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25 September 2021

Bowling Green Marsh

On my way back from Budliegh where I was supporting my son who was in a Golf competition, I stopped at Bowling Green Marsh. I haven't been here for some time and it was good to be back.

The tide was in and plenty of Waders with Redshank, Black and Bar-tailed Godwits, Curlew, Dunlin, Snipe and a couple of Ruff at BGM, there was also 30+ Greenshank at Goosemoor.

Grey Heron, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler and Pintail seen and there could have been others hidden away.

All the usual Gulls with good numbers of Black-headed Gulls, Plenty of smaller birds such as Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Blue and Great Tits, Wren, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Buzzard and Woodpigeon seen with the sound of a Green Woodpecker.

A few humans about and good to see Dave B.



19 September 2021

Looking for Merlin at Exminster

After seeing sightings of a Merlin at Exminster Marshes I used what little spare time this weekend at the Marshes on the look out.

To my knowledge none was seen last winter, but in the previous years they were regular visitors to the Marsh and could be seen sat on the old hay trailer that was between the road to the canal and the M5 bridge, sadly that has now been removed.

So walked around quite a bit, down every footpath, both ways along the canal and checked every fence post. The Merlin is a favourite bird of mine and seen many, but sadly always at a distance and going at some speed! Sadly none seen this weekend, perhaps just visiting or just sat down somewhere and I couldn't see it.

I did see other Raptors, 2 x Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Peregrine and Buzzard and all getting a hard time by the growing numbers of Corvids which is normal for the winter.



12 September 2021

The Weekend

Good to get away from screens and stuff, took the opportunity to spend some time outdoors, Saturday the original plan was to spend time around the River Exe but I forgot that there was a Concert on at Powderham so the roads were blocked. So instead spent some time at Exminster Marshes.

Parked up at the RSPB car park and walked down the road towards the Canal. Opposite the buildings as you go down you could see the two Spoonbills sleeping, there was plenty of splashing around by the Canada Geese there but they didn't move a muscle! Further down just past the middle car park there was a single Cattle Egret with the cows and the two white Farm Geese also there.

Up on the Canal there was a few birders with scopes and one was kind enough to show me the Ruff and little Stints in the lagoon, plenty of waders flying around with Godwits, Redshank and Dunlin. Also Woodpigeon, Magpie, Kestrel and Buzzard, others said a Marsh Harrier had been seen.

Further down by the Turf hotel 100+ Starling around the Yachts and lines with about 30+ Swallows hawking around the water and over the top of the bushes.

Also seen Little Egret, Mute Swans, Cormorant, Black-headed and Herring Gulls, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, pied Wagtail and Chaffinch.

Plenty of Butterflies, Bees, Wasps, Dragons and other insects about, especially on the Brambles.

Sunday I managed to get up to Dartmoor, I did a circular walk around Challacombe Farm going past Dinahs House, up towards Bennets Cross, up towards Birch Torr and back to Challacombe via Headland Warren.

A bit quiet on the bird front, a couple of Swallows hawking over the Bracken, singles of Willow Warbler and Meadow Pipit with Stonechats, Buzzards and Crows was about it.

Walking along the footpath just up from Dinahs house the stream covers the path and it was quite noticeable the water looked like it had a oily shine over it, but this is right next to the old mine working so I presume its from here?

Met lots of humans over the weekend and all seem happy enough, even the Birder experts smiled!



05 September 2021

Common Terns

Sunday I was down in South Devon and inbetween other stuff managed half an hour watching the Terns on Slapton Beach, it was a bit grey and the beach was quite busy with people and dogs, the Terns which seemed a 50-50 split between Common and Sarnies were also getting harassed by some of the Gulls so were always on the move.

Start new job Monday with the first 2 weeks on induction and training on Zoom Meetings, my idea of hell!!



04 September 2021

Blue Jellyfish

While on the Scilly Isles walking across a beach I came across a Jellyfish that was beached and didnt pay much attention to it, just took a quick picture thinking it was a Compass Jellyfish that had got some sand on it but looking at the picture it is obviously a Blue Jellyfish and the lesson here is slow down and study more of what you are taking a picture of!!



03 September 2021

Around the Exe

Spent the last couple of days around the River Exe which included Exminster marshes, Dawlish Warren Beach, Cockwood Harbour as well as the Steps and the River Kenn outflow.

Noticeable increase in Corvids with Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw and Raven all seen especially on stubble fields close to the river, several Magpie and a couple of Jays around Powderham Church.

Several flocks of Starling with the usual one around Turf Hotel, a few House Martins but mostly Swallows with some feeding juveniles that were huddled together in groups, looked like 2 broods trying to keep warm at one point.

Grey Heron, Little Egret seen but I just missed the Great White and the Spoonbills were nowhere to be seen. A few Ducks about especially on the River Kenn in the Powderham estate with Teal, Wigeon, Mallard and Shoveler in good numbers.

Waders were a bit light with singles of Black-tailed Godwit and Common Sandpiper close to Turf with more Oystercatchers, Greenshank, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Dunlin and Sanderling the further you went down the River.

Several Wheatear, Pied Wagtails, Linnet, Stonechat, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Great and Blue Tit, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Cormorant, Coot, Moorhen, Canada geese and Mute Swan.

Plenty of Gulls spread around, Herring, Black-headed, Great and Lesser-black Backed Gulls of all ages.

Still a few humans about and good to see Kevin W out with his camera.



01 September 2021

Forest Bug

I know these as Forest Bugs but others also know them as Red-legged ShieldBug.

While common still looks a stunning little insect!



31 August 2021

Dawlish Warren

Went to several places today looking for a Clouded Yellow Butterfly to add to my list and ended up at Dawlish Warren.

Reading somewhere else I was expecting Greenland Lake to be mowed and was going to look like a football field but clearly it hadn't and the only mowing going on looked like the paths which get cut every year, perhaps there is another Greenland Lake?

Anyway no Clouded Yellows but some very smart Small Coppers as well as Red Admiral, Common Blue, Whites and meadow Browns.

Also loads of wild flowers including lots of Autumn Lady's-tresses as well as many other smart looking flowers, stunning place!



30 August 2021

Out and About

In between doing other things managed to combine visits to Exminster Marshes, Dawlish Warren, Seaton Marshes, East Soar, Soussons and Haldon Forests, Aylesbere Common and around the back lanes of Dawlish, Starcross and Kenton.

Plenty seen and notable how birds starting to gather in flocks such as Rooks and crows on pasture and cultivated fields, Yellow Wagtails and Wheatears at East Soar, Swallows and House Martins sat on wires, the sense of Autumn is on us!

Plenty of noisy young Buzzards and Gulls calling for food. Waders many still in their Summer Plumage and many Ducks in eclipse, exotic visitors such as Spoonbill and Great-white Egret at Exminster Marshes and a high speed fly past of a Merlin at East Soar have added to the mix.

The best though this week was at Soussons Forest in a small area where there was a couple of pools of water in the track which in turn had attracted some Flies and other insects which in turn had attracted Spotted Flycatchers and two very smart Restarts, such fun watching these at work.

Also met quite a few humans, good to meet up with Dave B, Rob and Steph M, Richie M and others, great to meet you all.



29 August 2021

Dragons

While being out and about this last week have been impressed by the number of Dragonflies about, many looking fresh and smart like this Male Southern Hawker ( pic right)

Top left sees a Common Goldenring and below is a Common Darter sat in one of its most common poses on top of a stalk.

Did see many more but all a bit quick for me!



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