of complaining why don't you support someone local trying make a go of it! Rant over!



12 December 2015

Birding around Topsham

Not been to Topsham in a while so parked up at Darts Farm on a very blustery and dark afternoon and walked towards the cycle path. Plenty of xmas shoppers about but not that many birds with just Pied Wagtails, Rooks, Carrion Crows, Black-headed Gulls and House Sparrows to wet my appetite.

Down the cycle track found again a little sparse until you got out of the wind at the end of the track where it meets a road, too the left is a copse with Alder and these trees were full of birds with Bullfinch, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Blackbird, Treecreeper, Great, Spotted Woodpecker and Dunnock. Just a bit further on there was Magpie, House Sparrows, Woodpigeon and Carrion Crows.

The tide was out and there was Greenshank, Curlew, Redshank, Teal, Black-headed and Herring Gulls with plenty of Jackdaws over head.

At Goosemoor there was Mute Swan, 100+ Widgeon, 30+ Teal, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Redshank, Curlew, Cormorant and Carrion Crow on the mud with Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tits and 2 Goldcrests in the bushes.

Along the road there was Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Dunnock, Wren, Starling, Carrion Crows and Collard Doves on the wires, a lot of these birds were around the feeders by the hide enjoying the food put out for them.

Around the reserve there was good numbers of Widgeon as well as the visiting American Widgeon, Teal, Pintail, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Shelduck, 14 Greylag Geese, Dark-bellied Brent Geese, Moorhen, Coot, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwits, Stonechat, Jay, Magpies, Kestrel and a fly over Great-spotted Woodpecker.

There wasn't much on offer from the platform except a bit of quality with a Spotted Redshank to go with a couple of common Redshank and some Curlew.

The Avocets were putting on a show from the Goatwalk with Godwits, Curlew and Redshanks on view.

Met lots of humans out on this windy dark day but all seemed happy enough, must be xmas!!!



06 December 2015

Torbay Boat Trip

To be honest after such a stormy night I thought the trip would be cancelled but thankfully it went ahead. It was grey, overcast and raining so there was never going to be any award winning pictures but was hoping that the bad weather would bring in some quality birds.

Because of the weather we couldn't go to the north or venture the other side of Berry Head.

Out of Paignton Harbour and headed towards Brixham harbour via Broadsands and the Mussel Farm.

We passed the Peregrines in their normal place, both huddled up on a ledge trying to stay out of the wind.

Plenty of Gulls about with Great-black, Herring, Black-headed, Kittiwakes and Fulmars. Gannets also close in and coming over the boat. The usual Cormorants and Shags on the rocks with Oystercatchers, Turnstones, Carrion Crows, Little Egret, Grey Heron and Rock Pipits. One bird we didn't see was Purple Sandpiper? Not in the harbour at Brixham or on the sea wall so don't know ere they disappeared to?

On the water I counted 8 Great Northern Divers, 2 Great Crested Grebes, 6 small Grebes which I thought were all Black-necked but others thought 1 was a Slav? I did see a small Grebe later that was a Slav closer to Broadsands. Also a small Auk flew by that brought some excitement that it was a Little Auk but waiting on the photographic evidence. Saw a few Guillemots and a couple of Razorbills, 7 Common Scooter were seen the sea would side of the Mussel Farm.

A good couple of hours out in pleasant company and looking forward to the next trip.



29 November 2015

Dawlish Warren

The weather didn't look great so thought I would get to the hide at the Warren for high tide at 8.30am, it was quite grey and dark and not expecting any award winning photos!

Only Steve one of the Wardens about the reserve but the golf course was full of people. Plenty of birds about though with 1000+ Dunlin flying around finding it difficult to settle because of the very high tide and a couple of Carrion Crows keep landing in the middle. Grey Plover in good number with Turnstone and a couple of Sanderling in with the Dunlin resting on the island. A few Dark-bellied Brent Geese as well as Shelduck, Teal and Widgeon. Good numbers of Great-black Backed Gulls, 80+ easily by Finger Point. Also Oystercatchers and Cormorants in good numbers and a single Little Egret.

3 Cirl Buntings behind the hide on the brambles was a good find as well as singles of Water and Rock Pipit.

Around the rest of the reserve there was Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Pied Wagtail, Collard Dove, Wood Pigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Starling, Magpie, Carrion crow, Linnets and Stonechats.

A few Gannets and Cormorants seen out to sea, but Iam sure there was more as I didn't hang around.

Home for Bacon Sarnie and the usual "Sunday" jobs!!



28 November 2015

Labrador Bay and Exminster Marshes

Thought I would pay the RSPB reserve at Labrador Bay to see the Cirl Buntings, the weather was crap but thought the birds would be on the floor in the stubble as previous visits had shown.

Sadly I wasn't expecting free running dogs having a free for all in the fields. The owners were oblivious, but I know what would be said, its a public footpath and No livestock around so what's the problem???

The problem for me the flocks of small birds, (Chaffinch and Goldfinch) that were struggling in the wind kept being put up by the dogs and there was a dog around the feeding station with the owner nowhere to be seen. So hardly any birds seen although did see 1 Cirl close to the feeding station in the hedge. Frustrating!!!

Off to Exminster and plenty to see here with large numbers of birds coming off the River Exe, 1000+ Canada Geese over the reserve with another 400+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese. In the group by the middle car park there was a Black Brant and a weird looking Canada Goose that had a almost white head, I certainly had a double take when I saw it!

Plenty of ducks with 500+ Widgeon visible from the back path towards Turf, also saw Teal, Shoveler and Mallard.

100+ Curlew and a few Black-tailed Godwits in the pastures with Lapwing and as usual plenty of Corvides, Rooks, Jackdaws and Carrion Crows picking through the grass.

Grey Heron, Mute Swans, Little Egrets, Moorhens and the electric blue flash of an Kingfisher by the stream by the path.

Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Robins, Blackbirds, Dunlin, Stonechat, Pied Wagtail, 20+ Redwing, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove and lots of Pheasants.

Surprised to see NO Raptors with all these birds about?

On the mud flats few birds but very windy hence the amount of birds on the marsh, but there was a few Avocet, Cormorants, Black-headed Gulls and Mute Swans.

Met a few people about who weren't dog owners and all seem to be enjoying the blustery weather.



22 November 2015

Torbay Boat Trip and Broadsands

Its that time of year again when I join Nigel S on his winter boat trips around Torbay. We met at Paignton Harbour for 9am but we had to wait for an extra 20 minutes for there to be enough water in the harbour for the boat to be able to leave. This time wasn't wasted as there was plenty to see in the Harbour with a Kingfisher flying in between the boats putting on a good show, Turnstones at our feet was fun with Oystercatcher, Mute Swan, Great-black Backed, Herring and Black-headed Gulls, Carrion Crows and Rock Pipit.

Finally on board and after Nigel giving us a safety check we were on our way. It was very calm not like the wind of yesterday.

Not sure how much we would see as its still early for large numbers of Grebes and Divers, we did see 3 Great Northern Divers and a Couple of Great Crested Grebes, although reports of Scooters we didn't see any only some Shelduck.

2 Peregrines put on a good show on the cliffs, 8 Purple Sandpipers in Brixham Harbour with some Turnstones in there usual roost.

There must have been about 800 Guillemots seen today if you include all the ones on the cliffs at Berry Head, on the sea and those flying around, great little bird. They were though the only Auks seen.

Plenty of Cormorants, Shags, Grey Herons and a couple of Little Egrets. Good numbers of Oystercatchers around the rocks with Rock Pipit and Pied Wagtails also seen.

Plenty of gulls with Great-black Backed, Herring, Black-headed Gulls, several Fulmar and Kittiwakes with a couple of Gannet seen.

When we were at Berry Head we saw some Harbour Porpoise which was just magical-love watching these!

After the trip I went to Broadsands were there had been reports of Firecrest, I hadn't seen one in ages and the only picture I have is of its backside! There was plenty of birds here around the carpark including at least one Firecrest! Fantastic but to fast for me to get pic! Bugger!! but at least I saw one, plenty of other birds with Bullfinch, Cirl Bunting, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting, Chaffinch, Blue, Great, Coal and Long-tailed Tits, Blackbird, Robin, Chiffchaff, Wren, Woodpigeon and a Buzzard loafing above in the blue sky.

Had a great day and in some great company.



21 November 2015

Powderham Marshes

Having only a few hours to have walk around thought I would give Powderham Marshes a look and glad I did!

It was quite windy and thought the bushes might be "Blown Out" but a lot of birds on the ground. Where ever I had been today I have seen Woodpigeons as there had been reports of big movements, 20000 in an hour at the Warren so wasn't surprised to see plenty of birds in the fields, but a welcome surprise a small flock of 22 Stock Doves feeding in the 1st stubble field, too far for a picture, they and others were put up by something and went over to Exminster Marshes.

Plenty of Corvides with Rooks, Carrion Crows, Jackdaws and Magpies looking for food in the pastures.

Chaffinches, Goldfinches, Fieldfares, Redwings, Robins and Blackbirds were in good numbers in the hedges. Also Long-tailed Tits, Blue Tits, Dunnock, Pheasant, Pied Wagtails, Starlings and Wren also seen.

Lapwings, Curlew, Mute Swans, Black-headed and Herring Gulls, Teal and Mallard all seen near ditches and flooded areas with a Kestrel sat on the wires.



15 November 2015

Exminster Marshes

Went for a walk around the Reserve at Exminster today and plenty of birds about.

Plenty of Thrushes about with 30+ Redwings, 6 Fieldfares, Song Thrush and Blackbirds. Lots of Long-tailed, Blue and great Tits, Chiffchaff, Robin, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and Chaffinch. Grey Heron, Little Egret, Coot, Moorhen, Canada Geese, Greylag Geese, Mute Swan, Mallard, Teal, Shoveler and Widgeon.

lots of Corvides about, especially north of the Red lion industrial estate with Rook, Jackdaw and Carrion Crows on the wires and going through the pasture. Also a Raven was mobbing 3 Buzzards that were circling Toby's yard.

Also saw Pied Wagtail, Starling, Woodpigeon, Pheasant, Wren, Lapwing and a Peregrine sat on the pylons as normal.

At Turf looking out on the Exe was 20+ Mute Swans, Little Egret, Cormorant, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Redshank, Black-headed, Herring, Great-black Backed Gulls. Looking up the river there was Avocet, Dunlin, Lapwing, Oystercatcher and more Curlew.

Nice to meet a few birders today, some out looking for the Crackling Goose but not found. Good day!



08 November 2015

Exminster Marshes

Decided not to go to Exmouth to see the Serin as not in the mood to stand around for a hour of two watching a bush!

So got my wellingtons sorted and off to Exminster Marshes, since yesterday even more water had come down so was hopeful I might see more Ducks.

I went down the back path from the car park and wasn't disappointed with large numbers of Mallard, Widgeon, teal and Shoveler all down the marsh with 1000+ Canada Geese, Mute Swans and Moorhens.

Also plenty of Curlew, Black-tailed Godwits and Lapwings, Little Egrets, Pheasants.

Plenty of Corvides about with Carrion Crows, Rooks, and Jackdaws feeding on the pasture with Magpies in the hedges and 4 Ravens sat on a pylon.

Large number of small birds in the bushes and small trees with Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Blackbird, Song thrush, 30+ Redwing, Robin, Wren, Great, Blue, Coal, Long-tailed Tits, Dunnock, Blackcap, Cettis Warbler, Woodpigeons and 100+ Starlings.

At Turf the tide was on its way in but plenty of birds on the waters edge with 100+ Curlew, 100+ Black-tailed Godwits, 100+ Dunlin, Redshank, 30+ Avocets, Oystercatchers, Cormorants, Little Egret, Mute Swans, Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls, Pied Wagtail and Carrion Crows.

Good to see the Redwings, shame they didn't stay in one place long enough for a pic. Reports of the Crackling Goose and Water Pipits but I dipped on both. Very few people about which was great at Turfs as I dint have to queue for a coffee!



07 November 2015

Serin and Exminster

The weather was awful this morning but looked good for this afternoon so went over to Exmouth for the afternoon to see if I could see the Serin. Typically it had been seen just before I got there and was not seen for the hour and half I was there! Good to meet all the other birders, some visiting from Somerset and have a chat with Matt Knott. Might try again tomorrow?

On the way back home I popped into Exminster and just walked the road from the carpark to the Turf and back. Was hoping to see a few Ducks and Brent Geese but was unlucky on both. No Brent Geese and very few Ducks, just a couple of Mallard, Teal, Shoveler and Widgeon. Plenty of Curlew and Black-tailed Godwits which flew in from the estuary in the evening sun also Lapwing around the scrapes.

Plenty of small birds around the bushes and hedges with Chiffchaff, Great and Blue Tits, Pied Wagtail, Woodpigeon, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Dunnock, 100+ Starling, Magpie, Rook, Carrion Crow and Jackdaw. Lots of Canada Geese, a few Mute Swans, Moorhen, Little Egrets, Grey Heron and a Peregrine on its usual perch the Pylon.

At Turf the tide was in and there was just Herring and Black-headed Gulls, Cormorants and Mute Swans on the water.

Not that many humans about but a nice walk anyway.



01 November 2015

Around Topsham

Late start to the day after a night out, a miserable grey day so not much chance of doing any worth while photography> Still fancying a walk I went off to do a circular walk of Topsham starting and finishing at Darts Farm.

Plenty of shoppers at Darts and the carpark was full and lucky to find a space, a few birds about with Carrion Crow, Magpie, Robin, Pied Wagtail, Blue Tit, Herring and Black-headed Gull with a group of 50+ Fly over Canada Geese.

Down the Cycle Path there was House Sparrow, Robin, Pied Wagtail, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Herring and Black-headed Gulls flying over.

The Creek was empty of birds as was Goosemoor with the exception of some Teal and a fly over Cormorant.

Along the road, especially at the back of the hide at Bowling Green Marsh there was Blue, Great, Coal and Long-tailed Tit. Blackbird, Wren, Robin, Greenfinch, Starling, House Sparrow, Woodpigeon and Magpies.

On the reserve there was Buzzard, Grey Heron, Greylag Geese, Canada Geese, Lapwings Carrion Crows, Jay, Dunnock, Pied Wagtail, Starling, Blackbird, Wren, Woodpigeon, Black-tailed Godwits, Moorhens, Teal, Widgeon, Mallard, Pintail, Tufted Duck and Shoveler.

From the Platform that overlooks the River Clyst there was loads of Black-tailed Godwits, Lapwings, 3x Little Grebes, Mute Swans, Curlew, Great-black Backed Gulls, Grey Heron, Herring and Black-headed Gulls and Little egret.

Behind the platform in the bushes there was stacks of small birds with Great, Blue, Coal, Long-tailed Tits, Goldcrests, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Robin, Wren and Greenfinches all working hard to find food.

From the Goat walk you could see loads of Waders down the river with Curlew, Godwits, Redshank, Dunlin, Lapwing, avocets, oystercatchers, Grey Heron, cormorants, Great-black, Backed, Herring, and Black-headed Gulls.

In Topsham there was Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, House Sparrows, Blackbirds, Starlings, Herring and Black-headed Gulls.

a few humans about but few birders, good day though and grateful for the fresh air!!



31 October 2015

Exminster Marshes and Dawlish Warren

On this lovely day I thought I might try my luck at Exminster Marshes, to my surprise the car park was empty and I had the place to myself, well the back path anyway!

Plenty of birds about especially in the bushes with lots of Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits. A large flock working its way down the path looking for food in the scrub. These were joined by 2 Goldcrest which were great to see.

Other birds seen were Carrion Crow, Magpies, Wood Pigeon, Canada Geese, Mute Swans, Blackbird, Robin, wren, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Pied Wagtail, Starlings, Grey Heron, Pheasants, Black-headed and Herring Gulls, Female Sparrowhawk and a Peregrine sat pruning its self on the Pylons.

At Turf there was no birds on the bushes which was unusual, but plenty of birds on the mud flats with Mute Swans, a single Dark-bellied Brent Goose, Grey Heron, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwits, Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls, Cormorants, Little Egret and Shelduck. Up river towards Topsham you could see 100+ Dunlin, Lapwing, Godwits, Curlew, Redshanks and Avocets in good numbers.

Going back to the car via the road saw again lots of Long-tailed, blue and Great Tits, again joined by Goldcrests as well as Blackbird, Dunock, Robin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting, Wren and a couple of Cettis Warblers. 100+ Canada Geese flew over from Topsham putting on a good show for the public. In the fields you could see more Canada Geese, Mute Swans and Grey Heron and Skylarks. There was also plenty of Corvides with Rook, Carrion Crow and Jackdaws working their way through the pasture with plenty of Magpies around the hedges. In the ditches and wet areas there was Mallard, Teal, Widgeon and Coots.

Also saw a Red Admiral and a few Hawker sp.

Plenty of humans about all enjoying the good weather.

As I had some more sunlight left thought I would check the bushes and Greenland Lake at the Warren on my way home. Found 18 species which wasn't bad, Wren, Robin, Dunnock, Starling, Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits, Meadow Pipit, Stonechat, Chaffinch, Woodpigeon, House Sparrow, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Herring and Black-headed Gulls and a couple of Moorhens on the pond. Good also to bump into Phil for a chat.



30 October 2015

Cattle Egrets

I like this type of Bird Watching every so often, just drove up and wound down the window, took a few shots then drove off! easy!! These two were at Teigngrace, Devon.



29 October 2015

Pallas Leaf Warbler

After trying yesterday and failing thought I would give it another go!

I was just going to stay for a hour then carry on to see the Glossy Ibis at Black Hole Marsh, but this put such a good show I stayed for most of the day. It was frustrating as it didn't stay in one place long enough to get a decent picture, lots of great views as I followed it around with my bins, plenty of Goldcrests, 5 together at one point.

Met lots of other birders from all over the place and a very friendly bunch!



28 October 2015

Dawlish Warren and Powderham Marshes

As it was supposed to be dry and clear this morning and high tide was going to be 6.55am I decided to go to the Warren to see what was about.

I parked up at the station as normal and noticed the morning chorus but not as noisy as I have heard before, this sadly was taken over by Dogs barking! As I got to the area known as the "Buffer Zone" there was 7 dogs running around, chasing rabbits and crapping everywhere! The owners, one in a dressing gown drinking out of a cup were in a huddle chin wagging! Brilliant nice start to the day, but thankfully no dogs on the reserve or the beach. After watching the sun come up which is always a enjoyable experience I walked off to the hide, I did notice large numbers (50-60) of Cormorants flying from the area of the Langston Rock towards the river Exe.

Birds seen were Robin, Dunnock, Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Herring and Black-headed Gulls, Magpie, linnets and Goldfinches.

When I got to the river there was a disturbance on Finger Point, a seal had come up next to the point sending the birds up, 1st time I had seen a Seal so far in the Bight.

The Tide was quite high but not enough to cover the Island, Little Egret, Dark Bellied Geese, Widgeon, Mallard, Teal, Shelduck, Grey Plover, Turnstone, Dunlin, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwits, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Sanderling, Black-headed, Herring, Great-black Backed Gulls, Cormorant and Mute Swans. Around the bushes behind the hide there was Linnet, Rock Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Robin and Reed Bunting.

On the way back to the car I saw Stonechat, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Robin, Blackbird, Linnet, Greenfinch, Woodpigeon, House Sparrow, Great and Blue Tit and the best of all a 1st Winter Female Ringed Ouzel! At the car there was a Chiffchaff busy in the shrubs looking food.

Got myself a Bacon Butty and off to look around Powderham Marshes, Large numbers of Goldfinches, Starling, Woodpigeon and Pheasants in around the fields with seed crops in, other birds seen were 2 Jays, Kestrel, Blackbird, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Pied Wagtail, House Sparrow, Moorhen, Dunnock, Wren, Curlew and a possible flyover Cirl Bunting.

I also went over to Exmouth to see the Pallas Warbler but as I arrived it went to cover and didn't come out so will try tomorrow.

Saw lots of birders about and good to see everybody. Good day out!



27 October 2015

Exminster Marshes

Typically when Iam on holiday it rains, this morning was no different! It thankfully started to clear up so I went to Exminster Marshes for a couple of hours.

The car park was unusually empty and so I walked off down he back path to Turf without a dog walker in sight!

Plenty of birds about and singing in the afternoon sun, because it was damp and warm there was plenty of midges about and the smaller birds were making the most of it. Lots of Robins, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Blackbirds, Wren, Starlings, Call of a Cettis Warbler made me jump! Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeons, Lots of Pheasants, 3x Greylag Geese, several hundred Canada Geese, Mute Swans, a Peregrine sat on the electricity pylons and a Female Sparrowhawk flying over the hedge looking for dinner. Also a fly over of Curlew with Black-headed and Herring Gulls.

The Bushes around Turf there was 100+ Starlings on the bushes and wires, 20+ group of Gold and Green Finches and a small Tit flock of 15 birds consisting of Blue and Long-tailed Tits. A Kestrel flew by being harassed by a Carrion Crow.

On the mud flats by Turf there was Mute Swans, Cormorants, Grey heron, Little Egrets, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Oystercatchers, Black-tailed Godwits, Curlew, Avocets, Mallard, Wigeon and Shelduck.

Back to the car via the road found many birds in the roadside bushes with another 50+ Starlings, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Robins, Wrens, Blackbirds, 2x Chiffchaffs, Goldfinches, Woodpigeons and a Warbler sp. it had a call like a Sedge but was quieter, I didn't see it as it spent the time in the lower shrub and stayed out of sight?

Other birds seen were Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Little egrets, Grey Heron, Coot, Mallard, Teal, Pied Wagtail and more Pheasants!

Not many other people about but I had a great walk!!



26 October 2015

Topsham

Today the weather was opposite to yesterday in true British style!! I thought a trip to Topsham might be worth a go and to be honest had a great afternoon!

I got to Darts farm and it was grey and overcast and there was a shower of rain. Around the Darts there was Magpie, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Carrion Crow and some Herring Gulls flying over.

Not a lot on the cycle path with some Chaffinch, Starling, Robin, Blue Tit with plenty of Black-headed and Herring Gulls flying around.

Along the River Clyst the tide was out but only a few birds here with Curlew, Black-tailed Godwits, Grey Heron and Little Egret.

At Goose moor there was fly overs from Magpie, Woodpigeon and Carrion Crow. On the mud there was Black-tailed Godwits and a single Curlew. Quite a few ducks which were mainly Teal with a couple of Widgeon and Mallard. On the way back most of the above had gone and been replaced by 13 Greenshanks, 1 Redshank and a few Mallard.

Along the road there was Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Great and Blue Tits, Blackbirds, Woodpigeon, Carrion crows and Starlings.

In the Reserve there was not many Geese when I went through but on my return there was loads of Canada geese, looked like 6 Greylag and 1 Barnacle Goose.

Fly overs from Black-headed, Herring, Woodpigeon, Magpie and Carrion Crow. Plenty of Ducks with Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, Pintail and Shelduck on view.

Waders that I could see were Black-tailed Godwits, Redshanks, Greenshanks and Curlew.

From the platform that overlooks the River Clyst there was Lapwing, Redshank, Greenshank, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwits, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Mallard, Cormorants and further down there was a group of 50+ Avocets.

From the Goat walk I was welcomed by 1000 odd Canada Geese which crossed the River Exe from Exminster Marshes towards Bowling Green, on the mud flats there was 100+ Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits, Curlew, Dunlin, Redshank, Mallard, Little Egret, Great-black Backed, Herring and Black-headed Gulls.

In Topsham there was Pied Wagtail, Jackdaws, Starlings, Woodpigeons and Little Egrets, Black-tailed Godwits and Black-headed Gulls on the mudflats next to the quay side.

Plenty of humans about and good to see David B and other birders about, all in all a good afternoon!



25 October 2015

Shapwick, Somerset

On this brilliant sunny day I thought I would pay a visit to Somerset, mostly Shapwick which is one of my favourite places, hoping again to get some better pictures of the Marsh Harriers that are here.

After parking up at the Avalon Centre and a Bacon Butty to set me up for the day I made a start.

Plenty of birds around the buildings with House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Robin, Dunnock, Reed Bunting, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow and Magpie seen.

On the way to Decoy Hide there was a few small birds in the bushes with a calling Cettis Warbler, Blue, Coal, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Wren, Carrion Crow, Raven and a Pheasant. Plenty of Dragonflies in this area in the sun with Common Darter, Migrant Hawker and Emperor Dragonflies seen.

At Decoy there wasn't many birds but plenty of quality with a quick flight of a Bittern and 3x Marsh Harriers, Peregrine, Sparrowhawk and 5x Buzzards all soaring in front of the hide. On the water there was plenty of Coots with Shoveler, Mallard, Tufted Ducks, Cormorant and Mute Swans. There was also a flock of Lapwings that flew over as well as Black-headed and Herring Gulls in the air.

Around the path to Noah's there was Gadwall, Tufted and Mallard. Coot, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crows, Chaffinch. The three Marsh Harriers drifted towards me but frustratingly with the sun behind them!!!

At Mere Heath Hide there was another Marsh Harrier in the distance being mobbed by some crows, in the water there was Canada Geese, Wigeon, Mallard, Cormorant and Mute Swans with Cygnets.

Further along at the scrape there was very little as it was full of water, just Mute Swans, Coot, Mallard, Tufted Ducks, Cormorant and Black-headed Gulls.

I went to Noah's Hide but couldn't get in because of all the people so had a look from the ground and could see plenty of Mute Swans, Wigeon, Mallard, Tufted Ducks, Cormorants, Black-headed and Herring Gulls.

Lots of friendly humans about completed a very nice day!



18 October 2015

Topsham

Went to Topsham today for a walk to the centre and back to Darts Farm, a bit grey but dry.

At Darts farm it was quite busy so had to park around the back and right in front of me was a Lesser-black Backed Gull sat on the roof, smart looking bird! Also around was House Sparrow, Starling, Great Tit, Robin, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Wood Pigeon, Magpie, Herring Gull and Pied Wagtail.

Onto the cycle track which was a bit quieter than normal with Blackbird, Wren, Robin, Starling, Blue Tit, Jackdaw and Carrion Crow.

The Creek continued the quiet theme with just a Little Egret on show. Hoping this was not going to continue I was relieved to see some birds on Goosemoor with Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Cormorant, Little Egret, Moorhen, Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Black-headed Gull, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel. These last two birds put in several appearances on my walk today.

Along the road apart from the two Raptors there was Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Blue and Great Tits, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow and Magpie.

I had missed most of the waders at the reserve but still plenty of ducks with good numbers of Widgeon, Teal, Shoveler, Mallard and a few Pintail. Also Black-tailed Godwits, Lapwing, Woodpigeon, Pied Wagtail, Moorhen, Magpie, Grey Heron, Plenty of Canada Geese, Herring and Black-headed Gull.

Along to the viewing Platform which over looks the River Clyst saw Kingfisher, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Black-tailed Godwit, Cormorant, Avocet, Little Egret, Black-headed and Herring Gull.

Along the Goat Walk Redshank, Avocet, Oystercatchers, Curlew and Black-tailed Godwits were on the mud bank, A flash of electric blue was a Kingfisher with Grey Heron, Little Egret and Cormorant at the waters edge. The ever present Black-headed and Herring gulls flying around.

In Topsham there was plenty of noisy Starlings roosting on the wires and boat rigging with House Sparrows, Collard Doves and Jackdaws around the houses.

Plenty of humans about enjoying the day and good to see Ivan and others in the hide.



17 October 2015

Isabelline Shrike

In a frustrating week at work seeing all these rarities about it was good to get out and catch up with one! This Isabelline Shrike, a rare vagrant from Mongolia and Western China was at South Huish Marshes in South Devon and making itself at home on the local wasps!

Good to see everybody today, lots of faces I recognise but don't know your names? Anyway good to see you all!!



11 October 2015

Exminster and Powderham Marshes

Started off at Exminster Marshes and a good selection of birds but no Butterflies or Dragons seen.

At Turf on the mud flats there was Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Cormorants, Mute Swans, Carrion Crows, Curlew and Black-tailed Godwits on show.

Around the rest of the Reserve there was Magpie, Carrion Crows, Wood Pigeon, Peregrine, Canada Geese, Mute Swans, Pheasants, Starlings Robin, Blue, Long-tailed and Great Tits, Lapwing, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Stonechats, Grey Heron, Coot, Moorhen, Black-tailed Godwits, Good numbers of Teal and Mallard. Surprised NOT to see any Widgeon??

Then on to Powderham Marshes were there was a lot more small birds around the bushes with good numbers of Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Blue and Great Tits, Wren, Carrion Crow, Robin, Woodpigeon, Mute Swan, and Kestrel.

Plenty of seed heads on the flowers and surprised not to see more birds but an area to keep an eye on.

Nice to bump into quite a few "non birding" friends but didn't see anybody else out with bins.

With the dull grey day winter is definitely on the way.



03 October 2015

Dawlish Warren and Exminster Marshes

Got to the Warren this morning and it looked ok but when I got to the Hide because of the fog you couldn't see 20ft, you could hear the birds such as the Oystercatchers and the returning Wigeon. The sun eventually burnt off the fog about 12 giving great views up the river.

Other birds seen at the hide were Grey Plover, Dunlin, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Carrion Crows Black-Headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls. Also great to see the returning Dark-bellied Brent Geese.

Other birds around the reserve were Blackbird, Starling, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Blackcaps, Wheatear, Linnet, Stonechat, Wren, Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tit, Chiffchaff, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow and Magpie.

At the pond there has been work done to clear the reeds which is done annually here which makes it easier to see the ducks etc. but only a Moorhen was seen.

I also saw what could have been a Yellow-Browed Warbler in Greenland lake, the bird was very mobile and went over to the golf course and couldn't relocate it.

I then went up to Exminster Marshes sort of expecting to see some more Wigeon and Brent Geese but didn't see any!!

Did see though Peregrine Falcon, both male and female Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, large number of Canada Geese, Woodpigeon, Robin, Wren, Song thrush, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Cormorant, Pheasants, Grey Heron, Lapwing, Mallard, Teal, Pied Wagtail, Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits, Swallows and large numbers of Goldfinches feeding on Thistle heads in the field next to Turf.

100+ Starlings on the wires and bushes at Turf.

On the mud flats by Turf were Cormorant, Little Egret, Black-tailed Godwits, Curlew, Greenshank, Mute Swans, Carrion Crow, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls.

A few Butterflies about with Small Copper, Small White and Spotted wood on the wing. Common Darter and Migrant Hawkers also seen.

A few humans about with Dawlish Warren being the busiest, good to see everybody at the Hide and I was the only one with some bins at the Marshes.

It started as a cold foggy day but turned into a stunning sunny day!!!



26 September 2015

Exminster Marshes

On a beautiful day a walk around the marshes was the order of the day. On arrival at the car park you could see Swallows and a couple of House Martins were hawking for flies above the car park and "Tobys". When I started to walk down the road I was struck by the numbers of Corvides in the trees and in the grass. Occasionaly flying up and making a right racket, a few Carrion Crows, but mostly Rooks and Jackdaws.

Around the rest of the reserve there was Blackbird, Wren, robin, Chiffchaff, Blue, Great and Long Tailed Tits, Woodpigeon, Kestrel, Chaffinch, Greenfinch and Goldfinch.

At Turf there was plenty of Black-headed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Cormorants, Grey Heron, Black-tailed Godwits, Curlew and Mute Swans with cygnets.

A few Butterflies with Peacock, Red Admiral and Large White on show with a couple of Common Darter and lots of Migrant Hawkers, several of them "coupling".

Plenty of people about and all behaving themselves but I seem to be the only one out with a pair of bins!



20 September 2015

Challacombe, Dartmoor.

Went up on Dartmoor today and took the time to have a walk around the farm and a few adjoining fields.

You can tell the difference to yesterday down on the coast, a few birds, but No Butterflies, Dragons or other big insects such as Wasps or Bees.

All the birds were in the bushes looking for the remaining flies and midges with the exception of a Stonechat and a very smart Whinchat.

In the bushes there was Blue Tits, Great Tits, Chaffinch, Robin, Wren, Blackbird and a Dunnock.

Carrion Crows and a Raven flew over with Woodpigeon in the large trees, the call of a Green Woodpecker was a surprise and a few remaining Swallows hawking around the buildings.

With a chill in the air winter is on its way!!!



19 September 2015

Powderham, Exminster Marshes and Back

On this beautiful day I took a circular walk starting and finishing at Powderham Church which took me up the River Exe and around the marshes at Exminster.

There was plenty of birds at Powderham with a small Tit flock in the bushes, Blue and Great Tits but also Chaffinch, Blackbird and Robin. In the stubble there were large numbers of Rooks, Carrion Crows and the odd Pheasant looking for food. Also in the Vergers Cottage House Martins were still busy feeding chicks.

On the mudflats as you cross over by the bridge there was 50+ Black-headed Gulls and a small group of Ringed Plover close to the wall, on the wall itself on the way to Turf there was several Pied Wagtail and a couple of Wheatear. In the fields there was a few Rooks looking for food in the pasture with 5 Little Egrets and a Grey Heron in the ditch. A couple of fly over Greenfinches and a Mistle Thrush in the trees half way up the path.

At Turf there was a very noisy flock of about 100 Starlings were on the wires and a few Swallows hawking for flies.

On the mud flats at Turf there was Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls, Cormorant, Curlew, Godwits, Little Egret and Mute Swans with Cygnets.

Around the reserve it was quite busy with people, not only on the cycle track but on the paths picking Blackberries and walking their dogs. Contractors were busy on the fields cutting the grass and getting it ready for the winter, still though plenty to see, a few Tit Flocks about the reserve going through the bushes with a big flock of Blue, Great and Long Tailed Tits along the back path, Blackbirds, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Robin, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Dunnock, Reed Bunting, Stonechat, Curlew, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Mallard, Teal, Swallows, Carrion Crows, Rooks, Jackdaw, Magpie, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and the electric blue flash of a Kingfisher were all seen.

In the sun there was plenty of insects about, but not that many Butterflies, a couple of Whites and Spotted Wood. Lots of Dragons though with Emperor, Common Darter and lots of Migrant Hawkers, I saw a couple "Coupling" stunning insects!

As I have said before plenty of humans about and all having a good time, there was a family at the "pond dipping" area and from the cries of delight from the kids they were having a great time!!



06 September 2015

Topsham and Exminster Marshes

After a late start again I went over to Topsham for a walk around starting at Darts Farm.

At Darts Farm itself there was very few birds about apart from a small flock of House Sparrows feeding on the feeders on the balcony of the RSPB shop also a fly over of a Magpie and Woodpigeon and that was that!

Along the cycle path there was a bit more life with Dunnock, Blue and Great Tit, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Magpies, Robin and Woodpigeon. The River Clyst was empty of birds because of a family enjoying the water with canoes and swimming and in this glorious weather why not??

Goosemoor was a different story with 20+ Greenshank, Redshank, Dunlin, Ruff, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Shelduck, Little Egret, Grey Heron and Black-headed Gulls. Fly overs from Woodpigeon, Buzzard, Magpie and Carrion Crow with Wren, Robin, Blue Tits and Woodpigeon in the bushes.

Around the reserve and along the road there was Blue, Great and Coal Tit, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Carrion Crow, Bar and Black-tailed Godwits, Spotted Redshank, Redshank, Avocet, Knot, Cormorant, Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Pintail, Canada Geese and Swallows hawking over the field. A Buzzard and quite a few gulls flying high above the reserve.

At the Platform the water was still quite high and a bit of disturbance with canoeists and people on boards so not many birds, but with the help of David B and his scope could see a Little and Sandwich Tern on buoys down river. Also Oystercatcher, Godwits and Knot around.

Apart from Black-headed Gulls nothing at the Goatwalk, in Topsham there was also very little apart from a lone House Martin taking food to its chicks that was it!

A few Butterflies about, especially on the Buddleia on the cycle path, Large and Small White, Painted Lady, Small Tortishell, Speckled wood and Holy Blue.

Good to see some Dragonflies and saw several Hawker Sp and a Emperor, Common Darter and best of all a Stunning Male Migrant Hawker behind the platform.

After getting back to the car I went off to Exminster Marshes again to look for some Yellow Wagtails after some had been seen around the cattle but sadly no sign, plenty of Pied Wagtails but no Yellows!! Also saw Sparrowhawk, Grey Heron, Kestrel, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Stonechat, Swallows and Goldfinches feeding on the Thistle heads.

Thank you to David B for use of scope and to the rest of the birders I've met today as well as most of the human race I've bumped into today its been a blast!! I did meet one idiot on the Goatwalk who was on his bicycle, obviously couldn't read the signs that say NO Bikes!!!



05 September 2015

The Warren and Exminster Marshes

A slow start to the day but just managed to get to the hide for high tide. The tide was only a 3.4 metres and didn't even go around the island. There was very few waders in fact there was only Oystercatchers! Other birds were 3 Wheatears, Rock Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Linnet, Sandwich Terns, Herring Gulls, Great-black Backed Gulls and Black-headed Gulls, Cormorant and Carrion Crows.

Around the bight there was Ringed Plover, Dunlin and a Wheatear. There was a report of a Little Stint in with the Dunlin but I failed to find it.

On the Beach there was Sanderling, Dunlin and Turnstone with Swallows hawking along the shore, also a Kestrel flew over the dunes. Out to sea I saw Gannet, Cormorant, Sandwich Terns and Herring Gulls.

around the rest of the reserve I saw Canada Geese, Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Great, Long tailed and Blue Tits, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Blackcap, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Stonechat, Wren, Robin and Blackbird.

Then off to Exminster Marshes for a circular walk from the carpark to turf and back via the road.

Along the back path there was a few raptors with a Hobby being the best, Peregrine, Buzzard and Sparrowhawk also on show. Other birds on the reserve were Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Starling, Swallow, Pied Wagtail, Chiffchaff, Blackbird, Robin, Mute Swans and Curlew. At Turf there was little on the mud flats, a couple of Curlew, Black-headed Gulls, Carrion Crows, Mute Swans and Cormorants. A pair of Mute Swans and their 6 cygnets were on the canal.

Still a few Butterflies about with Small Copper, Common Blue, Meadow Brown, Gate Keeper, White sp. Red Admiral, Speckled Wood and Small Tortishell. Also nice to see some Dragonflies about with A few Common Darter and Emperor at the Warren and a stunning Golden-ringed Dragon fly in the Discovery area at Exminster.

Met lots of people today, large group of birders from Exeter arrived at the Warren as well as meeting up the locals, good to see you all. At Exminster again a few birders out all looking forward to the autumn migration. So a good day all round!!



29 August 2015

Jersey 24 Aug-29Aug 2015

I went over to Jersey in the Chanel Islands for a week for a break and do some walking around the Island. Sadly the weather was atrocious the first couple of days and I spent most of the time in the hire car!

Jersey is not like the other Islands I have visited and was quite busy and the roads had plenty of vehicles on them.

I managed to catch up with some local birders who were a great help.

High tide the best place was along the East Coast, especially around La Rocque Point, here I saw Grey Plover still in summer plumage with Turnstone, Curlew, Godwits, Oystercatchers, Cormorants, Grey Heron, Little Egrets, Sandwich Terns, Herring, Great-black Backed and Black-headed Gulls.

St Catherine's Wood which is the biggest wood on the island was also on the East side of the Island were there was all the birds you would see in a wood on the mainland but also several Firecrest was seen in the canopy as well as Red Squirrels!! Shame nether got close enough to get a good picture but joy to watch in my bins!

On the East side there was a few Bird Hides with a modern one at the Wetland Centre St Queens Pond, plenty of Marsh Harriers here, I was told there is 50+ on the island, I saw 8 in one day, the most I've ever seen.

Another gem is the Sandpits, you walk through a door in a sand dune and the other side is a working sand quarry, in the middle is a huge pond/lake with large numbers of Coot and Ducks, on the opposite side is a Sand Martin Colony.

While I was there I visited Noirmont Point, which according to the locals is a favoured point for migrating birds as its the most southern point in the Island, while I was there I saw Wheatear, Whinchat and Tree Pipit. I also went up to the North West point around Grosnez Point which is a headland covered in Heather and was full of Butterflies especially, common Blues, Meadow Browns, Red Admirals and Wall Browns.

Saw lots of Holly Blues, Dragonflies and other insects around this great place, with meeting so many nice humans I think this is a place I will return to!



23 August 2015

Dawlish Warren

The weather conditions looked good to get some birds at the Warren today so the plan was to get there early, but as normal "Life" gets in the way and didn't get out there until 11.30am. I had seen on the "chat" that there had been double figures of Black Terns which is one of my target birds to get a picture. But typically by the time I got to the hide they had gone, reflecting on this I don't think I would have got a picture anyway as the tide was a small one, so the birds wouldn't have been that close. So for a small bird like a Black Tern it would have been pointless!

On arrival at the Warren you could see from the path that there was plenty of birds about as the air was full of them.

A flock of about 50 Godwits were flying away from the estuary with Gulls and noisy Terns in the air as well.

On the path down to the bight you could see there was large numbers of small waders with Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Dunlin, Turnstone and at least 1 Curlew Sandpiper.

On arrival at the hide the tide was in as far as it was coming but at a 3m it wasn't even up to the little island. All the birds were distant for the camera but close enough for the bins. Cormorant, Whimbrel, Oystercatcher, Little Egret, Great-black Backed, Herring and Black-headed Gulls, Carrion Crow, Pied Wagtail, Linnets and Sandwich, Little, Common and Artic Terns. I wouldn't have picked out the Artic but it was stood next to a Common and you could spot the difference. Some Mute Swans further out in the estuary.

Walking around the top of the Warren found more Dunlin and Sandwich Terns noisily flying out to sea. Just off Exmouth you could see large numbers of Terns feeding as well as Gulls and a couple of Gannets further out.

On the Beach and in the dunes there was more Ringed Plover and Dunlin, 2 Wheatear and more Pied Wagtail.

At this point there was a commotion over the Bight and Estuary which was caused by a Osprey which eventually went up river.

Back through the Reserve I found 20+ Canada Geese in the golf course and Linnet Great and Blue Tit, Blackbirds in good numbers, Stonechat, Robin, Wren, Woodpigeons, Carrion Crows, House Sparrows, Starling and Magpies around the woods.

Sand Lizard on the point and a few Butterflies about, some looked very worn but not surprising considering the weather. Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Common Blue, Small Copper, Brown Argus, Large White, Speckled White and Green Veined White.

A few Dragonflies with Common Darter, Southern Hawker and 2 other Hawker sp. Best of all was a female Blue Emperor which had caught a large moth, it looked like a "Oak Eggar". It caught it by a tree but because of the bulk found it difficult to fly so came down to grass level, cut off its wings and flew off to the woods with the body, fascinating to watch!!

Also some Autumn Ladys-tresses were in Greenland Lake.

Lots of members of the human race about and nice to meet you all!



22 August 2015

Lyme Bay Trip

Went out on one of Nigel's Pelagic trips out into Lyme Bay from Brixham at 5pm for a 3 hour trip. During the day the weather looked crap, but the sun shines on the righteous because the sun came out on cue!!

The skipper took us out and because it looked quiet he took us out 5 miles to try and find some birds.

We did see Shearwaters, both Manx and Balearic in small numbers which was good, Gannets, Fulmars, Great-black Backed, Herring, Black-headed and Kittiwakes, Comic Terns Guillemots and a couple of Great Skua's flew past the boat.

On the way back we threw out some chum which just brought in some Gulls and Gannets.

While going past Berry Head on the way back we saw some Harbour Porpoise.

A good trip out with some nice people;o)



18 August 2015

Exeter Canal

On a lovely day I went for a walk down the Exeter Canal from Countess Weir to Turf Lock and back which is about 6 miles.

On the way down I popped into "The Old Sledge Beds" If you remember last time I was there, it was flooded.

This time it was clear and the place was full of life with Sedge Warblers, Blackbird and a Water Rail could be heard, Plenty of Beetles, Dragonflies with Common Darter everywhere, Butterflies and Harlequin Ladybirds in good numbers. Wasps, Bees and Hoverflies soaking up the sun, such a great place!

I walked down the left side as I went south, the path was overgrown in places with allsorts flying around, plenty of Wasps with at least 2 nests down holes in the path so I dint hang around!!

When I got to the Topsham ferry I crossed to the other side towards Turf Lock, on the Canal there was Moorhen, Mallard and 2 family groups of Mute Swans with 2 and 6 Cygnets respectively.

Other birds seen flying around, Cormorant, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Swallow, Wren, Blackbird, Starling, House Sparrow, Magpie and a Kingfisher was just special to watch as it darted down the Canal.

At Turf on the mud fats there was Curlew, Carrion Crow, Black-headed Gull, herring Gull, Cormorant and Swallows hawking over the shoreline.

Butterflies , Whites, Peacock, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood.

Sadly a few dead fish on the lower part of the Canal, hopefully nothing major??

Plenty of people about but I was the only one with a pair of bins!!



17 August 2015

Topsham

After a few hours running around doing nothing I managed to get out and park the car up at Darts Farm for a walk around Topsham, obviously calling in at Bowling Green.

Darts farm was very poor bird wise with just a few House Sparrows and a Pied Wagtail!

Along the cycle path there was a few more birds with Goldfinch, Blackcap, Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Chiffchaff, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw and Magpie.

In the creek there was Little Egret, several Redshank and Black-headed Gulls.

At Goosemoor there was Little Egret, Woodpigeon, Greenshank, Redshank, moorhen, Black-headed Gulls and a blackbird.

Along the road there was a few birds and several family groups, one large flock of Goldfinches flying around landing in hedges and putting down in the field opposite to the hide. A family group of Chiffchaff by the hide and Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Blue and Great Tit, Woodpigeon and House Sparrow all seen.

Not many birds seen from the hide as most had left for the estuary, large numbers of Canada Geese with Mallard, Teal, Lapwing, little Egret, Black-headed, Herring and Lesser-black Backed Gulls, with Carrion Crows and Starling in the pastures looking for food.

From the Platform with the help of David B scope I saw Ruff, Ringed Plover, Knot, Redshank, Greenshank, Curlew, Cormorant, Little Egret, Black-headed and Herring Gulls.

From the Goatwalk there was Black-tailed Godwits, Little Egrets, Black-headed and Herring Gulls on the mud flats.

Not that many birds around Topsham with the House Martins still feeding young around the houses but it was nice to sit on the benches and watch the Godwits, one still showing some summer plumage came quite close, stunning bird.

Not that many people about, as always good to bump into David B.



15 August 2015

White-winged Black Tern

Thought I would follow up reports of a White-winged Black Tern at Exminster Marshes.

On arrival at Powderham and with the immediate lack of birds about, I thought was a bad omen!

The tide was out and only a few birds on the mud flats with Black-headed and Herring Gulls, Oystercatcher, little Egret, Carrion Crows and Cormorants.

On the field side the grass had been cut/topped and a large number of Corvides mainly Rooks were working their way through the pasture. Other birds included Goldfinches on the Thistle Heads and Woodpigeons flying over.

At Turf looking over the mud flats saw large numbers of Black-headed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Mute Swans, Cormorants, Little Egrets, Oystercatchers, Grey Heron and Curlew.

Still no sign of the Tern but walking up the cycle path and I met David B who was on the Canal path with others who said it was going up and down the canal.

Sure enough after a couple of minutes it arrived, hawking for insects on the far side, I saw it several times over the day. last time it was over the lagoon.

Other birds I saw in the Reserve were Reed Bunting, great and Blue Tit, Dunnock, Blackbird, Starling, Swallow, House Martin, Carrion Crow, Canada Geese, Mute Swan with Cygnets and Magpie.

Saw a few Butterflies, White sp. Small Tortishell, Meadow Brown, Common Blue, Spotted Wood, Red Admiral and a few Burnet Moths.

Also saw a couple of Southern Hawker Dragonflies which was good.

Did a bit of pond dipping which was a laugh, I see some idiot has ripped down some of the notices? The mentality of some people never ceases to amaze me!!!

Nice to see David B and a few other old faces today.



12 August 2015

Solway Firth

It's very easy to forget that Cumbria is not all lakes! I went to the north of the county and followed the coast from Miricambe Bay around into the Solway Firth.

The tide was out and on the turn, the road almost follows the shore so good views of the shoreline. I also visited two reserves, 1 RSPB and 1 Cumbria Wildlife Trust.

Birds on the shoreline were Curlew, Redshanks, Oystercatcher, Green Sandpipers, Mallards, Shelduck, Red Breasted Mergansers, Lapwings, Black-headed, Great-black Gulls. Buzzard, Wren,Robin,Woodpigeon, Swallows, Carrion Crows, Pied Wagtails and Starlings on the shoreline.

At the RSPB Wetlands Centre I had a walk around and looks great, I think the time to visit would be when the tide was in so the birds have been pushed off the estuary.

Did see a few birds around the feeders with Blue Tits, Goldfinches and a Great spotted Woodpecker with a Kestrel sat on the wire.

The visit to the Bowness-on-Solway Nature Reserve was just amazing! So many wild flowers which intern brought in stacks of insects, plenty of Southern Hawker Dragons also a new one to me, a Moorland Hawker! Bees, Hoverflies, Bettles and Butterflies.

The bushes in this little gem saw Sedge Warbler, Blue,Great and Long-tailed Tits, Wren, Blackbird, Woodpigeon and a Buzzard.

Met some great people today who have been so helpful, should have taken your name.



11 August 2015

Lake District

Tuesday-11th- Decided to do some sight seeing and had a drive around the lakes. Went past Buttermere through the Honister pass through the Borrowdale and onto Derwent Water. Along the A66 and then along the A5091 to Ullswater, through Pooley bridge and onto Haweswater. On the way back to Whitehaven I went past Bassenthwaite Lake.

Lots of cars about and the roads were packed,must admit didn't really enjoy the trip,too busy watching the road to enjoy the scenery!

Although it was supposed to be a day off birdwatching I couldn't help myself, saw a few birds mostly by buildings. Out in the wilds very few seen at all.

Swallow, House Martin, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Rooks, Magpies, Gulls, Canada Geese, House Sparrow, Pied Wagtails, Woodpigeon, Chaffinch, Goldfinches and some Barnical Geese at Derwent Water.

Think I should have found a hill away from all the hassle!!

Monday 10th- The weather didn't read the script for this morning, the rain was supposed to move on according to the weather girl.

I wanted to walk around St Bees which is a sea bird colony but didn't bother getting out of the car as due to the cloud and rain you couldn't see it!

So I went south to see the Reserves around the Duddon Estuary.

First stop was Hodbarrow Pier, its not really a pier but an old industrial area next to the estuary giving great views, my timing was good for a change as the tide was on the way out. Lots of Waders with Oystercatchers, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Curlew, Redshanks, Greenshanks, Godwits sp. A few Mallards, Eider and Red Breasted Merganser were on the water.

Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls. Also saw a few Swallow hawking along the bank.

Then off to the RSPB Reserve at Hodbarrow Point, unfortunately a lot of the bushes were blown out with the wind so not many small birds about but plenty of birds on the water.

Three species of Terns, nesting Sandwich, Little and Common in front of the Hide giving great views.

A few Gulls with Black-headed, Herring, Lesser and Great-black Backed Gulls about. Large numbers of Coot joined by Great-creasted Grebes, Mallards and Tuffted Ducks.Also Lapwing, Ringed Plover and Oystercatcher with a Grey Heron in view.

Other birds seen were Woodpigeon, Magpies, Blackbird, Starling and Pied Wagtails.

Lots of Wild Flowers about and if there was some sun I am sure there would have been more insects, plenty of Gatekeeper and a few Common Darter but that was it.

I went then to the otherside of the Estuary to the Isle of Walney which was very frustrating as found it difficult to find places due to lack of signs.

Saw plenty of birds but the horizon was dominated by the large wind farm, 100+out to sea.

The island is a long thin piece of land and the east is quite built up, the west facing the sea is dunes and wide beaches.

Birds seen were Canada Geese, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Terns, Gulls, Collard Doves, Pied Wagtails, Woodpigeon, Dunnock, Robin, Swallow, Kestrel and a flock of Goldfinches feeding on the Thistle heads.

Seen and met some great humans on my travels,let's hope that continues!



09 August 2015

Lake District

After a fairly good drive arrived in the Lake District, I am here for 4 nights and weather permitting hope to visit a few places.

As normal when away I can put up any pictures until I get home



08 August 2015

Lazy Day on Exminster Marshes

The weather was just perfect for a gentle stroll up the River Exe and a very leisurely look around the Reserve, didn't expect many birds but hoped to find some interesting Insects in the sun!

Parking up at Powderham was difficult because of all the cars, looked like the world and its wife were out today! Having a smallish car I managed to squeeze it in!

The house opposite the church still had House Martins and they were busy hawking high in the sky for food for their hungry chicks, also Swallows, Wood Pigeon, Pied Wagtail and a female Blackcap sat on a gravestone was a interesting sight.

The River was full of water as it was high tide and very few birds except Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls, Mute Swans, Mallard, a lone Dunlin on the shoreline and a very sad sight of a dead Cormorant in the water, looked like a sub adult and no obvious signs for the reason of its demise. On the way back when the mud was showing there was Curlew, Little Egret, Oystercatcher, Pied Wagtail as well as Carrion Crow, Rook and Jackdaws looking for food on the mud flats.

The bushes were busy around Turf with plenty of Swallows and House Martins hawking around the tops of bushes and the canal, plenty of hungry Juveniles chasing the parents around, also a flock of about 50 Starlings making a noisy chatter sat in the bushes.

In the field there was both Carrion Crow and Rooks working their way through the pasture , both Goldfinches and Blue Tits were in the Thistle heads by side of track with several Woodpigeon flying around.

Around the rest of the reserve I saw Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Goldfinches, both Sedge and Reed Warblers, Woodpigeon, Swallows, House Martins and a Mute Swan with 4 Cygnets.

As I had hoped plenty of insects about enjoying the sun with 11 species of Butterfly as well as Burnet Moths there was Common Blue, Small and Large Whites, Comma, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Red Admiral, Peacock, Spotted Wood, Painted Lady and a Clouded Yellow! It was in the field which was a no go area otherwise I would have got a pic, but it was unmistakable!

At last there was some Dragonflies about, positive IDs with Common Darter, Southern Hawker, Broad Bodied Chaser, Emperor, also a couple of other Hawker sp seen flying around.

They have put some nets and trays into the benches by the Pond Dipping and must admit luved having a go, this is great fun! Must go back and have a proper go!!!

Plenty of people about as you would expect on such a wonderful day, people out on the water Skiing, Cyclists, Runners and people like me walking, all smiling enjoying themselves which is the way its supposed to be, hope they slowed down enough to enjoy what is around them??



07 August 2015

Topsham

Haven't been over to Topsham for a while so parked up at Darts Farm and did my usual walk via Goosemoor, Bowling Green Marsh, The Platform, Goatwalk and into Topsham for Coffee and Cake before heading back.

At Darts Farm there was plenty of people about and had difficulty parking but managed to sneak a place.

A few birds about here with House Sparrow, Blackbird, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Swallow and Black-headed Gulls.

Along the Cycle path there was Wren, Carrion Crows, Jackdaws, woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Herring and Black-headed Gulls with several Robins with Juveniles.

On Goosemoor there was Black-headed and Herring Gulls, Grey Heron, Little Egrets, Common Sandpipers, Oystercatchers, Whimbrel, Curlew, Redshank and about 12 Greenshank.

Along the road to the hide there was Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Swallow, Blackbird, Gold, Green and Chaffinch on view.

At the Hide there was a good number of birds with 100+ Canada Geese, 150+ Godwit sp, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Redshank, Lapwing, Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Grey Heron, Shelduck, Lesser-black Backed Gull, Herring and Black-headed Gulls, Swallow, House Martin, Pied Wagtail, Goldfinch, Teal, Wigeon and Mallard. A Peregrine made a few passes, just before I arrived it took a Dunlin and ate it in the Oak tree to the right of the hide, later when I was there it made another pass but it wasn't much of an effort and went back to the tree.

From the hide to the platform there was Magpie, Blue and Great Tit, Woodpigeon, Linnet, Swallow, Carrion Crow, Greenfinch, Blackbird, Dunnock, Reed Bunting and a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew over.

Because of the state of the tide I paid several visits to the platform with Curlew, Whimbrel, Godwits sp, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Redshank, Little Egret, Greenshank, Cormorant, Herring, Great-black Backed and Black-headed Gull all seen.

In Topsham there was House Sparrow, House Martin, Swallow, Collard Dove and Black-headed Gulls.

On the Goat Walk because of the high tide there just was Mute Swans, Herring and Black-headed Gulls.

A few Dragonflies about with Emperor and Southern Hawker plus a couple of other Hawker sp.

Good number of Butterflies with Gatekeeper, Small and Large Whites, Peacock, Red Admiral, Comma, Common Blue and a couple of Holly Blues which was great to see.

Good to see everybody today and thanks for the help, only one annoying person today! In the hide someone on their mobile chatting away with their personal stuff?? Go outside I don't want to hear!!!



06 August 2015

Butterflies and stuff in Somerset

After seeing some great photos by a friend James Packer on line of some "Small Blue" Butterflies at a reserve I've never heard of called "Stoke Camp" in Somerset, I thought I better investigate! I have never been able to get any descent pictures of this Butterfly so was quite hopeful.

After doing some homework on Google I had a rough idea where to go, so off I went! Trouble was it said go right at the Red Lion pub? But there was no Red Lion Pub on this road! Even a local looked bemused when I asked, but was eventually sent up a road to where a Reserve was which was a start. It wasn't the one I was looking for, but did mention it on a noticeboard and from there walking some distance through other reserves, I finally came to the field. There was no signs or notice boards so it was more luck than judgment that I found it.

And just inside the field there was a Small Blue!!!!! There was Butterflies all over the place with Common and Chalkhill Blues. Small and Large Skippers, Brown Argus, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Large and Small White. also saw on the way back Painted Lady and Silver Washed Fritillary.

Plenty of other insects such as Hoverflies, Bees, Wasps, Grasshoppers, Crickets and Great Green Bush Crickets.

Plenty of fantastic Wild Flowers just making the area a real gem and a pleasure to visit.

It looks like there are 4 small Reserves all together and must organise a day to visit the lot!

While in Somerset I don't need an excuse to visit Shapwick, although I knew from reading the SOS website the scrape had been drained a few birds had arrived I didn't expect to see much, at Mere Scrape there was 100+ Black-tailed Godwits, some still in there summer plumage, Good numbers of Lapwing, Little Egret, Mallard, Coot, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Great Crested Grebe, Black-headed Gulls, 4 Green Sandpipers and singles of Common Sandpiper and Dunlin. So not a bad count!

Around the rest of the reserve I saw Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Cormorant, Large numbers of Mute Swans, Coot, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, little Egret, Great-crested Grebes, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Wren, Blue Tit, Great Tit and Swallow.

Several Raptors about with Sparrow Hawk, Buzzard, Marsh Harriers and Hobby all seen.

Plenty of Butterflies and other insects about with Brimstone, Small, Large and Green Veined Whites, Small Tortishell, Peacock, Red Admiral, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and Spotted Wood all seen.

A few Dragonflies seen with positive ID of Common Darter and Black Tailed Skimmer, also saw a few other Skimmer sp and a few Hawker sp.

I do think they have done a excellent job of the new walkways but nearly got run over by people on bikes, think they should ban them!! hahaha

As normal here everybody is so helpful and friendly.



04 August 2015

Dawlish Warren

I went to the Warren today, to catch the high tide. Unfortunately when I got to the hide, all the birds were all on Finger Point. Very large numbers of Oystercatchers Terns and Cormorants could be seen on the point.

On the "hump" in front of the hide there was a few Oystercatchers, Carrion Crows, Black-headed Gulls and Herring Gulls. Slowly birds began to drift over with Sandwich and Common Terns, 50+ Dunlin, Great-black Backed Gulls, Pied Wagtails, Linnet, Curlew and 19 Canada Geese swam past. Was also informed by Lee that a Roseate Tern was on the point and could just pick it out with my bins on the fence.

On the beach there was 2 Wheatear on the point, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Cormorant and Pied Wagtail. Terns and Herring Gull also on the beach.

Around the rest of the site there was a range of birds, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 1 by the entrance bushes and another on the golf course close to the hide. 30+ Starling, Swallow, house Martin, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tit. Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Stonechat, Linnet, Dunnock, Whitethroat, Blackcap and a Cirl Bunting along the back path was a nice site.

Even in the wind there was still a few butterflies about with Gatekeeper, Small, Large and Green Veined White. Peacock, Red Admiral, Small Skipper, Meadow Brown, Small Copper, Common Blue, Speckled Wood and several Burnet Moths.

Several Common Darter and a Southern Hawker was another good find.

Also plenty of Hoverflies, Grasshopper, Cricket, Bees, Beetles and Ladybirds.

Not so good was a Rabbit with what looked like "Mixi" Grim!!!

A few people about and all seem happy enough, because of the wind not that many people on the beach.



03 August 2015

Old Sludge Beds

After doing some shopping in Exeter I thought I would pop into the "Old Sludge Beds" A reserve run by the Devon Wildlife Trust. It sits between the River Exe and the Exeter Canal just south of Exeter Treatment Works by Countess Weir.

Its a real little Gem and always enjoyed visiting in the past although not been in a while. Its just got into the national news as a long thought extinct Fly was found.

Sadly when I got there the place was impassable for 75% of the paths were flooded, not sure why as there hasn't been that much rain.

Such a shame as this place is full of life as you could see from the places you could get to with Dragonflies, Damselflies, Hoverflies, beetles, Ladybirds and plenty of Butterflies on the wing.

Plenty of birds in the surrounding bushes with a Tit flock comprising of 20+ birds with Blue, Great and long-tailed Tits. Sedge Warbler and Goldfinches, A couple of Sparrowhawk flew overhead sending all the smaller birds for cover.

On the Canal there was a Cormorant on the path and several Mallard and a Moorhen on the water.

On the river side there was Mute Swans, Mallard, Grey Heron, Herring Gull and a Little Egret.

I must visit this place again and hopefully the water level will have gone down, like I have said its a little gem!!



02 August 2015

Spain a NO GO

Well due to a cock up on my part, I am still in the UK. Old age setting in!



01 August 2015

Off to Spain!

Iam off to Northern Spain via the ferry from Plymouth to Santander, hopefully we will see some whales and Shearwaters while going over the Bay of Biscay!

Iam going on a organised trip with "Naturetrek". Its new for me to do this sort of thing as normally I do all my own planning and venture off to find my own birds and by myself! Apart from the two Guides there will be 10 other people, but hopefully we will all gel??

We are going to the Picos Mountains for a few days, then down to the plains to see the Great Bustards amongst other stuff before returning next Tuesday.

Hopefully I will keep you amused provided I can get internet access and the pictures will be up when I get back, should be fun-I hope hahahaha



31 July 2015

Exminster Marshes

I went to Exminster Marshes to do a circular walk from the RSPB car park. when I parked up there was a couple of stunning Yellowhammers sat in the Budliegh bushes, sat and watched these stunning birds for a while but as you would expect as soon as I got out of the car they flew off.

There was a wide range of birds about on the walk, there seems to be a increase in Canada Geese with several groups flying in from Powderham Marsh and I estimate 100+ birds. A stunning male Blackcap put in a quick appearance on the back path with Blackbird, Wren, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, a family of Goldfinch, Reed and Sedge Warbler, Reed Bunting, Magpie, Grey Heron, Dunnock, Kestrel, both Male and Female Sparrowhawk, Swallow and House Martins hawking for flies.

Off Turf there was large numbers of Gulls, mainly Black-headed with Herring and Great-black Backed in attendance. Mute Swans, Shelduck, Common Sandpiper, Carrion Crow, Pied Wagtail, Starling and Swallows Hawking along the shoreline.

Plenty of Butterflies about with Large, Small and Green Veined Whites. Peacocks, Red Admiral, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Comma and Speckled Wood.

A few Dragonflies about, the only positive ID was from a couple of Common Darters, but there was Skimmer and Hawker sp. flying around as well.

Plenty of Bees, Wasps, Damsels and Ladybirds especially Harlequins.

Must say the "Discovery area" is looking good with its "Rabbit Run", Willow House and Pond Dipping area. Looks like a lot of hard work and thought has gone in so 10 out 10 guys, who ever is responsible!

Natures larder is starting to fill up with all the fruit, berries, seeds and nuts.

A few humans seen today and all seem happy enough, all behaving themselves, even the dog walkers! There is hope !!!!!!!!!!!!



29 July 2015

Dawlish Warren

Went to the Warren to catch the high tide at 6pm which I did to see the Terns, the time was right, the light was good but NO Terns??? They were all down by the Salt Marsh or on Finger Point, typical!!

There was 200+ Oystercatchers, Cormorants, 50+ Dunlin, Whimbrel, Curlew, Great-black Backed, Black-Headed and Herring Gulls and a lone Common Sandpiper, Pied Wagtails and Linnets were the other birds. There was a few Terns flying over with food and these were all Sandwich Terns. Also there was Ringed Plover in the Bight.

On the beach there was Black-headed Gulls and a few Herring Gulls, Terns flying in with food, Cormorants out to sea and Swift, Swallow and House Martins Hawking for flies over the Dunes.

Around the rest of the site saw Starling, Dunnock, Carrion Crows, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Linnet, Swallow, Swift, House Martin, Skylark and Stonechat.

The Butterfly count was nearly as good as yesterday with Large, Small and Green Veined Whites, Large and Small Skippers, Common Blue, Brown Argus, Small Copper, Meadow Brown, Comma, Gatekeeper, Peacock, Speckled Wood and a Painted Lady. Also quite a few Burnet Moths about as well as the Hornet Mimic Hoverfly buzzing around.

A few Common Darters around but no other Dragons.

Good to see the Wardens Phil and Steve today as well as a few visiting Birders, plenty of holiday makers about and all seem happy enough.



28 July 2015

Dawlish Warren

As there was plenty of Terns on show and the tide was high at 5pm I went out to the Warren. Although the tide was high it wasn't high enough to push the birds closer towards the hide, that looks like another trip tomorrow!

Still plenty of birds about though with about 100+ Terns both Adults and Juveniles. They were mostly Sandwich Terns with a few Common, there might have been other species there but I didn't see them.

There was about 200 Oystercatchers with Redshank, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Sanderling and a Knot in summer plumage, sadly to far away for a pic!

There was also Cormorants, Little Egret, Mute Swans, Black-headed, Great-black Backed and Herring Gulls. Also Carrion Crows, Pied Wagtails and Linnets.

On the beach there was about 25 Black-headed Gulls with Great-black Backed and Herring Gulls further up the beach, Terns flying in with food and some Cormorants out to sea.

Several Canada Geese on the Golf Course with House Sparrow, Dunnock, Linnet, Stonechat, Skylark, Blackbird, Starling, Magpie, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Chiffchaffs and Great Tits being seen around the rest of the reserve.

When I left at 6pm there was large numbers of Swallows, House Martins and Swifts hawking over the carpark, there was at least 25 Swifts which was great to see all in one place, they slowly drifted over the railway line and disappeared over the holiday park, such a great site watching the flying skills of these birds.

I had a great time with the Butterflies with seeing 15 Species, the best being a Holly Blue by the Crocus area, sadly it wouldn't sit still and went over the golf course the others seen were Small, Large and Green Veined White, Comma, Speckled Wood, Peacock, Small Copper, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Common Blue, Small and Large Skipper, Brown Argus and Red Admiral. Also plenty of Burnet moths around the place, some of the butterflies looked very worn especially the Meadow Browns but the Brown Argus and Small Copper looked fresh and new.

Also good to see some Dragonflies, a few Common Darters and 3 Hawker sp flying around.

Plenty of Damsel Flies, Wasps, Ladybirds, Crickets, Grasshoppers and Hoverflies about! One of the Hoverflies was a Hornet Mimic, big sod!!

The reason for all these insects is the Wild Flowers and Brambles, add some sun and away we go!!

Seen a few humans about and all behaving themselves and happy which is the way it should be!



26 July 2015

Dawlish Warren

This afternoon I went over to the Warren to see what the bad weather had brought in, already noted that a Wood Sandpiper had been reported in front of the hide so off to the hide I went.

The tide wasn't that high so the birds weren't that close but still plenty to see, but I had missed the Sandpiper as it had gone around the the Salt Marsh out of site.

Still there was 50+ Sandwich Terns, a few Common and a Little Tern which was great to see, shame it wasn't closer!

100+ Oystercatchers, Turnstones, Dunlin Whimbrel, Curlew and Godwits were the Waders present with large numbers of Black-headed Gulls, Great-black Backed Gulls and a lone Common Gull.

20+ Cormorants, Little Egret, Carrion Crows and Pied Wagtails were the other birds in front of the hide.

In the bight there was good numbers of Dunlin with a few ringed Plover. Several Pied Wagtails along the shoreline, many Juveniles amongst them.

On the beach there was Sanderling, Turnstones, Whimbrel and a very mobile flock of about 50 Dunlin who were having difficulty settling on the beach because of all the people on the beach. Out to sea there was Sandwich Terns, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls with about 6 Gannets.

Around the rest of the reserve there was Carrion Crows, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, House Sparrows, Blackbird, Swallow, Wood Pigeon, Magpie, Greenfinch, Dunnock, Stonechat, Chiffchaff, Whitethroat and a flock of about 100 Starling.

I was surprised by the amount of Butterflies considering the weather with Gate Keeper, Small White, Meadow Brown and Peacock being seen.

Plenty of humans about even though the weather was crap! Good to see Dave, Ivan, Kevin and "Lee I want Coffee Collins"! Also good to see Ian T- see you on the next boat trip!



26 July 2015

Black-headed Gull 20L9

Got a Email from Tim Ball with this info about the Ringed bird I put up on the Blog yesterday. Big thank you to Tim for his prompt reply.

Black-headed Gull - White 20L9

EY09109 1 15/06/2013 Hosehill Lake LNR: 51°25'N 1°5'W (SU6469) (West Berkshire)

RR 04/07/2013 Hosehill Lake LNR: 51°25'N 1°5'W (SU6469) (West Berkshire) 19 days

VV 30/05/2014 Bowling Green Marsh, Topsham: 50°40'N 3°27'W (SX9787) (Devon) 185km WSW

349 days

VV 11/06/2014 Bowling Green Marsh, Topsham: 50°40'N 3°27'W (SX9787) (Devon) 185km WSW

361 days

VV 02/07/2015 Bowling Green Marsh, Topsham: 50°40'N 3°27'W (SX9787) (Devon) 185km WSW 2

yrs 17days

VV 25/07/2015 River Exe Turf Lock: 50°40'N 3°28'W (SX9686) (Devon) 186km WSW 2 yrs 40days

VV = alive and prob healthy, ring or colour marks read in the field, not by ringer



25 July 2015

Powderham, Exminster Marshes and Back

I parked up at Powderham Church to do a circuit around Exminster Marshes, when I got out there was something missing? The Rookery is was quiet! All the young must have left leaving a eerie silence.

There was though House Martins still around the house opposite the church as well as Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Swallow and Goldfinch.

The tide had started to go out showing some mud with Little Egret, Mute Swans, Dunlin, Whimbrel, Black-tailed Godwits, a couple still in there beautiful summer plumage. Oystercatchers, Cormorants, Carrion Crows and Rooks, Pied Wagtails on the sea wall with Swallows hawking for flies over mud areas close to the shore. Herring and Black-headed Gulls in large numbers, saw 3 birds with rings but only one I could read and it looks like it was ringed at the "Cotswold Water Park" but Iam waiting for confirmation.

Very little in the fields this side of the railway line with just a Grey Heron, some Corvides in the pasture and Goldfinches in the Thistle heads.

The other side of the railway track there was a large group of gulls, possibly 200+ and looking through my bins they looked mostly Black-headed Gulls and a few Herring Gulls.

At Turf the tide had gone out a little showing a large group of Curlew upstream on the mud with Shelduck, Black-headed Gulls in large numbers and House Martins and Swallows hawking over the shoreline.

Also at the shoreline a couple of Painted Ladies and a Broad -bodied Chaser was great to see.

Around the rest of the walk I saw/heard Sedge and Reed Warblers, Family of Blue Tits, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Wren, Greenfinch, Starling, Carrion Crow, Song Thrush, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Canada Geese and a Peregrine Falcon flying past with its pray, something black? Moorhen/Coot???

Plenty of Butterflies about with Small and Large White, Small Tortishell, Peacock, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown, Comma and plenty of Burnet Moths which were concentrating on the Thistle heads.

Disappointing numbers of Dragonflies with just the Broad Bodied at Turf and a Emperor along the back path.

Plenty of wild flowers especially between the cycle track and the sea wall. Plenty of Lady Birds with mostly 7 spots, 1 14 spot and a couple of Harlequins.

Plenty of Humans about, all having fun! Especially good to see all the kids out away from their computer screens!!



19 July 2015

Aylesbere Common

Went off to Aylesbere Common today to catch up with the Dartford Warblers and see what else I could find.

I did find Dartford Warbler in fact I found two! One was quite a poser which was great for me, stunning bird!!

Not much else on the bird front, Yellowhammer, Stonechats in good numbers, they must have had a good breeding season as there was juveniles everywhere. Dunnock, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Linnet, Meadow Pipit, Long-tailed Tit, Buzzard, Swallow and Swift.

Plenty of Butterflies about, when the sun came out it was like a switch and they appeared from nowhere! There was the usual Small Heath and Grayling about the heather but the best area was the brambles at the top of the reserve by the fenced off wood. Just masses of Butterflies , Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, Small Tortishell, Peacock, Ringlet, Large Skipper, Painted Lady, Brimstone, Green Hairstreak and a couple of Silver Washed Fritillary.

I did a couple of laps of the reserve taking in the bottom ponds, on the first lap I must have had my eyes shut as I didn't see any Dragonflies? I spoke to a couple of guys who had seen loads so went back and sure enough they were everywhere, thanks guys sorry don't know your names.

Saw 3 Emperors, Common Darters, Keeled Skimmers and loads of Damselflies.

Saw a few Common Lizards but no Adders today, normally I "bump" into at least one but not today.

A few humans around and all seem happy enough;o)



18 July 2015

Axe Valley Wetlands

Went to one of my favourite reserves in Devon today, always something to see, if not Birds its Butterflies or Dragons!

From the car park I went to the Tower Hide which overlooks the River Axe and the Marsh area. While walking there I saw Woodpigeon, Chaffinch, Wren, Blackbird, Herring Gull and Black-headed Gull.

From the hide you could see the tide was out leaving mud flats on the other side but not enough for the near side. There was about 50+ gulls sat around with Black-headed, Great-black Backed and Herring Gulls present. About 25 Curlew opposite with redshank, Oystercatcher, Little Egret, Mallard, Cormorant, Mute Swan and Canada Geese all present.

Looking over Black Hole Marsh from Tower Hide you could see a Little Grebe with a chick, large numbers of Mallard, 10+ Redshank, Black-tailed Godwits, Moorhen, Herring Gulls and 30+ Black-headed Gulls sat on the mud.

From the Island Hide you could see plenty of Shelduck and their young, Black-headed Gulls, 20+ Black-tailed Godwits which some still in their summer plumage, Redshank, Mallard, Moorhen and young, Pied Wagtail, Goldfinch, several Common Sandpipers and 1 Green Sandpiper up against the far reeds.

Around the visitor centre there was Magpies, Carrion Crows, Swallow, House Martins, Chiffchaff, Goldfinch, Reed Warbler, Water Rail and a Kestrel sat on the wires.

Then onto Colyford Common Hide which can be hot or cold, this time defiantly hot!! In the scrape to the right there was 2 Green Sandpipers with 3 Common Sandpipers, managed to get a shot of one that crept forward, sadly something spooked them and they flew into the river, also seen here was Lapwing, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Curlew, Stockdove, Carrion Crow, Herring and Black-headed Gulls. Also seen was a Female Mallard with 10 chicks , couldn't have been more than a couple of days old.

The Reed bed Loop just brought Greenfinch, woodpigeon, Reed Warblers, Little Egret and Moorhen.

From the Viewpoint there was just Canada Geese, Little egret, Carrion Crow and a Kestrel Hunting.

Plenty of Butterflies about with Gatekeepers, Meadow Browns, Red Admiral, Small Tortishell, Comma and plenty of White sp.

Good to see some Dragonflies about with an impressive blue Emperor flying around, Southern Hawker and Common Darter, several Damselflies and a Beautiful Demoiselle was nice to see.

A few humans around, all well behaved and seem happy.

Must say the Wardens and volunteers here are a very happy and helpful bunch!!



14 July 2015

Gull-billed Tern

Just for once a rarity turns up nearby and I can pop down while on a split shift, this stunning bird was seen at Passage House from the carpark. It put on a great show!



12 July 2015

Dawlish Warren

Between the weather and "life" getting in the way, I have hardly been out over the weekend to do any walking out with the camera so a trip to the Warren to catch the high tide at 4.30pm was in order.

A nice walk straight to the Hide at a very quiet Warren with the lower hide to myself and "Lee I want Coffee Collins" upstairs.

A nice mixture of birds about with about 20 Sandwich Terns and a Couple of Common Terns which sat nicely in front of the hide.

Singles of Turnstone, Grey Plover and Curlew, 3 Whimbrel, 50+ Oystercatchers, Shelduck, Cormorants, Little Egret, Great-black Backed, Black-headed and Herring Gulls as well as a Juv Mediterranean Gull.

Small birds included several Pied Wagtail, Starling, Linnet and Blackbird with the ever present Carrion Crows.

Around the rest of the site there was Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crows, Stonechat, Whitethroat, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Robin, linnet, Swallow and a flock of about 50 starling. Herring, Black-headed Gulls and Sandwich Terns flying over.

In the pond there was a Grey Heron and a couple of Moorhens, the pond is so over grown with reeds you cant see a lot.

Lots of wild flowers about the place with Eyebright, Meadowsweet, Yellow Rattle, Birds Foot Trefoil with the best being the Marsh Helleborine. I've missed loads of species out but Greenland lake is worth a visit alone!!

With all these flowers around there was plenty of insects with Bees, Crickets, Grasshoppers, Butterflies and Damselflies but sadly no Dragonflies again!

Meadow Browns the main Butterflies on the wing with Red Admiral, Gatekeepers, Small Skippers and White sp around in smaller numbers.

As I have already said not that many humans around and good to meet up with Lee.



09 July 2015

Moths

Tried the moth trap again tonight hoping for a larger number this week. Sadly only got half the normal amount for this time of year, yet again No Elephant Hawk Moths but did have 2 Popular Hawk Moths.

A new one for me was a Flame Shoulder which was nice, others found were Spectacle, Peppered Moth, Buff Arches and Barred Straw.

Quite a few others that I need to ID which normally takes me ages!!



05 July 2015

Butterflies and Stuff

As its a bit quiet on the bird front and the sun was supposed to be out, thought I would go searching for Butterflies up at Holden Forest around their "Butterfly Walk".

When I parked up the sun was out but a little windy, straight away the flutter of wings and a Silver-washed Fritillary flew by, on the path Meadow Browns and Ringlets were in abundance.

Walking down to the pylons found Gatekeepers, Whites sp,Speckled Wood, Marbled White and more Ringlets.

Just as I started to walk down by the Pylons the rain started which was typical, but thankfully just showers and when the sun came out it brought out the Butterflies, especially in a little meadow by side of track, counted 15 Marble White alone in this little bit of rough grass, more Silver-washed Fritillary with both large and Small Skippers, Gate Keepers and Meadow Browns.

Walked down a bit further and came across a Golden-ringed Dragonfly which was my only sighting at Holden of a Dragonfly. It started to rain again and a rumble of thunder, with the wires of the Pylon crackling with the rain, it was no place to be in a thunderstorm so beet a hasty retreat!!

Didn't see or hear that many birds just Blackbird, Blue and Great Tit, Robin, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow and Buzzard.

Decided to try out Exminster Marshes to see what the Back path and Discovery areas would hold.

I wasn't disappointed with plenty of Meadow Browns, White sp, Gatekeepers, Commas, Large and Small Skippers and a Emperor Dragonfly buzzed by which was a nice sight.

A few birds about with Magpie, Carrion Crow, Sedge Warbler, Swift, Swallow, House Martin, Canada Geese, Blackbird, Robin, Blue and Great Tits, Chiffchaff, Goldfinch and Grey Heron.

Out on the mud flats there was just Gulls with plenty of Black-headed with Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls with a couple of Curlew and Oystercatchers.

Plenty of members of the human race and it was nice to see so many kids getting exercise around the woods on their cycles, although I hope they will get off and see the wonder that is all around them!



04 July 2015

Spotted Redshank

After hearing of a Summer Plumaged Redshank had been seen at Bowling Green Marsh in Topsham, I thought I would give it ago, although I have got plenty of pictures of Spotted Redshank, I've never managed one in summer plumage.

Parked up at Darts Farm in Topsham and did my normal walk, a few birds about at the farm with House Sparrow, Pied Wagtails, Carrion Crow and Wood Pigeons. There was probably more but didn't hang about as my quarry was further down!

On the cycle path again didn't see much with Blackbird, Gold and Greenfinches in the bushes with Black-headed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Carrion Crows, Cormorants, House Martins and a Kestrel flying around.

The tide was in so apart from a lone Little Egret there was no birds on the creek.

On to Goosemoor and there was singing Reed Warblers, at least 6 Little Egrets, 50+ Black-headed Gulls, Grey Heron, Shelduck, Mallard, Single Curlew, with Blue Tit, Wren, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow and robin in the bushes/trees by the track.

On the road to the hide there was Woodpigeon, Chiffchaff, Goldfinch, Great Tit, Robin, Magpie, Carrion Crows and a female Sparrowhawk flying over.

Because the tide was up the lake in front of the hide was quite full with birds but believe it or not the Redshanks had just left! But at least the Spotted Redshank was still with them. Must have been 1000+ Black-headed Gulls and reported Med Gulls in the middle, I didn't see these and to be honest I didn't look to hard, also seen Godwits sp, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Greenshanks, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Stockdove, Woodpigeon, Swallow, House Martin and Moorhen's all on view.

Then down to the platform, the Redshanks were on the far side as the tide was still quite high so decided to walk around the Goat Walk to Topsham.

The river Exe was just filled with more Black-headed Gulls, a few Herring Gulls and the odd Mallard!

So after a pit stop in Topsham off too the platform that overlooks the River Clyst. By this time the water had almost disappeared leaving the mudflats in full view, the Redshanks with the Spotted Redshank was on view up by the "Derrick".

Again plenty of Black-headed Gulls with the odd Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Godwits, some with their rufous red summer plumage, stunning birds!

Greenshank, Whimbrel, Little Egret, Swallows with Reed and Sedge Warbler singing their hearts out behind the platform with Goldfinch, Dunnock and Blackbird also showing.

But the Showstopper was asleep with the Redshank flock, thankfully I decided to stay put and my patience was rewarded. It seem to leap into action at the lowest level of the tide and thankfully walk down river towards me feeding at the waters edge and to my joy and amazement it walked right by me. Just a stunning bird and well worth the wait!

Plenty of Butterflies about with Comma, Meadow Browns, Small Tortishell, Large White and a report of Gatekeeper. Plenty of other insects but no Dragons again???

Nice to see a lot of old faces, Ivan, Alan, Dave S and Tom. Plenty of other humans around and all behaving themselves enjoying the sun.



02 July 2015

Moth Trapping

As the weather was good overnight I decided to put the moth trap out at work, it has to be dry all night otherwise the hot bulb will explode if it rains. Iam lucky that were I work we are surrounded with woods so normally get a good mixture of moths.

This was the first one I had done this year and sadly not the usual amount with only 1 Popular Hawkmoth, normally we get 2 or 3 as well as Elephant Hawkmoth but none so far.

The only new moth for me was a very smart White Ermine. Other moths included Buff Arches, Barred Straw, Swallow-tailed Moth, Peppered Moth, a few "snout" and Hebrew Character.

A lot of the usual food source such as Honey Suckle, Bramble and Rose-bay Willowherb seem in short supply this year or just "Late!" will try again next week weather permitting!



27 June 2015

Yarner Woods

After a Bacon sarnie and a few coffees to get my brain in working order after night out, thought I better get out while the sun is shinning!

So off to Dartmoor and Yarner Woods, plenty of traffic on the roads so was expecting the car park to be full and the place full of dog walkers and screaming kids but no! The place was nearly empty and I would almost have the place to myself, happy days!!!

Saw and heard plenty of birds but very difficult to take pictures because of the tree canopy stopping the light, I could have used a flash Like some photographers have used, but I don't think you should be using that out in the wild.

Also noted that plenty of the birds looking very scruffy, that was very evident at the feeders with members of the Tit family and Nuthatches looking very untidy. The only exception was some Siskins who looked very tidy, fantastic looking birds!

Birds seen in the woods were Mallard, Grey Wagtails, Great-spotted Woodpecker, F Pied Flycatcher, F Redstart, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Nuthatch, Siskins, Chaffinch, Blue, Great, Coal and Marsh Tits.

Going out into the open towards Trendlebere in a area I know as the "Triangle"? to find plenty of small birds singing and using the small scrub, mainly Silver Birch to sing from, Whitethroat, Yellowhammers, Stonechats, Garden Warblers, Tree Pipits and Linnet in full song. On this beautiful day it was glorious to hear!

Blackbird, Raven and Carrion Crows also about with Swallows hawking for flies over the Gorse, plenty of Woodpigeons flying over 50+ easy!

I walked a little along the edge of Trendlebere and only saw a few birds, Robin feeding a couple of young was a nice sight with Song Thrush and Blackbirds the only other birds seen along the hedge.

A few Butterflies seen out in the open, 1 Brimstone, several Meadow Browns and a few delightful Small Heaths fluttering around.

One Dragonfly, they are scarce this year or is it me? Golden-ringed was seen at the top of Yarner.

Still a few wild flowers out with Common Cow-wheat being the most prominent one at the moment around the woods.

Plenty of Ants about as I found out to my cost when I put my Bins down, then to get bitten when I picked them up with out looking!

Not many members of the human race about the woods but those I met seem happy enough, a few idiots on the roads and some who just cant reverse, they should stay off the moor!!!!



21 June 2015

Dawlish Warren

After a nice lunch with my son for fathers day it was a case of needing a good walk to "Help it down"

There was a sighting of a first summer Curlew Sandpiper but there was very little chance of seeing that as the tide was out and there was stacks of people out walking on the beach. So concentrated on bugs and stuff, out of the wind it was quite warm and plenty of insects about, for a change there was a couple of Dragonflies, 1 Broad Bodied Chaser and a couple of Common Darters. A good selection of Butterflies with both Large and Small Skippers, Brown Argos, Common Blue and Meadow Browns in good numbers. Also saw one Burnet Moth.

Plenty of Beetles about with long horn beetles, Ladybirds and Sheldbugs, also Grasshoppers and Crickets in good numbers but didn't see a favourite of mine the Great Green Bush Cricket, not seen one this year?

Plenty of great flowers around and the Sea Holly looks like its going to come into flower in the next couple of weeks, a real deep purple, with blue green leaves this is a real attractive plant.

Saw a few birds but nothing out of the ordinary, Sandwich Terns, Herring, Black-headed and Great Black Backed Gulls, Oystercatchers, Carrion crows and Cormorants were the birds off the beach with Skylarks, Stonechats, Whitethroat, Pied Wagtail, Linnet, Greenfinch, Blackbirds, Woodpigeons, House Sparrows, Robin, Wren, a family of Magpies and 4 Swifts over head were the birds around the site.

Loads of Barrel Jellyfish on the beach, you would have thought the Gulls would be feeding on them but not interested.

Plenty members of the human race about especially on the water with Jet Skis and about 20 Kite Surfers so no surprise there was hardly no birds about.

Good to see Steve out and about.



20 June 2015

Ashclyst Forest and Exminster Marshes

Decided to go looking for Butterflies, Dragonflies and other interesting insects. Not been to Ashclyst Forest in a while and always got some good results before so off I went. Ashclyst Forest who don't know it is a large Deciduous Wood north of Exeter close to the Killerton Estate.

On arrival at the main car park it was strangely quiet, I seem to be the only one here which was just great, not that Iam a miserable anti social old git! Its just nice to have some peace and quiet!

Plenty of birds singing with Blackbird, Robin and Dunnock being the main songsters, Woodpigeons, Carrion Crows, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blue Tits and Chiffchaff being the other birds seen.

Plenty of insects, mainly Hoverflies and Damselflies but No Dragons and very few Butterflies with some smart Ringlets, Red Admirals, Small Tortishell, Meadow Browns, Speckled Woods and a Large Skipper. Iam probably a little early as the brambles etc. were not in flower yet unlike Exminster. Plenty of interesting Spiders, Sheldbugs and a few Hornets about, sadly they didn't settle enough for me to get a picture, such a fantastic insect, the drone is like a second world war bomber!

Well back towards home and a visit to Exminster Marshes, I did a circular walk from the RSPB car park, with the long grass and the hedges full of leaves I didn't think I would see much, so hoping to see some butterflies and other insects, I was quietly surprised with the birds along the back path with Swallow, House Martin, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Carrion Crow, Skylark, Wren, Robin, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and Chiffchaff.

At Turf there was plenty of House Martins and Swallows hawking for flies with Oystercatchers, Little Egret, Mute Swans, Cormorants, Shelduck and Mallard on the mud flats. There was about 50+ gulls, Black-headed, Great Black Backed and Herring Gulls feeding on a area of seaweed, probably full of insects. Around the bushes and trees there was Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Blue Tit and Goldfinch.

Along the road back to the car I saw Sedge Warblers, Wood Pigeon, Stock Dove, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Starling, Magpie, Meadow Pipits, Blackbird, Blue Tits, Grey Heron, Mallard, Swallows, House Martins, Swifts, a Peregrine Falcon and a nice surprise was a Common Tern which first was over the canal then went for a trip over the marsh the headed south towards the river Exe.

Saw a couple of Dragonflies with a Male Broad Bodied Chaser and what looked like a male Emperor it was at a distance and watching it with my bins, the blue body really stood out! Also quite a few Damselflies about with a few but varied Butterflies, Large Skipper, Small Tortishell, Speckled Wood, Meadow Browns and red Admirals.

A few humans about mainly around Turf and all enjoying themselves in the good weather, lovely day!



14 June 2015

Topsham and Ayslesbeare Common

Started off at Darts Farm, the plan was to walk to Topsham, taking in the hide, Viewing Platform and the Goat walk to see what I could find then off to Aylesbeare. To be honest not expecting to see much, but the weather is good so a good walk if nothing else!!

At Darts Farm amongst all the humans there was a few birds, House Sparrows, Pied Wagtails, Robin, Blackbird, Jackdaws and a Carrion Crow.

Along the cycle track there was Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Jackdaws, Woodpigeons and a few Swallows hawking for flies over the path.

At Goosemoor there was Great Tit, woodpigeons and Blackbirds in the bushes with Herring Gulls and Carrion Crows flying over head. On the mud there was a few Shelduck and Mallard with Black-headed Gull and a couple of Little Egrets.

On the road to the hide there was Greenfinch, Starling, House Sparrow, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Blue and Great Tit.

From the hide you could see about 40 Black-tailed Godwits, Coot, Moorhen, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Mallard, Shelduck, Shoveler, Teal and Wigeon.

Along the road to the viewing platform there was a family group of Wrens making a racket as they followed their parents along the hedge, great to see! Chiffchaff, Dunnock, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Blue Tit, Sedge Warbler, Woodpigeon, Magpie and Carrion Crow.

Frustration big time at the viewing platform as some "Moronic" parents were allowing their children to run up and down the riverside grass bank and not a bird in sight. You cant blame the kids, its their idiot parents, I was going to say something but there is NO sign to say keep off??? So didn't bother and went to the Goat Walk, there I found plenty of Herring Gulls, Black-headed Gulls and Carrion Crows on the mud, on the other side of the river there was plenty of Shelduck and a few chicks with them which was a great sight. Also Mute Swans, Cormorants and a few Mallards dotted about the river.

In Topsham there was plenty of birds with Blackbirds, House Sparrows, Starlings, Goldfinches, Collard Doves, Woodpigeons, Jackdaws and Herring Gulls flying around which is what you would expect of a seaside town. A few House Martins hawking for flies around the buildings and gardens, looks like a few nests on few of the buildings close to the road which was good to see.

Back to the viewing platform and thankfully the idiots had gone and some birds had returned with Curlew, Little Egret, Shelduck, Grey Heron, Herring Gull, Carrion Crow and what looked like a Hobby on view.

Back to the car and off to Aylesbeare Common. I was hoping to see some Dartford Warblers here, it took some time and several laps of the common but eventually saw one and typically another two came along like London Busses!!

Saw lots other birds as well, a couple of Yellowhammers singing in the evening sun was great to see, also plenty of Stonechats, Linnets, Goldfinch, Chiffchaff, Coal Tits, Wren, Meadow Pipits, Carrion Crow, a Buzzard was loafing around in the sky with a female Sparrow Hawk flew over the heather.

Lots of great wild flowers about with the best was the Heath Spotted-Orchid at Aylesbeare.

Very few Butterflies for some reason with just a large White and a Small Tortishell on view and no Dragonflies??

Plenty of humans about and with the exception of the idiots at the viewing platform its been great meeting so many nice people, to see the joy on the faces of a couple from Newcastle after seeing the Dartford Warblers was just great, my good deed of the day;o))



13 June 2015

Dawlish Warren

Went to Dawlish Warren today to see what was about. To be honest wasn't expecting to see many birds because of the time of year so mainly looking at Flowers and insects.

Plenty of birds singing though as soon as I got out of the car there was a Dunnock singing its heart out!

Other birds seen were Herring Gull, Collard Dove, Wood Pigeon, House Sparrows, Starlings, Magpie, Chiffchaff, Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Carrion Crow, Whitethroat and Stonechat.

Over the pond there was a few House Martins hawking for flies, A Reed Warbler singing in the reeds and both Blue and Great Tits in the bushes. Iam sure there was more but as the water had been covered by reeds you couldn't see hardly any water.

Out to sea there was just Cormorants and Herring Gulls.

On the point there was just Carrion Crows, Linnet, Skylarks and Dunnock.

Around the hide there was Oystercatchers, Sanderling, Dunlin, Little Egret, Great-black Backed Gull, Herring and Black Headed Gull. Quite a few Cormorants, Carrion Crows, Linnets, Swallow, Goldfinch, Pied Wagtail and Stonechat.

Best of all was a Summer Plumaged Grey Plover which luckily for me came to the front of the hide.

Plenty of Butterflies about with Meadow Browns, Brown Argos, Common Blues, Spotted Wood, Large Skipper and several White Sp flying around.

Also saw a very smart Sand Lizard as well as Fox and Rabbits every where!

Plenty of wild flowers with Southern Marsh-orchid, Ragged Robin, Eye Bright and Blue-eyed Grass.

Not many humans about which was a surprise?



07 June 2015

Dartmoor

On this gorgeous sunny day I went up to Dartmoor to do one of my favourite walks, a circular walk from Soussons Woods and back via Headland Warren and Challacombe Farm.

As soon as I got out of the car you could hear the birds singing, the first of many Cuckoos could be heard with a Buzzard flying around, Stonechat, Woodpigeon, Blackbird, Skylark and Tree Pipit also in close proximity.

As you went through the gate to Soussons Farm there was a stunning Redstart, unfortunately to far for a pic! Also Robin, Wren, Blackcap, Song Thrush, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Spotted Flycatcher and Swallows Hawking for flies around the buildings and fields.

At the plantation the singing continued with Robin, Song Thrush, Blackbird and Willow Warblers in full song with Woodpigeon, Greenfinch, Blue Tit and Redstart in the background with a Buzzard loafing about in the blue sky.

Coming out into a scrub area there was Robin, Chiffchaff, Green Woodpecker, Willow Warbler and another Cuckoo calling.

From here to Challacombe Farm is mainly open moorland with the odd farm building and a few trees dotted around the bracken.

Plenty of Stonechats, and a couple of Whinchats was nice to see, Meadow Pipits in good numbers, Chaffinch, Wheatears, Raven, Carrion Crows, Magpies with Swallows and House Martins Hawking for flies over the bracken and streams. The reeling of a Grasshopper Warbler was a big surprise, 2 Buzzards loafing about in the sky and 2 Cuckoos seen at Headland Farm, one of them a female making its "Bubbling" call. The pair of them caused a bit upset with the Meadow Pipits trying to case them off.

At Challacombe I saw several Redstarts, all at a distance, Chaffinch, Grey Wagtail, House Sparrows, Robin, Blue and Great Tit, Chiffchaff, Carrion Crows, Buzzard, Swallows and House Martins.

On the way back to the car there was Mistle Thrush, more Stonechats, Swallows, Wheatears, Chaffinch and Robins.

Lots of great insects about, especially Butterflies with Green Hairstreak, Common Blue, Small Heath, Red Admiral, Small Pearl-boarded Fritillary, Speckled Wood and lots of White Butterflies. Found several Beautiful Demoiselles and one Dragonfly a Hawker sp, wouldn't settle so unsure of species.

Lots of humans about, all happy and well behaved, walkers, cyclists and the odd birder. I do wonder why people speed walk in such a beautiful place?



06 June 2015

Exminster Marshes

Went up the River Exe and around Exminster Marshes, not that many birds about but a wonderful array of flowers and insects.

The weather was good with a little breeze which made taking pictures of moving flowers "interesting!"

Parking up by Powderham Church under the noisy Rookery I walked off towards the river, quite a few House Martins around hawking for flies and taking them back to their nests under the eve of the roof of the house opposite to the church, great to see them so close!

The tide had started to go out and the fresh mud had plenty of Little Egrets, Carrion Crows and Shelduck looking for food, also seen on the river were Mallard, Grey Heron, Cormorant and Mute Swans. On the fields there were plenty of Corvides, some of the grass fields had been cut so Rooks and Carrion Crows were hunting for food. Pheasant, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Woodpigeon and Swallows hawking for flies were also seen.

At Turf Lock looking out on the river there was plenty of Mute Swans, Shelduck, Little Egrets, Oystercatchers, Cormorants, Herring, Black-headed and Great Black-Backed Gulls. Around the trees and bushes there was Blue Tit, Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Pied Wagtail and Swallows hawking for flies.

On the marsh there was plenty of evidence of successful nesting with he sound of chicks coming from nest boxes and calling from bushes. Sedge Warblers in good voice all over the marsh with Blue and Great Tits, Blackbird, Wren, Dunnock, Pheasant, Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Skylarks, Greenfinch, Reed Warbler, Grey Heron, Lapwings, Carrion Crows and Swifts, Swallows, House Martins all hawking for flies over the marsh.

A few Butterflies about with Meadow Brown, Large White, Painted Lady, Red Admiral and Speckled Wood all on the wing.

Thought I would see more Dragonflies but only a Common Darter and Broad Bodied Chaser seen.

Lucky to see a Grass Snake in the "discovery area" sadly I wasn't quick enough with the camera to get a shot, nice sized snake though and good to see.

Plenty of insects about and watched a "Crab Spider" with its prey a Common Tiger Hoverfly, took lots of shots of Hoverflies and will take sometime to Id.

Plenty of great flowers about, some I hadn't seen before but Ragged Robin and Oxide Daisies added some quality to the mix.

Plenty of humans about but I was the only person out on the look out for wildlife, everybody seemed well behaved, even the dog walkers.

Great day out!



30 May 2015

Last day on Shetland

Sadly last day on Shetland, so kept close to base and just went to Sumburgh and Grutness.

At Grutness there was a good number of birds with the best being a very smart Great-northern Diver which showed quite well, I sat for a while watching a Dark phase Artic Skua chasing the Terns, the flying skills of both birds were spectacular!

Other birds seen were Shag, Mallard, House Sparrow, Starlings, Sanderling's, Ringed Plovers, Great-black Backed Gulls, Herring and Common Gulls.

In the Quarries on the way to Sumburgh were plenty of Fulmars on nests, Blackbirds, Starlings, House Sparrows and at least 2 Twite.

At Sumburgh there was plenty of birds on the cliff's with Puffins, Razorbills, Gillimots with a few Bridled birds amongst them. Great and Artic Skua's, Hooded Crows, Oystercatchers, Fulmars, Shag, Eider, Skylark, Rock Pipit, Shetland Wren, Wheatears and a couple of Twite around the Lighthouse completed the day.

Had such a great time here and a huge thank you to Rebecca and Phil for your hospitality and help!



29 May 2015

Red-necked Phalarope

I went to Fetlar for a second try to see the Phalarope. I parked up at the car park just above the Loch of Funzie and walked nice and slowly around the Loch keeping by eyes on the bank, because of nesting birds you have to go further into the field, but you can see the water's edge. I got about half way around and there she was! Couldn't believe my luck, not only was she coming my way but the sun for once was behind me, Perfect!!

I laid down in the marsh to get a level shot as well as trying to stay out of sight, the down side of this was I got soaked! But it was worth it, it eventually flew off towards the hide. Such a privilege to watch this beauty and worth the journey.

Plenty of other birds about with Gannets, Shag, Wheatears, Lapwings, Snipe, Oystercatchers, Artic Terns, Artic Skua's, Great Skua's, Hooded Crows, Red-throated Diver's, Great-black Backed Gulls, Herring and Common Gull's, Starling's, Shetland Wren, Fulmars, Whimbrels, Ringed Plovers, Dunlin, Turnstones, Greylag Geese and 4 Red-breasted Merganser's completed a great day!



28 May 2015

Hermaness NNR

I went to the island of Unst by ferry to go to walk around Hermaness NNR to see the sea bird colony which totals 100000 birds, Rebecca and Phil said it was worth the journey and who am I to argue!

Once on the island I looked at the Lochs, pond's and peat bogs and found plenty of birds.

Starting off at the ferry terminal there was Cormorants, then Greylag Geese, Mallard, Teal, Great-black Backed Gulls, Common Gulls, Artic Terns, Great Skua's, Swallows, House Martin, Skylark, Starlings, Redshanks, Snipe, Fulmar, House Sparrows, Hooded Crow, Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Lapwings.

When you get to the Reserve you walk along a Boardwalk for some distance to the cliffs, the Boardwalk which is over the peat bogs also splits the nesting area of the Great Skua,while they have paired up they weren't sitting. They dive bomb you so I am glad I was early!

Other birds on the peat and Heather were Dunlin, Hooded Crow, Skylark, Starling, Wheatears and Meadow Pipit.

The Cliffs were something else with thousands of Gannets, lot's playing in the wind, such great fliers!!

Also Fulmar's, Kittiwakes and Great Skua's showing off there skills. No Auk's out to sea with Gillimots sat on the cliff's and Puffins just showing their heads out of their holes.

Such a great place to visit!!!

On the way back I popped into Sandgarth on the main island to see some Meely Redpolls, nearly gave up but some flew in and a very smart male posed for me which put a full stop on the day for me, another first!!!



27 May 2015

Red-throated Divers

The weather started off fairly grim with wind and rain but thought I would try out the West side of the main island. With a lot of help from Phil I headed off towards the Lighthouse at Esha Ness. Not only hoping to see some birds if the sun came out but to see some of the stunning landscapes.

I saw some birds in a small Loch and parked up and looked in my bins to find a pair of Red-throated Divers and they were displaying, I couldn't believe my luck!

One bird left the water 3 times, once right behind my car! By staying in the car they seemed quite happy but did look a bit wary of a couple of cyclists who had bright waterproofs on who were passing on the road.

It was quite a sight to watch them and a privilege too, I left them after a hour and half and they were still displaying.

I saw quite a few more, on water and flying overhead mostly towards the sea.

Saw plenty of other birds while driving around the peat bogs with Common Gull,Oystercatchers, Curlew's, Fulmars, Artic Terns, Hooded Crows, Ravens, Redshanks, Snipe, Wheatears, Lapwings and Great-black Backed Gulls.

Also saw lots of stunning scenery which just completed the day!

Wonderful!!



26 May 2015

Fetlar

I went to Fetlar today which involved a bit of island hopping, although the wind was getting up the passage was good.

The obvious reason to come to Fetlar is to try and see the Red-necked Phalarope which I had heard has arrived back to breed. Unfortunately for me it was a no show, I think because of the wind they were staying in the reeds and who can blame them!

At the Loch of Funzie there was a lovely pair of Red-throated Divers in the middle with several Artic Terns, Dunlin, Oystercatchers, Pied Wagtails, Wheatears, Snipe, Lapwings, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls with Great Skua's upsetting the Terns.

Phil and Rebecca told me to try the old air strip which was a great success with 3 Light Phase and 6 Dark Phase Artic Skua's, one Dark bird landed next to the car! Amazing!!

A few Whimbrels and Ringed Plover, also 10 Great Skua's sat bathing in "Skufes Water" which is on the edge of the airfield which I better say is disused, just me and the bird's hahaha!

I then tried out Tresta Beech which was deserted apart from the bird's. In the bay was a very smart Great-northern Diver in breeding plumage, on the beech was Artic Terns, Common Gulls and a lone Herring Gull. Plenty of Great Skua's behind the beech on the grass with a light phase Artic Skua playing with the wind. Plenty of Fulmars on the cliff's with Hooded Crow, Meadow Pipit and Skylark around the car park.

Thought I would look for Otter and went to "Ugasta Pier", no Otter but 6 Red-breasted Merganser's, Artic Terns, Gannets, Black Guillemots, Fulmars and a Dark phase Artic Skua landed much to the disgust of the Terns.

I did see some Otters all by the Ferry Terminals but never had time to take some pics.

Met a few members of the human race and it's been a pleasant experience, especially the locals even if I can't always understand them! hahaha



25 May 2015

Corncrake, Skua's and other great stuff

Had such a great day, was given some info about a Corncrake that was seen a couple of days ago and the bird was quite showey. I've been next to one calling several times, especially on the Isle of Iona but not seen one and here was my chance.luckily it was by a road so I could just park up and watch, I arrived and parked up and almost immediately heard the call but it had moved to the otherside of the road. Was amazed that it was so close and out in the open! Brilliant!!

Once I got some pics I left it in peace and found a local creek, the tide was out and loads of bird's! Shelduck with 9 chicks, Eider, Mallard, Red breasted Merganser's, Dunlin, Turnstones, Oystercatchers, Ringed Plover, Artic Terns, Fulmars, Great-black, Common and Herring Gulls, Starlings and some Swallows hawking for flies over the seaweed.

Then off to catch the ferry to the Isle of Mousa. While waiting for the ferry there was plenty to see, a quick glimpse of a Otter was a treat! Seals all over the place as well as Eider, Mallard, Oystercatchers, Turnstones, Ringed Plovers, Artic Terns, Gannet, Fulmar, Great-black Backed Gull, Rock Pipit, Starling, House Sparrows and a Rock Dove.

The island is south east of Lerwick and is now uninhabited, it is an RSPB Nature Reserve, you get to it by a ferry from Sandsayre at Sandwick. While there is a lot of Wildlife there is lots of archaeological sites such as the 2000yr old Mousa Broch,the best preserved Iron Age tower in existence.

On the island there was Black Gillimots, Artic Terns, Shags, Skylarks, Starlings, Eider, Fulmars, Redshanks, Oystercatchers, Ringed Plover, Lapwing, Snipe, Red breasted Merganser's, Wheatears, Gannets, Raven, Rock Pipit, Great-black and Herring Gulls, Great Skua and best of all 2 Artic Skua's! 1 Light phase and 1 Dark phase, Stunning views!!

To finish the day off view's of Porpoises from the boat on the way back.

Just a brilliant day!



24 May 2015

Sumburgh Head and other places

On a blustery day I headed south to Sumburgh Head which should have taken 45 minutes but took 90 because I stopped to look at all the birds!

Lapwings, Fulmar, Starling, Blackbirds, Oystercatchers, Herring Gulls, Skylarks, Wheatears, Great Skua's, Article and Common Terns, House Sparrows, Swallows and Greylag Geese.

On the track to Sumburgh you pass a couple of Quarries and they were full of nesting Fulmars. After parking up I walked up towards the light house and on the cliff's there was Puffin, Fulmars, Gillimots and a couple that looked like they were Bridled. Razorbills, Shags, Rock Dove, Rock Pulpit and Wren. Great Skua, Raven, Hooded Crow, Oystercatchers, Herring, Great-black Backed and Black-headed Gulls were the other birds seen.

Next stop was Grutness to see the Tern colony which was great, both Article and Common here. Also seen were Oystercatchers, Dunlin, Mallard, Great-black Backed Gull, Common and Herring Gulls as well as a Lesser-black Backed Gull, Pied Wagtails and Starling.

Onto Scatness and the beach which saw Purple Sandpipers, Turnstones, Oystercatchers with Eiders and Shag on the water with Great Skua, Hooded Crow and Raven flying around on the prowl!

Lapwings trying to keep them at bay with Terns and Common Gull's also flying around.

Just behind the beach in some marsh area there was Ringed Plover as well as Lapwing, Meadow Pipit, Oystercatchers and Skylarks.

After a bite to eat took the road to Loch of Spiggie which had 30+ Great Skua sat in the middle of the Loch, also on the water was at least 40 Tufted Duck with4 Greylag Geese flying over.

In the surrounding fields there was Oystercatchers, Raven, Starling, Common Sandpipers, Hooded Crows, House Martins, Fulmars, Pied Wagtails, Mallard, Shelduck, Curlew, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls.

On the way back I stopped by St Ninians Island were there was Sanderling and 2 Great Skua tucking into a dead Lamb on the beach.

Saw plenty of Seals about the shore and plenty members of the human race and on the whole all well behaved.



23 May 2015

Shetland

I've traveled by plane from Exeter to Sumburgh and staying in Lerwick with the loverly Rebecca and Phil for the week.

Already seen loads of birds such as Purple Sandpipers, Turnstones, Oystercatchers and Common Gulls. Great to see waders in summer plumage instead of grey.

Loads of Seals about, quite a sight for me but quite common for the locals.

Phil has filled be with info for the day ahead which will be a trip to Sumburgh Head and other places around the south of the main Island.

Early night I think!



17 May 2015

Squacco Heron, Start Point and other stuff

After hearing that there was a possible 2 or 3 Squacco Herons in South Devon I thought I would venture south and try my luck at Beesands Ley where one had been seen yesterday. I turned up at the hide and there it was! I tried to get some pics but between distance and the reeds getting in the way, the pics turned out crap and I binned the lot! Still I saw it that's the main thing.

There was plenty of other birds about with 14 Canada Geese and 16 mute Swans both with Cygnets in view. Plenty of Coot and a couple of Great crested Grebes, Tufted, Mallard and Gadwall were the ducks.

Reed Warblers were singing in front of the hide and a Sedge Warbler was along the path.

Also seen were Magpie, Carrion Crow, Blackbird, good numbers of Swallows and House Martins hawking for flies over the Ley. Chiffchaff, Blue Tits and Robin.

Apart from one "know it all" in the hide everybody seems quite happy and pleasant which was great!

On to Start Point, when I got to the car park it was quite breezy coming from the South West. Not many birds about with the usual Herring Gulls flying about and Carrion Crows, Jackdaws, Swallows, Stonechats, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Dunnock, Robin and Linnets. The best was 4 Cirl Buntings down by Matscombe beech was a very unexpected find and great to see!

Plenty of great flowers about with Bluebells, Thrift and Sea Campion.

Plenty members of the human race about and all enjoying the views, very pleasant!!



16 May 2015

Dartmoor

The day was sunny and clear if not a little breezy, the plan is to park up at Soussons and walk to Challacombe Farm and back.

Wanted to see Redstart to try and get some decent pics of a Male, also wanted to see if Spotted Flycatcher and Grasshopper Warbler had arrived back.

When I parked the car and got out I could hear a call from the top of the trees and looking up to my surprise it was a Male Redstart, but unfortunately not a good position for a photo!

Lots of birds around and on the walk to Soussons Farm there was Buzzard, Pied Wagtail, Jay, Chaffinch, Woodpigeon, Stonechats, Wren, Robin, Linnet, Blackbird, Whitethroat and a Cuckoo flying fast over the bushes with a Meadow Pipit in hot pursuit!

From Soussons Farm to the plantation there was a couple of smart looking Mistle Thrushes looking for food on the field with Magpie Woodpigeons, Chaffinch, Whitethroat, Wren, Blackcap and Swallows hawking for flies.

At the Plantation there was Willow Warbler, Long-tailed Tits, Robin, Carrion Crow, Crossbill, Redpoll, Wren and Blackbird.

On the open Moor going back to Challacombe Farm there was a Cuckoo calling with a Buzzard loafing about in the sky, through the scrub area there was Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Redpoll, robin, Whitethroat, Carrion Crow, Skylark and plenty of Stonechats.

At Challacombe Farm I saw Jackdaw Carrion Crow, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Swallows, House Martin, Pied Wagtail, Robin, Chaffinch, Wren, Nuthatch, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Treecreeper, Mallard on the pond and a unexpected first of the year was a Garden Warbler, but the best here was a Spotted Flycatcher! Brill

It got even better on the way back to the car because just past Soussons Farm the sound of 2 Grasshopper Warblers and their distinctive "Reeling" one day I will get a picture of these birds!!

A few Butterflies about mainly Whites but a couple of Peacocks also, reports from others about Coppers and Green Hairstreaks but unfortunately not seen by me.

A few humans about, all happy smiley people, a few birders about and good to have a chat, wish I could remember everybody's name!!



12 May 2015

Ideford Common

Having finished work at 6pm tonight decided to go for a walk around Ideford Common which is not far from Dawlish. Its a heathland so with a luvely sunny evening, I thought I might get lucky!

Stonechats were everywhere, also saw Tree and Meadow Pipits, Great Tit, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Robin, Linnet, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Carrion Crow and Cuckoo which I picked up in my bins which was a treat.

The best though was a Yellowhammer singing away in the evenings sun, absolutely wonderful! One of those good to be alive moments;o)



10 May 2015

Dartmoor

Went up to Dartmoor today hoping to see some Redstarts, Spotted Flycatchers and Grasshopper Warblers. Got one out of three!

Parked up at Soussons as normal and walked towards Soussons Farm, the weather was supposed to be cloudy with sunny spells, but as normal it was raining. Thankfully it didn't last long.

On the way to the farm there was Chaffinch, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Blackbird, Robin, Stonechat, Tree Pipit, Linnet and Wood Pigeon.

At the farm there was plenty of Swallows flying around with Siskin, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Robin and Blue Tit.

On the field going away from the farm there was Blackbird, Robin, Wren and Buzzard and Sparrowhawk in the air. At first I thought the Sparrowhawk was a Goshawk but definitely a Sparrowhawk!

On the Bridleway through the Plantation there was Great Spotted Woodpecker, Robin, Wren, Blue Tit, Chaffinch and Blackbird. Then a stunning male Redstart flew in front of me and sat on branch but before I could get the camera up it flew off! Typical!!

Coming out onto the Moor you could hear a Cuckoo and see a Tree Pipit, also seen from the path that goes to Challacombe via Headland Warren was Chiffchaff, loads of Stonechat, Carrion Crow, Raven, Wheatear, Meadow Pipit, a pair of Whinchat and plenty of Swallows hawking flies in the valley out of the wind.

At Challacombe Farm there was Pied Wagtail, Mallard in the stream, Nuthatch, Coal Tit, Wren, Song Thrush, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Blackbird, Dunnock, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Swallows and a pair of Redstarts, frustratingly I couldn't get a clear shot of ether of them.

Back to the car I heard another Cuckoo and saw Redpoll, Chaffinch, Robin, Blackbird, Wheatear, Skylark, Swallows, Mistle Thrush, Tree Pipit, Wood Pigeon, Linnet, Magpie and a Buzzard loafing around in the sky.

Not many humans about, but those I met were happy soles!



09 May 2015

Exminster Marshes

Parked up at Powderham Church for a walk up the river to Turf and Exminster Marshes. Met by the noise of the resident Rookery, although not as visible as a month ago due to the trees coming into leaf. Plenty of other birds in song with Blackbird, Song Thrush, Robin, Great Tit in voice with Swallows in flight around the church and a few Pheasants in the field.

Along by the new bridge that goes across the railway there was 20+ House Martins collecting mud from the track and plenty of Swallows around, thought they might be building nests on the bridge but after watching for a while I noticed plenty of flies on the warm metal work so it was dinner time;o)

The tide was going out so on the mud flats there was Carrion Crows, several Whimbrel, Oystercatchers, Little Egrets, Curlew, Shelduck, Mallard, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Great-black Backed Gull and Herring Gull.

On the fields there was Jackdaws and Blackbirds looking for food in the pasture and on the way back I found 2 stunning Wheatear which was a nice surprise.

At Turf there was Swallows and House Martins, Robin, Dunnock, Goldfinch and Pied Wagtail.

Along the cycle track there was Blackbird, Sedge Warblers, Magpie, Long-tailed Tits, Wood Pigeon and some Mallard flew over.

A quick look on the canal only found some Mallard and a Moorhen.

Walking on the road through the Marshes Coot, Mute Swans, Pheasants, Mallard, Skylark, Sedge Warblers, Swallows, House Martins, Carrion Crows and Jackdaws were on show. But the biggest Surprise was to see a Avocet asleep on the scrape, thought they had all gone??

On other paths around the Marsh I found Blue Tit, Magpie, Blackbird, Grey Heron, and Moorhen. In the sky there was a Buzzard loafing around a Hobby was near the pylons. Several Lapwings around and along the back path from the RSPB carpark to Turf the Warblers were in good song with Reed, Sedge, Cettis, Blackcap all singing away in the evening sun. Also Blackbird, Dunnock and Wren joining in! Luverly to hear.

Also on the Marsh there was a family of 6 Canada Geese Goslings which followed there proud parents into the water.

Only Butterflies I saw were Orange Tip and a Common Lizard sunning himself on a log was also a nice find.

A few humans around, all behaving themselves and nice to bump into Ivan.



04 May 2015

Shapwick, Somerset

I got up early to go to Shapwick to see the Hudsonian Godwit which had been on Meare Heath all week but typically for me there was a NO show today!!

But never mind as it turned out a fantastic day around the reserve for me as the place was just teaming with birds.

The Warblers were really going for it with Blackcap, Whitethroat, Sedge Warbler, Garden Warbler, Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler and the explosive call of the Cettis Warbler were all around the reserve. When walking past a Cettis just as it calls is like being hit with a hammer!!

Jackdaw, Carrion Crow and Magpies made up the Corvides with Buzzards, Sparrow Hawk, Hobbies and several Marsh Harriers making up the Raptors! The Marsh Harriers were putting on a good show all over the reserve with Hobbies sat on trees just posing, sadly to far away for a picture.

Swifts, the first I have seen this year with Swallows in good numbers flying around the skies hunting for flies.

Also plenty of Woodpigeons about as well as Cuckoos calling in several parts of the reserve.

Other small birds about were Robin, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Goldfinch, Song Thrush, Dunnock, Long-tailed Tit, Wren, Reed Bunting, Chaffinch and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Waders on the Scrape were about 30+ Black-tailed Godwits, Ruff and a Redshank.

Bitterns "Booming" around the reserve with a couple of birds flying and annoyingly I was too slow with the camera! Must do better!!

Pochard, Gadwall, Tufted Duck and Mallard were the Ducks on show with Great White Egret, Little Egret and Grey Heron were the long legged birds as well as Cormorants both flying around as well as resting on the dead trees at Noah's Lake. Plenty of Mute Swans as well as Greylag Geese on the water, Coot, Moorhen, Great Crested Grebes as well as some smart looking Little Grebes in their summer plumage. The distinctive sound of a Water Rail, Herring Gulls and several electric blue flashes of Kingfishers in flight always send the pulse going! Luv those birds!!

Saw a fresh looking Hairy Hawker and several Butterflies, Small Tortishell, Orange Tips, Comma, Small White and some Brimstone, the Peacocks looked quite warn and scruffy.

Plenty of humans about and all seemed happy and well behaved, those like me who travelled a distance to see the Godwit seem to take it in there stride as just one of those things!

Another great day in Somerset and if my maths is correct that's 50 species!!



03 May 2015

Wet day on Dartmoor

I left Dawlish on a luvely sunny day to arrive at Soussons Woods yet again in rain and mist! Well hay ho off we go, put my water proofs on and walked off to Soussons Farm. Despite the weather there was plenty of birds about with several Tree Pipits singing and doing display flights, Nuthatch, Robin, Great Tit, Woodpigeon, Blackbirds, Chiffchaff and Swallows flying around. Also the first of many Cuckoos I heard on the walk.

At Soussons Farm there was noticeably a high number of Great Tits as well as Blackbird, Robin and Woodpigeons flying over.

Through a area of small trees with some willow there was a few Chiffchaff and a Willow Warbler, also Great Tit, Tree Pipit, Green woodpecker calling, Jay, Robin with Raven and a Buzzard soaring.

Through the other side and back on the path to Challacombe Farm, in the bushes there was Long-tailed Tits, Chaffinch, Great Tit, Chiffchaff and Robin.

On the more open areas there was Skylark, Stonechat, Meadow Pipits with Raven, Woodpigeon and Swallows flying over and another Cuckoo calling.

At the farm I was hoping that Spotted Flycatcher and Redstart would be around but sadly not arrived yet but Blackbird, Swallow, Robin, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Nuthatch, Song Thrush, Wren and a Goldcrest was a nice find.

I walked up towards Headland Warren which found Stonechat, Wood pigeon, Robin, Magpie, Raven, Meadow Pipits, Chaffinch, Wheatears, Pied Wagtail and a Mallard in the stream. Another Cuckoo calling and I could see it in the distance with my bins on top of some scrub.

From the farm to my car there was Chaffinch, House Sparrows, Blackbirds, Carrion Crow, Tree Pipits, Great Tit, Robin, Jackdaws and a group of 3 Jays.

It then poured down again and I then realised my water proofs were useless and I was getting soaked!!

Very few humans about but all seemed stoical in the conditions! hahahaha



28 April 2015

Evening walk around Exminster Marshes

The joy of lighter evenings mean I can go for a walk after work!

I went to Exminster Marshes and parked up in the RSPB car park. The birds were singing in the late evening sun and it was just luvely!!!

Blackbirds, Robin, Dunnock, Reed Bunting, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Blue Tit, Goldfinch, Sedge Warblers, Reed Warblers, Cettis Warblers, Wren, Lapwing, Little Egret, Canada Geese, Mute Swans all heard or seen along the back path. Several Swallows flying low over the fields hunting for flies and a Peregrine sat in one of the pylons then dived off towards the River Exe was a fine sight!!

At the Turf there was a few birds about with Mallard, Shelduck, Carrion Crow, Curlew, Herring Gull on the mud flats which is normal but with 14 Whimbrel and 4 Common Sandpipers made it a bit more interesting.

Along the road back to the car things got a lot quieter as the sun went down, but still saw plenty of Goldfinches, Woodpigeons, Dunnock Greenfinch, Swallows, Herring Gulls, Cettis Warbler, Coot, Moorhen, plenty of Mallards and a pair of Gadwall finished off the walk. Home for a pint brill!!!



26 April 2015

Dartmoor

Managed to get out today, spent most of yesterday trying to sort out issues with website. Sorry if you couldn't log on yesterday, it wasn't my fault for a change!

I went up to Soussons Wood and did a circle walk via Challacombe Farm and the Headland Warren.

When I left Dawlish the weather was clear but when I got to Soussons it was misty, damp and cold!!

When I parked up and got out I could hear a Cuckoo, but had no idea where it was. I walked off down the road and thankfully lots of birds singing with some coming to the side of the road, one very smart male Siskin sat nice and close but as soon as I got my camera out it flew off! Typical!!

Along the road to Challacombe I saw or heard Chaffinch, Buzzard, Woodpigeon, Stonechat, Coal Tit, Blackbird, Wren, Linnet, Robin, Tree Pipits, Blackcap, Great Tit and several Swallows flying quite low over the fields hunting for flies.

At Challacombe I was hoping to see some Redstarts and possible Spotted Flycatchers but sadly they have not arrived yet. But did see Chiffchaff, Song Thrush, Wren, Robin, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tits, Willow Warbler, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crows, House Sparrows, Dunnock and Chaffinch. Also heard but didn't see a Cuckoo which was calling from across the road.

Out on the Moor it was quite windy but still a few birds around with quite a few Stonechats, several Wheatears, Meadow Pipits, Blackbird, Chaffinches, Skylarks, Carrion Crows and some Herring Gulls flying over. Another Cuckoo calling from up by the Warren but again not seen due to the mist. Best though was Whinchats! 3xM and 1 F! They must have wished they were back in Africa instead of a cold, wet and misty Dartmoor!!!

Walking back to the car I went through part of Soussons and then onto the Bridal Path that takes you past Soussons Farm. Saw several Great, Blue and Coal Tits, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Robin, Chiffchaff, Buzzards, Ravens, Swallows around the farm, Linnets, Stonechats and a couple of displaying Tree Pipits always to far away for a picture.

Only a few humans around due to the crap weather and no other birders.



19 April 2015

Nightingales and Stuff

Went to a wood I know that has Nightingales hopeful that they have returned safely from there migration and wasn't disappointed! There was one male who gave me a song for five minutes, couldn't see it but boy could you hear it! Absolutely brilliant!!!

The wood itself has loads of great singers with Blackcap, Willow Warblers, Blackbirds and Song Thrush. With Robin, Dunnock, Chaffinch and Wren adding to the noise. Also seen Bullfinch, Woodpigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Chiffchaff, Blue Tit, great Tit and a soaring Buzzard over head.

Lots of flowers with Cowslip, Primrose, Bluebells and Wood Anemones.

Nearly fell over a Fox as I came out of the wooded area with plenty of Rabbits about and as I was leaving a Stoat ran across the road, Great place!

Then off to Shapwick in Somerset, it was a bit windy and chilly out of the sun but plenty to see!

At the Decoy Hide there was plenty of Tufted Ducks, Coot, Pochard, Mute Swans, Great-crested Grebes, Herring Gulls and a Marsh Harrier.

Around Mere Scrape there was Shoveler, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Teal, 50+ Black-tailed Godwits, Redshank, Greenshank and Lapwings. A Buzzard circling and the sound of Cettis and Reed Warblers from the reeds and Bushes.

Meare Heath Hide just a few birds with Marsh Harrier, Coot, Mallard, Gadwall, Woodpigeon flying over with the sound of Blackcap from the bushes and Reed Warbles from the reeds.

From Noah's Hide there was Mute Swans, Great-crested Grebes, Tufted Duck, Pochard, Mallard, Coot, Canada Geese, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gulls, Cormorants and Little Egrets flying over.

From the hide that over looks 70 Acres you had great views of 4 Marsh Harriers that were always distant.

Around the rest of the reserve you could hear Bitterns Booming with Cettis Warblers, Blackcaps, My 1st Whitethroat of the year, House Sparrow, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Reed Bunting, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Cormorant and Reed Warbler.

On the Butterfly front, double figures for Orange Tip and Peacock and singles for Speckled Wood and Brimstone.

A few humans around all behaving themselves;o)



18 April 2015

Topsham and Exminster Marshes

Visited a couple of places today, Topsham and Exminster Marshes. Trouble was my timing was out and didn't get to Topsham early enough and missed the high tide and lots of birds by the sound of it. I wanted to see the Spotted Redshanks in summer plumage, but because I was late they had already left Bowling Green and were probably down the estuary.

The day was sunny but quite windy and not a lot flying around. At Darts Farm there was a few House Sparrows around the car park and plenty of Jackdaws around the farm animals.

Along the cycle path there was Greenfinch, Starling, Blackbirds, Goldfinch's, Robins, Dunnock, Blue Tits, Chaffinch and Jackdaws on the chimneys of the houses on the path. On the creek, Mallard and Redshanks were the only birds.

On Goosemoor the tide was out, and very few birds in this area. Mallard, Teal, Shelduck and a couple of Egyptian goose were the water birds. Woodpigeon, Herring Gulls and Carrion Crows flying over. The bushes by the side of the track were quiet with the exception of the explosive call of a Cettis Warbler.

At Bowling Green Marsh, along the road and in the reserve I saw Goldfinch, Woodpigeon, House Sparrow, Robin, Wren, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Blackcap, Magpie, Greenfinch and Linnet along the road with Teal, Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Mallard, Little Egret, Moorhen, Coot, Canada Geese, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit and Black-headed Gulls on the reserve. Also some Swallows flying around.

From the platform there was very few birds with Redshank, Curlew, Shelduck, Teal, a single Knot, Cormorant, Great Black-backed Gulls, Oystercatchers, Little Egret and a few Swallows flying around.

The Goat walk was quiet with a Carrion Crow, Shelduck and Curlew on show. In Topsham around the gardens there was Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Blackbirds, Starling, Jackdaws with Wood pigeon and Herring Gulls flying around.

Plenty of Butterflies around with plenty of Peacock and Orange Tip with singles of Speckled Wood and Green Veined White. Also 2 Holly Blues around the bushes on the cycle track was a nice find.

On to Exminster Marshes and I parked up in the RSPB car park and walked down the back path to Turf.

Above me in the sky there was Swallow and House Martins chasing flies. Skylarks singing with Reed Buntings. Mute Swans, Blackbirds, Stockdove, Woodpigeons, Carrion Crows, Lapwings, Long-tailed Tits, Wren, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Canada Geese, Grey Heron, Herring Gull, Magpie, Pheasant, Moorhen and the pleasant sound of my first Reed Warbler of the year.

At Turf on the mud there was Shelduck, Mallard, Teal, Curlew, Herring Gull and three Whimbrel which was a pleasant sight!

On the way back to the car along the road there was Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Robins, Chiffchaffs, Goldfinch, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Wren, Dunnocks, Linnets in the hedges with Teal, Mallard, Grey Heron, Shelduck, Little Egrets, Carrion Crows, Pied Wagtail on view on the Marsh with the sound of Reed Warbler by the car park.

Plenty of Cuckoo Flowers on show with Orange Tip and Peacock the only butterflies on show

Plenty of humans on show with lots of sunny smiles about, great day;o)



12 April 2015

Dartmoor

I went up to Dartmoor today and look around a few sites to see if any migrants had made it home.

First stop Yarner Woods and looking for Pied Flycatcher, well there was one in front of the car as I parked singing in the tree, job done! Well I thought I would have a good walk around, nice day, a bit breezy but ok!

Around the pond there was Blue, Great and Coal Tits on the feeders with Chaffinch and Robins in the trees, 3 stunning Male Mandarins and 1 Female were on the pond with some Mallards. A pair of Grey Wagtails were on the edge of the water making it a stunning group of birds!

Up at the hide in the woods there was Coal, Marsh, Blue and Great Tits on the feeders but little else. In the surrounding trees there was Nuthatch and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Around the rest of the woods I found another 4 Male and 1 Female Pied Flycatcher, plenty of Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Robin, Blackbird, Pied Wagtail, Woodpigeons with a couple of Raven flying over.

On the Gorse area out towards the Moor there was quite a few Stonechat and a Skylark. Only a Brimstone and a Peacock on show with plenty of Ants working hard on there nests.

On to Challacombe to see if the Redstarts had arrived, here the weather was a lot different with stronger winds and dark cloud, so I parked up and did a circular walk of the farm. Very little flying except a lone Swallow. The rest are Grey Wagtail, Robin, House Sparrow, Reed Bunting, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Blackbird, and a Mallard in the stream. The best was close to the car with a couple of Tree Pipits but sadly no Redstarts. On the way out in the car there was quite a few Wheatear on the side of the road.

Last stop Steppes Bridge mainly to look for the elusive Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, the plan here was just to spend some time in the area they are normally seen in, but my feet just kept walking and I walked through Dunsford Woods and out onto the road up to Clifford Bridge and back to Steppes Bridge by the side of the River Teign through Cod Woods and St. Thomas Cleave Wood.

I sadly again didn't see the Woodpeckers but did see a lot of other stuff, lots of Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits with Chaffinch, Robin, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Wren, Blackcaps, Chiffchaff, several Grey Wagtails on the river as well as a couple of Dipper, Mallard, Grey Heron and the Electric Blue flash of a Kingfisher as it flew down the river.

After leaving Dunsford Woods along the road there was several Swallow over the fields and Blackbird and Song Thrush singing there hearts out.

In Dunsford Woods especially, the Wood Anemones and Wild Daffodils were putting on a show with the smell of the Wild Garlic as you brushed past it adding to the atmosphere! To my surprise didn't find any butterflies here?

Met plenty of humans today and all very nice, I met a couple of birders at Steppes Bridge who also were looking for the Woodpeckers, sorry having a senior moment and cant remember your names but nice to met you!!



12 April 2015

River Otter and Beavers!

This post is from yesterday Saturday 11/04/15, just got home too late to write up.

I have been a few times now in a attempt to see the Beavers on the River Otter but never been able to pin them down but with a lot of help from Chris T. I came up trumps on this visit.

The day was sunny with a few clouds, hopefully the clouds would clear because this had made it too dark for pics on previous visits. I parked up in the car park at Budliegh Salterton which over looks the Otter Estuary. The tide was out and you could see large numbers of Gulls in the main channel, mainly Herring Gulls with a few Great Black-backed Gulls. Little Egrets and Shelduck also in good numbers.

Along the path there was plenty of small birds, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits were in good numbers all along the walk with Dunnock, Robin, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Swallows, Blackbird and Wren all seen.

Collard Dove and loads of Woodpigeon seen on the floor as well as flying around, because there is several Rookeries there was Rooks everywhere. They got very noisy especially when a couple of Buzzards came flying near bye.

In the scrapes in the fields on the left there was several Teal, Canada Geese and about 50 Herring Gulls.

Also saw and heard Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers in the large trees on the opposite side of the river.

In the reed beds by White Bridge a Cettis Warbler was calling, its explosive call echoed down the river. Also on the river was Mute Swan and good numbers of Mallard Duck, one female had 9 chicks with her. A pair of very smart Grey Wagtail and the Electric Blue of the Kingfisher was seen a few times as it flew up the river.

The main event was the Beaver, to mine and Chris's joy the female came out showing her pink tags which the scientists had placed in her ears, the light was good but I nearly blew the opportunity by using my big 500 lens but it was struggling with the light and the pics were not very sharp. Luckily I had my Nikon 300 and it coped very well with the failing light. The Beaver got out of the water several times showing her tail but the best bit was when she took out a branch with her teeth in minutes and stripped it of bark, just a wonderful experience which I wont forget in a hurry! So glad common sense has broken out with these fantastic animals and the threat of culling has now passed, apparently there is 10 animals on the river in various places and I think I will try to catch up with these.

Lots of members of the human race about all well behaved and out enjoying the beautiful countryside, brilliant day!!!



10 April 2015

Dawlish Warren

I went for the afternoon at the Warren, the tide was out so wasn't expecting to see any Waders.

Around the bushes there was plenty of birds with Dunnock, Blackbird, Woodpigeons, Robins, Blue and Great Tits, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Wren, Chiffchaffs, Willow Warbler and three Male Blackcaps.

Also Carrion Crows, Jackdaws and Herring Gulls flying around. House Sparrows near the Tractor compound and Starlings flying off to the shops where Collard Doves were sat on the wires.

On the Pond there was Mute Swans as well as Canada Geese, Teal and Mallard with Chiffchaffs hunting flies from the bushes over the water. A great and lovely surprise was to see a Mallard with 7 new chicks come out of the reeds, the Mute Swan looked interested and moved towards them so mum went into the reeds again.

On Greenland lake there was a few Linnet, Stonechat and Dunnock.

Although the tide was out on the Bite you could still see Oystercatcher, Cormorant and Great Black-backed Gulls with a Male Sparrowhawk flying over.

Around the top of the point there was 9 Sanderling and a single Turnstone. On the Warren itself there was Linnets, Stonechats, Dunnock and Skylarks singing away.

On the beach there was several Oystercatchers, Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls. Out to sea I could see at least 5 Sandwich Terns but there could have been more further out. While I was stood there two Swallows came in off the Sea.

Several Bumble Bees and Hoverflies about with a few 7 Spot Ladybirds. Peacock Butterflies in good numbers, I counted 15 and many in pairs in ariel dancing. Two of Speckled Wood and 2 Commas with a single Small Tortishell.

Plenty of humans about and all well behaved, saw Lee and Dave, Lee you need to get better jokes!! Good to have a chat with the Head Warden Phil, in all a good afternoons walk!!



09 April 2015

Portland Bill

Got up early and made my way to Portland in Dorset, the weather was just great! Watched the sun come up over Lyme Bay and the sky was clear and looked like it was going to be a great day. I stopped off for a snack/breakfast just above Abbotsbury to enjoy the view and two bright Yellow Hammers sat on the hedge, a great start to the day!

The weather continued to be good until I got to the southern end of the Bill it was thick fog and almost turned back, but luckily I didn't!

I parked up in Portland Bill car park and there was grounded birds all over the place, mainly Wheatears with a few Meadow Pipits. What had seemed to have happened is the fog made the birds drop and the already grounded birds stayed. The problem was although it was great birding it was crap for photography!!

There was loads of Chiffchaffs in the bushes around the Observatory with a couple of Willow Warblers, Blackcaps, a singing Sedge Warbler and a Redstart.

Then the main attraction was a Stone Curlew which was sat the edge of a ploughed field, at distance and mist it was job to get any pictures.

Plenty of other birds about, because of the mist you couldn't see much out to sea but I did see some Guillemot, Puffin and Cormorant. Great Black-backed Gulls and Herring Gulls were everywhere as well as Woodpigeons and Carrion Crows. One Raven was seen close to the bill.

Swallows, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Robin, Blackbird, Wren, House Sparrows, Starlings, Jackdaws, Pied Wagtails, Linnets, Great and Blue Tits, Skylark, Dunnock, Magpie, Kestrel, Stonechat and a Sandwich Tern flew over.

No insects, Butterflies and Bumble bees seen because of the Sea Mist.

Lots of members of the Human Race around all seem happy if not cold and it was great to meet all the birders around the place, some old faces from Devon and Somerset! Great day!!!



08 April 2015

Shapwick, Somerset

Up to Somerset today! Parked in the "Avalon Marsh" Car Park and after a bit of light refreshment from "Eco Friendly Bites" off I walked. From the car to the entrance to Shapwick I picked up House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Reed Bunting, Robin, Dunnock, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Cettis Warbler, Pied Wagtail and a Cormorant flew over! So that was a great start even before I got in the entrance!!

In the bushes there was several Blackcaps singing with Chaffinch, Robin, Blue Tits, Long-tailed Tits, Wren, Blackbird and Cettis Warblers with their explosive burst of song.

It wasn't long until I heard my first "Booming" Bittern of the day, in fact I lost count of the number, that deep "boom" is unmistakable.

In the Noah's Lake there was plenty of birds in the water, Great-crested Grebes, Coot, Moorhen, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Greylag Geese, Canada Geese and Cormorants. Plenty of ducks with Mallard, Tufted, Teal and Pochard, there might have been other species on the lake but its so big I could have missed them on the other side.

Two Raven making a racket overhead as well as Carrion Crows and Woodpigeons.

At Mere Heath Hide it looked quiet but a few birds flew in, one being a male Sparrowhawk being mobbed by a Carrion Crow. Grey Heron, Cormorant, Pochard, Gadwall, Mallard, Coot and Cettis Warbler were the other birds seen. Outside the hide on the walk back to the main drag there was a Treecreeper and a few Goldfinches.

At Mere Lagoon there was a few Swallows flying around with a Marsh Harrier and Buzzard in the reeds behind. 40+ Black-tailed godwits in the lagoon with some in their summer plumage looking very smart. A little egret and the pair of Great White egrets flew in putting on a show and looking very classy too! A few ducks, Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal and a very smart looking Drake Garganey.

The Marsh Harriers were putting on a great show over the marshes on the opposite side of the Lagoon, I am sure that area has a name but I don't know it! A bit frustrating as the sun was nearly always behind them while I was there, but later on I moved to another viewing area and it was better, fantastic birds and a real treat to see them!

A walk into Ham Wall saw my first sighting of a Bittern to add to the many "Booms" around the place. The bushes were alive with small birds making a racket, mainly Cettis Warblers and Blackcaps but Robins, Wrens, Dunnocks and Blackbirds were doing there bit as well! Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Greenfinch also seen.

Woodpigeon, Magpie and Carrion Crows seen flying around with Canada Geese, Great-crested Grebes, Coot, Shoveler, Teal, Tufted Ducks, Gadwall, Mallard, Little Egret and Cormorants all seen on the water with a pair of Lapwings on the mud try keep the Carrion Crows away. A Kingfisher flew along the dyke by the first platform which is always a great sight!

A few Butterflies about with the main ones Peacock and Small Tortishell but saw a few Brimstone as well and singles of Speckled Wood and a female Orange Tip. Noticed the difference to Devon with the lack of wild flowers as apart from a few Colts Foot very little.

On the way back there was a Roe Deer in the field and by the entrance a Adder! My first of the year.

Plenty members of the human race about and must say they have been the happiest bunch I've met in a long time and very helpful! Cheers guys!!



07 April 2015

Topsham and Dawlish Warren

Another lovely day and started todays bird watching at Darts Farm, I didn't go to the pond as I knew the Penduline Tits hadn't been seen in a few days so went straight to the cycle track. Plenty of birds in the bushes with Robins, Wren, Blackbirds, Blue Tits, Great Tit and Dunnock. Jackdaws on the chimneys of some of the houses, Herring Gulls and Carrion crows flying over. One funny sight was a Great Spotted woodpecker "Drumming" on the metal protection on the top of a telegraph pole, the noise was like a pneumatic drill!!

The Tide was just on the turn so very little on the creek except a couple of Mallard and a Little Egret.

Goosemoor was full of water with birds sat up on the bank, five Little Egret with Redshank , Greenshank and looked like some Grey Plover in the middle of them. Also Teal, Mallard and Canada Geese on waters edge with Cormorant, Woodpigeon and Carrion Crow flying over. In the trees by the cycle track at this point there was several Chiffchaff, Robin and Blackbird.

At Bowling Green and surrounding Bushes there was plenty to see with still a few Wigeon on the lake with Tufted Duck, Teal, Shoveler, Mallard and Shelduck in and out of the water.

There was two groups of what looked like Black-tailed Godwits, looked about 200 birds?

Herring and Black-headed Gulls, Moorhen, Coot, Grey Heron and Little Egret were the other water based birds.

Magpies, Carrion Crows and Canada Geese were all feeding around the pasture.

In the bushes were Chiffchaffs, Robins, Blue and Great Tits, Blackbirds, Dunnocks, linnets, Chaffinch, Pied Wagtail and Wood Pigeons.

At the viewing platform I saw my first Sandwich Tern of the year with the help of David B. Telescope which was great! Also seen was Curlew, Dunlin, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwits, Shelduck, Little Egrets, Oystercatchers and Cormorants.

Along the "Goat walk" the tide had gone out but you still see Curlew, Black-tailed Godwits, Redshanks, Teal and a few Great Black-backed Gulls.

Into Topsham itself there was Jackdaws, Herring Gulls and Collard Doves around the buildings with House Sparrows, Starlings and Goldfinches around the gardens. By the bus turn around on the river there was a Mute and Black Swan together.

Saw a few Butterflies today with 3 Tortishell, 2 Peacock and singles of Brimstone and Red Admiral and Cowslip and Forget-me-knot were new plants out.

Great to meet some of the local birders, nice as ever!

Got to the Warren at about 4.30pm and just did a walk around the Bushes, Pond and Greenland Lake.

Plenty of birds about with Linnets, Stonechats, Dunnock, Robins and Blackbird around Greenland Lake, all in good song in the evening sun.

Around the bushes there was Woodpigeon, Magpie, House Sparrow, Chiffchaff, Dunnock, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Greenfinch and Wren.

Carrion Crows and Herring Gulls flying overhead.

In the Pond there was Teal, Moorhen, Little Grebe, Canada Geese and the sound of a Water Rail.

Plenty of Bumble Bees and Hoverflies in the sheltered areas in the sun, my first Speckled Wood of the year and a couple of Peacock finished off a successful day!



06 April 2015

Early Start

Up early today and down the Warren to see the sun come up over Lyme Bay, there is nothing like watching another day start especially a glorious one like today! It was a bit fresh and misty about the place but that soon went as the sun came up, there was nothing much in the sea except a Cormorant and some Herring Gulls but to my surprise a flock of 31 Gannet flew south, I wasn't expecting that!

Walking back into the Warren the Dawn Chorus was in full swing with Robins, Blackbirds, Dunnocks, Cirl Buntings and Linnets really going for it.

In Greenland Lake there was a couple of Meadow Pipits and Starlings in some of the bushes on the way out to the hide. By the golf course in the brambles there was Blackbirds, Chaffinches, Dunnock and a Skylark singing away!

Walking on the edge of the bite there was 14 Dark-bellied Brent Geese and a lone Knot, behind the hide there was a Blackbird, 3 Great Tits, Blue tit and some House Sparrows, they were out of the wind and enjoying the morning sun on the tops of the bushes.

In the front of the hide there wasn't much to see with Grey Plover and Turnstones on the mound with a couple of Curlew with 30+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese in the water, also Shelduck, Herring Gulls and Carrion Crows around. Also two Moorhens came out into the water from the left hand side, first time I had seen Moorhens in front of the hide. Over at Finger Point there was large numbers of Oystercatchers, Curlew, Godwits sp., Cormorants and some Great Black-backed Gulls. Also some Ringed Plover, Turnstone and Dunlin in a small group in the Bite.

Out on the point there was plenty of birds singing , Linnet, Blackbird, Skylark and Dunnock. I saw two Wheatear, one by the Visitor Centre and one on the point, but I am sure there were more!

On the way back to the car through Greenland Lake there was Wren, Magpie, Stonechat, Blackbird, Great Tits, Blue Tits, Greenfinches and Linnets.

In the pond there was very few birds, just Mallard and Moorhen seen on the water and a couple of Chiffchaffs on the pond edge catching flies.

In the entrance bushes there was Chaffinch, Wren, Blue and Great Tits, Robins, Magpie, Woodpigeons, Carrion Crows and Dunnocks.

several 7 spot Ladybirds seen and three Peacock Butterflies. New plants, several Dawlish Crocus behind the Visitor Centre and Lesser Forget-me-Knot in the dunes.

Good to see all the local crew and the usual banter and thanks to Steve the Warden for some help with some plant ID

After leaving the Warren I went to Exminster Marshes to do a circular walk from the RSPB car park, as I got there the car park was packed so got in just and to my surprise there was Alan stood on a large stone looking out over the Marsh with his bins, should have taken a pic!

There was lots of people about and the back path to Turf was like a motor way, there was though plenty to see if you keep your eyes open.

On the Marsh there was less ducks than has been but still Shoveler, Mallard and Teal present. Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Little Egret, Coot, Moorhen and Cormorant the other water based birds present. Pheasant, Magpies, Carrion Crows and Lapwings feeding in the pasture with a couple of Buzzards sat on a lump of earth, a few Skylarks up singing. Around the bushes there was Chiffchaffs, Blue and Great Tits, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Wren, Robin and Dunnock. Woodpigeons and a lone Curlew flying over.

At the Turf there was loads of people and very few birds, out on the mud flats there was 100+ Shelduck between the Turf and Topsham with Curlew and a lone Little egret.

Plenty of Butterflies with 13 Peacock, some in pairs doing an aerial dance, also 3 Small Tortishell, several 7 spot Ladybirds and quite a few Bumble Bees and Hoverflies.

Seen lots of Human beings today all out enjoying themselves and happy, it must be the sun!



05 April 2015

Soussons Woods, Challacombe Farm and Back!

Went up to Dartmoor today and decided to do a circular walk from Soussons out onto the Moor and back via Challacombe Farm.

On parking up at the entrance to the woods it was obvious that there was plenty of birds about because of the bird song, but they were all in the top of the trees!

I managed to see Siskins, Goldcrest, Blue and Great Tits in the first section but Iam sure there was more. I came across a clear area which looked up towards the Warren House Inn and I could see three Buzzards loafing about in the sky, calling and doing a bit of display. I also noticed another bird that turned out to be a Peregrine, I watched it for a while until it gave one of its trade mark dives and disappeared behind some trees, I presume it caught its prey as it didn't re-appear while I was there. A bit further up a female Sparrow Hawk landed for a while in one of the Fir trees before flying off again.

As I walked into another wooded area there was a couple of Bullfinches as well as Chaffinch, Robin, Wren, Blue and Great Tits, Woodpigeon and the sound of a Green Woodpecker.

As I came out onto the moor I could see Chaffinch and Great Tits in the bushes by the footpath, this path is quite wet with Tadpoles in the pools so you have to be careful were you put your feet!

Further on the moor I came across two pairs of Reed Buntings, also a few Skylarks up singing as well as Meadow Pipits doing some display flying from fence posts and bramble bushes and a Buzzards flying around.

At this part of the walk I came across Five Wheatears 2M and 3F, this was a real treat as they were my first of the year!

At Challacombe Farm there was a couple of Stock Doves in the trees with Blackbird, Robin, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Blue and Great Tit around the farm with a Drake Mallard in the stream.

On the way back via the road I saw Chaffinch, Blue and Great Tits, Robin, Song Thrush, Blackbird where the road had hedges and Skylark and Stonechats could be seen and heard where it was more open. Also a Kestrel was on a telegraph pole. When I got to Soussons I saw a Nuthatch and plenty of Siskins and Crossbills flying along the top of the trees.

There was virtually no insects except one Red Admiral Butterfly and one Bumble Bee, very little in the way of wild flowers.

A few well behaved humans today around the place although it was a bit disconcerting to have a couple of mountain bikers fly by me on the Moor! One thing I would like to ask, are Springer Spaniel owners all as mad as their dogs?? Answers on a postcard please!!!



04 April 2015

Powderham, Exminster Marshes and Back

I parked up as normal by the church and when I got out I was met by a right racket from the Rooks above me who were squabbling more than normal, other birds around the churchyard and fields were Carrion Crow, Wood Pigeon, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Great Tit and Robin.

Walking up to Turf by the side of the River Exe saw very little on the fields except from a Moorhen in a ditch and a couple of Carrion Crows on the pasture. Out on the mud flats saw Herring, Great-black Backed and Black-headed Gulls. With Shelduck, Curlews and Carrion Crows on the mud, Oystercatchers and a Little Egret on the waters edge with a Cormorant and a couple of Red-breasted Mergansers in the Channel diving for food.

It was quite windy at the Turf and very few small birds in the trees here with just Wood pigeon, Chaffinch, Robin, Greenfinch and Blue Tit. Out on the mud flats here there was plenty of Shelduck and Curlew with 4 Knot, a Cormorant in the channel with a few black-headed Gulls.

Going up the cycle track there was plenty of Blue and Great Tits in the bushes, also Robin, Blackbird, Wren, Carrion Crows, Woodpigeons and the unmistakable sound of a Cettis Warbler was a welcome sound.

On the Marshes there was Skylark, Pheasants, Canada Geese, Lapwings, Little Egrets, Mute Swans, coots, Moorhens, Mallards, Teal, Shoveler, Grey Heron, Carrion Crow, Stonechat, Blackbird, Robin, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Pied Wagtails, Magpie and Chiffchaff.

The insects I found were on the back path and "discovery area", these were Hoverflies, a couple of Bumble Bees and 4 Ladybirds all 7 Spots which are the first of the year for me.

A few Humans about and much better behaved than yesterday, even the dog owners!!

Good to bump into David Boult for a chat at the Turf;o)



03 April 2015

River Teign and Stover Park

Another wet, grey and miserable Bank Holiday! With very little chance of doing photography I parked up in the "Sibelco" car park with the plan to walk up the River Teign then turn off to Stover Park and return by the old canal.

There was a lot of noise from the trees by the river which was both Blue Tits and Great Tits in virtually all the trees going up the path. Robins were the only other small bird with Magpie, Woodpigeon and Carrion Crows flying over with Mallards being the only birds on the water.

It was great to see Swallow and Sand Martins close to Ventiford Basin over the River, a reminder that summer is coming!!!

I went under the railway bridge at Ventiford Road and followed part of the Templar Way along the road and through the village until I came to the woods that leads to Stover. Along this part of the road by the houses there was plenty of House Sparrows on the wires and garden hedges with Blackbird, Robins, Greenfinch and Woodpigeons.

Through the wooded section which was all pines saw a pair of Jays, Great and Blue Tits, Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Woodpigeon and a few Squirrel.

Into Stover by the lake which looked a bit bare! Single male Gadwall, a few Tufted Duck, two Mandarin Drakes, lots of Mallard and a Mute Swan. Herring, Black-headed and Lesser-black Backed Gulls flying around, Moorhen, Coot, Blackbird, Chaffinch and Robin were the only other birds seen on this miserable day walking around the lake. A stop off at the feeding station saw Great, Blue and Coal Tits at the feeder and a Nuthatch in the surrounding trees with several fat squirrels feeding below the feeders. A Buzzard was loafing about in the sky being mobbed by Carrion Crows and that was that!!

On the way back I walked down the old Canal which is being cleared and new paths being made, a few birds here with Blackbird, Robin, Chiffchaff, Mistle Thrushes, Carrion Crows, Great and Blue Tits, Woodpigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker and some Mallard on the flooded areas.

Very few insects, I think I saw 3 Bumble Bees on the whole walk! A few flowers but mainly on river bank and in the canal such as Wood Anemone, Marsh Marigold and Greater Stitchwort.

Dog walkers everywhere some were ok but others were just useless, dogs jumping in the lake at Stover after the ducks and on the fields running around barking which just frightened everything away, useless and just crap!!!



02 April 2015

Swallows

I went to Dawlish Warren with no great expectation, it was a grey day, a bit drab!

Well when I got to the entrance bushes I was impressed with the amount of small birds with Wren, Blue, Great, Long-tailed Tits, Several House Sparrows around the Tractor compound, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Greenfinch, Pair of Bullfinch, Chiffchaff, Collard Doves and Wood pigeon flying over, Carrion Crows on the ground with a couple of Magpies.

A bit quiet on the pond with only Mallard, Teal, Moorhen, Grey Heron and Canada Geese on show.

On Greenland Lake there was a Stonechat, several Blue and Great Tits by the golf course with Blackbird, Robin and Wren present.

Off the beach there was very little with just Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls and a couple of Cormorant. I dipped on the Long-tailed Duck again which apparently was there??

I followed the beach around the point and came across a large Jelly Fish the size of a dustbin lid dead on the beach but not sure what species though.

Further around there was 12 Turnstone by the waters edge with Oystercatchers and Dunlin close to Finger Point.

On Warren Point itself there was a good number of Linnet, Skylark, Stonechat, Dunnock and Blackbird. All in good voice!

On the Golf course there was 30 odd Dark-bellied Brent Geese just behind the hide trying to stay out of the way of golf balls!

From the hide there was Little Egret, Oystercatchers, Curlew, Godwits, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Grey Plover, Knot, Shelduck, Red-breasted Mergansers, Sanderling, Turnstone, Carrion Crow and a Male Sparrow Hawk swooped in low in front of the hide looking for tea!

The best bit was watching 2 Swallows fly by the hide, do a circuit and fly off towards land-Fantastic!!!

Lots of flowers and other plants coming out and a real feel of spring in the air apart from the lack of sun!

A few hoverflies around the pond and a couple of Bumble bees, No Butterflies and only a few humans and well behaved they were too hahaha!!!



01 April 2015

Powderham, Exminster Marshes and Back

As the weather was slightly better today I went for a walk to Powderham and up the side of the River Exe to Exminster Marshes.

I arrived and parked up in the car park under the noisy Rookery, in the field opposite a farmer was ploughing a field up and there was 100+ Gulls all of which looked like Herrings with Carrion Crows also there helping themselves to the pickings. There was also a few smart looking male Pheasants in the field facing up to each other.

Along the River by the bridge there was about 100+ Gulls by the edge of the water, a mixture of Black-headed, Great-black Backed Gull and Herring Gulls, further up the river there was several Red-breasted Mergansers with Shelduck and Carrion Crows on the mud. The only Waders were Curlew and Oystercatchers, a Pied Wagtail on the sea wall and a single Sand Martin flying up the river with a Little Egret flying around trying to make its mind up on whether to land.

On the fields there was some Mallards in a ditch, 20+ Canada Geese, with Blackbird, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Woodpigeons and Starling in and around the ditch and trees. A lone Buzzard loafing around with a Grey Heron by the far hedge.

At Turf there was plenty of small birds around, especially around the bushes and the pine trees. Plenty of Goldcrests, Blue Tits, Blackbirds, Chaffinch, Robins, Dunnock, Wren, Woodpigeons and Great Tits.

Not many birds out on the river mud here with a few Curlew, Shelduck, Carrion Crow, Oystercatchers and a Little Egret. There was a couple of smart looking Red-breasted Mergansers in the channel with a lone Cormorant.

Up the cycle track there was Wrens, Blue Tits, Chiffchaff, Woodpigeon with Moorhen and Mallard in the ditches.

Onto Exminster Marshes and it looks like all the Dark-bellied Brent Geese and Wigeon have left as none were seen. Still a few ducks present with Shoveler and Teal in good numbers with a few Mallard. Loads of Mute Swans about the place and the ever increasing numbers of Canada Geese were widespread.

Several Buzzard flying around with 2 Sand Martins, Carrion Crows, Woodpigeons and a Grey Heron the other flyers. On the ground there was several Lapwing and you could hear the lapwings on Powderham Marsh as well calling. Little egret, Moorhen, Coot and Grey Heron around the ditches. Magpies, Pheasant and Carrion Crows looking for food in the pasture, a couple Stonechat on the odd fence post with Blackbird, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tit, Robin, Dunnock and Chiffchaff in the bushes.

No Butterflies seen but plenty of Hoverflies down the back path out of the wind with a few Bumble Bees mainly Buff-tailed.

Plenty of wild flowers coming out with Daisy, Dandelion, White Violets, Alexander's, Cow Parsley, Groundsel, Red Dead Nettle, Shepherds Purse, Milky Thistle, Primrose, White Dead Nettle, Colts Foot, Green Alkanet, Common Speedwell, Ground Ivy, Lesser Celandine, Cuckoo Flower and a couple of others I need to Identify.

Good to bump into Dave Stone for a chat, very few other humans around so no chance of being run over by a bike;o)



31 March 2015

Axe Valley Wetlands

Went to Axe Valley Wetlands Reserve today in nothing more than hope that the 2nd Winter Ring-Billed Gull was still there, but shock horror it had gone! What's new!!

Still I had a good look around in what turned out to be very windy conditions with the odd spit of rain. In sheltered areas with a bit of sun there was Birds, Bees and Butterflies!

In the Car Park there was one of the 8 Chiffchaffs I found around the reserve, all where busy and looking for food unlike the rest of the small birds who were just hunkered down out of the wind.

On the way to the Tower Hide there was Woodpigeon, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Carrion Crows and a Pheasant.

From the Tower Hide looking out on the Axe which was at a lower tide showed a Gull roost of about 100+ birds of Great Black-backed Gull, Herring and Black-headed Gulls.

There was 24 Black-tailed Godwits whose plumage had started to change to summer plumage although some more than others. These birds left the river and went to the Lagoon.

Also seen from the Tower were Curlew, Cormorant, Mallard, Oystercatchers and 20+ Shelduck.

The Lagoon was fairly empty with the Godwits, Shelduck, Moorhen, Teal, Canada Geese and Pied Wagtail being the birds present.

Around the visitors centre there was Raven flying overhead with Greenfinch, Dunnock, Wren, and Great Tits in the bushes.

On Colyford Common had Grey Heron flying over with a few Mallard on the ground and a single Pheasant. Also here out of the wind there was plenty of Hoverflies which was great to see, I had only seen the odd one this year but plenty here!

From the Colyford Hide looking over the fields, nothing much was flying apart from a lone Buzzard, due to the wind. So on the ground there was 20+ Shelduck, Carrion Crow, Black-headed Gulls and Mallard.

I walked around the Reed bed loop, there was a few Mallard on the pond with a couple of Chiffchaff working hard for food, there was a few butterflies here along the path out of the wind with one Red Admiral and three Peacocks sunning themselves.

From the viewing platform just up from the hide looking over the fields there was Canada Geese, woodpigeons, Shelduck, Carrion Crows and what looks like the remains of a dead Mute Swan.

Not many flowering plants about with Daisy, Dandelion, Red Dead Nettle, Groundsel and Lesser Celandine. A few Bumble Bees around with Red and Buff Tailed in equal numbers.

There was a few "Mammal Rafts" about the ditches which was interesting! Checking for Water Vole, Otter and Mink.

Nice to meet some local birders and the rest of the Humans around were well behaved and quite happy!!!



30 March 2015

Wild Flower Gallery

Iam re-organising this because it was hard to find the plants so arranging them by flower colour to help. So the gallery looks a bit of a mess at the moment, sorry;o)



28 March 2015

Dawlish Warren

Went to the Warren today but wasn't expecting much as the tide was low and it was quite windy. My mood changed quite a bit though when walking towards the reserve you could hear birds singing as you walked across the car park!

In the entrance bushes there was a Song Thrush giving its all and it continued to sing for some time. Other birds were quite vocal with Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Great Tit and Wren trying to get in on the act. A walk through the first wooded section also found Blue Tit, Pied Wagtail, House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Woodpigeon and Carrion Crows.

At the pond it looked very quiet with nothing around but on closer inspection and looking in at various view points you could see birds sat in the reeds, Ducks were asleep with Mallard, Shoveler, Teal all present. Moorhen, Little Grebe could be seen with a Water Rail calling and later seen by the upturned boats on one of the islands.

Also a couple of Canada Geese sat on were the Mute Swans where? Perhaps chased them off?

Across Greenland lake there was plenty of Great and Blue Tits especially along the Gorse by the golf course. A pair of Long-tailed Tits also making a noise in one of the bushes by the fence. Towards the far end a very smart Stonechat was holding court flying from tops of bushes with a female staying close.

Walking towards the hide by the golf course saw 50+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese and a couple of Canada Geese trying to stay out of the way of the golfers.

At the hide saw Oystercatchers, Dunlin, Curlew, Shelduck, Wigeon, Red-breasted Mergansers and several Cormorant.

Walking around the Bite you could hear several Skylarks singing on the land. Also at Finger Point there was a Little Egret and several Great Black-backed Gulls and as you walked around to the point there was Redshank and Turnstone. 20+ Great Black-backed Gulls of all ages were sat on the point with Gulls diving in the water on the river mouth, on further investigation there was a couple of Sandwich Terns, but they were being given a hard time by the gulls and went further out to sea.

Along the beach there was 3 Sanderling which were the only birds there.

On the way back apart from the continuous song of the Skylarks there was a few Linnet being quite vocal.

Back at the sea wall by the shops there was a couple of displaying Great Crested Grebes, some other birders with scopes said they had been looking at some Scoters but I couldn't find them with my bins. There was reports of the Long-tailed Duck but I dipped on that as well!

By the Amusements there was a few Starlings with a few Pied Wagtails and a Buzzards soaring over the top. Back at my car I was met by a Magpie and a couple of Collard Doves with the Woodpigeons on the telegraph wires.

There was plenty of Bumble Bees mostly Buff Tailed with the odd Red Tailed. Hoverflies seen feeding on Red Dead Nettle, also seen was a few young Rabbits who wont last long if they stay out in the open and my first Common Lizard of the year.



22 March 2015

Powderham, Exminster Marshes and Back

Todays walk started at Powderham Church, I parked right under a very noisy Rookery with the birds bringing nesting material and flying around making a right racket.

Walking over the new bridge and up on the path by the River Exe, the tide was on the way out but very few birds on the mud flats here except half a dozen Oystercatchers and a couple of Shelduck. In the field there was a Buzzard sat in the usual tree with Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon and Pheasant on the ground. A pair of Mallard and a Little Egret in the ditch.

Further up Curlew could be seen and heard, 6 Red-Breasted Mergansers swimming in the channel with a couple of Cormorants with Great Black-Backed and Herring Gulls.

Plenty of flowers starting to come out, Dandelion, Red Dead Nettle, Lesser Celandine, Milky Thistle, Groundsel, Common Speedwell and Shepherds Purse on the bank or side of path. In the warmth a couple of Small Tortishell were good to see.

At Turf around the bushes there was Robin, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Dunnock, Wren, Blue Tit, Great Tit and Greenfinch. On the Estuary at this point you could see Black-tailed Godwits, Redshanks, Curlews, Little Egrets, Shelduck, Herring and Black-headed Gulls with more Red-breasted Mergansers in the channel.

On Exminster Marshes there were plenty of Canada Geese who were very noisy and doing a lot of flying around. I only saw 3 Dark-bellied Brent Geese and the Mute Swans were paired up all over the place. A flock of 15 Lapwing flew around then went over to Powderham Marsh.

Still a few ducks about with Wigeon being the highest number with decent numbers of Shoveler and Teal. Mallard and a pair of Tufted Duck also seen on the marsh. Other water based birds were Little Egret, Grey Heron, Coot and Moorhen.

Around the bushes and hedges there was plenty of birds, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits in good numbers. Robin, Blackbird, Cettis Warbler, Wren, Dunnock, Stonechat, Woodpigeon and a couple of Buzzard sat on a tree. Pied Wagtail, Reed Bunting, Magpie and Carrion Crows all seen.

Loads of Bumble Bees seen, Buff and Red -tailed on the Willows, they seemed to like some trees better than others not sure why? Hoverflies and Honey Bees also seen, saw a Cuckoo flower in the marsh next to the RSPB car park.

On the way back I saw a bird at first at distance I mistook for a female Wheatear but on a closer look it was a beautiful Water Pipit in Summer Plumage so well made up over that!

Plenty members of the human race around, some walking like me but many rushing around ether on bikes full pelt or running, shame they miss the beauty of the place!



21 March 2015

Birding around Darts Farm and Topsham

As the weather was good I thought I would pay a visit to Topsham. I parked up at Darts Farm and thought I would try my luck with the Penduline Tits. When I got there they were missing after someone had scared them off by getting too close, so not wasting too much time I started to walk back when the call went up that they had arrived back again. They put on a good show, shame I didn't bring a tripod as the wind was blowing not only the reeds but me and the camera as well! Anyway I managed to get off some shots.

Other birds seen where Linnets, Magpie, Jackdaws, Carrion Crows, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Blue Tit, Moorhen, Teal, Mallard, Wood Pigeon and several Pied Wagtail.

I then went off towards Topsham using the Exe Cycle track that takes you over Goosemoor to Bowling Green Marsh Nature Reserve.

Along the path I saw the usual woodland birds such as Wren, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tit, Robin, Greenfinch, Blackbird, Dunnock, Hen Sparrowhawk hunting and some Jackdaws carrying nesting material. When I got to the River Clyst you could see Redshank and Black-tailed Godwits.

On Goosemoor there was Carrion Crows, Woodpigeon, Kestrel, 20+ Black-tailed Godwits, 50+ Wigeon as well as Teal and Mallard.

Even though the tide was out the reserve had quite a few birds with Grey Heron, Canada Geese, Greylag Geese, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Blackbird, Robin, Chiffchaff, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coot, Moorhen, Lesser-black Backed Gull, Herring Gull, Black-headed Gull, Pintail, Shoveler, Wigeon, Teal and a few Sand Martins over the lake.

Then off to the platform that overlooks the River Clyst. The field by the path had Snipe, Moorhen, Shoveler, Wigeon, Mallard, Teal and Magpie. Along the path there was Greenfinch, Dunnock, Robin, Blue Tit and Great Tit.

At the Platform the tide was right out and plenty of birds in front, Spotted Redshank, loads of Redshank, Black-tailed Godwits, Grey Plover, Golden Plover, Teal, Shelduck, Cormorant, Goosander, Greenshank, Curlew, Little Egret with plenty of Black-headed Gulls in various stages of plumage.

At Goat walk there was plenty of Black-tailed Godwits, Knot, Dunlin and Curlew on the mud flats. Black-headed, Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls all flying around the estuary. 300+ Dark Bellied Brent Geese seen flying further down the estuary. also a few Mallard and Shelduck around this part of the estuary.

Plenty of Bumble Bees around, both Red and Buff-tailed. A couple of Small Tortishell Butterflies was a good find. Plenty of Red Dead Nettle and Common Speedwell added a bit of colour.

Such a great day with plenty of nice people about!



15 March 2015

Slapton Ley

Went to Slapton Ley and had a good walk around. There was plenty of birds 37 in total but unfortunately no pics as it was grey and not much light.

The highlight for me was 25-30 Sand Martins flying close to Irelands Bay on the Ley and away from the wind trying for flies and midges over the water.

There was plenty of ducks around the Ley, Mallard, Tufted, Pochard, Gadwall and several Mallard cross type birds at the Torcross end. There was also a couple of Muscovy Ducks here as well.

Plenty of Gulls, Black-headed Gulls some of which had their summer plumage all black heads already. Herring, Great Black-backed and Lesser Black-backed Gulls all seen around the Ley and the beach.

A couple of Buzzards soaring on the wind with plenty of Jackdaws and Carrion Crows around the site.

Several Great-crested Grebes both on the Ley and on the Sea, sadly not displaying. I also saw a Little Grebe which quickly disappeared into the reeds, plenty of Coots and a few Moorhens, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Little Egret and Grey Heron are the other water birds seen.

Around the paths covered by trees there was plenty of woodland birds, several pairs of Chiffchaff with Goldcrest, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Wren, Blackbird, Robin, Mistle Thrush, Wood Pigeon, Dunnock, Goldfinch and Greenfinch. The only bird around the reeds was a couple of Cettis Warblers in full song.

Plenty of flowers out especially Red Campion and Common Dog-violet. A couple of Buff coloured Bumble Bees and Squirrels looking for food added to the day.



14 March 2015

Challacombe, Dartmoor.

Went up to Dartmoor to have a walk around Challacombe Farm which has a number of different habitats ranging from farm yard, open moor and scrub.

It was dry but cold and there was alack of birds on the open moor. There was Stonechats over most of the walk with a few males singing and holding territories, a Skylark also singing with Meadow Pipits seen in a few places.

around the farm buildings there was House Sparrows, Dunnock, Blackbird, Pied Wagtails, Robins, chaffinches, Wren and Blue Tit.

On the edge of some brush there was a couple of Goldcrests chasing after each other.

Sparrowhawk and a couple of Buzzards flying over, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Raven and Woodpigeons all seen at various places around the walk.

On the way back by car to Dawlish, but still on Dartmoor, I came across a grass field full of birds, 100+ Starling, 200 Fieldfare and 20-30 Redwing- Fantastic sight!!!

Great also to see lots of youngsters out walking training for the Ten Tors.



08 March 2015

Dawlish Warren

With the threat of rain I stayed local and went to the Warren. High tide at 8am and at the hide the tide was a good height. It was dull and grey, very much like a winters day!

There was a good selection of birds around the bite with a group of 24 Sanderling who almost came right up to were I was sitting, shame that doesn't happen in good light typical!

Only ducks were Mallard and Shelduck, none of the usual winter ducks to be seen. 30 Dark-bellied Brent Geese with a couple of Canada Geese in front of hide with another 50+ on the Golf course. Good numbers of Dunlin, Grey Plover, Curlew, Oystercatchers and smaller numbers of Knot, Turnstone, Ringed Plover and Redshank. Out in the river there was Red-breasted Merganser, Cormorants with Herring, Black-headed and Great Black-backed Gulls around the River Estuary.

Out on the point Stonechat, Linnet and Skylark all singing holding territories. Other birds seen around the reserve were Robin, Blackbird, Collard Dove, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Dunnock, Goldcrest, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Wren, Blue, Great and long-tailed Tit, Starling and Great Spotted Woodpecker.

The pond was a bit quiet with Shoveler, Mallard and Moorhen the only birds seen. There was 3 Long-tailed Ducks just off the beach.

I dipped on a Wheatear and a possible Woodlark but still a good day for birds.

Other stuff seen was a few Rabbits and the Hawthorn is starting to flower. On the beach plenty of shells and Egg cases and Sea Potatoes.

Met lots of birders today and all seem quite happy except for Lee who didn't see 24 Sanderling only 20! hahaha



07 March 2015

Exminster and Powderham Marshes

On this beautiful day I decided to give both marshes a good walk over, there was a bit of wind but out of this it was quite warm.

It was noticeable that some of the bushes had started to come into bud with the Willows showing Catkins and Hawthorn starting to come into flower. There was also a Small Tortishell and a couple of Bumble Bees flying around although I couldn't find out what species as they wouldn't settle.

On Exminster Marshes I did my normal circuit but adding a couple of footpaths that feed off the road.

Plenty of birds on the Marsh by the back path with Canada Geese, Dark-bellied Brent Geese and Mute Swans in good numbers. Plenty of Ducks with Wigeon being the most numerous with Teal ,Shoveler and Mallard as well all over the marsh.

Several Grey Heron, Little Egret, Moorhen and Coot around the ditches.

A Buzzard and a Peregrine which settled in the field and just sat there sunning itself for sometime.

6 stunning Bullfinch along the hedge eating the new buds, the males looked stunning in the sun but frustratingly always a twig in the way of getting a good shot!!

Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits all over the reserve around the bushes and saw a Blue tit come out of a nest box.

Several Robin , Dunnock, Blackbird, Song thrush, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Pied Wagtail, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Wood Pigeon, Collard Dove, House Sparrow, Wren, Skylark and a single Cettis Warbler also seen.

At Turf there was plenty of Waders but they were spread all over the mud flats. 100+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese flying around as couldn't settle due to all the people around. Redshanks, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwits, Dunlin, Shelduck, Herring Gull and Black-headed Gulls all seen on the Exe.

On Powderham Marshes next door there was Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock, Reed Bunting, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Skylark, Cirl Buntings and a flock of 50+ Linnets.

Moorhen, Coot, Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon, Mallard, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Pheasant, Lapwing, Canada Geese, Chaffinch and Goldfinch all seen around the Marsh.

Great day out in glorious weather!!!



01 March 2015

Exminster Marshes

As it was supposed to be raining heavy this afternoon I cancelled a trip to Dartmoor and stayed more local and went to Exminster Marshes.

It started off sunny and not much wind, but as the day went on the wind picked up quite a bit but thankfully no rain!

A lot of the birds where on the floor because of the wind and not that many small birds about.

Out of the wind I pleased to find a Peacock Butterfly sunning itself although looking around I don't know what its going to eat as there was no nectar sources that I could see??

As normal there was plenty of Ducks with Wigeon the largest group with Teal, Shoveler and Mallard in good numbers, I also learnt today that a group of Wigeon is called a " Company "? Is that just Wigeon or a group of Ducks?

There was large numbers of Canada Geese but there was only 1 Dark-bellied Brent Goose sat all alone in a field. It looked a bit sad, perhaps its ill? Cant think of any other reason for it be sat all alone. Also about six Mute Swans in various places.

Moorhen, Coot, Little Egret and Grey Heron also seen with a large number 100+ Lapwing around the reserve.

Raven, Carrion Crow and several Magpies mostly in pairs around site.

Several Cormorants, Kestrel, Buzzard, Woodpigeons, Reed Bunting, Blackbirds, Song Thrush, Wren, Robin, Goldfinches, Starlings, Dunnock, Pied Wagtails, Skylark, Great and Blue Tits.

The Tide was coming in so at the Turf Hotel there was quite a few Waders close to grass with Greenshank, Redshank, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Avocet and Dunlin on View. Shelduck, Herring and Black-headed Gulls in good Numbers.

That's a good total of 41 species in windy conditions and I met loads of happy smiley people which has got to be good!



28 February 2015

Dawlish Warren

Went to the Warren today, the tide wasn't very high, about 2.6 at the hide so the birds were not pushed very far or close to the hide.

I did have some good views of the Waders though with Oystercatcher, Curlew, Dunlin, Redshank, Grey plover, Knot, Turnstone and Ringed Plover. Other birds seen were Dark-bellied Brent Geese, Skylark, Linnet, Red-breasted Merganser, Little Egret, Wigeon, Shelduck and Cormorant.

On the Golf course there was another 50+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese.

In the pond there was Teal, Shoveler, Mallard, Mute Swan sat on nest, Moorhen and Little Grebe.

Other birds seen around the bushes and site are Collard Dove, Woodpigeon, Stonechat, Magpie, Starling, Dunnock, Pied Wagtail, Herring and Black-headed Gulls, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Robin, Blackbird, House Sparrows, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Bullfinch, Wren and Great Spotted Woodpecker.

As I walked along the beach I did some beachcombing and found a few Sea Potatoes and lots of different Shells, I was amazed at the amount of Whelk egg-cases that have been washed up in the latest gales.



21 February 2015

Powderham to Turf Lock on River Exe

Quick walk up the side of the River Exe to Turf to see what was about and wasn't disappointed!

Couldn't find the Snow Bunting but many of the birds were away out of the wind in the fields so it might have been there?

Plenty of birds in the fields with Grey Heron, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Curlew, Herring Gull, Canada Geese and several flocks of Dark-bellied Brent Geese totalling about 400+ birds. Also several small flocks of Black-tailed Godwits feeding in the fields with more flying in from the mudflats all the time.

Also Oystercatchers, Lapwing, Several Stonechats and Robin around the path and field.

On the River a lot fewer birds, Rock Pipits on the sea wall with Shelduck, avocets, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Cormorants, Redshank and a few Black-tailed Godwits.

When I got to Turf there was plenty of Wigeon, Mallard and Teal in the dykes staying out of the wind.

Good walk if not a little breezy!



21 February 2015

Dawlish Warren

After a heavy night out on the town I managed to make it to the Warren for high tide at 8.15am. It was the highest tide for some time and as you can see from the picture there was standing room only! The birds on the island were constantly harassed by Carrion Crows but were quick enough to catch anything.

Large numbers of Waders but wont do the numbers, but Dunlin, Curlew, Knot, Grey Plover, Turnstone, Sanderling, Redshank and Oystercatcher all seen.

Also out to sea I saw some Great-crested Grebes as well as Herring, Black-headed and Great Black-backed Gulls.

Around the pond I saw Mallard, Little Grebe, Moorhen and Mute Swan. Ducks seen in front of the hide were Wigeon, Teal and Shelduck.

Also Cormorant, Dark-bellied Brent Geese, Carrion Crows, Skylark, Water Pipit and Greenfinch all seen around the hide.

Around the bushes, Blackbird, robin, wren, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Green Woodpecker, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Dunnock, Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Starling and Collard Dove.

Also pointed out to me by Phil the Warden a Dartford Warbler-cheers!!

Also good to see Lee, Dave and Alan out birding, your wit and charm never ceases to amaze me!!



20 February 2015

Cirl Buntings

I went to Labrador Bay today for another visit to see the Cirl Buntings and wasn't disappointed!

I was met by a small group of around 10 as soon as I got into the field from the car park, then ahead of me I could see 3 trees full of birds which turned out to be all Cirl Buntings! 50+ I reckon, while trying to take some pictures I met the Warden who is responsible for the reserve who said the numbers had slowly risen. I also made the point a lot of birds where coming from across the road, he made the point that the farmers field was full of them and the lane going into the local village had plenty in too. It was reported to him that in the local village Cirls had been visiting the bird tables in peoples gardens! Lucky them!!!!!

Other birds seen were worryingly a Sparrowhawk which I saw take out a Blackbird, ok but stay away from the Cirls! 3 Buzzard, Kestrel, Magpie, Raven, Carrion Crow, Herring Gull, Skylark, Chaffinch, Goldcrest, Robin, Chaffinch, Wren, Dunnock, Jackdaw and a small Tit flock comprising of about 20 birds, looked like only Long-tailed and Blue Tits.

Great to see these wonderful birds and great to meet the warden who was understandably proud of his work!!!



18 February 2015

Greylake

On the way home I decided to pop into Greylake which turned out was a great choice!

In the carpark the bushes were alive with birds, Starlings, Reed Buntings, Blue Tits, Great Tits, Robin, Dunnock and Wren. All waiting there turn to go on the bird tables which had been left full by visitors, a real noisy welcome;o)

When I got to the hide and looked out there was nothing but birds!

400+ Lapwing, 10+ Snipe, 1000+ mixture of ducks with Mallard, Shoveler, Gadwall, Teal and Wigeon. Loads of Coot and Moorhen, Little and Great Egrets, Mute Swans, Carrion Crows and Ravens who where nesting in one of the Electricity Pylons.

There was a Kestrel, Buzzard and a Marsh Harrier that teased us by flying backwards and forwards but never close enough to get a picture, fantastic to watch through the bins.

Just a great way to finish the day!



18 February 2015

Catcott Lows

Well after stopping at the local café and talking to other birders it seems I wasn't the only one who was having a quite time, it sounded like Catcott was the next stop as there was loads of Ducks!

I wasn't to be disappointed with the marsh flooded and great views of Glastonbury Tor in the background and Ducks galore in the for ground!

There was 2 Barnacale Geese in the front as well to add to the 1000+ Ducks! There was Wigeon, Pintail, Teal, Shoveler, Tufted and a couple of Mallard. Great sight!!

Around the hide there was Pied Wagtail, Robin, Dunnock and Blackbird. Out flying around was Carrion Crow, Grey Heron and a Kestrel.

Other people said earlier there was Marsh Harriers and a Peregrine which understandably upset the ducks but didn't catch anything, would have luved to see the hunt!!



18 February 2015

Westhay Moor, Somerset

I went up to Westhay in Somerset with full of positive feeling on what I might see, only to be sadly disappointed!

Its a great place and have seen lots of good stuff here before but sadly today there was a lack of birds for this sight.

Very few ducks, a few Gadwall, Mallard, Shoveler and a solitary Pintail was very disappointing.

I did see a couple of Marsh Harriers and a Buzzard which was great, and a Kingfisher flying off in the distance.

Other birds were Great crested Grebes, Water Rail, Moorhen, Coot, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long tailed Tit, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting and a Cettis Warbler.

Still on a sunny day a nice walk!



17 February 2015

Maiden Castle

On the way home to Devon I went for a walk around Maiden Castle which is close to Dorchester. It is a huge Iron age Fort with massive ramparts. The surrounding fields are large open cereal fields on chalk. There are some paths at the bottom and to the side with hedges. The whole area is great to see farmland birds.

On the ploughed field there was a small flock of Corn Buntings and a few Skylarks and Stonechats on the fence.

On the Castle itself there was a small flock of 30+ Meadow Pipits.

Other birds seen were 50+ Lapwings on the field with Redwing, Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Dunnock, Wren, Woodpigeon.

Carrion Crows and Herring Gulls around on cultivated ground and a lone Grey Heron flew over.

Such a fantastic place to walk around, not only for the birds but the history and the view!!



17 February 2015

Portland Bill

From Radipole I went down to Portland Bill for a bite to eat and to see what's about.

Sadly not much excitement at the Bill but still a few birds!

Out to sea there was Gannets, Razorbill and Guillemot's.

On land there was the Little Owl in the Quarry with 30+ House Sparrows, Skylark, Robin, Dunnock, Wren around the buildings with Herring Gulls, Buzzard, Kestrel, Peregrine, Raven and Cormorants flying around the general area.



17 February 2015

Radipole, Dorset.

Went to Weymouth in Dorset today to see the Bearded Tits at Radipole lake.

When I first got there I was a bit worried as they were working on the reeds where the Bearded Tits are normally seen, thankfully I shouldn't have worried as they were close to the north hide and showing very well, a group of 6 birds close to the footpath. Don't think I have ever got that close! Fantastic sight! Go to the gallery to see more pictures of this special bird.

Plenty of other birds on view, ducks all over the place with mainly Mallard but Teal and Tufted Ducks in good numbers.

Mute Swans,Canada Geese, Coots, Moorhens, Cormorants, Little Egrets, Grey Heron, Water Rail, Little Grebe and Great Crested Grebes are the water birds on view.

Several Cettis Warblers making a noise around the reserve, robin, Wren, Dunnock, Blackbird, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tit, Greenfinch, Wood Pigeon, Raven, Carrion Crow, Reed Bunting and Magpie also seen.

Marsh Harrier and Buzzards seen by the North Hide.

Black-headed Gulls, Mediterranean Gull and Herring Gulls all on the car park.

Fantastic start to the day!



16 February 2015

Birding around Topsham

After getting my car back and £192 lighter Iam on the road again and off to Topsham!

When I arrived at Darts farm the tide was on the turn and heading in, so Goosemoor was restricted to 20+ Curlew, but around the paths leading up there was plenty of small woodland birds such as Wren, Robin, Dunnock, Blackbird, Great and Blue Tit, Carrion Crow and Woodpigeon. In the creak there was some Mallard and redshank.

As I was coming up to the railway bridge a Peregrine went over and to my surprise didn't put any birds up.

Around the reserve at Bowling Green there was a few birds but as tide was out not many on the water, 100+ Wigeon was the most numerous bird with good numbers of Teal, Shoveler and Mallard. Black-tailed and a possible Bar-tailed Godwit. Curlew, Little Egret, Buzzard, Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Collard Doves, Robin, Dunnock, Magpie, Snipe and Moorhen.

From the path to the platform on the River Clyst you could see the Water Rail showing well with the Moorhens, Goldfinch in the bushes with 50+ Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Curlew and Shelduck being seen from the platform. As well as 4 Greylags flying over.

From the Goat Walk you could see 300+ Avocets, Godwits, Curlew, Dunlin, Knot, Shelduck and Cormorants. Further upstream there was a couple of Oystercatchers and Herring, Black-headed and Great Black-backed Gulls seen in all places.

Great day out and nice to meet so many happy people about the place;o)



15 February 2015

Dawlish Warren

Unfortunately the suspension on my car collapsed Friday so couldn't do the trips I wanted to do but had to walk to Dawlish Warren instead!

It started off a beautiful clear day but the cloud came in got grey and cold later on.

I got to the hide at 2pm, 1hr before high tide although it wasn't that high I was hoping to see some birds, unfortunately there was quite a few idiots on top of the banks with their telescopes which just kept the birds at a distance, complete "T###S!"

Anyway rant over back to the birds, on the main pond there was plenty of ducks with Teal, Mallard, Shoveler and Gadwall with Moorhen, Little Grebe and Mute Swan.

Around the woods there was Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Song thrush, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long tailed-Tit, Robin, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Magpie, Carrion Crow and a single Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Around the hide there was Dark Bellied Brent Geese, Widgeon, Shelduck, Knott, Oystercatcher, Dunlin, Redshank, Curlew, Grey Plover, Water Pipit, Linnet, Carrion Crow, Herring Gull, Black-headed Gull and Stonechat behind the hide.

Good to meet up with everybody;o)



01 February 2015

Stover

Went to Stover just outside Newton Abbot in Devon. It always amazes me that despite all the free running dogs and screaming kids that there is so much wildlife around the park!

Loads of ducks which is what you would expect with Mallard being the top species, a small flock of 12 Pochard, 3 Tufted Ducks and a pair of Mandarins added a bit of colour!

1 Male and 2 female Goosanders added a bit of variety with one of the females coming in close to give some good views.

Other water birds including Mute Swans, Coots, Moorhens, Cormorants and Kingfisher.

There was 100+ Black-headed Gulls, a few juvenile Herring Gulls and 1 Great Black-back Gull.

Plenty of woodland birds around the place, especially around the bird feeders with Great, Blue and Coal Tits, Nuthatch, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Blackbirds, Robins, Dunnock, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Buzzard and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Iam sure I heard a Crossbill but didn't see it in the woods by the car park.

Even though the world and its mother was out walking the park I really enjoyed the walk and will be going back soon ;o)



25 January 2015

Welney

On the way home to Devon I popped into the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Welney, there is the odd visit from Bean Goose so I thought I would try my luck. I think Welney is the best WWT site as its more like a reserve not a tourist attraction like Slimbridge!

There was still some Whooper Swans with some Juveniles and still 2 Bewicks Swans left from the wintering flock. There was also Mute Swans and Greylag Geese but sadly NO Bean Goose!!

As you would expect there was a good selection of ducks with large numbers of Mallard, Pochard and Wigeon. There was smaller numbers of Pintail, Teal, Tufted, Shoveler, Shelduck and Golden Eye.

There was about 300 Black-tailed Godwit and 50+ Dunlin around the lake with Cormorant, Lapwing, Moorhen and Coot also seen.

Other birds seen were a Barn Owl on the entrance road hunting, Kestrel, Great Tit, Wren, Dunnock, Green Woodpecker, Robin and Blackbird around the hides and paths.

Great place!



24 January 2015

Pink-Footed Geese and Idoits!

Later in the day I managed to find a small flock on a field close to the village of Brancaster.

The flock soon grew as more birds flew in and when I left there must have been 3000+ birds.

I was surprised that they stayed around after a few idiots flushed them while trying to get a better view or to get a better picture. There was talk that there was a couple of Bean Goose in the flock and people were trying to get closer and all they did was make them fly!

There is no excuse for this type of behaviour but sadly we see it more and more.



24 January 2015

Early Start at Snettisham

Up early and the road seemed very busy for that time in the morning, I then realised that everybody was going to the same place as me!

Thankfully I was ready to go so parked on the verge and walked straight to the path. There was so many people that there was a continuous line from the car park to the beach.

The Pink-fotted Geese had started to fly by the time I got to the beach and although the sun had not come up yet it was light enough to see the first wave of nearly 1000 birds. The noise was eiree! I walked to the far end to get the best views.

Wave apon wave of Geese flew over and you can see why its called a "spectacle".

Another magical moment was the small flocks of Knot flying over my head and in between the groups of people on the bank,the noise as they shot over was fantastic!



23 January 2015

On the road back

Lucky to come across 1000+ Pink footed Geese by the road, a joy to watch!

While I was driving past a wooded patch I was confronted by a Muntjac Deer in the middle of the road, sadly it moved before I could get the camera as it would have been a good picture.

Also saw plenty of Brown Hares, Red legged Partridges as well as a few Grey Partridges which finished off a great day!



23 January 2015

Burnham Overy Staithe

I went hear today after hearing that there was Rough Legged Buzzards here.

I parked up in the harbour and walked along the sea defences as advised,it was cold but clear conditions and plenty of birds!

In the harbour the tide was out showing plenty of Waders, Redshank, Curlew, Oystercatchers, Ringed Plovers, Black-tailed Godwit, Knot, Dunlin and 100s of Black-bellied Brent Geese continually flying back and fro around the marsh.

Herring Gull, Black headed Gull, Mallard, Shelduck, Large numbers of Wigeon, Little Egret and Mute Swans.

A nice selection of Raptor's with Kestral, Red Kite, Marsh Harrier, Common Buzzard and Rough Legged Buzzard at a distance. It was pointed out by a couple of other birders who were 100% sure it was a Rough Legged, my first!!!!



23 January 2015

Snettisham

I wanted to get to Snettisham early to see the spectacular views of the Geese flying from the Wash to find food on land.

But I arrived a bit late as all the Pink-Footed Geese where flying over the car park.

By the time I got to the beach there was only a few stragglers flying over.

I was though in time to see the Knot, there must have been a Million+ birds, a bit far to get some decent pics but you hear the noise of there wings, just fantastic!

There was also 1000's of Gulls, apart from Pink foots there was Greylegs and Canada Geese.

Large number's of Ducks on the Wash, Mallard,Shielduck, Wigeon and Golden Eye also around the lakes.

100+ Linnet,500+ Fieldfare split into smaller flocks.

Also seen where Goldcrest, Robin, Blackbird, Pied Wagtail, Lapwing, Wren, Greenfinch, Coot, Magpie, Little Grebe and Cormarent.

A smart pair of Mergansers showed very well in front of a hide.

There was a few Waders with Redshanks, Dunlin and a couple of Curlew.

Must come again tomorrow but earlier!!



22 January 2015

Grey Partridge

After a bit of walking and showing some patience I found some Grey Partridge, 12 in total!

I haven't seen one for 40+ years and it was good to see so many in one place.

Holkham Estate has won awards for the work they have done in conserving the birds. It was though very difficult to get close to take a picture as they were very nervous, the estate was having a shoot and the guns were going off all the time.

Must get back and try and get some better picks when its a bit brighter!

The day ended well!!



22 January 2015

Shore Lark frustration

I went to Covehethe Broad in Suffolk to see the 3 Shore Larks.

After parking up next to the ruined church I walked down to the beach walking past loads of pigs having a great time in the mud!

Plenty of small birds,Robins, Blackbirds, House Sparrows, Blue and Great Tits, Chaffinch and Woodpigeon.

When I nearly got to the beach I met another birder who told be the Larks were there but had been frightened off by some dogs and flew north.

This would have been my 4th attempt and is so frustrating!!!

I continued to the beach with a hope they would come back but sadly no!

In the lake by the beach there was over 1000+ Gulls mostly Black headed Gulls but also some Great-black Backed Gull and possible Lesser-blacked Backed Gulls.

A few Ducks, Mallard, Gadwall and Golden Eye. Also a single Red headed Smew which was good to see.

A few disappointed birders live to fight another day!



21 January 2015

Norfolk\ Titchwell

Iam in Norfolk for a few days doing some birding. This afternoon I paid a quick visit to Titchwell.

I don't think I've ever come here when its warm, and today was no exception!

But the amount of birds certainly made up for it!

Around the visitor centre there was plenty of woodland birds especially around all the feeders.

There was Blue, Great and Long tailed Tits, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Chaffinch,Woodpigeon,Robin, Blackbird and loads of Moorhens picking up seeds under the feeders!

The Marsh is split into 3 lagoons, 1 Freshwater and the other 2 Tidal.

The 1st one was a iced up but enough for plenty of Ducks to be there. Mainly Teal and Mallard,but also a few Avocets which was great to see.

On the tidal lagoons there was plenty of Waders, Redshank,Curlew,Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwits,Ringed Plover, and Oystercatcher.

Plenty of Ducks with Mallard, Teal,Shoveler, Pintail and a single Tufted Duck.

Moorhen, Coot, Little Egret, Shelduck, Little Grebe, and more Avocets all seen.

Water Pipit and Water Rail,Great black Backed Gull, lots of Black headed Gulls,Magpies,Large flock of Dark bellied Geese flew over making a racket!

One of the best sights was a hunting Barn Owl! Just stunning!

Also great to see so many happy people😁



18 January 2015

Yarner Woods

On a beautiful clear day, I cant think of a better place to go than Yarner Woods!

To those of you who don't know Yarner, its on the edge of Dartmoor and the wood is renowned for its towering stands of ancient oak woodland, it also has a big area of Silver Birch.

The wood is famous for Pied Flycatcher, Wood Warbler which you would see in April-June and Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers you can find with a bit of patience all year, although it is easier in the winter as there are no leaves!

In the winter there is still plenty of birds. When you park up you are next to the Pond Hide, there are plenty of feeders here and they were busy with Blue, Great and Coal Tits. Also visited by Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Chaffinch.

On the pond there was 3 Male and 1 Female Mandarin Ducks-beautiful birds!

Then a walk up to the Yarner Hide which is in the woods, it has 4 feeders which were full of birds, Blue, Great, Coal and Marsh Tits. Also Chaffinch, Nuthatch and Robins trying to get in on the act.

Around the paths there was plenty of Nuthatch and a couple of Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Treecreeper, Great, Blue and Coal Tits, Blackbirds, Magpie, Chaffinch, Wren, Robin, Lesser Redpoll and Raven.

Nice to bump into Mark Dyer and his misses.



17 January 2015

Exminster Marshes

Walked around the top half of the marshes as due to flooding the area close to the middle carpark was flooded.

Plenty of birds about and in large numbers.

500+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese flew over, it looked like they came from Darts Farm, the flew over and later returned in smaller flocks. Probably pushed off the estuary by the incoming tide.

300+ Golden Plovers in field close to canal road with large numbers a of Lapwings.

Plenty of Ducks with a minimum of 1000 Wigeon with good numbers of Teal, Shoveler, Mallard and a pair of Tufted Ducks.

"30-40 Canada Geese with a few Mute Swans, Coot and Moorhen as well.

A flock of about 100 Black-tailed Godwit, a few Curlew and the odd Oystercatcher and Redshank on water edges of the scrapes.

A Sparrowhawk chasing Starlings caused a bit of panic, other small birds were Wren, Stonechat, Blackbird, Robin, Blue and Great Tit.

Herring Gull, Grey Heron, Woodpigeon, Magpie and Carrion Crow all seen.

Great to see Gray Clements and have a chat!



17 January 2015

Powderham to Turf Lock on River Exe

After watching the Snow Bunting I walked up to Turf Lock.

Along the sea wall there was a Pied Wagtail virtually every 20ft!

Also along the path there was Meadow Pipits, Robin, Dunnock, Stonechat and Blackbird.

20 Canada Geese flew over and on the fields there was Dark-bellied Brent Geese, A Buzzard sat in a tree, Oystercatchers, Lapwings and several small flocks of Curlew totalling about 150 birds.

In the estuary there was Shelduck, Little Egret, Cormorants, several Redshanks, A single Greenshank, 50+ Avocets, 300+ Black-headed Gulls sat on waterside, singles of Brent and Canada Geese.

Around Turf there was plenty of small birds, Robin, Blue Tits, Blackbirds, Chaffinch and a couple of Woodpigeon.



17 January 2015

Snow Bunting

Went to see the Snow Bunting close to Powderham by the new bridge.

Quite tame and allowing everybody to get a good look, the only thing that made it move was a train.

Good to meet a group of birders from the "New Forest" who had popped in on the way to Dawlish Warren.



11 January 2015

Penduline Tit

Finally after several visits to Darts Farm in Topsham, managed to see these beautiful little birds.

There was two of them on view with another hiding in the reeds, the two put on a good show in the reed mace.

Also good to see so many old faces I hadn't seen in a while.



11 January 2015

Aylesbere Common

I went to Aylesbere to see the Shrike and some Dartford Warblers. It was a sunny but breezy day, just right for a walk!

The ponies were close to the road which was a surprise but they looked safe enough. The birds though were missing and after doing two circuits I only saw Stonechat, Robin, Blackbird, Wren, Carrion Crow, Green Woodpecker, and a very brief glimpse of a Dartford Warbler.

In the sky was a couple of Herring Gulls and a Buzzard loafing about. 100+ Woodpigeon flying over was the biggest number of birds seen.

A Sandpiper sp. was flushed as I walked part the pond but it was to quick for me to positively ID.



10 January 2015

Exminster Marshes

It was very windy and grey day today so I went to Exminster Marshes with the hope of taking some pictures of the Golden Plover that had been seen on the Marsh, yesterday it was reported that up to a 1000 birds were present. Today I only saw about 300 and they were in the middle of the marsh and although they were put up a couple of times they never came near the viewing areas near the road.

Very large numbers of Lapwing must have been over a 1000 spread over the marsh, Great to see.

There was very large numbers of Ducks with 1000+ of Wigeon and smaller numbers of Teal, Shoveler, Mallard and Pintail.

There was large numbers of Geese and these were split up into smaller flocks across the marsh with 150 mixed flock of Canada and Dark-bellied Brent Geese being the biggest. A large flock of 500 Brent Geese came over from Darts farm area and split into small groups of 20/30 birds, some went on the River Exe and some on the marsh. There was no sign of the 3 White fronted Geese that had been seen earlier in the week.

There was a few waders with the largest numbers being Black-tailed Godwits, but there was also Redshank and Curlew seen.

In the marsh there was several small flocks of Starling, some Snipe, Moorhen, Mute Swans, Grey Heron, Pheasant, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Wood Pigeon and several Cormorants were by the main Lagoon.

Around the hedges there were a few birds, Blue Tit, Wren, Blackbird and some Stonechat near the Canal.



04 January 2015

Torbay Boat Trip

Went out on the boat with Nigel into Torbay, Grey but calm!

Because there had been several reports of Velvet Scoter so we headed for the beaches near Broadsands.

We saw them and they seem to drift towards us and then fly showing their white wing bands, But to my annoyance I didn't get a picture?? One of the buttons had moved so it wouldn't focus! So bloody annoying!!!

Luckily for me we saw them on the way back, but not so close, but I did get some pictures after all!

Well onwards we went and saw lots of other stuff- 1 Common Scoter, 8 Black-necked Grebes, 7 Great-crested Grebes seen out on the water.

2 Peregrines, Turnstone, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Carrion Crow seen around the cliffs.

Purple Sandpipers in Brixham Harbour, a Black Redstart seen while we were waiting for the boat at close to "Living Coasts" were we have seen them before.

Mute Swan,4 Gannet, Good Numbers of Fulmar, Cormorant, Shag, Great-black Backed , Herring and Black-headed Gulls seen around the cliffs and Islands around the bay.

Also saw 1000 odd Guillemot around Berry Head and in "Rafts" around the bay.

A great morning out with a great bunch of people.



03 January 2015

Exminster Marshes and Exeter Canal

As there had been news of a Marsh Harrier and Merlin at the marshes I thought I would give it a visit.

The day started with it raining but it was expected to be sunny later. When I arrived it had stopped raining but was very windy and cloudy. The plan was to walk towards Turf Lock via the footpath until it became to muddy and walk back, then by road to the fishermen's carpark then up the Exeter Canal to the swing bridge then back to the car 7miles in total.

Down the path I could see several large flocks of birds being put up by something, mainly Lapwing and Golden Plover. Also seen Stock Dove, Kestrel, Curlew, Carrion Crow, 2 Raven on the Pylons, Moorhen, small flock of Canada Geese and a single Dark-bellied Brent Goose. Also Redwing, Robin, Blackbird and Dunnock.

Along the road the fields were full of birds, Mute Swans, Brent Geese, Golden Plover, Lapwings, Godwits, Curlew.

Plenty of Ducks- Shoveler, Mallard, Teal and large numbers of Wigeon. Also seen, Grey Heron, Coot, Moorhen, Magpie and a few small flocks of Starling.

When I got to the canal 300+ Brent Geese flew south, probably from Darts Farm.

Not much on the canal, Cormorant, several Mute Swans, Moorhen and Coot. There was plenty of fishermen on the canal towpath which might have kept the birds away.



02 January 2015

Dunsford Woods

Went to Dunsford woods today to try and see some Dipper in the River Teign. I had hoped that because there was no leaves on the trees the light would be good and so get some good pictures.

Well yes I did see some Dipper, but because of the hills each side and time of year, even though it was bright sunlight the sun never appeared over the trees. I did get a picture but it wont win any awards!

Still a good walk in beautiful countryside and met lots of happy people out walking.

Did manage also to see Nuthatch, Blue, Long-tailed and Great Tits, Robin, Wren, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Goldcrest and Blackbird in the trees and flying overhead.

The woods are normally good for Woodpeckers but didn't see or hear any and the river is normally good for a Kingfisher and the odd duck but again nothing? Lets hope it was just a blip and nothing serious. Need to go in a months time when the sun is higher.



31 December 2014

Darts Farm to Topsham

Went to Darts Farm with the hope of seeing the 3 Penduline Tits that have been seen there the last 3 days but it was a no show today. I did see Chiffchaff, Mallard, Teal, Moorhen, Blue and Great Tits, Robin, Chaffinch, 200+ flock of Dark-bellied Brent Geese. I decided then to walk to Bowling Green Marsh via Goose moor.

On the Path to Goose moor there was plenty of small birds as well as a Buzzard sat on a telegraph poll, also seen, Bullfinch, Blue Tit, Robin, Blackbird, Wren, Woodpigeons, Jackdaws and Carrion Crows. The Creek was at High tide but there still was Green and Red Shanks, Mallard and Teal. There was also a pair of Collard Doves flying along the side of the water.

Taking the path over Goose Moor and looking over the marsh there was plenty of Teal, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Black-headed Gull, Redshank and Greenshank. While walking over the path 200+ Black-bellied Geese flew over followed by 50+ Canada Geese.

On the road to BGM there was Greylag Geese, Moorhens, Wigeon, Teal, Dunlin, Woodpigeons, Black-headed Gulls and Carrion Crows in the fields.

In the hedgerows there was Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits, Robins, Wren, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Blackbirds, Chaffinch and Bullfinch.

To the entrance to the platform the Water Rail was showing well but because of the bad light there was no chance of a picture.

At the platform overlooking the River Clyst although the water was quite high there was a mixed flock of Waders on the other side which looked like Dunlin, Knot, Curlew and Godwit sp. There was also about 60+ Avocets. Also Cormorant's, Herring, Black-headed and Great Black-backed Gulls all present.

A quick walk to the Goat Walk just brought a few Black-headed Gulls on the water.



30 December 2014

Aylesbere Common

I went to Aylesbere Common, the RSPB reserve in East Devon today with the hope of seeing the Grey Shrike that had been seen, but as normal I was told "It was here 5 minutes ago and flew that way"!

Not daunted by the set back I walked around the reserve, it is basically heathland for 90% with woodland and a pond making up the other 10%.

It has a population of Dartford Warblers which I saw a couple today.

Also seen today was Buzzard and Herring Gull flying over head. Chaffinch, Wren, Blackbird, Robin, Coal and Blue Tits, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Dunnock, several Stonechats and the sound of a Green Woodpecker calling in the woods.

Meet a few other disappointed soles but at least the sun was shinning, if it was easy it would be boring!



29 December 2014

Dawlish Warren

On a crisp, clear cold day I went to the Warren to see what was about.

When I was walking towards the reserve I could hear and see a Male Bullfinch in the bushes, when I got closer I could also see a female. On my way back I counted 5 in total,2m and 3f. Great to see but as normal I had difficulty getting a clear view of the male in the open.

There was 50+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese on the Golf course who were coping very well with the golfers and vice versa.

In the Bite there was Dark-bellied Brent Geese, Shelduck, Wigeon, Turnstones, Dunlin and the first viewing of the Water Pipit.

At the hide there was Dunlin, Knot, Oystercatchers, Redshank, a single Avocet, Grey Plover and Curlew.

On Finger Point you could see Cormorant, Great Black-backed Gulls and a mixed flock of Waders.

Also in front of the hide we saw the Water Pipit again, Pied Wagtail, Dunlin, Linnet, Rock Pipit, Carrion Crow, Herring and Black-headed Gull.

I walked around the point and apart from a few gulls there was 2 Sanderling and that was that!

The beach was clear of birds and the sea was calm but no Divers or anything!

I went back to the bushes around the main pond and I saw Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Blackbird, Robin, Chaffinch, Woodpigeon, Meadow Pipit and Wren.

The pond was frozen and apart from a adult Mute Swan I could see nothing.

Good to see everybody and the hide was packed again.



28 December 2014

Cirl Buntings

Went again to Labrador Bay to see the Cirl Buntings.

They continued to be flighty as were many of the birds, I think down to the wind and a Sparrowhawk flying around.

A flock of 15+ settled on the opposite hedge to where I was stood.

Great to see in a wild setting, you can see 30+ at Broadsands and quite close up but its not the same in a carpark!



27 December 2014

Dawlish Warren

Up early to the Warren to catch high tide, it was clear but cold. Watching the sun come up over the sea at 8.10am was a real treat!

High tide was 10.34 and there was plenty of birds about but none settling very well, large flocks of Dunlin, Grey Plover and Knott making beautiful patterns in the sky.

Plenty of Shielduck and Dark-bellied Brent Geese about with ones and twos of Curlew and Redshank.

The Water Pipit was with the Linnets and Pied Wagtails, Dunnocks and a skylark were also in front of the hide.

The only duck was Wigeon in the Bite, the smaller numbers than normal of Oystercatchers was joined with Turnstones and Godwits.

There was 70+ Cormorant's plus flocks of other waders on Finger point that were continually put to flight by something but couldn't see what from where I was.

On the way back to the car I saw Stonechat, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Herring, Black-headed and Great Black-backed Gulls, Dunnock, Wren and Robin.

At the main pond I saw Mallard, Shoveler, Gadwall, Moorhen and Little Grebe, In the Bushes were was Wren, Long-tailed Tits and Woodpigeon.

Good to see every body out today, the hide was packed!



24 December 2014

Labrador Bay

Went to get away from the Xmas rush, so went looking for Cirl Buntings at Labrador Bay.

It was quite blustery and there wasn't many birds flying. Out to sea all I could see was one Cormorant and a couple of Herring Gulls.

Around the hedges I found Chiffchaff, several Wrens, Robins, Blackbirds, Dunnock, Carrion Crows, Buzzard and Kestrel.

There is a feeding station in the top field which I found, Dunnock, Blackcap, Chaffinch and several Cirl Buntings which was just great.

Need to go on a calmer day as all the birds were a bit flighty.

Great walk though!



23 December 2014

Dawlish

Went for a walk around the sea front and along the brook today to see what was about.

Along the sea wall there was plenty of Herring Gulls with the odd Great Black-backed Gulls on the breakwater. The only thing on the water was a Cormorant which was a little disappointing!

Around the sea front and around the buildings are the ever increasing Feral Pigeons, they seem to increase in numbers every time I walk along the sea front!

In the brook there was large numbers of Mallard and the Iconic Black Swans. On the lawn there was some of the Geese which are all part of the wildfowl collection of the town, they still look impressive, especially the Chinese Water geese and the Bar headed Geese.

There was large numbers of Carrion Crow and Wood pigeon flying over the town with several Jackdaws on rooftops.

Also seen around town was Pied Wagtail, robin, Blackbird and a couple of Black-headed Gulls.

Perhaps the wind had a bit to do with it but disappointed with the numbers of birds about.



22 December 2014

Darts Farm to Topsham

Went to Topsham today with the hope of seeing the 3 Penduline Tits which have been seen at Darts Farm, Bowling Green marsh and the Rec at Topsham. Unfortunately they were not to be seen.

At the hide at Darts Farm I did see Pied Wagtails, Greenfinches, Water Rail, Mallard, Teal, Moorhens, Wren, Chiffchaff, Carrion Crow and Robin.

On the walk to Bowling Green I could see Redshank and Curlew on the creek with Little Egret in the marsh with Lapwing and Grey Plover flying over. Stock doves on the railway bridge and Jay, Magpies, Robins, Blackbirds, Blue Tits and Black-headed Gulls all seen.

On the road to Bowling Green there was a small Tit flock of Long-tailed, Great and Blue Tits with a smart pair of Bullfinches-Brill!

There was Grey Heron, loads of Moorhens, Wigeon, Teal, Pintail, Shoveler and Mallards on view from the road at Bowling Green.

Also in the fields just past there was large numbers of Black-tailed Godwits, Curlew, Wigeon and Wood Pigeons.

From the viewing platform over the River Clyst there was Kingfisher, Curlew, 30+ Redshanks, Little Egret, Greenshank and Cormorant.

I walked round to the Goat walk which goes into Topsham by the River Exe which was very windy, there was 20+ Avocets feeding and a few Curlew.

Lot of birds on the mud further down the estuary staying out of the wind.



21 December 2014

Exminster Marshes

Went to Exminster Marshes today, as it was the shortest day today I was not expecting to do much photography because of the lack of light.

I walked in a circular route from the RSPB carpark via the canal and Turf Lock.

The walk actually not only marsh but brings in several other habitats such as the Canal and the River Exe with the mud flats. There is plenty of hedgerows with berries on this time of year.

I saw plenty of Geese, Brent and Canada with one Black Brant which showed quite well.

Also on the marshes I saw Curlew, Godwits, Lapwings and plenty of ducks. These were mainly Wigeon but there was also Mallard, Teal and Shoveler.

Along the road also saw Starling, Robins, plenty of Blackbirds feeding on the berries, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Chaffinches, Wren, Magpies and Woodpigeon.

Plenty of Mute Swans on the Canal.

On the mud flats by Turf Lock there was Avocets, Redshanks, Large numbers of Dunlin. Also Curlew, Knot and Godwits.

Cormorants, Ravens, Carrion Crows, Great Black-backed, Herring and Black-headed Gulls also seen around the walk at various points.

The footpath around the field and the path that follows the railway line can get quite wet and at times impassable but today it was ok apart for a very small bit in the field, should have worn wellies!



14 December 2014

Torbay Boat Trip

Went on a boat trip again around Torbay with Nigel Smallbones, not so many on this trip, all saving up for xmas?

The weather was better than expected, although there was some showers which didn't really effect the morning. We did a circuit from The marina out past Thatcher Rock, on to the Ore stone then across the bay to Berry Head then back via Brixham harbour, Broadsands and following the coast.

We only saw 1 Red Throated Diver and 1 Great Northern Diver but plenty of other birds.

Several Great Crested Grebes, 3 Common Scoters, 1000+ Guillemots, Gannets, plenty of Cormorants and Shags.

12 Purple Sandpipers and several Turnstones at Brixham and the pair of Peregrines where at their normal roost and one of them flew past the boat which was just great.

We went out and joined a trawler who was pulling in his catch and there was 200+ Gulls, Great Black-backed, Herring and the od Black-headed Gull.

We also a couple of Porpoise off Berry Head, also off Berry was lots of Auks in "Rafts" and Gannets diving in for food.

We also saw Oystercatchers, Grey Herons, Kittiwakes and Fulmars.

All finished off with a nice Bacon sarnie from a local café when I got ashore so Iam a happy chappie ;o)



13 December 2014

Dawlish Warren

Went to the Warren today to see what was about. It was a beautiful clear sunny day so there could be no excuses in not getting top quality pics today!

On the way to the hide there was plenty of Robins, Blackbirds, Dunnocks, Pied Wagtails and a small flock of Goldfinches.

At the hide the tide was in but as it was at mid height it didn't push the birds very close. The Water Pipit was there with the Linnets with Brent Geese, 50+ Shelduck, Wigeon, Curlew, Redshank, Turnstone, Dunlin and plenty of Carrion Crows.

In the bite there was Brent Geese, Shelduck, Dunlin and Ringed Plover. On Finger Point there was large numbers of Waders with Oystercatchers, Knot, Ringed Plover, Redshanks, Godwits, Dunlin, Sanderling, Cormorants and quite a few Great Black-backed Gulls.

Off the beach there was plenty of quality in the way 2 Long-tailed Ducks, Slavonian and Great Crested Grebes, GN Diver and the Bonaparte's Gull putting on a good show.

Good day and good to see Lee Collins out birding;o)



06 December 2014

Little Holden

I decided to move away from the coast today and walk around Holden.

Little Holden is a mixture of new and old forest, 95% is conifers of various types. There is open ground where trees have been harvested so there is quite a diversity of habitat.

I walked away from the main pathways as there was plenty of dog walkers and noisy children enjoying the sun and countryside and why shouldn't they??

It started quiet but then found plenty of birds, Goldcrest, Raven, Great Spotted Woodpecker, plenty of Robins and Blackbirds, Mistle Thrush, Sparrowhawk, small flock of Chaffinch, Dunlin, Wren, Blue and Great Tits Carrion Crow and Buzzard.

To my happy surprise I saw a Red Admiral Butterfly!

Great walk, must go there again soon!



30 November 2014

Around Powderham

It was high tide so I decided to walk from Powderham church up the side of the River Exe to Turf Lock and back.

On the river there was very little on the way up except for 20+ Shelduck and plenty of Cormorants.

On the field side there was Oystercatchers, Curlew and Lapwing. Raven and Carrion crows, several Robins, Wren, 10+ Pied Wagtails and a couple of Stonechats.

At Turf you could see Moorhens, Teal, Mallard and Mute Swans in the ditches and water ways.

On the way back as the tide was going out and showing mudflats I saw Black-tailed Godwits and Grey Plovers. Also came across a couple of Rock Pipits on the wall.

I then walked up behind the church, walking towards Kenton in typical open parkland, saw Raven, Carrion Crows, Blue tits, Blackbirds and several Mistle Thrushes, a large flock of Woodpigeon, Kestrel and of course loads of Pheasants.

Also saw these fantastic Fallow Deer Staggs in all there glory!

Another great day out, not only saw some great sites met loads of nice people;o)



29 November 2014

Topsham

I went to Topsham to see the over wintering flock of Avocet and I wasn't disappointed!! There was 450+ and watching them fly down the River Clyst was something else!

A lot of other wintering birds were there too, 1000+ Godwits, a mixture of Black and Bar-Tailed, again fantastic to see these flying down the river in a large flock.

Again large flock possibly 600+ of Brent Geese, also Canada Geese in large numbers with 5 Greylags in front of the hide at Bowling Green.

Plenty of ducks with Wigeon 500+, also Teal, Mallard and Shovlers in good numbers.

Plenty of other waders with Curlew, Snipe, Greenshank, Redshank, Dunlin, Grey Plover and Lapwing both on the marsh and the mud banks.

Counted 30 Moorhens, 1 Water Rail with plenty of Cormorants, Little Egrets and Grey Heron. Mute Swans and a single Black Swan on show.

Blue and Great Tits, Song Thrush, Redwings, Blackbirds, Wren, Pied Wagtail, Robins, Jay , Magpies, Jackdaws and Carrion Crows, all seen.

Black-headed, Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls as usual.

What a great day!!!!;o))



23 November 2014

Exminster Marshes

Went to Exminster Marshes today to see what was about and I wasn't disappointed!

I parked in the RSPB car park and immediately the large flocks of Canada and Brent Geese could be seen next to the footpath.

I then witnessed a "Punch up" between a Peregrine and Buzzard which was just great to watch and turned out as a draw for the birds and very frustrating for me as between the birds speed and other objects in the way, I failed to get a pic! So frustrating!

I also saw a couple of other firsts for this winter, Redwing and Fieldfare on the way to Turf Lock, also saw Blackbirds, Woodpigeons, Carrion Crows, Ravens and Magpies.

On the Exe estuary there was plenty of waders, Dunlin, Godwit, Redshanks, Oystercatchers and Curlew. I didn't see any Avocet as apparently they were still up at Topsham. Also seen were Cormorants, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Shielduck and Mute Swans.

Lots of Lapwing in small flocks both on the mudflats and marshes, also seen on the road back to the car were a Hen Sparrowhawk, Blue and Great Tits, Stonechats, Pied Wagtail, Robins, Blackbirds, Moorhens and Kingfisher.

Plenty of ducks about with Mallard, Teal and Wigeon putting on a good show.

Several small flocks of Starling flying around with the usual gulls.

Great day out!



16 November 2014

Torbay Boat Trip

A bit "Lumpy" on the trip today, because of the weather we left from Torquay harbour.

While waiting to leave we saw 2 Black Redstarts, Turnstone, Pied Wagtails, Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls.

We went out towards the Ore rock where we saw the Guillemots on the rocks edge, also Rock Pipit, Raven, Cormorants and Shags.

We crossed the bay and there wasn't much about apart from 1 Great Northern Diver and a few Kittiwakes.

At Brixham Harbour we saw 10 Purple Sandpipers and a Great Northern Diver. Plenty of Gulls, Herring, Black-headed and Great Black-backed Gulls around the harbour.

On the way back we saw 10 Grey Herons, Peregrine Falcon, Black-necked Grebe, GND, 10 Black bellied Brent Geese, Mute Swans and plenty of Cormorants.



09 November 2014

Powderham to Exminster Marshes

PM. I got news that a Grey Phalarope was showing well in one of the small pools on the marsh so decided to walk from Powderham along the River Exe to the marshes.

Plenty of birds on both side of the path, the tide was out and Black Tailed Godwits were showing well by the path, also Curlew, Redshanks, avocets, Shielducks, Canada Geese, Dunlin and Mute Swans on view.

50+ Lapwings tried to land on the mudflats but were chased off by other waders and returned up river.

In the bushes plenty of small birds, Bullfinch, Blue and Long-tailed Tits in a flock, Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Rock Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Carrion Crow, Buzzard, Stonechat and Goldfinch all seen.

Got to the Marsh and the Grey Phalarope was showing very well but a bit far for a picture, also plenty of Wigeon, Teal and Mallard about.

Great way to finish the day;o)



09 November 2014

Torbay Boat Trip

AM. 1st of this winter, a trip out in the bay. The weather was great but not good for birds, well not for Skua`s anyway!

We went out past Berry Head and apart from Gulls not much else on the bird front, but we did see at least 5 Harbour Porpoise which was a real treat!

We saw a couple of Gannet, Kittiwakes and all the main Gulls.

We went close to the Guillemot colony where there was 600+ birds. Also present was a couple of Razorbills in the water.

We saw a Great Northern Diver and a Red Throated Diver. 4 Common Scoter, 2 Purple Sandpipers, plenty of Grey Heron, Oystercatchers, little Egret and a Peregrine sat nicely on the cliff.

Taking pictures was difficult as ever due to the role of the boat even though it was relatively calm, good time though and looking forward to next trip.



02 November 2014

Water Pipit

Yesterday the weather was just great so I took another journey to the hide at Dawlish Warren to look for the Water Pipit and to my joy there it was, right in front of the hide!

Lots of other stuff there too, but as it was a mid range tide they didn't get to close to the hide which was a shame as the light was perfect.

Waders were 1000+ Oystercatchers, good numbers of Dunlin with Sanderling and Ringed Plover in the flocks, 4 Grey Plover and I thought I saw a couple of Knott. Whimbrel, Redshank, Curlew and saw 9 Turnstone on the beach by the arcade.

Great Black backed, Herring and Black- headed Gulls, joined by Little Egret and Carrion Crows on the Island.

Plenty of Brent Geese, Shielduck and Wigeon on the water.

On the way to and from the hide I saw Linnet, Goldfinch, Robin, Jay, Magpie, Blackbird, Dunnock, Woodpigeon, Stonechat, Pied Wagtail, Starling and Rock Pipit.

On the way back home driving through the lanes a large mixed flock of 100+ Herring and Black-headed Gulls on cultivated field.



30 October 2014

Powderham to Turf Lock on River Exe

I walked up to Turf after parking my car at the church at Powderham, The tide was on the way out and there was a few waders such as Godwits of both species, Curlew and Redshanks.

Further up the estuary I came across Oystercatchers, Shielduck, Cormorants, Little Egrets, Brent and Canada Geese, Mute Swans with Herring and Black-headed Gulls in abundance.

On the way back to my car I concentrated on the field side and found Grey Heron, Carrion crow, Pied Wagtail, Goldfinch, Song Thrush, Stonechat, Wood pigeon and Pheasant.

Good walk in luvely weather!



30 October 2014

Dawlish Warren

I went to the Warren today after hearing that a Water Pipit had been seen in front of the hide, which I saw but typically for me the light was crap and the bird was distant, its they way my luck is going at the moment.

It was good to see the Brent Geese are back and other winter arrivals such as Wigeon where there in numbers.

1000+ Oystercatchers put on a good show, other waders such as Turnstone, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Sanderling, Curlew, Black tailed Godwit and Bar Tailed Godwits.

Linnets, Skylarks, Pied Wagtails Meadow and Rock Pipits around the hide as well.

On the way back I saw plenty of Linnets, Robins, Dunnock and Stonechats.

I didn't go around the woods as there is plenty of disruption from construction work to do with the sea wall.



28 October 2014

Road trip

I visited several places today as several species I have wanted to see had been sighted.

The first was at Seaton Hole in Devon, there had been a couple of Firecrest here for the past 2 days so I thought I might be in with a shout but sadly NO!I saw a couple of Blackbirds, Robin and a Great Tit but that was that!

I then went to Black Hole Marsh which is a favourite of mine, on the journey I noticed the farmers had been busy at work with ploughing up the fields and there was 100`s of Crows and Wood Pigeons on the ground.

I got to the Axe Valley Marshes and went to the Tower Hide first, the tide had not gone out completely but the mud flats were full of Gulls, Cormorants, Curlew and Godwits. On the River there was Little Grebes, Little Egrets and Mallards. I walked to Black Hole Marsh and had Carrion Crows , Kestrel and Lapwings Fly over. In the lagoon itself there was Godwits, Coots, Moorhens, Mallard, Shielduck and several Teal.

I left here to go to the Rec at Topsham with the hope of seeing the Water Pipit, but again I was unsuccessful, I saw Long Tailed Tits, Pied Wagtails, Robin, Mallard, Mute Swans, Cormorants and a large Gull roost from the rec to the M5 bridge.

On the way back to Dawlish I went via the back lanes and I saw a covey of at least 20 Red-legged Partridges and 100`s of Pheasants on the ploughed land. Although I missed out on a couple of birds it was still a good day ;o)



11 October 2014

East Soar

After hearing that yesterday there was double figures of Ring Ouzel in Starehole Valley I went down to South Devon to try my luck.

After parking up I walked by the old runway and there was lots of Meadow Pipits on the ploughed land with a few Skylarks and Pied Wagtail. When I got to the farm I saw a lone Wheatear and four Jays.

On the way to Starehole Valley I saw some Ravens and a Hawk which they were harassing, must admit I thought it was a Hobby but not sure.

I walked into the valley from a high path and immediately saw lots of Blackcaps, chiffchaffs, Robins, Great and Blue Tits, A Firecrest and Goldcrest, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Magpie but no Ring Ouzel?

Typical!!!!



28 September 2014

Topsham

Couldn't go to the Warren today due to a cycle race blocking the main entrance so went up to Topsham which was a wise choice!

Saw 40 different species of birds on a lovely sunny day.

Lots of waders seen at Bowling Green and the Platform that overlooks the River Clyst, Ruff, Both Godwits, Red and Greenshanks, Curlew Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Curlew and I heard a Water Rail.

Also saw Common and Sandwich Terns with Black-headed, Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls.

Little Egrets, Juv and adult Grey Herons, Wigeon, Teal and Mallard.

Mute and a escaped Black Swan were at Topsham with good numbers of smaller birds, Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Starling, Collard Dove and Woodpigeon. Jay and Carrion crow also around in 1s and 2s.

I drove back to Dawlish via farmland and was pleased to see so many birds, I saw all the Corvides,2 Ravens were sitting in a electricity pylon making a right racket, Red legged Partridges, Pheasants, Buzzards, Sparrowhawk and plenty of Woodpigeons and to my surprise a couple of Stonechats.

A great day out!



21 September 2014

Berry Head

I went to Berry Head after reports of a fall of Firecrests, at least 9! Sadly didn't see one, but I did see plenty of Swallows and House Martins in flocks flying around the head and going out to sea. The usual Gulls, a Buzzard and a hunting Kestrel.

The best though was seeing a couple of Cirl Buntings at the Southern Fort, great birds!

A few Dragonflies about, Hawker sp and a couple of Common Darters, the only Butterflies I saw where Speckled Wood.



13 September 2014

Dawlish Warren

Went to the Warren today to try and get some pictures of the Wryneck which had been on the point this last week, I did get some views last night but no pictures as it was too mobile. When I arrived there was loads of birders and large cameras so went to the hide as I thought the Wryneck being a shy bird will go to ground.

In front of the hide the tide had began to turn but not that many birds, 1000+ Oystercatchers and 2 Bar-tailed Godwits with the occasional Carrion Crow, Linnets, Little Egret, Swallow, Black-headed, Herring and Great Black-Backed Gulls.

Also in the bight where Common and Sandwich Terns, Dunlin and Ringed Plover. A hen Sparrowhawk flew fast and low in front of the hide but didn't catch anything.

On the beach there was 21 Sanderling with one already in its winter plumage.

While looking for the Wryneck on the point I saw Stonechat, Skylark, Linnet, Dunnock, Starling and Cormorants flying over.

On the way back I saw 4 Wheatear and a hunting male Sparrowhawk, Blackbird, Robin, Woodpigeon and Collard Dove.



07 September 2014

Dawlish Warren

I went to the Warren hide to catch the high tide which was quite high today, this pushed the birds very close to the hide and several birds flew in front but couldn't land due to lack of space. On the way to the hide I saw Stonechat, Linnet, Sedge Warbler, Wheatear, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Curlew Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Robin and Magpie.

In front of the hide I saw Bar-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Oystercatchers, Knot, Dunlin, Sandwich Terns, Herring, Black-Headed and Great Black-backed Gull. Canada Goose, Mute Swans, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Teal, Swallow, Starling, Carrion Crow, Pied Wagtail, and several Linnet.

It was just a beautiful evening and it was a shame the light started to fail!



31 August 2014

Somerset

Went up to Chew Valley Lake in hope of seeing the Black Tern and as normal for me they were in the centre of the lake and to far for a picture!

There was though very large numbers of Coot and Ducks, mainly Tufted Ducks but Mallard and Pochard also present. Also seen Great Crested Grebes, Kestrel, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Med Gull Black -headed Gulls and Herring Gulls.

I then went to Shapwick looking for Marsh Harriers which I didn't see but plenty of other stuff! Meare Heath scrape (picture) was busy with Osprey flying over, Ruff, Curlew Sandpiper, Coot, Lapwing, Godwit, Mallard, Little and Great White Egret. Other birds seen around were 50+ Swallows and House Martins, Canada Geese, Great Crested Grebes, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Mute Swans, Woodpigeons and Magpies. Less Butterflies on this visit but a few Hawkers sp. Dragonflies.

Then on to Greylake reserve which was a disappointment, very quiet!



30 August 2014

Labrador Bay

First visit to this RSPB reserve, told by another birder about the large numbers of Cirl Buntings, "15 in one tree" he said!! Well I didn't find large numbers but still found some really smart males flying in and out of bushes down to the cereal crop.

It was a bit blowy and didn't get any pictures but a place to visit again.

Plenty of trees with berries in the valley and the habitat looks good for winter thrushes.

This I believe a newish reserve so will be paying a few visits, its on the Teignmouth-Torquay road and there is a car park and don't forget to pay! Its only a £1 a day, Cheap!!!



28 August 2014

Dawlish Warren

After missing yesterdays Tern fest at the Warren I thought I might get lucky today. There was still loads of Common and Sandwich Terns in front of the hide as well as flying around the bight and Finger point but sadly I didn't see any Artic, Little or Black Terns.

Numbers of other birds did not disappoint with over 1000 Oystercatchers and a mixed flock of 300+ Dunlin and Ringed Plover, although I didn't see them there was reports of 3 Little Ringed Plovers in amongst them. I did though see a single Sanderling, Whimbrel and Bar-tailed Godwit.

The best though was a Juvenile Curlew Sandpiper which came in front of the hide with a few Dunlin.

Plenty of Gulls around, mainly Black-headed Gulls but good numbers of Herring and Great Black-Backed Gulls. 50+ Cormorant roosting on finger point as well as some swimming in front of hide.

Other birds seen around site are Whitethroat, Linnet, Dunnock, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Wheatear, Woodpigeon, Stonechat and a flock of 40+ Starling.



26 August 2014

Topsham

Went to Topsham today as the Temmincks Stint and Spotted Crake had been reported, I parked up at Darts Farm and followed the Exe Valley Cycle path across Grassmoor.

Even though my timing was wrong as the tide right out, there was Godwit and 2 Greenshanks showing really well from the walk way.

At Bowling Green you cant get into the hide as they are re building it and there is some disruption due to the noise, unfortunately as normal I had just missed the Stint and Crakes as they had gone to an unwatchable position.

I walked down to the viewing position on the river Clyst where there was at least 100+ Redshanks and 1 Spotted Redshank, then around on the Goatwalk there was very little as the tide had gone right out and apart from Black-headed Gulls it was quiet.

On the way back a Peregrine Falcon flew over head, as I walked past the hide other birders said the Crake and Stint were showing intermittently and on the far side of the reserve so sadly I missed them again.



24 August 2014

Shapwick, Somerset

Spent the day in Somerset at Shapwick, saw lots of stuff with all the quality at a distance. In the Mere Scrape there was plenty of ducks, Lapwings, Coots, Mute Swans and Little Egret. The best though was a Great White Egret which showed well at the back.

At Noah's hide there was good views of a Osprey who sat for the hour I was there, seems it had fished just before I got there. There was large numbers of Great Crested Grebes, both adults and Juveniles. Plenty of Cormorants resting up on the dead trees.

At Decoy apart from mallards there was a couple Marsh Harriers again flying at the back of the lagoon.

In the wooded areas around the hide a noisy family of Jays where making a racket.

I saw plenty of butterflies especially Red Admirals and loads of Dragonflies mainly Darters. Found a Slow Worm and a stunning Vapourer Moth Caterpillar.



21 August 2014

Axe Valley Wetlands

I wet over to the Axe Valley Wetlands today and spent most of it in the Island Hide, I timed the visit to coincide with high tide. Although the tide was not that high it still pushed plenty of birds into the lagoon and I was impressed with the number and quality of the waders- Red and Greenshanks, Common and Green Sandpipers, Large numbers of Black Tailed Godwits and a single Ruff. 6 Snipe, Dunlin and Ringed Plover. Little Egret and Grey Heron with several appearance's of Kingfisher, not sure if this was the same one or several fishing in the lagoon.

A walk from the Island hide up to the visitor centre and plenty of Small Tortoiseshell around and Dragonflies over the ponds. Doesn't look like the nesting wall for the Sand Martins was used this year?



19 August 2014

Soussons, Dartmoor

Walked today on Dartmoor, doing a circular walk starting at Soussons woods and returning via "The Warren House Inn". This would go through several different habitats and hoping to see some good stuff.

The start was good, going through an established planation of large spruce and came out onto a new young section of trees, there was plenty of butterflies, Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell, Whites and a large Fritillary that wouldn't settle so not sure what it was, Speckled Wood and a Comma.

Through the woods there was plenty of birds, lucky to see a Peregrine and a Sparrowhawk with Buzzards high in the air, a juvenile was some where calling which echoed up the valley. Plenty of small birds, both male and female Redstart and a family group of 6 Bullfinch.

Coming out onto the open moor there was a few Skylark and sadly not much else, the area close to Warren House used to be good for birds like Ring Ouzel but for some reason I haven't seen them here for a couple of years. On the top it was a bit breezy so that may be a reason for the no show. As I went into the Challacombe valley birds such a Stonechat and Whitethroat put in an appearance, also saw Mistle Thrush and a family of very noisy Jays.

Apart from Dartmoor Ponies I didn't see any mammals, thought I might see some deer around the woods?



18 August 2014

Dawlish Warren

Went for a walk around the Warren today, very breezy and the bushes were blown out. The tide was at 3m so wasn't enough to push the birds close to the hide which was a shame. There was a very smart looking summer plumaged Knot which sadly never came close enough to take a picture. A large mixed flock of Dunlin and Ringed Plovers where sheltering from the wind on the beach.

Plenty of insects being blown around in the wind but a new Brown Argus looked very smart and a Clouded Yellow was in Greenland Lake.

To my surprise the beach was empty of holiday makers, the place had a very autumn feel about it.



16 August 2014

Exminster marshes

Walked around the Marshes today, it was a bit blustery and not many birds about, a small family group of Blue Tits around the car park, Wood pigeons and Carrion Crows everywhere, on the estuary there was Black headed gulls and Little Egrets while around the canal apart from the Mute Swans there was plenty of Swallows and House Martins feeding on the flies over the water. A female Sparrow Hawk was hunting along the road and that was it! There was plenty more insects about with White and Speckled wood Butterflies in good numbers with what looked like a Emperor Dragonfly on the path from the car park, plenty of bumble bees on the flowers especially the vetch, Wasps were in and around plants looking like they were hunting for caterpillars and stuff. Other than that it was a good walk and very few pictures taken.



14 August 2014

Selsey

Went on a long drive from Dawlish with the hope that the Long-tailed Skua which had been around Selsey in West Sussex would be still there. After a pit stop in Dorset and 3hrs driving I arrived at the East Beach car park at Selsey and found a group of Birdwatchers and Photographers waiting on the beach. I had been told that it comes into roost at high tide and likes this spot, I did think that with this many people around it would go else where especially with children playing on the beach. But it arrived bang on cue and settled on the beach.

The next problem was to get into position to take some photos of this fantastic bird as the bright sun was behind it. Thankfully the bird didn't seem to mind all the fuss and stayed on the beach for about 45 minutes before flying off towards the west. I took over 250 pictures which I got down to 6 which you can see in the bird gallery.



12 August 2014

Bee-eaters and Woodlarks

Pictures are up from my trip to the Isle of Wight to see the Bee-eaters, there are 4 of them who are looking after a nest on the Wydcombe Estate (in the south of the island) A designated public viewing point has been set up overlooking the birds' favourite feeding area so that visitors can get the best possible views of them. If you want to go and see them, the Wydcombe Estate is located at PO38 2NY (grid reference SZ511787).

I spent most of the day there and only managed to get the odd flight shot as they where feeding over the hedge. It was also good to meet so many other people from all over the country who had come to the island to see the birds.

I stayed in the New Forest and spent the time there looking for Woodlark which I found around Beaulieu Road railway station. It took me a little time but was lucky to find 3 together. Go to the bird gallery to see the pictures.



11 August 2014

Dawlish Warren

oystercatcher Went to the Warren today to catch the high tide at 7.30am and there was plenty about. Common and Sandwich Terns both Juv and Adults in good numbers. Oystercatchers, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Redshank and a single Common Sandpiper were the waders in front of the hide. Great Black backed gulls in good numbers with large numbers of Black Headed Gulls. Mediterranean gulls also present which were all put up when a Sparrowhawk upset the party and was quickly chased off.

On the way back to the car saw plenty of White butterflies and a beautiful Emperor Dragonfly hunting along the path, I could watch them for hours



11 May 2014

Egyptian Goose

Egyptian GooseNew pictures are in the birds gallery



27 April 2014

Plenty of pictures from my visit to scotland-look at the divers and Black grouse;o)

Plenty of pictures from my visit to scotland-look at the divers and Black grouse;o)



30 December 2013

Bird section

Plenty of new bird pictures and a new set up and how they have been arranged so give it a look;o))



03 November 2013

Grey Phalarope

New pictures are in the bird gallery.



15 September 2013

Lesser Yellowlegs

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery



26 August 2013

Clouded yellow and Painted Lady Butterflies

New pictures in the Butterfly Galleries



19 August 2013

Puss Moth Caterpillar

New photos in the Moth Gallery



13 August 2013

Hummingbird Hawkmoth

New pictures are in the Moth Gallery



11 August 2013

Manx and Balearic Shearwaters

New pictures are in the bird gallery.



05 August 2013

Blackbird, Oystercatcher and Spotted Flycatcher.

New pictures are in the bird gallery



05 August 2013

Rabbit

New pictures are in the mammals gallery



05 August 2013

common cottongrass

New pictures are in the wild flowers gallery



10 July 2013

Dark Arches, Swallow-tailed moth, Peppered Moth and Brimstone moth.

New pictures in the Moth Gallery



09 July 2013

Popular hawkmoth

New pictures in the moth gallery



06 July 2013

Corn Bunting

New pictures are in the bird gallery



04 July 2013

Elephant Hawk Moth

New pictures are in the Moth Gallery



18 June 2013

Handa Isle and Loch Shiel

New write ups in the Scotish Section



11 June 2013

Dawlish gun dog scurry

Pictures on website in the "Countryside pursuits" page



09 June 2013

Tree Pipit

New pictures are in the bird gallery



02 June 2013

Red Grouse and Common Sandpiper

New pics in the bird gallery.



01 June 2013

Artic Skua and Skylark

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



01 June 2013

Black-throated Diver and Ptarmigan

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery



01 June 2013

Red Deer

New picture in the mammal gallery.



06 May 2013

Nightingale

New pictures in the bird gallery.



20 April 2013

Lesser Whitethroat

New pictures are in the bird gallery



07 April 2013

Ring Ouzel

New pictures are in the bird gallery



07 April 2013

Goldcrest

New pictures in the bird gallery.



06 April 2013

Little Ringed Plover and Colts-foot

New pictures to the bird and wild flower galleries



04 April 2013

Bluethroat and Great Bustard

New pictures are in the bird gallery.



24 March 2013

Stone Curlew

New picture in the Bird Gallery.



23 February 2013

Twite

New pictures are in the bird gallery



20 February 2013

Ring-necked Duck and Blue-winged Teal

New pictures are in the bird gallery.



20 February 2013

Goldeneye and Garganey

New pictures are in the bird gallery.



19 February 2013

smew

new pictures are in the bird gallery



18 February 2013

Merlin and Kestral

New pictures are in the bird gallery



18 February 2013

Goshawk

New pictures are in the bird gallery.



17 February 2013

South Pool Harriers P2P 17/02/13

New pictures are in the Events gallery



16 February 2013

Treecreeper

New pictures are in the bird gallery



03 February 2013

Mid Devon Point 2 Point 03/02/2013

New Pictures are in the bird gallery.



27 January 2013

Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Marsh Tit, Nuthatch and Mistle Thrush.

New pictures are in the bird gallery



13 January 2013

Hawfinch

New pictures are in the bird gallery.



06 January 2013

Sedge Warbler

New pictures are in bird gallery



06 January 2013

Red-legged Partridge

New pictures are in the bird gallery



05 January 2013

Nuthatch

New pictures are in the bird gallery



03 January 2013

Hawfinch

New pictures in the Bird Gallery.



02 January 2013

Waxwing

New pictures are in the bird gallery



02 January 2013

Rose-coloured Starling

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery



02 January 2013

Mandarin Duck

New pictures are in the bird gallery



30 December 2012

Waxwing

New pictures in Bird gallery



23 December 2012

Black-necked Grebe

New pictures are in the bird gallery



02 December 2012

Black forest Lodge P2P 2december 2012

New pictures are in the events gallery



10 November 2012

Bonapartes Gull

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery



28 October 2012

Migrant Hawker

New pictures are in the Dragonfly Gallery



28 October 2012

Common Hermit Crab

New pictures are in the Marine Gallery



06 September 2012

Egyptian Goose

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery



26 August 2012

Great Black Backed Gull, Whimbrel and Dunlin

New pictures are in the bird gallery.



24 August 2012

Mute Swan

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



31 July 2012

Snout, Buff Ermine and Common White Wave

New pictures are in the Moth Gallery



27 July 2012

Buff Arches

New pictures are in the moth gallery



24 July 2012

Early Thorn, Common Footman, Buff Tip, Common Emerald and lesser Yelloe Underwing.

New pictures are in the Moth Gallery.



15 July 2012

White Stork

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



27 June 2012

Cockchafer and Violet Ground Beetle

New pictures are in the Beetle section



10 June 2012

Dawlish Gun Dog Scurry

New pictures are in the Outdoor Pursuits Gallery



07 June 2012

Barn Owl

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery



07 June 2012

Hottentot-fig

New pictures in the Coastal Habitats section of the wild flower gallery



29 May 2012

Fox

New pictures are in the mammal Gallery



17 April 2012

Eggesford Point 2 Point, 15/04/2012

New pictures in the events gallery.



13 April 2012

Black-winged Stilt

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery



09 April 2012

Spooners & West Dartmoor Point 2 Point 07/04/2012

New pictures are in the events gallery;o)



04 April 2012

Purple Heron

New pictures are in bird gallery.



01 April 2012

Ruff and Long-billed Dowitcher

New pics in the bird gallery



29 March 2012

Lamerton P2P 25/03/2012

New pictures are in the Events gallery



24 March 2012

Crossbill and Siskin

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



19 March 2012

Dart Vale Point 2 Point 18/03/2012

New pictures are in the events gallery.



16 March 2012

Night Heron

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery



04 March 2012

East Devon Hunt Point 2 Point 03/03/2012

New pictures are in the Events Gallery



28 February 2012

Brown Hare

New picture is in the Mammal Gallery



21 February 2012

Cairngorms, Insh Marshes, Loch Garten, Black Isle, Culbin, Findhorn, Burghead and Findhorn Valley.

New write ups in the Scottish page of "Out and About" section.



20 February 2012

South Pool Harriers Point 2 Point at Buckfastliegh 19/02/12

New pictures in the events gallery



18 February 2012

Red Grouse

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery



18 February 2012

Crested Tit

New pictures are in the bird gallery



18 February 2012

Capercaillie

New pics in the Bird Gallery



18 February 2012

Mountain Hare

New pictures are in the Mammal Gallery



18 February 2012

Scottish Crossbill

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



18 February 2012

Eider Duck

New pictures in the bird gallery.



18 February 2012

Guillemot

New pictures are in the bird gallery.



18 February 2012

Long-tailed Duck

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



03 February 2012

Redshank and Dunlin

New pictures are in the bird gallery.



03 February 2012

Roe & Sika Deer

New pictures are in the Mammal Gallery.



29 January 2012

Bullfinch, House Sparrow and Wigeon.

New pictures are in the bird gallery.



15 January 2012

Silverton Point 2 Point

New pictures from the P2P at Black forest 15/01/2012 are in the picture gallery



03 January 2012

Red-throated Diver

New pictures are in the bird gallery.



26 December 2011

Long-eared Owl

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



20 December 2011

Razorbill

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



16 December 2011

Axe Valley Marshes

New write up in the Devon pages



27 November 2011

Black forest Point 2 Point

New pictures are in the Events Gallery



13 November 2011

Short Eared Owl

New pictures are in the bird gallery.



06 November 2011

Black Redstart

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery



28 October 2011

Wigeon, Curlew,Shelduck and Greenfinch

New pictures are in the bird Gallery;o)



23 October 2011

Little Egret and Yellow-legged Gull

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



18 October 2011

Lesser-black Backed Gull

New pictures are in the bird gallery



18 October 2011

Speckled wood

New pictures are in the Butterfly Gallery.



02 October 2011

Barred Warbler

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery;o)



01 October 2011

Hoopoe

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery, please use the search engine;o)



22 September 2011

Sabines Gull

New pictures are in the bird gallery



29 August 2011

Seine Boat Race 28/08/2011

Pictures in the events gallery



28 August 2011

Ruff and Knott

New pictures are in the bird gallery.



15 August 2011

Sedge Warbler and Little Stint.

New pictures are in the bird Gallery



15 August 2011

Poplar and Eyed Hawkmoth caterpillars

New pictures are in the Moth Gallery



12 August 2011

Wood Sandpiper

New pics are in the bird gallery



06 August 2011

Coot

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery



05 August 2011

Yellow-legged Gull

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



04 August 2011

Adder and Slow Worms

New pictures are in the Reptile Gallery



04 August 2011

Mediterranean Gull, Black-headed Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery



26 July 2011

Water Vole

New Pictures are in the Mammal Gallery.



26 July 2011

Grass snake

New pictures are in the Reptile Gallery.



26 July 2011

Little Ringed Plover

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



17 July 2011

Mediterranean Gull and Common Sandpiper

New pictures are in the bird gallery.



13 July 2011

Biting Stonecrop

New pictures are in the wild flower gallery.



12 July 2011

Brown-tailed moth

New pictures are in the Moth Gallery.



08 July 2011

Volucella bombylans

New pictures are in the "Other insects" Gallery.



03 July 2011

Mediterranean Gull

New pics in the Bird Gallery.



28 June 2011

Gannet

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery



26 June 2011

Robin

New pictures is in the Bird Gallery



26 June 2011

Dawlish Gundog Scurry

New pictures are in the Countryside pursuits Gallery



12 June 2011

Sedge and Reed Warblers, Coal tit.

New Pictures are in the bird gallery.



05 June 2011

Eider Duck

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



05 June 2011

Roseate Tern

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



05 June 2011

Artic Tern

New Pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



05 June 2011

Razorbill

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



05 June 2011

Guillemot

New pictures are in the bird gallery.



05 June 2011

Kittiwake

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery



05 June 2011

Fulmar

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



05 June 2011

Puffin

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



05 June 2011

Shag

New pictures are in the bird gallery.



22 May 2011

Dunlin and Ringed Plover

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



21 May 2011

Fallow Deer

New pictures in the Mammal Gallery.



20 May 2011

Broad-bodied Chaser and Hairy Hawker

New pictures are in the Dragonfly Gallery.



08 May 2011

Pale- bellied Brent Goose, Shelduck, Reed Bunting and Whitethroat.

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



08 May 2011

Broad-bodied Chaser and Hairy Hawker

New pictures are in the Dragonfly Gallery.



08 May 2011

Orange Tip, Small Tortoiseshell, Green Hairstreak, Green-veined White.

New pictures are in the Butterfly Gallery.



01 May 2011

Yellow Wagtail

New pictures are in the bird gallery, use the search engine.



24 April 2011

Whinchat

New pictures in the Bird Gallery.



24 April 2011

slavonian Grebe

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



22 April 2011

Wood Warbler and Tree Pipit

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery



19 April 2011

Blackcap

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



17 April 2011

Skylark and Lesser Redpoll

New pictures in the Bird Gallery.



15 April 2011

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery, use search engine to help;o)



14 April 2011

Tree Pipit

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



12 April 2011

Point 2 Point

Pictures of the Spooners and West Dartmoor P2P at Cherrybrook are in the P2P Gallery.



05 April 2011

Large Tortoiseshell

New pictures are in the Butterfly Gallery.



05 April 2011

Point 2 Point

East Cornwall Hunt P2P at Great Trethew on 3/4/2011



08 March 2011

Shoveler and Wigeon.

New Pictures are in the Bird Gallery,use search engine.



06 March 2011

Point 2 Point

Pictures from the East Devon Hunt P2P are in the Events Gallery



03 March 2011

Spotted Redshank, Dunlin, Skylark and Greylag Geese.

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery. (Use the search engine)



21 February 2011

Point 2 Point

South Pool Harriers P2P at Buckfastleigh Race course on 20/02/11



08 February 2011

Point 2 Point

Pictures from the Mid Devon Point 2 Point at Black Forest lodge 6th Febuary 2011



25 January 2011

Point 2 Point

Tiverton Foxhounds P2P at Chipley park



17 January 2011

Point 2 Point

Silverton Point2Point 17/01/2011 pictures are in the 2010/11 Gallery.



28 December 2010

Pale-bellied Brent Goose

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



26 December 2010

Curlew,Dunlin,Oystercatcher,Redshank and Turnstone,

New Pictures are in the Bird Gallery,use search engine as needed.



24 December 2010

Grey Plover,Knott,Teal and Wigeon.

New Pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



23 December 2010

Fieldfare

New pictures are in the bird gallery.



23 December 2010

Ruff

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



20 December 2010

Shoveler, Gadwall and Grey Wagtail.

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



12 December 2010

Point 2 Point

Cornwall Hunt Club Point2Point pictures are in the Point 2 Point Events Gallery



11 December 2010

Yellow Wagtail

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery,use search engine;o)



05 December 2010

Brambling, Waxwing.

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery, use the search gallery to find.



04 December 2010

Snow Bunting

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery, Use the search engine to help.



29 November 2010

Blackforest Club Point 2 Point 28/11/2010

New pictures are in the Events-Point2Point Gallery



29 November 2010

Brent Geese, Snipe and Sanderling.

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery. Use search engine to help find.



21 November 2010

Birch Polypore

New pictures in the Fungi Gallery.



21 November 2010

Holly

New pictures in the Trees and Shrub Gallery.



19 November 2010

Common Scoter

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery, use Search Engine, Its easy;o)



16 November 2010

American Robin

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery, use the search engine to speed things up;o)



07 November 2010

Yellow-browed Warbler

New pictures are in the bird gallery,please use the search engine as required.



05 November 2010

Migrant Hawker

New pictures are in the Dragonfly gallery.



31 October 2010

Fly Agaric

New pictures are in the Fungi Gallery.



28 October 2010

Grey, Pied and White Wagtail.

New Pictures are in the Bird Gallery,please use the search engine if you have difficulty finding them;o)



27 October 2010

Sea Rocket and Greater Knapweed

New Pictures are in the Wild Flower Gallery.



27 October 2010

Turnstone

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery, please use the search engine.



26 October 2010

Red-necked Grebe

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery, please use the search engine to find;o)



25 October 2010

Goldcrest

New pictures in the Bird Gallery, use the search engine.



24 October 2010

Great Grey Shrike

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery-use the search engine;o)



24 October 2010

Green Sandpiper

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery-please use the search gallery.



10 October 2010

Purple Sandpiper

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



19 September 2010

Whitethroat

New Pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



19 September 2010

Lapland Bunting and Grey Phalarope

New Pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



12 September 2010

Wryneck and Glossy Ibis

New Pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



05 September 2010

Curlew Sandpiper,Ringed Plover and Sanderling.

New pictures are in the Birds Gallery.



04 September 2010

Robin

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery



02 September 2010

Curlew and Knot

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



01 September 2010

Ruff

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



01 September 2010

Curlew Sandpiper,Knot and Sanderling.

New Pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



31 August 2010

Clouded Yellow

New pictures are in the Butterfly Gallery.



29 August 2010

Wheatear

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



29 August 2010

Sheep dog trials

New pictures are in the Farming Gallery.



27 August 2010

Kidney-spot Ladybird

New Pictures are in the Other Insects Gallery.



27 August 2010

Greenshank, Whimbrel and Goosander.

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



25 August 2010

Small Heath, Adonis and Chalkhill Blue Butterflies.

New pictures are in the Butterfly Gallery.



24 August 2010

Silver-spotted Skipper

New pictures are in the Butterfly Gallery.



24 August 2010

Speckled Bush-cricket

New pictures are in the "Other Insects Gallery"



23 August 2010

Semipalmated Sandpiper

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



22 August 2010

Heavy Horse Working

New Pictures are in the Farming Gallery.



22 August 2010

Common Toad

New pics in the Amphibian gallery.



19 August 2010

Buff-tip

New pictures are in the Moth Gallery.



19 August 2010

Grass Snake

New pictures are in the Reptile gallery.



17 August 2010

Dunlin

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



17 August 2010

Sheep dog trials

New pictures are in the Farming Gallery.



17 August 2010

Migrant Hawker

New pictures are in the Dragonfly Gallery.



17 August 2010

Redshank

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery



17 August 2010

Curlew

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



16 August 2010

Greenshank

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



15 August 2010

Great Black-backed Gull, Black headed Gull, Oystercatcher and Black-tailed Godwit

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery



14 August 2010

Kittiwake

New pictures in the Bird Gallery.



14 August 2010

10-Spot ladybird

New Pictures are in the "Other Insects" Gallery.



13 August 2010

Gorse Shield Bug

New pictures are in the other Insects Gallery



12 August 2010

Eurasian Wter Shrew

New Pictures are in the Mammal Gallery.



12 August 2010

Great Green Bush Cricket

New pictures are in the "Other Insects" Gallery.



11 August 2010

14 spot and Cream-streaked Ladybird

New pictures in the Other Insects Gallery.



10 August 2010

Ladybird Section

New section in the "Other Insects" Gallery.



09 August 2010

Brimstone

New pictures in the Butterfly Gallery.



08 August 2010

2,7,14, Cream- Spot and Harlequin Ladybirds

New pictures are in the "Other Insects" Gallery



07 August 2010

Holly Blue

New pictures in the Butterfly Gallery.



06 August 2010

Herring Gull

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



05 August 2010

Southern Hawker

New pictures are in the Dragonfly Gallery.



05 August 2010

Red Admiral and Large Skipper.

New pictures in the Butterfly Gallery.



05 August 2010

Sand Digger Wasp and Longhorn Beetle.

New pictures are in the Other Insects gallery.



01 August 2010

Sanderling

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



01 August 2010

Seine Boat race 31/07/2010

New Pictures are in the Events gallery.



27 July 2010

Black-headed Gull

New pictures in the bird gallery.



27 July 2010

Golden-ringed Dragonfly

New pictures in the Dragonfly Gallery



26 July 2010

Common Darter

New Pictures are in the Dragonfly Gallery.



25 July 2010

Grey Heron and Sand Martin

New pictures in the Bird Gallery.



24 July 2010

Starling

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



21 July 2010

Meadow Pipit

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



15 July 2010

Purple Hairstreak

New pictures in the Butterfly Gallery.



11 July 2010

Seine Boat race 10/07/2010

New pictures from the Seine Boat Race 10/07/2010



05 July 2010

Bentley Wood

New write up on the Wiltshire Page in the "Out and About" Section.



05 July 2010

Strumpshaw fen, Welney, Hickling Broad, Weeting Heath and Little Tern colonies.

New write ups on the Norfolk Page of the "Out and About" section.



04 July 2010

White Admiral, Purple Emperor and the Valesina Form of Silver- Washed Fritillary

New pictures in the Butterfly Gallery.



29 June 2010

Seine Boat race 27/06/2010

Pictures from the race are in the Events section



26 June 2010

Puffins and Guillemot

New pictures in the Bird Gallery.



25 June 2010

Suffolk

New page in the "Out and About" section which includes Minsmere and Lakenheath



25 June 2010

Pheasant

New pictures in the Bird Gallery.



22 June 2010

Wild flowers Gallery

New Gallery has been started up so take a look;o)



22 June 2010

Dark Green Fritillary

New pictures in the Butterfly Gallery.



22 June 2010

Avocets

New pictures in the birds Gallery.



11 June 2010

Black-headed Gull

New pictures in the Bird Gallery.



10 June 2010

Black-tailed Godwit, Oystercatcher and Sedge Warbler.

New pictures in the Bird Gallery.



06 June 2010

Point 2 Point

New pictures of the Tiverton Staghounds Point 2 Point at Bratton Down on 06/06/2010 are in the Events Gallery.



06 June 2010

Seine Boat race

New pictures of the 05/06/2010 race is in the Events gallery.



05 June 2010

Orange Tip

New pictures in the Butterfly Gallery.



05 June 2010

Caspian Gull

New pictures in the Bird Gallerys



05 June 2010

Banded Demoiselle

New pictures in the Dragonfly Gallery.



05 June 2010

Great-spotted Woodpecker

New pictures in the Bird Gallery.



05 June 2010

Common and Little Terns

New pictures in the Bird section.



05 June 2010

Golden Oriole

New pictures in the Birds Gallery.



04 June 2010

Swallowtail Butterflies

New Pictures in the Butterfly Gallery.



29 May 2010

Seine Boat race

New pictures of the 29/05/2010 race is in the Events Gallery.



26 May 2010

Broad-bodied Chaser

New pictures are in the Dragonfly Gallery.



23 May 2010

Peacock,Brown Argus,Common Blue,Speckled Wood,Wall Brown and Small Copper

New pictures are in the Butterfly Gallery



23 May 2010

Redstart and Red-backed Shrike

New pictures are in the Bird Gallery.



16 May 2010

Spotted Flycatcher

New Pictures in the Bird Gallery



16 May 2010

Seine Boat race

Pictures from the 15/05/2010 race is in the Events Gallery.



16 May 2010

Green-veined White

New Pictures are in the Butterfly Gallery



14 May 2010

Dormouse

New picture in the rodent section of the Mammal Gallery.



02 May 2010

Point 2 Point

Modbury Harriers Point 2 Point at Flete Park on 1st May 2010



25 April 2010

Kentish Plover

New Pictures are in the "Birds of the Coast" section of the Birds Gallery.



25 April 2010

Point 2 Point

New pictures of Axe Vale Point2Point 25/04/2010 at Seaton in the 2010 Point 2 Point Section of the Events Gallery.



25 April 2010

Seine Boat race

Pictures of the first race of the year in the Seine Boat 2010 section.



18 April 2010

Point 2 Point

Dartmoor Point 2 Point at Flete Park 18/04/2010



16 April 2010

Black and Red Kite, Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Ferruginous duck and American Wigeon

New pictures in the Bird Galleries



16 April 2010

Sand(warren)Crocus

New pictures in the Flora gallery.



16 April 2010

Write ups in the Gloucestershire page

New write ups on The International Centre for Birds of Prey, Symonds Yat, New Fancy View point and RSPB Reserves at Nagshead and Highnam Woods.



12 April 2010

Point 2 Point

Eggesford P2P in the Events section of the Gallery



08 April 2010

Common Lizard

New pictures in the Reptile Section of the Picture Gallery.



27 March 2010

Point 2 Point

Silverton Point2Point at Black Forest on 27/3/2010



21 March 2010

Point 2 Point

Lamerton Point2Point at Kilworthy, 21/3/2010



20 March 2010

Spoonbill

New pictures in the birds section of the Picture Gallery.



14 March 2010

Point 2 Point

New pictures of Dart Vale and Haldon Harriers Ponit 2 Point are in the 2009/10 Point2 Point section of the Events Pages.



11 March 2010

Marsh, Coal and Willow Tit, Nuthatch.

New Pictures in the Bird of Woods sections of the Picture Gallery.



10 March 2010

Point 2 Point

New pictures from Ideford Arch in the 2009/10 Point 2 point section in The Events Gallery.



26 February 2010

Red-breasted Merganser.

New pictures in the Bird section of the picture gallery.



21 February 2010

Oystercatcher and Marsh Tit

New Pictures are in the Birds section of the Picture Gallery.



18 February 2010

Red-breasted Goose

New pictures in the "Birds that like Freshwater" Section of the Picture Gallery.



15 February 2010

Chiloe Wigeon

New Pictures in the "birds that like freshwater" section of the Picture Gallery.



15 February 2010

Blue Tit

New pictures are in the Bird of built up areas section of the Picture Gallery.



15 February 2010

Gadwall

New pictures in the "birds that like freshwater" section in the picture gallery.



14 February 2010

Point 2 Point

Mid Devon Point2Point at Blackforest on 13feb 2010 is in the 09/10 Point2Point section of the Events pages.



07 February 2010

Point 2 Point

New Pictures of the South Pool Harriers P2P at Buckfastliegh are in the 2009/10 P2P section of the Events Gallery.



26 January 2010

Teal and Redwing.

New Pictures are in the Bird Sections of the Picture Gallery.



24 January 2010

Point 2 Point

Pictures from Tiverton Fox hounds Point 2 Point at Chipley Park are in the Point 2 Point 2009/10 section of the Events Gallery.



23 January 2010

Avocets

New Pictures in the Birds of the Coastline section of the Picture Gallery.



23 January 2010

Teal and Mallard

New pictures in the "Female Duck Id", Birds that like Freshwater section of the Picture Gallery.



07 January 2010

Song Thrush, Lapwing and Stonechat.

New pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



06 January 2010

Coal Tit

New Pictures in the bird section of the picture gallery.



01 January 2010

Chiffchaff

New pictures in the Birds of the woods section of the picture gallery.



31 December 2009

Jack Snipe

New Pictures in the "Birds that like Freshwater" Section of the Picture Gallery.



31 December 2009

Song Thrush

New Pictures in the "Birds that like Built up Areas" section of the Picture Gallery.



30 December 2009

Black-necked Grebe.

New pictures in the "Birds that like Freshwater" Section of the Picture Gallery.



30 December 2009

Norfolk

New write ups on Blakeney,Snettisham and Tichwell marsh on the new Norfolk Page in the Out and about section.



29 December 2009

Sunstar and common Starfish

New pictures in the Shoreline section of the Picture Gallery.



28 December 2009

Shoveler Duck.

New Pictures in the "Birds that like freshwater" section of the Picture gallery.



28 December 2009

Point 2 Point

Pictures of the South Devon Club meet at Ideford Arch, 28/12/09 are in the 2009/10 Point 2 point section of the Events Gallery



27 December 2009

Snipe

New pictures in the Bird section of the Picture Gallery



26 December 2009

Black Redstart

New pictures in the "Birds of built up areas" Section of the Picture Gallery.



25 December 2009

Whooper Swan

New Pictures in the bird section of the picture gallery.



24 December 2009

Pink-footed Goose

New pictures are in the bird section of the Picture Gallery.



24 December 2009

Bearded Tit and Golden Plover

New Pictures in the Bird section of the Picture Gallery.



24 December 2009

Muntjac Deer

New Pictures in the Mammal section of the Picture gallery.



19 December 2009

Stonechat and Brent Geese

New Pictures in the bird section of the Picture Gallery



13 December 2009

Avocets

New pictures in the Birds of Coastal Waters section of the Picture Gallery.



12 December 2009

Point 2 Point

New pictures of the Cornwall Hunt Club meet are in the 2009/10 Point 2 Point Section in the Event Pages



06 December 2009

Snow Bunting

New Picture in the Birds who like Open Spaces Section in the Picture Gallery.



05 December 2009

Spotted Sandpiper

New Pictures in the Birds that like Freshwater Section of the picture Gallery.



03 December 2009

Great Northern Diver.

New pictures in the birds of Coastal Waters section of the Picture Gallery.



29 November 2009

Point 2 Point

Black Forest Lodge P2P pictures in the 2009/10 P2P section of the Events Gallery



28 November 2009

Amazon products

On many sections of the website there are links to the Amazon website where you can get other resources such as books.



28 November 2009

Rock Pipit

New pictures in the Birds of the coast section of the Picture Gallery.



31 October 2009

Canoeing on the River Dart

New Pictures in the Canoeing section of the events gallery.



30 October 2009

Heavy Horse ploughing

New Pictures in the Farming section of the picture gallery.



30 October 2009

Red Deer

New pictures are in the Mammal Section of the picture gallery.



28 October 2009

Sorry about website not working

Ive changed servers and it wasnt as smooth as I hoped, sorry;o)



24 October 2009

Grey Seal

New pictures in the mammal section of the picture gallery.



18 October 2009

Ring Ouzel

New pictures are in the "Birds that like open spaces" section in the picture gallery.



14 October 2009

Turtle Dove

New Pictures in the "Birds of the Farm" Section of the Picture Gallery.



14 October 2009

Ruddy Shelduck

New pictures in the "Birds that like Freshwater" Section of the Picture Gallery.



04 October 2009

Glossy Ibis

New Pictures are in the "Birds that like Freshwater" Section of the Picture Gallery.



27 September 2009

Pectoral Sandpiper

New Pictures on the "Birds that Prefer Freshwater" Section of the Picture Gallery.



26 September 2009

Dotterel

New pictures in the "Birds that like open spaces" Section of the Picture gallery



14 September 2009

Kingfisher

New pictures in the Section "Birds that prefer Freshwater" in the Picture Gallery



11 September 2009

Aquatic Warbler

New Pictures in the "Birds that like Freshwater" section of the Picture Gallery.



08 September 2009

Bird Migration

New write up in the "Intro to the Birds Section" of the Picture Gallery.



08 September 2009

Whimbrel

New pictures in the "Birds that like the coast" section of the Picture Gallery



05 September 2009

Wilsons Phalaropes

New pictures in the "Birds that like Freshwater" section of the Picture gallery



02 September 2009

Greenshank and Wheatear

New pictures have been added to the "Birds that like open spaces" section of the Picture Gallery.



31 August 2009

Common Pipistrelle Bat, Yellow-necked Field Mouse, Harvest Mouse, Common Dormouse and Bank Vole.

New Pictures can be found in the new Mammal section of the Picture gallery.



31 August 2009

Mammal section

The old Animal section has been reorginised into the New Mammal section in the Picture Gallery.



26 August 2009

Chard Reservior

New write up in the Somerset page of the "Out and About" section



25 August 2009

Spotted Crake and Great White Egret

New pictures in the "birds that like Freshwater" Section of the picture gallery.



22 August 2009

Animal section

This section has been reorginised into family groups etc.



20 August 2009

Intro to birds

The "intro to the birds" section of the picture gallery has had pictures added as is worth a look.



20 August 2009

Little Egrets

New pictures in the "Birds that prefer freshwater" section of the picture gallery.



17 August 2009

Martin Down and Old Winchester Hill.

New write ups in the Hampshire section of the "Out and about" pages.



16 August 2009

Grass Snake

New pictures in the Reptile section of the Picture Gallery.



14 August 2009

Gannet, Fulmar and Kittiwake.

New Pictures are in the "Birds of the Sea" section of the picture gallery.



14 August 2009

Oystercatcher and Shelduck.

New Pictures in the "Birds of the Coast" section of the picture gallery.



14 August 2009

Adonis and Chalkhill Blue Butterflies

New pictures in the Butterfly section of the Picture Gallery.



11 August 2009

Alners Gorse

New write up on the Dorset Page of the "Out and about" Section



10 August 2009

Fontmell Down.

New write up in the Dorset page in the "out and about" section.



10 August 2009

Brown Hairstreak, Brimstone.

New Pictures in the Butterfly Section of the Picture Gallery.



10 August 2009

Seine Boat race 08/08/2009

New pictures in the Seine Boat 2009 Section of the Events pages



10 August 2009

Great White Egret and Grey Heron.

New Pictures in the "Birds that prefer Freshwater" Section of the Picture Gallery



10 August 2009

Roe Deer

New Pictures in the Animal Section of the Picture Gallery.



07 August 2009

Adonis and Chalkhill Blue Butterflies

New pictures in the Butterfly section of the Picture Gallery.



07 August 2009

Isle of Scilly, Scilly Pelagics trip, Higher Moor and Porth Hellick Pools.

New write up on the Isle of Scilly page in the "Out of Bounds " Section.



05 August 2009

Gwennap Head at Porthgwanna and Marazion Marsh.

New write ups on Cornwall page of the Out and About section



04 August 2009

Marsh Sandpiper

New pictures are in the "Birds that prefer freshwater" section of the picture gallery.



04 August 2009

Grey Phalarope

New Pictures are in "Birds of the coast" section of the picture gallery.



04 August 2009

Wilsons and European Storm Petrel, Manx and Sooty Shearwater, Great Skua.

New Pictures are in the "Birds of the Sea" section of the Picture Gallery



27 July 2009

Cerne Abbas

New write up in the Dorset section of the "out and about" Pages.



23 July 2009

Buzzard

New pictures in the Bird of the woods section of the Picture Gallery



23 July 2009

Adder

New pictures are in the Reptile Section of the Picture Gallery.



23 July 2009

Dartmoor Ponies

New Pictures are in The Equine section of the Picture Gallery.



22 July 2009

Sorry about website not working

Sorry the website was down but had problems beyond my control.



22 July 2009

Seine Boat race 18/07/2009

New pictures are in the 2009 Seine boat race section in the Events gallery.



16 July 2009

Swallows and Rook

New pictures added to the Birds of the Farm section of the picture gallery



05 July 2009

Seine Boat race 04/07/2009

New pictures in the Seine boat 2009 section of the Events gallery



03 July 2009

Golden-ringed Dragonfly

New pictures in the Dragonfly section of the Picture Gallery.



03 July 2009

Badger

New pictures in the Animal section of the Picture Gallery.



03 July 2009

Five spot Burnet Moth

New Pictures in the Moth Section of the Picture Gallery.



28 June 2009

Small and Silver-studded Blue Butterflies

New pictures of both are in the Butterfly section of the Picture Gallery.



21 June 2009

Large Blue, Peacock, Marbled White and Small Tortoiseshell

New Pictures in the Butterfly Section of the Picture Gallery.



21 June 2009

Seine Boat race 20/06/2009

New pictures are in the Seine boat racing 2009 section of the Events Pages.



14 June 2009

Badger

New pictures in the Animal Section of the Picture Gallery.



14 June 2009

Large Skipper, Large White and Pearl-bordered Fritillary.

New pictures in the Butterfly section of the Picture Gallery.



11 June 2009

Badger

New Pictures added to the Animal section of the Picture Gallery.



11 June 2009

Andrews wood, Quants reserve and Thurlbear Quarrylands.

New write ups in the out and about section.



07 June 2009

Badger

New Pictures in the Animal section of the Picture Gallery.



07 June 2009

Orange Tip

New Pictures in the Butterfly section of the Picture Gallery.



07 June 2009

Cettis Wabler, Green Woodpecker, Whitethroat, Mistle Thrush and Spotted Flycatcher.

New Pictures in the Bird Section of the picture Gallery.



04 June 2009

Small Eggar

New Pictures in the Moth section of the Picture Gallery.



03 June 2009

Red-backed Shrike

New Picture added to the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



03 June 2009

Badger

New picture in the Animal Section of the Picture Gallery.



01 June 2009

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

New Pictures in the butterfly section of the picture gallery.



31 May 2009

Duke of Burgundy Fritillary.

New Pictures added to the Butterfly Section of the Picture Gallery.



31 May 2009

Badger

New pictures added to the Animal Section of the Picture Gallery.



30 May 2009

Badger

New pictures in the Animal section of the Picture Gallery.



29 May 2009

Grizzled Skipper

New Pictures in the Butterfly Section of the picture Gallery.



28 May 2009

Bittern

New Pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



27 May 2009

Duke of Burgundy Fritillary and Dingy Skipper

New pictures in the Butterfly Section of the picture Gallery.



27 May 2009

Burnet Companion

New Pictures in the Moth Section of the Picture Gallery.



27 May 2009

Mole

New Pictures in the Animal Section of the Picture Gallery.



26 May 2009

Wood wabler

New pictures in the Bird section of the Picture gallery



25 May 2009

Red-eyed Damselfly

New pictures in the Dragonfly Section of the Picture Gallery.



24 May 2009

Seine Boat race 23/05/2009

New Pictures in the Seine boat racing 2009 section of the Events Gallery



23 May 2009

Green Carpet and Cinnabar Moths

New Pictures in the Moth Section of the the Picture Gallery.



22 May 2009

Blood-nosed Beetle

New pictures in the "Other Insect" Section of the picture gallery



17 May 2009

Ravens

New Pictures in Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



17 May 2009

Scarce Chaser Dragonfly

New Pictures in the Dragonfly Section of the Picture Gallery.



11 May 2009

South Devon Hunt Point 2 Point 10/05/2009

Pictures of the Point 2 Point held at Idford Arch are in the Events Gallery



10 May 2009

Seine Boat race 09/05/2009

Pictures are in the Events Gallery



04 May 2009

Bittern

New Pictures are in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



04 May 2009

Bramble Bashers

Gun Dog Scurry, Childrens races and Terrier/dog racing in the Countryside Pursuits Section of the Events Page



28 April 2009

Axe Vale Point 2 Point 26/04/2009

Axe Vale point 2 point at Stafford cross on 26/04/2009 in the 2009 Point 2 Point section of the Events pages.



26 April 2009

Wren, Blackcap, Garganey and Lesser Black-backed Gull.

New Pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



25 April 2009

Marsh Harrier, Linnet, Skylark and Willow Wabler.

New Pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



25 April 2009

Canada Goose, Grey Heron and Grey Wagtail.

New Pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery



19 April 2009

Dartmoor Hunt Point 2 Point

New Pictures in the 2009 point 2 point Section of the Events Page.



18 April 2009

Carder and Buff-tailed bumble bees

New Pictures in the Bee Section of the Picture Gallery



17 April 2009

Smooth Newt.

New pictures in the Amphibian Section of the Picture Gallery.



17 April 2009

7-Spot Ladybird

New Pictures in the Other Insect Section of the Picture Gallery.



17 April 2009

White Wagtail

New pictures added to the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



17 April 2009

Slavonian Grebe, Greenshank, Chiffchaff,Dunnock, Pied Wagtail and Sparrowhawk.

New Pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



17 April 2009

Green-veined White,Peacock and Comma Butterflies.

New Pictures in the Butterfly Section of the Picture Gallery.



17 April 2009

Sand Lizard

New Picture in the Reptile Section of the Picture gallery.



17 April 2009

Brown Tail Moth.

New pictures in the Moth Section of the Picture Gallery.



16 April 2009

Slow worms

New pictures in the Reptile section of the Picture Gallery.



13 April 2009

Adder

New Pictures in the Reptile Section of the Picture Gallery.



12 April 2009

Eggesford Point 2 point

New Pictures in the 2009 Point 2 Point Section of the Events page



11 April 2009

Cettis Wabler

New Pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



10 April 2009

Redstart

New pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



09 April 2009

Little Gull

New Pictures added to the Bird section of the Picture Gallery.



06 April 2009

Spooners & West Dartmoor Point 2 Point.

New pictures of the Racing in the 2009 Point 2 Point Section of the Events Pages.



04 April 2009

Long-eared Owl

New pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture gallery.



04 April 2009

Common and Sand Lizard

New Pictures in the Reptile Section of the Picture Gallery.



04 April 2009

Carrion Crow and Wheatear.

New pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



29 March 2009

Exeter Chiefs

New pictures of the game against Newbury are in the Chiefs 2009 section in the Events Gallery



24 March 2009

Goldeneye

New Pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



23 March 2009

Lamerton Hunt Point 2 Point

Pictures from the Point 2 Point are in the 2008/9 section in the Events Gallery.



20 March 2009

Gadwall and Mallard

New pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



20 March 2009

Starling and Siskin

New Pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



20 March 2009

House Sparrow and Chiffchaff.

New pictures added in the Bird Section of the picture Gallery.



19 March 2009

Chaffinch,Carrion Crow,Collard Dove and Herring Gull.

New pictures in the Bird Section of the Bird Pages.



17 March 2009

Helston boating Lake,Penrose and Loe pool,Drift and Stithians Reserviors

New write ups in the Cornwall pages of the "Out and About" section.



13 March 2009

Garganey

New pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



12 March 2009

Long-tailed Tit

New Pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



12 March 2009

Common Toad

New pictures in the Amphibian section of the Picture Gallery.



11 March 2009

Glaucous Gull and Iceland Gull

New Pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



10 March 2009

Lesser Black-backed Gull

New pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



09 March 2009

South Devon Hunt Meet

Pictures from the meet at Ashcombe on 9/3/09 are in the Country Pursuits page in the Events Gallery.



08 March 2009

Muscovy Duck, Bar-headed and Barnacle Goose.

New Photos in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



07 March 2009

Mendip Hills

New write up in the Somerset Pages of the Out and About section.



07 March 2009

Derbyshire and the Peak District

New write ups on these in the Out and About Section.



06 March 2009

Colliford and Siblyback Lakes

New write ups in the Cornwall section of the "Out and About" pages.



06 March 2009

South West Lakes Trust

New Write up in the England, Cornwall, Devon and Somerset Sections of the "Out and About" Section.



06 March 2009

Quantock Hills

New Write up in the Somerset page of the "out and About" section.



03 March 2009

Glaucous Gull and Snowy Owl

New Pictures are in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



01 March 2009

East Devon Hunt Point 2 Point

Pictures of the East Devon Point 2 Point at Bishops Court on 28 Febuary 2009 are in the 2008/9 Point 2 point section of the Events Gallery.



18 February 2009

Mallard,Tufted Duck,Teal and Moorhen.

New Pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



16 February 2009

Ruddy Duck

New pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



15 February 2009

South Pool Harriers Point 2 Point

Pictures from the Point 2 Point at Buckfastleigh are in the Point 2 Point 2008/9 Season Section in the Events Gallery.



15 February 2009

Grey Seal

New pictures in the Animal Section of the Picture Gallery.



12 February 2009

Avocets

New pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



12 February 2009

Great Northern Diver.

New pictures are in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



11 February 2009

Common Gull

New Picture in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



08 February 2009

Roadford Nature Reserve

A write up on Roadford Nature Reserve in the Devon page of the "Out and About" Section.



01 February 2009

Shoveler Duck, Little Grebe, Great Black-backed Gull, Black-headed gull.

New Pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



31 January 2009

Little Owl

New Pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



28 January 2009

Red-breasted Merganser.

New pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



25 January 2009

Slavonian Grebe, Goldeneye.

New Pictures are in Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



23 January 2009

Red-breasted Merganser.

New Pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



23 January 2009

Little Egrets, kingfisher and Sanderling.

New Pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



22 January 2009

Cattle Egret

New Pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture gallery.



20 January 2009

Bird Watching at Topsham

New update in the "Out and About" Section.



18 January 2009

Red-breasted Merganser, Curlew, Mute Swan and Greenshank.

New Pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture gallery.



18 January 2009

Silverton Point 2 Point.

New Pictures in the 2008/09 Point 2 Point Section of the Events Gallery.



16 January 2009

Old Sludge Beds

New Write up on this DWT Reserve is on the Devon Pages of the Out and About Section.



16 January 2009

West Charlton Marsh

New write up on this reserve in the Devon page of the Out and About Section.



15 January 2009

Black-tailed Godwit

New pictures are in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



13 January 2009

Meadow Pipit, Spoonbill, Bullfinch and Knot.

New pictures are in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



11 January 2009

Great Bustard

New Photographs in the Bird section of the Picture Gallery.



11 January 2009

Lesser Redpoll

New Pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



10 January 2009

Exeter Chiefs

Pictures from the game against Bedford Blues in the Chiefs 2008/9 section in the Events Gallery.



10 January 2009

Little Egrets

New Pictures in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



06 January 2009

Fallow Deer

New Pictures in the Animal Section of the Picture Gallery.



05 January 2009

Grey Heron

New Pictures of Grey Heron can be found in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



05 January 2009

Reflections

Two new pictures have been added to this section which is in "Other Images"in the Picture Gallery.



04 January 2009

Kingfisher

New Pictures have been added in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



04 January 2009

Greenshank

New Pictures of Greenshank in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



03 January 2009

Spotted Redshank

New pictures and Write up in the Bird Section of the Picture gallery.



31 December 2008

Avocets

New Pictures have been added to their section under Birds in the Picture Gallery.



29 December 2008

Otters

New Pictures of two cubs playfighting which are in the Animal Section of the Picture Gallery.



28 December 2008

Purple Sandpiper

New Pictures of the Purple Sandpiper is in the Bird Section of the the Picture Gallery.



28 December 2008

Exeter Chiefs

Pictures of the Chiefs v Pirates game on the 27/12/2008 are in the Chiefs 2008/09 section on the Events page.



27 December 2008

South Devon Hunt Boxing day meet.

New Pictures added of the South Devon Hunt Boxing day meet at Haytor on Dartmoor. These pictures can be found in the Countryside pursuits Section of the Events Gallery.



23 December 2008

New Pictures and Section on Reflections.

New Pictures and Section of "Reflections" which is the Other Images Section of the Picture Gallery.



23 December 2008

Grey heron and Black-headed Gull

New pictures of Grey Heron and Black-headed Gull in the Bird section of the Picture Gallery.



19 December 2008

New Pictures of Lapwing, Grey Plover, Red-legged Partridge and Oystercatchers.

New pictures of Lapwing,Grey Plover,Red-legged Partridge and Oystercatchers are in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



17 December 2008

Coot, Grey plover, Shelduck and Black-headed Gull.

New pictures of Coot,Grey Plover, Shelduck and Black-headed Gull in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



17 December 2008

New Pictures and Section on the Common Scoter

New pictures and write up of the Common Scoter in the Bird section of the Picture Gallery.



14 December 2008

Point 2 Point

Pictures from Cornwall Hunt Club point 2 Point in the 2008/09 section of the Events Gallery.



09 December 2008

Black-necked Grebe.

New pictures of Black-necked Grebes in the Bird section of the Gallery Pages.



07 December 2008

Black Swan and Turnstone.

New section and pictures of Black Swan and New pictures of Turnstone added to the Bird Section in the Picture Gallery.



04 December 2008

Golden plover.

New pictures of Golden Plover in the Bird section of the Picture Gallery.



01 December 2008

New write ups on Avebury and surrounding ancient monuments.

New write ups on Avebury and surrounding ancient monuments can be found in the Wiltshire section of the "Out and About" page.



01 December 2008

Point 2 Point

Pictures from the Black Forest meet on 30/11/2008 are in the Point 2 Point 2008/9 section of the Events Gallery.



29 November 2008

Exeter Chiefs

Pictures of todays match against Rotherham are in the Exeter Chiefs 2009 section of the Events Gallery



26 November 2008

Avebury Stone Circle

New Pictures of Avebury Stone Circle in the Architecture section of the Picture Gallery.



26 November 2008

Bewick and mute Swans, Barnacal and Greylag Goose, Smew and Goosander.

New pictures of Bewick and Mute Swans,Barnacal and Greylag Goose,Smew and Goosander in the Bird section of the Picture Gallery.



24 November 2008

New Pictures and Sections on Black brant, Red-crested Pochard and White-fronted Goose.

New sections with pictures of Black Brant,Red-crested Pochard and White-fronted Goose in the Bird Section of the Picture Gallery.



23 November 2008

New write ups on Start and Prawle Points

Updates on Start and Prawle Points in the Devon Section of the "Out and About" pages.



23 November 2008

Grey Seal

Six new pictures added to this section which is in the Picture Gallery.



22 November 2008

Exeter Chiefs

Pictures of todays match against Coventry are in the Exeter Chiefs 2008/09 section of the Events Gallery.



21 November 2008

Blackbird, Redwing and Red-legged Partridge.

New pictures of Blackbird, Redwing and Red-Legged Partridge in the Birds section of the Picture Gallery.



18 November 2008

Isley Marsh and Bridgwater Bay.

New write ups on these Reserves in the "Out and About" page.



16 November 2008

Lesser Black-backed Gull and Scaup Duck

New pictures of these can be found in the Bird sections of the Picture Gallery.



16 November 2008

Grey Seal

New pictures of these can be found in the Animal section of the Picture Gallery.



14 November 2008

Spoonbills

New Section and pictures of Spoonbills in the Bird section of the Picture Gallery.



13 November 2008

New sections

New sections on Bellever forest and Tor plus Castle Drogo,Drewsteignton and Fingle Bridge area are on the Devon Section in the "Out and About" Page.



11 November 2008

Marsh Harrier, Goosander, Fieldfare and Jay.

New Pictures and Sections on Marsh Harrier and Goosander, New pictures of Fieldfare and Jay. All to be found in the Bird section of the Picture Gallery.



09 November 2008

Fieldfare

New pictures added to the Birds section which is in the Picture Gallery.



08 November 2008

Exeter Chiefs

Pictures of todays match against Nottingham are in the Exeter Chiefs 09 section which is in the Events Gallery.



07 November 2008

Common Crane

New pictures of the Common Crane in the Birds section of the Picture Gallery.



07 November 2008

Cornwall

New sections about The Lizard, Lands End, Cape Cornwall and Hayle Bird Reserve have been added to the Cornwall page in the "Out and About" section.



07 November 2008

Wiltshire

New page has been started about Wiltshire in the "Out and About" page with sections about Avebury and Stonehenge



06 November 2008

Chough

New picture in the Birds section of the Picture Gallery.



04 November 2008

Whooper Swan

New pictures added today in the Birds section of the Picture Gallery.



04 November 2008

Arne Nature Reserve

Write up on the RSPB reserve in the Dorset section of the Out and About page.



02 November 2008

Sparrowhawk

Three more pictures of Sparrowhawks have been added to the section to be found in the Picture Gallery.



02 November 2008

Hooded Merganser

New pictures of Hooded Merganser will be found in the Bird section of the Picture Gallery.



02 November 2008

Stonehenge

New pictures of Stonehenge, find them in the Architecture section in the Picture Gallery.



01 November 2008

Framing lot exhibit

For all of November 2008 a collection of pictures on show at "The Framing Lot" Dawlish, Devon.



31 October 2008

New pictures

New pictures of Fieldfare,Reed Bunting,Mute Swan and Kingfisher in the picture Gallery.



31 October 2008

New sections

New section on Westhay Reserve and updates on Greylake and Shapwick Reserves, both on Somerset Levels in "out and about" .



31 October 2008

Hospital Exhibit

3 pictures in the friends and family exhibition at Wonford hospital Exeter Devon.



© Simon Thurgood 2017
Images on this website may not be put as any part of any collection without any prior written permission.