[Simon Thurgood Images] [Simon Thurgood Images]


11 January 2021

Washed up goodies

Went for a walk on Coryton Cove, while walking across there was what I thought was an end of a pipe, but in fact it was a (Picture top left) Lobster/crab pot funnel which is on top of the cage. When I picked it up it was packed with life from the deep and with a lot of help from others I have managed to at least get some Id on most of them.

(Picture top right) The white things on the right side look like the eggs of a snail. I think the white blobs top right may be anemones, looks like stripes on the column with retracted white tentacles. Plenty of Verucca stroemia and Balanus crenatus and saddle Oysters e'g under the lower white blob. A few common whelk eggs, Buccinum undatum.

Maybe Austrominius modestus in there too, in the top narrow band 6th from the left? The brown blob at the top centre might be a baked bean squirt Dendrodoa grossularia.

(Picture 2nd from top left) One of the barnacles is certainly Verruca stroemia, Wart barnacle, to the bottom left of the lower saddle oyster, the other barnacles are Balanus crenatus. Saddle Oysters with Keel worms and tiny V.stroemia barnacles, the barnacle on the left side may be H.fallax.

(Picture 2nd from top right) This anemone could be Metridium Senile. Hydroid growth to the left also.

(Picture from top left 3 down)

Tunicate probably? yes, I'd guess Ascidiella scabra (rough surface, attached on side, siphons at top and left in this image) with A aspersa as the other option. looking again would say A.scabra, given it is attached on the side and the atrial siphon looks in the right place. Ascidiella aspersa, squirt and V stoemia.

(Top right 3 picture down.) Common whelk egg ball.

(Picture left 4 from the top) Barnacle heaven! V.stroemia, B.crenatus (larger jagged white ones) and the warm water Hesperibalanus fallax (reddy smooth ones). H. fallax doesn't actually settle on rock prefering animal substrate and it loves plastic, particularly Lobster cages and an Elminius modestus at the bottom. Indeed, now known as Austrominius modestus.

(Picture 4th from top right) Tunicate left of centre, slight red blush makes me think same species as in the other pic (A scabra) with proviso I'm more used to seeing these inflated and out-and-about, underwater.

(Picture 5th from top left) Common whelk eggs, a bryozoan, can't say which. Looks more spherical in shape for the individual cells, so I'd say Electra pilosa (Membranipora membranacea is the other common one, but has more rectangular cells)

(Picture 5 from the top right)Red blobs near centre are tunicates, possibly Dendrodoa grossularia.

To right is a small 'dead mans finger' soft coral. Alcyonium digitatum. Verruca barnacles (look sort of like zippers) saddle oysters (shiny bivalves).

Huge thank you to Mike Pul but also Toby Sherwin, Marleen Schouten, Sharon Degnan, Andrew Want, David Wilson, Beshlie Pool, Al Ro, Frits Zandvoort, David Kipling and Cynthia D. Trowbridge.

It's amazing what you can find!

10 January 2021

River Exe

Because of lockdown and staying away from everybody I placed myself on the River Exe and waited for the tide to come in.

Started off misty but the sun broke through making it a lovely afternoon and not a human in sight, I could hear them but couldn't see them! The only disappointment was I left my flask on the side when I left home, old age!

First stop was Cockwood Steps and then the River Kenn out flow.

Plenty of Brent and Canada Geese up and down the River, Mute Swan and a distant Black Swan.

Little Egret, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Shelduck, Curlew, Redshank, Greenshank, Dunlin, Oystercatchers, Turnstone and Avocets. Plenty of Black-headed Gulls with singles of Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls.

From the car birds seen, especially around Powderham estate and around the Church, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Rook, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Pied Wagtail, Great-spotted Woodpecker and Pheasants.

On the River Kenn there was good numbers of Duck with Mallard, Wigeon, Teal and Shoveler.

Stay safe everybody!

08 January 2021

Shells around Dawlish

In Lockdown this past year I've spent a lot of time walking the beaches of Dawlish and Dawlish Warren, while being unable to access the beach in front of the Station due to Sea Wall construction and the "Wavewarker" that is working there.

I found the best area for Shells is the Dawlish side of Langstone Rock, the beach here has some troughs which seem to collect them as the tide went out. The top end of Dawlish Warren Beach and the far end of Coryton Cove are also good areas to visit.

I would also say I use a great book to help with ID which has become my bible and that is "The Essential Guide to Beachcombing and the Strandline" by Trewhella and Hatcher. They also do a great book on Rockpools, worth every penny!

Plenty of Mussels Top picture and Top Right, especially around Dawlish Warren beach, easily found around the Groins but also around the Rockpools, also around Rockpools, seawalls and breakwaters Common and Black-footed Limpets, 2nd Left picture from the top and Acorn Barnacles, 2nd right picture from the top. Also Periwinkles, Common, Rough and the colourful Flat Periwinkles, 3rd picture on left from the top. Flat and Painted Top Shells, 3rd picture on the right from the top.

Plenty of Bivalves can be found mainly dead ones, but if you're lucky you can find full Cockle Shells on a receding tide before the Gulls and Oystercatchers get to them, picture 4th from the top on the left, not sure what species this is as there is 3, Spiny, Prickly and Rough Cockles.

Shells from Common and Pacific Oysters, the picture 4th from the top right is a Pacific Oyster,these are farmed on the River Exe and some migrate from the river.

Razor Shells 5th from the top left,this picture shows Pod Razor Shells which are one of three species.

Scallops, there are 2 species, King and Queen,the picture 6th from top right I think is a King Scallop due to its colour. Otter Shells picture 5th from top on the right is quite a common shell at Dawlish Warren and around Langston rock, often you find older shells that go white as they wear away, Trough Shells and Tellins to name a few, picture 6 from the top on the left is a Tellins, there are several species and not sure which these are.

Gastropods such as the non-native Slipper Limpet from North America which has sadly become abundant and are often washed up attached to to other Shells,picture bottom left.

The picture bottom right shows some of the following, Pelican Foot, Turban Top Shell, Auger Shell, Common Whelk and Netted Dog Whelks.

07 January 2021

Out and About

This last couple of weeks have spent some time out and about from Dartmoor to Exminster Marshes. The weather has been quite mixed from Snow, Sun, Wet and Windy!

Plenty of Winter Thrushes but surprisingly few on Dartmoor, possibly due to the lack of Berries as they have already been eaten, where at Exminster plenty of Berries so Redwing, Fieldfare, Song Thrush, Blackbird and many other birds feeding on them.

Plenty of Robins, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Great, Blue, Coal and Long-tailed Tits.

Stonechat, Meadow and Rock Pipit, Wren, Cirl Bunting, Siskin, Great-spotted Woodpeckers, Starling and House Sparrow all seen.

Plenty of Covids with Raven, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw and Magpie.

Pair of Egyptian Goose at Powderham Church were clear to see from the road also Canada, Brent and Greylag Geese seen around the River Exe as well as Shield Duck, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler.

Plenty of Turnstones and Gulls around the beaches with the regular Cormorants, I seem to keep missing all the Divers that are out there.

Just a couple of Raptors with Kestrel and Buzzard seen in a few locations.

Another lockdown is on us so wont be travelling very far, although my new job sees me travelling and going for walks with the guys I support so you never know what I will see.

02 January 2021

Lobsters and Crabs

Lots of casts of Crabs about as well as Lobster especially around Coryton Cove for some reason.

Preston Sands had some impressive large Crabs both alive and dead.

Sadly large dead Edible crab washed up on Preston Beach top right.

The other two are shore crabs, one alive in a rock pool and one dead. The one in the rock pool looked interested in my camera and started to walk towards it, so I made a quick exit!

Top picture is remains of Lobster Claw.

01 January 2021


Spent some time around Rock pools with my new camera which enables me to take pictures under water. Visited this last couple of weeks at Dawlish, Dawlish Warren close to Langstone Rock and Preston Sands.

Found a few Parasitic Anemones, some dead and some alive, because they attach themselves to Whelks they run the risk of being washed up and stranded. See 2nd from top right picture, this was washed up on Dawlish Warren Beach, thankfully still alive and put back in the sea.

Strawberry Anemones found at all three sites although Dawlish was the best site for these. Top right picture for these, showing its characteristic speckled look.

Beadlet Anemones were everywhere although again Dawlish good for these and plenty found out of water on the Sea Wall in front of the Huts. See the bottom left picture for these which shows its blue beads where it gets its name.

Both colour variations of Snakelocks Anemone found in all three areas, but more found at Preston.See picture top left.

While at Preston I found plenty of a small but beautiful Anemone called a Daisy Anemone. See 2nd from top on the left. You can see that one of them has caught something and eating it while I was there, not sure what it was, I did think it might be a piece of plastic but without pulling it out I wouldn't know.

31 December 2020

Ray Egg cases

While spending quite a bit of time on local beaches this last 10 days I have picked up a few Egg Cases, but not the number of previous weeks.

For example no Small-spotted Catshark cases at all, even after the stormy weather.

I did though get some good records with Thornback Ray,see picture on right. About 7cm and has obvious Keels each side.

The Undulate Ray, which is the photo top left is about 8cm and doesn't have any Keels.

Bottom left is the Small-eyed Ray which is also about 8cm, it tapers towards the bottom and the colour tends to be Brown than Black.

All are recorded with the Shark Trust.

29 December 2020


While signs of Otters around Exminster Marshes and the River Exe have been there, they have been quite random.

But this last couple of months I have found a couple of well trodden paths and several "Spraints".

The busiest area for them is also a very busy area for humans, but because the Otters seem to be using this area at night there doesn't seem to be any conflict.

Its by Turf and they use the slip way to get to the River, their footprints can often be seen at low tide. You can also see the track back through the field to the stream that comes from the Marshes.

There are also several tracks and paths around the canal to the river.

Great to see and also they are coping well with the busy human presence.

29 December 2020

Whimbrel or Curlew?

While looking around the Rock Pools on Preston Beach I found this Bill.

By the shape it looks like either a Whimbrel or Curlew? It looks small but with the bill gone and just leaving bone can be deceiving, pos juv Curlew??

Its amazing what you find looking around the Rocks, pools and Strandline of the beach.

29 December 2020

Name that Egg

When I visited Beesands last week, just before I got to the hide along the path, I came across a Magpie tucking into this egg.

The main reason for putting this up that you dont normally find Eggs in December and there is not a lot that lays eggs at this time of year?

There is a good possibility its a Woodpigeon Egg but open to be told its something else, answers on a postcard!

27 December 2020

Birding over the Xmas Week

Interesting week out and about looking for Birds, with the short days and rain making it challenging to get around. Flooding at Exminster Marshes meant that even with wellies I couldn't do the circular walk as the field by Turf was flooded by the gate. Beesands was just passable to the hide while Slapton Ley was flooded to the point I couldn't get to Ireland Bay and the water was so high it caused flooding at Torcross.

I did spend some quality time at Start Point, Lanacombe Beach, North Hallsands, Beesands and Torcross Line, Preston Sands, Brixham Harbour, Dawlish Beaches, Dawlish Warren Beach, Cockwood Steps and Harbour, Starcross, Golf Course, Min of Ag and behind the train station, Powderham Estate, River Kenn and the outflow, fields around Powderham Church and the walk from the Church to Turf, lots of hedges and fields behind Kenn, Starcross and Dawlish. Around Topsham which included BGM, Goosemoor, the viewing platform and the Goatwalk.

I was quite moved at Brixham at the Man and Boy statue where they had a small memorial and tributes to the men lost in the trawler "Joanna C".

Being close to the sea quite a bit, loads of Gulls seen with Black-headed, Herring, Great and Lesser-black Backed Gulls, Kittiwake and Iceland Gulls seen at Brixham. Gannets seen plunging in Torbay and Start Bay, always a great sight! Also seen Razorbill, Shag, Cormorants, Red-breasted Mergansers, Great-created Grebe, Great northern Divers and Slavonian Grebe (Herbert).

Waders in good numbers, especially Turnstone which I think I've seen on every beach this week. Avocet, Grey and Golden Plover, Lapwing, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Sanderling, Dunlin, Redshank, Greenshank and Oystercatcher.

Other water based birds seen were Dark-bellied Brent, Canada, Greylag (BGM) Barnacle (Exminster) Egyptian Geese at Powderham Church. Coot, Moorhen, Waterail, Kingfisher, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Mute Swans, Shelduck, Tufted, Shoveler, Pintail, Teal, Widgeon, Mallard, Mallard cross and the Muscovy Ducks at Turf.

All the usual Corvids about, lots of Rooks feeding in the pasture at Powderham Estate. Carrion Crows, Jackdaws, Magpies, Ravens and a single Jay.

Raptors very thin on the ground with a couple of Buzzard and singles of Kestrel and Peregrine seen at Start Point.

Plenty of Winter Thrushes feeding on the Berries at Exminster Marshes with Fieldfare and Redwing joined by Mistle, Song Thrush and Blackbird. Also saw Robin, Dunnock, Cettis Warbler, Reed Bunting, Linnet, Cirl Bunting, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Wren, Starling, House Sparrow, Stonechat, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Rock and Meadow Pipit, Grey and Pied Wagtails, Great-spotted and Green Wood Peckers, Woodpigeons, Feral Pigeons, Collard Doves and Pheasants.

Plenty of humans about full of Xmas cheer which is what we all need, here's looking hopefully abetter 2021!

19 December 2020

Rubbish around the beaches

While looking around the local beaches, I did a bit of Beachcombing and clearing some rubbish. Coryton Cove was relatively clear except a Fishing Rod which I found on the Strandline on the far side, it was quite an expensive Shakespeare Rod and Reel, I gave it to the local fishermen at Boat Cove who will put better use to it than I will.

Unfortunately on every Beach there was Fishing Line of various lengths and colours, plenty of floats from large ones to the small yellow ones you see on lines. Also yet again large lead weights, reliably called a "gripped lead", it's for holding in the sand not rocks and when wound in the lead Breakaway from the sand and is hopefully retrieved. Unfortunately this doesn't seem to be happening.

At the top end of Dawlish Beach at Langton Rock was a vast collection of Modern Artefacts, everything from Syringe to Vape Bottles, Dawlish Warren wasn't much better with Masks, Inhalers and Golf Tees to name a few things.

At the top of the Beach close to the River Exe there is a huge amount of rubbish which has got caught in the dunes at high tide, plenty of plastic bottles, Lego, all sorts of small pieces of plastic, wire, net and plastic toys.

Just too much and too far to carry, I need to return with a big Black Bag! But the issue will be getting it all back to the bins, if I bag it up and pile it up and wait for it to be picked up, it could be ages and all get blown away again?

18 December 2020

Around the Beaches

With all the stormy weather, I stayed local and spent time on the local beaches of Dawlish Warren, around Langston Rock, Main Dawlish Beach, Boat Cove and Coryton Cove. Also looked around the Rock Pools at Dawlish in front of the Beach Huts and tried and failed to look around the Pools at Langston Rocks, the later failed because even though the tide was low, the surf filled up the beach.

I also wanted to try out my new camera which I got to take pictures under water in the pools; it's a T6 Olympus and quite compact. They say practice makes perfect and that's what will be needed, it should be good for close ups as well, it's come with all sorts of filters and another lens, so I can see me having fun with this!

I found a good range of things washed up, I will deal with the wildlife on this page and rubbish picked up on another.

Plenty of Crabs, some were Moults and a few smelly dead ones, also found a Lobster Claw which as it didn't smell was a Moult, more specifically it's the 'cutting' claw rather than the 'crushing' claw and it was from a right handed lobster. They're classed as right or left depending upon which side the crushing claw is on. This cutting claw is from the left side.

A few full Cockle Shells, loads of Razor Shells and plenty of the usual, Mussel, Scallops and Whelks. Found several Whelks that had Keelworm. The tubes in cross section are said to resemble the shape of a ship's hull which I was told gave them their name. Also some Barnacles, the patches on the rock are probably were one had been broken off by wave action, or eaten.

Around the Rock Pools found plenty of Beadlet and Strawberry Anemones to try my new camera out on, they look stunning under water. Also found a Parasitic Anemone that didn't look that good, possibly because it was caught in a freshwater pool that was being constantly filled with freshwater run off, so I put it in another with sea water in.

Also found an Egg casing for a Thornback Ray close to Langston Rock on the Dawlish side but surprising that was the only one found.

Several parts of Sponge on the beaches, especially Dawlish Warren at the top end, but not 100% what species.

Several species of Birds observed with Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls, Turnstone, Sanderling, Oystercatcher, Cormorant, Rock Pipit and Pied Wagtails.

Lots of happy humans about and good to have a chat with the two Steve's, Wardens at Dawlish Warren.

12 December 2020

Around the Exe

Spent the last couple of days around the River Exe visiting Darts Farm, River Clyst, Go, Bowling Green Marsh, Viewing Platform and The Goat Walk. Exminster Marshes, Turf, Exeter Canal, Powderham Estate, River Kenn and the Outflow, River Exe by Starcross station, The Golf course and the Min of Ag at Starcross, Cockwood Marshes and adjoining fields, Cockwood Harbour and Cockwood Steps.

While the weather has been ok, the short days and low sun brought its challenges, also the fact that I had broken my Binoculars made life a little more difficult.

With all the rain, plenty of wet areas and water filled scrapes but still not enough to flood the back path on Exminster and not quite Welly time!

Plenty of Geese about with Canada, Brent and Greylags on view, large numbers of Canada and Brent in all areas. Cattle Egrets close to Cockwood in fields with the cattle and Little Egrets seen in all areas. Grey Heron, Moorhen, Coot and some very vocal Water Rail both at Goosemoor and Exminster Marshes.

Numbers of Ducks starting to grow in number with Mallard, Mallard X, Teal, Shoveler, Widgeon, Pintail and Shelduck with Mute Swan, Cormorant and Red-breasted Mergansers all seen.

The only raptors seen were singles of Buzzard, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk. Corvid numbers seen down on previous numbers, still saw Carrion Crow, Jackdaw and Magpie but in less numbers.

Waders quite wide spread with Avocet, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwits, Dunlin, Redshank, Greenshank, Golden plover and Oystercatcher. The usual Gulls with Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls.

Plenty of Thrushes about with Fieldfare, Redwing, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Robin, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Wren, Starling, House Sparrow, Firecrest, Meadow and Rock Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock, Wood Pigeon, Feral Pigeon, several pairs of Bullfinch and Pheasant.

Plenty of humans about and great to meet up with David B and other birders about.

06 December 2020

Around Start Point

Went to the South Hams today, the weather was clear but cold and around Start Point first thing with the wind it was very fresh!!

Parked up the Car Park and walked down to Matiscombe Beach for a look around before going back to the car via the Light House, plenty of Stonechats, Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, Carrion Crows, Shags, Herring and Great -black Backed Gulls.

Also saw a Raven displaying, flying upside down, the works but could I get a pic, too fast, same for the Peregrine which was shifting along the coast.

Great down on the Beach and found 3 Undulate Ray Egg casings and loads of Cuttlefish Bones.

Then off to Lanacombe Beach which is the next one along going towards Prawle Point. Tide was going out and loads of Egg casing here, 4 species, biggest being a Blonde Ray as well as Undulate, Small-eyed and Thornback Rays.

Then off to Beesands and Slapton Leys which were very quiet on the bird front with Mallard, Mallard X, Tufted, Coot, Moorhen and Mute Swan, but very little else.

Lots of Birds about the fields and hedgerows, saw 3 large flocks of Starling and small ones of Finches, both Goldfinch and Chaffinch. Dunnock, Blackbird, Robin, Great and Blue Tit, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Pied Wagtail and Kestrel.

Plenty of Humans seen, all happy and NO MOANERS which is always a good thing!

05 December 2020


Went up on Dartmoor today, hopeful to see some snow but only found a bit of slush by Princetown.

The weather wasn't very promising, wet, grey and cold! Photography was going to be a challenge!

Did my usual tour and found plenty of birds, especially on the fields, found a big mixed flock of Thrushes close to Soussons with Fieldfare,Redwing and Mistle Thrushes in good numbers.

Also notable large numbers of Blackbirds on the whole trip, also Song Thrush, Robin, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Bullfinch, Dunnock and Stonechat seen around the hedges and trees.

Several Buzzard on the wing, Kestrel, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Jay, Magpie, Raven and Herring Gull.

Several Pied and Grey Wagtails seen around streams and bridges crossed.

Unsurprisingly not many humans about.

04 December 2020

Rubbish around the beaches

Over the last couple of weeks spent a bit of time on the local beaches, Rock pooling and seeing whats about. I also pick up rubbish where possible.

Apart from all the fishing gear and plastic bottles I do find some fun items as well, items such as roles of computer cable and you wonder where its come from.

Tennis and Golf balls are common, but the best fun item was a Tractor and Trailer that was washed up with the Seaweed on Boat Cove, it looked quite new but you wonder how far it had travelled in the seaweed?

02 December 2020

Exminster Marshes

Up early today and down to Exminster Marshes as the sun comes up, well it was a bit grey and cloudy to see the sun.

Lots of Birds flying around coming from the Marshes towards the River as the tide was starting to go out, also far more Humans about than I expected, all on their bikes using the cycle track going to work in Exeter.

Large flocks of Brent and Canada Geese flying to the River as well as flocks of Waders coming in from further afield, Curlew, Godwits and Lapwing in large numbers.

Already on the mud was Golden and Grey Plovers, Dunlin, Avocets, Redshank and Greenshank. Cormorants, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Shelduck and Mute Swans also on the River, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Muscovy Ducks around Turf with Wigeon, Teal, Mallard and Shoveler on the Marshes as well as Moorhen and Coot.

The resident Kingfisher flying and perching in several places along the river wall. The Electric Blue still stood out even in the grey gloom of the morning.

Also Raven, Carrion Crow, Magpie and a couple of Jays were a surprise at the fisherman's car park, they seemed to be after something in and around the parked cars?

Great and Blue Tits, Dunnock, Wren, Robin, Goldfinch, Pied Wagtail, Reed Bunting, Cettis Warbler, Blackbird, Song and Mistle Thrush, Fieldfare and Redwing on the Berries.

01 December 2020


Went to Holden today for a few hours, started off at the feeding station around the buildings and car park, a bit quieter on the human front and very busy with Birds.

Great, Blue and Coal Tits, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Robin, Siskin, Nuthatch, Blackbird, Dunnock and Brambling which was the reason for the visit, smart looking bird!

Went around the Butterfly walk at the top of Holden, heard and saw some Crossbills fly over, Magpie, Jay, Carrion Crow, Raven, Wren, Long-tailed Tits also seen here.

Good to bump into David B and friends as well as Mr Smallbones Jr who I hadn't seen in a while.

30 November 2020

Round the Beaches

Spent this last couple of days around the Beaches, Dawlish Warren, around Langsdon Rock, Dawlish main beach, Boat and Coyrton Cove.

On the bird front more than normal with over 150 Brent Geese on the beach at Dawlish Warren, plenty of Gulls, mainly Black-headed but a few Herring Gulls as well.

Several Cormorants out to sea, Rock Pipits seen on all beaches as well as the usual Crows.

While Rock Pooling at Dawlish a Kingfisher was bombing about the pools picking up small fish, Oystercatchers and fly over Curlew also seen.

Plenty of Shells, some huge especially at the top end of Dawlish Warren Beach. Also plenty of Sand Mason Tubes, both at Dawlish Warren and Dawlish. Not that much Sea Weed on any of the beaches, probarbly down to the wind direction?

Plenty of Anemones around the rock pools at Dawlish, both Beadlet and Strawberry, did though find a single Parasitic. They looked stunning with their tentacles out. You can see how the Bedlet gets its name with the stunning show of its blue spots!

Found Egg cases of a Catshark on Dawlish Warren and a Thornback Ray at Coryton Cove.

Sadly found a dead Small-spotted Catshark that had been caught on a hook from some fishing gear, wrapped around the gear also was 2 unhatched eggs. looks like it was laying eggs and got caught up while doing it, I untangled the eggs and put them under some seaweed and lets hope for the best.

Plenty of happy humans about and also not much rubbish about, Dawlish Warren was unusually clear!

28 November 2020

Out and About

Visited a few places this last couple of Days, went up on Dartmoor to all the usual places ,spending a lot of time at Soussons looking for the Grey Shrike but I was unsuccessful even though I was there at the same time someone else saw it a posted it??

Walked from around Powderham to Turf and back along the River, Dawlish Sea Front, River Kenn and the outflow, Cockwood steps and Harbour, Starcross Golf course and Min of Ag. Stover, Ideford Common and Haldon at the feeding station.

As you would expect seen plenty of water based birds with Canada, Snow and Dark-bellied Brent Geese. Black and Mute Swans, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Kingfisher, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Great crested and Little Grebes, Mandarin, Tufted, Mallard, Mallard x, Teal, Shoveler, Wigeon, Shelduck, Red-breasted Merganser, Cormorant, Moorhen, Coot and the Muscovy at Turf.

Good numbers of Waders spread down the Exe with Oystercatcher, Avocet, Curlew, Godwits, Red and Greenshank, Dunlin, Grey and Golden Plover, Lapwing, Turnstone and Snipe.

Covids everywhere although More Raven and Jay on Dartmoor than anywhere else, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw and Magpie everywhere.

Only Raptors seen were Buzzards and a single Kestrel.

Also seen Woodpigeon, Stockdove, Collard Dove, Feral Pigeon, Redwing, Fieldfare, Mistle and Song Thrush, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Blue, Great, Coal, Marsh and Long-tailed Tits, Siskin, Nuthatch,Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Starling, House Sparrow, Stonechat, Skylark, Meadow and Rock Pipits, Crossbill, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Cettis Warbler, Pied Wagtail, Reed Bunting, Linnet and Pheasants in most fields.

Met plenty of humans and all in good humour, great to chat to many of them.

25 November 2020

Powderham to Turf and back

Just a short walk up the River Exe today from Powderham Church to Turf and back, even so plenty to see.

Parked up in the car park next to Powderham Church and it was quickly apparent that there was plenty of Birds in and around the Churchyard and the next door field.

90% of them were Thrushes, Redwing, Fieldfare, Song and Mistle Thrushes on the Holly Bushes which were full of Berries. Unfortunately they were very mobile and flew every time a train went by. Lots of birds on the Yew as well with Blackbirds, Robin, Blue and Great Tits as well as Goldcrest on view.

Plenty of Pheasants about as well as Corvids, Rooks, Carrion Crows and Jackdaws especially on the fields.

Walking up the path towards Turf found plenty of Geese, both on the mud as well as the fields, Canada, Snow, Dark and Pale Bellied Geese. Mute and Black Swans, Cormorants, Great-crested Grebes, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Shelduck, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Grey and Golden Plover, Lapwing, Godwits, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Avocet, Dunlin, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Kingfisher, Goldfinch, Linnet, Pied Wagtail, Rock Pipit, Chaffinch, Starling, House Sparrow, Magpie and Woodpigeon all seen in various numbers.

Good to meet up with Dave B, Charlie and several other Birders, all in good humour, a few other humans out in the fresh air and it was fresh, bit more winter than normal!

24 November 2020

Forever Learning

I have been walking on beaches ever since I can remember but continue to learn.

Found what I thought was just a normal piece of Dawlish Red Rock at the bottom of a rock pool on Dawlish Beach. When I picked it up there was top left a Beadlet Anemone and some Eggs of some sort, they looked like Butterfly Eggs. So found out after putting pic on line they are Dog Whelk eggs which was a new one for me.

Also it was pointed out to me that in the top right is a "Greenleaf Worm"!

Also some feedback says the Rock is in fact "Sabellaria reefs" which are around Dawlish which is news to me.

I googled it and from that, I dont think it is, but the picture below that was taken at the Rock Pools in front of the Beach Huts probably is.

23 November 2020

Rock pooling and around the strand line

Spent a bit of time on Dawlish, Dawlish Warren, Boat and Coryton Coves as well as the top end of Dawlish Beach close to Langstone Rock.

Found plenty of Anemones, Beadlet, Strawberry and Parasitic, all between Boat and Coryton Coves in the Pools.

Plenty of Sea Weeds and a Green one called Green Sponge Fingers was the most interesting one.

Found a few dead things apart from all the shells, Sea Mouse and three Small-spotted Cat Sharks all found on Dawlish Warren Beach, also found on the Warren Beach was lots of Sea Potatoes which you rarely see at Dawlish, Egg casings of Cat Shark and Thornback Ray.

At the Northern part of Dawlish Beach next to Langstone rock today I found a total of 12 Egg Casings which included 6 Thornback,3 Spotted and 1 Undulated Ray, also 2 Small-spotted Cat Shark which all get recorded with the Shark Trust.

Also found in a shallow Pool on the Dawlish beach a group of Dog Whelk Eggs which if on a leaf would look like Butterfly Eggs.

22 November 2020


Looked at the weather forecast yesterday and looked ok to be up on the Moor and first thing around Yarner but when I moved on towards Soussons and Challacombe it started to rain and the mist came in, not the best for camera work so didn't stay around for long.

All the usual stuff around, but all looked a bit bedraggled in the damp weather.

Sadly all the idiots of the human race were out, dog walkers and free running Dogs in Yarner, Cyclists 4 abreast coming towards me at speed down a country lane, luckily I was able to stop otherwise I would have wiped them out!

Also idiots in cars speeding past Ponies and Cattle?? Also people feeding Ponies next to the road?? The worlds full of Idiots!!!

17 November 2020

River Exe and Exminster Marshes

Spent the day around the River Exe and Exminster Marshes.

The tide was high when I started and apart from a few Black-headed Gulls and Cormorants the only other birds seen were a group of at least 12 Red-breasted Mergansers off the River Kenn outflow, there might have been more but they were constantly diving so difficult to keep an eye on them all.

Both the Golf Course and the scrape outside the Ministry of Agriculture at Starcross were full of Birds, lots of Brent and Canada Geese at the Golf Course and Waders at the Min of Ag.

The River Kenn had a few Ducks mainly Teal and some Grey Heron on the Rivers edge.

A female Sparrowhawk flew in and sat on a fence post looking around menacingly with Curlew in good numbers sat on the pasture.

Shelduck in the lake with some Little Egrets, few Carrion Crows and Jackdaws in the trees. In the fields on the way to Exminster Marshes, Rooks, Pheasants, Woodpigeons and a Buzzard loafing about in the sky.

Quite a few birds around the RSPB car park with Goldfinch, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird and Magpie as soon as I got out of the car. Down the road towards Turf there was the Snow Goose in with the Canada Geese.

Plenty of Ducks about with Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler, Mallard easily in view, plenty of Lapwing, Godwits, Curlew and fly over Snipe on the marsh. In the bushes Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, House Sparrows, Starling, Wren and Cettis Warbler giving its all on the Canal Bank.

By Turf the tide was on its way out and plenty to see with Redshank, Bar and Black-tailed Godwits, Curlew, Grey and Golden Plover, Avocets, Dunlin, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Kingfisher, Cormorants, Shelducks, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls.

I had a bit of a surprise, I sat down on the concrete base that they use for the "Yurt Tent" at Turf, I was sat there for about 10 minutes watching the Waders and I suddenly saw a Bird watching me from the long grass about 4 feet from me, it then flew, it was a Woodcock, unmistakable! This view is the normal one I get when I see this bird, only once have I ever got a picture it.

Lots of happy Humans about, good to see Dave Stone amongst others.

15 November 2020

Rock pooling and around the strand line

Spent a couple of days around the beaches of Dawlish, very enjoyable time looking round the Rock Pools in front of the Beach Huts.

Found a Strawberry Anemone that while most of its body was out of the water, its tentacles where in the Rock pool, also plenty of Bedlet Anemones and large Shells of all shapes and sizes.

On the Beach at Coryton Cove found a group of three Ray Egg casing, two were Thornback Rays (right of pic) and the other was a Small-eyed Ray (left).

Sadly found a dead Sea Mouse on Boat Cove.

plenty of Humans about especially today with the sun out.

15 November 2020

Weekends Beach combing

Due to the crap weather, stayed around Dawlish and spent time around the Beaches of Dawlish which included the main beach, Boat Cove and Coryton Cove.

This post is about the Beach combing part of that. Found all the usual plastic spread across all the beaches, Boat Cove for some reason had most of the Fishing gear, Floats, Hooks, Weights, Line and parts of net.

Also found some interesting things, Golf Ball, Lego and Shotgun Cartridges.

Also other people had picked up a bit of "Beach Glass", I found many Tennis Balls, bits of Wood all of which looked like they had been in the water for sometime!

It was interesting that Friday evening, plenty of Seaweed on Coyrton and some of main beach but was mostly gone by Sunday, .Boat Cove continues to have Seaweed especially against the Breakwater.

13 November 2020

Along the Strandline

In between doing other things I managed to get down the Beach at the Ness in Shaldon and Coryton Cove in Dawlish.

So much stuff to see, at Shaldon found a complete Spiny Cockle, I havnt found a complete one in ages, kept expecting to see it put its muscle out but after a couple of pics I put back into the sea to keep a way from the Gulls.

At Coryton I found three Egg casings from Small spotted Cat Shark over a couple of visits, not seen any for ages and 3 turn up together!

Also on the tide line I found another first for me, an Anemone attached to a Whelk "Calliactis parasitica" did some research, fascinating creature!

Lots of other shells and seaweed on the beach and sadly the usual rubbish, although only filled up half a bag today.

13 November 2020


Went up on Dartmoor today as the weather was good and tried to catch up with the Grey Shrike which had been seen at Soussons.

Sadly didn't see it but did see plenty of Crossbills, even if it was fleeting as they flew over the tracks.Plenty of calls of birds other than Crossbill such as Raven which I saw several of, plenty of displaying birds, always great to watch.

Also plenty of Thrushes with flocks of Redwing, Fieldfare and singles of Mistle and Song Thrushes. Great, Blue and Coal Tits, Blackbirds, Robins, House Sparrows, Starling, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Stock Dove and Pheasant.

Plenty of humans around Haytor but very few were I was

12 November 2020

Exminster Marshes

Spent a rather grey day at Exminster Marshes on Wednesday, parked up at the RSPB car park and walked via the rd to Turf and back vi the back path.

The tide was coming in but plenty of Waders about with Avocets, Grey and Golden Plovers, Lapwing, Redshank, Dunlin, Black and Bar-tailed Godwits, Curlew. Also Grey Heron, Little Egret, Canada Goose, Snow Goose, Mute Swan, Teal, Mallard, Wigeon, Shoveler, Moorhen, Cormorant, Shelduck, Woodpigeon, Blackbird, Wren, Dunnock, Cettis Warbler, Starling, Goldfinch, Blue and Great Tit, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls.

While sat close to Turf, to my amazement I saw two birds skimming the roof of the pub and around the eves and nearby bushes and trees, one was a Swallow and the other a House Martin! Thats very late, I hope they make it!

A few humans about, good to see Dave B, ever positive!!

09 November 2020

Great day on the Beach

Spent a brilliant day on the Beaches around Dawlish and Coryton Cove today. A SE/S wind following the tide which dumped tonnes of Seaweed on the beaches, apart from all the rubbish there was plenty of Wildlife.

For me best of all was a Sea Mouse which is actually a Scale Worm, something I had never seen before, it was caught up in some Seaweed upside down, after a few pics I put it back into the water away from the gulls, stunning little Animal.

I also found a couple of Egg casings which after looking through the ID chart are Spotted Ray and the bigger one is a Thornback Ray. Been looking for these for some time and then two come along at the same time and different species!

As I have already said plenty of Seaweed and many different species and it's not until you try and ID it you realise how many different species there are, good job I have my new reference book "The essential guide to Beachcombing and the Strandline" to help out!

Also found plenty of Crab parts of Edible, Velvet, Spider and Hermit Crabs. Also found three Portuguese Man of War, no tentacles, just the main body.

Also sadly found a dead Razorbill on the main beach looks like an adult.

08 November 2020

Sea Defences

Spent the last two days on the Beaches of Dawlish and Dawlish Warren and the difference in Sea Defences and the degrees of importance between them never showed so much as it did today.

The amount of money,men and equipment being thrown at the wall can be seen today with the arrival of the working platform known as "Wavewalker 1" which had been towed from Newhaven, Diggers and large trucks on the beach all ready for the next 18 months work of phase 2.

Then look at Dawlish Warren and the mess that is there, beach washed away and the "Geo Tubes" have been damaged by some idiot with a sharp instrument. Some say its vandalism but I think its a lot more?

I wonder if somebody has done this with an agenda such as making the environment agency do something about the sea defences, they already have brought more interest from the press.

Why now? Dawlish Warren has had 1000`s of people of all shapes, sizes and ages on the beach this summer and it was never touched? Got to be a local?

Why only the first 5 or 6 bags touched, normally when some one vandalises something they do a complete job.

Why did they target the bottom of the bags? It was to make maximum effect, a vandal would have walked along with a knife, cut the lot at a higher level so they didn't have to bend down and kept walking?

Dawlish Warren is supposed to be a "Floating Dune" and the whole thing is supposed to move and shift but then there is the consequences of that, flooding up river and loss of the reserve??

06 November 2020

Beach clean

Over the last couple of weeks done many walks across Dawlish and Coryton Cove Beaches.

Every walk has found a constant amount of Fishing line of all colours and lots of "Tangles" where line has got tangled up and cut.

Plenty of plastic especially the white cups that had been shredded by the wave action, these were mainly on Coryton while in front of the toilets at Boat Cove there has been a constant build up of plastic, food containers and bottles, perhaps its the wind direction that it ends up here.

Last week Coryton has been clear of Seaweed which seems to collect any rubbish that is floating in the Ocean, some of the stuff I have found looks like its been in the water for years but while a decrease in plastic this week at Coryton, the fishing lines seems a constant threat to wildlife.

Sadly today also got a "Hippy crack" container, hope they are not going to be a regular thing that washes up on the beach.

Stormy weather on the way so the Beach will be full of crap again!

Met plenty of people on the beach looking for "Beach Glass" for ornaments and decorations which is a positive outcome for such waste.

04 November 2020


Early start up to Dartmoor today, weather clear and cold, just the start I love!

Started at Haytor, then Emsworthy, through Widecombe and up over Dunstone Down. Through Dockwell and past East and West Shallowford. Past Cordon Down and Riddon Ridge, over Bellever Bridge and follow the road past Bellever Forest to Postbridge. Then up to the Warren Inn area on the B3212. A good look around the open Moor before coming back down and turning off to go to Soussons. Then on to Challacombe Farm before going to Headland Warren and on to Challacombe Cross, turning back to Widecombe. Off to Hound Tor, following the road to Manaton, Bickaford and the back of Yarner before leaving the Moor.

While driving past Haytor a flock of about 100 Woodpigeon heading down the valley towards Newton Abbott while a bigger flock of about 300 birds which turned out to be Golden Plover were doing a circuit of Haytor and Saddle Tor. They split into several smaller flocks and settled in several places around Emsworthy Mire. I sat in my car enjoying my breakfast watching them fly around, stunning birds!

As normal plenty of Corvids about with Raven, Rooks, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie and Jay.

Plenty of singing in Soussons, especially Crossbills but didn't see any. Lots of Thrushes about, Mistle Song and Fieldfare, but didn't see any Redwing, not sure why?

Blackbirds, Robin, Wren, Great, Blue and Coal Tits, Stonechat, Dunnock, Meadow Pipit, Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Chaffinch, House Sparrow, Starling and a couple of Mallard.

Only Raptors on view were several Buzzard and a female Sparrowhawk.

Quite a few humans about including dog walkers who had lost there dog? Dont let it off the lead then!!

03 November 2020

Rock Pooling

Had an enjoyable couple of days on the beach around the rock pools after the tide had gone out at Dawlish and Dawlish Warren.

The Pools by Coryton, in front of the Beach huts proved the best place to find things, found three Anemone all fairly close, lots of Beadlet that look like red splodges of jelly stuck on a rock.

A stunning Strawberry Anemone which I nearly missed as I thought it was a Beadlet until I saw the white spots that give it the Strawberry look.

In another pool close by a Snakelocks Anemone, another stunning animal with its green/white tentacles moving in the water.

Loads of shells of all sorts, shapes and sizes.Lots of Periwinkles, many Orange and Yellow ones.

Spent some time around the pools at Red Rock, close to Dawlish Warren, a few crabs here, Edible and Hermit in the pools, lots of shells but didn't find any Anemones.

On the Dawlish side of Red Rock in some Sea Weed I found a couple of Portuguese Man of War, quite a few have been washed up on beaches in Dorset and Devon.

Still looking for "Mermaids Purses" but sadly none found.

A few happy humans about enjoying the good weather.

01 November 2020

River Exe

Typical Autumn day,grey and damp! Put my water proofs on, took my Flask full of Tea and headed for a day on the River Exe.

First stop was Cockwood Steps then on to Cockwood harbour, Starcross Golf Course, Behind Starcross Station, by the Ministry Of Ag, River Kenn out flow, River Kenn and The Powderham estate, Powderham Church and surrounding Fields, the walk to Turf from the church with the estuary on one side and the fields on the other.

Found 51 species of Birds fairly easily without too much fuss in between the rain showers.

Corvids everywhere especially on the pasture, Rooks in good numbers on the fields close to Powderham Church, Jackdaws and Carrion Crows everywhere, a couple of pairs of Ravens around Powderham Estate and close to Turf, the ones close to Turf where displaying, flying on their back the works, great to watch! Also Magpies about.

Good numbers of Mute Swans and Cygnets, Canada Geese, Brent Geese, Great-crested Grebe, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Little Egrets, Moorhen, Mallard, Wigeon, Teal and Shelduck.

Waders were spread over the Estuary with Curlew, Oystercatcher, Bar and Black-tailed Godwits, Turnstone, Dunlin, Redshank, Greenshank, Lapwing, Grey Plover and Avocet.

Usual Gulls with Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls of all ages.

The only Raptor seen was a single Buzzard close to the Church.

Plenty of Passerines especially around Turf in the bushes which seemed quite sheltered from any wind with House Sparrow, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Linnet, Wren, Robin, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Cettis Warbler, Reed Bunting, Chiffchaff, Blackbird, Starling, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush and Pheasant.

A few happy humans about on their Sunday stroll

31 October 2020

Walk along Dawlish Warren Beach

Went down to the Warren after the last couple days of bad weather and storms hoping to find something interesting washed up on the beach, especially hoping to find some "Mermaids Purses" which are Small Shark Egg cases.

Sadly none found as there was very little Sea Weed on the beach, probably the wrong wind direction.

One positive thing was as there was no sea weed there was almost no litter or fishing line or net to pick up as it tends to get stuck in it.

Plenty of shells, all a lot bigger than those found on the beaches at Dawlish and Coryton and also found a few Queen Scallops towards the River Exe Estuary as well as large numbers of Razor Shells. Also quite a few Mussels on the Groynes

Plenty of sand washed away and wont be long before it breaks into the Golf course as there doesn't seem to be any action being taken to stop it?

Few bits of metal being unearthed as the sand disappears. Also empty metal stone baskets that could do with being taken away.

Lots of humans on the beach, all happy being able to get out for some fresh air, also a A Level Geography field trip, used to love them!

A few birds about, mainly Gulls, Cormorant, Oystercatchers and a couple of Rock Pipits.

29 October 2020

Walk on the Beach

Went for a walk on Coryton Cove, all the Sea Weed has gone, washed back out to see leaving a clean beach.

Plenty of Shells to see, especially on the far side of the beach, on the tide line, Common and Dog Whelk, Common and Slipper Limpet, Common Cockle, Razor Shell, Oyster Shell, Mussel, Painted Top Shells, Thick Trough Shell and Tower Shells.

Really enjoyable time out on the beach

28 October 2020

Cattle Egrets

Got a call from David B to say the Flock of Cattle Egrets which now numbered 44 was close to Cockwood Steps.

So off I went and parked up and found them with some cattle in a field next to "Eastdon Farm", fairly spread out feeding around the cattle. As well as the Egrets there was also Oystercatchers and Curlew whos numbers increased as they flew in from the River Exe as the tide was rising.

Big thank you to Dave

25 October 2020


Went to Exminster Marshes and walked up from the Turf Pub and got some great views of Avocets sat on the water. After a few counts I made it 57 birds.

Wasn't sure if they were stood on the river Bed or swimming, great to see them in a tight group making it easier to get a shot.

23 October 2020

Dawlish Warren Beach

Spent some time on the Beach at Dawlish Warren today, nice day to be out and got there as the tide had turned and took the opportunity to do a Beach Clean while I was there, should have taken a bigger bag!!

There was so much stuff coming in the tide, some of it looked like it had been out in the ocean for years.

Plenty of Bottles, Cans, food packaging but most of all was fishing wire and net. The funniest thing was a brush head?

I wasn't the only one picking up rubbish and all bags were quickly filled but still leaving stuff on the beach. Interesting conversation with a lady on the beach who was also picking up that yesterday there was hardly anything on the beach but today you could see it out on the water as well as on the beach.

Also plenty of great shells, Urchins and what looks like a Dog Fish. A few birds about best being a couple of Sanderling on the shoreline.

Lot of storm damage with the sand dunes taking another hit with the very high tides over the weekend, wont be long before the sea reaches the golf course!

Lots of humans about and most happy soles except one, Mr Lee Collins, never met anybody who moans so much!!

21 October 2020

Fallow Deer at Powderham

Its "Rutting" season and the Fallow Deer Stags look stunning at Powderham.

Some are quite light in colour but this impressive Stag was quite dark, not seen any fights yet but keeping my eye out.

Sadly can be dangerous watching them, not from the stags but the stupid car drivers, apart from the speed, not looking where they are going! Morons!!!

19 October 2020

Beach clean

As I have said before, I walk the Dawlish and Coryton Cove Beaches as much as I can and try to pick any rubbish up that I can.

The picture on the left is from Sunday, found on the tide line. The picture on the right is from today and could have filled up 2 co-op bags!

I concentrated on the fishing line and rope, there was a black net in a ball rapped up in some sea weed, looked like that filament type net, lethal!

Lots of the usual stuff, I think the most common piece of plastic was parts of white plastic drinking cups.

17 October 2020

Around the Exe

Spent a bit of time this week around the River Exe and surrounding areas, Darts Farm, Goosemoor, Bowling Green, The River Clyst Viewing Platform, Goat Walk, Topsham, Starcross, The Golf course, River Kenn and Outfall, Powderham Estate, Powderham Church, walk between Powderham and Turf, Exminster Marshes, Cockwood Harbour, Cockwood Steps and Dawlish Warren.

Defiantly a feel of autumn with the cold wind and the leaves of trees turning yellow and brown. With numbers of Ducks, Geese and Waders up making it an interesting time to be out and about.

Starcross golf course has now shut to humans for the winter leaving free for the birds with Geese, Gulls and Curlew already taking advantage.

Lots of Corvids about, especially around cultivated farm land with Carrion Crow, Rook and Jackdaw making the most of this. Around Powderham several fly over Raven, Magpies everywhere and a couple of Jays at Exminster Marshes were good to see, I can never seem to get a Jay to sit long enough for a picture which is a shame as they are such stunning birds!

Marsh Harrier at a distance on Exminster Marshes, couple of hunting Kestrels, several Buzzards, great to watch a Buzzard trying to fight off some Carrion Crows who were trying to pinch his worms on a field behind Powderham church.

A Peregrine sat on the Pylons looking for dinner completed the list of Raptors on view.

Water Birds a plenty as you would expect around this area, been lucky with Egrets seeing Great White, Cattle and Little Egrets.

The Great White I found on the River Kenn, an ever increasing numbers of Cattle Egret, a single on Exminster and 31 in a field at the back of Starcross that seemed to be using the Water Trough in the field. Little Egrets spread around everywhere; I remember when they were seen as rare!

Grey Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Mute Swan, Black Swan, Canada Geese, Brent Geese, Cormorant, Kingfisher, Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls all seen.

On the Duck front, plenty of Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler and Shelduck seen. Unfortunately the Hide is closed due to people not obeying the rules so it was very difficult to see what other ducks were on the reserve.

Good variety of Waders with numbers starting to creep up, Avocet, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Bar -tailed and Black-tailed Godwits, Curlew, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Dunlin, Knott, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Turnstone and Common Sandpiper all seen.

Around the hedges and fields Woodpigeon, Collard and Stock Dove, Pheasant, Starling, House Sparrow, Blackbird, Robin, Great, Blue, Coal and Long-tailed Tits, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Linnet, Cirl Bunting, Dunnock, Pied Wagtail, Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, Cettis Warbler, Wheatear, Rock and Meadow Pipit, Wren and Stonechat.

Seen plenty of humans and all seem happy enough, good to see everybody!

14 October 2020


Had a brilliant if not frustrating time on Dartmoor today. Early start to do a round trip in the car, stopping off several places for a walk and look around.

Started at Haytor, then Emsworthy, through Widecombe and up over Dunstone Down. Through Dockwell and past East and West Shallowford. Past Cordon Down and Riddon Ridge, over Bellever Bridge and follow the road past Bellever Forest to Postbridge. Then up to the Warren Inn area on the B3212. A good look around the open Moor before coming back down and turning off to go to Soussons. Then on to Challacombe Farm before going to Headland Warren and on to Challacombe Cross, turning back to Widecombe. Off to Hound Tor, following the road to Manaton, Bickaford and the back of Yarner before leaving the Moor.

Although its been a long day it was worth it, going this way gave me views of many habitats such as open moor, woods, hedges, open fields, farms and buildings. Although it was a sunny day there was a far amount of wind especially in the morning.

On the look out for Winter Thrushes which I saw quite a few, but all distant and constantly on the move, which was the frustrating thing about the day.

I saw lots of Thrushes, Song, Mistle, Fieldfare and Redwing. All in small groups 4 or 5, no big flocks. Single Ring Ouzel with some Mistle Thrushes.

Enjoyed watching, especially Carrion Crows in the wind, they played in the wind and as they came up the fields they reminded me of Shearwaters with the speed and grace of flight which not something you could normally say about a Carrion Crow!

Saw plenty of Raven, Jackdaws, Rook and Magpies. The only Raptors I saw were Buzzards, but a lot of them, 4 at one point together soaring on the wind.

While sat watching some open Moor, 4 Snipe flew over, which were the only Waders I saw today. A walk around Soussons connected me with some Crossbills, again at the tops of trees, only saw 3 but heard many more as they were quite vocal. Great, Blue, Coal and Long-tailed Tits, Stonechat, Skylark, Nuthatch, Wren, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Collard and Stock Doves, Wood Pigeon, House Sparrow, Starling and Bullfinch.

Hardly anybody else about which made life easier if I wanted to stop on the road for a while, thoroughly enjoyable day!

12 October 2020

Around the Woods Again

Spent some time around various woods again this last weekend, Friday I visited Dawlish Warren to see if the Yellow Browed was still about, sadly it wasn't , but still saw some quality Birds around the wooded areas.

Also went on Dartmoor to Yarner and Soussons to see what was about as well as Holden and the wooded areas that are next to it such as Little Holden, Kenton Common and wooded areas that are next to roads going to Chudleigh and to the north of the Butterfly Walk.

Seen a few Crossbills but always flying over my head also Siskin, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Great, Blue, Coal and Long-tailed Tits, Chiffchaff, Cettis Warbler, Wren, Robin, Dunnock, Blackbird, Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush, Wood Pigeon, Stock Dove, Collard Dove, Raven, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw and Magpie, Buzzard and Kestrel but still no Treecreeper seen.

Did see some Fallow Deer and they looked really dark almost Black, quite a few Grey Squirrels but no signs of any other Mammals other than the odd human!

The trees are starting to turn colour and their leaves are starting to drop, love this time of year!

12 October 2020

Dawlish Sea Front

Spent a little time around the Sea Front at Dawlish, you cant go on the Beach in front of the Train Station as they have started to do work here for the Sea Wall. But to the Right and Coryton Cove there is good access and very few people about today.

Plenty of Gulls especially Black-headed Gulls, but also Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls of all ages. The Break water also had several Turnstone but no Dunlin today. Cormorant fishing in front of the sea wall and plenty of Feral and Wood Pigeons about, Raven over head as well as Jackdaws, Carrion Crows and Magpie Present.

Best of all was at Coryton Cove, family group of Rock Pipits, 4 Juv plus 2 Adults was good to see, they have been nesting behind the toilets but not sure if they had an earlier brood?

Did a bit of a beech clean, I do belong to a local Beach Clean group and have a picker, Bag and gloves but didn't have them with me today, concentrated on picking up string, rope and things wildlife can get tangled up in and withing 15 minutes had quite a bit including a length of rope that had started to fall apart into several lethal bits.

08 October 2020

This last week

Not traveled very far this week keeping quite local, especially last weekend with the rough weather.

Some reports from around Devon showed very large numbers of House Martins trapped by the weather on the coast, Dawlish no exception with 2 to 500 birds around, especially over the brook and feeding over the Sea Weed on the beach at Coryton Cove, interestingly also along the railway track after a train had gone through, seen this before at Exminster with the Swifts after the Trains stirring up the flies which became a easy meal.

Plenty of Gulls on the beach with Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed all present, Turnstone and a couple of Dunlin seen close to the breakwater. Several Cormorant and a single Shag around the rocks with Rock Pipit, Wheatears also around the sea wall and beach huts.

Along the Brook apart from the House Martins there was a couple of Swallows, Grey Wagtails, Kingfisher further up close to Manor House. A friend Gary C got some great pics of a Dipper which I have never seen on the brook which was a great find. I also saw a Chiffchaff, plenty of House Sparrows, Starling, Blue and Great Tits, Feral pigeons and Collard Doves, not to mention all the Ducks,Gees and Swans on the Brook and grass areas.

Trip to Stover in Newton Abbot found Tufted, Pochard, Mallard, Mandarin, Mute Swan, Canada Geese and Great-crested Grebes , Coot and Moorhen on the water. Lots of smaller birds coming to food laid down by Photographers such as Nuthatch, Robin and Great Tits. Loads of humans about and all behaving themselves.

Bit of time sent around Exminster Marshes and the River Exe, I think Wader numbers are rising with Bar and Black-tailed Godwits, Knot, Dunlin, Red and Greenshank, Curlew all on show. Plenty of Gulls about especially around the fields were Farmers were cultivating the fields. Around the River Kenn and Exminster a few more Ducks about as well as Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Sparrow Hawk, Buzzards and plenty of Crows of all descriptions.

Also notable was both Meadow and Rock Pipits just down from Turf by the wall as well as good numbers of Pied Wagtails, Goldfinch, Starling and House Sparrows. Plenty of Cormorants, Little Egrets and Grey Herons but no Cattle Egrets seen.

Seen plenty of humans about, good to see Patrick H and Dave B and chew the cud!

27 September 2020

Around the Woods

Over the weekend I visited several woods, but stayed away from any feeding stations to see whats about.

Yarner was a bit quiet, both Humans and Birds. All the hides are closed and very little to see, also the old reservoir that they spent money on some rafts, hide and cutting back some of the trees seemed to have lost half its water. Since they put the islands in it seems to me to have the opposite effect as you see no ducks, kingfisher or anything else?

Over the weekend I visited Soussons twice and well worth the time spent here, at one point I had a small flock of 23 Crossbill flying over my head to and fro across the track, I heard them more than I saw them both at Soussons but also Haldon.

Also walked along the stream which follows the edge of Bellever Forest, saw a few Siskin here high up in the trees as well as Grey Wagtails on the stream, Also visited Little Holden and around the wooded section at Ideford Common.

Over all had a good time and heard more than I saw on the Bird front, didn't see any Deer which was a surprise, just the odd Grey Squirrel. A few Butterflies in sunny sheltered areas such as Red Admiral, Large White and Speckled Woods. At Soussons there was a coupe of Common Darters by a wet ditch.

On the Bird front there was several Ravens seen and heard, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw and Rook, Magpies and pleased to see several Jays over the weekend. Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Collard Dove, Great-spotted Woodpeckers, Nuthatch, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Great, Blue, Coal and Long-tailed Tits, Pied Wagtail, Kestrel and Buzzard.

Good to meet several Humans, all happy and smiley which just added to a great weekend!

Not going to talk about some of the shocking driving I've seen on Dartmoor other than to say, those driving were of an age that should know better!

25 September 2020

River Exe and Exminster Marshes

Spent the last 3 days around the River Exe visiting Cockwood Steps, Cockwood Harbour, River Kenn Outflow, River Kenn, Powderham Grounds, The Church and surrounding fields, the river up to Turf and Exminster Marshes.

The tide has been quiet high when I visited and was hoping that I would see some Waders on the fields surrounding the River but sadly not a lot around.

The lake at Powderham looked full, with Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Teal, Wigeon, Mallard, Grey Heron, Little Egret and Black-tailed Godwit. The River Kenn had Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Wigeon, Little Egret, Grey Heron and a few Greenshank.

The stubble fields around the Church had a large flock of Canada Geese numbering over 150 birds on Thursday but on other days there was plenty of Covids, mainly Rooks and Jackdaw but Carrion Crows, Magpie, Jay and fly over Raven was also seen.

Hardly anything on the River, Cormorants, Mute Swans, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls was about it, on the walk to Turf there was 100+ Starling, Pied Wagtail, Goldfinches, House Sparrow, Wren, Blackbird and a very smart Wheatear.

Other birds seen, Curlew, a few Swallows, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Stock Dove, Collard Dove, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Moorhen, Coot, buzzard, Kestrel, Dunnock, Robin and Reed Bunting.

There is a pond just south of Turf which nestles up to the railway line, there was a dozen white birds here that looked like Little Egrets but there was also a couple of smaller birds that could have been Cattle Egrets, unfortunately as they were all sleeping you couldn't see their bills or heads.

Exminster Marshes were very quiet, but there was a lot of activity, obviously getting ready for winter, they were moving cattle off, topping the grass and baling up the grass, looking forward to the place being full up with ducks again!

20 September 2020

Ring Ouzel

Went out again to Emsworthy Mire on Dartmoor again today, started though a lot earlier than yesterday.

I went though the reserve and further down the valley, it was just getting light and I could hear the Ouzels well before I could see them, I eventually found 3 of them on the rocks above.

I sat myself down with my trusty flask with a good view of the Rowen trees and waited. The 3 were joined by another and they seemed to be doing a circuit of the trees and the rocks, often flying over my head and occasionally sat in the Rowen Trees in front of me, although a bit distant still put in some good views. Always on the move, possibly down to the constant stream of walkers through he valley or they are just naturally that way inclined??

While defiantly 4, a possible 2 more further down the valley, only had some bins so only a possibility?

Met lots of humans and many who just walked past me because they didn't see me, good to see all the dog walkers having their dogs on the leads.

19 September 2020

Around and about!

Managed to get out in between shopping, cleaning and other menial tasks. Went to Bystock , Exminster Marshes, River Exe, Powderham Estate, River Kenn, Dawlish and Dawlish Warren Sea fronts, Soussons, Aylesbeare and several trips to Emsworthy Mire.

Been on the look out for Cattle Egrets, Ring Ouzel and other migrants on the move.

looked everywhere for Cattle Egrets, and walked around so many cattle I know them by their first name, would be nice to get a picture of them still in their breeding plumage, next year need to get up to Somerset and spend some time with them!

Seen a few Swallows, couple of Wheatears by the Beach Huts at Dawlish and today got lucky at Emsworthy by seeing a Ring Ouzel, possibly 2. Bird very mobile up the valley, it being the weekend plenty of walkers about which wasn't helping.

A few Mistle Thrushes, but no proper Winter Thrushes yet, probably not cold enough?

Good to see Dave B as always and others out enjoying the countryside.

12 September 2020

Out and About

I have been all around the place this last week, fitting in trips around other stuff I have been doing, had several walks around Dartmoor, circular walk around Challacombe Farm, Soussons and Dunsford Woods, All the summer migrants with the exception of the odd Swallow seemed to have left for sunnier climates.

Saw and heard plenty of Crossbills at Sousons but also Haldon and Little Haldon, sadly all in the tops of the trees.

Plenty of members of the Tit family around these woods as well as Yarner and Stover, the feeders at Stover and Haldon Activity Centre were full of Birds, loads of Siskin at Haldon.

Trip to a very busy Labrador Bay found a few Cirl Buntings but also loads of Small and Large White Butterflies. The Car Park was full of people looking at the Cruise ships out in the bay as well as a fly past of a Spitfire, the sound of that Merlin Engine still excites me!

Several trips to Exminster Marshes to look for Yellow Wagtails and Cattle Egrets around the several groups of cattle brought no luck, also a trip to Dawlish Warren to look for the Wryneck was also fruitless.

Also went to the River Otter to see the Beavers which I did , but sadly to dark for any decent pictures, while sat on the river bank did see the Electric Blue flash of a Kingfisher as well as plenty of Fish, some jumping for flies, also saw Kingfisher as well as Dipper at Dunsford Woods which is by the River Teign.

Did meet lots of human beings all happy and smiley which is always a plus!

04 September 2020

My Butterfly Year

Well my Butterfly year has come to an end, while there are still Butterflies around which is great; there won't be any new species to see. It's been a different year with all the Covid 19 lockdowns and travel limits, while it's been difficult it was the right thing to do. Having said that I did eventually get a total of 54 Species which included 3 new ones for me, Black Hairstreak, Large Heath and Scotch Argos.

There were some low points, especially at the start with the behaviour of some Photographers at Portland when around the Large Tortoiseshell, chasing them down the path and deliberately standing in front of other people to stop them getting a view. I have had this behaviour before, 2yeas ago in Bentley Wood I was pushed out the way by another Photographer while trying to take a pic of a Purple Emperor. I've also had it while watching birds and I have been verbally abused by other Photographers and Birders, I don't know why they do it, they just lack social skills and any sense, patience or knowledge of the subject they are trying to watch or take a picture of, sad really!

Also have been disappointed by the lack of sharing information, I always share what I have found but have been disappointed by the lack of reciprocal behaviour.

Having said the negative stuff, I have met some brilliant people around the country who have helped me no end, many I don't know their names but while looking in Cumbria, Oxford, Somerset and Dorset people have met me with a smile and honest directions, also a very big thank you to Phil Chambers and Colin Sargent for their knowledge and help.

I've also visited some great new Reserves up and down the country which local people have lovingly cared for as well as the more well-known charities and authorities. Many of these sites are on historical and protected hills such as Cerne Abbas Giant or with stunning views such as Bindon Hill on the South Coast.

I think my favourite place to see Butterflies is Alners Gorse which I visit at least 5 times a year, it's such a friendly place. My favourite Butterfly this year was the Black Hairstreak which was a new species for me, such a stunning insect and well worth the travel. The most frustrating Butterfly was the Essex Skipper which I failed to connect with although I thought I had several times.

Although I shouldn't wish my life away, already planning trips away next year, hoping to see new species, visit new places and meet up with friendly faces.

02 September 2020

Around the Exe

This last couple of days have been spent around the River Exe with time spent around Cockwood Steps, Cockwood Harbour, Starcross Golf Course, River Kenn Outflow, River Kenn and Powderham Estate, Powderham Church, The path to Turf from the Church, Goosemoor, Bowling Green Marsh, Viewing Platform over the Clyst, The Goat Walk and hedges along roads and paths.

The weather has defiantly had an Autumn feel to it and its been a treat to be up and out in it, especially trying to take some pictures in the mist.

Plenty of Birds about, but also Mammals with the Fallow Deer Stags looking magnificent as always, also plenty of Squirrels, Rabbits, Fox and a very welcome site of a Hedgehog successfully crossing the road close to home, its a long time since I have seen one of these.

Seen plenty of Corvids over the 2 days, Rooks which is one of my favourite birds, just full of character. Raven, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie and Jay.

Plenty of other Passerines with Great, Blue, Coal and Long-tailed Tits, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Robin, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Dunnock, Wren, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Stonechat, Pied and White Wagtail, Meadow and Rock Pipit, Kingfisher, Wood Pigeon, Stock Dove, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Swallow, House and Sand Martin.

Lots of Swallows and House Martins on the wires in the fields around Powderham Church. The Pied and White Wagtails were seen in a group of cattle just south of Turf, 15+ Pied and at least 1 White in the pasture.

Water birds included Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Moorhen, Coot, Shelduck, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Pochard, Scaup, Pintail and Gargany. Sadly many of these were distant and couldn't get a picture, I think Pintail and Gargany are both very smart looking birds and always look good in a picture!

Many Gulls, Black-headed gulls the most numerous with Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls spread over everywhere. Also the Lesser-black Backed Gull called "Psycho" put in an appearance at Bowling Green chasing the birds up and down the reserve.

Good numbers of Waders with Redshank, Greenshank, Black and Bar-tailed Godwits, Curlew, Ruff, Dunlin, Knot, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Lapwings, Curlew Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper and Avocet.

Sadly didn't see any Ospreys but did see Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel and Peregrine Falcon, so not too bad!

Good to catch up with so many people, the ever helpful David B, Ian P, Dave S, Steph M, among many. Good to meet visiting Birders from Somerset and Yorkshire and all the other happy people making the most of the good weather.

31 August 2020

Birds on the Move

Went down to the South Hams today and spent some time between East Soar and Middle Soar.

Main reason to go was to find some Yellow Wagtails amongst other migrants and wasn't disappointed. Walking down besides the runway saw Wheatear, Meadow Pipit, Linnet, Goldfinch, Swallows, House Martins, Pied and Yellow Wagtails. The Wagtails in the end were spread over a wide area and there must have been 100+ birds, many Juveniles but also some very smart Adults that sadly were always a bit far for a decent photograph. Apart from being on the ground they were seen several times flying around with the House Martins which were also there in good numbers.

The several 100 House Martins and Swallows spent a lot of time around the white farm house and farm buildings which must have been attracting many insects.

Plenty of other insect eating birds in the copse area just down from the farm, must have been 5+ Spotted Flycatchers as well as Willow Warblers, Chiffchaff, Wren, Whitethroat, Robin and Blackbird.

In hedgerows close to the barn/pond area I found Yellowhammers, Cirl Buntings, Linnets and Stonechats.

Also saw Great spotted Woodpecker, Wood Pigeon, Stock Dove, Raven, Carrion Crows, Jackdaws, Magpies, Herring Gulls, Buzzard, Peregrine Falcon and Sparrowhawk.

Plenty of Butterflies about with Large and Small White, Small Copper, Common Blue, Brimstone, Meadow Brown, Small Tortoiseshell and Red Admiral.

Saw loads of Humans and some in planes landing at East Soar, everybody very friendly and it was great to chat about what is about, also great to meet the ever smiling Mr Richard Moore, great company!

30 August 2020


Although I thought it would be busy because of the Bank Holiday I decided to go up on Dartmoor.

I started off by parking up on one of the car parks on Trendlebere Down, surprisingly there was a bit of a cold chill in the air which quickly went once you got into Yarner Woods.

Very quiet all around both birds and humans, all the hides closed and no feeders out. Still managed to see Stonechat, Blackbird, Robin, Blue,Great and Long-tailed Tits, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Wren and Nuthatch. I also saw a couple of Spotted Flycatchers, its like London Busses, you dont see any for ages, then 3 come along t once! In fact the one I saw at Slapton end of last week was the first of the year and I see another 2 today!

I then went for a drive and ended around Soussons Woods and Challacombe. A few birds around with Raven, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Herring Gull, Buzzard, Swallows, Blackbird, Chaffinch and Pheasant.

Plenty of humans about and all behaving themselves and Dartmoor just looked stunning!

29 August 2020

All over the place part 2

When the storm ended I went for a walk around several areas which I thought would hold a few interesting birds or other stuff blown or washed in, but to my amazement not a lot seen.

Visited Dawlish and Dawlish Warren Sea front and beaches, Slapton and Torcross line, Beesands, Start Point, Exminster Marshes and Stover.

I visited Stover twice, the first time I couldn't get in because it was packed with people and nowhere to park so got there early, even so quite busy but the lake was empty of Birds apart from the odd Duck.

Slapton Ley wasn't that busy for birds, probably because there was canoes on the water. But there was plenty of smaller birds by the bridge and the first part of the walk to Ireland Bay with lots of insect eaters with Spotted Flycatcher, Swallows, Chiffchaff, Reed, Sedge and Cettis Warblers.

Beesands Ley was empty except for a couple of Mute and single Black Swan. Start Point was quiet as was Dawlish sea front.

Dawlish Warren had a bit more but no goodies washed up on the beach. A Male Scoter was a nice find close to the beach as well as Sanderling and a smart looking Turnstone.

Several walks around Exminster, especially around the cattle looking for Cattle Egrets and Yellow Wagtails bore no Fruit and typically a trip to Bowling Green to see the Spoonbills was a waist as they flew off before I got there.

Met lots of nice people and great to meet up with the great Mr Perry Sanders at Slapton.

24 August 2020

All over the place

Spent the last three days going around several of the local reserves and the River Exe to see what is about.

Apart from several stops along the River Exe and the River Kenn I looked into Powderham Estate, Powderham Church, Exminster Marshes several times, Countess Weir, Aylesbeare, Seaton Marshes, Bowling Green Marsh, Goosemoor and the fields behind Starcross and Dawlish.

Plenty of waders about and some looking splendid in their summer plumage. A couple of Spoonbills at Bowling Green but too far away for any pictures.

I tried to catch up with some Cattle Egrets that had been seen around the Exeter Canal but was unable to connect, also looking out for Yellow Wagtails in and around the cattle on Exminster, its got to be that time of year?

Didn't meet many bird watchers about, all down the Warren I expect with the Melodious, it certainly put on a good show!

20 August 2020

Melodious Warbler

While I was away in the Scillys, got a call to say an Melodious Warbler was at the Warren, and with a name like that it needed to be seen.

So first day back I went to the Warren, lots of people about saying they hadn't seen it, so after a walk around I went home to carry on with sorting the pictures out of the Scilly trip when I got a shout that it was there all along and in the end had good views for a couple of hours.

It has been wounded some how and its left eye is damaged, but still manages to feed.

Big thank you to Phil the Warden for giving me the shout

12 August 2020


Spending a week in the Scilly Isles which has become a yearly event. I have 4 trips booked with Scilly Pelagics and plan to do 2 extra with Joe on the Tuesday and Thursday.

Came down last night (Tuesday) and stayed at Premier Inn, Hayle which was expensive for a bed, this morning came over on the Scillonian which due to social distancing had about half the passengers, sadly a few left their brains at the dock, the crew told everybody about the restrictions, one way systems, follow the arrows etc.

Typically being humans they make themselves look stupid and I will leave it there!

Arrived at St Marys and staying in a little cottage in the town. In previous years I have stayed in B&B, The Atlantic pub and another Self catering Flat away from the town, so this year stayed closer to the harbour so its easier to get to after a trip, staying in Self-catering while might be a bit more expensive, gives you the freedom to do what you like.

All the stuff you would expect such as queuing outside shops, masks etc but I wasn't expecting a table full of Covid information such as Risk Assessments, talk about covering your back, but slightly over the top!

The islands covered in mist this morning ( Thursday )so did a bit of walking around St Marys and as the day went on the cloud lifted although not completely, still very humid. Walked around higher and Lower Moors, Porth Hellick Pool, as in other places all the Bird Hides were locked due to Covid 19, then walked around the coast south of the Airport and back to the town. All the usual birds that you would expect to see but was surprised to see a lack of gulls on the coastline? Plenty of butterflies and other insects on the flowers, especially Purple Loosestrife. Whites, Meadow Browns, Common Blues, Speckled Wood and Red Admiral.

Went on my first boat trip of the week, went on Joes fishing trip which also doubles up to watch for birds. Joe Pender Skippers the "MV Sapphire" The trip started at 5pm from the quay at St Marys, as normal bread was thrown from the start but very few birds followed and at long distances no birds were seen. We did see though Sun Fish, Harbour Porpoise and Common Dolphin. Did see a few Shags on the rocks.

We stopped about 7 miles South of the island and started to drift so fishing could take place, a chum bag was put over the back and we waited. It started to slowly get busy with some great showing of a single Great Shearwater, an adult Sabines Gull and a distant Cory's Shearwater. later on a couple of Manx Shearwaters did a distant pass at the back of the boat. Storm Petrels started to show at the back of the back and side of the boat, mostly European but a couple of Wilsons also. Also saw a few Fumlars who came and sat at the back of the boat, quite comical at times, chatting and bickering between themselves. A few Gulls did eventually appear, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, many Juveniles as well as both adult and Juvenile Gannet.

Several Blue Sharks were caught, Tagged and released, having these beautiful creatures on board is always exciting, but always pleased to see them go back into the Sea. Sea state was fairly calm and we arrived back in the dark due to the cloudy conditions.

Friday morning went for a walk around the Garrison area of St Marys, plenty of military History here with the gun emplacements from the French Wars to WW2. Good views over to other Islands but still a bit misty, more Gulls around today as well as Blackbird, Song Thrush, Dunnock, Rock Pipit, Collard Dove, House Sparrows, Starling and a Female Wheatear stood on a wall. Reports of Pied Flycatcher here as well but missed by me.

2nd evening trip out on the boat, many more Gulls about with Black-headed, Herring, Great and Lesser-black Backed Gulls which followed the boat out to where we stopped and drifted with the chum working its magic both European and Wilsons Storm Petrels around the boat. We saw plenty of quality birds with several Bonxie and a single Pom Skua which came over the boat, real frustration on my part in that I couldn't get a sharp picture of this bird.

Some Shearwaters came close to the boat, quite a few Great Shearwaters, Couple of Corys, Manx and single Sooty Shearwater, so lots of great birds around.

Several Dolphin about as well as a group of Sunfish which looked a bit weired with them flapping their Fins in the air. A stunning journey back with the sun going down over the Western isles, just a beautiful place to be!

Saturday started at 9am for the boat trip out, the sea state was very calm, like glass! We went South for about 7-8 miles, where we drifted and Chummed. Not sure what they put in it but it stinks!!Apart from bread, Pop Corn and Meal Worms are also thrown over the back to attract Gulls which in turn attract other birds such as Skuas, also Fish Oil has been put over the back to add to the slick to attract the Storm Petrels and Shearwaters. After a while we went East and did a sort of a triangle, picking up Birds that were sitting on the water, it was easy to pick up birds on the very calm waters.

We saw lots of birds, many singles such as Black Tern, Sabines Gull, Grey Phalarope and Bonxie. Flock of Dunlin and Sanderling, Common Tern, Great and Manx Shearwaters, Fulmar, Gannets, European and Wilsons Storm Petrels, Cormorant, Shag, Herring, Black-headed, Great and Lesser-black Backed Gulls.

Plenty of Marine life with Common Dolphins, Harbour Porpoise, Grey Seal,Blue Sharks, Sun Fish, Blue-fin Tuna and a wonderful little " By the Wind Sailor". Back for 4pm, hot but happy!

8am start today ( Sunday )so that we could get back for some of the people on the boat to get the Scillonian home. The wind had unfortunately changed direction to northerly and it was a bit dull, so the prospects not that good. We left St Marys and went Westerly to South of the Western Rocks to an area called " Pol Bank Reef", we drifted here for a while and put plenty of Chum out, as expected it was very quiet.

To everybody surprise a Balearic Shearwater arrived at a back of the boat, did a bit of a fly around and then carried on Westerly. We also saw Great, Sooty and Manx Shearwaters. We then moved Easterly to a point 6 miles South of St Marys and drifted and Chummed for a while, it continued to be quiet with occasional bird such as Storm Petrel, Bonxie and Kittiwake. We also a good range of Gulls with Herring, Great and Lesser-black Backed Gulls, Also a Juvenile Yellow Legged Gull, Fulmars, Common and Sandwich Terns. Other Marine life was restricted to Common Dolphin, Sun Fish and Grey Seal.

This Morning ( Monday ) decided to chill out, go for a cooked breakfast in Hugh Town and be a tourist for the day. I had a Text from Luke who was one of the group on the boat to say he was on Peninnis Head, he knew from conversations on the boat about my interest in Butterflies and that I had not seen a Painted Lady yet, unlike last year they seem to be a bit scarce, he said he had seen 2, so off I went, it was a bit humid and there had been several showers. There is some stunning views here of Porthcressa Beach and St Agnes and the area around the Lighthouse has some stunning stones that have been sculptured in the wind and rain. Also plenty of flowers here to tempt the Butterflies, all the way along the path I met them with large White, Green veined White, Small Tortoiseshell, Gatekeeper, Meadow brown, Common Blue, Red Admiral and Painted Lady which took a while to get a picture, eventually I did which makes 54 Species of Butterfly seen this year.

5pm back out on the Sapphire for an evening trip, South again traveling for about 6 miles where we drifted and chummed which was a bit more ripe than normal!

Started a bit quiet, sea state was choppy. Slowly birds started to appear, apart from the usual Gulls and Fulmars, Storm Petrels and a few Wilsons Storm petrels came to the back and side of the boat. A group of Comic Terns which at least one was a Artic Tern, several sightings of Bonxie, could of have been the same bird flying around harassing the Gulls, a single turnstone flew by the boat which was not expected as I wasn't sure were it came from, clearly going to the islands.

Shearwaters put in a good show with several Great Shearwaters, Manx Shearwaters and a distant Sooty, best of all was a couple of Cory`s that showed several times around the boat, at the start, at distance but then came into the back of the boat, only issue it was late and getting dark.

They pulled in a Blue Shark, tagged and released, also saw Common Dolphin and Blue finned Tuna.

Such a great journey back, the sun going down over the Western Isles and in the clear sky good views of Planets Jupiter and Saturn, some people using their bins got some views of their Moons.

This morning ( Tuesday ) was going to visit another Island before going on a trip with joe tonight, but when I saw the quay and full boats I did a 180 degree turn and went for a walk around the South of St Marys, such a stunning place and you spend another week here looking at the Flowers and Plants that are here on the Islands.

went on my final boat trip of the week, it doubles up as a Shark fishing trip. we travelled about 5-6 miles South of St Marys. The water was quite choppy and the wind was up, on the way there was several feeding frenzy's on view with good views of Tuna and Dolphins with Gannets diving in. Once we stopped for the Fishing we chummed and started to see both European and Wilsons Storm Petrels. But then the Shearwaters started to pile in, unfortunately for me few pics because the light wasn't good and the boat was rocking!

Large numbers of Great and Manx Shearwaters coming in at the back and side of the boat, also several Cory Shearwaters around the boat, but at a distance. A few fast flying Sooty Shearwaters past the the back of the boat mixed in with Manx Shearwaters. A single Balearic made it 5 species of Shearwaters around the boat at one time which was quite special.

Great Skua visited several times and 2 Pomarine Skua could be seen flying parallel to the boat at a distance. Arctic Terns and Kittiwake also joined the back of the boat as well as Herring, Great and Lesser -black Backed Gulls as well as the ever present Fulmar.

The wind and waves died down a bit and with a red sky over the Western Isles we had a lovely journey back to St Marys.

Total species seen from the boat are, Great, Cory, Sooty, Manx, Balearic Shearwaters and Fulmars. European and Wilsons Storm Petrels, Artic, Sandwich, Common and Black Tern. Black-headed, Herring, Great-black Backed, Lesser-black Backed , Sabines and Kittiwake Gulls. Gannet, Great Skua, Pomerene Skua, Grey Phalarope, Dunlin, Sanderling, Turnstone, Cormorant and Shag.

Marine life seen has been wide with Common Dolphin, Harbour Porpoise, Ocean Sunfish, Blue Finned Tuna, Grey Seal, Blue Shark and "By the wind sailor".

Birds seen around the Island of St Marys are, the every cheeky House Sparrow, Starling, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Wren, Dunnock, Great Tit, Sedge Warbler, Linnet, Wheatear, Wood Pigeon, Collard Dove, with Oystercatcher, Greenshank, Dunlin, Black-headed, Lesser and Greater-black Backed Gulls around the Beaches and Town.

Seen plenty of Butterflies, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Large White, Green veined White, Common Blue, Holly Blue, Small Torteshell, Speckled Wood and Painted Lady. Plenty of other insects and flowers that I could spend another at least another week looking at, let alone all the Geology and Scenery of the Islands.

Met many old faces which has been great, but also new ones such as Chris, Luke and John. Big thank you to Joe and Bob for putting us in the right place and setting the weekend up.

Horrendous journey home due to the weather, both on the Scillonian and the journey up the A30 but I live to fight another day!!

11 August 2020

Long-tailed Blue

There had been reports of Long-tailed Blues along the south coast especially around Brighton and on Everlasting Peas which were also on site at the harbour entrance at Seaton. There were LTBlues here last year so took a chance and paid a visit this morning.

I arrived at about 9.30 and it was already starting to get hot, plenty of Butterflies on the Peas but no LTB, I did notice Butterflies coming off the trees to Necture on the Peas such as Holly Blue.

Then about 20 ft from me a Brown Butterfly came down and landed on a Pea and Bingo a Female LTB!!

It flew around a bit and what I thought was a 2nd joined in but wouldn't settle.

They seemed to fly up the cliff again and I lost them, it would be great to find a Male sometime?

Also while you are here please be careful not to trample the pea plants as hopefully they will lay eggs on these as they were doing last year.

Apparently there is some LTblues at Berry Head but they kept that quiet??

09 August 2020

Silver-spotted Skipper

Went up to Dorset today to Fontmell Down, stunning place and plenty of Butterflies about.

Went to see the Silver Studded Skipper and was lucky enough to see 3 which makes 52 species seen this year so far with a possible 2 more to see, not including any rarities.

As normal lots of nice people about looking for Butterflies and Flowers.

08 August 2020

Birds Only

Decided to have a break from Butterflies today and look at what birds are about along the River Exe.

At Cockwood steps the tide was full in and just a few Mute Swans about, in the Harbour it was just Black-headed Gulls and Canada Geese, nothing exciting to write home about.

Stopped at The River Kenn out Flow and more Mute Swans with a few Herring Gulls on the water.

On the River Kenn plenty of Little Egrets on the Rivers edge as well as Canada Geese, Grey Heron, Mallard and more Black-headed Gulls.

Parked up at Powederham Church, plenty of Swallows and House Martins about, with a good number sat on the Electric Wires that crossed the fields, looking to fly to Africa no doubt.

Over the bridge and in the field was a large flock 100+ of mostly Black-headed Gulls with at least 6 Med Gulls, 1 Common Gull and in the middle a adult Kittiwake which was a surprise, it was the last thing i expected at in a field in August!!

Walked around Exminster Marshes and back to the car at Powderham it was very quiet, apart from a pair of Kestrel, Adult and Juvenile that was it!

Still I enjoyed the walk and met lots of great people so happy days!

07 August 2020

Brown Hairstreak

Went to Netherclay Community Woodland Local Nature Reserve which is on the outskirts of Taunton and is run by the SWT.

Its the first time I have been here and very impressed!

Saw plenty of Butterflies which included 3 Brown Hairstreaks that were flying around the tops of trees and this smart female that came down to say Hi.

Nice to meet some of the locals going on their daily walk and rightly proud of their bit of nature!

01 August 2020

Cumbria and Butterflies

Went to Cumbria for a few days, a month later than originally planned, but because of lock down and all that, couldn't get there until now.

Looking for Mountain Ringlet, Northern Brown Argus, Large Heath and Scotch Argus. Places visited were Smardale Gill, Irton Fell, Latter Barrow and Meathop Moss which were all fairly close to Ulverstone where I was staying.

In the end I got the Scotch Argos, picture as well, saw a Large Heath but no photo and a no go n the other two. But trip very worth while as got to look around these sights for next year.

23 July 2020

Valezina form of Silver-washed Fritillary

Went to one of my favourite places on Wednesday, Alners Gorse in Dorset.

So many Butterflies and other insects on the wing such as Dragonflies, Hoverflies, Bees, Wasps and a few Hornets on patrol.

Went up to get a Valezina SWF and Brown Hairsreak which had started to emerge.

I found in the end 3 Valezina and they were starting to look a little tatty and I did see a couple of Brown Hairstreaks, but nothing settled for me although others had some great pictures of them, just wasn't my day!

Great to meet everybody here, always a very friendly place.

21 July 2020

Clouded Yellow

Had a message From Phil, head Warden at the end of last week that there was several Clouded Yellows at Dawlish Warren.

On Saturday I managed to get down and sure enough one was flying around, but it decided to fly off over the dunes never to be seen again.

So went again today and found them again fairly easily on Greenland lake, at one point there was 3 all together.

Eventually one sat for me, thats 48 species for this year which is more than I expected, still not seen a Painted Lady or a Essex Skipper, the hunt continues!

Good to see all the other humans about, especially Steph M who was also out with her camera.

17 July 2020

Chalkhill Blue

This week in between work and life, I managed to get up to Dorset, saw lots of Butterflies, couldn't find a Essex Skipper but did add another to my year list, a Chalkhill Blue which was taken at the "High Angle Battery" on Portland.

My hunt for the Essex continues!!!

06 July 2020

Purple Emperor

Went to Bently Wood in Wiltshire today to see the Purple Emperor which has become a yearly trip for me.

Not so many about today, possibly down to the wind. Managed to see definitely one Female which sat for a couple of seconds so was lucky to get this shot, also another two flying around the tops of the trees.

Plenty of other Butterflies about with Silver Washed Fritillaries, Purple Hairstreaks, Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Brimstone, Large White, Peacock, Red Admiral, Large and Small Skippers.

A few humans about all looking for the big one!

01 July 2020

White Letter Hairstreak

Went to Alners Gorse in Dorset today, took a chance with the weather. Got there at about 9am and nobody else there.

As I walked down from the gate, Butterflies were coming up from the path, mostly Meadow Browns but Skippers, Ringlet and a couple of Gatekeepers too.

I sat on the bench by their favourite trees and waited a while, a Hairstreak started to fly around but on closer inspection it was a Purple. Then the sun came out and quickly followed by the Butterflies and you could see at least three different ones which were White Letter.

Luckily for me one tumbled down and landed giving me a shot with the camera, I thank you!!

24 June 2020

44 Up

Went to Soar today after reports of lots of Butterflies between Soar and Bolt Head. Went looking for Gatekeeper and Greyling and happily found them both.

It was quite hot but also windy which was welcome for me but it was blowing them around abit.

Also saw plenty of Dark Green Fritillaries, Meadow Browns, Small Heath, Small Tortoiseshell, Red Admiral, Large White and Small Copper.

Lots of happy humans about enjoying the sun.

23 June 2020

Lulworth Skipper

Went to "Bindon Hill" NR West Lulworth. This is the first time I have been to this site and had a few issues getting there due to parking and trying to find the entrance to the footpath. When I did all this and got to the top half of the hill was shut off due to it being a firing range and today it was in use.

But happily I found plenty of Skippers so all the fuss was worth it, definitely go again but try and find out when they are not using the range so I can access the whole of the hill.

Apart from the Ludworth saw Large Skipper, Meadow Brown, Marbled White, Red Admiral, Silver Washed Fritillary, Dark Green Fritillary and Ringlet. Loads of Flowers and the views were stunning, good trip!

23 June 2020

Purple Hairstreak

Went for my first visit to Alners Gorse in Dorset this year, one of my favourite places. Hopefully like the last 4-5 years I will make at least 3 visits this year.

Went up to find Hairstreaks, the White letter Hairstreak not out yet but must be close as other sites have them. Did see a few Purple Hairstreaks, most around the tops of trees but was lucky when one came down to say hello!

Lots of other Butterflies about, literally 100s of Meadow Browns, Marbled White, White Admiral, Silver Washed Fritillary, Ringlet, Small and Large Skipper, Small and Large White and finally a Small Tortoiseshell.

As normal coming here met some lovely people.

20 June 2020

Small Skipper

Didn't do what was planned today as life and the weather got in the way, which isn't the first and wont be the last!

Spent some time at Dawlish Warren around the ponds, because of the weather didn't see many Butterflies, Meadow Browns, Speckled Wood and a new one for the year a few Small Skippers, so not a wasted trip.

Saw a few humans and good to see everybody!

16 June 2020

39 up

Been on the butterfly chase fairly local, mainly around woods and Bramble bushes at Ashclyst Forest and Holden Forest as well as the hedges and paths of Exminster Marshes.

Seen loads of Insects with Bees, Hoverflies and Dragons. The odd day flying Moth and plenty of Butterflies.

Three new ones with White Admiral, Ringlet and Silver-washed Fritillary.

It took some patience as all three were quite flighty but I have to be honest the only decent pics came from the SWF and the other two where crap hence I haven't put them up.

Other Butterflies seen were Small Torteshell, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Large White, Green Veined White, Common Blue and Large Skipper.

A few Humans about and all well behaved and happy!

08 June 2020

Collard Hill

Went to Collard Hill in Somerset today to see the Large Blue, been coming here for a few years now and was shocked to see how the lack of rain has affected the site, completely barren and in need of rain, while I saw 5 large Blue with the lack of vegetation it dont give much for numbers next year.

I did see some great Butterflies on route to the hill just up from the car park, Loads of Meadow Browns, Large Skipper,Large White, Small Torteshell, Small Heath, Common Blue, Large Blue and Marbled White.

Two new ones for this year makes 36.

This site, especially the walk from the car park normally has loads of Orchids here, but with the scorched earth only saw one which was a shame.

The views from the top looking over Somerset are spectacular and well worth the trip alone.

A few people about and nice to have a chat about Butterflies even at a distance!

07 June 2020

Adonis Blue

Went to Durlstone in Dorset on Friday, while it was quite windy and colder than I expected I did see quite a few Butterflies. Many had their wings closed and sat close to the ground, couldn't find the Ludworth which is what I went for but did find another new one for the year, a Adonis Blue.

I also saw Small and Common Blue, Large and Dingy Skipper, Meadow Brown and Small Heath.

Plenty of brilliant flowers being blown about, several Orchids with Pyramid and the stunning Bee Orchid.

Will be coming back in a couple of weeks to look for the Ludworth as well as the Essex Skipper which also has a presence here.

06 June 2020

Silver Studded Blue

Went to Dorset yesterday to Durlston Country Park to look for some Lulworth Skipper.

On the journey down I popped into a new reserve for me, "Higher Hyde Heath" close to Bere Regis. Looks like a great place to have a walk around, especially for reptiles, but it was quite windy and the Butterflies were staying very close to the ground.

Didn't find any Lulworth on this trip but plenty of other things but need to check a few ids before I put it up.

This makes 33 species this year which under the circumstances is not bad!

02 June 2020

Black Hairstreak

Ive been a few years trying to see and get a picture of a Black Hairstreak and each year something always gets in the way and I thought it would be the same this year.

So with Lockdown easing, fresh butterflies about and the weather turning later in the week I went for it!

Left at 5.45am for Bernwood Meadows, which is part of Bernwood Forest near Oxford. Took all my food and drink with me so I wouldn't need to stop, parked up and went to have a look around these wonderful meadows which is run by the Wildlife Trusts. Looking along the Blackthorns, one just appeared, probably from the Oak behind and posed long enough for me to get a picture, saw another 2 before leaving. Arrived back in Dawlish for 1.30pm which was good!

Plenty of other Butterflies about with another very mobile Small Tort, Small Copper, Common Blue, Copper and a Dark Green Fritillary. Plenty of Dragons soaking up the sun as well as many insects on the wild flower meadow.

Just a few humans about but all social distancing and saying high from a distance, at least they were all smiling!

30 May 2020

Aish Tor

Went up on Dartmoor today on the hunt for Butterflies and almost turned back due to the amount of traffic and lack of parking spaces.

Eventually got to my destination Aish Tor and found a place to park.

Everybody wanted to have a splash around in the near bye river and on a day like today who could blame them!

On my arrival there was already a few Butterfly enthusiasts, one guy told the rest of us that he had 14 High Browns on a Bramble bush further down the track, at first I was a bit sceptical but when I eventually found the said bramble there was 8 on it and several others flying near bye.

Iam not sure why they were around this particular bush, it didn't look any different to any other?

Plenty of other Butterflies about, another new one for the year was a Dark Green Fritillary which makes it 31 so far.

Also Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary, GVW, Meadow Brown, Large Skipper, Green Hairstreak, Small Heath and plenty of moths, Bees and a Dragon.

It was very hot here and I originally thought I got here to late in the day and nothing would be flying, how wrong I was, didn't help that i had trousers on instead of shorts to protect myself from Ticks.

Nice to meet up with so many great people!

28 May 2020

29 up

Went to Cornwall today after being advised that Heath Fritillarys were seen here. They have a hot spot at Luckett Nature Reserve which is in Greenscombe Wood.

Normally I use a map but today I used Google maps on my phone, it sent me to the wrong end and down a narrow lane! So no more tech and back to using a Map!

Eventually got to the right place, the woods are a bit of a hidden gem, so much to see. While I saw plenty of other butterflies including a new one for this year a Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Brimstone and another Small Tortoiseshell which wouldn't pose for a picture. Like London Busses, 4 turn up at once! Heaths are smart little Butterflies!

On the way home I popped into Meath Quarry first of all to see if it was open and if it was to see some Wood White. Luckily it was and very soon I came across not one but six Wood Whites which ended a great day chasing Butterflies!

Big thank you to Colin S for the info on the Heaths and that makes 29 species so far this year.

23 May 2020

Exminster Marshes

Went to Exminster Marshes today and not really expecting to see much in the wind, especially in the way of Butterflies.

Did though see a few birds, plenty quite vocal with Reed, Sedge and Cettis Warblers, the odd Blackcap, Robin, Blackbird and Song Thrush adding their bit as well.

Best bit was the Swallows, House Martins and about 15 Swifts Hawking for flies in the wind.

Today they were not only above the Canal but around the railway line, noted this before that after a train goes through it sends all the flies upwards and they pick them off, such superb flyers!

Not that many people about.

22 May 2020

Dunsford Meadows

Plan today was to go to Aish Tor to see what was about but when I arrived it was windy and cold so took the decision to do a 180 and go to Dunsford Woods and Steps Bridge on Dartmoor.

Glad I did as I had a great session here, lots of the usual birds you would find in a wood and some were very vocal.

Along the River Teign which was quite low due to the lack of rain there was 2 very smart Gooseanders, Dipper, Grey Wagtail and Kingfisher, there was a lot to see as there wasn't many other visitors and no dogs in the River.

Plenty of Butterflies about with Peacock, Spotted Wood, Brimstone, Common Blue and Green Veined White.

Also picked up 2 more species to make 26, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary and to my surprise a Large Skipper!

A few people about but not as many as I expected, all seem happy and keeping their distance.

19 May 2020

Berry Head

On the Butterfly hunt at Berry Head today.

2 new species for this year with Small Blue and Large White. It took a bit of time, but as soon as the sun came out, butterflies were everywhere!

Good numbers of Common Blue and I also saw a couple of Wall which I had seen before but no picture. It took me a little while but eventually settled on the road to soak up the sun.

That makes 24.

Plenty of people fishing of the end and the Bay looked great!

18 May 2020


looks like things are getting back to some sort of normal, work seems to be calming down and being able to get out is brilliant!

Went up on Dartmoor today to try and catch up on some bird watching and visited Yarner, Elmsworthy and Warren Farm.

It started off with a chill but soon warmed up, a few butterflies about but nothing new for the list.

Plenty of quality birds about with Meadow and Tree Pipit, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Pied and Grey Wagtails, Stonechat, Lesser Redpoll, Linnet, Wheatear, Robin, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Wren, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Starling, Great Tit, Swallow, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Buzzard and a Curlew flying over the car park at Elmsworthy.

Great to meet up with Dave Boult and other humans, although the behaviour of dog owners was awful!

Dont know why they cant read and keep the dogs on a lead?? Does my head in!!

16 May 2020

Exminster Marshes

Had an enjoyable time walking around Exminster Marshes, took my Butterfly total to 22 with a Red Admiral.

Plenty of noisy birds about with Cettis, Sedge and Reed Warblers in full song with extra performances from Robin, Dunnock and Blackbird. All the other birds you would expect to see as well as a Hobby which was always a bit to far for a picture.

A few people about all obeying the social distancing.

Stay Safe everybody!

15 May 2020

Grasshopper Warblers

Went today to visit a site I know that has been good for Grasshopper Warblers.

I arrived quite early and quickly found a singing Warbler, but very hidden.

In the end I found three Reeling birds, there was probably more but my hearing is not as good as it used to be.

Unlike in previous years I didn't find any that wanted to pose for me and this was the only picture I managed to get.

Stay safe everybody

13 May 2020

21 Up

Took advantage of the change in Lock down advice and took a trip to Cerne Abbas in Dorset.

Left early and when I arrived at the Giant at Cerne Abbas I was the only human about, it was lovely to be honest to be sat on a hill in the sun surrounded by Wild Flowers and Butterflies all around, the only thing missing was my flask of Tea! In my haste to get started I left it on the side when I left.

New Species for this year were Duke of Burgundy and Marsh Fritillaries, Green Hairstreak, Grizzled and Dingy Skippers as well as Small Heath.

After about a hour here I made my way home and back in Dawlish for 1.30pm, not many people on the road and i only saw one other person walking his dog to Social Distance from which was a big surprise.

I went for a walk on Holden yesterday and saw plenty of Pearl Boarded Fritillaries.

Also in the pics is a Brown Argos which I finally got a pic of at Dawlish Warren. Still haven't seen though a Red Admiral which is a big surprise to me, normally its one of the first. Not sure what the total will be this year because of reserves being shut, safety first for everybody. To be honest wasn't expecting the lock down to be eased as it has been.

Stay safe everybody!

12 May 2020

Stormy Seas

The sea has been a bit rough over the last week and has tested the new sea defences at Dawlish.

I walked the beaches at Dawlish and Dawlish Warren and plenty of storm debris on the sand. Lots of shells such as Razor Shells, Whelks and Clams.

Sea Urchins especially at the Warren and plenty of Egg casings at Coryton Cove which was also covered in Sea Weed.

All the usual Bird Life about, there is a pair of Rock Pipits around the Beach Huts at Dawlish and a few Swallows seen hunting flies over the sea weed at Coryton Cove.

When the water was calm several Seals seen Snorkelling both at Dawlish and at the Warren.

Also at the Warren I finally found some Sand Lizards, Male and Female. Found the female with some help from Phil the Warden and also saw a few other humans about.

Lock down easing this week and hoping to catch up with some more butterflies, you cant beat being in a field of flowers and Butterflies, lifts the soul!!

Stay safe everybody!

02 May 2020


Spent a couple of days around Dawlish Warren to catch up with some Butterflies that I had been told had emerged and to see if I could find some Sand Lizards.

First the Butterflies,its been quite windy and combined with new Butterflies which I find a bit flighty and not easy to get a pic.

The little paddock close to the entrance proved fruitful for GVW, Common Blue and Small Copper, this little area was out of the wind which probably helped.

There was Speckled Wood along the path by the first pond and the back field had another Blue, Orange Tip, Peacock and a very flighty Brown Argos close to the Apple tree, just wouldn't settle.

Further along by the fence that separates the reserve and the golf course there is an area of Gorse and my first Small Tort of the year was flying around but again frustratingly wouldn't settle.

I walked out and up on the dunes looking for Lizards and after a long look managed to find some tracks but no Lizards which was a surprise as it was a bit of a sun trap here.

Just as i was getting ready for a return trip I could see a Butterfly which I identified as a Wall but it kept flying away from me, hopefully it will be there when I return next week!

Lots of bird song with the Whitethroat on full throttle!

Stay safe everybody!

28 April 2020

No 10

Got another Butterfly Species to add to the list, no 10 Small Copper seen at Dawlish Warren.

While I haven't seen anymore Swifts, i have seen a few House Martins around the housing estate next to Sainsburys.

While at Dawlish Warren a few Warblers in full song, thought there was both Reed and Sedge Warbler. Unfortunately my hearing is not as finally tuned as it used to be.

Stay Safe everybody!

23 April 2020

New Migrants

On my walks around Dawlish and to the Warren along the Sea Front have seen a slow trickle of Migrants.

Sadly no extra Butterflies to report, but Whitethroat, Whimbrel, Swallow and Swift have been great to see, interesting haven't seen a House Martins yet?

Seen a few baby birds about, mainly Blackbirds with the odd Robin, not forgetting the 6 new Black Swan Cygnets on the Brook at Dawlish.

Work continues to be busy, looks like iam working on some type of shift for the next 5 days.

Stay safe out there and see you on the other side!

09 April 2020

Out walking

Been out for my exercise a few times and also after shift de-stressing, ive been using the sea wall a few times along to Coryton Cove and a couple of walks to Dawlish Warren turning around at the main pond.

Seen a lot of what you would expect, impressed by the numbers of Linnets along the railway line, especially around Red Rock, seen a few Swallows, Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and all the other birds you would expect to see.

Did see a few Raptors, couple of Kestrels, Female Sparrowhawk and 2 Red Kite flew over the car park at Dawlish Warren.

Seen loads of Bumble Bees and several Butterflies although nothing would sit for a picture, 4 new species for the year, Holly Blue, orange Tip, Speckled Wood and Green-veined White, taking up to 9, but with all the restrictions on travel I dont think I will get anywhere near my target, but fighting the virus is far more important!

Stay Safe everybody!

05 April 2020

Sea Wall

Been doing a few shifts this last week and on my 3rd new rota for next week due to staff issues in these troubling times. Have been finishing a shift at 6pm after a 10 hour stint which is in doors supporting the guys I look after. Needing a de-stressing walk I walk to Coryton Cove from my flat which passes the construction of the new sea wall.

They have put the 7 of the top part so far, this is the wave curl part of the wall and it looks higher than I was expecting, although you can see over the wall from the train and they have to raise the path quite a bit so you should be able to look over it when you are walking along the wall.

Stay safe everybody

26 March 2020

Day Off!

Managed to combine shopping trip with some exercise walking a circuit that included Dawlish Warren around the wood and back taking in Sainsburys and it did me the world of good!

Didn't see anything you wouldn't expect to see except a Wheatear and the Dawlish Warren Crocus, there was loads of them and a pleasure to see, a real joy for me!

Enjoyed my free time but back on shift tomorrow, working 6 out of the next 7 days to cover shifts, but hopefully people will be back after that making life a little easier for me, that being said anything can happen so watch this space, stay safe everybody!

22 March 2020

Difficult Times

As many of you know I have worked/volunteered in the Care sector all my adult life, many years as a Team Leader working with kids that complex needs as well as behaviour issues. I now work with Adults with severe mental health issues, while it has been very stressful over the years I have survived by losing myself in a field surrounded by Birds, Flowers and Insects.

So the thought of a complete Lock down fills me with dread! I have no garden and live in a one bedroom flat in the middle of town which up until now has been ideal.

At work we have already lost some staff who have had to self isolate and I and others are doing extra shifts as are loads of people over the country, I just hope I will be able to continue to get a bit of relax time in a middle of a field!

Today I managed to walk around Exminster Marshes, Turf was on lock down so no access to the estuary, it was great to get out in the sun.

Didn't see anything you wouldn't expect, a few people about and all keeping their distance.

Stay safe out there!

16 March 2020

Butterfly season starts with a bang!

Went to Portland today hoping to see the Large Tortoiseshell that had been seen around "Church Ope Cove" .

I had not been here before, its a steep climb down to the beach where there are lots of Beach Huts on the Pebble Beach. There was already plenty of people looking and there had been a sighting of one already in flight.

One of the other guys showed me a pic he took Saturday of a fresh specimen, end of last week there was one that looked quite tatty.

Talking to locals they thought there was 4/5 Large Torts around the Cove. There was plenty of other Butterflies and not surprised as it was quite hot and a few flowers about.

I hadn't seen any Butterflies this year at all and by the end of the session I had seen 5! single Small White, loads of Peacock and Brimstone, 2 x Comma and 2 Large Tortoiseshells. Absolute stunning to watch.

Nice to meet Martin C from the Obs and Mark, on the whole the humans were great with the exception of a couple of knob heads who chased the Butterflies up the path after flushing them, not giving others a chance, just like some Birders and Photographers I know, sadly these idiots cover all fields!!

16 March 2020


It wasn't the main reason for going to Portland but I went straight to the car park by the Lighthouse hoping to see some migrants and wasn't disappointed. There was Wheatears everywhere, so I sat on one of the rocks that surround the car park with my flask of Tea, took a few pictures and just enjoyed the moment. I saw Martin from the Obs later and he told me that there had been well over a 100 drop over night and I can well believe it!

14 March 2020

Crossbill fun

Spent the morning on Dartmoor with some Crossbills, the conditions were crap for taking any pictures, but it was great just to sit down and listen to the calls and watching them fly between the trees. They didn't seem to mind me or all the other people out for a walk.

While sat on some logs drinking my tea saw lots of other birds such as Buzzard, Raven, Great, Blue and Coal Tits, Chaffinch, Siskin, Woodpigeon and Stock Dove.

10 March 2020

Last couple of days

Not been out so much this last couple of days off due to life getting in the way, did walk up to Turf from Powderham on Saturday as the hotel is now open again and yesterday morning I went to Aylesbeare.

On the Exe a group of displaying Red-breasted Mergansers were great to watch and at Aylesbeare plenty of bird song with some Yellowhammers giving it what for. Did see Stonechats and some very mobile Dartford Warblers including one bird who seem to be fascinated in me as it followed me up the side of the path, stunning little bird!

01 March 2020

Was going to Scotland

This week I had booked just over a week off so I could go to Scotland, but sadly the weather being what it is I cancelled my plans.

Decided to stay local and managed to get out this last ten days in between showers and high wind visiting Dawlish Warren, Dawlish and Teignmouth Sea Fronts, Powderham Estate, River Exe, Cockwood Steps, Cockwood Harbour, Starcross Golf Course, The Scrape outside Min of Ag Starcross, River Kenn Outflow, Powderham Church area, Ideford Common plus the feeding station in the car park, Haldon Feeding Station, Haldon Forest, Little Haldon, Old Exeter Road, RSPB Labrador Bay, Stover, Yarner, Around Topsham including Goosemoor and Bowling Green Marsh, Dunsford Woods, Slapton and Beesands Leys, Torcross Line, Beesands and Hallsands Beech, Various parts of Kingsbridge Estuary, Tidal Rd at Aveton Gifford, Soussons, Emsworthy mire, Challacombe Farm and around Headland Warren, Down endless Country Lanes and looked over many 5 Bar Gates.

Many places such as Exminster Marshes were impassable because flood water, but Beesands Hide was now accessible because the water had gone down here, plenty of roads flooded, trees and branches down, pot holes and landslides making this week "interesting!" I did make sure I went out every day regardless of weather and it became a challenge to find stuff.

Saw some great birds, most notable for me several Brambling in a large mixed flock of Chaffinch and Tits underneath the Beech Trees by the side of the Old Exeter Rd, Yellowhammer at Holden Feeding Station and a pair of very smart Goosanders on the River Tiegn at Dunsford.

Also several Crossbills, which were ever distant and mobile.

Plenty of Corvids as you would expect, large numbers of Carrion Crow, Rook and Jackdaws on pasture with Ravens in the air, noisy as ever. Magpies putting in an appearance almost everywhere with the odd Jay seen around the hedgerows. Normally see them at Stover, but none seen on this visit.

With all the wind and rain there was no sign of any Raptors, especially at the beginning of the week, but the first sign of sun there was Kestrel and Buzzard, I nearly got taken out by a Sparrow Hawk walking back from Dawlish Warren as I walked down the path and distant view of a Goshawk at Holden.

With all this water there was plenty of Ducks about with Mallard, Mallard X, Widgeon, Teal, Gadwall, Shoveler, Pochard, Pintail, Golden Eye, Tufted, Mandarin, Shelduck, Muscovy and Ringed-neck Duck.

The Geese, especially the large numbers of Brent were quite mobile and edgy, getting ready to leave for the breeding grounds I expect, few Greylags, loads of Canada Geese, Mute Swans already on nests and a couple of Black Swans on the Exe. Other water birds included, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Coot, Moorhen, Water Rail, Dipper, Kingfisher, Slavonian, little and Great-crested Grebes, Cormorant and Shag.

Waders were plenty although I didn't see any Avocets or Golden Plovers, possibly roosting elsewhere? Did see plenty of Curlew, Bar and Black-tailed Godwits, Grey Plover, Knott, Dunlin, Turnstone, Lapwing, The Dowitcher, Red and Greenshank.

Plenty of Gulls, mainly Black-headed, some Herring, Great-black and Lesser -black Backed Gulls, one Common but didn't see any Med gulls.

The feeding stations around the place were very busy with Great, Blue, Coal, Marsh and Long-tailed Tits, Cirl Bunting, Nuthatch and Great-spotted Woodpeckers the main birds to be seen with Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Greenfinch also on the feeders, with Dunnock, Blackbird, Wren, Robin and Yellowhammers at Haldon picking up the scraps on the floor. Other birds seen Cettis Warbler, Chiffchaff, Reed Bunting, Starling, House Sparrow, Skylark, Stonechat, Redwing, Song and Mistle Thrush but no Fieldfares.

Green Woodpecker, Bullfinch, Meadow and Rock Pipit, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Stock Dove, Collard Dove, Pied and Grey Wagtails all seen. Another bird I didn't see was a Treecreeper which was a surprise considering the amount of woods I visited.

Met lots of humans, all on good form, Dave B, Dave S, Phil, Bold Steve, Clive W to name a few, eaten lots of cake and drunk plenty of hot drink, normally arrived home cold and wet but happy!

12 February 2020

Last seven days

This last 7 days I've been all over the place, I was lucky to see the Serin at the end of last week which I have spoken about in a previous post. I have managed in between work, bad weather, shopping and having a good time with friends seen 96 species of Birds and visited some 20 sites, some twice.

That's not including shopping in Exeter where I was lucky to watch Peregrines flying around the church spire from "Mary Arches" Carpark, also while waiting for a Bus in Teignmouth Triangle after a night out watching the Pied Wagtail roost opposite in the tree, must have been 30+ birds.

Some access to places were badly affected by water such as Beesands and the path to the hide at the Warren has been an issue for some time, the back path at Exminster Marshes and Emsworthy Mire need Wellies but nothing that couldn't be navigated with care and common sense!

Places I visited were Yarner, Emsworthy Mire, Dunsford, Stover, Exminster Marshes, The feeders at Holden Carpark, Aylesbere, Seaton Marshes, Beesands and Slapton Ley, Bowling Green Marsh, Starcross Golf Course, The Scrape by the Min of Ag Labs at Starcross, Cockwood Harbour, Cockwood Steps, River Kenn outflow, Powderham Estate and around the Church, The River Exe at Turf and Dawlish Seafront.

Not including the Serin, the Birds I have seen this last 7 days are, Peregrine, several Buzzards and Kestrel are the only Raptors I have seen. Gulls have been plenty with GBB and LBB, Black-headed, Herring and Common Gulls.

Waders have been in big numbers, especially on Exminster and off Turf at low tide with Avocet, Curlew, Ruff, Dowitcher, Turnstone, Lapwing, Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwits, Red and Greenshank, Knot, Dunlin, Golden and Grey Plover, Oystercatcher and Snipe.

Greylag, large numbers of Canada and Brent Geese, Mute and Black Swan, Kingfisher, Dipper, Moorhen, Coot, Water Rail, Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Great-crested Grebe, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Cormorant, Shag and Red-breasted Merganser.

Ducks a plenty with Mallard, Mallard X, Tufted, Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Mandarin, Pochard, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Pintail, Gadwall and Shelduck.

Plenty of smaller Birds about especially close to the feeders which had been brought in by the cold weather with Great, Coal, Blue, Marsh and Long-tailed Tits, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Siskin, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Cirl and Reed Bunting, Stonechat, Dunnock, Wren, Cettis Warbler, House Sparrow, Starling, Pied and Grey Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Goldcrest, Yellowhammer, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Nuthatch, Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Collard Dove, Feral Pigeon, Pheasant and Red-legged Partridge.

Plenty of Crows about, Raven, Carrion Crows, Rooks, Jackdaws, Magpies and the near tame Jays at Stover.

Spring is starting to show its colours with Wild Flowers, especially at Dunsford Woods with Snow Drops and Wild Daffodils, also seen plenty of Primrose about the sites. Sadly though no Butterflies yet!

Met so many great humans, too many to mention but all on good form and NO miserable sods about! Back to work for a stretch so hopefully the weather will be better in a week?

06 February 2020

324 up!

Its been a bit of a slog but have managed to get pictures of 324 species of Birds I have seen in the UK. These are all in the Bird Gallery.

There are glaring gaps, pictures I should have got but just wasn't quick enough such as a Honey Buzzard and Cory Shearwater. There are some "Fuzz"y pics such that of the Golden Oriole, although because of the conditions you can see what it is because of its colour. There is also a couple of Birds I have seen in the wild such as the Merlin which were always at a distance, so I have included one I took that belonged to a collection. Also there are a couple I took not in the UK for example the Little Auks in Svalbard, I have seen these off the East Coast but no chance of a pic. Plenty to do!!

I have in total over 850 categories of Wildlife which have a picture, Plants, Bugs, Mammals, Birds and more. Given time I hope to greatly extend this, should be fun!

05 February 2020


I noted on Bird Guides that a Serin had been seen in Seaton. This Species of Bird has been on my radar for some time, I have traveled to see them far and wide, but seem always to be 5 minutes late!

Well got to Seaton and it wasn't to be seen, some local birders informed me that it had flown off and not been located since, so decided to go to Seaton Wetlands to see what was about.

When there, there was another alert to say it was seen again so off I went again.

This time several birders about, while it had flown off again there was more eyes to watch, by the fence there is a few Butterfly bushes and something suspicious had flown from one to another and while I was watching a bush a bird flew out and landed on some weed on a dirt bank. And there it was, glad to have found it and shared it with everybody else.

It is a female, poss first winter? I managed to get one picture showing its yellow rump, but not as sharp as I would like.

I did take many pictures but most where out of focus because the camera kept focusing on the weed which was a bit frustrating, luckily a few were acceptable!

Great to meet everybody and thanks to Steve Waite who originally found it, for the additional info.

On the way back I popped into Exminster Marshes to see the Spoonbill which typically was in the centre of the reserve too far for any sort of picture!

02 February 2020

Out and About

Got a bit frustrated not being able to get out with the camera due to the bad weather when I have had a day off, but this last three days I have managed to get out and visit Stover, Yarner, Exminster Marshes, Powderham, Cockwood Steps, River Kenn Outflow and the scrap by the Ministry of Ag at the end of Starcross as well as the Golf Course.

Nice walk around Stover with all the usual stuff, they now have in place an PSPO, which stands for Public Space Protection Order designed to keep dogs on leads, but while I was there, there wasn't anybody enforcing it with several dogs running around off leads?

Lot more to see at Exminster Marshes and at Turf. The new scrapes seem to be attracting lots of waders, Curlew, Bar and Black-tailed Godwits, Dunlin, Redshank, Ruff, Snipe and Lapwing all present as well as plenty of Black-headed Gulls, Wigeon, Teal, Shelduck, Shoveler, Mallard, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Mute Swan and Canada Geese.

A Peregrine put up everything several times and a Buzzard drifted over, a Marsh Harrier had been seen earlier but sadly i could not locate it.

Lots of small birds making a racket in the bushes, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Robin, Blackbird, Wren, Dunnock and a Chiffchaff.

At Turf as the tide was going out 1000s of birds on the mud with Avocets, Knot, Grey Plover, Curlew, Godwits, Lapwing, Dunlin, Black-headed, Common, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls and surprisingly no Golden Plover?

Also Mute Swan, Cormorant, Carrion Crow and a Seal. Lots of Brent Geese further down and on the other side of the River.

The River Exe was fairly quiet as well as the River Kenn, Powderham a few Grey Heron about, Little Egret , Shelduck and Canada Geese. The Fallow Deer Stags looked majestic with their horns.

Lots of Birds on the Scrap by the Ministry of Agriculture, Red and Greenshanks, Godwits, Curlews and a few Oystercatchers. Starcross Golf course had 100s of Geese, both Brent and Canada Geese.

All the usual stuff at Yarner and I continue to b surprised by the lack of any birds on the Lagoon? Not sure whats happened there.

Also popped into the far end of Emsworthy Mire to look at the new ponds but forgot my wellies so didn't get very far.

Good to meet up with Karen and Dave B as well as many other Humans!

16 January 2020


Arrived in Norfolk early morning driving from Tewkesbury where I stayed last night after going to Slimbridge for the day. Staying for 5 nights at Premier Inn in Kings Lynn leaving Tuesday.

Went looking for the "Blue-headed Eastern Yellow Wagtail" or the " Alaskan Yellow Wagtail" or what ever else you want to call it which I found with some help from other Birdwatchers, it was ranging from the Junction to the Dung Heaps up the road, stunning little bird!

I also did a quick visit to RSPB Titchwell as hoping to see the Woodcock, again directed to where it was sat. This is the first time I have managed to get a photo as while I have seen them before, they have been flying away from me.

While driving around this week saw so much wildlife from the car, both Birds and Mammals, saw Red Kite, Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel and plenty of waders such as Golden Plover, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Redshank, Lapwings and Thousands of Geese, Graylag, Brent and Pink Footed, flying and in the fields. Also saw lots of Muntjac, Hares and Rabbits in the fields.

Went to Wells today Friday to see the Rough legged Buzzard which I was lucky enough to do, but was flying at a distance, I was also lucky to see a Short Eared Owl as well as several Barn Owls. Out on the fields there was a couple of Egyptian Geese as well as Grey Partridge, Lapwing and Shelduck.

I tried my first attempt to see the Shore Larks and Snow Buntings at Holkham Gap, I got to the roped off area which has been put up to give them some space when some free running dogs just went through the middle and the Larks and 30+ Buntings all flew off.

So I turned around and went back to the car, plenty of Geese ether side of the main track, Pink Footed, Greylag and Brent Geese as well as Ducks, Snipe, Lapwing and more Grey Partridge. I then got into the car and went to an area known to me as the Holkham Triangle, plenty of birds seen especially Raptors such as Kestrel, Buzzard and Red Kite.

Also saw 4 Common Crane flying randomly over fields, sadly a bit too far for a picture. Such a great sight to see these birds in flight, looking forward to seeing more of these in Devon!

After a bit of rain I went to Snettisham at dusk to see Geese coming in to roost for the night, stunning views of thousands of Geese filling up the sky, both Pink Footed and Greylags, amazing sight!

Up early to go to Cley for a walk around the reserve, on route I popped into Wells to see if the Short Eared Owl or the Rough Legged Buzzard were showing, sadly not but a Barn Owl was hunting around the Car Park. I had been told to go to the car park instead of the advertised double gates on the road because while you got good views of it flying, it often came and sat down on some bushes behind the Car Park and it was surprising the amount of other birds around this area, already talked about the Owls but also Geese, Grey Heron, Kestrel, Gulls and numerous small birds such as Sparrow, Robin and Song Thrush.

Arrived at Cley but before walking around the reserve, visited their visitor centre and enjoyed a Coffee and Bacon Sarnie which just set me up for the walk around the reserve.

The walk at Cley was interrupted by visits to 4 of the 5 hides, birds were scarce and spread out over the reserve. Plenty of Geese flying over, Greylag, Brent and Pink Legged flying with 4 Bean Goose on a scrape sadly too far for a pic, plenty of Ducks, Lapwings, Avocets and singles of Curlew and Redshank.

The best though was a Marsh Harrier fly over my head and did a circuit around the marsh close by, great to watch this stunning bird, worth getting cold for!

On the way back I popped into Wells again and got lucky with the Rough Legged Buzzard who was sat on a bush making it easy to get a picture, stunning bird.

I went to Holkham Lake to look for the Black-headed Grebe which had been reported, first time I had walked around here and enjoyed the experience. Free car park and great to walk around the Park, plenty of mature Trees, great lake and cafe if you feel the need to eat. Apart from the Grebe that showed very well, there was a good selection of Ducks, Great Crested Grebe and a Great White Egret on the far bank, the park land had Fallow Deer running around making it a very pleasant walk!

I had a early start for a Sunday to go to Holkham Gap but when I arrived it was already getting busy, this is the 2nd visit for this trip to try and see the Shore Larks. As I arrived at the roped off area 5 Shore Larks flew in to join the 30+ Snow Buntings in the middle of the area, unfortunately a little too far for a picture. But on my return to the car several Grey Partridge were very close, too busy calling to each other to be worried about me!

I visited Thornham Harbour twice to see the Twite but there was humans every where but no Twite, will try again tomorrow when it is quieter. Also went to RSPB Tichwell for a look around, again very busy with people out for a walk in the sun and why not. Had a bit of a shock when while looking at a Water Rail in one of the ditches when a Muntjac stuck its head up just 6 feet away, tame as anything.

Spent today catching up on things and places I wanted to visit, started at Welney which was flooded and the main hide was the only one open due to the flood water, Welney is the catchment area for 3 counties. Lots of Ducks and few Swans on view, some Whooper but no Bewick Swans who had all flown off to the fields before I was able to get to the hide. Lots of Pochards a few Mallard, Tufted and Pintail were on view.

I then went to Thornham Harbour to try a third time to see the Twite, success plus Linnet, Snow Bunting and all the usual waders you would expect to see around the mud flats.

Then off to RSPB Snettisham for a walk around to finish the week off, the tide was in but not a high one. Lots of Waders, Knott, Curlew, Dunlin, Redshank, Grey Plover and best of all a couple of Sanderling. Lots of Greylag and Ducks, best of all some Golden Eye.

Met so many great humans this week, found everybody helpful and happy to pass on any info on where to see things. With the weather playing ball its been a great week!

15 January 2020


I stopped off at Slimbridge today while on route to Norfolk. I find it easier to break the journey up these days and really enjoyed the day.

The weather wasn't the best with some heavy showers, a visit to the hides didn't bring much on the day with Waders but did see some Godwits and Avocets on one of the pools.

Obviously plenty of birds to see and was good to see them up close and also seeing both birds like Scaup and lesser Scaup so you can see the difference.

Lots of Humans about and all seem in a happy place especially the kids splashing in the pools!

14 January 2020


I spent a couple of days in Weymouth and an afternoon around the fields at the base of Maiden Castle close to Dorchester. I didn't go to Portland as I wanted to spend my time at the Castle, RSPB Lodmoor and Radipole.

I wanted to see if I could get some decent pics of the Bearded Tits at Radipole, its always been a good spot for me and have been quite successful over the years.

I was wary though as they had started to ring the Bearded Tits and think the coloured rings look awful on them, haven't we ringed enough birds now??

There were also reports of Scaup and Gargany at Lodmoor, I also wanted to catch up with the Corn Buntings at the Castle. Well I had a 50-50 success with Bearded Tits photos and views of a distant Scaup but I couldn't locate the Gargany.

Sunday afternoon I searched all around the castle and surrounding fields, but no luck on the Buntings.

Too be fair it has always been hit and miss over the years, plenty of Linnets, Meadow Pipits, Starlings and Pied Wagtails. Good excuse for another visit as I love walking around Maiden Castle, its such an inspiring place, a good place to sit on the huge banks and reflect and watch the world go bye!

I also saw a few distant Marsh Harriers, plenty of Mediterranean Gulls especially on the car park, also Common, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Grey Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Teal, Shoveler, Shelduck, Wigeon, Scaup, Tufted and Gadwell. Mute and Black Swans, Canada Geese, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crows, Jackdaw, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Blue and Great Tits, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Kestrel, Dunnock, Collard Dove, Feral Pigeon, Pheasant, Magpie, Lapwings, Snipe, House Sparrow, Stonechat, Cormorant and Cettis Warbler.

Lots of nice humans about, especially in the visitor centre at Radipole. Sadly Storm Brendan stopped play early, great to see the Bearded Tits again!

11 January 2020

All over the place

Apart from a day trip to Somerset, I ve spent most of my free time around Dawlish not going very far, in between work and bad weather I have managed to visit Stover, Yarner, Labrador Bay, Topsham, Exminster Marshes and several places along the River Exe.

My timings have not been great for example I rocked up at Topsham and the tide was out so BGM was a bit quiet.

Plenty of Ducks about with Mallard, Tufted, Wigeon, Teal, Pochard, Shoveler and some very smart looking Pintail, unfortunately I was unable to locate the Scaup at BGM. Other water based birds seen, Moorhen, Coot, Water Rail, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Cattle Egret.

Plenty of Canada and Brent Geese as well as Greylag but missed both the Barnical, Snow and Egyptian Geese at Exminster Marshes. A few Mute Swans and a Black Swan on the Exe with plenty of Shelduck.

Lucky to see a few Raptors with Marsh Harrier at the Marshes as well as several sightings of Peregrine, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and Kestrel.

As normal plenty of Corvides seen especially Carrion Crows but also good numbers of Rook and Jackdaw, a few Raven seen as well as Magpie and Jay which were being fed at Stover.

One of the most numerous birds seen was Blue Tit, they seemed to be everywhere, also saw Great, Coal, Marsh and Long-tailed Tits. Also Wren, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Staring, Reed Bunting, Cirl Bunting, Grey and Pied Wagtails, Robin, Song Thrush, Redwing, Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Cettis Warbler, Bullfinch and Goldfinch make up the smaller birds.

Plenty of waders about, but all distant with Black and Bar-tailed Godwits, Curlew, Redshank, Greenshank, Turnstone, Dunlin, Golden Plover, Avocet and Lapwing. The usual Gulls with Black-headed being the most common seen with Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls.

Seen a few Humans about and on the whole all passed the test, although a couple had some annoying traits I wont waist any more time on them!

02 January 2020

Somerset Levels

I have been wanting to go up to the Levels for sometime but life keeps getting in the way, but today I made it!

I arrived at Greylake at first light, a bit grey but not raining which was the most important thing, the paths to the hide were flooded and I was pleased I had my wellies in the car!

Plenty of birds about, but they were spread out over the water, every so often there would be a "Bang" which was a bird scarer on a near bye farm, it would put some birds up but most ignored it, in fact even when some Marsh Harriers came over they didn't move ether.

On the water there was Mute Swans, Gadwall, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Black-headed and Herring Gulls. Plenty of Carrion Crows and Jackdaws about, Blackbird, Dunnock, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Robin, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, Blue and Great Tits, Cettis Warbler, Lapwing, Collard Dove and Snipe!

I then went to Catcott Lows and was expecting there to be more birds than there was, only Lapwing, Kestrel, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Shoveler, Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Grey Heron, Starling and some very smart Pintail which were sadly too far away for pic.

After a bacon sarnie at the Avalon Centre I went to Ham Wall for a really nice walk around, plenty of water birds and treated to a Marsh Harrier close up. I also had a Great White Egret, Grey Heron and Little Egret stood close together which was a treat!

Also saw Wigeon, Teal, Tufted, Gadwall, Mallard. Shoveler, Coot, Moorhen, Great-crested Grebe, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Black-headed Gulls, Cormorant, Cettis Warbler, Wood Pigeon, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, House Sparrow and Collard Doves.

Also met lots of very nice humans, even the drive up and back was idiot free, brilliant day out!

29 December 2019

Emsworthy Mire

Hope everybody had a great Xmas? I did a split shift on the day which gave me the opportunity to see my son which was great, all in all its been one of the best Xmas I've had in a long time although not sure why?

I went to Emsworthy Mire on Dartmoor today, had a bit of communication with Andrew Taylor who looks after it for the Devon Wildlife Trust, he told me they have dug another 22 new ponds, so just had to have a look.

I didn't find all the new ones, some are small and others quite big, I liked the way they have connected some pools together, I think in one field there are 5 connected pools with the water running from on to another. Should be loads of Dragons and other flying insects here which in turn will bring Birds, Mammals and Amphibians. Not to mention the Flowers and other plants.

I hope when time and resources permit the DWT put some walk ways in and some notice boards to explain what is going on.

Looking forward to visiting this place later in the year!

19 December 2019

Exminster Marshes

Went for a quick walk around today before the weather turned nasty. Parked up in the RSPB Car Park and walked down the road and through the flooded area. The water level had dropped last week but with all the rain the level had risen again.

Plenty of Ducks seen with Mallard, Mallard X Farm, Tufted, Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon, Shelduck, Grey Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Canada and Brent Geese, Curlew, Lapwing and Mute Swan. Just a few smaller birds in the hedge rows with Blackbird, Robin and Long-tailed Tits the only ones seen.

Only a short walk but a enjoyable one!

14 December 2019

Out and About

This last week the weather has been challenging and have been caught out a few times.

Wednesday I went south to Slapton and Beesands Leys, I was surprised at the lack of birds but that might have been down to the conditions. While I was looking out at "Stokeley Hide" you could see lots of Ducks at the edge of the reeds. I went to Ireland Bay to look around the Quarry which was very quiet apart from one Robin. Plenty going on out to sea with the Gannets plunging into the sea after food.

Today I did a walk around Exminster Marshes which again was quiet, many of the pools were empty of birds which was a massive surprise. I did hear from another birder who said a Marsh Harrier flew over and put everything up.

At Turf I was lucky to find large numbers of Avocet close to the edge of the pub ground, also I was the only one there and was able to creep up and get some close ups of these stunning birds.

07 December 2019

Last couple of days

Had a good couple of days out enjoying the local countryside, yesterday was spent at Exminster Marshes and today was at Yarner and Stover.

Yesterday, the weather was ok with the odd shower which didn't have much effect on me, it did though provide some stunning Rainbows over the River Exe!

The water levels on Marshes themselves was down but wellies still needed on parts of the back path from the car park to Turf. I have noticed plenty of small birds on the path, is that down to more birds or easier to see because the bushes are bare of leaves? Plenty of Starling, Reed Bunting, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Dunnock, Robin, Cettis Warbler, Blackbird, Redwing, Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, Goldfinch and Wren.

Across the Marshes plenty to see but spread out with birds taking advantage of all the new areas of water, Grey Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon, Mute Swan and Canada Geese. Plenty of Black-headed Gulls as well as waders, good numbers of Godwits, Curlew and Lapwing. All the usual Corvids both on the Marsh and the River Mud.

The tide was coming in and plenty of Waders covering the remaining mud with Curlew, Godwits, Avocet, Red and Greenshanks, Dunlin, Grey and Golden Plover. Shelduck, Mute Swan, Canada and Brent Geese as well as Cormorants, not forgetting all the Gulls, mostly Black-headed with a few Great-black Backed and Herring Gulls.

All these put up several times by a hunting Peregrine that attacked both on the river as well as the Marsh, unsuccessful while I was watching but seeing all these birds in the sky was a sight.

Spent the morning at Yarner, plenty of small birds to see, the feeders were packed with Marsh, Coal, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits putting on a show with Chaffinch, Nuthatch and a Great-spotted Woodpecker putting in appearances. Grey Wagtail, Wren, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Robin, Blackbird, Jay, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Stockdove and good numbers of Redwing working their way through the bushes. Popped up to the Lagoon and to my amazement no ducks or any birds to be seen??

Afternoon a nice stroll around Stover, plenty of Ducks to be seen, lots of Mallard and hybrids of, Mandarin, Tufted and Pochard that sadly stayed in the middle of the lake. Mute Swan, Cormorants, Grey Heron, Coot, Moorhen and a few hundred Black-headed Gulls, Marsh, Blue, Coal, great and Long-tailed Tits, Treecreper, Nuthatch, Robin, Dunnock, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Magpie and Jay.

Met lots of friendly people out this last couple of days, especially around Stover today. I even forgave some dog owners whose dogs were running free, it must be coming up to Xmas??

05 December 2019

Sea Defences

Living in Dawlish there always seems to be an issue with the sea close by.

At Dawlish Warren all the Sea Defense work that was done a couple of years ago has been washed away plus more, as you can see from the picture above the sea has washed the dunes away to the recently buried "Geo Tubes", the idea of these was to stabilize the dunes, there is talk of dumping more sand in front of them, they better be quick otherwise the sea will be on the golf course.

The Dunes at Dawlish Warren are supposed to be "Floating" Dunes and there has been breaches before and at the end of the day, nature will win in the end!

An on going battle is the wall at Dawlish, they have finished all the foundations and are waiting on all the uprights to arrive from Ireland, couldn't believe that when I was told, surely they could have found somewhere more local to make these?

28 November 2019

Out and About

Spent the last couple of days around Exminster Marshes, the River Exe and Holden.

Walked up from Powderham Church to Turf yesterday, plenty of waders on the mud as the tide was out with Shelduck, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Mute Swan, Grey Heron and Little Egret adding to Grey and Golden Plover, Avocet, Knot, Dunlin, Lapwing, Curlew, Godwit and Redshanks spread over the mud flats. Gulls in good numbers but mainly Black-headed, Cormorants, Carrion Crows and Jackdaws to add to the list.

Plenty of small birds around the path and sea wall with flocks of Goldfinch, Starling and Chaffinch, also Robin, Wren, Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Pied Wagtail and Blackbird. Closer to Turf also Song Thrush, Redwing and Fieldfare on the berry bushes.

Today I spent the morning at Holden and plenty of birds to see with Buzzard, Long-tailed, Great and Blue Tits, Wren, Blackbird, Robin, Stonechat, Dunnock, Crossbill, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Jackdaw and some Hawfinch.

Seeing the Hawfinch was just great, they were quite close but also frustrating as there was always a twig or branch in the way, I knew if I moved from my cover they would fly, but luckily for me one bird moved up to the top of the tree giving me a good view and picture.

I spent the afternoon at Exminster Marshes, parking up at the RSPB car park and doing a circular walk via Turf. I started off down the road which was flooded by the middle car park, although close to the top of my wellies I was able to get around. Plenty of birds on view with Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Curlew, Snipe, Lapwing, Canada and the Snow Goose, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Little Egret, Black-headed Gulls, Peregrine Falcon eating dinner on a Pylon, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Stonechat, Bullfinch, Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Pied Wagtails.

At Turf the birds were at a distance and all the normal waders were there to be seen. Further down the Estuary there was a group of Birders looking for the female Bluethroat which I believe they found later.

Good couple of days out and the bird count seems to be going up, just need some cold weather and hopefully get some Waxwings down here?

23 November 2019

Exminster Marshes

Went to Exminster Marshes today, very wet and lots of water on the Marshes.

Defiantly wellie time, the back path flooded in several places and passable with care. The road to the Fishermans Car Park under water and not usable for normal cars, luckily for me I had my waterproofs on as it was above my wellies and flowing quite fast.

Although plenty of water and duck numbers rising still not the numbers I've seen in the past, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Tufted, Shoveler spread over the Reserve. Canada and Brent Geese in good numbers with Curlew, Godwits, Snipe, Lapwing, Moorhen, Coot, Mute Swan, Little Egret, Cormorant, Grey Heron were the main water birds seen with Rook, Raven, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Starling, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Reed Bunting, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Cettis W, Long-tailed Tit, Great and Blue Tits with a Goldcrest seen along the road.

At Turf the Tide was on the way out but not many birds close to the Pub, did see Red-breasted Merganser, Mute Swan, Brent Geese, Redshank, Grey and Golden Plovers, Dunlin, Avocet, Curlew and Godwits. a few Gulls, mainly Black-headed with the odd Herring Gull.

Not many other humans about, probably down to the weather, good to be out though.

19 November 2019

Dawlish Sea Wall

The guys seem to be cracking on with it and only a very short section left to complete with the foundations before the uprights start to be put in place.

Its been fun watching them trying to fight the tide as well as lay concrete!

16 November 2019

Out and About

In between work and the bad weather managed to get and visit a few places. Stover, Exminster Marshes, Turf, Powderham Church, River Kenn and the outflow, Starcross Golf Course, Cockwood Steps and the Harbour.

Haven't been to Stover for a while and was presently surprised by the Duck numbers with Mallard, Tufted, Mandarin and a smart Pochard in the middle of the lake. The water looks a lot cleaner after all the work they have done. Also Mute Swan, Cormorant, Moorhen, Coot and Black-headed Gulls on the water. Plenty of small birds about with Long-tailed, Blue, Great and Coal Tits, Blackbird, Robin, Nuthatch, Wren and Chaffinch.

Starcross Golf course is starting to get busy at high tide with growing numbers of Brent and Canada Geese as well as Curlew, Oystercatchers and Redshank the main waders but also Lapwing and Godwits also seen.

Cockwood Harbour showed a few Red and Greenshanks with Black-headed and Herring Gulls, Mute Swan and the odd Little Egret. I passed here several time and at was completely empty of birds for no real reason which was a surprise , normally there is something there?

The River Kenn outflow and Cockwood Steps saw Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls of all ages, Mute Swans, Cormorants, Grey Heron, Red and Greenshanks, Oystercatchers and Turnstones. Did also see a Rock Pipit at The River Kenn on the wall.

The River Kenn had a good number of ducks with Mallard, Teal and Wigeon. Good numbers of Grey Heron stood on the bank with Mute Swans on the water.

Off Powderham by the cycle bridge double figures of Shelduck on the River Exe with Redshank, Curlew, Dunlin, Knott and Grey Plover.

Around Exminster Marshes, Peregrine, Kestrel, Buzzard and Marsh Harrier seen, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Greylag Geese, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal , Wigeon, Lapwing, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Rook, Stonechat, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Kingfisher, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Starling, Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting, Robin, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Magpie, Jay, Pied Wagtail, Pheasant and Wren.

At Turf plenty to see, Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls of all ages, Avocet, Golden and Grey Plovers, Godwits, Curlew, Redshank, Dunlin, Grey Heron, Cormorants, Shelduck, Mute Swan, Lapwing, Little Egret and Oystercatchers.

Several times the sky was full of waders put up by something but never quite worked out by what, didn't see any Raptors anyway.

Met lots of great people, normal and Birders, great to catch up with Patrick H at Stover as well as meeting up with Karen, Dave S, Dave B and Simon at Turf and the Marshes, there were others but iam crap with names! Anyway plenty of nice humans about which always is good!

06 November 2019

Death flies over

Had a great couple of days out, unfortunately didn't get out as early as wanted but life keeps getting in the way.

Tuesday ended up at Holden looking for some Hawfinch, it was a beautiful morning and plenty of birds singing, all the usual stuff you would expect, but Hawfinch, Siskins or Crossbills very thin on the ground. I was quite well hidden but a good view of some Hornbeam that I had seen them on before, then it all kicked off! First a couple of Hawfinch appeared on top of a tree just in front of me, ideal and the sun was shinning on them. Just as I was going to take the shot 6 Fallow Deer came crashing through the wood, not sure what had spooked them but they went flying by me, I dont even think they saw me. After I composed myself I went to take the pics and as you guessed the Hawfinch had gone, all the crash bang wallop had frightened them off.

So I decided to move on, after about couple of minutes for some reason I looked around at where I had been and above was a Raptor coming over the trees, I realized it was a Goshawk, how cool was that! It circled a bit then went into a dive and disappeared behind some trees. Such a privilege to see such a bird.

After all the excitement I went off to Exminster Marshes to see if after all this rain how the new scrapes were doing, defiantly more surface water on the Marshes and many of the older, more Northerly scrapes are full. The newer ones are a long way off and will take a lot more rain yet.

Bird wise nothing out of the ordinary and Turf was quiet with many waders up river close to Topsham.

Today I spent time close to the River Exe paying visits to Cockwood Steps, Harbour, Starcross Golf Course, River Kenn outflow, Powderham Estate and then over to Topsham.

The tide was coming in and not that much about, surprised by the lack of Ducks and Brent Geese about?

At Topsham, parked up close to Bowling Green and visits to Goose moor, The Hide, Platform and Goat Walk and it was quite quiet, the tide wasn't as high leaving areas of mud on the River Exe, especially close to Turf where large numbers of Waders could be seen from Goat Walk at High Tide. The Long-billed Dowetcher was seen earlier on and a Little Stint had flown in as added entertainment.

As usual met lots of great people, some Birders and lots of "Normal" people out enjoying the fresh air and our beautiful countryside.

30 October 2019

Last couple of days

In between the rain, domestic stuff and life in general I managed to get out on both this last couple of days. Tuesday afternoon saw me on Exminster Marshes and today managed to get to Topsham for high tide.

Yesterday I parked up in the RSPB car park and did a circular walk via Turf and the Canal back to the car. When I got out of the car I could see a Peregrine doing a few unsuccessful sweeps of the Marshes.

The new scrapes are slowly filling up but not attracting any birds while I was there, some of the older scrapes starting to attract the slowly rising numbers in Ducks with Tufted, Teal, Mallard, Wigeon and Shoveler.

Also Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Grey Heron, Moorhen and Coot are the other water birds.

A few Carrion Crows, Jackdaws, Woodpigeons, Blackbirds, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Robin and Dunnock.

A man who was walking his dog said he was walking past a ditch when a Woodcock flew up and off across the Marshes, wished I had seen that as its a bird I've only seen the back end as it flies off!

At Turf very few birds with just a couple of Godwits, Redshank, Oystercatcher and Black-headed Gulls.

Arrived in Topsham at about 9am, Goosemoor was full of water but empty of birds, I went into the Hide at Bowling Green and I had it to myself with all the waders very close to the hide, But they were contently harassed by a pair of Carrion Crows, they were eventually pushed to the large island away from the hide. Plenty of Godwits, Curlews, Redshank, Dunlin, Lapwing, Knot, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Cormorant, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler, Pintail, Shelduck, Mute Swan, Canada and Greylag Goose, Jackdaw, Magpie, Jay, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Robin, Blackbird, Pheasant and Wren.

Walking out at the Platform due to the high tide no birds to see but on my return the mud flats full of waders who had flown from Bowling Green.

From Goat Walk you could see 30 + Avocets flying and settling across on the other side of the Estuary, as the tide went out a few Godwits and Little Egrets along the tide line.

Good to see Dave B and a few others about even though the weather was crap!

24 October 2019

All over the place

Had a few days off and tried to fit in as much time out with the camera as I could as well as all the domestic stuff such as shopping and driving the "Vac!"

Visited Labrador Bay, Seaton Wetlands, Aylesbeare Common, Yarner, Dartmoor and Exminster Marshes. On the whole the weather was good to me except sometime on Dartmoor when every I stopped to get out it rained??

Labrador Bay was a nice walk and plenty to see although there is too much vegetation to get any clear views of birds in the hedgerows or on the fields. Must have been 50 + Cirl Buntings in the hedges and fields, large proportion of Juveniles. Plenty of Dunnock, Robin, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Blue and Great Tits, Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Rook and Raven present around the fields and trees with a Buzzard and Peregrine loafing about in the sky. Will be worth coming here on a cold morning in a months time around the feeding station.

Went to Aylesbeare early doors, it was the only place not covered in mist and the place was busy with birds although all were very mobile and difficult to get any pics especially the Dartford Warblers so felt very lucky to get one starting to call deep in a bush. Also seeing a yellow Hammer was a surprise as normally only see them here in the summer, it was only a fleeting glimpse but a welcome one as its one of my favorite birds.

Also saw plenty of Woodpigeon, Stock Doves and Jackdaws flying over head, Green woodpecker calling as well as Jay, Magpie, Stonechat, Dunnock, Robin, Wren, Goldcrest, Reed Bunting, Linnet, Great and Blue Tit, Blackbird and a Kestrel Hunting.

Seaton Marshes was fairly quiet, I just visited the Island and Tower Hides, plenty of Gulls with Herring, Black-headed, Great and Lesser-black Backed Gulls of all ages, Lapwings, Godwits, Curlews, Redshank, Oystercatchers, Wood Pigeons, Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Pheasant, Shelduck, Tufted Duck, Reed Bunting, Little Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Grey Heron, Teal and Mallard.

Popped into Yarner today and very quiet even around the feeders, went up onto Dartmoor to see what Winter Thrushes were about and saw plenty of Fieldfare, Mistle Thrushes and Redwing but always distant and very mobile.

Finished up the day doing a circular walk around Exminster Marshes with most of the action around the Estuary, with the tide coming in Birds were being pushed off the estuary with large numbers of Golden Plover flying off towards Dartmoor. When I got to Turf there was large numbers of Waders on the remaining mud and shallow water. Some including 30+ Avocet were flying around trying to make up their mind up about going to Bowling Green or staying put. Large numbers of Redshank and Curlew flew off but the Avocet were still on the Estuary when I left.

Met lots of humans this last couple of days and it being half term plenty of kids, great to see them all out enjoying the fresh air instead of sat in front of a screen! Great to meet up with Dave Parkes and his wife on the Exeter Canal.

20 October 2019

Weekends Fun

Had a great weekend out and about, helped by some great weather.

Saturday I went to Exminster Marshes doing a circular walk from the RSPB Car Park.

With all the rain the paths had become muddy and Wellies needed, the scrapes had final started to fill although they are a long way off being full. While not high in numbers there was a good selection of birds with Shoveler, Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, Coot, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Magpie, Jay, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Rook, Black-headed Gulls, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Cettis Warbler, Reed Bunting, Robin, Wren, Starling, Meadow Pipit, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Peregrine sat on a Pylon and a couple of Buzzards on the wing.

Some Curlews starting to use the scrapes, about 10 on the edge.

Witnessed a bit of a life and death struggle between a Black-headed Gull who had a broken wing and a couple of Carrion Crows, the Gull had fought them off and sat on some water with the Crows sat on the edge not wanting to get wet. Dont think it will end well for the Gull.

The tide was high at Turf and very little to see.

Today I went up to Emsworthy Mire on Dartmoor to see if I can see some Ring Ouzels. Arrived about 9am and was a bit cold and grey but very quickly changed with blue skies and sun. Soon found the Ouzels with help from other birders, 15 + mixed up with some Mistle Thrushes, Redwing and Fieldfare that were very mobile feeding on the Rowen Trees.

Also saw Blackbird, Robin, Stonechat, Jay, Raven, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie and Woodpigeon.

Then went off to Soussons to see if I could find some Crossbills which I did , about 30 very vocal high in the trees as well as Treecreeper, Coal, Great and Blue Tits, Robin, Blackbird, Siskin, Wren, Woodpigeon and Raven.

While driving around Dartmoor saw plenty of Ravens, Carrion Crows, Jackdaw, Wood Pigeon, House Sparrow, Stonechat, Meadow Pipit, Jays, Magpie, Bullfinch, Chaffinch and Great Tit.

Met loads of humans this weekend, especially Birders who were out in force also bumped into good friends who were out walking so its been a great weekend all around!

16 October 2019

South Devon

Enjoying my rota on my new job, all my hours done in 3 days giving me 4 days to enjoy time out with the camera.

Today went to South Devon and saw some great Wildlife and met some decent humans as well.

Up early to travel south but got caught up in traffic and eventually got to East Soar car park by 9.15am to the sound of Skylarks singing above. Plenty of Gulls sat on the fields, mainly Herring Gulls with a few Great-black Backed Gulls, Walked to Starhole to see the reported Ringed Ouzels. On the way down a few Cirl Buntings, Robin, Great and Blue Tits, Wren, Starling, Dunnock and Magpies.

In Starhole Valley, Chiffchaff, Stonechat, Jay, Ravens, Woodpigeon, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Pheasant and with help from another birder several Ring Ouzels both male and female.

On to Beesands Ley which was busy with Mute Swans and Canada Geese, Magpie, Herring and Black-headed Gulls, Buzzard, Coot, Tufted Duck, Gadwell, Pochard, Cormorant and Great-crested Grebes and Pied Wagtail.

Finished the at Slapton Ley with Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls, Great-crested Grebes, Coot, Moorhen, Little Grebes, Woodpigeon, Stonechat, Cettis Warbler, Robin, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Firecrest and Goldcrest.

Great day out!

14 October 2019

Out and About

Four days off and guess what the weather is crap! Still managed to get out spending time at Exminster Marshes, Topsham, Dartmoor and Yarner.

Friday and Saturday spent time around Exminster Marshes in between doing the domestics and rain showers.

Must admit surprised the new scrapes haven't filled up a bit more, plenty of Corvids about, mainly Rooks on the pastures but also Carrion Crows and Jackdaws on the Pylons and trees, Magpies and a single Jay, Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Cormorant, Moorhen, Coot and a few Ducks with Mallard, Teal, Shoveler and Wigeon in small numbers.

Blackbirds, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Starling, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Goldfinch, Swallows, Wren Great-spotted Woodpecker, Woodpigeon, Pied Wagtail and a Cettis Warbler calling, Pheasant, Curlew and a Peregrine sat on the Pylon waiting for dinner.

At Turf the tide was out, but only a few birds about, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Oystercatchers, Redshank, Curlew, Canada Geese and all the normal Gulls.

Sunday went up to Dartmoor with first stop Yarner, the feeders have been put out and a few birds taking advantage of the the free food with Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Great, Blue, Coal and Marsh Tits and Dunnock feeding on and around the feeders.

A few Mallard on the lagoon which was a surprise as thought there would be more.

Then went on a drive looking to see if any Winter Thrushes about, had heard some Redwing were about but I didn't see any, plenty of berries about so hopefully wont be long. Did see a few Ravens displaying close to Widdicombe which was great to watch.

As it was raining heavy today I thought the best place to be was the hide at Bowling Green Marsh, the Long-billed Dowetcher was putting a good show in front of the hide, also Ruff, Curlew, Godwits, Dunlin, Redshank, Woodpigeon, Great Tit, Blackbird, Swallows, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Shelduck, Teal, Shoveler, Wigeon, Mallard, Pintail, Gargany, Moorhen, Coot and Canada Goose.

Met lots of humans about the place, as always great to meet up the the three Dave's, always a laugh! Lots of other happy humans as well although did meet a couple of idiots, a dog walker on Exminster encouraging her dogs to chase Ducks, when challenged by me , her reply was , "well thats what dogs do"??? lost for words I walked off and disappointed that the pile of rubbish fly tipped next to Yarner is still there after nearly 2 months?? Whats all that about??

11 October 2019

Dawlish Sea Wall

Work on the wall continues although its hard to see what has been done so far because the tide comes in and covers the work.

It looks like the footings have been finished or are close to it. They have started to bring in the concrete bases which I think will sit on the footings. I presume the pre cast wall will sit in the grove?

They were going to take these under the bridge, but has been stopped because they planned to dig the floor up to get enough space to travel under, but has been stopped by the Environment agency because of flooding fears. Talk is now that they will bring a huge crane to lift it over the railway track over night.

05 October 2019

Exminster and Powderham Marshes

After a good first week at my new job, I took the opportunity to spend today out with the camera.

Parked up at the RSPB car park at Exminster Marshes and did a circular walk via Turf. It was quite quiet, both for wildlife and humans, hardly any ducks which was a surprise or waders seen, again a surprise as it was high tide I thought I would at least see a Curlew or two.

A few Mallard and a couple of Teal were the only ducks, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Moorhen, Mute Swan and Canada Geese were the water birds.

Plenty of Corvids spread about the reserve on the pasture, pylons, trees and flying about with Raven, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Magpie and Jay all seen. Kestrel and a few Wood Pigeons, Pheasants, Black-headed Gulls, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Robin, Blackbird, Wren and Dunnock was the sum total of birds seen.

At Turf the tide was in and apart from some Black-headed Gulls, Mute Swan and a fly by Cormorant that was it!

I did see several very smart new Red Admirals which was nice and the odd Dragon, looks like Hawkers of some description?

Then I went to Powderham Marsh, again not that much about. A noisy Buzzard flying around and Peregrine sat on Pylon observing his domain. There is a few fields which were sown with wild flowers and seed crops for the birds, these have been cut in places and have attracted a large numbers of Wood pigeons mixed with Feral pigeons and Stock Doves. plenty of Carrion Crows, Goldfinches, Blackbird, Robin and Wren all seen.

Good to be out and had the place virtually to myself!

30 September 2019

Somerset Levels

Went up to Somerset today, hoping to see the Spotted Crake at Greylake but also hoping to see a lot more but sadly otherwise very quiet.

I did see the Crake which was at a little distance and not as much light but still managed to get a few shots.

Also went to Catcott Lows and started to look around Ham Wall but the rain stopped play.

Very little around and no more than you would expect.

Tomorrow I start a new job working for a Mental Health Charity and will be busy with that for a while settling in, training etc so not as many Blog entries for a while. Glad to be back doing something positive!

27 September 2019

Out and About

Spent the last three days around Exminster Marshes and Topsham and you can defiantly feel Autumn on its way!

Wednesday and Friday was spent walking around Exminster Marshes, parking up in the RSPB car park and walking down the back path to Turf and returning via the canal path and road.

Plenty of Corvids on the pasture and flying around, mainly Rooks but also Carrion Crow, Raven and Jackdaws in lesser numbers. Magpie, Jay, Woodpigeon, Pheasant, Great-Blue and Long-tailed Tits starting to form up into Tit flocks especially on the back path. Cettis Warbler, Chiffchaff, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Dunnock and Pied Wagtail in varying numbers. On Wednesday large numbers of Swallows and Juveniles still being fed around the boats by the lock gate at Turf. Also about 100+ Starlings on the wires and trees around Turf making quite a racket.

Although there has been a bit of rain there is no more than puddles in the new scrapes, but there does seem to be a increase in Duck numbers, mainly Mallard but with the odd Wigeon, Teal and Shoveler. Canada Geese in good numbers with the odd Mute Swan across the Reserve, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Coot and Moorhen.

Off Turf there was the usual Gulls of all ages, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Bar and Black-tailed Godwits, Curlew, Red and Greenshanks, Oystercatchers, Shelduck, Grey Heron and Cormorants.

Thursday I spent over in Topsham, apart from the Long-Billed Dowitcher that had been reported, there was also a good range of species to see here at the moment. I parked up in a rather quiet Darts Farm and walked down the equally quiet cycle track to Goosemoor, as the tide was out it was almost empty of birds, just a few Black-headed Gulls. On the way back to the car when the tide was in there was double figures of Greenshank.

But along the path and over head there was plenty of birds to see with both Swallow and House Martins hawking over the hedges, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Dunnock, Robin and Blackbird looking for food among the branches, in the bigger trees a couple of stunning Jays hopping from branch to branch and a noisy Buzzard loafing about above.

From the hide there was plenty of ducks and Geese to see but no waders yet, large numbers of Pintail, Teal, Wigeon, a single Garganey, Canada and Greylag Geese, Lapwing, Shelduck, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Moorhen and Coot.

Down to the viewing platform and with the tide right out just a few Redshank on the waters edge which was the same at the Goat Walk. So off into Topsham for some Tea and Cake before my return journey back to catch the high tide. On the River Exe in Topsham as the tide came in Redshank, Godwits and Shelduck in good numbers, plenty of Black-headed Gulls and Mute Swans.

As the tide came in I stationed myself into the ever busy Hide at Bowling Green, luckily I got a seat and watched the Waders fly in, first of all Redshank then the Dunlin, Godwits and Curlew. Also singles of Ruff, Common and Curlew Sandpiper as well as the distant Long-tailed Dowitcher which was mixed up with the Redshank.

Also Sand and House Martins, Swallows and the "Psycho" Lesser-black Backed Gull that trying to take on a Grey Heron??

Still a few Butterflies about as well as the odd Dragon, the Ivy full of Bees and Wasps trying for the last nectar of the year.

Plenty of Humans about, especially in the hide which was full of the great and the good! Great to catch up with Joe King, chew the cud with Charlie F, see all the Dave's, Mark and many more. Big thank you to those who came up to me with the positive feedback for the website, very much appreciated.

23 September 2019

Dawlish Sea Wall

Well the work has started on the Sea Wall at Dawlish and thought I might share a few pictures of the fun!

Talk about men and their "Tonka" Toys, will be interesting to see what will happen when the storms arrive and where they will store their Diggers, they had to bring them in by sea as there is no access from the road?

22 September 2019

Weekends Fun

The weather has defiantly changed and is more autumnal. Spent the weekend around Exminster Marshes and Bowling Green.

Saturday parked up in the RSPB reserve and did a circular walk via Turf. It was surprisingly quiet as I was expecting to see more Ducks about but probably needs some water on the Marsh.

I did find though two Cattle Egrets just down from the Middle car park in with some cattle, I had communication with Dave B who sent me a picture of 5 Cattle Egrets flying north towards the M5 Bridges.

Plenty of Corvids about on the pastures, mainly Rook and Jackdaw but a few Carrion Crow present. Also Magpie, Woodpigeon, Little Egret, Moorhen, Pheasant, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Grey Heron, Swallow, Dunnock, Robin, Wren, Black-headed and Herring Gulls.

A few Butterflies but plenty of Dragons, looks like Southern Hawker and a few Common Darter.

Sunday I went to Topsham to catch the High tide at Bowling Green and was well impressed by the numbers of Waders, and close to the hide. Interesting that the birds didnt take any notice of the humans in the hide even though people were talking and making a noise, they did though get more grief from "Psycho" the Lesser Black Backed Gull who tried to take on the Curlews with out much success!

Apart from the large numbers of Curlew there was Common Sandpiper, Red and Greenshank, Black and Bar tailed Godwits, Lapwing and good to see the Avocet are back!

A few Geese with Canada and Greylag Geese, also Grey Heron, Little Egret, Moorhen, Coot, Black-headed Gull, Pintail, Shoveler, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Shelduck, Jackdaws and Wood Pigeon.

At Goosemoore there was double figures of Greenshank with Redshank, Godwit, Dunlin and Lapwing.

Met loads of Humans this weekend and thankfully all happy, good to see John Wilkes at Bowling Green in the hide which has become a much friendly place.

19 September 2019

Seaton Marshes

Today was spent at Seaton Marshes, stunning day, plenty of sun and blue skies.

Saw plenty of birds but at at a distance, when I arrived it was high tide and the river was quiet but at low tide there was plenty to see, 100+ gulls with Black-headed, Herring, Great and Lesser-black Backed Gulls of all ages on the mud banks.

There was also a Osprey seen but I missed that, did see a Buzzard and Kestrel, Raven, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Woodpigeon, pheasant, Dunnock, Robin, Great and Blue Tit, Swallow and Wren seen around the hedges and fields around the lagoons.

On the water Canada Geese, Shelduck, Mallard, Teal, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Moorhen, Coot, little Grebe, Oystercatcher, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Wimbrel, Common and Green Sandpipers, Dunlin, Lapwing and Curlew.

Still a few Butterflies and Dragons about in the Autumn sun. lots of nice humans about making the day very pleasant indeed!

16 September 2019

Exminster Marshes and the River Exe

Spent a lot of time this week in and around Exminster Marshes, doing circular walks from Powderham Church and the RSPB car park.

Work continues across the Marshes getting it ready for the winter with the fields being topped and reeds by ditches being cut back, you can see the new lagoon very slowly being filled up but the new scrapes still very dry, could do with a good rain!

Not many birds around the Marshes, the most numerous have been Swallows and Starlings especially around Turf, the Swallows hawking over the canal and hedgerows while there must be 100+ noisy Starling on the brambles and hedges, sadly no Rosy amongst them.

There has been a Cattle Egret amongst the Little Egrets just south of the turf with the Cattle or around the Pond next to the Railway line.

Plenty of corvids about the pasture and River mud with Raven, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Magpie and Jay seen, the Jay with a Acorn in his bill would have been a good picture but was just too quick for me.

Ospreys put in a regular appearance over the week but always at a distance, other Raptors seen were Peregrine Falcon, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Buzzard.

A few water birds with Grey Heron, Little Egret, Moorhen, Coot, Kingfishers, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal and Wigeon. Waders included both Bar and Black-tailed Godwits, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Ringed Plover, Red and Greenshank, Dunlin and Knot, the usual Gulls Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls of all ages.

Smaller birds included Wheatears, Pied Wagtail, Stonechat, Goldfinch, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Wren, Robin, Dunnock, Blackbird, Reed Bunting and Linnet. Also Woodpigeon and a few Pheasant hiding away from the guns on the marsh.

Lots of humans about and great to sit down with Dave B and Dave S over coffee at Turf to chew the cud!!

08 September 2019

Out and About

Managed to get out and look around a few places this week and weekend, Exminster Marshes, Cockwood Steps, Cockwood Harbour, River Kenn out flow, River Kenn and Powderham Castle, Dawlish Warren, Yarner and Challacombe Farm on Dartmoor.

Its been fairly quiet, lots of Swallows gathering getting ready for the off, couple of sightings of Osprey at Turf as well as a few Sandwich Terns sat on boats and in front of the hide at the Warren.

Plenty of Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Dunlin, Knot, Curlew, Turnstone, Red and Greenshank, Whimbrel on the Dawlish Warren Beach, Cormorants, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Kingfisher, Mallard, Shoveler, Wigeon, Teal, Moorhen and Coot.

Plenty of Gulls even on Dartmoor sat in fields, mainly Black-headed but also Herring, Great and Lesser-black Backed Gulls on the River Exe. Shelducks, Oystercatchers, Carrion Crows, Rooks, Jackdaws, Raven, Magpies, Linnet, Wheatears, Pied Wagtails, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits all add to the mixture of birds I have seen this week.

Apart from Osprey I've also seen Buzzard, Kestrel, Peregrine and Sparrowhawk on my travels. Plenty of Wood pigeons, Stock Doves, Collard Doves, Blackbirds, House Sparrows, Goldfinches, Robin, Wren, Dunnock and Chaffinch.

Still plenty of insects about, Butterflies and Dragons in good numbers as well as Great Green Crickets still on show at the Warren and I also found a Elephant Hawk Moth Caterpillar on some Willowherb.

The lagoon at Yarner looking good but no birds at all, not even a duck which was a bit of a surprise. Also a sight that brought my blood pressure up was that some idiot had fly-tipped some rubbish in the car-park at Middle Tremblebere? What a moron!!

Met lots of people this last week, good to stop for a coffee with Dave B and chew the cud! Good to see Alan at the Warren as well as Phil, Steve and the volunteers, lots of people on Dartmoor all happy and pleased to be out in the fresh air.

03 September 2019


Had such a great afternoon and evening by the side of the River Otter yesterday. Arrived in Otterton and walked up river, loads of things to see with Dipper, Kingfisher, Yellow Wagtails, Wren, Robin, Dunnock, Blackbird and Long-tailed Tits around the river with Raven, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie and Buzzard flying over head. Further up river in a adjoining field that had been recently been cultivated there was large number of Corvids and Gulls working the field but also a flock of about 25 Wagtails that had a mixture of Pied, Yellow and White Wagtails.

The unfortunate bit about this walk was the large number of un controlled dogs, barking at me and being encouraged to enter the water sending ducks in all directions.

Returned to the road then went south and soon came across Trees that had been cut down by Beavers and you could see areas across the river where they had sat chewing on sticks, there was a couple of hours until sunset so I sat on the River Bank and watched the world go by, just bliss!

While I was sat quietly on the bank several electric blue flashes of Kingfishers flying up and down the River and just in front of me several Brown Trout swimming and jumping out of the water after flies.

Then about 7.15pm you could see branches move in the water and then there she was, she swam down river and retrieved a branch and brought it back to the lodge, when she returned you could see just one Kitt but then another. Sadly at this point it was getting too dark for pictures but you could still hear them chewing on the wood.

Just a fantastic end to a great day and it was nice to meet up with a guy from Devon Wildlife who was there and other watchers, especially some kids who got a great thrill out of seeing these amazing mammals.

01 September 2019

Weekends Fun

Had a great weekend out walking and with the camera, decided to go to a few places I had not been for a while.

Saturday I had planned to go to Seaton Wetlands and then to Alysbere in the afternoon but Seaton Marshes was so full of birds I stayed there most of the day. The weather was good interrupted a couple of times with a shower.

Plenty of birds on show with Osprey, Buzzard, Kestrel, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Jackdaw, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Knot, Bar and Black-tailed Godwit, Snipe, Little Egret, Little Stint, Common, Green and Curlew Sandpipers, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Green and Redshank, Ruff, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Mallard, Shelduck, Mute Swan, Coot, Moorhen, Herring, Black-headed, Lesser and Great-black Backed Gulls, Wren, Great and Blue Tits, Reed Bunting, Reed Warbler, Chaffinch and Willow Warbler.

Sunday was a unfortunately a late start down to me having too good a time Saturday night! Anyway eventually got down to East Soar car park in the South Hams, did a circular walk via the coastal path and Middle Soar.

Plenty of birds especially at the top of the valley, Carrion Crow, Raven, Woodpigeon, Buzzard, Skylark, Cirl Bunting, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher, Swallow, Stonechat, House Sparrow, Robin, Wren, Wheatear and a few Butterflies with Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Spotted Wood, Small Copper, Meadow Brown and Small White.

On the way home I went to Beesands,plenty of Goldfinch in the meadow as well as Magpie, Dunnock, Blackbird and Woodpigeon. On the ley Gadwell, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Great-crested Grebe, Coot and Mallard. Also noticed large area covered in weed.

Was going to look around Slapton but because I was late all the parking was taken so it was home for tea and biscuits!

Met lots of humans especially at Seaton Marshes, great to catch up with Steph and Rod Murphy amongst many other birders. Also good to see so many family s out walking around the reserve.

Walking around Soar was great as well, still lots of people about walking the coastal path, such a lovely area to be.

Although got lots of great pictures but still having issues with the camera although its more about me than the camera, cant seem to get the settings right.

Getting it focused when the subject is coming at you at speed, especially when the light is not great, still a learning curve!

30 August 2019

Out and About

This week in between domestic stuff, life and other such joyous things I managed to get out on few walks. A couple around Exminster Marshes, A walk from Powderham Church up the River Exe and a walk around little Holden in the woods.

While all the walks were very enjoyable not much about, probably the timing of my walk up the river didn't help as the tide was completely out and apart from Gulls, Mute Swans and the odd Oystercatcher not much to be seen, although a visit to the River Kenn Outflow did find a large number of birds with Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Oystercatcher, Greenshank, Redshank, Curlew, Cormorant, Little Egret, Mallard, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls.

Around Exminster Marshes there is still plenty of work going on, still wondering if they are going to cut down some of the trees to make observing better?

Plenty of Swallows, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Starling, Magpie, Coot, log-tailed, Great and Blue Tits, Willow Warbler, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Pied Wagtail, Wheatear and Kestrel seen over the visits.

Up on Holden did a long loop through the trees taking in both sides of the road, hadn't been here for a while and surprised by the number of dogs, must say all well behaved as their owners, there was 3 humans with about 20 dogs on leads and some running free, must be some dog walking service, anyway all happy and not causing any offence.

Saw a few birds but heard more than I saw, Raven Blue, Long-tailed and Coal Tits, Woodpigeon, Blackbird, Wren and Crossbills. While I was trying to pin point the Crossbills I was looking up and not looking where I was going, luckily I heard a "Hiss" and I looked down to see a Adder which stopped me in my tracks, luckily I had my camera out and got a few shots off before it slipped away.

Plenty of Butterflies and Dragons about especially Painted Ladies, some very worn and others that look like they are new.

Met lots of birders out, Steph and Rob Murphy, Dave B and many more, sorry I forget names, anyway all seem happy enough.

26 August 2019

50 up!

To my surprise I managed to get to 50 species of Butterflies this year, with being away so much this year thought I would miss a few.

Went to Fontmell Down today and managed to find Adonis Blue and Silver-spotted Skipper to make the 50.

Lots of other butterflies, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Large and Small White and Common Blue and beautiful flowers in stunning scenery making it a great visit!

25 August 2019

48 up

Well with a few Clouded Yellows, I got lucky today and saw a couple of female Long-tailed Blues on Pea plants on the west side of the River Axe, one was laying eggs.

In the picture you can see an egg by its front leg.

While the females were starting to look a little tatty there was apparently a very smart male about but I was unable to locate it, big thank you to Brian and his wife who pointed me in the right direction.

13 August 2019

Cornwall and Isles of Scilly

Drove down to Cornwall for the day and overnight stay before going to the Scilly Isles for the week.

Staying overnight at the Premier Inn in Camborne, but arrived a bit early so went to RSPB Hayle where I saw a few birds, Common Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Little Egret and a assortment of Gulls. Then off to Pendeen Look out via St Ives and the coastal road B3306 to watch the Choughs that are there. After I parked up I could hear the Choughs calling making finding them very easy, I was lucky enough to see 2 quite close to the Lighthouse, they are stunning birds especially the dark ruby red beaks, also a Kestrel put on a show hunting over the steep slopes.

Early start to get the Scillonian to the Scilly's. As I am away for a week I use the services of IOS parking, I park up on the outskirts in a secure site and they taxi me in and back again at the end of the trip, it works well.

It was a bit rough and the boat lived up to its nickname "The Sick bucket" and the sound and smell of people being sick was all around, I just sat downstairs and caught up on some sleep.

Staying on the Scilly's this time in Self Catering, in the past I've tried B&B, Hotel and the pub, decided to do something different and well impressed with where I am staying and looks like its going to be good value for money!

After settling in on Wednesday and getting the supplies in I went for a walk around the Island, I walked further than planned as the sign posts here all seem to say the same place but eventually got to my destination. The plan was to take in the "Lower Moors Nature Trail", "Rosehill Nature Garden", "Holy Vale Nature Trail" and the "Higher Moors Nature trail". Saw a good range of wildlife with plenty of House Sparrows, Collard Dove, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Wren, Dunnock, Starling, Blue Tit, Reed Warbler, Mallard, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Goldfinch and Swallows hawking over the fields. Plenty of flowers attracting insects especially Butterflies, found 10 species including one that was a new one for me this year a Clouded Yellow that just wouldn't settle for a picture.

Impressed with the good numbers of Butterflies especially around the southern part of Holy Vale Nature Trail, the flowers were just full of insects. Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Common and Holy Blue, Ringlet, Speckled Wood, Large and Small White and Gate Keeper. Not to mention all the Bees and Hoverflies!

Also saw some Dragons with Common Darter and what looked like at a distance Emperors but could have been a large Hawkers, difficult to id as they were flying on the other side of the pool.

Back in time to get ready for my first boat trip of the week at 5pm with Joe on the "Sapphire". Its a evening trip for fishing and birdwatching, we go out about 5 miles and drift for a couple of miles. Chum is used and this evening we had some good results with 6+ Wilson Storm Petrels as well as good numbers of European Storm Petrels, also Manx and Sooty Shearwaters seen. As you would expect good numbers of Herring, Lesser and Greater-black Backed Gulls, Fulmar and Sabines Gull flew by at a distance which was a bit frustrating. Gannets and a Great Skua that kept harassing the gulls around the boat looking for a easy meal.

We also saw Common Dolphins, Grey Seal and the fishing brought in a few fish and a Blue Shark that was released back to the ocean. Back to the harbour at 10pm in the dark and home for a nice cup of Tea!

Friday was not a very good weather wise, heavy rain and strong winds through the day and its a day where you find out how good your waterproofs are, my so called waterproof trousers are crap!

Still went out on the boat at 5pm, while the wind had dropped a bit but still 20 knots, the rain continued. Joe took us out to the Eastern side of the Islands where it was calmer but the sea was still lumpy and you had to hold on, a couple of watchers felt worse for wear but must admit I loved it! You cant beat being out in a rough sea especially when you have Storm petrels in touching distance of the boat, we had a steady stream of European Storm Petrels as well as several Wilsons Petrels joining, also Fulmar, Gannets, Manx Shearwaters, Great, Lesser-black Backed and Herring Gulls. We also had a visit from some Common Dolphins. Half way back the rain stopped and a fantastic sunset over the Eastern Islands.

To attract birds to the boat they start feeding the Gulls with bread almost straight away, this in turn attracts other birds. The boat acts like a Trawler with birds at the back, when they drift and "Chum" they put cut up fish into a red net bag, the fish look like they have been soaked in fish oil. the bag is put over the side and tied to the boat, fish oil is also dropped over the side to cause a slick.

The smell starts to bring in the Tubenose birds and the Fulmar don't take long to arrive, then the Storm Petrels start to arrive and work there way up the slick. They also put mealworms out to keep things like the Gulls interested to continue to attract other birds such as Gannet and Skuas.

Saturdays trip started at 11am and we were to return at 6pm, the harbour was very busy with holiday makers getting on boats to various islands around the archipelago, also the Scillonian had just come in, it being Saturday the ferry comes in twice a day so the harbour was hectic.

We left the harbour and headed south and went about 5-6 miles and drifted and chummed for a couple of hours, we were successful in attracting both European and Wilsons Storm Petrels, also Manx Shearwaters, Great Skua, Fulmars, Gannets and a good mix of Gulls to this point that had followed us out from the islands, Great and lesser-black Backed Gulls, Herring and Black-headed Gulls and a very smart Juvenile Yellow Legged Gull. from there we Steamed East and chumed, with the gulls following us we behaved like a trawler, we had plenty of European Storm Petrels, Manx and a couple of Sooty Shearwaters, couple of Great Skua constantly hassling the Gulls, Fulmars and Gannets also followed the Sapphire. When we got closer to the Islands we were also joined by Common Terns and in the Harbour Sandwich Terns flew over, also around the Islands we saw both Shags and Cormorants.

The Sea was quite lumpy and I found it very difficult to take any pictures of the Petrels as I found it almost impossible to focus on the fast moving birds, I have plenty of pictures of sea with black blurs speeding by.

8am start this Sunday, it was quite windy with 20+ knots wind so we went East and started to feed the gulls to bring other birds in, apart from Cormorant and Shags a flock of approx 20 Golden plover flew over, Herring, Great and lesser-black Backed Gulls, Kittiwake and Fulmar also joined the back of the back of the boat.

As we went out a feeding frenzy was spotted and we steamed towards it, the sea was quite lumpy making it difficult to stand but at least it was sunny and not raining. The number of birds here was in the vicinity of 1000 if you include all the Gulls, Fulmar, Manx Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwater, Gannets and Terns. These all were joined by a group of Common Dolphins.

We then steamed and chummed for a while until we came across a Juvenile Blonde headed Long tailed Skua, we had some great views down to Joe turning the boat around and going down the oil slick as the Skua was chasing the Storm Petrels, it passed the boat a couple of times giving some great opportunities for some great pictures. We stopped and drifted for a couple of hours and we managed to attract both European and Wilsons Storm Petrels, we also got lucky with a couple of sightings of Great Shearwaters that came to the back of the boat but didn't hang around. We sailed back via the south of the Islands being followed by Gulls all the way ending a great day.

Monday morning was spent on the Sea Quest which is a 30ft passenger boat with a glass bottom, Jo the skipper took us from St Marys to the Eastern Islands, she stopped the boat several times to look through the windows showing some fantastic views of Kelp, Thongweed and the very rare Sea Grass, plenty of small fish and even a Atlantic Grey Seal come to have a look. We paid a visit to many of the smaller Islands which had several groups of Grey Seals that hauled themselves up on the rocks, we were also visited by several Seals who came to people watch, saw several birds with Shag, Fulmar, Oystercatcher, Turnstone and Lesser-black Backed Gulls.

At 5pm it was time to go on the Sapphire for another evening pelagic, tonight we went south for about 6 miles before stopping and drifting, it already appears to be a quiet night for birds, even the gulls were down in numbers. While we were drifting there was only a few European Storm Petrels and no sign of Wilson Petrels. We then started to steam back when in the distance a Feeding Frenzy, when we arrived there was only about 100 birds involved, mainly Gannets and Manx Shearwaters with a pod of Common Dolphins. It quickly finished and we moved off, the sea state was quite lumpy and I went off my feet and landed on the deck, thankfully me and my camera where unhurt, we got back to St Marys in the dark and home for Tea.

Tuesday morning I went to Tresco on the Seahorse at 10am and returned at 2.15pm on the same boat. We arrived at New Grimsby Quay on the Western side of Tresco, I then walked to Old Grimsby Quay on the East Side of the island, I then walked down the coastal path on the East Side of the island giving great views of St Martins and the Eastern Islands and then into the Abbey Gardens, plenty of stunning plants here including some very attractive trees.

There is also here 100+ Red Squirrels and 10+ pairs of Golden pheasant and the males just look stunning in their colourful plumage. Stopped for a drink in the café and was amazed by the tame birds including a pair of Song Thrush and Blackbird.

While I was there had a look around the "Valhalla figurehead" Museum which is always worth a look, also there is a lot of Art and sculptures here, the gardens are a great place to walk around and are a regular fix for some culture for me. Took the "Seahorse" back to St Marys from the southern most Quay at Carn Near.

At 5pm took they last boat trip for this week at the Scilly's, its a combined Birdwatching and Fishing trip. All the usual gulls, Fulmar, Shag, Gannets, Great Skua, Manx and Sooty Shearwater, European and Wilson Storm Petrels, we also saw a wader fly-by the front and side of the boat, I did not identify the species but I was reliably informed it was a Grey Pharalope plenty of fish and 2 Blue Shark were caught and the Sharks were very quickly released back into the sea, we also saw at least 6 Blue Finned Tuna close to the boat. Home again in the dark which I loved, it gives a whole different perspective on the environment, great to see the stars and planets on show.

After a walk around the Island on Wednesday sadly it was time to leave the Islands for another year.

Staying in Self Catering was a great move, probably had the most relaxing time ever with not having to worry about anybody else, eating what and when I like has been brilliant!

Seen lots of great stuff and meet some nice people, I defiantly made the most of this week and do enjoy the Pelagic experience especially when its rough!!Big thank you to Bob Flood for the organizing and to Skipper Joe Pender for his skill in maneuvering the boat in interesting conditions!

12 August 2019

Dawlish Warren

Spent the day at the Warren, fairly quiet coming through the woods and Greenland lake until I came to the end when I came across a small flock of Linnet and a few Stonechats. One bird was so black I thought it was a Black Redstart until it turned around and you could see it was some sort of Stonechat, asked around and it came back that it was a well worn male Stonechat in moult. Never seen one so black so a new one for me!

Went on the beach and lots of small waders on the tideline with Dunlin, Turnstone and Sanderling, some looked stunning in their summer plumage. Also off shore some noisy Sandwich Terns, around the estuary mouth and on Bull Hill hundreds of Gulls with Black-headed, Herring and both Lesser and Greater-black Backed Gulls. A few Cormorants and Oystercatchers here as well.

Around the bite and in front of the hide there was Pied Wagtail, Starling, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Wheatear, Linnet, Swallow, Oystercatcher, Whimbrel, Mute Swan, Redshank, Knot, Curlew, Cormorant, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Turnstone, Sandwich, Common and Black terns, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, also a Peregrine Falcon put in a couple of passes while I was there.

it wasn't the highest of tides but it was enjoyable to sit in the hide and watch the birds get closer, a good range of species as well!

11 August 2019

Exminster Marshes

Did a circular walk around Exminster Marshes today and fairly quiet which I suppose you would expect for this time of year.

The work continues to make some scrapes and extend the lagoon which should make things look interesting in the winter. But are they going to sort the viewing platform out on the canal bank and are they going to trim back some of the bushes that hide the scrapes? If they are not going to do that why not put them more in the centre?

Anyway around the reserve saw plenty of Swallows and House Martins hawking for flies especially over the hedges on the back path and railway line.

Plenty of Herring and Black-headed Gulls sat on the pasture also Pheasant, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Kestrel, Cormorant, Dunnock, Wren and good numbers of Goldfinch.

At Turf there was Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Black-tailed Godwits, some in Summer plumage, Turnstone, Dunlin, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Little Egret, Redshank, Linnet and Cormorant.

Plenty of Butterflies, Dragons and a few Lizards out of the wind.

A few humans about and I was the only one looking interested in wildlife, all seemed happy enough though.

09 August 2019

All over the place

This last week in between visiting friends, family and shopping I have managed to fit a bit of bird watching in, down in the South Hams, Somerset and Topsham.

Tuesday saw me down in the South Hams and managed to spend a hour in the hide at Beesands, plenty of Gulls on the beach as was down the Torcross Line with Black-headed, Herring, Great and Lesser black-backed Gulls on the beach and in rafts on the sea.

Not that many on the Ley at Beesands, some Great crested Grebes, Moorhen, Coot, Mute Swans, Canada Geese, a few ducks with Mallard, Tufted, Gadwell and Shoveler. Around the Ley there was Magpie, Woodpigeon and a vocal Green Woodpecker. Both Swallow and House Martins Hawking over the water.

Wednesday was a early start off to Somerset, first stop was Greylake and a walk around the reed beds, plenty of Reed Warblers, a large Tit flock consisting of Blue Great and Long-tailed Tits, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Dunnock, Woodpigeon, Cettis Warbler, Magpie, Raven, Buzzard, Little Grebe, Little and Great White Egrets, Grey Heron, Moorhen, Water Rail and Herring Gull. The Reed Beds are still quite high and sure there is a few ducks hidden among them.

Next stop was Catcott lows which was very quiet with only a Grey Heron in the pools. Then off to Shapwick and walked to Decoy Hide from the top entrance. The lake here reminds me of what Stover looked like before they ruined it, covered in Yellow Lilly's, just a stunning sight, especially with Glastonbury Tower in the background.

Plenty of ducks with Gadwell, Mallard, Tufted, Pochard and a Shoveler, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Little Egret and a fly over Marsh Harrier. A couple of Swallows and a Sand Martin hawking over the water. Loads of Dragons, Butterflies, Bees and Flies that bite as you would expect here.

Then off for a Bacon and Sausage roll at the cafe at the Avalon centre before going to the other end of Shapwick at Ashcroft Corner. Did a circular walk from the car park going down the newish board walk and taking in a few of the new bird hides at Noah's and 70 acres. plenty of Mute Swans, Robin, Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Little Egret, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Coot, Moorhen, Wigeon, Mallard, Gadwell, Lesser black Backed and Herring Gulls, Blackbird, Raven, and a small flock of Long-tailed Tits. Didn't get to go to Ham as I ran out of time and the weather was deteriorating so off to see my Brother and his wife for Tea and Biscuits.

After doing a bit of shopping in Exeter went to Bowling Green Marsh and the bird hide. Must say how much better the atmosphere is here, it used to be full of grumpy middle and older aged men who used to think they were the "Bees and Ees"and the place belonged to them. Well today it was full of families and a few dogs, yes there was a bit of noise but even with all the windows open it didn't effect the birds one bit and it was nice to see everybody helping each other which used to be unheard of.

Plenty of Canada Gees which seems normal at this time of year, Black-tailed Godwits, Teal, Shoveler, Gadwell, Mallard, Wimbrel, Curlew, Shelduck, Mute Swan, Common Sandpiper, House Martin, Swallow, Goldfinch, Lapwing, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw and Woodpigeon.

Met lots of humans and all seem happy enough, long may it continue!

04 August 2019

Dunsford Meadows

While on Dartmoor today I spent some time in Dunsford Meadows.

Slow start as it was a bit cloudy but when the sun eventually came out it brought everything to life, looks like people had been about cutting the bracken down making paths.

Nice range of Butterflies, Peacock, Red Admiral, Ringlet, Holly Blue, Small White, Gate Keeper, Meadow Brown, Small-pearl Boarded Fritillary and a Brown Hairstreak flying around the top of one of the trees in the middle of the meadow, typically wouldn't settle for a photo like the one I saw at Alners Gorse.

Interestingly I haven't seen a Silver Washed Fritillary here this year, even though I have visited several times. Normally its a good place to see them?

Seen lots of humans today and as normal they leave their driving skills behind when they arrive on Dartmoor!

02 August 2019

Dawlish Warren

Everything went to plan this morning and managed to get to Dawlish Warren to see the sun come up at 5.45am which as always is quite special.

Also what was important was getting there early enough to get to the hide before being cut off by the tide, you now have to walk right up to the beach, scramble up the dune then walk back on yourself to get to the hide, iam sure the locals have worked out a short cut using the golf course but I suppose it keeps you fit!

A few birds at the back of the hide, mostly Linnet but a Reed Warbler flitting along the hedge between the reserve and the golf course.

Sat downstairs in the hide and watched the tide come in, quite a high tide at 4m so hoping for a few birds on the island, it took a little time but plenty of Terns arrived and sat down, mostly Sandwich but at least 3 Common Terns as well. Several Curlew and Whimbrel put in brief appearances, as did Redshank, Greenshank, Ringed Plover, Dunlin and 4 summer plumaged Grey Plover which flew around the island.

Also Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Little Egret, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Cormorant, Oystercatcher, Carrion Crow, Swallow, Starling, Magpie and best of all a Stone Curlew!

I saw a text put out, I think by Ivan that it was on Finger Point, I could see a group of people watching the birds in there scopes and had fun trying to id them, apart from Ivan there was Lee and Dave B amongst others. Walked over and thanks to all who pointed it out and allowed me to use their scopes. I did managed to get some distant pictures which was a bit of a result, the bird then flew off Finger Point to half way across the Bite and was still there when I left.

Lots of humans about and all happy and friendly, some I dont your names and some I have already mentioned also Dave S, Phil and Steve.

01 August 2019

Exminster and Powderham Marshes

Wednesday saw me at Exminster and today at Powderham Marshes, to those who dont know Powderham Marshes, its on the other side of the Railway Line and the entrance is behind the Swan pub. Lots of people think Powderham Marsh is next to the River Kenn by the Castle but that is the Deer Park.

Work is being carried out on Exminster Marshes to dig out more scrapes and more water areas. I know when they did this work at Bowling Green it didn't go down well as some pointed out that the islands sides were to steep and there was too much water etc etc etc! Iam no expert so I will see what happens this winter and reserve judgment on both Exminster and Bowling Green.

Back to the birds, although very little on the reserve because of the work, plenty in the air with Swift, Swallow and House Martins hawking over the hedges,trees and Canal. Also seen Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Magpie, Starling, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Blackbird, Wren, Blue Tit and a few Canada Geese.

In and around Turf there was tame Muscovy Ducks, Mute Swan, Swallows, Black-tailed Godwits, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Shelduck, Cormorant, Black-headed and Herring Gulls.

Today at Powderham it was quite quiet, Swallows, House Martins, House Sparrows, Sedge Warblers, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Carrion Crows, Goldfinch, Great and Blue Tits, Grey Heron, 50+ Canada geese, Mallard, Pheasant and a fly over Buzzard.

No Dragons but 8 species of Butterflies seen, lots of flowers and a joy to walk around both these Reserves.

30 July 2019


Had to go to Exeter today, so took my camera so that I go on to Topsham for a look around.

Parked up in "Mary Arches" car Park on the top floors and got some great views of the Peregrines flying around, sadly a bit far away for the camera, but still great to watch.

After I got my stuff done off to Darts Farm to park up and walk down the Cycle Track, past Goosemoor, in the hide, the view point over the Clyst and the Goat walk looking over the Exe.

The tide was out so a lot of the birds were at a distance, certainly there seemed to be a lot of both Redshank and Greenshank about, Curlew dotted about the mud banks and a few Godwit and Dunlin spread over all places.

Plenty of Black-headed Gulls, but couldn't find any Mediterranean Gulls. Herring Gulls of all ages, especially off the Goat Walk. Plenty of Ducks from the hide but many of them seemed to be in "Eclipse" and I find identifying these birds something I struggle with.

Moorhen, Coot, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Carrion Crow, Buzzard, Swallow, House Martin, Robin, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Mute Swan and 50+ Canada Geese in front of the hide also seen.

A real joy was to watch a Grass Snake in the Pond by the hide at Bowling Green, looked like it was chasing Tadpoles, a real privilege to see this!

28 July 2019

Powderham Church and Exminster Marshes circular.

Managed to get out late morning which is the first time this weekend as life getting in the way!

Parked up close to the Church at Powderham, the bells were ringing and the car park was full, not sure if thats Church goers or people walking. The bells sounded good and loud but still could hear birds singing, especially a Blackbird that was going for it stood on a Gravestone trying to out do the bells! House Martins that are nesting in the Lodge were busy, but the Rookery seemed empty and all the birds have left for the fields.

Along the fields towards Turf plenty of Swallows and House Martins hawking over the pasture, Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Goldfinch, Pheasant and a Buzzard loafing about in the air.

On the Exe, plenty of mud as the tide was out, a few waders about with Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Redshank, Greenshank, Curlew and Black-tailed Godwit, also Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Little Egret, Black-headed , Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls of all ages. Also along the wall and close by Carrion Crows, Rooks, Pied Wagtail and a flock of about 50 Starling.

Fairly quiet around the reserve and canal, plenty of Gulls sat on the pasture, mainly Black-headed but some Herring Gulls, Wood pigeon and a single Stock Dove. A Cettis Warbler with a Juv flew between bushes I passed on the canal track, Swallows, House Martins, Pied Wagtails, Starling, Carrion Crow, Rook and a Grey Heron was all that was on offer on the bird front.

Eight species of Butterflies with a few Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Peacock, Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper, Speckled Wood, Small White and Comma.

One of the joys today was to see so many happy people, walkers, runners, cyclists, dog walkers, fishermen on the canal, families, kids and the older generation. Just great to be out with everybody and to meet up with Ian, the only other person interested with the bird population. hahaha

25 July 2019

46 Up

Spent a couple of days in Dorset chasing Butterflies in this glorious weather. Spending time in Alners Gorse, Maiden Castle, Touts Quarry and High Angle Battery on Portland.

4 new species with Chalkhill Blue, Grayling, Essex Skipper and a flighty Brown Hairstreak who wouldn't settle for a photo.

Also saw 18 other species with Peacock, Red and White Admiral, Large and Small Skipper, Ringlet, Small and Large White, Brimstone, Purple Hairstreak, Gatekeeper, Speckled Wood, Marble White, Common Blue, Comma, Small Heath and Small Copper.

Met some great Butterfly enthusiasts, full of knowledge and great company!

21 July 2019


Today I planned to go up early on the moor as the weather was supposed to be good, but when I woke up it was grey and drissle which is not what it said in the forecast! So decided to go for breakfast at the Holden Grill (very nice too) and go on from there hoping that the clouds would clear.

Went up through Widdicombe and up onto the moor and did a slow circular drive until I got to Challacombe farm and parked up.

On route saw plenty of birds, all the Corvids, Raven, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Jay and Magpie, Woodpigeon, Stockdove, Pied Wagtail, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Robin and a flock of 100+ Starling on a grass field that was flushed by something.

At Challacombe I did a circular walk around the farm, there was a meeting there but not sure who they were but thankfully not in a area I wanted to go. I sat down and I wasn't disappointed, its an area I had noted before and sure enough Redstart and Spotted Flycatcher very quickly in view, there was a couple of Juv Redstart as well as a smart male. The Flycatcher was catching flies and taking it to a bush near by where there was at least 1 Juv waiting for food. Also Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff, Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Linnet and Robin close by. Plenty of Swallows and House Martins, Blackbirds, Mistle thrushes and some noisy Ravens flying over.

Drove up to Headland Warren and parked up and walked to the farm, a bit breezy and the Bracken was quite overgrown and not easy to see anything sat on rocks but did see Adult and Juv Wheatear, Stonechat, Winchat and Meadow Pipit.

Very enjoyable session on Dartmoor, got back to Dawlish as the event on the lawn was winding down so took some time to park up, did pop down to see the old cars on show, the Cortina Mk1 brought back memories of my youth and we will leave it there!!

20 July 2019

Out and About

This last week all my plans went out of the window about going to Dorset to chase some more butterflies, sadly life got in the way so ended up staying in Devon and managed to do three good walks.

First one was from Powderham Church, up the River Exe and did a circular walk around Exminster Marshes and back to the car, the second was I parked up at the top of Emsworthy Mire, I walked across the reserve and hoped to get cuppa at the mobile cafe at Hound Tor but typically for me it wasn't there, so turned around and returned to the car by the road. On my third walk I parked up at Darts Farm, walked down the cycle track to Goosemoor and then on to the hide, after a short stop here I went to the viewing point on the Cylst, then the Goat Walk and back to Darts Farm via Monmouth Street and the main road.

Typically for this time of year not that much about, a Osprey on the far side of the Exe, plenty of Shelduck and young on the Exe.

Waders look like they are building up around Topsham with good numbers of Redshank, Dunlin, Curlew and Godwits, many still in breeding plumage.

Saw 10 species of Butterfly but didn't see any Dragons , just a few Damselflies which was a surprise, especially at Emsworthy.

Good to catch up with Dave B and Dave H amongst many others on my travels.

14 July 2019

Lyme Bay Boat Trip

Out for a four hour trip into Lyme Bay organised by Nigel S on the "Optimist" skippered by Nigel L. As normal the boat leaves Brixham with 12 souls including the captain after the usual safety checks and talk.

The sea was a bit choppy, especially around Berry Head, but calmed down considerably the further we headed out. At about 8 miles out we started to "Chum". On the way out we had already seen Balearic and Manx Shearwaters but around the boat it was mainly gulls with Herring, Lesser and Greater-black Backed Gulls, Fulmar, Kittiwake and several Gannets.

Around Berry Head we saw several Mediterranean Gulls both on the way out as well as coming in.

A few Guillemots sat on the water as well as Shag and Cormorants sat around the harbour and coast, others saw some Scooter but I missed these, one thing I didn't miss was a pod of 10+ Common Dolphin which gave a show around the boat, also some distant views of 3 Harbour Porpoise.

Great to meet up with everybody and a very enjoyable trip.

11 July 2019

42 Up

Since coming back from Svalbard I've been trying to catch up with the Butterflies.

So this last 7 days I've been to 13 areas known to me over the 5 Counties of Devon, Dorset, Somerset, Hampshire and Wiltshire.

The reserves/areas were Dawlish W, Haldon, Aish Tor, Arne RSPB, Durlston CP, Corfe Castle and car parks, Martin Down in Hampshire, Badbury Rings, Bentley Wood, Alners Gorse, Dunsford Meadows, Ashcliffe Forest and Collard Hill.

New for this year are Purple Emperor, White Admiral, White Letter Hairstreak, Purple Hairstreak, Large Blue, Silver-studded Blue, Ringlet, Small Skipper, Ludworth Skipper, Gate Keeper, Silver-washed Fritillary, High-brown Fritillary, Dark-green Fritillary and Marbled White.

Also saw in varying numbers Small-pearl-bordered Fritillary, Meadow Brown, Small White, Green-veined White, Large White, Red Admiral, Painted Lady, Small Heath, Common Blue, Comma, Brimstone, Small Copper and Speckled Wood.

Some wouldn't sit for a photo such as the White Admirals at Ashcliffe and Alners Gorse and a Purple Emperor just flew around my car at Bentley Wood and then flew to the top of the trees with a few others. Some like the Large Blue were quite worn.

Met lots of nice people and its been fun stood in meadows of flowers talking about butterflies and flowers, also nice to be in Ashcliffe Forest and not see a single human for 2+ hrs.

Been to these Reserves before with the exception of Durlston CP and as my first visit I was very impressed with the Butterflies and Wild Flowers, this wont be my only visit as I expect I will be back!

Going to try and get some more next week if the weather holds out.

Still missing Greyling which might need a journey to the coastal footpath in the South Hams, also Essex Skipper, Chalkhill Blue as well as a few Migratory Butterflies such as Clouded Yellow. Lets hope the weather is ok for next week.

Iam a bit behind last year and dont think I will catch up as I've missed things like Glanville Fritillary but there is always next year!

21 June 2019

Longyearbyen, Svalbard and Cruise.

Arrived safely, although I thought I might get some issues with the train strike, but thankfully it was a different line. I started Wednesday on the train from Dawlish then getting the fast train to Paddington from Exeter which only stopped at Reading, it was a much better journey than I expected, while the train was busy it wasn't crowded. Then getting the Heathrow Express straight to Terminal 5 at Heathrow.

Stayed overnight at the massive Premier Inn which was very cosmopolitan with all the air crew, at breakfast they were talking about all the far away places they were going, must be a great job!

Got a taxi to Terminal 2 to catch the plane flown by SAS to Oslo which was packed with construction and other workers on their way home from working in the UK for the week, a very happy affair! A short wait at Oslo then another SAS plane to Longyearbyen. Arrived 2 Am with the sun shinning over the snow covered mountains, stunning views from the plane. Getting excited!!

On the way back from the airport on the bus my first Artic Fox, not the White but its summer colours of Grey and White, still looked stunning!

Stayed first night at Mary-Anns Polarrigg in Longyearbyen which looked like a frontier hide out, but very comfortable. The staff here were just great and very helpful getting me settled and telling me the places to go around town. While having breakfast saw Snow Buntings and Artic Skua within 25 ft. Typically no camera

Friday and I have moved to the very swanky "Radisson Blu" waiting for the rest of the group to arrive to get on the boat tomorrow. Its a bit up market to what I am used too, especially the food, it tasted great but way too frilly for me, give me steak anytime! But again here the staff were really great and helpful.

Enjoyed walking around Longyearbyen, the town is a mixture of Scandinavian type housing and the rectangular industrial type buildings, lots of colour, 100s of Snow mobiles and Snow ploughs parked up read for the winter months. Did some tourist stuff and visit to some great museums. Longyearbyen has a rich history and very much linked to Mining, Whaling and Polar Expeditions which can be seen all over town.

Amazed to see so much stuff around the buildings, especially Reindeer! Also saw over my time around Longyearbyen plenty of Eider both adults and chicks, Artic Tern, Gaucious Gull, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Purple Sandpiper, Snow Buntings, Barnical and Pink-Legged Goose Long-tailed Ducks and Black Guillemot. I also saw a pair of Artic Skua chase off 4 Reindeer from close to their nest, a sight to see, I did try to get some pics but will have to wait to see what they look like on the computer. Easily overlooked was the Artic Flowers which were dotted around the place. Some of the views from Longyearbyen are just stunning. It being high summer there is plenty of snow free areas, you couldn't get boats here without the inlets and coastal areas being free of ice and snow. It is very warm in the sun, but you go in the shade and you defiantly realise you are in the artic circle.

Was interesting seeing guides walking around with rifles, apparently you are not allowed to leave the town without one. There are signs at the town boundaries warning about Bears and not to proceed. There are some great activities here such as Dog sledding, Rib safaris and use of Electric bikes for use on the 25 kg of trails that are around. Wish I had given myself more time before the cruise, good excuse to come back.

Saturday embarked for the cruise on the "Sea Spirit", which is a Russian owned boat with 72 crew, 13 Expedition staff and about 100 passengers. The boat is 297 ft long and 50 ft wide, quiet a cosy boat really. I am sharing a room with two other guys, both turned out to be great fun which helped in a small room.

One from China and another from Italy, there was at least 15 nationalities on board, I thought I was the only Brit on board but it turned out there was 9 of us, we just seem to be the quiet ones taking it all in!

The crew were great and always on call, the food was just never ending and will have to go on a serious diet when I get back!

We were kitted out with a Parka which we could take home afterwards and some great boots which sadly we had to leave behind. Done a escape drill which was a laugh but serious at the same time!

We also talked about the activities, landings and use of the Zodiacs. I thought this was very well managed and organised.

Before the guests left the ship a scouting party would check the shore for bears and the guides would set up a perimeter, they were armed with a Flare Gun and a Rifle which would be a very last resort, if a Polar bear turned up hopefully the use of a Flare would frighten it off. Very strict on Life Jackets, no more than 10 to a boat with a driver and procedures for getting on and off the boat.

I noticed that always walking Poles, First Aid and safety equipment was always ready at the landing site before the guests arrived, clearly well thought out and practiced.

The Zodiacs were an important tool for the ship to get guests and crew on and off the ship, there was 12 of them and stored on the back of the boat, the ships crew were very slick in their job and seemed always to be call and have the Zodiacs in the water ASAP. The boats themselves felt very safe to be in but sat on one for over a hour on a tour gave you a soar backside, this was often compensated by seeing great wildlife or stunning scenery!

There was also a group of Kayaks, 8 guests and 2 Guides who tried to go out every day but because of the weather this didn't always happen, one trip they had Beluga Whales surface next to them which must have been such a fantastic experience

Doing this type of trip in such a wild place as Svalbard you are going to be at the mercy of the elements, Christian the Expedition Leader spoke to the group about the ice sheet which had moved south so we had to change direction from the original plan as the boat was not a Ice Breaker and couldn't touch the ice sheet, so a move south and look at the East coast first to see what we could find. Plenty of other stuff to see and already the boat is surrounded with Fulmars, tried to take some pictures of this fast moving bird was fun as normal. Have been experimenting with the settings all day and hope I have it sorted as there is a lot of white here!

Sunday went south along the west coast of Svalbard and around the southern point and up a stretch of water called "Storfjorden" to Kapp Lee, which is a old whaling station used by several groups, but especially the "Pomors" who were people who lived on the coast of the White Sea in Northern Russia and remains of Walrus are everywhere. Although these animals were almost driven to extinction they have made a come back and we had the privilege of seeing about 40 Atlantic Walrus on the beach, and another 2 swimming just amazing! They are the smallest of the 3 species of Walrus in the Artic Circle, the other two are Pacific and the Leptov which is on the Russian northern coast, to be honest these Walrus look big enough for me! They can get up to 11.5ft and weigh up to 1.5 Tonnes.

It was great to get off the boat, there was concern as it had been foggy all day and visibility was poor but after a safety briefing we went out on the Zodiacs which was fun. Getting on and off the beach was easier than I thought it would be. While here we also saw Reindeer, Artic Skua and Artic Tern, Kittiwake, Fulmar and Black Guillemot

When we got back we got a great talk from Christian the team leader on the European Walrus-fascinating stuff!

Overnight the boat sailed northwards to the ice sheet so we could see the "Negribreen" Glacier, first thing the fog cleared but later on it came back but patchy and we were still able to get on the Zodiacs and explore this area.

Saw some stunning blue Ice Burgs which are the ones that have come from the Glacier and some flat white ones which are Sea Ice. Also while we were there a "Calving" took place, don't ask me why its called this but its where a large lump of ice falls off the Glacier wall and forms an Ice Burg. Amazing thing to witness!

The Glacier itself is "Surging" which means its traveling a lot faster than normal, it was really atmospheric traveling through the ice. There was a large area of "Brash" ice which is the smaller stuff in amongst the larger Burgs, made a big bang when they hit the bottom of the boat.

Before dinner we had 3 great talks about, "Polar Psycholog"y "Perma Frost! and "Plate tectonics and the origins of the North Atlantic ridge" from three different guides. All these talks are about trying to help you understand the Artic, I got a lot from these and worth going to.

After dinner had a look out on the water from the boat while we were still and saw a Great Skua and a small flock of King Eider, shame they were a distance as the quality of the pic was poor as the camera kept focusing on the water and not the birds.

Tuesday after sailing overnight back south past the sourthern tip again and up the west coast to "Hornsund", the sourthern most Fjord in Spitzbergen, its almost 30Km long and 10 KM wide. Off the boat went for a walk around the shore at "Gnalodden". Plenty of birds flying around with Puffin, Guillemots, Little Auk, Kittiwake, Artic Skua, Artic Tern, Barnacle geese and some impressive Glaucous Gulls, plenty of stunning Artic Flowers and a old trappers hut from the early 1900`s plus as always some stunning views!

In the afternoon we sailed further up the Hornsund and parked up to the Glacier "Samarinbrean". The group split in two, one went for a hike above the Fjord looking down on us in the boats, I joined a group having a look around on the Zodiacs, the Glacier looked stunning and there was several "Calvings" small but impressive ones! The noise was impressive as well and something I wasn't expecting. Plenty of Fulmar, Kittiwakes and Black Guillemots on the water but best of all was 6-7 Beluga Whales which swam around the Zodiacs, we only saw humps unlike those above us who got some great views, but such a impressive sight especially the white one, the rest were more of a grey colour, what a privilege that was! I've been in a boat before around Whales and Dolphins and it never ceases to excite me.

Later 31 very mad passengers did a "Polar Plunge" followed by some of the staff, where they jumped into the fjord attached to a rope, absolutely mad but fun to watch, I stayed well away on one of the higher decks so I didn't get pulled in! When everybody got warmed up we had a excellent talk on Beluga Whales.

Overnight again the boat moved to "Bellsund" which is further north and two trips organised for today, the morning found us at "Bamsebu", saw the sad sight piles of Beluga Whale bones on the beach, but it important to put these into context and history of a by gone era, also to add to the history an old trappers hut. Also found remains of a Juvenile Polar Bear, most of the remains have gone except for a very impressive paw, it might be a Juvenile but you would know it if it hit you with it! More great Tundra Flowers which I continue to me amazed by these stunning little plants and how they survive in this harsh environment, Reindeer, Artic Fox, Artic Skua, Artic Tern, Fulmar and Kittiwakes.

It was though sad to find plastic washed up on the beach as well as a Blue plastic bag, bloody stuff gets everywhere. There are constant clean ups here but most of it gets dragged up here on the Gulf Stream.

In the afternoon we went to a very impressive Little Auk colony, absolutely thousands of them, being raided on a regular occurrence by Glaucous Gulls which would try and grab a bird sat on the rocks, this would put the Auks up in clouds of noisy chatter. I have seen these birds before, a tiny thickset, short-billed Auk, but always at a distance on the east coast of England but never this close. The colony is amongst loose rocks of the mountain side, the nests are deep inside the rocks safe from predators and as I have said before 1000`s of them, smart looking bird with plenty of character.

We also saw an Arctic Fox and its Kit walking among the rocks looking for a meal, they were well camouflaged and difficult to see at times. I wasn't sure what the sex of the adult was but on one of my pics you can clearly see its a Dog Fox.

We had a great talk by the guest speaker tonight, it was Robert Calcagno who is the CEO of the Oceanic institute of Monaco talking about "Protecting the Ocean". It was a treat to spend time with Robert and his wife Beatrice around the Dinner table and on activities.

Traveled further North to "Krossfjorden" to see the "14 July Glacier" which was named by some French Explorers after Bastille Day.

At Breakfast time there was a announcement that 3 Polar Bears were swimming in front of the boat, as you can imagine this cleared the dinning room to go outside and what a fantastic sight, a mum and 2 cubs swimming across the Fjord which was about 2-3 miles. Polar Bears can swim for several hours at a time so this was a gentle paddle! The Captain stopped the boat to allow them to go unimpeded, what a sight, this was the first wild Polar Bears I've seen and a sight I will never forget!

The Bears had landed on the shore that we were supposed to land to view the Glacier, so we stayed in the Zodiacs instead and by the time we arrived the Bears were traveling up the hill and over the top out of view. We stayed in the Zodiacs and went to the face of the Glacier, there was several small "calving's" and the sounds, sights and smells I don't think I could describe here, you would need to be there to understand. Its such a spectacular glacier as all of them are, was told that there is 2100 Glaciers on Svalbard and they cover 60% of the Archipelago. We also saw a Harbour Seal, Black and Brunnicks Guillemot's, Glaucous Gulls, Kittiwakes, Eider Ducks, Artic Skuas, Artic Terns and Puffins.

In the afternoon, we went up the "Kongsfjorden" to NY-Alesund, which is also called the "Green research communit"y. Its located almost 79 degrees North and the worlds most northerly permanent settlement. Words cant explain the stunning beauty of the scenery, just amazing!

Ny-Alesund was originally a mining community established in 1916, but today its a center for international arctic scientific research and environmental monitoring. The buildings and infrastructure are owned and run by the Norwegian state but there are 12 research stations here representing 10 different countries working together.

Lots of history here with arctic explorers most notably Roald Amundsen was a Norwegian explorer of polar regions and a key figure of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration.

He led the first expedition to traverse the Northwest Passage in 1906 and the first expedition to the South Pole in 1911. He led the first expedition proven to have reached the North Pole in 1926. He disappeared while taking part in a rescue mission for the airship Italia in 1928.

The remains of the tower that held a hot air balloon for arctic exploration is still here.

While on the boat I was lucky to see a Red-throated Diver fly by.

Before Dinner we had 3 great talks on Artic Terns, Puffin and the history of Explorers that went to the pole in a balloon.

Friday we arrived at the ice sheet at the furthest North West point of Svalbard, we were trying to get to "Smeerenbord" or "Blubber Town" were there are remains of blubber ovens and other historical items from a previous age. The weather was harsh, -1, 30 mile wind, sea ice, mist and "Katabatic wind". We were at 79.44 degrees North and about 700 miles from the North Pole and you couldn't get much more Artic than this, it was great to experience it and I don't know how the Whalers and Trappers survived up here 200 years ago without the equipment we have today?

On top of all this a call went up from the bridge that 2 Polar Bears were on the ice, although distant they were unmistakable and what a sight walking in different directions keeping away from each other. The decision was made that those that wanted to could get into the Zodiacs for a look around as long as we put the layers on, the Parker we had been given proving its worth. Several Seals were seen, Harp and Bearded Seals, sadly I was unable to get a picture. Because the Bears had moved away we were able to step onto the ice sheet which was something special. Even in these conditions we still saw Artic Terns Glaucous Gulls, Little Auks, Brunnicks Guillemots and Eider Duck.

We had a excellent talk and slide show from Christian the team leader on Polar Bears before lunch.

After lunch we tried to land at "Gravnesodden" but the weather conditions were just too dangerous to get into the Zodiacs, the wind was gusting up to 41 nots which could have turned the boats over. The scenery was stunning though and the cloud formations were spectacular, some good views of "Lenticular Clouds", Glacial Mist as well as a few Walrus, Fulmars, Little Auks, Black and Brunnick Guillemots.

Because of the windy weather we moved further South to a more sheltered spot, a small cove out of the wind, a stunning place to get off the ship for a walk, several Harbour Seals on the rocks, Little Auks, Puffin, Brunnicks Guillemot, Pink-footed Geese, Glaucous Gulls and loads of interesting plants. Just amazes me how these survive in this harsh environment.

We had talks on Sea Ice, Seals and the history around some of the explorers which was very interesting, an area I didn't know much about.

Overnight the ship sailed south and then up the channel to land at "Poolepynten which is on "Prins Karls Forland". We were going to see the Walrus that had hauled themselves up on the beach. The guides had put some flags up to give us guidance about how close to get and we just stayed silent, they seemed quite happy with us and several swam up to us to give us the once over, could watch these stunning animals all day and so comical! There was also Artic Tern nesting here which also attacked some of the guests when they went off track, cant say you weren't told! Also a few Purple Sandpipers, Kittiwakes and Fulmars. Fantastic morning!

While crossing "Forlandsundet" to our final landing at "Alkhornet" Whales were seen, at least 3 Humpbacks and at least 1 Blue Whale, the place just keeps giving, amazing sight, there's just something magical about Whales!

Once we had landed we had a good walk around, so many Arctic Flowers, I think as I took so many Flower Pictures I will have to do another post to do them justice!

Also saw Reindeer, Arctic Skua, Kittiwakes, Puffin, Brunnichs Guillemots and Glaucous Gulls.

It was good to sit down on a rock and actually tot up what I had seen this last week, my list is Polar Bears, Atlantic Walrus, Reindeer, Arctic Fox, Harbour Seal, Bearded Seal, Blue Whale, Humpback Whale, Beluga Whale, King Eider, Eider, Long-tailed Duck, Barnical Goose, Pink-footed Geese, Snow Bunting, Brunnichs Guillemot, Black Guillemot, Atlantic Puffin, Glaucous Gull, Black-headed Gull, Black-legged Kittiwake, Purple Sandpiper, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Arctic Skua, Arctic Tern, Little Auk and numerous Plants and Lichen. Quite pleased with that!

This was our final landing and we went into Longyearbyen. On board we had a Captains Farewell Cocktail and we thanked the Officers and Expedition staff for there work, we also had a slide show of the week which was shot by Page the Resident Photographer on board. We also the opportunity at Dinner to thank all the other staff who supported the week such as Chief, Waiters and House staff, have to say they were a great bunch. They were from all over the place, I was told 17 different nationalities.

As it was my first ever cruise I have to say how much I enjoyed it, not only the Wildlife but all the staff who supported and made me feel at home, the house staff as well as the Expedition team, especially Christian and John who answered all my questions and were patient with my English sense of humour which they didn't always understand, also impressed with all the interpreters that were on call for the talks and supporting on the cruise, the guys who helped get the boats out, the list is endless.

Did enjoy meeting all the other guests and wished I got more contact numbers. Better start saving up for the next trip!

Sadly had to leave the boat at 8.15am and after a walk around Longyearbyen caught up on some sleep at the Hotel, I was staying at "Mary-Anne's" again before my 2.25am flight to Oslo on Monday morning then on to Heathrow and home to Dawlish on the train to be home by 5pm. I was knackered by the time I got home and the journey was full of drama, Dr called to a passenger on the plain at Oslo, dont know what happened but hope all ok and at Paddington on the final train it was bedlam as they got the carriages mixed up and saved seats, I just found a seat and let them too it!

18 June 2019

Off on my Travels

Tomorrow I start on a life time dream of seeing Polar Bears in the wild. This started when as a young child my mum took me to London Zoo and I saw these wonderful creatures in a concrete bunker and promised myself to see them in the wild.

So Iam off to Svalbard in the Arctic Circle and quite excited about it, there has been a few problems with it due to boats being withdrawn and has cost me a bit more, but Iam sure its going to be worth it.

Looking forward to seeing other animals and birds such as Walrus and Ross's Gull.

I will be sharing a cabin with 2 strangers so hopefully that will work ok and the rest of the group are friendly.

Iam not sure if I will be able to update the blog but doubt I will be able to put any pics up until I get back.

14 June 2019


By Turf Lock in the basin area there is a pontoon on the left as you look towards Exeter, this has been historically a nest site for Swallows, this year there has been 3 pairs here and have been very successful so far even though the weather has been crap.

Two nests fledged this morning with 1 set of 5 and another of 4, the 3rd nest by the sound of the noisy chicks wont be long before they join the others.

Parents finding plenty of food along the Canal bank and over the water, all the fledglings look fit and well, lets hope it continues.

Great to see so many fledglings in one place!

11 June 2019

Dawlish Swifts, Swallows and Martins.

After being inspired by my good friend Mark Glanvile who runs "Bristol Swifts" these last couple years I've been trying to find out more about the Swifts, Swallows and House Martins that nest around Dawlish. On my evening walk around the centre, unfortunately didn't see the Alpine Swift seen earlier but did see 15 Common Swifts. They seem to be nesting in three main areas and have reclaimed a historic nesting site that wasn't used last year, the number do seem to be up.

They seem to be nesting in and around Belvidere Court and the Church, The Catholic Church and a house on the Strand which was always a historic site until the owner blocked all the holes up in an attempt to stop the Feral pigeons from nesting, but tonight I witnessed a Swift entering the building. As I have already said the number seem to be up which is a surprise after last year.

While Swallows do seemed to have disappeared this year from the centre, there is evidence of them up Ashcome valley and around surrounding farms.

House Martins have found a new nesting site in the new housing development next to Sainsbury's, 20+ birds here which is a positive sign, the odd thing here is they are only nesting on houses with the white render, don't know why? I have looked at other new housing developments but this has not been copied. Possibly nesting here because of easy access to food at Dawlish Warren?

06 June 2019

Butterflies and Dragons

Was supposed to go to Dorset today ahead of the bad weather that is coming in the next couple of the days but as normal life got in the way!

So went up to Dartmoor this morning to Dunsford Meadow and along to Aish Tor, a bit cold ,windy with a bit of sun which brought out a Small bordered Fritillary at each, a few battered looking Brimstone's and a lone Red Admiral.

The back meadow at the Warren in the afternoon was quite warm and out of the wind so a few Butterflies about but no great numbers, Common Blue, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown and a Large Skipper.

Two Dragons seen with a Broad Bodied Chaser and a Hairy Hawker.

Lots of humans seen and all happy chaps, no miserable gits seen all day, got to be good!

Although some of their driving skills on Dartmoor continue to be challenging!

05 June 2019

Some great Insects

While on the hunt for Butterflies I continue to come across some great Insects, Beetles, Bees, Hoverflies, Dragons and other flying things!

Been around lots of fields, Hedges, Road Verges and Reserves. So much to see and more than 75% I have no idea what they are, but its fun scrawling through Reference books and the internet trying to find out!

03 June 2019

29 Up

While at Turf sat having some coffee and cake a Painted Lady fluttered by, I lost it for a while but found it sheltering close to a path out of the wind.

It looks a bit tatty around the edges, wonder how far its flown?

01 June 2019

Some great birds

While walking around Meadows, Dartmoor, Reserves and Hedgerows looking for Butterflies I've seen some great birds, many in full song such as the Warblers and Buntings.

Plenty of young birds about such as Long-tailed Tits and a pair of noisy Reed Buntings at Exminster. Great to see all the Swallows, House Martins and Swifts filling the sky on certain days, Lapwings at Exminster amongst many great sights we have around our county.

31 May 2019

28 Up

Went to Dawlish Warren today on the hunt for Skippers and found one Large Skipper as well as a Small White that just wouldn't settle long enough for a pic but the Skipper more than made up for it.

That makes 28 Species for this season, hopefully will boost this over the next couple of weeks.

30 May 2019


Already in a good mood after a excellent evening out with friends at a local hostelry come across this Hog while I was walking home.

Managed to take this pic with my camera on my phone, haven't seen a Hog for a couple of years let alone in Dawlish, a real uplifting moment.

Thinking back this area was the last time I saw one, hopefully the residents of this housing block realize how lucky they are to have there own slug controller!

29 May 2019

26 Up

A bit slow on the Butterfly front and the wind is not helping, went to Dawlish Warren yesterday hoping to see a Skipper or two but very little about, but as I was walking down the path on the back meadow a early Meadow Brown flew up and thankfully came back down and settled quickly.

They are about a week early but everything seems wrong on the timings this year.

28 May 2019


Spent the weekend trying to stay out of the way of all the holiday traffic so spent a lot of time around ponds looking for dragonflies hoping to catch one emerging, when I was young I used to find them all the time but now I have a camera with me I always seem to be a few hours late.

Anyway had a good time, found a few nymph casings, Hairy Hawkers, Four-spotted Chasers and loads of Damselflies. The ponds themselves and other waterways were full of other life such as Newts, water Boatman and beetles.

23 May 2019

25 Up

Went to Lydford Gorge to the Butterfly Conservation site to see the Heath Fritillary and wasn't disappointed, looked like about 20+ Butterflies but difficult to put a number on it as they were busy chasing each other around trying to couple and not many settled for very long, they are a stunning Butterfly!

Went down to the field below and loads of Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillaries, the most I've ever seen in one place! Also saw a couple of Speckled Wood, Brimstone and Green Veined White.

Still no Small White though?

22 May 2019

Grasshopper Warblers

Lucky to be given the heads up on an area where these birds spend the summer in Devon, in previous years I have been to visit this area on the 9th and 15th of May and have been early morning visits.

Today I didn't get there until midday and it was hard work to see any, in previous years birds were singing and they were easily picked up. I can only assume because Iam later in the month they are all ready sat on nests and no need to display?

I did hear one bird give a little bit of a rattle, enough to give it away but not the normal "reel", I saw 3 other birds flying from one bush to another.Next year I need to get there earlier in the month.

To hear the "reel" especially if you get more than one going is very special, well it is to me. Sometimes because my hearing is not what it used to be I miss part of the call.

19 May 2019

24 up

Been on the Butterfly hunt this last few days with trips to Berry Head, Holden, Meeth Quarry and Exminster Marshes, three new ones for this year with Small Blue and Wall at Berry Head and Wood White at Meeth.

Also saw lots of other species with Spotted Wood, Green-veined White, Brimstone, Orange Tip, Red Admiral, Peacock, Common Blue, Pearl-boarded and Small Pearl-boarded Fritillary.

The weather hasn't been the best with grey cloud, breezy and the odd shower but still managed to find a few Butterflies.

Good to see a few people about and nice to share with those less knowledgeable although Iam no expert!

It was great going to Meeth Quarry today, its worth the journey and would recommend it, you could easily spend all day there, my visit was just about looking for the Wood Whites which I quickly found in fact 10 in total, those that have not seen one before they are very dainty and gently flutter around the place, great little Butterfly!

15 May 2019

21 Up

Had a great day in Dorset today, went to The Giant Hill at Cerne Abbas.

The weather was perfect as far I was concerned, lots of sun and a little breeze, the journey up was a bit crap but the destination made it worth while.

Found 15 Species of Butterflies, 5 new species for the year Grizzled and Dingy Skippers, Duke of Burgundy, Marsh Fritillary including two that where coupled, thanks to Dave for giving me the shout and Small Heath.

Others seen Speckled Wood, Orange Tip, White sp, Holly and Common Blue, Brown Argus, Peacock, Brimstone, Small Copper and Green Hairstreak.

The Hill looked great, plenty of other insects about as well as flowers.

Humans in good numbers and sadly there was a couple of knob heads who were quite unpleasant, they wanted the place to themselves, one especially was quite aggressive. But would say there was some really nice humans all enjoying the day.

Good to have a long chat with Malcolm Wemyss who keeps a watchful eye over the hill, several other people who I have met before but cant remember your names, thanks for making it a great day!

Hope to at least get to last years totals of 50 but not sure thats going to happen!

14 May 2019

16 Up

Been trying to catch up with some Butterflies today and managed to get 2 more to add to the list, Common Blue and Brown Argos both at Dawlish Warren which makes 16 Species.

Other Species seen so far, Brimstone, Red Admiral, Commer, Small tort, Peacock, Speckled Wood, Orange Tip, Holly Blue, Green Veined White, Large White, Small Pearl and Pearl boarded Fritillary, Small Copper and Green Hairstreak.

13 May 2019

Frustrating Times

Feeling quite frustrated on the job front at the moment, was supposed to have started a new job today but pulled out at the last moment when I was sent my contract showing my salary would be £2721 less than the advertised amount, apparently I would have to get all the allowances and do all the shity hours to get the full amount, talk about being miss led.

Anyway to keep myself sain I visited Exminster Marshes a few times, Challacombe on Dartmoor as well as looking for Butterflies at Aish Tor and Holden.

Got my total species for Butterflies up to 15 with Small Copper, Green Hairstreek and Small Peal-boarded Fritillary.

Seen lots of birds about the place, enjoyable to see the Lesser Whitethroat at Exminster as well as all the Warblers, Redstart and Spotted Flycatcher at Challacombe. Great to see Swifts, Swallow and House Martins as well as Hobbies at Exminster, Whimbrels, Lapwings in good numbers.

Nice to meet lots of humans about and all pleasant company although finding a few balloons at Exminster did annoy me a bit.

Still onward and upwards!

06 May 2019

All over the place

This Weekend, well Thursday to Monday I have been all over Devon in between domestic duties and shopping and visiting friends. The weather has been a little cool which put pay to finding any major Butterflies about although did see lots of great Birds.

Thursday I was about Powderham and Exminster Marshes, best here was a Hobby from the back path but also saw Swallow, Swift, Sedge, Reed and Cettis Warblers, Blackcap, Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Teal, Shoveler, Shelduck, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Woodpigeon, Common Whitethroat, Great, blue and Long-tailed Tits.

Friday I was on Dartmoor and did a circular walk from the middle car park on Tremblebere back to the car.

Garden and Willow Warblers, Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Robin, Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, GSW and LSW calling, Cuckoo calling, Carrion Crow, Tree Pipit, Woodpigeon, Grey Heron, Blackbird, Siskin, Wren and Stonechat.

Saturday out shopping and doing other stuff which took me through Ashcombe valley where there were large numbers of House Martins which was great to see.

Sunday down to South Devon and was able to fit in a circular walk around East Soar and Middle Soar, plenty of Skylarks here as well as Meadow Pipit, Yellow Hammer, Stonechat, Whitethroat, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Swallow, Jackdaw, Goldfinch, Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, Wren, Chiffchaff, Sedge and Reed Warblers, Magpie, Raven ,Buzzard and Herring Gull.

Today I managed to get in a full days birding in, the morning was spent at Aylsebere, great to get close ups of Yellowhammer, Dartford Warbler, Willow Warbler, Stonechat, Linnet, Greenfinch, Meadow Pipit, Blackbird, Great and Blue Tit,Chiffchaff, Robin, Carrion Crow and Raven.

In the afternoon I went to Seaton Wetlands and had a good walk around the reserve and visited every hide, Reed, Sedge and Cettis Warbler, Reed Bunting, Goldfinch, Swallows, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Herring, Black-headed, Great and Lesser-black Backed Gulls, Blackbird, Shelduck, Mallard, Greenshank, Godwits, Dunlin, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Moorhen, Coot, Dunnock, Collard Dove, Woodpigeon, Grey Heron, Little Egret and Pheasant.

Met lots of great people, families out enjoying themselves, runners, cyclists, dog walkers, birders and people like me out with the camera.

01 May 2019


Just want to remind people of one of my best mates website, Mark Glanville runs Bristol Swifts and has 25 Swift Boxes around his house. He does a lot of conservation work and is often seen on TV, last year he was on Breakfast Time.

His birds started to arrive from Africa yesterday and his blog is a great read https://www.bristolswifts.co.uk/

30 April 2019

Out and About

Spent the last couple of days on Exminster Marshes and Dartmoor in between doing domestic stuff.

Originally went to Exminster to see if the Cattle Egrets were about and try and get a pic while they were in their breeding plumage but unfortunately they weren't to be seen.

I did though see a Hobby which originally seen by another birder from the middle car park, I went up the Drove and watched it from the end gate, it was hawking over the canal, then gaining height and then returning and doing a circuit, watched it doing this four times before I lost it.

Went looking around the scrapes for Yellow Wagtails but none to see but did see Pied Wagtail, Blue and Great Tit, Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Sedge, Reed and Cettis Warbler, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon, Mallard, Shelduck, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Coot, Moorhen, Reed Bunting, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Robin, Blackbird, Swallow, Skylark, Linnet, House Sparrow and Kestrel.

Today in between doing other stuff went up on Dartmoor and visited various places, amazed to run into a small flock of Guinea Fowl on the road, a stunning Male Redstart, saw several Whinchat, Wheatear, Swallow, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Stonechat, Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Raven, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Linnet, Wren, House Sparrow, Chaffinch and heard both Curlew and Cuckoo.

Good to see Dave H and Peter T at Exminster and bumped into some birders from Kingsbridge today which was nice, hope you had a productive day!

28 April 2019

Exminster Marshes

After a bit or bad weather had the need to get out for a walk so decided to go back to Exminster Marshes to see what was about, when I arrived it started to drizzle and thought about doing something else but as I was driving I bumped into Kieth B who said there was some Swifts over the Canal and he had seen a Hobby about.

I parked up at the Fisherman Car Park and went up on the Canal and sure enough there was at least 6 but could have been a lot more as they were coming in over the hedge from the river. It was also my first time since my op to use my big camera equipment and it was entertaining trying to follow these fast flying birds around the sky, shame it was so dark with the clouds.

I turned around and after bumping into David B I parked up in the RSPB car park and walked back down the rd. After seeing plenty of reports of Yellow/ Citrine / Blue Headed Wagtails I thought a good look around the scrapes was in order but the only Wagtails were Pied.

While walking down the road with Dave I saw what I thought at first was a Swift, I stupidly said Merlin because it was obviously too big for that, it was a Hobby, probably the one that was seen earlier by Kieth B. It sat on a post by a gate, bit too far for me to get a good pic unlike David who with his scope and phone got some cracking pics which he put on Twitter. The Hobby then flew up and caught something which was small, possibly a Sand Martin?

Plenty of other birds about, Swallow, House and Sand Martin, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Grey Heron, Little and Cattle Egret, Mallard, Shelduck, Shoveler, Coot, Moorhen, Lapwing, Whimbrel, Oystercatcher,Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Reed, Sedge and Cettis Warblers, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Robin, Blackbird, Wren and Starling.

The Cattle Egrets are in Summer Plumage and look really smart but unfortunately today was unable to get close enough to get a pic due to some disruption by other humans, certainly going to go back over the next couple of days to try again.

Good to meet up with Kieth and walk around the reserve with Dave B, also met lots of other humans, shame the weather was a little better but there is always tomorrow!

25 April 2019

Exminster Marshes

Early start and nearly regretting it straight away due to the heavy showers. The weather forecast was supposed to be clear?

Parked up at the RSPB car park and did a circular walk via Turf. Lots of singing birds when the sun came out and as soon as it rained it went dead quiet. Lots of Sedge Warblers giving it there all to be joined by Cettis, Reed Warblers, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warblers, Wren, Blackbird and Robin on the song front.

Bird song then started from a base of a bush and took ages to see any type of bird, my hearing isn't the best these days and started to think it was a Lesser Whitethroat, it quickly appeared on a twig at the top and disappeared almost as quick but I managed to get off a couple of pics and the more I looked at them the more it looks like a Common Whitethroat, what ever it is, it was nice to find it.

Swallows, House Martins, Skylarks and Meadow Pipits, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Lapwing, Curlew, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Kestrel, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Shelduck, Shoveler, Teal, Mallard, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Starling, House Sparrow, Cormorant, Woodpigeon and a Osprey to finish the morning off.

Good to meet Dave S and Dave H as well as quite a few other birders walking about the place.

24 April 2019


Instead of going south yesterday I went north to Somerset and spent time looking for Dragonflies, hoping to see my first for the year, I was lucky to see several at Shapwick and Greylake, unfortunately they wouldn't sit for a picture but still great to see. I could sit and watch these fantastic insects for ages.

When at Shapwick I did a circular walk using the "Sweet Track" from the main drag to "Decoy lake and Hide".

Then spending some time in the hide, walking back along the track then going on another track to the road and on to "Canada Farm" and after spending time in the hide back to the car using the road.

The "Sweet Track" has been developed and they have cut some more trees back to allow the lower growth to develop along the stream and boggy areas, plenty of Butterflies, Damselflies and a couple of Dragons which looked like Hairy Hawkers. I also saw one at Greylake when I walked around the "Reed Bed Loop".

Although not paying much attention to them it was hard not to notice all the birds about, especially the singing Warblers such as Reed, Cettis, Sedge, Blackcap, Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Great and Blue Tit, Pied Wagtail and Chaffinch. Also heard Cuckoo and Great-spotted Woodpecker and while in the hide at Decoy saw 4 Marsh Harriers, Grey Heron, Tufted Duck and Mallard.

The lake at Decoy was full of Lilly's and will be a great show in a couple of weeks time, this is how I remember Stover Lake before they ruined it!

22 April 2019


Went up to Haldon to look around the Butterfly Walk which follows some of the Electricity pylons to add to this years tally of Butterflies and wasn't disappointed.

Saw good numbers of Pearl-boarded Fritillarys, Large White, Green Veined White, Speckled Wood, Peacock, Orange Tip and Brimstone which takes my tally to 11. If the weathers good tomorrow may go south to see if i can pick out a Wall and Green Hairstreak?

21 April 2019


Living the dream this weekend! Dartmoor was just a stunning place to be this last couple of days, great weather, stunning scenery, great wildlife and a large bunch of great humans put the final touches to it. A bit frustrating not to have the use of my main camera equipment but in the end it didn't stop the fun.

Started Saturday morning as I rolled up in the Emsworthy Mire Car Park on Dartmoor, as I got out of the car you could hear a Curlew calling between the car Park and Saddle Tor, a lady was walking her dog coming down the path which obviously set the alarm call off, might add the dog was on a lead and the owner was behaving herself, didn't see the bird but great to hear.

At this point I also bumped into Paul T who had just come back from a walk around the reserve to say he had heard a Cuckoo, so after chewing the cud with Paul off I went. Just as I got to the gate I could hear a Cuckoo in the far left corner and managed to pick it out sat in a tree so made my way over to that area of the reserve, as I made it to the far side and sat by the wall another bird started calling on the other side of the barn so that was two Cuckoos! Brilliant, the first bird then flew off and I walked around the higher side of the reserve. Plenty of Wheatears about and some very stunning Male birds, also Meadow Pipits and Skylarks filling the air with song. When I made it to the Barn there was a stunning Male Redstart singing in one of the large Trees, it came down for a second or two on the wall close to me, ow for my camera!

Also saw some Ravens that were dancing in the air with each other, Buzzard, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, Woodpigeon, Stonechat, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Wren.

Plenty of humans about and saw Steph and Rob M at a distance and got a wave.

Off through the holiday traffic to Challacombe to spend the afternoon here doing one of my favourite walks, circular walk from Challacombe to Headland Warren Farm by the path and return by the road, started off below the pond and walked up the stream, so many birds here and trying to work out what was here was fun, through the cacophony of calls (big word for me) I picked up Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Wren, Robin and a Garden Warbler and it took me ages to get a visual. Plenty of Swallows, Jay, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Raven, Jackdaw, Buzzard, Woodpigeon, Chiffchaff, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Stonechat, Pied Wagtail, Great- spotted Woodpecker, Redstart, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting and Wheatears.

Did have a funny moment here as I left the farm up the track towards Headland Warren I was joined by a group of 4 Orange Pigs, quite friendly and just checking me out, they freaked a few other people out though, very funny!

Today Sunday went for a walk on the Two Moors Way from just down from the Warren Pub to Hameldown Beacon and back, taking in Birch, Hookney and Hameldown Tor. Also visited Grimspound, love history and going around these places, was impressed with the stream that goes through the site, the little pools were full of Newts and a few other water animals such as Water Boatmen. The water just so clear and good enough to drink, also saw a few Common Lizards, plenty of Beetles such as the Green Tiger Beetle, loads of small Brown Moths, no idea what they were.

Plenty of Wheatears about Grimspound, Skylarks singing everywhere, only blocked out once by some idiot with a Drone, he must have heard me swearing because it moved on. Also saw Buzzards, Ravens, Stonechats and Meadow Pipits.

Had such a great couple of days and met so many nice humans out enjoying the great weather, deep joy! hahahaha

19 April 2019

Bird Song

Out early today enjoying the weather. Great to see so many summer migrants out and about.

Swallows seem to be pairing up, plenty of chatter as pairs fly, many around Powderham and the river Kenn as well as Exminster Marshes which I had a good walk around.

Also at Powderham estate as well as Mute Swan and Canada Geese there was a Egyptian Goose, Shelduck, Grey Heron, Mallard, Coot and Moorhen. Plenty of smaller birds including a Reed Warbler which was a first for me this year. Also seen Woodpigeon, Rook, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Jackdaw, Robin, Blackbird, Wren, Blue and Great Tit, Goldfinch, Pheasant and a lone Little Egret in a field just past the church.

At Exminster Marshes I parked up in the RSPB car park and did a circular walk via Turf. As soon as I got out of the car you could hear the Reed Warblers, just a fantastic sound! Many of the birds in full song with Cettis in full explosive song in several places around the reserve. Reed Warblers mainly on the back path and a couple of Sedge Warblers on the rd by the canal, to add to this Blackcaps, Goldfinch, Robin and Wren giving it their all, it all sort of died down after midday, probably worn out hahahaha

Still a few ducks about with Mallard, Shelduck, Shoveler, Teal and Wigeon. Also Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Coot, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Skylark, Lapwing, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Dunnock, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Pied Wagtail and Pheasant.

At Turf, plenty of people but few birds on the River, couple of Curlew, Cormorant, Shelduck and the usual Gulls.

Plenty of Orange Tip Butterflies about with some Peacock and a single Speckled Wood plus a new one for the year a Green-veined White which makes 9 species.

Plenty members of the human race about, good to meet Bob amongst many other birders, loads of others about walking, running, riding bikes, families, single people, you name it and they were out, happy to say all happy, all smiling and no miserable gits found, thank god!

18 April 2019

Allowed out!

Well after 8 days finally got out in the car and after a Bacon Baguette at Holden Grill ended up at Middle Tremblebere car park.

I didn't take my usual camera equipment as it weighs to heavy to carry around after a Hernia op. I could tell the difference between my usual D500 and my old D90 and certainly miss having it and looking forward until next Wednesday when hopefully I will have moved on enough to carry it without doing myself any damage.

Being out in the fresh air is a big lift as I was starting to climb the walls.

Saw lots of stuff today and great to see new summer migrants such as Willow Warbler, Pied Flycatcher and Redstart, also the sound of Tree Pipit and possibly a Garden Warbler but unfortunately didn't see. Other birders saw Yellowhammers but sadly I did not.

Plenty of the resident birds with Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock, Great, Blue, Coal and Long-tailed Tits, Raven, Buzzards, Goldcrest, Woodpigeon, with Canada Geese on the reservoir and some Swallows Hawking over the water. I did also see and hear both LSW and GSW, some other people were lucky enough to get some photos but I was not.

A few Butterflies, mostly Brimstone, Speckled Wood and a new one for this year a Holly Blue, due to being laid up a bit behind on the butterfly front and only 8 species so far.

Great to meet up with Steph M, Patrick H and plenty of other humans who were good company.

Sad though, to see some people put others down, you dont need to blow out other peoples candles to make yours burn brighter!

13 April 2019

Wild Flowers

Having a bit of free time on my hands has given me the opportunity to go through pictures not yet put up on my website.

A new flower for me a "Pink Purslane". This stunning little plant was found at South Efford Reserve along the path to the Bird Hide in South Devon a couple of days ago puts my species list up to 185.

Flowers are not a strong point for me and trying to Id plants and flowers often lead me to emailing more knowledgeable people as while I own several books the picture on the page never seems to look like the plant I have in my hand!

I have the Flowers split into 6 sections, Orchids, Blue, Green, Red, White and Yellow flowers in a attempt to make it easier to look for, not sure it works!

12 April 2019


Spent a couple of days in Hospital for a Hernia Operation, was supposed to be a day case but because of delays and issues with another patient my op finished late and was too late for me to go home which was fine as I was well looked after.

Dont care what anybody says the NHS is wonderful, iam sure you can find fault in any organisation but the people in there where all trying their best to do the best with what they had. Plenty of locals I know from Dawlish to people from all over the world, love listening to all the different dialects, from Devon, Irish, Spanish, Polish, Indian to Filipino amongst many others.

Because its a Hernia I cant lift anything or drive for a while but hopefully I will get out for a walk with my smaller camera, I can always use the train. Thanks for all your best wishes.

09 April 2019

Emsworthy Mire

After a bit of a late start finally made it to Emsworthy at about 11.30am to hopefully see the Great Grey Shrike and wasn't disappointed.

Managed several sightings, all distant but finally managed to get a reasonable shot. It was still there at 3pm when I left. The weather wasn't the best, quite grey and the occasional drop of rain, but you get what it is from the picture.

There was also reports of Redstart by the barn, but was unable to locate them after a hour of looking, Did see Jackdaw, Raven, Carrion Crow, Rook, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Stonechat, Wren, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Pheasant Buzzard and Kestrel.

Great to see everybody, the great and good where there, Dave S, Dave H, Ian T, Dave P, Charlie F amongst others whose names I forget ( sorry ) and good to meet Bill D. Good atmosphere about the place with everybody in good cheer which is always a positive point!

07 April 2019

Weekends Fun

Had a good weekend out and about although it didn't start off that good when I got to my car to find a parking ticket on it. The guy got to the car before me, that will teach me to stay in bed that extra half an hour!

Spent Saturday around Exminster Marshes and the River Exe between Turf and Powderham and on Sunday I spent some time on Dartmoor which I will come to later.

Before I got to Powderham I had a look at Cofton Steps, the tide was high and it was quite rough and any birds on the water was lost in the waves. I parked up at Powderham Church underneath the Rookery which was in full noisy mode, there was also a flock of Goldfinch trying and failing to compete in the noise levels.

Up over the bridge and on the path to Turf, on the fields plenty of Carrion Crows, Magpie, Rook, Canada Geese, Oystercatcher, Mallard, Pheasant, Dunnock, Robin and Goldfinch.

The River seemed to have calmed down and the wind had died down a little.

The tide had turned and it was going out, waders such as Redshank, Oystercatchers and Curlew were on the tide line and joined by Shelduck and Carrion Crows on the mud.

Also Cormorant, Grey Heron and Little Egret flying around with Mallard, Teal and a rather sick looking Brent Goose sat on the mud close to Turf. I was looking for a Osprey which had been seen on the Exe this last couple of days, which I didn't see, but I did see my first Sandwich Tern up close, it was flying around just below the Turf, then flew down River to the Warren.

Around the Reserve, fields and Road I saw Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Magpie, Canada Geese, Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon, Mallard, Moorhen, Coot, Mute Swan, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Sand Martins, Swallows, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Reed Bunting, Chiffchaff, Robin, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Wren, Woodpigeon, Cettis Warbler, Lapwing and a Common Sandpiper in the field between the Reserve and Turf, it flew up as I got to the gate.

Out of the wind it was quite warm and Common Lizard about with Butterflies out such as Orange Tip, Speckled Wood and Peacock, loads of Bumble Bees and flies about, especially close to any water.

Sunday as I've already said I decided to go to Dartmoor, it was grey, misty and occasional drizzle. I had decided to do a circular walk around Challacombe Farm, Warren Farm and back down the farm but had to give up after a while as my knee started to play up, so did some Bird Watching from the car.

Saw plenty of Corvids with some impressive Ravens, Carrion Crows, Jackdaw, Rook, Magpie, Jay, Blackbird, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, House Sparrow, Woodpigeon, Pied Wagtail, Stonechat, Chaffinch and some very smart looking Wheatears.

Met loads of humans, walking, running, on bikes, families, with Dogs and on Horses. All friendly and its been good to stop for a chat.

05 April 2019

Here, There and Everywhere!

Considering the weather, domestics etc I've seen some good stuff this week and met some great humans.

Early Monday found me at East Soar Car park wrapping up warm as compared with last week it was a bit of a shock to the system, I did think the more I walked around the more sheltered it would become but sadly this was not to work out. I did a circular walk via the farm, a small diversion to Starhole but it was "blown out" by the wind that was coming straight up the valley and nothing to see, back to the car park via middle Soar, this was the best bit, although it was cold and windy there was a couple of smart Yellow Hammers on top of the hedge, there was also plenty of Skylark singing, Meadow Pipit, Linnet, Wren, Blackbird, Great and Blue Tit, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Raven, Pheasant and plenty of Herring Gull sat on the fields.

I then went to hopefully a less windy South Efford to the Reserve and walk around to the Hide. Certainly a lot better here, to the point a few Butterflies out with Small Tort, Peacock and Speckled Wood flying around. A few birds about with Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Rook, Magpie, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Grey Heron, Canada Geese, Mallard, Shelduck, Teal,Coot, Pheasant, Woodpigeon, Cormorant, Herring Gull, Dunnock, Wren, Blackbird, Robin, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits. As it was low tide there was very little in front of the hide and on the River there was only a few Gulls and a Red and Greenshank, Mallard, Little Egret and a couple of Grey Wagtails.

On the way home I popped into Stover Park which continues to disappoint me, hardly any Ducks on the middle, Mallard,1 pair of Tufted and some Mandarins, didn't even see any, GCgrebes?? I will look forward to them finishing all the work and lets see what happens. All the usual birds there and not surprising considering all the food that is being put down. all corn, surprised the Squirrels can move or the Pigeons can take off!!!

On Tuesday morning while eating my way through my Bacon Baguette at Holden Grill I picked up a message from Lee Collins that he had found a Red-rumped Swallow at Dawlish Warren so off I went, thankfully I got there before the rush, lucky that this is my 2nd of the year and this one was above my head, brilliant! A lot of twisting and turning later I got a few quite respectable shots, no awards but good enough for me, apart from the Swallow there was a couple of Sand Martins and at least 1 House Martin, so a good show around.

Decided to get out of the way and go to Exminster Marshes and see whats about so did a circular walk, good to see both Sand Martins and Swallows, Lapwing, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Grey Heron, Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Dunnock, Cettis Warbler, Chiffchaff, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Pied Wagtail and Cormorant.

At Turf there was a few birds about even though it was cold and windy, in fact it was cold enough for me to sit inside to have my coffee and cake instead of sitting by the River Exe to have it. A few up close Oystercatcher which as soon as I got the camera out flew off, Mallard, Teal, Curlew, Godwit, Cormorant, Redshank, Shelduck and Little Egret.

On Wednesday after doing some domestic stuff I paid a visit to Labrador Bay to see the Cirl Buntings, it was great t see so many and the results of all the hard work that goes on here, you hear a lot about the feeding that goes on in Torbay but not enough about the work here, well done to everybody, counted 22 of various ages and sexes, just brilliant!

With more domestic stuff Thursday I managed to get out for a walk along the sea front to Coryton Cove, plenty of Gulls about, a few Tunstones, Great-crested Grebe off the wall as well as a Seal getting some air, best of all was the sound of chicks on the cliff behind the Beach Huts, Kestrels! I think this is a new site as not seen them here before, hope the gulls leave them alone!

Today I went over to Topsham while it was dry before shopping in Exeter, parked up close to the bridge and went to Goosemoor and to my happy surprise a Great White Egret had flown in, a bit distant but good enough for me.

Around the roads, reserve and the platform I saw Sand Martins, Shoveler, Gadwall, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Curlew, Godwits, Redshank, Avocet, Canada Geese, Greylag, Mute Swan, Herring and Lesser-black Backed Gulls, Chiffchaff, Woodpigeon, Great and Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Robin and Blackbird.

Weather aside had a great week, great to catch up with Dave S, Lee C and Steve amongst many others.

31 March 2019


Went to Teigngrace this morning to see the Sand Martins which nest on the River Teign here and I wasn't disappointed.

This is a historic site for them, the picture to the left shows the "Oxbow" which has formed over the last 15 odd years, before that there was a large colony here I remember counting over 100 nest holes here , but the river slowly took over and the nests are spread over a wider area.

Today I counted 26 Birds but probably more up river and more to come, great sight to see them bombing about the river and great sport trying to get any sort of picture of them in flight.

The Sand Martins still like this area though to feed and are often joined by Swallows, House Martins and the odd Swift.

Its great to sit by the River in the summer and watch, its easily accessible as its on a public footpath ad the birds dont seem to mind the public, even dogs or kids in the water in the summer.

If you park in Teigngrace like I did today be careful how and where you park, dont upset the locals, lots of birds about in the village best of all a couple of Swallows on the wires and 3 House Martins flying about.

Shame it was a bit grey but lots of humans about with it being Mothers Day, everybody out walking with their favorite person!

30 March 2019


Spent Tuesday to Thursday on Dartmoor in some stunning scenery and beautiful weather, thought I would make most of my time as not working at the moment, just been offered a job but I have to go through all the security checks and its taking for ever, still Iam not complaining if the weather stays like this!

Tuesday I started off at Yarner, beautiful clear day and not much wind, plenty of bird song and I quickly picked up the drumming of Woodpeckers,

First positive sighting was of a Great-spotted Woodpecker then further down the track more drumming and the call of a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker, I could see it but it was distant although great views through my bins, but then it flew off to the right and I lost it. At this point I put my bag and camera down while I put down some notes in my book and then the LSW appeared out of nowhere and sat on the tree in front of me not 6ft away and as I went for my camera it flew off, typical but still such a stunning little bird up close!

Saw all the usual stuff such as Blue, Great, Coal, Marsh and Long-tailed Tits, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Mallard and fly over Buzzard and Raven.

Went to the reservoir and they have now put up 12 islands with plants already in to encourage things like Dragonflies as well as birds. When things have settled in I think it will look good.

In the afternoon I went to Emsworthy Mire and walked around the dry bits, didn't venture right down the bottom as I didn't have my wellies on. Did see a few Raven, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, A few fly over Buzzard, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Stonechat and Wheatear.

Wednesday I spent a very enjoyable time walking up the River Tiegn at Steps Bridge through Dunsford Woods to the meadows and back again, so many birds singing and probably the stand out bird was a Male Blackcap which just didn't stop singing, such a joy to stand and listen. Many other birds such as Blackbird, Song Thrush, Chiffchaff, Great, Blue, Long-tailed and what looked like a Marsh Tit. Raven, Carrion Crow, Buzzard, Woodpigeon, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Goldcrest, Nuthatch and Mallard was the only water birds I saw in the river, possibly down to all the dogs in the water having fun, a bit frustrating but thats life!

Also saw lots of wild flowers and a few Butterflies such a s Brimstone, Comma and Peacock.

Thursday I went to Wistmans Wood, not only to see the trees but to get up and walk around some Tors, as some of you might remember I decided to see if I could get around all 365 Tors/named Rocks on Dartmoor, managed to knock a few more off such as Beardown and Crockdon Tors, thats 27 down only another 337 to go.

Apart from the Wood which is magnificent as always, I made the mistake of going down into the wood over the Granite Bolders, it was ok going down but coming back stepping up on those stones was murder on my knees!

Did see a few birds about the place, from where I parked my car close to Two Bridges Hotel tot he woods, Tors and back I saw plenty of Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Stonechat, a few Wheatear, Raven, Carrion Crow, pair of fly-over Buzzard, Robin, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Wren, Great Tit and Pied Wagtail.

When I got back to the car thought I would be a Tourist and go the hotel for a Cream Tea, it was nice and sat out in the sun it was just glorious, But at over £8 it was bit steep, I could have got 2 pints of Guinness for that!

Met lots of humans, good to meet up with Dave S, many other happy people about out walking and enjoying life, great to stop and talk to people about the Birds,Flowers and Butterflies.

25 March 2019

Out and About

Had a good few days as my ears have got better and been able to get out and about.

Spent a few days on Dawlish and Dawlish Warren Beaches looking to see whats on the tide line, after a few storms have been looking for some "Goose barnacles" that hopefully would be on some flotsam but didn't find any, probably didn't get down quick enough after a storm. I did though find plenty of "Common Whelk" egg cases and some "Sea Potatoes". It was great to get out into some fresh air, should have taken my wellies and got into some pools, bit cold to take my shoes off and get in bare foot!

Sunday I went up on Dartmoor to see what migrants I could find, did my usual drive around and then parked up close to Challacombe Farm. I then walked up to Warren Farm via the path then back down the rd to the car, really nice walk and saw lots of birds, migrant wise plenty of Chiffchaff, Meadow Pipits and some very smart Wheatears, my first of the year, still not seen any Martins yet. Did see Raven, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Rook, Woodpigeon, Stock dove, Nuthatch, House Sparrow, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, Starling, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Stonechat, Pheasant and Buzzard.

Today I spent today around the River Exe, at Cockwood Steps the tide was high and the only thing seen was a couple of Cormorants on the wreck, the Harbour at Cockwood was quiet as workman around with Orange suits, so too much disruption, no Geese on Starcross Golf Course. Further up the river at Powderham again nothing to show at high tide.

Around Powderham there was a few Grey Heron, couple of Juveniles. Shelduck, Little Egrets, Carrion Crows and plenty of Rooks around the Rookery at Powderham Church.

On the road to Exminster Marshes plenty of Carrion Crows and Rooks on the fields with Little Egret, Pheasants and a couple of Buzzards on posts.

At the Marshes, I did a circular walk, started off a bit chilly but it soon warmed up with some places out of the wind quite warm, in these places found quite a few insects, Bumble Bees and Butterflies, lots of fresh Peacocks and a Small Tortoiseshell which has taken my Butterfly species totals to 5.

Also found my first Common Lizards of the year, 3 were on the wood pile in the discovery area of the reserve.

Plenty of birds about with some very vocal like the Robins, Cettis Warblers and Chiffchaffs, also Blackbird, Song Thrush, Wren, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Reed Bunting, Skylark, Linnet, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Magpie, Raven, Jackdaw, Rook, Carrion Crow, Little egret, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Grey Heron, Shelduck, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon, Coot, Moorhen, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Lapwing, Cormorants and a a flock of Black-tailed Godwits, many going into summer plumage.

At Turf there was loads of Shelduck, most I've seen in ages, also Curlew, Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Grey Plover and the usual Gulls.

On the way home looked in at the Kenn outflow as the tide had gone out and found Redshank, Greenshank, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Cormorant, Herring, Great-black Backed and Black-headed Gulls, Shelduck and a Little Egret.

Seen plenty of humans about, all behaving themselves, good to catch up with Kev R, Phil C, Steve and Steve. Met loads of other people out and about, some bird watching and others just enjoying life and why not!

20 March 2019

Ear Ache part 2!

Had some real issues with my ears, balance, hearing and pain! After 2 visits to the nurse and 1 to the Dr, some anti-biotics we are starting to get some head way, have been out but done a lot of birding from the car to keep out of the wind.

Did manage to visit a few places and enjoyed a visit to Bowling Green on Wednesday which was calm, all the usual birds you would expect as well as a Fox by the far fence.

On Thursday walked around Stover in the morning which was quiet, hoped to see some Martins/Swallows but nothing. A quick visit to Dawlish Warren also give very little on a walk around the entrance bushes.

Sunday I went for a drive around Dartmoor and saw plenty of Corvids with Raven, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie and Jay. A few Raptors about with Peregrine, Kestrel and a few Buzzards on poles and flying about. Other birds around the hedges and fields saw Stonechat, House Sparrow, Blackbird, Skylark, Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Chaffinch and Robin.

Tuesday I managed a walk around Exminster Marshes with Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Robin, Blackbird, Lapwing, Curlew, Cormorant, Moorhen, Coot, Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon, Mallard, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Lapwing, Cettis Warbler, Reed Bunting, Chiffchaff, Wren, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Goldfinch and Chaffinch.

At Turf there was a Slovenian Grebe in the channel with Curlew, Redshank, Dunlin, Golden Plover, Shelduck, Mute Swan, Little Egret, Teal and Mallard.

Today I took a drive to South Devon, spent a little time at Slapton out of the wind, saw Great-crested Grebe, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Pochard, Moorhen, Coot, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Cormorant, Black-headed, Herring, Lesser and Great-black Backed Gulls, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Robin, Cettis Warbler and Blackbird.

Spent a bit more time at Hallsands in the hide, plenty of ducks here with Tufted Duck, Pochard, Mallard, Teal, Gadwall, Ring-neck Duck and Scaup. Cormorant, Great Crested Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Cettis Warbler, Chiffchaff, GSW, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Robin, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, Magpie and Woodpigeon.

Met lots of great humans, nice to meet Dave Boult and Dave Hopkins amongst many others. Heres to some pain free ears!!

08 March 2019

Powderham and Exminster Marshes

Went looking for some Sand and House Martins over the Marshes but unfortunately didn't see any.

I did though see plenty of other birds, at Powderham there was Canada and Snow geese, Mute Swan, Grey Heron, Coot, Moorhen, Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler, Tufted, Mallard, Shelduck, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Linnet, Blackbird, Wren, Song Thrush, Robin, Great and Blue Tits, Skylark, Magpie and Pheasants.

At Exminster I walked the back path and back to the car park, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Wren, Robin, Magpie, Skylark, Cettis Warbler, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Mallard, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Lapwing, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Kestrel, Peregrine Falcon and a Marsh Harrier flew through the Marsh putting all the birds up.

Met a few humans, good to see Dave Boult amongst others.

07 March 2019


Spent some time at Yarner today, parked up at Middle Trendlebere car park and did a circular walk via the 3 hides on the reserve.

It was quite windy and not much to see high in the trees and the only birds seen flying by myself where a pair of Raven.

Did see Treecreeper, Chaffinch, Great, Blue, Coal and Marsh Tits, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Goldcrest, Mallard and Mandarin Ducks. No sign of LSW or Redpolls.

They were doing work on the Lagoon and adding islands, 4 already out and the guys said there should be 12. The Islands themselves are already planted and ready to go. Plenty of over hanging trees cut back but also laid in the water to help with the habitat, I think its going to look good when its finished.

Lots of nice humans about, good to spend some time chatting to Patrick H, also saw Dave S and others who I cant remember their names, sorry about that!

Home for tea and cake!

06 March 2019

Ear Ache

Been suffering this last few days, got an issue with my ears which started when I got back from a walk around Exminster Marshes last Thursday, parked up at Powderham Church under neath the noisy Rooks, walked along the River Exe and did a circular walk from Turf around the Marshes then back to the car from here.

Plenty of birds about with good numbers of Red-breasted Mergansers, especially around Turf with 11 in one spot, 100`s of Brent Geese coming in from the river to rest up on the fields with some Canada Geese, always a great sight. They must soon be on their way to the breeding grounds for another year, plenty of waders around the river with Green and Redshank, Curlew, Godwits, Dunlin, Avocet, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Little Egret, Cormorant, Shelduck, Oystercatcher and quite a few Pintail between the footbridge and Starcross Yacht Club. Also plenty of Gulls, mostly Black-headed but a few Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls.

Lots around the fields, marsh and hedges with Lapwing, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Stock Dove,Linnet, Starling, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Canada Geese, Snow Goose, Mute Swan, Skylark, Moorhen, Coot, Pintail, Shoveler, Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, Shelduck, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Greenfinch, Cettis Warbler, Pied Wagtail and a fly over Buzzard.

Went in on the train to Exeter on Friday and continue to be amazed by all the birds you can see especially on all the pools between the line and the road, many you can only see from the train.

On Tuesday I went into Exeter by car and parked up at "Mary Arches" car park and watched the Peregrines on the church Spire, great views, shame I forgot the camera, plenty of Pied Wagtails about the main street as well, must be a few roosts about the city.

I went to the South Hams via the Dartmouth Ferry on Monday, still struggling with my ears decided to stay in the car as much as possible, when I got to Slapton Ley the Ley was quiet choppy but the sea was calm, from the Memorial Car park you could see Tufted, Mallard, Great-crested Grebe, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls. Down the Tank end there was Mallard, Farm Ducks, Jackdaw,Coot, Moorhen and Black-headed Gulls.

Went to Beesands and it was quiet calm here so went to the Hide, plenty of birds in the hedges with Robin, Blackbird, Great and Blue Tits, Wren, Dunnock, Chaffinch and Cettis Warbler. From the hide most of the birds were tot he left of the hide with about 50 Tufted Ducks, a few Mallard, Great-crested Grebes, Grey Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Canada geese and Mute Swans.

Off to Aveton Gifford to the tidal road, got some great views of Curlew, Red and Greenshank.

Not as healthy as I would like to be, with not only a Hernia needing surgery a ear ache, dont know about anybody else, but what a effort it is to get an appointment with the Dr, had to get past the receptionist first, whats all that about??

Met lots of great humans this last week although felt sad to see all the homeless people on the streets of Exeter, what ever the reason, drugs, drink, mental health or runaways it cant be right in this day and age that people have to beg on the streets of Britain, but there for the grace of god go I! i was told not so long ago we are all 3 paychecks from being made homeless??

25 February 2019

All over the place

This last 5 days Ive been all over the place, taking advantage of visiting family, friends and just getting in the car and getting out in this glorious weather.

On Thursday I was close to South Wales and noticed there was a long staying Red-rumped Swallow at Cym Ivy which is on the stunning North Coast of Gower. I had seen several of these birds before but never close enough to get a picture, several pics already taken close up, so only being up the road I took a chance. I arrived mid morning to find the bird flying around the Marshes, sadly at a distance, this was also its last fly around before moving off. Some of the locals there said yesterday it was flying above there heads and put on a good show, typically not while I was there!

I did though was very lucky to see not only several butterflies that were out in the warm weather but Dragonflies! These were Migrant Emperors, a first for me but again I couldn't get near enough to take a pic because of the Marsh, a local one was seen on the beach earlier. These had come up on the Southerly Winds from Africa, Brilliant to see and a first for me!

Saturday I was on Dartmoor, parked up at Trendlebere and did a circular walk around Yarner.

Plenty to see with Redpol, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Nuthatch, Marsh, Blue, Coal, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Siskin, Stonechat, Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Woodpigeon, Raven, Jackdaw, Magpie, Mallard, Buzzard, Great-spotted and Lesser-spotted Woodpecker.

Sunday found me walking around Exminster Marshes, my first Swallow which was hawking over the ditches, great to see, also Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Brent,Greylag and the Snow goose, Coot, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Cormorant, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Peregrine falcon, Buzzard, Wigeon, Shoveler, Teal, Mallard, Shelduck, Lapwing, Golden Plover, Snipe, the explosive call of the Cettis Warbler, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Skylarks in full song, Starling, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Pied Wagtail.

At Turf the tide had just turned and on the way out showing a bit of mud with Avocet, Redshank, Godwits, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Black-headed, Great-black Backed and Herring Gulls, Teal, Little Egret, Cormorant and the electric blue flash of a Kingfisher flying by.

Today I spent some time at Stuart Marshes as I was passing, main target was the long staying Short-eared Owl, the bird was found up the road from the main car park sat in the field. Plenty of cameras about waiting for it to land on a fence but I wanted something different and got one of it sat on the ground enjoying the sun. Beautiful looking bird and a big thank you to the locals who pointed me in the right direction.

Did see plenty of Butterflies with a few Brimstone and singles of Small Tortoiseshell, Comma and Red Admiral, also saw a huge Buff-tailed Bumble Bee at Turf.

Had a great couple of days and met lots of humans, many of them were great company and very supportive, helpful and very funny. Met lots of families out enjoying themselves, dog walkers, runners, cyclists all sorts! But also met a couple of morons, a well known Devon Elite Birder, so far up his own arse its unreal, he has always looked down on me as I am unworthy but thats his loss, and another twat is a Photographer with "all the gear but no idea" who had zero field craft. Still far more great humans than bad.

19 February 2019

East Devon

Spent the morning in and around Aylesbere Common, when I first got there it was very quiet and my first circuit was bird less! Dont know why but just after I started my second I noticed bird song especially towards the wooded area and as I walked towards it, Stonechats started to appear then the main prize Dartford Warblers!

One single Male then three birds, 2x Male trying to attract a female, talk about luck, just couldn't get them into one pic focused.

Also had fly over Buzzard, Wood Pigeon and Carrion Crow. Also saw Greenfinch, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Blackbird and robin.

Then off for the afternoon at Seaton Wetlands, it being half term the car park was full of cars, mainly Grandparents doing the childcare. There was also activities going on at the activity center, passed a few proud children with their freshly made Nest Boxes.

Bird wise it was very quiet, especially on the Lagoon with just some Shelduck and the odd Teal. On the River there was 200+ Gulls of all ages with Black-headed, Lesser and Greater-black Backed and Herring Gulls, Carrion Crows, Mallard, Shelduck, Grey Heron, Curlew and Cormorant.

Around the hedges and feeders there was Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Woodpigeon, Great and Blue Tits, Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock, Wren, Reed Bunting, Greenfinch and Chaffinch.

Met lots of nice humans today, great to see so many happy kids out in the fresh air!

17 February 2019

Torbay Boat Trip

Went out on the last of the winter trips organised by Nigel S on the "Optimist" skippered by Nigel L.

A bit choppy so didn't get around Berry Head, also there was quite a bit of disturbance from the Gigs that seemed to be everywhere!

Still saw quite a bit around the Habour, the cliffs and on the water with Mute Swan, Turnstone, Purple Sandpiper, Oystercatcher, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Shag, Gannet, Gillimot, Great-black Backed, Herring, Black-headed and Common Gull, Kittiwake, Fulmar, Pied Wagtail, Jackdaw and 3 Peregrines.

The only Grebes we saw where 2 Red -necked which was a surprise, no Divers ether. No Dolphins or Porpoise but double figures of Seals.

The Human company was great as always

16 February 2019

Out and About

On Thursday I visited a couple of places on Dartmoor I haven't been for a while, first stop was Emsworthy Mire, there didn't look much from a distance, I just went down to the barn and the fields next to it. One thing that was noticeable the amount of singing male Chaffinches, they where everywhere! Also Magpie, Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Great Tit, Wood pigeon and a couple of fly-over Fieldfare, they must be on the move.

Then through the lanes to Soussons, I did a circular walk hoping to see some Crossbills but where unlucky, other birders said they had seen some flying but I was unable to locate them. There was a lot of bird song in the sunny weather but only saw a couple of Blue, Great and Coal Tits, A rather noisy Buzzard soaring over head and a couple of Ravens.

Around the roads, hedges and farm buildings I saw Carrion Crow, Wood Pigeon, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Skylark, Magpie, Blackbird, Robin and Jackdaw.

On Friday I went for a circular walk around Exminster Marshes. plenty to see with a group of 3 Buzzards soaring, Peregrine on sat on a pylon waiting for lunch, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Greylag, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Pintail, Pochard, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Great and Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Skylark, Starling, Black-headed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow and Pheasant.

At Turf the tide was coming in and the waders were on the move, Golden Plover, Lapwing, Dunlin, Red and Greenshank, Curlew, Godwit, Avocet, Shelduck, Cormorant, Brent Geese, Herring and Black-headed Gulls and a electric blue flash of a Kingfisher.

Met lots of nice humans of all shapes and sizes doing all sorts of stuff, great to be out in the sun!

13 February 2019


Last minute decision to go to Somerset on Monday, the weather was good, clear but cold.

I normally visit Greylake on my way home but started here as I wanted to visit Tedham Moor late to see the reported Short Eared Owls which had been regularly seen here.

From the hide at Greylake stunning close up views of 1000+ Ducks and Waders, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Mallard, Pintail, Gadwall, Snipe, Black-tailed Godwits, Moorhen and Coot which were regularly put up by fly over Marsh Harrier and Peregrine.

Also seen around the reserve and car park were Reed Bunting, House Sparrow, Starling, Great and Blue Tit,Chaffinch, Blackbird,Lapwing, Mute Swan, Great White Egret, Grey Heron, Cettis Warbler, Magpie and Carrion Crow.

Then on to Cattcot Lows, plenty of water here and ducks such as Tufted Duck, Pintail, Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Great White Egret, Mute Swan, Lapwing, Black-headed Gull, Magpie, Carrion Crow and Starling.

Stopped for a Bacon Bap at the Avalon Center and very nice too!

Parked up at the entrance to Shapwick and walked to Decoy Hide, found plenty to see, several sightings of Marsh Harrier,sadly too distant for any decent pics, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Pied Wagtail, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Cettis Warbler, Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock, Coot, Moorhen, Great-crested Grebe, Pochard, Mallard, Tufted duck, Gadwall, Shoveler, Great-white Egret and fly-over Lapwing.

Final stop Tedham Moor , when I arrived at 3.15 all the gate entrances and pull ins had cars parked in them with birders and photographers out with scopes and cameras. All the ditches were flooded with water and plenty of the fields were water logged, lots of Gulls and Lapwing, Mute Swans, Grey Heron, Little Egret and Great White Egrets, Mallard, Fieldfare, Buzzard, Kestrel, Chaffinch, Starling, Robin and a distant SEO on a fence post, I've seen quite a few this year but all distant, still great to watch them fly over the ground.

Had a great day and met some very friendly humans as always in Somerset.

10 February 2019

Weekends Birding

Had a great weekend and managed to gets some time out around the River Exe and the surrounding countryside.

Started off at Cockwood Steps, looking out there was very little to see on a calm river even though there was a bit of a wind, only a couple of Cormorants on the wreck and the odd Black-headed Gull. The Harbour at Cockwood was full of water but no birds, but there was in the pond and field by the side of the bridge with Grey Heron, Canada Geese, Mallard and a Little Egret.

As I passed bye Starcross Golf Course there was a large flock of Brent Geese flying in to join the Curlew, Oystercatchers and Canada Geese already on the field.

In a flooded field just past Starcross opposite to the road entrance that goes parallel to the Exe there was 200+ Gulls, mostly Herring abut a few Black-headed as well as about 20 Curlew. Around Powderham itself there was Mallard and Canada Geese in the flooded River Kenn and Robin, Dunnock, Carrion Crow, Wood Pigeon, Blackbird, Wren and Chaffinch. Plenty of Shelducks in the lake in front of the Castle.

On the road between Powderham Church and Exminster Marshes there was plenty of Rooks, Pheasants, Wood Pigeons and Buzzards. On this road there are a few fields with cattle and sheep feeding on catch crops, these in turn are churning the ground up, plenty of Gulls here with several Little Egrets and these fields will be worth keeping an eye on as they have a history of Cattle Egrets over the years.

On to Exminster Marshes, parked up in the RSPB car park and walked to Turf by the back path and back to the car by the road.

Plenty to see around the reserve with Canada, Brent, Greylag and Snow Goose, another birder saw some Barnical but I was unable to locate them. Ducks were good numbers with Mallard, Shelduck, Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler, Pintail and Gadwall. I saw Dave B who said there was a Pochard on the lagoon. Plenty of Curlew, Lapwing, Mute Swan, Coot, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Kestrel, Starling, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Wood Pigeon, Magpie, Blackbird, Stonechat, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Rook, Carrion Crow and Jackdaw.

At Turf the tide was now out and it was great to sit down on one of the benches and enjoy the show, loads of Waders, large group of Golden Plover on the mud flats between Turf and Limpstone, also Avocet, Black-tailed Godwits, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Red and Green Shanks, Teal, Mallard, Red-breasted Merganser, Shelduck, Little Egret, Cormorant and Brent Geese on show.

Today I made a trip to Matford Marsh while I was passing, 100+ Gulls, mostly Herring but a few Black-headed Gulls in the mix with Shoveler, Mallard, Tufted and Teal. Coot, Little Egret, Carrion Crow, Blue and Great Tit, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Magpie and Woodpigeon on show.

Great to see Dave B on the Marshes, very few other humans about to my surprise.

08 February 2019


Spent parts of this week on Dartmoor, with the weather being very changeable didn't walk very far but managed to drive around and visit a few places such as Yarner and Dunsford woods. Drove up on to the moor close to Sousoons, Challacombe, Two Bridges and Princetown.

Great to see the Wild Daffodils at Dunsford woods as well as Goosander and Dipper. The usual woodland birds at both woodland sites, lots of Tits at Yarner on the feeders with Marsh, Blue, Great, Coal and Long-tailed Tits. Also Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Wren, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Robin, Nuthatch, Wood pigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow and Raven seen. The only evidence of Woodpeckers in the two woods was surprisingly the call of a Green Woodpecker at Dunsford, nothing else seen or heard.

Around the Moor plenty of wind and very little flying, saw a few Buzzards but all sat on fence posts out of the wind, plenty of Corvids especially Rooks on fields but also saw Raven, Carrion Crow and Jackdaw. Around Soussons saw a few Jay and Magpie. Apart from a couple of Mistle Thrush everything else was keeping there heads down.

Nice to bump into Tom W at Dunsford and chew the cud

03 February 2019

Great weekend

A great weekend which really started Friday evening watching Wales beat France, some Guinness and a pub band!

Since turning 60 I got myself a Senior Railcard which entitles me to a third off so instead of driving to Topsham I decided to go by train, it costing me now only £3.70 it was a no brainer. So I caught the 8.46 from Dawlish which was busier than I thought it would be for a Saturday morning, the train gives everything a different perspective as you are higher than normal, you can see over hedges and further over the estuary. I could see so many birds both on the estuary and on the fields, lots of Geese everywhere, Canada and Brent, lots of Ducks and Waders on the Estuary, little Egrets on ponds you pass that you can't see from the path, especially by Turf, other waders in the flood plain away from human disturbance.

When I got into Topsham I left the station to go to the Recreation Ground, the sun was up and the birds where on the roofs, chimneys and other prominent places lapping up the sun singing their hearts out, House Sparrows, Robin, Blackbird and Starling with the odd Collard Dove.

Around the Rec there was Dunnock, Blue and Great Tit, Robin, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Magpie and a flock over 13 Redwing flew over. On the River there was loads of Gulls with Black-headed, Great-black Backed and Herring Gulls, Teal, Mallard, Little Egret, Lapwing, Redshank, Curlew, Godwits, Ringed Plover, Cormorant and Mute Swan.

At the Goat Walk plenty of mud on show as the tide was out, large numbers of Avocet working their way across the mud with Redshank and the odd Godwit, on the water's edge you could see Shelduck and Teal with Red-breasted Mergansers and Cormorants in the water. Plenty of Gulls especially Black-headed Gulls.

Then on to the viewing platform, the tide being out there was very little to see except a lone Avocet and a couple of Redshank on the water's edge. But in the field next door there was 8 Fieldfare that were unusually tolerant of humans, normally they fly off when I see them on Dartmoor but these just carried on. Hundreds of Geese flew over, Canada and Brent Geese, Greylags where in the Hide Field. The water in front of the hide was frozen so all the birds were on the edges, some smart looking Ducks with Mallard, Tufted, Shoveler, Widgeon, Teal, Gadwall, Pintail and Shelduck. Plenty of Lapwing and singles of Green and Red shank, couple of Godwits and Curlew, as the tide was out most birds were on the estuary. Moorhen, Coot and a Water Rail, around the hedges there weren't that many birds, House Sparrow, Robin, Dunnock, Blue and Great Tits, Blackbird and the sound of a Great-spotted Woodpecker drumming away.

Goosemoor was empty of water and birds except a lone Curlew, the Creek had more with Little Grebe, Little Egret, Redshank, Godwit, Teal, Cormorant and Black-headed Gull. Along the cycle track there was Robin, Dunnock, Great and Blue Tits, Jackdaw, Blackbird, Woodpigeon and a fly over Buzzard.

Stopped for some Chips at Darts Farm before having a look at the "Wetlands and Bird Hide", on route found some more Fieldfare and Redwings in the field by track, also Mute Swan, Little Egret, Rooks and Black-headed Gulls. From the hide I could see Mallard, Teal, Lapwing, Canada Geese, Coot, Moorhen, Widgeon, Godwits, Pied Wagtail, House Sparrow, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rooks and fly over Stock Dove and Woodpigeon.

Along from Darts Farm to the Train station at Topsham plenty of Brent and Canada Geese in the fields with Mute swan, Curlew, Widgeon, Little Egret and Godwits.

Onto the train and a pleasant journey home, saw 3 Foxes, one just past the station sunning itself on a bank and the other two close to Turf. Met lots of humans today and it's been a very pleasant experience!

Today Sunday started early scraping the ice off my car as I was off with Nigel S on a boat trip around Torbay to see what was about, great to meet up with everybody, skipper Nigel L, Nigel S, Kevin B, Paul T, George and Les, plus a couple of other nice people whose names I can't remember, sorry old age!

Cold but sunny, the water was calm so off we went, loads of grey Seals on the pontoons, counted 22 total on trip but probably a lot more, as we were leaving the harbour the shout went up for Dolphins, they were everywhere, lots of small pods from the Harbour to Berry Head and across the bay, a conservative figure would be 100 Common Dolphin but could have been more, they put on quite a show. It's such a lift to see these beautiful creatures, worth getting up for these alone!

Plenty of birds about and some quality as well as quantity with 2 Black-necked Grebes, Red-necked Grebe, 2 Great-northern Diver, 15 Great-crested Grebes, 1 Scooter, 5 Purple Sandpipers, Grey Heron, Shag, Cormorant, Gannet, Kittiwake, Common Gull, Fulmar, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Great-black Backed Gull, Mute Swan, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Razorbill as well as 700+ Guillemot seen crammed on the cliffs as well as on rafts across the bay. Also seen Feral Pigeon, Wood Pigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion row, Pied Wagtail, House Sparrow and Robin.

Such a brilliant trip!

On the way home popped into Labrador Bay, it was a bit quiet on the bird front but still managed to see Robin, Dunnock, Great and Blue Tit, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Cirl Bunting and my first singing Skylark of 2019, just a brilliant sound!

Home for tea and cake!

30 January 2019


This afternoon went up to Holden, snow on the ground and when I got out of the car your could hear the birds on the feeders on the other side of the building.

When I got to them it was alive with birds, not only on the feeders but the surrounding trees and bushes, Great, Blue and Coal Tits, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Siskin, Nuthatch, Great-spotted Woodpecker and at least 3 Brambling. Great to see and hear, obviously the cold snap had brought them into the food.

Off to Powderham as on a train trip I had seen lots of Pintail by the bridge so thought I would take a look, on the journey saw several Buzzard, Woodpigeon, Rook, Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Chaffinch and Pheasant.

At Powderham church when I parked up the Rooks where making a right racket around their nests, also Great and Blue Tits, Pheasants, Woodpigeon, Robin, Wren and Blackbird. From the side of the Bridge by the River Exe you could see large numbers of ducks between the bridge and Starcross Yacht club, Quite a few Pintail, Mallard and Teal seen. Also Plenty of Shelduck out on the water with Oystercatcher, Redshank and Turnstone on the waters edge with Pied Wagtail and Goldfinch on the sea wall.

Off to Dawlish Warren for a walk around the bushes and ponds, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock, Stonechat, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Shoveler and Moorhen in the pond, Sparrowhawk and Great-crested Grebes out to sea with flyover Cormorant, Oystercatcher and Herring Gulls.

Nice to meet all the humans out today, all behaving themselves even the dog walkers!

28 January 2019

Around Devon

From Thursday 17th to today 21st in-between visiting friends and doing the domestic chores spent time on Dartmoor, South Hams and Exminster Marshes.

On Thursday started at Yarner and parked up on Trendlebere walked to the lagoon which was empty of birds then down to the hide by the carpark and did a circular walk via the other hide back to the car. Lovely walk through the woods and saw all the birds you would expect, the feeders were very busy and plenty of birds around the woods. Blue, Coal, Great, Marsh and Long-tailed Tits, Chaffinch, Robin, Nuthatch, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Blackbird, Raven and Woodpigeon.

Then off onto Dartmoor, was going to go for a walk around Challacombe and Soussons but the weather wasn't brilliant, dull and spots of rain so did my watching from my car in which I saw Raven, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Rook, Song Thrush, Redwing, Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush, Buzzard, Stonechat, Stockdove, Woodpigeon, Bullfinch and Herring Gull. Many of these birds were sat on the fields due to the wind, very little flying.

On Sunday very windy but sunny and because of the wind direction I thought a trip to the South Hams would find some shelter and some birds but I was wrong, plenty of wind but a good selection of birds.

First stop was the memorial carpark to watch a Trawler working in the bay, surrounded by Gulls, mostly Great-black Backed Gulls with a few Herring Gulls in the mix, only other birds were some Cormorants in the water, another birder said he had seen some Gannets close in but where gone by the time I arrived.

Parked up by the bridge at the Slapton end and walked to Ireland Bay, trees moving quite a bit but still some birds about with Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, did see a Firecrest briefly with the Long-tailed Tits. Plenty of Robins, Dunlin, Wren, Blackbird, Song Thrush and Wood Pigeons. On the water there was Coot, Mallard, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Great-crested and Little Grebe, Mute Swan, Canada Geese and Grey Heron. Did meet Richie Moore who said there was a Pochard but I couldn't locate it among the waves.

At Torcross end very few birds except for some Black-headed Gulls, Moorhen, Coot and some farm ducks.

Onto Beesands, the ley was relatively calm but to my surprise very few birds, couple of Mute Swans, Mallards, Tufted Duck, Coot and Canada Goose.

West Charleton Marsh was the next stop and I was surprised how windy it was here with most of the birds where on the estuary side of the hide with Great-crested Grebes, Shelduck, Widgeon, Teal, Mallard, Canada Geese, Little Egret, Herring Gull, with Moorhen, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Blue and Great Tits seen around the hedges.

Over to the other side of the South Hams to the tidal road at Aveton Gifford. Good selection of birds here although the low sun made some photography challenging. Mute Swan, Redshank, Greenshank, Dunlin, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Little Egret, Cormorant, Wood Pigeon, Cormorant, Lapwing, Mallard, Herring and Black-headed Gulls.

This afternoon spent some time on Exminster Marshes, parked up on the middle Car Park and walked to the Turf and back, saw Widgeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Grey Heron, Canada and Greylag Geese, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Curlew, Redshank, Robin, Woodpigeon, Lapwing, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird, Bullfinch, Wren, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Snipe, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw and Cormorant.

At Turf the River exe looked stunning in the evening light with plenty of birds spread over the mud with Redshank, Curlew, Godwits, Avocet, Lapwing, Dunlin, Grey and Golden Plover, Shelduck, Teal, Great-black Backed, Herring and Black-headed Gulls.

22 January 2019

Out and about

Been all over the place this last few days, I was 60 on Sunday so using the time Iam off work to visit a few friends and managed to fit a bit of bird watching in-between.

On Monday I visited a wild place, when passing I like to pop in especially Aust Warth which is next to the old Seven Bridge, its a great place for SEO and Merlin amongst others, I got my first decent pictures of Twite here. Today I wanted to take in not only Aust but Northwick Warth as well, also walk around Pilning Wetland which is between Northwick and New Passage. This area is between the two Seven Bridges and is covered by a excellent Website http://www.severnsidebirds.co.uk/ which is run by Paul Bowerman, 278 species have been seen in this area so always worth a look.

I got here at sun rise, picked up breakfast at the nearby Seven services and sat at Aust, plenty to see even though it was abit misty, Woodpigeon, Kestrel, Reed Bunting, Wren, Stonechat, Blackbird, Starling, Jackdaw and Magpie. You could hear plenty of waders on the shoreline but you couldn't see them so off to New Passage which is just north of the new bridge close to Seven Beach, I parked up and walked up the Seven Way towards the old bridge.

At New Passage you look up the side of the River Seven, the tide was out showing plenty of waders with Curlew, Dunlin, Redshank, Godwits, Shelduck, Teal and Widgeon on the tideline and mud.

As you come on to the Seven Way Pilning Wetlands is right in front of you, unfortunately there is no hides close and really you need a scope to view the pools. I did see plenty of ducks with Widgeon, Teal, Shoveler, Mallard and Tufted Duck. Good numbers of Lapwing, coot, Godwits, Mute Swan Black-headed and Herring Gull, Little Egret, Carrion Crow and Pied Wagtails on the mud.

On Northwick Warth there was Shelduck, Canada Geese and some White Fronted Geese, in the bushes lots of small birds with Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Great and Blue Tits, Dunnock, Wren, Magpie and Song Thrush.

Did want to stay around to see some SEO but the weather changed, wind got up and it started to spit with rain.

Today I managed to pop into Holden Carpark to have a look at the feeders which were full of birds, Chaffinch, Robin, Blackbird, Nuthatch, Great, Blue and Coal Tits. The best of all was several very smart Siskin.

Later on I parked up at the Fisherman's car park on Exminster Marshes and walked down to Turf and back, plenty of Widgeon, Teal, Shoveler, Mallard, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Canada and Brent Geese, Moorhen, Coot, Curlew, Lapwing, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Blackbird, Wren, Dunnock, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits.

At Turf the tide was out and plenty of waders on view with Avocet, Godwits, Curlew, Redshank, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Red-breasted Merganser, Cormorant, Teal, Widgeon, Mallard, Shelduck and Black-headed Gulls.

Met plenty of humans about and some very helpful local birders on the River Seven

19 January 2019

Around the Exe

Another stunning day, for January especially! Had a day out with so real plan started off at Cockwood steps and ended up at Topsham.

The tide was out showing lots of mud at Cockwood Steps, several people out on the mud collecting cockles, bait and fishing. The birds must be used to them because none of them took any notice in fact the gulls were following them around. On the water Shelduck, Teal, Mallard, Cormorant, Great-crested Grebes, Red-breasted Mergansers with Oystercatchers, Redshank, Curlew, Godwits, Little Egret, Canada and Brent Geese sharing the shoreline.

The Harbour was empty of water and birds with just a solitary Mute Swan, Starcross Golf course had just a couple of Oystercatchers as all the birds had left for the estuary mud.

At Powderham and the River Kenn Outflow plenty of birds, lots of Gulls with Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Redshank, Curlew, Godwits, Turnstone, Lapwing and Brent Geese. On the River Kenn and around Powderham there was Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Shelduck, Mallard, Teal, Magpie, Pheasant, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Woodpigeon, Blackbird, Long-tailed and Great Tit, Goldfinch and Robin.

Then up to Darts Farm just outside Topsham, quite busy with lots of people out for a stroll and why not? Great to see kids out in the fresh air. Went over to the pools as Water Pipit had been seen, I did see a Pipit sp but because of the distance and only had my bins couldn't be 100%, also from here Curlew, Redshank, Moorhen, Mallard, Teal, Widgeon, Canada and Brent Geese, Long-tailed, Great and Blue Tits, Stonechat, Robin, Magpie and Wood Pigeon.

Along the cycle track Great, Blue, Long-tailed and a Coal Tit which was a surprise to me, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Woodpigeon, Wren, Robin, Blackbird and Song Thrush.

The Creek had a few birds with singles of Redshank, Greenshank, a few Teal, Black-headed Gulls and Mute Swan.

Goosemoor was completely empty of birds except a solitary Curlew, on my way back that was gone as well!

Along the road and reserve which was covered in water I saw Grey Heron, Greylag, Canada Goose, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Widgeon, Teal, Pintail, Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Lapwing, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Dunnock, Robin, Wren, Woodpigeon, House Sparrow, Jackdaw and Carrion Crow.

From the viewing platform just a Redshank and Greenshank close but loads of birds further down with Avocet, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Curlew, Godwits, Shelduck, Mute Swans and Gulls. Along the Goat Walk a few Avocets and a group of about 50 Godwits sat in a group, Redshank and a couple of Black-headed Gulls.

Back up the road to try and find the Yellow-browed Warbler which had been seen by the hide, no show but then further up there was a couple of birders watching it in the hedge, I managed to get some shots but not as sharp as I would have liked.

Met so many humans today some friendly and some keeping themselves to themselves but no idiots!!

17 January 2019

Slapton Ley

Some spare time and glorious weather are a rare combination so I took advantage of it and went to Slapton Ley to see what was about.

I came to Slapton from the countryside rather than the coastal rd and I arrived as the sun was coming up which was giving some great views, as I was coming over the top with the sea in view several large flocks of Starling were flying around and typically by the time I had stopped the car and got the camera out they were gone.

Parked up by the bridge and the bird song was notable, especially the Song Thrush giving it its all.

I walked up to Ireland Bay, plenty of birds to see in the trees but not that many on the water, Duck wise only saw Tufted and Mallard on this part of the Ley, other water birds were Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Grey Heron, brief views of a Bittern flying at Ireland Bay, Coot, Moorhen, Great-crested Grebe, Black-headed and Herring Gulls.

On the path I saw Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Chiffchaff, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Jay, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Wood Pigeon, a couple of Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming, Blackbird, Cettis Warbler, Reed Bunting, Goldcrest and Firecrest.

I met Richie Moore in the quarry area between the view point and the hide, both of us looking for the Firecrest and after 20 minutes of no luck and chewing the cud, putting the world to rights, Richie returned and I went to the hide were I saw the Bittern briefly, as I came back through the quarry a Firecrest landed on a bush in front of me, but was gone before I could get a pic, so I sat on the bench and waited. I could hear them behind me and then some luck, it flew towards me and sat on a branch and it stayed long enough for me to get a couple of shots. Well chuffed, I actually saw 2 of them in the ivy so great timing!

So back to the car and off to the other end at Torcross to try and see the Yellow-Browed Warbler, parked up close to the Tank and walked around to Stokely Bay Hide and back.

I did see the YBW very briefly as it flittered through the branches but it didn't stay long enough for a pic, hardly any birds on the water, had a talk with a nice lady who seemed to know her stuff, she said that the water had been tested and was low on something, she did say and I should have written it down. Anyway not enough food so many ducks and Swans had gone.

Did see the normal Mallard and Farm Ducks at Torcross, a few Tufted and a Scaup with the Tufted from the hide, also a few Great-crested Grebes and Coots, Grey Heron and Moorhen. Land birds included Stonechat, Dunnock, Wren, Pied Wagtail, House Sparrow, Robin, Blackbird, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Fly Over Buzzard and Cormorant, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls.

Did go to the memorial Carpark but nothing much to see out to sea while I was there, couple of Great-crested Grebes and a couple of Gannets at a distance.

Met lots of nice humans, great to met Richie and Ian Teague as well as many other friendly people, in fact didn't meet one miserable sod all day, that's a result!

13 January 2019

Plenty of Geese

Had this weekend off and planned to get out both days and make the most of my time off. Typically on Saturday when I woke up I felt like crap and didn't feel like going anywhere, so stayed in the warm and dosed myself up and hoped for better Sunday. Met my son for breakfast at the Holden Grill which put me in the mood for a walk, did think about Dartmoor but played safe and started off at Cockwood Harbour, the tide was starting to go out leaving some mud which the Redshank were making use of, Mute Swans and Black-headed Gulls also in the harbour with about 30 Canada Geese on the other side of the bridge in the field.

At Starcross Golf Course there was plenty of birds, plenty of Geese with large numbers of Brent and Canada Geese, also Oystercatchers, Curlew and Carrion Crow.

Onto Powderham and River Kenn outflow, the Exe was quite rough and the only thing that was seen was some Black-headed Gulls and a Seal that had come up for some air.

On the River Kenn there was very little to see but lots of birds on the lake in front of the castle with Teal, Mallard, Shelduck, Mute Swan and Carrion Crow on view. Around the hedges and park saw Woodpigeon, Pheasant, Little Egret, Blackbird, Great Tit, Robin and Dunnock.

Onto Exminster Marshes, parked up at the RSPB carpark and did the circular walk stopping off at the Turf to have a look at the River Exe. Lots of Canada Geese here and managed to find 3 Barnacle and 5 Greylag Geese in and among the Canada's.

Also Mute Swan, Grey Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Widgeon, Teal, Shoveler, Pintail, Shelduck, Cormorant, Curlew, Lapwing, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Dunnock, Robin, Pied Wagtail, Magpie, Blackbird, Wren, Woodpigeon, Stonechat, Chaffinch and Starling.

At Turf there was plenty of mud on show with Dunlin, Redshank, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwit, Grey Plover, Avocet, Teal and Cormorant.

Must admit felt better after the walk!

07 January 2019


After a couple of busy days at work got a day off and thankfully the weather was good enough to get out.

Although there has been a few things to see at work, there has been a Song Thrush in full song in the trees which separate the site and the M5, you can hear it well over the din of the cars, the site is also in the flight path for Exeter Airport but the bird takes them on as well, very impressive!

Went off to Yarner Woods this morning and was slightly disappointed by the lack of birds. Yes there was Blue, Great, Coal, Marsh and Long-tailed Tits, Robin, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow and a fly over Buzzard but that was it! Did a circular walk and also looked at the lagoon which was empty of ducks so don't know what's happened there.

So went to Stover on my way home which was completely different with Birds everywhere with Great, Blue, Coal and Long-tailed Tits, Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Nuthatch, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Mute Swan, Goosanders, Cormorant, Mandarin, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Black-headed and Herring Gulls.

Quiet on the human front as xmas holidays over.

03 January 2019

Exminster Marshes

First day back yesterday then day off, I have one of those confusing rotas! hahaha, anyway made the most of it and went to Exminster Marshes.

It was dull and grey, but also dry. The paths were not as flooded as I expected, the reserve was also quiet with very few humans about which was a surprise as it was still the school holidays.

Plenty of birds about with Widgeon, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Greylag and fly over Brent Geese, Moorhen, Coot, Cormorant, Snipe, Peregrine on the Pylon, Kestrel, Buzzard, Magpie, Raven, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Starling, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Pied Wagtail, Reed Bunting, Great-spotted Woodpecker and Black-headed and Herring Gulls on the pasture around the cattle. Plenty of berries still around, surprised only saw Blackbirds on them.

At Turf the tide was right out and I immediately regretted not having my scope.

Lots of birds out on the mud and found it difficult with my bins to id but did see Avocet, Curlew, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Teal, Shelduck, Cormorant, Red-breasted Merganser, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, also 500+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese flew over from the fields.

Good to get out for a nice quiet stroll!

31 December 2018

Last visit of 2018

Having worked Xmas eve and Boxing Day I managed to arrange some time off afterwards, so a trip to Norfolk was arranged. I try to get up there once a year and always have been a little later in the year which would give me more daylight hours but beggars can't be choosers and plan to make the most of my time.

I left work in Exeter and straight up the M5 to Tewkesbury to stay overnight and an early start up the M5, M42, M6 then the A14, I would normally head north at Peterborough to Kings Lynn but had been watching reports of 4 Shore larks at East Lane, Bowdsey which is on the coast just North of Felixstowe. There had been some excellent pictures put on Facebook by John Richardson who was able to give me directions, so I carried on the A14 and arrived by 10.30am. It being the first time here I was quietly pleased, beautiful place with plenty to see. Plenty of military history with Martello Towers, WW2 gun emplacements and look out towers. Plenty of lagoons which look like old salt lagoons, might be wrong?

But plenty of birds on here with Tufted, Teal, Gadwall, Mallard, Mute Swans, Coot, Black-headed and Herring Gulls to be seen.

Off to find the Shore Larks and I could see some Birders/Photographers in a semicircle close to a Martello Tower, I had met up with a local birder in the carpark and we caught up with the birds and I managed to get off some shots before they flew. One of the others suddenly got up and flushed the birds, he looked at me, shrugged his shoulders and walked off closely followed by the others, was it deliberate as he had his pics and just being selfish? I think so! I have been trying to get pictures of these beautiful birds for years so to say I was pissed off was a understatement, although the birds flew off towards the Martello Tower and beyond I was hopeful they would come back which John confirmed this was their favourite area and sure enough they returned just down the beach and settled down, I sat down for about an hour with them and had a great time trying to get a decent picture of these 4 birds, always grass and things covering half the bird, so pleased I stuck with it!

The following day and Saturday was spent around Tichwell, Thornham Harbour and the roads and fields behind the A149, especially around Cholsey Farm and fields behind Holkham Hall, but also around Docking, Fring and Burnham Thorpe. Around the fields looking for Rough-legged Buzzard and Grey Partridge amongst other farm birds, saw a few contenders for the RLB but each couldn't see the tail area very well so no 100% sighting, did see though a few Grey Partridge which was great. Saw lots of Geese flying overhead, Pink-Footed, Brent and Canada all seen, also seen a lot on the fields but unlike in previous years not close, did find 21 Egyptian Geese in one field which was a surprise, also good numbers of Redwing, Fieldfare, Woodpigeon, Collard Doves, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jay, Magpie, Kestrels, Common Buzzard, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Starling, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Red-legged Partridge, Pheasant, Black-headed and Herring Gulls. Also saw plenty of Hares and a group of 7 Deer, looked like Roe at a distance?

I visited Thornham Harbour mainly to see the Twite which regularly winter here, good views of these birds as well as Linnet, Goldfinch, Curlew, Redshank, Little Egret and Herring Gull. As I was getting in my car another birder pointed out 2 Harriers over the reed bed and was grateful to him to use his Scope as he had pointed out one was a Hen Harrier! Brilliant and he had restored my faith in human beings!!

I visited Tichwell twice, first time was to walk around the reserve and the second was to visit the Raptor roost. Normally when I have visited before it's been bloody cold with the cold north wind coming off the North Sea but it was a lot warmer almost "shorts" weather and so I don't think there was the normal numbers of birds, I certainly thought the Duck numbers were down, did see Teal, Mallard, Widgeon, Shoveler, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Shelduck, Moorhen, Coot, Mute Swan, Greylag, Brent Geese, Turnstone, Avocet, Grey and Golden Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Redshank, Lapwing, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Black-headed and Herring Gull, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, pheasant and Woodpigeon.

On my visit to the Raptor Roost I arrived at 2.45pm hoping to see some Harriers and the odd Barn Owl, it was though starting to get windy, not the best weather for Barn owls although the evening sun was out it was also getting cold. According to the sign there should be up to 50 Marsh Harriers roosting in the Reed beds and woods close by, in the 45 minutes I was there I saw 11 Harriers, all Marsh and looked great in the evening sun as they glided over the Reed Bed.

On my last day, Sunday, I decided to go to the Wetlands site at Welney. On arrival I noticed loads of Swans on the nearby fields and as I parked up a small number of White fronted Geese flew over so was surprised by the few numbers of Swans in front of the main hide, just a few Mute, Whooper and a single Bewick's Swan.

There was plenty of water and the birds were well dispersed over the reserve, you needed wellies to get to some of the hides, like the water there was plenty of Ducks though with Shelduck, Mallard, Pintail, Teal, Shoveler, Widgeon, Tufted Duck and Pochard, also a distant views of Great-white Egret and White Stork.

Canada and Greylag Geese, Lapwing, Redshank, Dunlin, Golden Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, Marsh Harrier, Kestrel, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Starling, Blackbird, Tree Sparrow, Coot, Moorhen, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Long-tailed Tits, Stonechat and Goldfinch.

Had a great couple of days away, met some great people, couple of idiots as well, been to some special places, some of the Norfolk villages are just lovely, stayed in the Premier Inn at Kings Lynn which was good (got it cheap!) and the wildlife was just stunning, finally catching up with the Shore Larks was worth the visit alone and thanks again to John for his help.

19 December 2018

Somerset Levels

I've had a great day in Somerset today, early start saw me seeing the sun come up as I was traveling up the M5 and first stop for me was Catcott Lows, I arrived just before 8am to a stunning view of the reserve and Glastonbury Tor in the background. It was cold but no wind helped, I have heard this Hide called "Ice Station Zebra" before because the East wind blows straight in your face here.

Lots of water as well as Ducks with Widgeon the main species but also Pintail, Mallard, Teal and Shoveler. Other water birds included Greylag and Canada Geese, Mute Swan and a Great White Egret. The only wader I saw was several hundred Lapwing, a Male Marsh Harrier put in a brief show at the far end and Magpie, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Black-headed Gull, Blackbird and Pied Wagtail were also seen.

Because I wanted to visit a few places so was parked up at Shapwick by 10am, there are a few new hides here and the investment looks good although a few locals in the new "Noah's hide" said the new one wasn't an improvement on the old one? Shame looks like a lot of money had been spent!

Anyway back to the birds, plenty of Ducks with Shoveler, Pochard, Widgeon, Teal, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Gadwall and Pintail. Other water birds seen were Grey Heron, Mute and Whooper Swans, Moorhen, Coot, Cormorants, Black-headed Gulls, Canada Geese, Great White Egret.

A couple of Marsh Harriers, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Cettis Warblers, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Robin, Wren and Blackbird also seen.

Then on to spend a couple of hours on Ham Wall, again plenty of Ducks with Tufted, Shoveler, Mallard, Teal, Gadwall, Widgeon. Both Little and Great-crested Grebes, Grey Heron, Great-white Egrets, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, several Marsh Harrier, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crows, Wren, Robin, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Lapwings, Starlings, Blackbird and some calling Cettis Warblers where great to hear.

Finished off at Greylake and so pleased I found time to visit here, several thousand duck in front of the hide, amazing!

This is why I got interested in bird watching, yes seeing rare birds is good but nothing much beats the views I had today, Teal, Widgeon, Shoveler, Mallard, Gadwall, Snipe, Moorhen, Coot, Flocks of Golden Plover, Lapwing, Mute Swan and great views of a Marsh Harrier and a Merlin sat on a distant fence, brilliant!

Met lots of great people today as always when I visit the Levels, looking forward to the next visit, hopefully when there is a bit more daylight!

11 December 2018

Exminster Marshes

Took a walk around Exminster Marshes today, feeling a bit under the weather but also needing a bit of fresh air. Parked up at the RSPB carpark and put my wellies on expecting a wet walk, but only really needed wellies going into the field at the end of the back path to Turf.

Plenty of birds on the reserve with Shoveler, Teal, Widgeon, Mallard, Shelduck, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Greylag, Brent Geese, Cormorant, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Pheasants, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Cettis Warbler, Starling, Woodpigeon, Curlew, Redshank and Lapwing.

At Turf the tide had started to go out and many waders on the shoreline with Avocets, Curlew, Redshank, Lapwings, Oystercatchers, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Shelduck, Teal, Widgeon, Mallard, Brent Geese, Mute Swan, Cormorants and Carrion Crows. Around the lock gates at Turf there was a couple of Red-breasted Mergansers and close to the pub there was some new arrivals, some Muscovy Ducks which belong to the pub.

Not that many people about so had the place to my self!

04 December 2018

South Hams

Day off today so decided to go south to the South Hams, the weather was great, cold but calm, the only issue was road works which slowed me up and probably added an extra half to one hour on my journey time.

First stop was Slapton Ley, the Ireland Bay End. The water level had risen quite a bit and was dead flat, the down side to this the birds were spread all over the Ley instead of just being in Ireland Bay and down by the Tank.

Plenty of Coot, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Gadwall, Coot, Moorhen, Great-crested Grebe. Mute and Black Swan, Cormorant, Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Great and Blue Tit.

Then off to Beesands and along the road and the Ley I found Kestrel, Woodpigeon, Collard Dove, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Blackbird, Blue and Great Tit, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Cettis Warbler, a couple of Canada Geese in the field behind the hide, on the Ley is Mute Swans, Coot, Tufted Ducks, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls.

I did then go to North Hallsands but looked very quiet, no gulls on the beach or anything, did bump into Ian Teague which was great!

Then off to West Charleton Marshes, plenty to see here with Wren, Robin, Dunnock, Blue, Great and Coal Tits, Blackbird, Song Thrush and a small flock of Redwing, Greenfinch, Cirl and Reed Bunting, Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Moorhen, Water Rail, Teal, Widgeon, Snipe, Jay and Herring Gull. Out on Kingsbridge Estuary there was Widgeon, Teal, Redshank, Great-crested Grebe, Little Egret and Herring Gull.

On my way home I stopped off at the Memorial Carpark at Slapton overlooking the sea and saw a flock of 17+ Common Scooter which arrived from the south but then flew off out to sea.

After that it was home for tea and cake, nice to see so many people out today and looking forward to seeing the back of the dark days!

28 November 2018

Bad Weather

Typically on my days off this last couple of days the weather has been awful, I did manage to get a few hours in while going to Exeter and a visit to Stover in Newton Abbott.

Off the River Kenn on Tuesday the tide was out, the rain had stopped but it was still windy, plenty of birds on the mud and around the shore line with Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls also Curlew, Oystercatcher, Red and Greenshanks, Cormorants, Shelduck, Mallard and Widgeon also present. In Powderham the Kenn had flooded onto the park with plenty of Mallard on the water with moor Shelduck on the lake in front of the castle, fly overs of Woodpigeon, carrion crow and Grey Heron, there was also a flock of about 25 Goldfinch around the shrubs.

I then went on for a look at Exminster Marshes but only looked down a small part of the lane as it was flooded on the S bends. Did see plenty of pheasants, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Robin, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Great and Blue Tit, Widgeon, Shoveler, Mallard and Lapwing.

Today ( Wednesday) the weather I think was worse but managed on a trip back from Exeter to look at the flood pools on the edge of Starcross opposite the Powderham turn off, plenty of Little Egret, Curlew, Canada Geese, Oystercatcher, Carrion Crow, Herring and Black-headed Gulls, Mallard and Moorhen. The Golf course was also full of birds staying out of the wind with good numbers of Dark-bellied Brent Geese, Curlew, Oystercatchers and Black-headed Gulls.

Decided I would go for a walk around Stover even though the weather was foul and too my surprise I quite enjoyed it, plenty of Ducks with Mallard, Tufted and Mandarin. Coot, Moorhen, Cormorant, Mute Swan, Dunnock, Blackbird, Robin, Woodpigeon and Blue, Great and Coal Tits on the feeders with Chaffinch feeding on the floor.

Pleased I managed to get out even in the bad weather, surprising what you can find!

21 November 2018

Good days Birding!

Had an excellent day today, was expecting it to rain as per weather forecast but it turned out to be mostly a clear but cold day.

After getting my stuff together the first stop was Holden grill for breakfast which set me up for the day, so after putting back the All day Breakfast I went off to Holden Forest to have a look at the feeders with the hope of seeing a Brambling, while I didn't see one of these the four feeders where full of birds both on and around them with good numbers of Great, Blue, Coal and Long-tailed Tits, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Nuthatch, Robin, Blackbird and about 25 Chaffinch, these started to thin out when there was more human disruption, especially from excited children waiting to go off on their exploration of the forest. Good to see actually, got to better than the classroom!

Back in the car and stopped off at Powderham on my way to Exminster Marshes, the tide was out and plenty of Gulls around the outfall with the usual Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls, Oystercatchers, Redshank, Curlew, Mute Swan, Cormorants, Mallard, Teal and Widgeon.

In Powderham in around the River Kenn and lake in front of the Castle there was 100+ Ducks, looked mostly Mallard and Teal, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Carrion Crow, Pheasant and Jackdaw. Very few small birds in fact single of Wren and Goldfinch.

On to Exminster Marshes, parked up in the RSPB car park and did a circular walk via Turf. Plenty of action in and around the reserve, saw plenty of winter Thrushes with several groups of Redwings and a couple of Fieldfare, Blackbirds, Song Thrush, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Linnet, Goldfinch, Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Magpie, Carrion Crow Raven, Teal, Mallard, Widgeon, Grey Heron, Cormorants, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Coot, Moorhen and Starling.

Also a couple of spectacular views of a Merlin flying fast low over the fields, pos Female/1st winter? Great to see!

At Turf the tide was still out but plenty of close views of many birds, so got myself a coffee and a piece of cake and watched the many Avocets in front of me, also Redshank, Curlew, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwits, Mute Swans, Widgeon, Teal, Mallard, Shelducks and Mute Swans, Cormorants, Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls.

On my way back to the car from Turf the planned rain started, thankfully not heavy and didn't spoil a brilliant day

Met lots of nice humans today as well so cant be bad!

15 November 2018


Went up to Dorset today to see if I could link up with the Franklins Gull that has been seen over the last couple of days in the Car Park next to the RSPB Radipole Reserve, it has been coming in late afternoon, early evening.

I had hoped to leave early to beat the traffic around Exeter but was late leaving Dawlish and typically got caught up around Exeter and eventually arrived in Weymouth about 11am, if I had got there earlier I would have gone to Lodmoor to see the Yellow Legs but decided to have a good look around Radipole and glad I did.

Plenty of Ducks with Mallard, Teal, Gadwall, Tufted Ducks, Ring-neck Duck and Scaup.

Other water birds included Great White Egret, Mute Swan, Grey Heron, Coot, Little Grebe and Moorhen.

Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Starling, House Sparrow, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Reed Bunting and Dunnock also seen but best of the smaller birds was a Cettis Warbler who was singing away and then popped out by the path, for once I had the camera at the ready and it thankfully stayed long enough for a picture or two!

Plenty of Gulls about but sadly no Franklins, some very smart Med Gulls in amongst the Black-headed Gulls on the carpark, also Herring, Great and one single Lesser-black Backed Gull. The carpark is a great place to see the likes of Med Gulls as you can sit in your car while they walk around you, up to 250 birds there this evening.

Saw a few Rats around where people had put food down for the Ducks, one of them was huge!

There has also been a lot of work done, plenty of the Reeds had been flattened and the place has been opened up.

Loads of humans about and all quite social!

13 November 2018

Yo hohohoho

As a few of you might know after 30+ years I have stopped working in Special Ed, just fed up with all the crap, politics and being treated like shit! So end of August I finished and had a couple of months off and now working in retail at B&Q, its half the money but one tenth of the stress!

Typically when I have had a day off its poured with rain so not been out much, when things get settled and I get organised I'm hoping things will get back to normal if that's possible with me!

03 November 2018


Yesterday I walked along the sea wall to the Warren from Dawlish, then around the reserve and beach missing out the bite as the tide was out, then back to Dawlish via the path by Langstone Hotel and the road.

There had been several reports of Sea Ducks, Velvet and Surf Scoter off Dawlish and Eider off the Warren and Dawlish. Later on a Red-throated Diver had been seen off the Warren but by the time I had arrived it had moved off and had been seen off Sidmouth, not surprised as there were lots of boats around the Estuary mouth.

I didn't see the Velvet or Surf Scoters although the Velvet was seen later, part of the reason is although I have a scope I don't walk with it, my camera bag weighs 14lb which is enough to carry.

Well what did I see? Along the sea wall there was to my surprise very few gulls, just singles of Black-headed and Herring Gull, a few Cormorants, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Wood Pigeon, Blackbird, Robin, Pied Wagtail and I supposed unsurprising loads of feral pigeons.

At the Warren around the bushes Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Wren, Stonechat, linnet, Moorhen and Sparrowhawk hunting over the woods.

Off the beach there was 3 Eider, Cormorant and Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls.

On the way back through the wooded areas of the path and open fields at the top there was Great and Blue Tits, Carrion Crow, Kestrel, Wood Pigeon, Stock Dove, Magpie, Starling and Blackbird.

Also plenty of Wasps still about and a few Red Admirals seen by the beach.

Few humans about and all seem happy out in the autumn sun.

01 November 2018


Spent some time around Topsham today, the weather was ok, bit of sun and not too cold, but it is November!

Parked up at Darts Farm and walked down the cycle track to Goosemoor, a few birds on the creek but the hedges and trees around the path were very quiet. Black-tailed Godwits, Redshank, Little Egret and Teal were on the River.

On Goosemoor there was Black-tailed Godwits, Redshank, Greenshank, Ruff, Snipe, Mallard, Teal, Black-headed and Herring Gull.

Between the Roads, Hide, Reserve, Platform and The Goat Walk there was Curlew, Godwits, Redshank, Dunlin, Avocet, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Shelduck, Mallard, Teal, Widgeon, Pintail, Shoveler, Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Greylag, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Coot, Moorhen, Water Rail, Blackbird, Wren, Robin, Dunnock, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tit, Goldfinch, Magpie, Jay, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Rook, Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Buzzard, Great-spotted Woodpecker, House Sparrow, Starling, Pied Wagtail, Black-headed, Common, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls.

Lots of nice humans about and great to bump into Dave Boult.

30 October 2018

Temmincks Stint

Been trying for a long time to see let alone get some decent pictures of this bird.

Today was my lucky day, not only did I see it, the sun was out and I got some decent pictures. Seen at Stithians Reservoir in Cornwall, its been around for some time but on my previous visit it was raining and hail, but today the gods were shining on me!

I also saw Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Green Sandpiper and a fly over Red Kite amongst all the other birds you would expect to see at a Reservoir.

Great to see Ian T amongst many other happy humans around, I did go to see the Cat Bird but looks like its left

28 October 2018

22-28th October inclusive

Another busy week meeting friends and sorting stuff out, managed to do a bit of birdwatching and out with the camera all week, bit of a wasted journey to Cornwall on Friday but will come to that later.

This Blog entry is from Monday 22nd to Sunday 28th inclusive.

Still suffering from a cold and cough I just can't seem to get rid of decided to get some air but stay local so up the River Exe with the first stop at Cockwood Steps, the tide was out and there was some people in front of the wreck but still a lot of birds further up by the entrance to Cockwood Harbour with Brent and Canada Geese, Mute Swans, Oystercatchers, Curlew and Redshank present with plenty of Gulls, mostly Black-headed but Herring and Great-black Backed also present.

The Harbour was empty of water but also birds as people were working on boats, but on the other side of the bridge there was 4 Cattle Egrets in with the cattle, there had been reports of up to 11 a few days ago.

Starcross Golf Course has now closed and a few Canada Geese had moved in, off to Powderham and stopped by the Kenn outflow, another birder passed on that an Osprey had just taken off from the park and was on the river somewhere but looks like it flew straight out to sea on route to Africa and who could blame it!

Loads of Ducks on the Kenn, 200+, Widgeon, Teal, Mallard and Gadwall seen, Mute Swan, Fly over Buzzard, Woodpigeon and Carrion Crow. Magpie, Canada geese, Blackbird and Goldfinch around the park and bushes close to the road. On the Exe, plenty of Mute Swans, Cormorant, Little Egret, Redshank, Oystercatchers, Curlew, Black-headed, Great-black Backed and Herring Gulls present. Off then to Exminster Marshes with a circular walk from the RSPB car park via the Turf., quiet with Wren, Canada Geese, Carrion Crow, Mute Swan, Robin, Cettis Warbler, Woodpigeon, Pheasant, Blackbird, Great and Blue Tit, Teal, Mallard and Rook. Turf was also quiet with Curlew, Mute Swans, Cormorant, Little Egret and the usual Gulls.

Tuesday afternoon found me at Yarner, plenty of woodland birds about with Buzzard, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Wren, Blackbird, Robin and Coal, Blue, Great, Marsh and Long-tailed Tits. A lovely walk in the woods, especially as the leaves was falling giving a sense of the change in the seasons.

Wednesday I went to Topsham, parked up at Darts Farm which was busy with the half term, along the cycle path and by the creek I saw Blackbird, Wren, Redshank, Curlew, Godwit, Little Egret and Black-headed Gull. At Goosemoor there was great views of a Ruff as well as Curlew, Redshank, Little Egret, Teal and a couple of Snipe, another birder thought they could have been Jack Snipe but I didn't get a good enough view to be positive. Also fly over Buzzard, Cormorant, Carrion Crow and Woodpigeon. From the reserve, hide and road I saw Teal, Widgeon, Shoveler, Pintail, Mallard, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Canada and Greylag Geese, Mute Swan, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Woodpigeon, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Magpie and a fly over Rook. Bit quiet from the platform but from the Goatwalk you could see Avocet, Redshank, Godwits, Curlew and Cormorant.

Thursday afternoon I spent a couple of hours at Labrador Bay, Lots of birds sat in the tops of trees enjoying the afternoon sun with Cirl Buntings, Starling, Dunnock, Blackbird, Skylark, Wren, Robin, Blue Tit, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow and a fly over Buzzard.

Friday I thought I would go down to Cornwall to see the Cat Bird as well as a Temmincks Stint, Spoonbill and Great White Egret which was all close by. Lands' End is about two and half hours drive from Dawlish so left at 7am to arrive at 9.30 ish but after being caught up in traffic issues, a crash and being diverted down some country lanes I arrived at Lands End at 12.15pm and it was blowing a gale. Other birders were leaving as the bushes were blown out and the bird hadn't been seen in 4 hrs, I stayed for a while but it was obvious nothing was going to show so off to find the Temmincks, as I arrived on site for this one it started to rain then hail, so I just drove home and put the day down to experience!

Saturday I did another Walk around Exminster Marshes after reports of Whooper Swan, Glossy Ibis, Merlin and Ruff but I walked around and found nothing, having said that they could have been hiding in a ditch or up against some reeds so no chance of finding them.

Today Sunday I went down to Slapton and Beesands Leys, very windy and many birds in shelter of Ireland Bay at Slapton with good views of Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Tufted, Widgeon, Teal, Mallard, Great-crested Grebes, Mute Swans, Cormorants, Black-headed, Herring, Great and Lesser-black Backed Gulls, Coot and Grey Heron on the Ley. On the footpath plenty of small birds with Grey Wagtail, Blackbird, Wren, Robin, Chiffchaff, Cettis Warblers, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits with fly over Woodpigeons, Jackdaw and Carrion Crows.

At Beesands the ley was windswept and all the birds were to the left of the hide where it was sheltered, counted 52 Mute Swans but could have been more around the corner as well as a Black Swan, 40+ Canada Geese, Cormorant's, Great-black Backed and Herring Gulls, Coot and plenty of Ducks, again couldn't give an accurate number as plenty of birds around the corner, Gadwall, Shoveler, Mallard, Teal and Tufted Ducks. Cettis Warbler, Blackbird and Magpie made up the other birds.

Met lots of humans, plenty of birders, several Dave's, Perry, Richie and Mike amongst others, lots of nice people met in Cornwall, in fact no complaints about humans this week, even the dog walkers and cyclist have been behaving themselves, must be coming up to xmas and the time of cheer!

19 October 2018

15th to 19th October 2018

Been busy this week with Life, being ill and having a job interview. But still managed to get out and see some great birds in some fantastic scenery. This blog entry is from Monday 13th to Friday 19th inclusive.

Monday was a bit of a miserable day, grey and a bit damp, just like how I was feeling! Off to Topsham, quick look at Goosemoor which was empty of water and birds so off to the hide at Bowling Green to stay dry. Lots to see with loads of waders filling up large areas and hiding other birds, another birder said he could see Knot but the birds moved and it was lost, plenty of Black-tailed and a few Bar-tailed Godwits, Curlew, Lapwing, Redshank, Dunlin, single Snipe and Ruff seen as well as seven Avocet which was great to see.

Also plenty of ducks and other water birds with Canada Geese, Mute Swans, Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Gadwall, Teal, Shoveler, Pintail and Widgeon as well as Little Egret and Grey Heron seen. A few gulls with Black-headed and Herring Gulls.

Other birds seen on the reserve and road were Mistle Thrush, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Goldfinch, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Cormorant, Woodpigeon, Reed Bunting, Buzzard, Wren, Robin and Chaffinch.

On the way back I stopped at Powderham, plenty of Rooks on the ground around the Fallow Deer, Pheasants and Mute Swans on the river with a few Goldfinches around the bushes. The tide hadn't gone that far out by the outflow but still plenty of Gulls washing themselves with Great-black Backed, Herring and Black-headed Gulls of all ages, Redshank, Little Egret, Little Grebe and Mute Swans.

Tuesday down to Thurlestone to see the 1st winter Daurian Shrike that had been around for a while, not the best light but got a few pics and left as not feeling the best. On the way back home visited the tidal road at Aveton Gifford which was quite active, some smart looking Greenshanks, Mallard, Oystercatchers, Black-tailed Godwits, Redshanks, Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Cormorants, Black-headed and Herring Gulls. Off home for "Lemsip" and Bed!

Feeling better on Thursday so with the news of a Red-breasted Flycatcher I went off to Connaught Gardens in Sidmouth, it's a bird I've missed on several occasions but at least I got a glimpse of this one but no pic for me although others managed to get some good pics after I left. Plenty of other birds here with Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Goldfinch, Woodpigeon and Carrion Crow. Not been here before but worth another look!

Off to Seaton Wetlands and first stop was the Tower Hide and the river was busy with birds, Great and Lesser-black Backed, Black-headed and Herring Gulls of all ages, Mallard, Widgeon, Teal, Oystercatchers, Redshank, Curlew, Lapwing, Moorhen and Cormorant.

From the Island Hide plenty of Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit, Shelduck, Redshank, Widgeon, Teal, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Little Grebe, Greenshank and Common Sandpiper.

On the way home popped into Aylesbere which was very quiet with some fly over Wood Pigeon and Carrion Crow with one Stonechat.

Early start this morning to catch sunrise at East Soar, I did a circular walk from car park via Starhole and Middle Soar. It was a stunning sunrise and worth getting up early for that alone, so many birds difficult to know where to start! Several Ring Ouzels, Cirl Buntings, Reed Bunting, Cettis Warbler, Chiffchaff, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Stonechat, Swallow, Blackcap, Linnet, Starling, Wheatear, Wren, Song Thrush, Dunnock, Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Raven, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Peregrine, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Herring Gull, Pheasant and a Black Redstart at Middle Soar which was a great find for me.

Decided to pop into see the Ring Ouzels at Shipley Bridge but only managed a brief view of a female flying down the valley, plenty of Blackbirds, Mistle Thrushes, Song Thrush, Chaffinch, Robin, Raven, Nuthatch and Kestrel.

Had a great week apart from feeling ill, met plenty of nice humans over the week but rather sad to hear from a couple of ladies about how they have been treated in various local bird hides, come on guys up your game and show some respect!

13 October 2018

Dawlish Warren

Went for a very enjoyable time down to the Warren this morning, high tide was at 10am and quite a high one, with all the bad weather had hoped something might have turned up.

When I got to the Warren this morning the waves were already smashing up against the sea wall, to my amazement nothing to be seen out to sea so off to the hide.

While the waves were coming in on the beach the River Exe was calm, it was very cloudy and grey so not much hope of taking any prize winning photos!

Plenty of large birds in the bite and in front of the hide, 20+ Mute Swans, 50+ Brent Geese and 40+ Canada Geese all sat in calm water, also my first Shelduck of this winter at the Warren.

Plenty of Oystercatchers as usual, Dunlin, Turnstone, Godwit, Ringed Plover and Curlew also seen.

Out further from the hide the resident Slavonian Grebe, Great-crested Grebe close to the wreck and 2 Red-breasted Mergansers sat on the water.

The usual Carrion Crows hassling the birds on the hill as well as Linnet and Meadow Pipit.

At the back of the hide there was Blackbird and Woodpigeon with some Magpie on the golf course.

A few humans about and all looked happy in the wind.

10 October 2018

Birding in the South Hams

Had such a great day yesterday around the coast in the South Hams. Didn't get there early enough to do the full list as "Life" got in the way.

Wanted to do the Tidal Rd at Avington Gifford, then on to East Soar, Charleton Marshes, Start Point, Beesands and Slapton Ley. Because of late start I missed the Tidal rd and Charleton Marshes.

Arrived in the Car Park at East Soar to a beautiful sunny day, lots of Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Pied Wagtail about the runway and fields adjoining the runway.

Several groups of Herring Gulls sat on the fields 60-100 in total. Also Linnet, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Dunnock, Great Tit and Robin seen around the farm and bushes. I was doing a circular walk via the coastal path and Middle Soar back to my car, 4 Buzzards came over in a group, all different colours and shades of brown to be joined by a Peregrine, still after all these years get a buzz seeing these majestic birds.

Also saw Stonechat, Swallow, Wren, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Blue Tit and Raven. Met a few local birders who very helpful especially the gent at the car park, full of local knowledge and happy to share.

Off to Start Point and as I went past the BBC ariel there was loads of Swallows on the wires and hawking over the fields, 500+ easy! Parked up at the carpark and did a circular walk via the lighthouse and Matscombe Beach. Plenty of Meadow Pipits, Stonechats, Wren, Dunnock, Pair of Kestrel hunting, Raven, Herring, Great and Lesser-black Backed Gulls as well as 3 Seals basking on the rocks.

Off to Beesands Ley and numbers of birds on the water had increased since my last visit. At least41 Mute Swans that I could see from the hide, 11 Gadwall, Coot, with Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls sat on the water. Also at least 100 Swallows hawking over the ley with at least 1 House Martin, while sat in the hide a Cettis Warbler could be heard on the other side of the ley.

Off to Slapton Ley, didn't stay long here due to time and issues with parking/road works but still managed to see Great-crested Grebes, Tufted Ducks, Mallard, Moorhen, Coot, Mute Swans, Black-headed, Herring, Great and Lesser-black Backed Gulls, lots of the larger gulls also on the beach on the tide line 100+.

A few Butterflies about but all starting to look worn as well as Dragons especially at Beesands, met lots of nice humans as well which is always a plus!

08 October 2018

Around the Exe

Its been a bit quiet on the bird front close to home but still spent some time around the Exe this last few days.

Friday afternoon saw me at Dawlish Warren, there had been reports of a couple of Black-throated Divers close to the sea wall but I was unable to locate them. There was a couple of Eiders close by, these two had been here couple of weeks and seemed quite settled here.

Spent some time around the site and on the Point before going to the hide to catch the evening high tide. Kestrel, Woodpigeon, Stonechat, Starling, House Sparrow, Magpie, Pied Wagtail, Linnet, Moorhen, Pheasant, Fly over Med Gull, Dunnock, Robin, Great Spotted WoodPecker and Blackbird all seen around the site.

At the Hide Grey Plover, Oystercatcher, Bar-tailed Godwits, Redshank, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Little Egret, Carrion Crow, Widgeon, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Linnet, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls.

Sunday started off at Cockwood steps, the tide was out and plenty of mud but also a few humans about collecting bait and some fishing so all birds up river close to the harbour entrance with Oystercatcher, Curlew, Redshank, Godwits, Mute Swan, Brent and Canada Geese. The harbour with the exception of a Little Egret was empty of birds due to some people working on there boats making a bit of noise.

Further up river at the Kenn outflow there was a large flock of Widgeon flying over, Mute Swan, Little Egret, Carrion Crow, Red and Green Shanks, Curlew, Oystercatchers, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls.

Around the river saw 200+ ducks, Teal, Widgeon, Mallard and Gadwall seen as well as Mute Swan and Grey Heron. At the lake which is in front of the Castle there was the Snow Goose and Canada Geese, fly over Woodpigeon and Buzzard as well as Wren, Goldfinch and Blackbird around the bushes and trees.

I then went onto Exminster Marshes, parked up in the RSPB car park and did a circular walk via Turf, not much to see, Magpie, Buzzard, Robin, Carrion Crow, Cormorant, Blackbird, Moorhen, Stockdove, Cettis Warbler in song, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Reed Bunting, Rook, Jackdaw, Blue and Long-tailed Tit.

At Turf very quiet, a few gulls and singles of Curlew, Redshank, Grey Heron and Little Egret.

Today I went down to Dawlish Warren early to catch the high tide to see if the Black-throated Diver had returned but sadly no, there was however a lot of people about and unbeknown to me the "Flying Scotsman" was coming through and the world and his mother was there to see it, it put on a good show too!

Off to Topsham and Bowling Green Marsh, quick look in Goosemoor and the tide was out, just a few Black-tailed Godwits, Grey Heron and 20+ Lapwings.

At the Reserve from the hide, sat here for about a hour and the numbers of ducks kept rising especially Widgeon but also Teal, Shoveler, Pintail, Mallard and Gadwall, also Grey Heron, Little Egret, Moorhen, Lapwing, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Wood Pigeon, Buzzard, Magpie, Jackdaw, Starling, Long-tailed Tits, Blue Tits, Wren, Blackbird and Dunnock.

Over these days saw lots of Butterflies some looking quite fresh, Clouded Yellow, Red Admiral, Peacock, Small Copper, Speckled Wood, Small White and Meadow Brown.

Plenty of Common Darter and Migrant Hawkers, Ivy Bees, Hoverflies and Wasps.

Met lots of humans and all happy which all helps!

03 October 2018


Had a early start yesterday (Tuesday) as I went off for a days birding to the Pennington Marshes which is just south of Lymington. I have seen these marshes often from the IOW Ferry and seen birds flying in here all the time so thought it was time to pay a visit.

There has been also for the past two weeks a Temmincks Stint showing on and off so I was hoping to get lucky, which unfortunately it was hiding when I visited, typically its been several times since. Because its such a small bird and has so many places to go that cant be seen from the paths, easy to lose!

Arrived in good time, took just over 3 hours with a stop to get there from Dawlish. Parked up and consulted the map and several of the notice boards with all the various paths, tracks and roads. The Marshes are part of the Lymington and Pennington Country Park which runs from Lymington to Keyhaven.

I took the path to Keyhaven which took in the mud flats that look out towards " Hurst Castle" then along the sea wall which separates the Solent from Keyhaven Marshes, then on to Pennington Marshes before crossing the Marsh to get back to the car.

I didn't give myself enough time to complete the walk up to Waterford. Next time I will find a place to stay overnight.

Although I didn't see the Stint there was still plenty of great birds to see although the locals said it was quiet there was enough to keep me happy!

Saw plenty of Swallows and House Martins hawking over the lagoons and ditches. Plenty of ducks with Eider, Mallard, Teal, Widgeon, Shoveler and Gadwall. Little Egret, Grey Heron, Coot, Moorhen. Waders showing well with Curlew, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Lapwing and Black-tailed Godwits. Cormorants, Mute Swan and Canada Geese also seen on the water.

Plenty of small birds seen around the bushes with Goldfinch, Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Dunnock, Starling, Reed Bunting as well as Woodpigeon, Jackdaw and Carrion Crow.

Met some great humans today as well, locals very helpful, such a pleasure to get this as unfortunately this is not always the case, some birders can be miserable twats!!

01 October 2018

Yarner and Torrs

Had a few trips up to Dartmoor and knocked a few more "Torrs" off my list.

Iam enjoying doing this as I have been in a few new places, still not sure why when walking by some granite outcrops they are not named and others that look like just a rock are?

Anyway took another 6 off the list, Aish Tor, Bag Tor Aka Bagathora, Bel Tor Aka Bell Tor, Mel Tor Aka Mil Tor, Pinchford Ball, Another of the 7 Sharp Tors. A few birds about, Stonechat, Chaffinch, Skylark, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Rook, Raven, Buzzard and Kestrel seen over these visits, thought I might see some migrants passing through such as Ouzel but not yet.

On my last visit to Dartmoor I went to Yarner, the feeders had been put up after a summer break, lots of Nuthatch, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Robin, Chaffinch, Dunlin, Grey Wagtail, Wood Pigeon, Marsh, Coal, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Blackcaps and Wren.

27 September 2018

Around the Exe

Had such a great couple of days around the River Exe, Wednesday saw me around Exminster Marshes.

Parked up in the RSPB car park and did a circular walk via Turf. The weather was like summer, nice and warm out of the wind, plenty of insects in these areas, Dragons and Butterflies, some of which were starting to look a little worn.

Small Tit flock on the back path, about 15 birds but Long-tailed, Great and Blue Tits, Wren, Dunnock, Blackbird and Robin also seen on this path. The fields looked a bit empty, they have topped the grass, presumably to get ready for winter and the ducks?

At Turf it was abit quiet except for a Common Sandpiper and a Whimbrel which flew down in front of me while I was enjoying a cuppa out of my flask. Could hear Curlew in the distance also Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls, Mute Swans, Carrion crow and Little Egret all present.

Walking back to the car saw Magpie, Woodpigeon, Starling, Linnet, Reed Bunting, Pheasant, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, a vocal Cettis Warbler and fly over Grey Heron and Cormorant.

On my way home I stopped at the River Kenn outflow, the tide was far enough out not to worry them, 200+ Gulls, mixture of Herring, Great-black Backed and Black-headed Gulls of all ages for all the gulls. 25 Mute Swans, oystercatchers, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwits, Cormorants, Carrion Crows and 50+ Mallard.

A few ducks in the River, Teal, Mallard and Mute Swan with Goldfinch, Starling, Robin and Blackbird in the bushes. In the lake that is in front of the castle you could see Canada Geese and several Ducks, also what looked like Redshank flew in and landed by the geese.

Today up early and caught the high tide at the Warren, what a beautiful morning, cold and a bit misty further up the river.

I got to the hide a hour before high tide, loads of gulls, the island looked white! Took a while to go through them all, plenty of Juveniles and some looked different but Iam not confident to say they were Little or Med Gulls, there was another birder who thought they were. I did see a couple of Med Gulls flying around and possibly a Little Gull but they wouldn't settle to get a pic.

Loads of Sandwich Terns, at one point I had 55 Birds on the island with more flying around, 5 Common Tern of various ages also. A couple of Bar-tailed Godwits, Oystercatchers, Lesser and Greater-Black Backed Gulls, Herring Gulls.

30+ Brent Geese was a obvious sign that winter is coming as well as Widgeon, Little Egret, Cormorant, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Dunlin, Carrion Crow, Linnet, Robin and Pied Wagtail seen around the Hide, Bite and Finger Point.

After hearing a Short Eared Owl had come in off the sea I went out on the point, not only saw it but Sparrowhawk and Kestrel hunting, plenty of Linnet and 2 Wheatear also seen.

Around the rest of the reserve I saw Moorhen, Meadow Pipit, Linnet, Robin, Stonechat, Blackbird, Pheasant and Woodpigeon.

Good to see everybody out, lots of happy humans which is what I like!

24 September 2018

19th to 24th September

Had a good few days out with the camera, although the weather caused a few issues and "life" has got in the way a few times, especially when trying to write this up.

This blog entry is for the period Wednesday 19th to Monday 24th.

Wednesday saw me at Stover; it's a place that I've not been in a while. It's a place that frustrates me in many ways; it's lost its beauty in some way. I remember when the lake used to be full of Lilly's and full of ducks. Not sure of the reasons? Mismanagement? It's always had lots of people about, kids and dogs; there is nothing new in that.

On the water today were a couple of Tufted, Mallard, Mute Swan, Coot, Moorhen, Cormorant, Black-headed and Herring Gulls. A few Swallow and House Martins hawking over the lake, around the bushes there was Woodpigeon, Robin, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Blackbird and Wren. Around the feeding station there was Great and Blue Tits, Willow/Marsh Tit? Coal Tit and Nuthatch.

On the floor here were a couple of Squirrels and a couple of huge Rats living off the dropped food, said it all really!

Went to go up on Dartmoor for the afternoon but the bad weather came in so abandoned that idea.

On Thursday the weather wasn't the best so went shopping into Exeter, had the best seat in the house watching a Peregrine take out a pigeon by the Cathedral and nobody else saw it, all too busy and with their heads down, sad.

Friday was an early start to go to Somerset and get to Cheddar Reservoir as there had been a Black Tern present for the last couple of days, this is a great place to take pics as birds often come close to the edge and you get some great shots. The weather was changeable and I knew the wind was going to be picking up later. I got the Reservoir and parked up and typically the heavens opened so stayed in the car for 15 odd minutes and then sun.

I got to the walkway and you could see the Tern with the other birds on the spit, it would get up and fly around and feed over some weed, I got some great views but the weather would change from rain, dark cloud and sun but got some pics in the end.

I wanted to go to Catcott lows to see the new set up, they have put in some new scrapes in front of the hide, a little bit like Bowling Green Marsh in Topsham. First stop though was a favourite place Tedham Moor. The roadside ditches were full of water and birds, Mallard, Mute Swan and Grey Herons with Swallows hawking over the water. Over the fields Meadow Pipits, Skylark, Buzzard, Carrion Crows and Canada Geese.

Off to Catcott, the new scrape looked good and will look forward to paying a visit when the ducks have arrived, still plenty to see with Buzzard, Marsh Harrier and a Hobby flying in front of the hide, Winchats, Wheatears, Snipe, Stockdoves, Swallows, Dunnock, Meadow Pipits, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Carrion crows and 3 Roe Deer all seen from the hide.

On the way home I stopped off at Greylake and nothing much to see, it was all blown out with the increasing wind so it was off home for tea and cake!

Sunday was the next time out and as the tide was out on the Exe I went up to the Kenn Out flow, it was still windy and not much flying. Oystercatchers and Redshank on the tide line with Mute Swans, Little Egrets, Cormorants, Black-headed, Great-black Backed and Herring Gulls of all ages also seen. Very little on the Kenn with a couple of Tufted Ducks and Mallard but no great numbers. Mute Swans and Canada Gees on the lake, Swallows hawking over the river as well as Wheatear, Carrion Crow, Magpie and Pheasants seen around the park. In Cockwood harbour there was Oystercatchers, Redshanks and Black-headed Gulls. At Cockwood steps the tide was almost out to the wreck but no birds due to fishermen at the water's edge, they had moved up river.

Ended up at the Warren and had a few hours to walk around until high tide, found a couple of Spotted Flycatchers at the entrance bushes flying out catching insects, other birds around the reserve were Great and Blue Tits, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Robin, Blackbird, Pied Wagtail, Kestrel, Linnet, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Starling and House Sparrows.

Plenty of insects about in the sheltered areas, Dragons, Butterflies, Hoverflies, Bees and tonnes of Wasps, while sat down having a cuppa talking to Steve one of the wardens a Clouded Yellow appeared which makes 50 species of Butterflies seen this year, want to try and beat that next year.

Again as the day went on the wind seem to pick up and from the hide this was evident by the number of Kite and Wind Surfers out on the Exe, these to my surprise didn't seem to effect the birds or other human disruption, what did cause a few problems where the 5 Carrion Crows which didn't give the waders any rest. Had a good range of Waders with Bar and Black-tailed Godwits, Redshank, Knott, Grey Plover, Lapwing, Turnstone, Sanderling, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Sandwich Terns, Canada Geese, Wheatears, Pied Wagtail, Linnet, Swallows, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls.

Monday saw me down at Froward Cove close to Coleton Fishacre looking for the reported Rosefinch which I sadly missed but saw plenty of other birds with lots of Meadow pipits, Wheatears and Swallows around the point, obviously feeding up before the journey. Lots of Cirl Buntings, Yellowhammer, Robin, Dunnock, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Buzzard, Kestrel, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Wren, Stonechat and Pheasant.

In sheltered places again lots of insects and saw 9 species of Butterfly including a Painted Lady and another Clouded Yellow.

Have to say met lots of nice humans all over the place, all helpful, sociable and happy, smiley people. No miserable ones found hahahahha

18 September 2018

Around the Exe

Had a great day out around the River Exe, stopped off several places and ended up at Topsham.

Saw lots of birds and found some difficult to Id. Mainly down to moulting and whether they where Juvs. Was that wader a Spotted Redshank?-No it was a very light Redshank, was that Wader a Juv Curlew Sandpiper?-No its a Dunlin and when it stuck its head out of its wing I could see, Is that a Ruff?-No!

Did find a Ruff later Iam pleased to say and many other birds too, loads of Greenshanks at Goosemoor, 45+ and moor at BGM and another 10 from the platform. Loads of Redshank, Black and Bar-tailed Godwits, Dunlin, Curlew, Oystercatchers, little Egrets, Grey Heron, Little Grebes, Moorhens and Coots of all ages, plenty of Ducks, some still in moult such as Shoveler, Mallard, Teal, Gadwall, Pintail, Widgeon and Tufted Ducks.

The Usual large numbers of Canada Geese, Mute Swans, plenty of Corvides with Rook, Carrion Crow and Jackdaws seen, Magpie, Jay all seen.

A few Buzzard seen on my travels and a hunting Kestrel at Exminster Marshes.

Loads of Wood Pigeon seen 100+ crossed the Clyst while I was at the Platform, also Collard and Stock Doves seen.

Smaller Birds, Robin, Dunnock, Blackbird, Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits.

Even though the wind was picking up and the odd spot of rain there was still a few Butterflies about with Spotted Wood, White sp and a Red Admiral, couple of Dragons mostly Hawkers, especially around the platform area.

Met lots of nice humans and good to talk through what was what in the bird world.

17 September 2018


Went up on Dartmoor today, the weather wasn't the best so went looking for some clear area not covered in mist.

I ended up in the North West area around Meldon and the reservoir.

For some reason I've never been here before and not sure why, I have passed on several times but never stopped.

The wind was picking up and the bushes were blown out certainly an area that deserves a good look at, I walked on the Northern part above the dam and plenty of bushes full of berries, could be a good spot for winter Thrushes.

I went over the Viaduct which is part of the cycle way. Stunning views both up and down the valley.

Did also find a Tor amongst the woods, all grown over with trees but clearly a Tor just not been able to name it yet, also visited Brent Tor which is the most westerly Tor on Dartmoor and in the mist looked quite eerie.

Not that much wildlife about, plenty of Corvides both on the fields and in the air with Carrion Crow, Jackdaw and Raven, Magpies, woodpigeons, small flocks of Chaffinch and Goldfinch around hedges and roads. While I was walking around Meldon Reservoir there was quite a big Tit flock of Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits.

Not that many humans about, I suppose the kids are back to school and its a wet, foggy Monday!

14 September 2018

Dawlish Warren

Went to the Warren to catch the high tide, it looked very quiet from a distance but when I arrived at the hide there was Whimbrel, Black and Bar-tailed Godwits, Oystercatchers, Black-headed Gulls, Sandwich Terns and some very annoying Crows!

Around the Bite and Finger Point where Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Sanderling, Cormorants, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls. Out on the water only Mute Swans seen, around the hide a couple of Wheatear, Swallows, Linnets and several White Wagtails.

Went out onto the point as there had been a Wryneck spotted but I couldn't find it, in fact the only bird I saw was a hunting Kestrel.

Didn't really spend much time around the rest of the reserve and only saw a Robin, Blackbird and some flyover Woodpigeon.

13 September 2018

Bit of a tour

Thought I would make the most of the good weather and get out. Also thought I would visit a couple of Reserves I hadn't been to in a while.

First stop was Labrador Bay and look for some Cirl Buntings, wasn't disappointed! 30+ easy, all very mobile and also crossing the road to the fields and back again. Lots of Juveniles/1st winters, they must have had a good breading season. Also lots of Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Robin, Great Tit, Woodpigeon and Carrion Crow.

Plenty of insects, Butterflies, Dragons and especially Wasps which were everywhere.

Then off to Yarner, I knew that all the summer birds had gone so was going to see if anything had moved in, it was very quiet, the guys from Natural England were busy sorting out the feeders for in front of the hides so nothing there, still saw Buzzard, Raven and Woodpigeon over head, heard Green Woodpecker and saw Blue Tit, Blackbird, Robin and Wren. Best of all was at the Lagoon which had opened this year, its a old reservoir which now has a hide in the corner looking out over the water.

Good views of 8 Mandarin Ducks,1 Mallard, Grey Wagtail, Swallows hawking over the water and best of all 2 Kingfishers, one was calling a lot and following the other about the edge of the water. Not sure what it was fishing for as it kept tipping the water like it was after some insects? Shame it was so far away, talking to the Warden and he said they were going to get some Rafts for the ducks and do some work on the edges to cut back some trees.

Had some time over so went up on the Moor and knocked off a couple more Tors, "Wind Tor" and "Hound Tor" which is one of two such named Tors, its also called "Great Hound Tor", it also has a great little mobile café in the carpark which I regularly frequent when Iam up on the Moor.

11 September 2018


Spent today on Dartmoor out walking in some stunning scenery. Stayed away from Widdicombe area because of the fair and how busy it will be.

Went looking for wildlife and Tors and its been really interesting. Went to a new area for me, between Moretonhampstead and Drewsteignton, just north east of Butterdon Down. "Willingstone Rock" and "Pin Tor".

"Willingstone Rock" which is also called "Willistone on H" consists of one, tall granite stack of large blocks. This is on private land but easily seen from the road and its a big piece of rock!

Pin Tor is interesting because its not named on the map,( Iam using a OS Explorer Map OL28 ) Luckily the local farmer came along and was very helpful, is in an area of accessible land but they have had to padlock the gates to stop vehicles from going in. So once I climbed the gate and worked my way through the undergrowth I found the Tor, its very over grown but the top is viewable.

Then off to one of my favourite walks, along the "Hunters Path" above the River Teign close to Castle Drogo. Normally I would park up close to the Castle and walk to Fingle Bridge, have a cuppa and walk back to the car via the "Fisherman's Path" by the River Teign but was running out of time so just visited the two Tors on this path.

The "Hunters Tor" also called "Hunts Tor". There are 2 "Hunters Tors" on Dartmoor the other is close to the River Bovey and the other Tor is one of the 7 "Sharp Tors", you get some great views from here, not only over the valley but across the north of Dartmoor.

On the wildlife front not that many birds. Buzzard, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Woodpigeon, Blackbird and Dunnock seen, actually saw more Grey Squirrels harvesting Acorns and other fruit getting ready for winter, plenty of fruit about, Apples, Berries especially Rowen, Blackberries and other berries al waiting for the Winter Thrushes to appear.

Big thank you to a few Dartmoor locals who helped me find the first two Tors. That's another 4 Tors completed, 357 left!

Had a great day out in stunning countryside, so lucky to live here!

10 September 2018

Good days Birding!

Started the day at Dawlish Warren, got to the hide for 8am for the high tide which was 4.1 and the sun was out.

From a distance there didn't look like too many birds and with the groundsman cutting the grass on the golf course I thought it was going to be a duff morning.

But when I got to the hide and looked out I could see a good mix of birds, not high in numbers but several species, singles of Knot, Bar-tailed Godwit, Curlew and Whimbrel, 3 Grey Plover, 2 of which were in summer plumage, single of Sandwich Tern, dozen of Oystercatcher, Black-headed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Little Egret and couple of annoying Carrion Crows that kept harassing the other birds.

Had several flocks of Dunlin and Ringed Plover fly around the island and hide but didn't settle close.

A 100+ mixed flock of Dunlin and Ringed Plover where in the bite and I presume it was these birds.

Also had fly overs of Mute Swans, Redshank, Cormorant and several Curlews. Plenty of Oystercatchers, Cormorants and Great-black Backed Gulls on finger point.

Several Wagtails in front of the hide and counted 4 White ones.

Behind the hide on the golf course 6 Canada Geese stood stubbornly on the fairway while the mowers were in action.

On the beech there was a small mixed flock of Dunlin and Ringed Plover and a few Swallows were hawking over the sand dunes, strangely nothing out to sea?

Around the rest of the reserve I saw Blackbird, Robin, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, House Sparrow, Starling, Linnet, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Moorhen, Jackdaw and a Pheasant.

Off up the river and a stop at Cockwood Steps, not much to see with Cormorants on the wreck, Mute Swans, Black-headed Gulls and Oystercatchers on the mud just down from the steps.

Up to the Kenn outflow and nothing to see as some man was fishing off the steps but on the River Kenn viewable from the road 100+Ducks on the river, Teal, Gadwall, Mallard and looked like a few Widgeon, also Grey Heron, Mute Swans, Little Egrets and a good number of Canada Geese viewable by the lake, 6 Greenshanks flew out of the park and out onto the River Exe.

Off to Exminster Marshes and did a circular walk from the car park, it was fairly quiet and tree felling on the path to Turf didn't help. did see plenty of Gulls flying quiet high, looked like they were feeding on something, also Chiffchaff, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Starling, Grey Heron, Mute Swans and a fly over Buzzard.

Turf was very quiet, a fly over of 30+ Curlew was the only thing of note.

Decided to drive back to Dawlish via the country lanes, great scenery but nothing to see on the wildlife front.

Very enjoyable day out, good to see Steve and Alan at the Warren.

09 September 2018

Dartmoor Tor Challenge


Not that I don't have enough challenges to do, I've set myself another one! After a bit of research on numbers and where they are, I have decided to set myself the challenge of visiting every Tor on Dartmoor. Its also a reason to get out walking even more, to get me fit again as long as my knee doesn't bite me back!

When I started to research this, I thought wrongly that everybody knew the number and the OS map would have every one on there, wrong on both counts!

Eventually after looking on the internet, the local library and talking to a very nice lady at the Dartmoor information centre at Postbridge, they had two books on sale with two different totals 152 and 365! the lady told me that locals had come forward to say the later book has still left Tors out?

On the OS map they have put a name to a group of rocks but in fact there are two Tors there, also some have got several names such as "Hucken Tor" is also called "Okel Tor" and some Tors have the same name, there are 7 "Sharp Tor".

Also some Tors are not called Tors but such names as "Branscombe loaf", "Buckland Beacon", "Button Hill" and "Cathanger Rock" but are all Tors by definition.

The "Oxford Dictionary of Earth Sciences" defines a Tor as a "mass of exposed bedrock standing abruptly above its surroundings, and typically but not exclusively developed on granite rocks".

So I will be walking around Dartmoor with my trusty new guide written by Ken Ringwood who is part of the Dartmoor Search and Rescue Team based in Plymouth and I expect he would know what he is talking about.

I managed 4 Tors today Top Tor, Pil Tor, Hallow Tor and Bovey Rock. That's 4 down 361 to go!!

Also walking around the Moor Iam hopeful to see some wildlife and not much about on Saturday when I was up there, Wheatear, Carrion Crow, Buzzard, Kestrel and Stonechat.

08 September 2018

Around the Exe

Spent yesterday (Friday )walking around the Exe, with the tide and weather just right was hoping to see a wide range of birds and wasn't disappointed. There was a report of 7 Avocets around Topsham on Thursday but none seen while I was there, beautiful birds and a sign that winter is defiantly on its way!

First stop was supposed to be at Cockwood steps but the lay-bye and with people on the top I drove by, Cockwood harbour was empty of Water and birds due to the on going work being done, plenty of noise and orange jackets walking around.

On to one of my favourite places to look over the Exe, the river Kenn outflow. You have to time it right here as no matter how hard you try, if the tide hasn't gone out far enough you scare the birds as you come over the Railway Lines and they fly off, today I timed it correctly and they stayed put. Plenty of Gulls washing in the fresh water with Herring, Great-black Backed and Black-headed Gulls of all ages, Mallards, some still in moult, Little Egrets, Curlew, Red and Greenshanks, Oystercatchers, Canada geese and the usual Carrion Crows. A look into the River Kenn and round Powderham from the road found plenty of Mallards, Gadwall, Mute Swan, Grey Herons, Little Egrets, Buzzard and fly over female Sparrowhawk being harassed by what looked like Goldfinches. Plenty of Swallows hawking over the Kenn with Shelduck and Canada Geese in the lake in front of the Castle.

Parked up in a busy Powderham car park, 50+ Canada Geese in the stubble field by the church and House Martins still around the Lodge where they have been nesting this year, thought they would have gone by now?

Walking up to Turf, plenty of mud with the tide right out, Black-headed Gulls spread over the mud with the odd Herring Gull and Carrion Crow. Great-black Backed Gulls flying around to add to the mix. Oystercatchers, Curlew, Black-tailed Godwits and Redshanks on the waters edge with Mute Swans and Cormorants on the water. On the field side Goldfinch, Linnet, Pied Wagtail, Woodpigeon and Starling. Also saw a couple of Raptors with a Hobby chasing a Young Peregrine out over the Exe.

Got to Turf and sat down with a mug of Coffee by the side of the Exe and enjoyed the view, this is they way to do bird watching!

From here we could see Greenshank, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwits, Oystercatchers, Little Egret, Curlew, Black-headed, Herring, Great-black Backed gulls with what looked like at least 1 Med Gull with a distant view of Shelduck. Also on the Exe there was both Mute and Black Swans who are obviously escaped from somewhere.

Also met up with Mike Langham who was leading a group of birders who all seemed to be enjoying themselves.

Back to the car for the trip to Topsham, Darts Farm was surprisingly busy, but found a place to park at the back. While it was busy with humans no birds flying about which is unusual with all the bushes, the cycle track was the same and just some Black-headed Gulls and a Black-tailed Godwit on the creek.

Goosemoor was quiet on the way through with just some Black-headed Gulls and a single Herring gull, but on the way back when the tide was coming in they was joined by Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwits and Lapwings.

Around the reserve and along the road there was Canada and Greylag Geese, Mute Swan, Pintail, Teal, Widgeon, Mallard, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Greenshank, Redshank, Black and Bar-tailed Godwits, Lapwing, Coot, Moorhen, Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Blue and Great Tit with fly over Buzzard and Sparrowhawk.

From the platform Redshank, Greenshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Little Egret, Carrion Crow, Black-headed and Herring Gull.

Around at the Goatwalk the tide was still quite a distance but could see Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Black headed and Herring Gulls.

Had a good day and met some great people and saw some great birds, slightly spoiled by a couple of Birders at the Platform, rude and ignorant is the best way to describe them! A slight bump on a otherwise good day!

05 September 2018

Ortolan Bunting

After hearing that two Ortolan Bunting had been seen on Portland on the ground and showing well I decided to go up, its a bird I've been trying to catch up with for years.

I left early Tuesday but not early enough as I met every Car, Bus and Tractor on the road adding another 30-45 minutes to my journey time. First stop was the Ops and Martin C told me they were still there and had been showing well, so after picking up directions off I went to Fancy's Farm which is at the North of the Island by the "High Angle Battery". The Farm is a small holding were members of the public can go in to feed the animals so by the time I got there was quite busy as well as walkers, dogs, runners and about 20+ birders. I could see everybody trained on to a bird with their bins, scopes and cameras and I managed 20 seconds with my bins, just saw the moustache and it was off, over the bushes and away. After looking for another couple of hours I called it a day and went off the Island. Did see lots of other birds, plenty of Swallows hawking getting ready for the trip south as were many of the other birds such as Redstarts, Wheatears, Whitethroats and Whinchat. Local Dunnock, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crows and Buzzard also on view.

At Ferry Bridge plenty of Swallows hawking with Ringed Plover, Redshank, Starling, Wheatears Little Egret, Black-headed and Herring Gulls.

Plenty of Ducks at Radipole Lake as you would expect with Mallard, Tufted, Teal and Gadwall. Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Coot, Moorhen, Black-headed, Mediterranean, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls. Buzzard, Kestrel, Long-tailed Tits, Robin, House Sparrows and Cettis Warblers still in tune.

Plenty of Dragonflies seen today with Darters and Hawkers in good numbers, so were Butterflies that were making the most of the Autumn sun.

Back to Dawlish with the aim to come back tomorrow but earlier.

Up and out by 5am today on route to Portland, good journey and was onsite by 6.45am to join 5 other birders who were already there, we spread out and by 8am one of the growing group had found it but had flown off which had been seen by others but frustratingly not me! Sadly not relocated but it could have been anywhere, there are places fenced off and it could have been sat there quite happily all day.

Saw plenty of other great birds such as Pied Flycatchers, Lesser and Common Whitethroats, loads of Wagtails and Swallows in the sky flying around.

So off I went back home but decided to pop into Blackhole Marsh which was quite busy, plenty of birds spread about the lagoon with Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Dunlin, Redshank, Common, Green and Wood Sandpiper, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Teal and Lapwing seen on my visit.

Quick visit to Budliegh to see the Spotted Crake but after hearing from other birders in the hide that it hadn't been seen for the last 3+ hours I gave it a miss and off home for tea and cake!

While it ahs been a bit frustrating I have enjoyed this last couple of days, if it was easy it would be boring! Met lots of nice people, birders and non birders, while at Black Marsh met some local birders who helped me out when I was having some technical issues with my phone, cheers guys, I lack patience with IT!

02 September 2018

Lyme Bay Boat Trip

Went out on the "Optimist" skippered by Nigel L and the trip organised by Nigel S. The weather was good and the sea was relatively calm.

We went out about 7.5 miles and "chummed" before heading home, the trip was about three and half hours and well worth it!

On the way out we saw 2 Grey Seals, 3 Harbour Porpoise and 150+ Common Dolphins of all ages all around the boat, Dolphins never seem to do things slowly and I got plenty of pictures of half a animal but I never get tiered of seeing them.

Bird wise was a mixed bag with Turnstone, Grey and Pied Wagtails around the Harbour, Black-headed, Herring, Lesser and Greater-black Backed Gulls, Yellow Legged Gull, Kittiwake and Fulmar. Also Gannet, Cormorant and Shag.

a single Storm Petrel put in a quick show as well as about 20 Manx Shearwaters, plenty of sightings but they were flying around so difficult not to count twice.

Two Bonxie around the boat and a Artic Skua at the far end of the slick, there was another Skua which caused some discussion, some said it was a Bonxie but to me it didn't fly like one so Skua sp. Also a possible 1/2 Sooty/Balearic Shearwater seen by others flying in distance.

Another good trip with a good bunch of people.

29 August 2018

South Hams

On Monday I went around the Exe, walked a few miles and buggered up my knee, so yesterday was spent doing nothing which I hated! today I went down to the South Hams, first stop was East Soar to look for some Yellow Wagtails.

Because of my knee I stayed around the top fields close to where the cattle are, first field had nothing but Gulls with the cattle but the next field next to the footpath you could see plenty of Wagtails close to the cattle.

The cattle were slowly moving across the field, so I sat on the bench that overlooks "Starhole" which is also next to the cattle's water trough and sure enough after about 20 minutes the Cattle came over for a drink and to check me out. Not only the Cattle but 32 Yellow Wagtails of various ages! Also saw 6 Wheatears, Stonechat, House Sparrows, Linnet, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Swallows, House Martins, Carrion Crows, Raven and Buzzard.

Saw a few Butterflies with Wall, Small Cooper, Red Admiral, Small and Large White.

I found out when I got home that there had been 3 Dotterel West of the car park, I went East and left early, typical!

I then went to Aveton Gifford as I knew that the tide would be out so I could use the tidal road to see what was about, bit of a disappointment, not only the road was exceptionally busy but people were in the river so apart from the Gulls just a Little Egret present.

Then went over the other side of Kingsbridge to Beesands to see what was about, which was very little on the bird front, couples of Mallard, Tufted and Gadwall Ducks, Grey Heron, a few Gulls and a couple of Mute Swans.

In fact I saw more Dragonflies than birds with good views of both Southern and Migrant Hawkers as well as a couple of Emperors. Plenty of natures bounty on show as well with Blackberries and Sloths.

Then for a quick visit to Slapton Ley on my way home, plenty of Gulls with Herring, Black-headed, Lesser and Great-black Backed Gulls, flying, on the ley and around the car parks, Tufted Ducks, Mallards as well as cross farm yard Ducks, Mute Swans and Great Crested Grebes. There was probably more but didn't spend too much time here.

Good day out and pleased to be able to stretch my legs!

27 August 2018

Around the Exe

Went to the Warren again today and caught the early high tide at 8.15am.

To be honest I was a little disappointed to see hardly any birds in front of the hide, ideal height 3.6 but when I arrived just a few Oystercatchers and some Black-headed Gulls so I was a little under whelmed to say the least! As time went on things started to get busy and the numbers of Swallows started to rise and many landed on the beach in front of the hide, looked like they were after flies and bugs off the seaweed, I also noticed 4 House Martins amongst them and after looking at photos there was at least 2 Sand Martins, 1 being a juvenile. Whimbrel appeared and started calling bring 2 others from the salt marsh and they flew around for a while before disappearing up river. Linnet, Pied Wagtail and Starlings, Carrion Crows, single Sandwich Tern, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls were all stirred up when a female Sparrowhawk took a pass at the mound in front of the hide, thankfully the tide was going out at this point so was going anyway.

On the bite plenty of Dunlin and Ringed Plover and again checked a picture and looks like some Sanderling in the middle.

Around the reserve I saw plenty of small birds around the meadows on the grass seeds with Whitethroat, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Stonechat, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Pied Wagtail, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Kestrel and Jackdaw.

Decided to head up the River Exe to see what I could find, first stop Cockwood Steps and the water was still too high so no mud, just some Mute Swans and Cormorants on the Wreck.

At Cockwood Harbour the water had gone leaving mud but disappointingly just Gulls. On to the River Kenn outflow, just a little mud showing and a single Redshank on show with the usual gulls and Mute Swans. In Powderham around the River Kenn plenty of Grey Herons and Little Egrets, also about 100+ ducks on the Kenn and surrounding banks, lots of Mallard but due to moult wouldn't want to say what the others were. Also Buzzard and a Sparrowhawk flying around.

Off to Topsham and the bird of the day here was Canada Geese, just everywhere! must have been 3-400 birds between Goosemoor, BGR, the Estuary and in front of the "Goat Walk". They were the only bird in Goosemoor apart from some Black-headed Gulls, must have been 100+ birds here.

At the reserve another 100+ birds also the escapee Snow Goose was here with them, also Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Grey Heron and Little Egret. A few Lapwings but that was that, a walk to the platform found a few Waders, Curlew, Redshank, Greenshank and some Oystercatchers. Gulls and about 50 Canada Geese on the mud just south of the platform, the Goatwalk saw some Black-tailed Godwits and Redshank and more Canada Geese.

Decided to head home but pop back in at the Kenn out flow and Cockwood Steps to see what there now the tide had gone out. At Kenn the numbers of Gulls, Swans and Little Egrets and gone up massively, joined by Greenshanks, Redshanks, Oystercatchers and Curlew.

At Cockwood Steps lots to see and even with people out on the mud collecting bate and fishing plenty of birds with Oystercatchers, Curlews, Redshanks Great-black Backed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Cormorants, Mute Swans and A Red-breasted Merganser close to the wreck.

Good day out and good to see everybody at the Warren, lots of people out walking, cycling and generally enjoying the Bank Holiday, I actually met some polite cyclists and well behaved dog owners, things are looking up!!

23 August 2018

Dawlish Warren

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21 August 2018

Fontmell Down

Went up to Fontmell Down in Dorset to try and find some Silver-spotted Skippers. This would make 49 species of Butterflies this year which is a bit of a disappointment as hoped to be 52-55 by this time but was unable to get north in time.

Fontmell Down and surrounding areas are just stunning, the photo on the left doesn't do it justice!

When I parked up I was met by a couple of Butterfly enthusiasts who had been taking pictures and were very happy with what they had seen, "double figures" I was told with glee!

So following directions I found myself on the steep slopes with others who very kindly shouted to me to go over as the Skippers were with them. By the time I had got there it was about 12.30pm, one of the ladies said they were a lot busier earlier in the day and many had moved off down the slope.

Plenty of other Butterflies about with Adonis everywhere, Meadow Browns, Gatekeepers, Common Blue, Brown Argos, White sp in the distance, Small Heath and Small Copper.

I had 12 sightings while I was there but some might have been the same Butterfly at a different time.

Great day, some great Butterflies and met some great people!

19 August 2018


Went to the Birdfair2018 at Rutland Water for Friday and Saturday which I enjoyed immensely, met some of the great and good such as the Urban Birder, Simon King and Mark Avery. Also good friends such as Rebecca Nelson from Shetland who had a stall selling her pictures, she with her husband Phil run the Shetland Sea Bird trips. Also locals Mike Langham who was showing his drawings and George and his wife Les Carr.

Went and spent time at the Nikon stand and got some good tips for my new camera, also went to see the "Wildfoot" stand to talk about my trip to Svalbard to see the Polar Bears next year.

There was so much to see and enjoyed going around looking at all the fantastic places I could visit if only I had the time and money to do it. Talking of money I was shocked at the cost of everything, a coffee and a muffin £7??? I nearly chocked when they said!

Still had a good trip and worth the effort.

14 August 2018

Isle of Scilly

Just returned from a six day trip to the Scilly Isles, went over on Wednesday 8th on the "Sick bucket" otherwise known as the Scillonian 111. The boat would be leaving Penzance at 9.15 am and arrive in St Marys at mid-day so thought I would leave Dawlish at 5am to give me time to get there, park up and have some breakfast before getting on board. This didn't go to plan as I couldn't find the secure park up of "IOW Parking" their directions found me in Sainsbury's carpark on the wrong side of the hedge! I could see their pink flags but took me a while to work out how to get there eventually parked up and took the shuttle to the ferry. After it got on its way I went down to the café, mistake! A child was starting to be sick and the smell was starting to start a reaction with others, I can understand why it's called the "Sick bucket" hahahaha

Back upstairs in the fresh air and looking around I was expecting to see more but just a few Gannet, Gulls, a couple of Manx Shearwaters and some Dolphins quickly came and went. Arrived at St Marys on time at 12, Disembarked and went to the "Atlantic" where I was staying for the next five nights bed and breakfast, it was a bit expensive but I enjoyed my stay, the people was lovely! Certainly would stay again. Did a bit of a walk around the Island both in land as well as the coastal paths, plenty to see but very impressed with the numbers of Butterflies about, some worn but the numbers of species was good with Speckled Wood, Small Copper, Common Blue, Holly Blue, Red Admiral, Peacock, Small White and Meadow Brown.

Thursday and a quick boat trip to Tresco to look around the Abbey Gardens, Abbey and Great Pools and other parts of this beautiful island.

The Gardens are a fantastic place and you could easily lose yourself here and spend hours with the plants. Plenty of art work and sculptures such as the "The Tresco Children" Also what was a pleasant surprise were Red Squirrels which were running around as well as Golden Pheasants that had been brought into the garden.

Those who like a bit of maritime history a visit to the Valhalla Museum which was a collection of Figure heads from wrecks is worth the time. There are also a couple of Castle's on the Island for you history buffs.

The beaches are beautiful especially "Old Grimsby Qua"y why go abroad? There was supposed to be a Bairds Sandpiper here on the Island, but typically for me I missed it!

Back to St Marys to go on the first of the Pelagics, this was on the "Sapphire" skippered by Joe Pender. We went out 4 miles and drifted another 4 while we were "chumming", the sea was quite lumpy but nothing too bad.

It was a mixture of Bird Watching and Shark Fishing, the Sharks are caught and tagged then returned to the sea, this time they not only caught a couple of Blue Sharks but a Porbeagle, quite a set of teeth! We also saw a Sunfish and a few Common Dolphins. Plenty of Gulls at the back of the boat with Lesser-black Backed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Yellow-legged Gull, Fulmar and Gannets. We also were lucky enough to see Wilsons and European Storm Petrels. But the real prize for me was the Shearwaters, sitting on a back of a boat with these beautiful birds flying around the boat is a fantastic experience that I can't get enough of. Plenty of Manx Shearwaters with Sooty and a first for me Great Shearwaters, stunning birds!

Friday took a boat to St Agnes and spent a lot of time on the part of the island called Gugh where they have the Lesser-black Backed Gull nesting Colony.

Also caught up with the RSPB warden who was there and talked about the Rat problem which seems to be no more with all the work gone in to eradicate them to protect the ground nesting birds also on the island such as Manx and Storm Petrels, did notice not many Waders around the Islands, just saw a solitary Oystercatcher, perhaps there is just not the mud you would find around place like the mouth of the River Exe?

Back to St Marys to go out on the first of the Scilly Pelagic Birder specials run by Bob Flood, still on the "Sapphire" skippered by Joe. The trip like last night was 5-10pm and the weather and sea state was a bit calmer, we came across several "feeding Frenzy's" with Gannets,200+ Dolphins and Shearwaters involved, really something to see up close and personal around the boat, unless you have seen it its difficult to describe it, the speed of it!

3 Cory's, 200+Great, 75+Sooty and countless Manx Shearwaters seen as well as 2 Wilsons and many European Storm Petrels, Bonxy, Fulmars, Kittiwake and all the normal gulls, we also saw 3 Grey Phalarope's on the water. After ending 10 miles out it was time to go back in and it was dark when we did, such a great trip!

Saturday was the first of an all-day starting at 11am which was to prove a difficult day weather wise with wind and rain, the boat was rolling and we ended out about 10-13 miles off Scilly, we chummed for about an hour at "Bristow's" and ended up NW of and Stones, we did a southerly anti clockwise trip around the Island. But with the difficult weather came the birds with 5 Species of Shearwater with 200+ Great, 1 Cory, 1 Balearic, 35 Sooty and 100s Manx. As well as all the Gulls there were Gannets, Bonxy, 3 Wilson and 50+ European Petrels.

Found conditions very frustrating for taking pictures as we were being bounced about a bit, cant complain as we saw some great birds, I just didn't have my sea legs, A Cory's came close to the boat, but I just couldn't get a picture, I got lots of backs of heads and parts of the boat but no bird, I do need a pic for my gallery but its just another excuse to come again!

A big well done to Jim who was at the back of the boat putting the Chum out in difficult conditions. I think he got thrown around more than me.

Sunday was an early start at 8am and the conditions were a lot calmer but so was the numbers of birds, still all the Gulls you would expect, Common Dolphins and 4 Species of Shearwaters today with 60+Great, 35+Sooty, 4 Balearic and good numbers of Manx. More Grey Phalarope, Bonxy, Gannets, Fulmar with Wilsons and 10+ European Storm Petrels at the back of the boat. Finished at 3pm today so people can get home on the Scillonian.

Monday has just been a chill out day, packed my bags and became a tourist for the day, eating Ice Cream and sitting on the beach waiting for the time to get home on the boat, had a nice journey back but very little to see out to sea.

Had such a great trip, big thank you to Joe, Bob and Jim who made the trips a pleasure to be on. Met lots of great people both on the boat and the Islands while I was walking around, better start saving up for the next trip!

03 August 2018


I went to Seaton Wetlands in East Devon, reports of Wood Sandpiper here and its always a great place to take pictures of waders as you can get them in still water giving good reflections.

Had a good look around the reserve which has 5 hides as well as the River Axe, saw a wide range of birds and there was a very large number of Gulls with Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls of all ages. There was a report of a Yellow Legged Gull but I couldn't find it.

A few Cormorants, Little Egrets, Grey Heron, Coots, Moorhens, Mallards, Shelducks of all ages, Oystercatchers, Redshanks, Black-tailed Godwits, Curlews, Carrion Crows, Buzzard, Wood Pigeons, Blackbird, Greenfinch, Blue and Great Tit, Mute Swans, Swallows and best of all Sandpipers!

The Juvenile Wood Sandpiper was showing well from the Island Hide as well as the screen by the entrance, trouble with here is you are looking into the sun so picture taken from the Island Hide. Also counted 4 Green Sandpipers although could be more as they were flying around quite a bit and some could have been hidden on the other sides of the islands, like wise with the Common Sandpipers, saw 8 but could have been more.

Met some nice people today, a few families out with kids enjoying nature at its best!

01 August 2018

Birding around Topsham

On this grey overcast day I went to Topsham today for a walk around un aware that Spotted Redshank and Curlew Sandpiper had been seen this morning, unfortunately for me a peregrine had come through the reserve and sent everything up so I missed these two although I did think I got a sneak view of the Redshank from the platform but then lost it in the distance.

While I was in the hide the Glossy Ibis dropped in for a brief visit. Also seen were Little Egret, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Shelduck, Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Redshank, Greenshank, Turnstone, Curlew, Godwits, Dunlin, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Chiffchaff, Goldfinch, Woodpigeon, Herring Gull and Black-headed Gull.

Good to see everybody especially Steph, Joe and the two Dave's.

30 July 2018

Dawlish Warren

After all the windy and wet weather I thought a early morning visit to Dawlish Warren might be worth a trip. I got there at 7.30 am which was a hour and half before high tide, it was grey and miserable which had been a change to the hot weather we had been having.

To my surprise there wasn't that many birds there but a wide spread of species with Little Egret, Redshank, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, Oystercatcher, Carrion Crow, Pied Wagtail, Linnet, Swallows, Cormorants, Herring Gulls, Black-headed Gulls, Great-black Backed Gulls, Sandwich and Common Terns of all ages and a large number of Canada Geese.

Good to see Phil but not many other people about the reserve but the Warren looked busy, the rain not putting people off the beach!

30 July 2018

Hacked off!

After my computer being hacked and the hacker trying to get money out of me its been a trying week, the police tell me that some people pay up even if there is no truth behind the threat because of embarrassment.

I couldnt understand how he got hold of a password to get into my computer because I thought I had protection, he had the password into the computer but not emails and thankfully not my bank details. I did a scan with the protection I had and showed no issues, so a good friend sent me a link for a Malware program and to my horror it found over 6570 threats, 8 were Generic Malware!!

So I would say to everybody make sure your security is up to scratch and dont get caught out like me.

24 July 2018

Dawlish Warren

Spent a bit of time at Dawlish Warren this last couple of days looking for the reported Roesel's Bush Cricket that has been seen on the back meadow but I have been unable to locate it, its probably still there, but I was unable to locate it.

Did see lots of other Crickets, Grasshoppers, Bees and other great insects. Plenty of Butterflies with Speckled Wood, Small Cooper, Meadow Brown, Green Veined White, Small White, Peacock, Common Blue, Brown

Argos and plenty of gatekeepers.

On the bird front, House Sparrow, Swallow, Starling, Coot, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Grey Heron, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Summer plumaged Knot, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls of all ages. Also saw 20+ Mediterranean Gulls of all ages in front of the hide this evening at high tide. Common and Sandwich Terns, Cormorant, Pied Wagtail, Linnet and Blackbird.

Good to see everybody around the place.

22 July 2018

Got a new camera

Got myself a new Camera body, a Nikon D500 to add to my Nikon D90. The D500 is far more technical and been having some issues. Its not the camera its me trying to over complicate matters.

Been out today at Bowling Green taking pics of anything trying out a few settings.

Starting to get the hang of it but still some work to do, the D90 I have on a smaller lens so I don't have to keep changing lens when Iam out and about.

While at BGM saw a few Green Sandpipers which shows birds are on the move!

19 July 2018


Spent a couple of days in Dorset looking for Butterflies, after 3 species. Two I've seen before but not this year, Brown Hairstreak and Chalk Hill Blue, the third is a new one for me a Essex Skipper.

I visited Alners Gorse and Bradbury Rings on Wednesday, stayed overnight in Poole then Corfe Castle and Maiden Castle today. Three of these sites are also historical sites, Iron age Forts surrounded with grassland and wildflowers. I have a big interest in history so these visits are enjoyable on many levels.

At Alners Gorse I saw a Brown Hairstreak among many other Butterflies but unfortunately it wouldn't settle until it went to the top of the tree. At Bradbury rings it took me some time to find a Chalkhill Blue but then like busses there was three!!

Corfe was quiet but the ground was burnt brown from the sun and very few flowers let alone Butterflies, Maiden Castle was full on the other hand of Butterflies especially Marbled Whites, also Skippers, it took some patience but found a couple of Essex Skippers which was great, trying to find ones with black antennae's was interesting, frustrating and funny in a perverse sort of way. Must have looked funny for anybody watching??

One of the Essex Skippers had Red Mites which didn't look to good, sadly the pic was too over exposed but you can see the mites.

Saw lots of other Butterflies with Large and Small Skippers, Large and Small White, Common Blue, Marbled White, Peacock, Red and White Admiral, Silver Washed Fritillary, Purple Hairstreak, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Gatekeeper, Ringlet, Small Copper and Brown Argos.

Met so many nice people on my travels but also met a couple of "Experts" who where a couple of Twats! I've met these types before as Iam sure we all have, you get them in every walk of life, you seem to get more in Bird Watching but no matter what you have done they have done more, seen more and are perfect in very way, in the old days I used to argue but now I just role my eyes! as did a few others at Alners while looking for Brown Hairstreak, funny really!

Finishing on a positive note that's 48 species of Butterflies so far this year.

15 July 2018

Lyme Bay Boat Trip

Had a excellent trip out on the boat with the rest of the group, the "Optimist" as always skippered by Nigel l. and the trip organised by Nigel S.

We went straight out and looking for a Basking Shark which had been seen in the bay but unfortunately not by us today, we did though see several pods of Harbour Porpoise, 11 animals seen in total. On the way back in we saw a pod of 25 adult Common Dolphin plus at least 3 Calves, several breaching as they chased fish across the bay.

We got about 6 miles out and we chummed for about a hour and at one point had over 200 birds at the back of the boat, these where Herring, Black-headed, Mediterranean, Great and Lesser-black Backed Gulls, there was Gulls of all ages. Also Kittiwake, Fulmar and Gannets.

We also saw 20+ sightings of Manx Shearwaters but these might have been repeated as they could have been flying around the boat.

Also saw a Razor Bill and several Guillemots.

While we was chumming we saw several Jelly Fish, Moon and Compass close to the boat and Purple Jelly Fish in the harbour.

Great trip out in glorious conditions except for the smell of the chum-awful!!! Nigel had some grim stuff in the bucket today, no wonder he was well suited up today!

14 July 2018

out and about

Not really done much this last fortnight in the way of bird watching or chasing Butterflies and other stuff.

Meeting friends, job Interview and a planned day in Hospital has taken a higher priority.

Did have my camera with me most of the time if not used, did go into Goosemoor to see the Summer Plumaged Spotted Redshank and caught a glimpse of the Snow Goose at Powderham Marshes, which I presume is a Escapee?

I have got myself a new camera which is a Nikon D500 which I have put onto my large lens and my old camera for the close ups, insects etc.

Haven't really tested it yet and lots to learn on it.

01 July 2018

Green-eyed Flower Bee

While walking around Dawlish Warren I saw this little treasure, a Green-eyed Flower Bee, I've seen so many bees this summer while looking for Butterflies and not paid enough attention to what's about. But this Bee with its green eyes stood out.

Its an area I want to look into when I get a new Camera.

28 June 2018

Purple Emperor

I went to Bentley Wood today which is south-east of Salisbury, quite the best place to see woodland butterflies in the UK. The wood was acquired from the Forestry Commission by a charitable trust in the early 1980s and is superbly managed for its wildlife. Any conservation organisation would be proud of what has been achieved here.

Some 36 species of butterfly occur almost annually here. This is part of the largest area of woodland in Wiltshire, and in its rides and clearings, conditions are just right to support several rare species. I've been several times and its always been a enjoyable experience.

I went up today to see the Purple Emperor and you have to be at the woods for a 9am start, this is when the Butterflies come down off the trees to feed but normally they are back in the trees by 12. This meant a 5am start for me and that time of the morning very little on the road so was at the West side of the Woods by 7.45.

Had a good look around here and even though it was early I was surprised at the amount of Butterflies about especially Ringlets, they were everywhere!

10am Back to the car and off to the East side of the Woods, the car perk here is a favourite for the Emperors. As I came in one was flying around the car park and landed on several cars.

I went off down the track and saw another three, both on the track and flying around the trees. Some people had put bait down of Bananas which had dried out in the heat, they were attracted though to the Dog Poo that was about, this is the only place I know where they don't want you to pick up your dog mess! hahahaha

Saw plenty of Silver Washed Fritillaries, Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Purple Hairstreaks, Small Whites, Gatekeepers, Large and Small Skippers and Comma.

Nice to meet so many great people on my visit, some very proud locals and grateful visitors.

27 June 2018

Walking the South West Coast Path

The title makes it sound like I've walked 50 miles today, far from it! While I was down the south hams I did a circular walk from the East Soar Car Park and a walk from Bolberry Down to Bolt Tail and back. It certainly gave my knee a good work out!

The weather was great for walking but rubbish for looking for Butterflies. It was lovely and sunny because of the wind, Butterflies were being thrown all over the place by the wind.

Although managed to find several in the shelter behind the hedge and field boundaries.

I went looking for a Grayling and eventually one flew in front of me and landed for less than a minute, enough to get a shot which wouldn't get any prizes, I was surprised not to see more but one is better than none. That makes the total 44.

Saw lots of Meadow Browns, Gate Keepers, Dark Green Fritillaries, Small Whites, Large Skipper and Small Tortishell.

Met lots of people out walking and all with a smile on their faces.

25 June 2018

Chasing Butterflies

Went to Ashclyst Forest this morning and Dawlish Warren in the afternoon. The weather was hot,hot,hot!

Plenty of butterflies at Ashclyst, had to be patient as they wouldn't settle. New one for this year several Silver-washed Fritillaries, also White Admirals, Ringlets, Meadow Browns, Large Skippers, Large White and a Comma.

Ashclyst is such a great place to walk around but there is also such a difference in a weekday to the weekend, didn't see anybody else today, had the whole forest to myself, lovely place to spend time, very relaxing!

Afternoon spent at Dawlish Warren which was completely the opposite with plenty of holiday makers about, another new one for this year a Gatekeeper as well as Small and Large Skipper, Meadow Brown, Comma, Red Admiral, Common Blue, Speckled Wood, Small Copper and a Silver-washed Fritillary which was a nice surprise.

The Gatekeeper makes 43 species this year

24 June 2018

Weekend Fun

Had such a great weekend with friends and wildlife. Saturday I went to visit a good friends Mark and his wife Jane Glanville, you might have seen Mark on Spring watch and Breakfast time TV.

He held an open day on Swifts in his garden as part of the "Action for Swifts" Mark has 26 boxes around his house and was amazing to watch these remarkable birds, many screaming above our heads. It was also great to met up with Mark and Jane.

Sunday out with more friends on a boat trip run by Nigel Smallbones, we went out bout 8 miles, the weather was great with lots of sun and very little wind. The only down side was few birds, we was lucky to see 30+ Common Dolphins in several groups and a possible 20+ pod of Bottle Nose Dolphins some distance away so not 100% on the id of these, 2 Harbour Porpoise also seen, Grey Seal made up the other mammals seen. Birds seen were Great-black and Lesser-black Backed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Kittiwake, Fulmar and Gannet around the boat while chumming, on the way back 5 Manx Shearwaters at some distance and a few Guillemots on the water, we didn't go near the colony unlike some idiots on jet skies!

Great to be out with a great bunch of people

22 June 2018

Chasing Butterflies

Spent the day out chasing Butterflies, started off at Aish Torr on Dartmoor, the weather was great, plenty of sun and very little wind. Since my last visit it looks like somebody has been to do some work clearing paths and opening up the Bracken which the butterflies like.

Saw about 20 Fritillaries, 3 positive Id for High Brown and 2 for Dark Green and the rest flying around I couldn't positive id and don't know how others can? Also saw Small Heath, Green Hairstreak, Meadow Brown and Speckled Wood.

I went to Dunsford Meadows and saw Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Large Skipper, Dark Green Fritillary, and a couple of possible Purple Hairstreaks, again up in a tree and couldn't get a positive ID.

Popped in to a few woodland rides at Holden on the way home, the brambles was full of Bees, Hoverflies and Butterflies with Small Tortishell, Large Skipper, Meadow Brown, Large White, Red Admiral, Speckled wood and a Ringlet flying around and sadly wouldn't settle for a picture.

Great day out in the sun!

20 June 2018

White-letter Hairstreak

I went to Alners Gorse in Dorset, a reserve run by the Dorset Butterfly Conservation. A fantastic place it is too!

Saw lots of butterflies and managed to get 4 new species for this year including a White-letter Hairstreak which was a "Lifer" for me, helped by a kind gent called Steven Farmer who point the butterfly out, don't think you could get much closer!!

Other new for this year for me were White Admiral, Marbled White and Purple Hairstreak. You could see the Hairstreaks around the top of the tree flying around, never seen so many!

Other Butterflies seen were Green Hairstreaks, Large Skipper, Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood and Common Blue.

Great time at this special reserve.

That's 40 species of Butterflies this year

17 June 2018

Quiet week

Since coming back from Dorset, I have been looking local for Butterflies but the weather has been against me, I visited Aish Torr, Holden, Dunscombe Meadows, Dawlish Warren and Ashclyst Forest.

The only new species for this year has been a Dark Green Fritillary at Aish Torr.

Have seen other s though with Green Hairstreak, Large Skipper, Meadow Brown, Small Heath, Common Blue, Speckled Wood, Green Veined White, Red Admiral and Brimstone.

Must say disappointed at the lack of site management at Aish Torr, Holden Butterfly Walk and Ashclyst Forest. All the areas I have been to over the years, now seem to be overgrown and uncared for, this is the difference with Dorset, as there seems to be more effort there.

13 June 2018

Chasing Butterflies in Dorset and the IOW

Spent a few days away in Dorset and the Isle of Wight making the most of this excellent weather. Had a few Butterflies I wanted to catch up with, two of them new to me, the Lulworth Skipper and the Glanville Fritillary. I was told to try new place for me "Whitecliffe" owned by the National Trust which is close to Ulwell near to Swanage. Its a Chalk down with rough grassland which when on the top gives stunning views over Swanage Bay. Would say here that it nearly gave me a heart attack getting up the side of the hill but was worth it when I got there!

When I got there I sat down for a while and took in the view and quickly noticed Butterflies of all shapes and sizes around, the first was a Adonis Blue which frustratingly wouldn't sit for a picture. Also saw Common Blue, Green Veined White, Spotted Wood, Small Heath, Meadow Brown, Brown Argos, Dingy Skipper and several Lulworth Skippers!

So after a successful Morning I decided to go to Arne as there had been reports of Silver-studded Blues had emerged on Coombe Heath and I wasn't disappointed, apart from singles I managed to get pictures of a pair coupling, well chuffed at that.

I was spending the next couple of nights in Christchurch with a visit to the Isle of Wight in between.

I couldn't believe the cost of the ferry, £38 each way, £76 total for me and the car and that's without petrol?? So I did a bit more research and went over as a foot passenger, Got the bus from Lymington to Freshwater and walked the rest of the way to Freshwater Bay and along the south coast to Hanover Point. Then got the bus back to the ferry the whole lot cost me £22 which is a lot cheaper than £76!It also got me out walking in a beautiful place, the trip back in the double decker wasn't bad either!

The walk was worth it, the scenery was stunning and Butterflies every where, saw 20+ Glanville Fritillary, some worn but many looking fresh, thy just loved the Thrift that was out everywhere. Also saw 2 Painted Ladies, Common Blue, Small Heaths, Meadow Browns, Large Skippers and a few White sp that wouldn't settle to get an id.

These last couple of days apart from seeing some great Butterflies, some spectacular flowers and insects such as Dragonflies, Bees, Hoverflies and Beetles. I must think about getting another Camera body and have two cameras set up instead of having to change lens every time.

Saw some great Orchids and a new one for me a Butterfly Orchid and many other new plants.

I also met some great people, the RSPB volunteers at Arne were just wonderful, the other walkers out on the south cost of the IOW, met some really great people, I could go on, just pleased to met so many nice people which made the trip even better.

08 June 2018

Large Blue

Went to Collard Hill in Somerset to see the Large Blue, the weather wasn't the best but eventually had 11 sightings, as they were flying around a bit this might have been repeats.

Great fun talking others on the search, the slopes were very steep so you have to be careful but the rewards are worth it!

If your interested in going go to this link which is the Blog done by the Ranger responsible, Mia Croft


Also saw some Common Blue, Meadow Brown, Small Heath and Speckled Wood.

Great day, this makes 31 Butterfly Species this year.

06 June 2018

Chasing Butterflies

Have been visiting plenty of reserves looking for Butterflies and now have a total 30 species for this year so far. Since Saturday 1st have visited Emsworthy Mire, Dawlish Warren, Haldon Butterfly Walk, Meeth Quarry, Aish Torr and the meadows of Dunsford woods.

Butterflies seen are Large and Small Skippers, Ringlet, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Green Hairstreak, Speckled Wood, Green Veined White, Wood White, Red Admiral, Common Blue, Meadow Brown, Brimstone, Small Heath, Orange Tip and Peacock.

Saw lots of other insects such as Golden-ring Dragonfly, Bees and Insects and Moths.

Also a few Deer, Roe and Fallow, Lizards sunning themselves but no Adders which was a surprise.

Plenty of stunning wild flowers in beautiful countryside, arnt we lucky to live in it!

Good to meet so many nice people about enjoying the great weather, but I wish some of them would learn to reverse before they go on Dartmoor, painful!!

31 May 2018

Along The Exe

Thought I would walk up the River Exe today after hearing that there had been some summer plumaged Waders at Dawlish Warren yesterday. Parked up at Powderham Church and walked up to Turf and did a circular walk then back to the church. The weather wasn't very good for taking pictures with drizzle and mist making it grey and damp!

I parked up at the Church, lots of noise from the Rookery, wren, Blackbird, Robin, Great Tit and Wood Pigeon in the trees, at the "Vergers Cottage" there was House Martins nesting and flying around the house as well as Goldfinches and Blue Tits on view.

To my surprise there was very little on the estuary mud, apart from one Oystercatcher, no other waders. Did see Shelduck, Mallard, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Carrion Crows, Rooks, Black-headed, Great-black Backed and Herring Gulls, Mute Swans and Cormorants.

Along the cycle path, fields and the Reserve saw Skylark, Whitethroat, Wren, Stonechat, Pied Wagtail, Robin, Linnet, Dunnock, Blue and Great Tit, Cettis, Reed and Sedge Warblers, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Shelduck, Teal, Mallard, Grey Heron, Coot, Moorhen, Stockdove, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Starling, House Sparrow, House Martin, Swallow and Lapwing.

As it was wet not many insects but did see Common Blue, Green Veined White and Red Admiral when the showers stopped.

Got back to the car and a message from Phil, Head Warden at the Warren to say a Rose-coloured Starling was on site. On arrival met up with Kev Rylands and with some help from him managed to get up close to get some decent pics, stunning bird!

30 May 2018

Swifts on Breakfast

Did everybody see my mate on breakfast time talking about swifts? go to his website to see more www.bristolswifts.co.uk

29 May 2018

Lydford Gorge

Went to the Butterfly Conservation site at Lydford Gorge to see the Heath Fritillary which is a rare Butterfly that has a strong hold here, before I go any further you need to be a member of Butterfly Conservation to visit and Iam!

This was the first time I have visited here and glad I took the advice of the warden Colin Sargent towear trousers due to ticks as the undergrowth was quite high in places and I would have got soaked in my shorts, hahahaha

After getting directions from a very nice lady in the National Trust Office I came to the reserve which is on the old railway line at Lydford, lots of flowers, especially Oxide Daisy's which looked stunning as they swayed in the breeze.

Immediately Heath and Small Pearl Bordered Fritillaries flying around my feet. Sat down on the top of the bank and took it all in, such a privilege to be sat in such a beautiful place full of wild flowers and beautiful Butterflies to the sound of bird song. Did see a couple of Green Veined Whites but no others seen but that was enough for me.

Well done to Colin and all the volunteers who have put the work in to make this place so special.

Had another treat, found a new Ladybird for me, an Eyed Ladybird.

Finished the trip with a cuppa and a heart attack special piece of cake from the café, it was a flapjack covered in syrup and yogurt with a bit of fruit in the middle, yummy!

28 May 2018

Chasing Butterflies

Had an excellent day today, been around a few places today looking for Butterflies.

Arrived about 9am at Berry Head to try and miss the crowds but even then the car park was getting busy. I headed off towards the Quarry to find some Small Blues which were found on the way down and at the bottom of the slope, they put on a good show. So did the Common Blues which were also out in force.

I was lucky to add 2 other new species to my list I wasn't expecting and that was a Painted Lady that just wouldn't sit and 2 Wall Butterflies, which again where a little lively but I managed to get a quick shot of one before it flew off again.

Well I thought tea and cake in the café at the top then off to Dartmoor-Not a chance as there was a queue out of the door.

It was then a struggle to get out of the car park, then to get out of Torbay because of all the traffic and road works-nightmare!

Anyway everybody including me kept their cool and I eventually got to Dartmoor, decided I would go to Dunscombe Woods and have a look around the meadows and wasn't disappointed, lots of Pearl-bordered Fritillaries, lots egg laying.

Also Small Bordered Fritillaries as well as Brimstone, Peacock, Red Admiral, Large White and Speckled Wood.

Also saw lots of Beautiful Demoiselles which are stunning insects, especially the male.

Lots of happy people about in the sun and its been great talking to all sorts of people about the fantastic wildlife we have in Devon-great fun.

25 May 2018

Dragons, Birds and Butterflies

Spent the last three days visiting reserves in between doing other things. On Wednesday I was at Aylesbere looking for some Dartford Warblers and Yellow Hammers, depressingly didn't find any. Did see Stonechat, Linnet, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Great Tit, Blackbird, Robin, Carrion Crow, Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Song Thrush and Goldfinch.

Butterflies seen were Brimstone, Speckled Wood, Green Veined White and a Blue sp of some kind that was fluttering around the Gorse.

Loads of Dragons by the ponds at the bottom, lots of Nymph casings and a Dragon starting to dry out after immerging, shame I wasn't there half an hour earlier. Really enjoyed this, you could see the Dragonfly Larva swimming close to the side waiting to come up. One piece of reeds had 5 Nymphs empty casing on, that would have been a show to see!

On the way home I popped into the old sludge beds by Exeter Canal run by DWT, those that haven't been here, its a fantastic little reserve and you never know what you might see. Plenty of insects, the best being a Banded Demoiselle as well as a Beautiful Demoiselle, Common Blue, Green Veined White and Peacock. The place full of bird song with Cettis and Reed Warblers, Reed Bunting, Blackcap, Dunnock, Blackbird Chiffchaff, Wren and Robin. Also Jay Magpie, Carrion Crow, Blue Tit and a couple of Hobbies flew over which haw a treat. On the river Exe there was Mute Swan, Mallard and Cormorants.

Thursday was a quick visit to Dawlish Warren to see what was about the entrance bushes and ponds, it was a bit grey and breezy so wasn't expecting much, only butterfly was a single Common Blue, no Dragons but did see a few birds with a Swift flew over the main pond, a couple of Eider by the sea wall, Moorhen and Chicks, Mallard with Chicks, Canada Geese, Magpie, House Sparrow, Starling, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Reed Warbler, Blackbird, Long-tailed, Great and Blue Tits, Greenfinch, Song Thrush, Woodpigeon, Dunnock, Skylark and a Sparrowhawk made a pass by the main pond.

Today as the weather looked like it was going to be warm I went up to Holden Butterfly walk and wasn't disappointed! Fritillaries were coming out from the bracken especially lower down the walk by the stream, there looked to be both Small PB and PB fritillaries, Green Veined White, Orange Tip, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Peacock, Brimstone and best of all a Dingy Skipper. A few Broad Bodied Chasers about, loads of micro moths and some larger day time moths, Hoverflies and Bees of all descriptions, great experience but also frustrating as I didn't know half of what was there and they wouldn't stay still long enough for be to take a pic so I could Id them.

On the way home popped into Exminster Marshes and just walked down the back path, thought I would see more Butterflies and stuff but to my surprise very little but plenty of bird song with Cettis, Reed and Sedge Warbles as well as Wren, Blackbird, Reed Bunting, Skylark, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Pied Wagtail, Blue and Great Tits. Very little seen on the marsh except some Mute Swans and some Shelduck.

Bank Holiday coming up and its bound to rain!

21 May 2018

Cuckoos, Eagle and Butterflies

This last couple of days have seen me on Dartmoor and in Dorset making the most of the weather.

On Sunday I was at Emsworthy Mire on Dartmoor early before the masses, I parked at the top and when I got out you could hear the Curlews calling, couldn't tell where they were but an eerie sound at that time of morning on the moor. I made my way towards the big shed and you could hear 3 Cuckoos from here but they where distant. I walked on and made my way down to the pond area hoping to see some Dragons but none to see, perhaps too early? Plenty of birds singing in the scrub with Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Robin, Dunnock, Blackbird and Wren all giving t there all.

Walking back to the shed saw a few Stonechat and Meadow Pipit, most were alarming, not because of me but Magpie and Carrion Crows were on the ground obviously looking for breakfast. Raven and Buzzard flew over and Great and Blue Tit in the tree area around the shed. While I was here a Cuckoo called very close in a tree in sight so I moved closer and sat down in cover waiting for it to get closer as it seemed to be doing, then just as I was about to get the shot when a unsupervised Spring Spaniel came flying by and the bird flew off, after a bit of Anglo Saxon from myself directed at the unfortunate dog I packed up and walked back towards the car, it wasn't the dogs fault but I couldn't see the owner, the reserve was getting busy with everybody coming to see the Bluebells and NOBODY had there dogs on a lead even though there is plenty of signs up, I did speak to one owner and she just shrugged her shoulders and walked off??

Anyway off to the HoundTor Tea shack for tea and cake ( Fruit cake yummy ).

I went off to Soussons and parked up and planned to do a circular walk through the woods coming out by the old mine, into Challacombe Farm then onto Soussons Farm and back to the car. On the walk saw lots of birds, but most at a distance or in the shade of the trees. Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Pied Wagtail, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Great and Blue Tits, Dunnock, Wren, Chaffinch, Reed Bunting, House Sparrows, Cuckoo, Buzzard, Redstart, Spotted Flycatcher, Swallows, House Martins, Stonechats and Wood Pigeon.

The biggest surprise was while walking between the two farms I saw a huge bird fly down from Bennits Cross and when I saw some Jesses hanging from its talons I realised it was the missing Golden x Steppes Eagle, after seeing off some crows it made its way over Soussons looking like it was going to land, unfortunately there was no mobile signal to contact its owner and it took a hour to get to a place to do so and pass the info onto Martin, hope he caught up with the bird?

Today I went up to Dorset on the hunt for Butterflies which was a great success, I first went to the Giant at Cerne Abbas and then on to Fontwell Down, both calk downs and full of wild flowers, could have spent a day with them. Found 13 species of Butterflies between the two sites, 8 new species for 2018 and makes my total 19 for this year. Butterflies seen, Dingy and Grizzled Skippers, Small Heath, Brown Argos, Common and Holly Blue, Orange Tip, Green Veined White, Brimstone, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood, Duke of Burgundy and Marsh Fritillary's.

Had a great couple of days and met some great people, yes a couple of morons who cant control their dogs, far more great, happy nice people about. Especially today on the Giant Hill all looking for Butterflies with a smile in the sun, luv it!

18 May 2018

Hunt for Butterflies

I went to Dawlish Warren first today hoping to see some Common Blues, Brown Argos or something new for this year but no luck, saw all the usual birds and my first Sand Lizard of the year. I then went up to Holden to the butterfly walk and that was very quiet, just as I was about to give up a very smart Pearl Boarded Fritillary flew up, fluttered around a bit and landed on some old Bracken giving me a great view. Everything seems to be late this year, probably due to the crap weather we have been having.

Good to meet up with lots of people today both at Dawlish Warren and on Holden. My Butterfly count is up to 11 so far for the year which is a bit sad

17 May 2018

South Hams

Took a trip to the South Hams today taking in both Slapton and Beesands Ley as well as Charleton Marshes. The weather was great if not a little breezy at the Leys.

I parked up at the top end and walked down by the side of the Ley, lots of flowers but not many insects, possibly because of the wind? don't know. On the Ley itself there was Tufted and Mallards, Grey Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Mute Swan, Canada Geese and Great-crested Grebes. There was fly over Cormorants, Herring Gulls and a Buzzard. There was about 15 Swifts Hawking over the water, I can never seem to get a picture of these birds in flight, too quick for me! Also Cettis and Reed Warblers singing from the Reeds and bushes, Swallow, Chiffchaff, Robin, Blackbird, Wren, Goldfinch and Blackbird all seen or heard around the top bit of the Ley. Down by the tank it was much of the same but with House Sparrows, Starling, Pied Wagtails, Jackdaws and a few Mallard X ducks, some of them quite big birds.

Off to Beesands and the Ley was quiet except for singles of Great-crested Grebes, Tufted and Mallard, Coot, Herring Gulls, Mute Swans and Canada Geese. Around the edges some vocal Cettis Warblers with the odd Reed Warblers, Great Tit, Dunnock, Robin, Wren, Blackcap, Chaffinch, Magpie and House Sparrows.

Then off to Charleton Marsh which was more sheltered which made a big difference to the Butterfly count with lots of Orange Tip, Green Veined White, Small White, Peacock and a single Holly Blue, this reserve is a stunning place and a credit to those who look after it. I travel all over the place and the hide here is the best, its called "The Chris Rodgers Memorial Hide" and its the locals pride and joy, it the only hide I know with cushions! It sets a very high standard for others to catch up with, all it needs is a Kettle and it will be 5 stars! Great views over the Estuary but sadly very little here as there was humans walking around the tide line. In the reserve though there was Reed Warblers and Buntings, Grey Heron, Moorhens, Swallow, Skylark, Buzzard, Great and Blue Tits, robin, Blackbirds, Carrion Crows and Magpie.

Great day out and shows how lucky we are here with such great reserves to walk around.

15 May 2018


Took a visit to an area I know that is a hot spot for Grasshopper Warblers and got very lucky by seeing 4 and hearing 2 others. Also lucky to get a picture of one of them. The funny thing was the best views came when I stopped still and was drinking tea out of my flask, this happened twice and luckily for me it stayed long enough for me to take a pic, probably wondering what I was up to. Also saw plenty of Reed Buntings, Blackbird, robin, Wren and fly overs of Buzzard, Woodpigeon and Stock Dove. Three Red Deer also put in an appearance which was a nice surprise.

Off then to Yarner, what a stunning place, in the dapple shade full of bird song with Garden Warbler up on Trendlebere, Tree Pipit, Stonechat, Wren and Robin on the Triangle with Mistle and Song Thrush, Robin, Blackcap, Redstart, Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock, Pied Flycatcher, Wren, Great and Blue Tits with a Treecreeper putting on a show. Couldn't believe I was the only person around to enjoy what was going on.

Yarner is such a different place during mid week, so quiet apart from the bird song, while I do like people it was great to have the place almost to myself!

14 May 2018


Off work due to ill health so thought I would take a walk out in the sun. Started off at Dawlish Warren which was surprisingly busy. The tide was right out so just looked around the ponds, entrance bushes and Greenland lake areas. Was hoping to see some new butterflies and some Dragons, no luck with the dragons here but did find a new butterfly for me a Small Copper which makes my total 10, saw also Speckled Wood, Green Veined White, Orange Tip, Peacock and 2 Holly Blue, one almost landed on the car when I parked up and the other was close to the first pond.

A few birds about with a Whitethroat at the entrance to the reserve putting on a good show, Reed Warblers, Stonechat, Linnet, Magpie, Skylark, Moorhen, Little Grebe, Canada Geese, Mallard, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Dunnock, Great Tit, House Sparrows, Dunnock, Chiffchaff, Great and Blue Tit, Blackbird and Robin with a few Swallows hawking around the ponds.

Off then to Exminster Marshes, not many Butterflies but quite a few Damselflies and a new very smart Broad Bodied Chaser. Best of the birds was a Hobby but also Lapwing, Cettis, Sedge and Reed Warblers, Swallows, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Mute Swan, Canada Geese,, Grey Heron, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crows.

I sat on the edge of the Exe at Turf with a pint of Bitter Shandy watching the world go by and the odd bird on the mud, a bit scarce only some Shelduck, Oystercatchers and Godwits on show.

Nice day out, better than sat at home feeling sorry for myself, hopefully out again tomorrow.

13 May 2018

Weekend stuff

Had a good weekend around some great people, Saturday was spent doing Bee stuff, after sorting my own Hive out I went on a Bee Swarming course at Buckfastliegh being run by Claire and Martin, there was a bit of Theory and practical later which is the fun part, its like everything the more you do the more confidant you become. We were learning to deal with Bee Swarms and how to take some preventative action so you don't lose your bees across the countryside, bees are fascinating insects and the more I do the more I want to know more, 2nd part next week.

Sunday had me out doing a bit with the camera looking for Butterflies, Dragonflies and Birds. Sadly even though the weather was good, very few Butterflies and no Dragons and in fact very few birds on show.

First stop was Aylesbere common, hoping to see some Dartford's, Yellowhammers and Dragons down by the pond, out of these just saw a quick dart of a flying Dartford between Gorse bushes. Very disappointing not to see any yellowhammers or Dragons down by the pond, thought I might see some "Hairies" but nothing.

Did see a couple of soaring Buzzards, Rook, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Blackbird, Stonechat, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Great and Blue Tits, Swallow hawking around the ponds with Brimstone and Orange Tip being the only Butterflies seen.

Off then to Seaton Wetlands which was also quiet with very little to see from the island hide except some Shelduck, Moorhen and Black headed Gulls. Further round by the activity centre there was a Sedge Warbler giving us a song with Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Woodpigeon and Carrion Crow. There was a Female Kestrel on view in the nest box, apparently sat on 5 eggs which should hatch in 2 weeks so put that in the diary! Also outside was a group of Swift boxes on a pole with a tape of Swift song being played trying to pull them in, spoke to one of the team and they hadn't had any luck so far. Did see some Swallows hawking over the fields.

Walked down to the Tower Hide which over looks the River Axe, fly over Little Egret and Grey Heron, about 300 Gulls on the mud, mostly Herring but a few Black-headed Gulls, 1 Great-black Backed and a couple of Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Cormorants, Shelducks, Mallard, Coot and a couple of Whimbrel flew up the river.

On the way back to the car 4 male House Sparrows came and sat on the fence reminded me of my childhood when they where everywhere, smart looking birds! Also saw Reed Buntings, Linnet, Dunnock and Chiffchaff. The only Butterflies I saw was a couple of Green Veined Whites and no Dragons!

It was a good day for some fresh air and a walk.

07 May 2018

Somerset Levels

Planned to go to Somerset today and the weather was great for a change, almost too hot! Decided to visit as many places as I could rather than stay in one place.

Parked up at Decoy lake end of Shapwick and walked down the "Sweet Trail" to Decoy Lake and the hide. Then follow the normal trail back to the main drag and the car.

Had to take a double take as I got in the gate as there was a couple of Cattle Egrets with some cattle, shame they were at a distance but still great views, plenty of other birds about and many in good tune, especially the Blackcaps, not to be out done Sedge, Reed and Cettis Warblers, Robin, Blackbird and Song Thrush all adding to the chorus, Also Great and Blue Tits, Chiffchaff, Swallows, Cuckoo, Buzzard, Magpie, Jackdaw, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Mute Swan, Pheasant, Grey Heron, Greylag Geese and Chicks, Moorhen, Coot, Great-crested Grebes, Little Egret, Mallard, Pochard, Cormorants and some Bitterns Booming!

Then off to Tedham Moor in the hope to see some Yellow Wagtails but unfortunately the grass was a bit long and the cattle were at the far end of the field. The Moor though looked stunning with the Yellow and White of the flowers in the hedgerows. A Kestrel was hunting by the road and Swallows were "Hawking" over the ditches, Skylarks in full song, Mute Swans, Buzzard and a Grey Heron that caught a large eel, nearly got away but after a struggle eventually swallowed it!

Then off to Westhay Moor, met in the carpark by Cettis Warbler in full song, plenty here at Westhay, probably the most I've heard in one place, Also Reed and Sedge Warblers, Coot, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Great Crested Grebes, Cuckoo, Mallard, Pochard and best of all a couple of hobbies "Hawking" over the lakes, stunning birds, so elegant in their flight.

Off to Ham Wall and as I drove into the car park a Hobby flew over, plenty of birds on the water and about, Little and Great White Egret, Great-crested Grebes, one with chicks on her back, Pochard, Mallard, Tufted Ducks, Gadwall, Coots, Moorhens, Grey Herons, Mute Swans, plenty of Black-headed Gulls, Great and Lesser-backed Gulls, Marsh Harrier, Magpie, Blackbird, Blackcap and more Bitterns Booming!

On my way home I popped into Greylake, lots of Reed Warblers singing on the way to the hide and then it looked empty across the moor but then a Marsh Harrier flew over which set up several pairs of Lapwing and a Grey Heron.

Also saw a few Butterflies about with Brimstone, Orange Tip, Peacock, Green Veined White and another new one for this year a Large White which put the total species to 9. Saw lots of other insects, a few Hairy Dragonflies, Damsels, Frogs, Toads and plenty of wild flowers, add to that lots of nice people, sunshine and you have a great day!

Home for tea and cake!

06 May 2018

Weekend Fun

Quite a bit going on this weekend and managed to get out Saturday pm and all day Sunday. The weather for a Bank Holiday has been hot and sunny for a change and was hoping to see some Butterflies so went to Dawlish Warren and looked around the woods and meadows to see what I could find, on the beach side of the woods it was a bit breezy and saw very little but on the other side out of the wind there was a few Green Veined White, Orange Tip and some Speckled Wood, must admit thought I would see more.

Could hear plenty of birds and a Cuckoo was quiet vocal but couldn't see it until it flew over my head going towards the golf course. I could hear a few Warblers, defiantly at least one Sedge, possible Reed and a Possible Grasshopper Warbler. My hearing is not the best these days so not 100% as I didn't get eyes on them. A very smart Greenfinch, Linnet, Great and Blue Tit, Goldfinch, Wren, Swallow, Collard Dove, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Dunnock, Whitethroat, House Sparrow, Chiffchaff and some fly over Cormorant, Herring and Black-headed Gulls.

Sunday Morning saw me at Dunscombe woods and it was surprisingly quiet, perhaps all down the beach? The meadows looked fantastic with the wild flowers with Bluebells ( some white) Primrose, Dandelion, Red Campion, Yellow Archangel, Wild Garlic, Greater Stitchwort, Lesser Celandine amongst others. Also a few butterflies with Orange Tip, Peacock, Brimstone and Holy Blue which takes my total species this season to 8. Didn't see that many birds but plenty singing , especially some very vocal Blackcaps.

Sunday afternoon was spent at Buckfastliegh with some Beekeeping friends. One of the hives had a European Hornet sat inside, unlike the Asian Hornet its not a major problem for the honey bee. This individual we think is a Queen, anyway Clare who runs the sessions here had it sat on her hand and then fed it some honey from her finger, amazing to watch and it was quite friendly, stunning insect!

Saw lots of people this weekend all enjoying the great weather, plenty of birders as well walking about, everybody happy that's what I like to see!

30 April 2018


Those of you interested in Swifts, please go to this website, its run by Mark Glanvile. www.bristolswifts.co.uk/

30 April 2018

Black-winged Stilt

Just for once a rarity flies in local and when Iam off duty! Came into Exminster Marshes just down the back path from the RSPB carpark. It looks like a female? Great to see everybody out.

29 April 2018


Went up on Dartmoor to try and touch base with some summer migrants, unfortunately the weather wasn't very summery with a grey cold day and in certain places a biting wind.

Started off on Trendlebere, a couple of Jays, Woodpigeon, Great Tit and a very mobile Garden Warbler which was the first of the day, over the road to an area I call the triangle to see a Stonechat and another summer migrant a Tree Pipit which was a nice find, surprisingly enough nothing else seen in this area?

Then down into Yarner, the clouds came in and very difficult to take any pictures, all the feeders had been taken away from around the hides, but still saw Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Great, Blue, Coal, Marsh and Long-tailed Tits, Chiffchaff, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Robin, Chaffinch, wren, fly over Raven and Buzzard, heard but didn't see a Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. Also went up to look into the lake area with the new hide but nothing to see, could do with some islands here for birds to rest on?

Then onto Challacombe, was hoping to do a circular walk but the weather was so changeable, so did a circular walk around the buildings and farm. Plenty to see with several Redstarts, Garden Warbler, Meadow Pipit, Stonechat, Chaffinch, House Sparrow, Great and Blue Tit, Stockdove, Woodpigeon, Buzzard and a Cuckoo calling from several different places and eventually flew across the farm.

Then jumped into the car and went up the road to Headland Warren, Parked on the road and walked to the farm, plenty of birds in the fields to the left as you walk to the farm, several Wheatear, Meadow Pipit and a very smart Whinchat which put on a show for me! It started at the bottom of the field and hopped its way across the field and stood in front of me while I was stood behind a wall, patience is a great thing!

Also saw Swallows, Raven, Jackdaw, Rooks, Buzzard and a Kestrel while driving around. Talking about driving, had the usual idiots on the road today, I know I've said it before but if you cant reverse stay off the bloody road!

Met lots of birders today and great to chew the cud!

28 April 2018

West side of the Exe

After a difficult couple of weeks went out with the camera up the Exe.

Started at the Cockwood steps, it was a bit grey, cold and miserable. Looking out over the river, the tide was out and not many birds about, used my scope to see the Slavonian Grebe which looked very smart in its summer plumage, a few gulls, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Cormorant, Carrion Crow, Shelduck and Mute Swans. As I went to cross the railway a Sparrowhawk flew over being harassed by a Jackdaw.

I walked up the road to have a look at the Harbour at Cockwood which has a lot of construction work being done on the wall, a few swallows flying around with Song Thrush, Blackbird, Robin, House Sparrow and Wren. In the harbour there was very little in the way of birdlife except for a Herring Gull.

Up then to the River Kenn outfall, unfortunately there was a lot of people about on the mud, couple of people walking their dog, some digging bait and another taking pictures of the river so apart from a few gulls very little about. On Powderham side there was Shelduck, Canada Geese, Mallard, Mute Swan, Woodpigeon, Blackbird and the sound of a Sedge Warbler filled the air-first of the year-brill!

Then off to Exminster Marshes, parked up in the RSPB carpark and walked down to Turf by the back path, plenty of birds about with Swallows, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Raven, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Blackbird, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tit, plenty of song from Sedge, Reed and Cettis Warblers, Reed Bunting, Chiffchaff and Whitethroat. A pair of displaying Lapwings, 20+ Whimbrel, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Grey Heron, Coot, Moorhen, Shelduck, Mallard and a Snow Goose which was a surprise, there had been one around the area for couple of months, presume a escapee? Showing well what ever it is!

At Turf the mud was bare, just a few Gulls and a couple of Whimbrel.

Also saw my 7th species of Butterfly this year a Green-veined White which was nice, in the cold very little insect activity today.

On the way home I popped into Dawlish Warren to look around the entrance bushes and pond areas, House Sparrows, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Goldfinch, Carrion Crow, Coot, Moorhen and a Mallard with 11 chicks.

Met lots of nice people today including a visiting couple of birdwatchers from South Wales, lets hope the weather is a bit warmer tomorrow.

14 April 2018


With Easter break from work decided to head north to Scotland. Plan was to spend some time around the Cairngorms then the last week on the Isle of Mull. Also hoped to pop in and see some friends close to Perth, so a full couple of weeks.

Went up on Tuesday 3rd, stayed over night at Carlisle as normal for me when traveling to Scotland. After an exciting night at Premier Inn I travelled across country to Edinburgh and across the bridge to Perth. The weather was awful with snow and wind, then at Perth it suddenly turned to rain?? Great to meet up with Steve and Rachel, Steve does a mean Bacon Sarnie!

I had planned in going over the top of the Cairngorms to Elgin where I was staying for a couple of nights, but because of the snow went up the A9 and off to Grantown-on-Spey and up to Elgin.

While in the area I went to "Lochindorb" which is an oasis of life in the middle of miles of Grouse Moor, just miles of lifeless moor apart from some Red Grouse-depressing! If you never have seen Grouse Moor, this the place to see it.

Back to Lochindorb, its a freshwater loch north of Grantown on Spey. This loch is home to the ruins of Lochindorb Castle, a former stronghold of the Clan Comyn and is built on what now is said to be an artificially created island. This Island has become home to nesting Divers, I've seen both Black and Red -throated Divers here but on this visit there was a couple very smart Black-throated Divers, stunning birds! Also saw Greylag Geese, Oystercatchers, Lapwings-many displaying, Kestrel, Common and Black-headed Gulls, Redshank's, Pied Wagtails, Reed Bunting, Meadow Pipit, Mallards and Red Grouse by road.

Thursday was a full day, started off at Loch Garten to see the Ospreys which had turned up, great views from the Cameras set up to look at the nest. Plenty of other birds on the feeders, one very smart Siskin as well as Blue, Great and Crested Tits, joined by Chaffinch, Blackbird, Pied Wagtail, Woodpigeon, Great spotted Woodpecker, and a Treecreeper around the feeding area.

Then off to Findhorn Valley also known as "Valley of the Raptors". I have been here lots of times with very mixed results but today was the best by far with Goshawk, Peregrine, Red Kite, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard and Golden Eagle all seen as well as Raven flying around the mountains.

Along the river there was Oystercatcher, Curlew, Lapwings, Dippers, Mistle Thrush, Wheatear, Pied Wagtails, Blackbirds, Mallard, pair of Mandarins and up on the mountain tops several hundred Red Deer could be seen.

In the snow the valley looked stunning and a real joy to walk it, its worth the effort to walk to the far end, its like a big theatre with the mountains all around.

After a stay at Fort William I went over to the Isle of Mull on Saturday, if you never have been there the best way to describe it is Dartmoor on Steroid's! The scenery is just stunning and the wildlife amazing!

I stay at Achnadrish House which is close to Dervaig in the north of the island, its self catering and suits me.

I saw plenty of Sea Eagles, on average two a day and that doesn't include watching the birds on the nest at the Golf Course at Craignure or the boat trip with Mark from Mull Charters which was brilliant! I've been on this trip a couple of times now, obviously having 4 Eagles come to the back of the boat was amazing but also being able to talk about the birds over a cuppa tea added to it, also going past the massive cliffs and talking about how they were formed by the glaciers added to the trip.

I saw Golden Eagles every day, there is a nest site at the end of Loch na Keal that can be viewed from the car park with the aid of a scope. The best though was in Glen More on Sunday when 3 Goldie's were soaring above me which was a real thrill.

Was also very lucky to see Hen Harriers every day sometimes pairs together but always at a distance and needing a scope, still the blue/grey of the male still looked stunning at a distance!

Other Raptors seen were Peregrine, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk. There was reports of Short Eared Owl but I sadly didn't see any but it wasn't from the lack of trying.

I spent most dinnertimes sat by a Loch or coast waiting for a sighting of an Otter, there is apparently one Otter per Mile of coastline on Mull but sadly no luck except I saw one while I was driving by Loch Scridain, but by the time I had stopped it had disappeared.

When I first got to the island there was plenty of Divers, probably stopping off while the bad weather was around, Black and Red-throated, Great-northern Divers, Red-necked and Slavonian Grebes all seen around the Lochs.

Most of the Gulls are Common Gulls but also Great-black and Lesser-black Backed Gulls, Herring and Black-headed Gulls, also an Iceland Gull seen on Loch na Keal.

Plenty of Greylag Geese seen with a few Canada's and Mute Swans. Lots of Grey Herons and a few Shelducks, Eider, Mallard, Teal and Widgeon seen, Shag, lots of Red-breasted Mergansers, pair of Goosanders. Waders seen were Curlew, Oystercatchers, Lapwings, Dunlin, Turnstone, Ringed Plover, Redshank and Greenshank. Corvides were restricted to Hooded Crows and Ravens, there might have been others but I didn't see any.

At the beginning of the week there was a massive influx of Redwing, they seemed to be everywhere but by Wednesday most had gone, also Mistle and Song Thrush, Blackbird, Robin, Chaffinch, Blue and Great Tit, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Pied Wagtail, Wheatears, Starling, House Sparrow, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Stonechat, Swallow and Collard Doves.

Apart from the solitary Otter the other mammals seen were about 20 Common Seals that had hauled themselves up on rocks close to Salen on the East coast, in the evenings plenty of Red Deer seen.

Apart from the Lochs and Mountains there are lots of Bays, Beaches, Woods and Valleys that Iam yet to explore. I met lots of old friends and met some new ones, its been a great week mixed with a touch of sadness as half way through the week I was told my brother had died, he had been ill for some time so wasn't surprised, so some reflective time sat watching the birds. Life goes on!

03 April 2018

Off to Scotland

Iam off to Scotland for the next 10 days, so no entries until the 15th.

02 April 2018

Easter Weekend

Spent two and half days out of the four out and about, the weather has been crap making it difficult to take any pictures and some of the places I visited where very difficult to gain access due to flooding.

Friday saw me on Dartmoor, hoping to see a few Wheatears amongst others but no luck in that department. After driving around all the usual places I did a circular walk around Challacombe Farm via the Warren. Very few people about and very few birds, I parked up by Soussons woods to look across the moor when I felt this sensation of being watched, as I looked around there was a stunning Roe Deer watching me from the wood. It stayed there for some time trying to work out what I was and what I was doing, real privilege to stand so close to this beautiful animal!

While walking around I saw Buzzard, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Raven, Magpie, Wood Pigeon, Stock Dove, Stonechat, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Song Thrush, Wren, Robin, Starling, Great, Long-tailed and Blue Tit, Reed Bunting and Pied Wagtail.

On Sunday after a late start saw me at Exminster Marshes, thought it would be wet so well prepared with wellies but even with these I had to turn back from the back path, completely flooded by the "discovery area" so I had to turn back. The road was also flooded but passable with wellies. Bird wise saw a good variety of ducks, numbers had gone down but still Widgeon, Teal, Shoveler, Mallard, Tufted, Shelduck and Pintail seen. Moorhen, Coot, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Lapwing, Curlew, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Wood Pigeon, Pied Wagtail, Starling, Wren, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Goldfinch, Chiffchaff, The sound of Cettis Warbler and Skylark giving the sound of spring even if the weather didn't match up!

Reed Bunting, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Stonechat and a couple of Buzzards and a Peregrine where the Raptors on show. At Turf there was very few birds on the mud, a few Redshanks and Curlew.

Today ( Monday ) I went to the South Hams, started off at Slapton by the middle car park, quite windy and cold, the Ley showing waves and making it difficult to see birds on the water, plenty of Gulls though, not only on the water but on the near bye fields, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls of all ages. At Torcross the water was a lot calmer as out of wind, plenty of birds here with Great-crested Grebe, Mallard, Tufted Ducks, Moorhen, Coot, Grey Heron, Herring and Black-headed Gulls, Jackdaw and Mute Swans.

Went onto Beesands Ley which was a lot calmer, but flooded making it difficult to get to the hide, the water was also a dirty red colour from all the run off from the fields. No Red-necked Grebe but did see the Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Tufted Ducks, Pochard, Mallard, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Great-crested and Little Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Blackbird, Robin, Chiffchaff, Cettis Warbler, Great and Blue Tits, Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Herring and Great-black Backed Gull, Stonechat, House Sparrows, Starling, Dunnock and not forgetting 3 Swallows!

Then over to the River Avon at Aveton Gifford, although the tide was out there was so much water coming down the river there was very little mud so only a Redshank and a couple of Greenshank to go with a Little Egret, Mallard, Shelduck, Black-headed and Herring Gulls. I went to South Efford Marsh as there was a Spoonbill seen there earlier but sadly gone by the time I arrived, 20+ Mute Swans there as well as Shelduck, Mallard and Canada Geese. Quite a few small birds in the hedges and bushes with Wren, Chiffchaff, Robin, Dunnock, Blackbird and Great Tit. Also a few Buff-tailed Bumble Bees and a Peacock Butterfly to give some sign of spring.

Met lots of birders out over the weekend and good to meet Paul, Perry, Roger and others. The weather might have been crap but it was good fun getting around meeting loads of interesting people, some more interesting than others hahahahaha!

25 March 2018

Weekends Birding

In between family and domestic duties I managed to get out for most of the weekend including Friday afternoon.

I spent a few hours at Aylesbere Common on Friday Afternoon hoping to see some Dartford's, Yellow Hammers amongst others, hoping that the snow hadn't done too much damage. It was though quite a depressing walk with very little to see, only one solitary male Stonechat seen on the gorse. Other birds were seen on the edge of the reserve and across the road such as Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Green Woodpecker, Pheasant, Robin, Dunnock and Blackbird. Lets hope not too much damage has been done and with the warm weather birds will return.

Saturday afternoon saw me at Exminster Marshes with my wellies this time. When I parked up a Peregrine flew by with food in its talons and landed in a Pylon further down on Powderham Marshes. Lots of water birds about including a Spoonbill sat right in the middle of the Marshes, also Little Egret, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Widgeon, Teal, Shoveler, Shelduck and Curlew being the only waders seen.

Carrion Crow, Rook, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Chiffchaff, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Robin, Chiffchaff, Wren, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Reed Bunting and Bullfinch.

Also seen from the back path several Lapwing displaying and calling in Powderham Marshes.

At Turf most of the birds were some distance from the Hotel, the water was like a mirror and the tide was on the way out, plenty of Redshank, Dunlin, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew and a few Grey Plover, Shelduck, Cormorant, Red-breasted Mergansers, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls.

Also seen which was a bit of a treat was a Sand Martin going up the canal towards Exeter.

Sunday was a day spent on Dartmoor, the morning was spent at Dunsford Wood, hoping to see some Woodpeckers and Dippers but sadly saw neither, but still enjoyed the experience. Did see a stunning male Goosander on the river with Goldcrest, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Robin, Blackbird, Wren, Woodpigeon, Fly-over Raven and Buzzard. The woods looked stunning with all the wild Daffodils out, worth the journey just for them!

Then off to Yarner, due to on-going work here had to park up at Trendlebere where a few Buzzards were loafing about in the sky. Lots of disturbance around the carpark at Yarner with all the generators going, also looks like the feeders have been taken down, did see Great Spotted Woodpecker, Robin, Blackbird, Great and Blue Tits, Wren and Woodpigeon. Saw a few other birders here who said there had been several sightings of LSW but sadly not from me. Plenty of insects out with Hover Flies, Bumble Bees. Best of all two species of Butterfly which must have come out of hibernation several Brimstone fluttering around and a Comma which sat nicely for a pic. Stop for Cuppa at Hound Tor before going to look around the higher end of Emsworthy Mire, hoping to pick up a Wheatear or two but again nothing but still enjoyable walk with Skylarks singing and Pheasant, Raven, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Blackbird, Dunnock and Meadow Pipits all seen. Home for tea and cake!

Met lots of nice people this weekend, Visiting as well as local birders, all happy to see the birds on the move. Dartmoor was packed with people enjoying the scenery and good weather, roll on the summer!

19 March 2018

Mini Beast from the East

With snow and bad weather due this weekend I decided to pay Exminster Marshes a visit on Saturday, lot of water about and the road was blocked by water by the middle car park. Stupidly I forgot my wellies so couldn't pass. I also tried to get down the back path but that was also impassable in certain places.

I did though manage with the aid of my bins see quite a bit, a few ducks about with Pintail, Mallard, Shoveler, Widgeon and Teal. Also Coot, Moorhen, Grey Heron and Cormorant on view. A few Canada Geese and Mute Swans on the pasture with the usual Corvides.

Small birds included Dunnock, Blackbird, Robin, Great and Blue Tits, Greenfinch, Chaffinch and Wren.

On the fields coming and leaving there was plenty of birds on the ground, mainly Corvides, but also Gulls and Pheasants as well as the odd Buzzard sat on telegraph poles.

Sunday brought plenty of snow and I didn't venture far but Monday was a snow day so no work! I went out to Dawlish Warren to see if I could find the White Winged Gulls which had been seen here. Unfortunately none seen while I was there, but Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls of all ages seen on the beach between the life boat hut and Red rock.

I did a walk around the wooded area, Pond and Greenland lake. Plenty of small birds looking for food where the snow had not covered or melted, Linnet, Meadow Pipit, Robin, Dunnock, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Green Woodpecker and Fieldfare all seen on the ground with Blue and Great Tit, Bullfinch, Chaffinch and Greenfinch seen in the bushes. As I approached the 1st pond area both Woodcock and Snipe flew up which was frustrating as I need a Woodcock for my picture Library.

On the pond area there was Shoveler, Mallard, Moorhen, Coot and Canada Geese. Looking for food around the reeds especially at water level was Chiffchaff and a Cettis which wouldn't stay still! Also several Grey Wagtail about.

On Greenland lake apart from a lot of small birds such as Stonechat and Linnet there was a Golden Plover in plain view.

I went for a drive when leaving to back home, saw Brent Geese at Starcross, Green woodpecker, Little Egret, Woodpigeons, lots of Corvides especially Rooks and Pheasants around Powderham Church.

Did feel for all the early migrants that might have got caught up in this, lets hope this is the last of it and spring is on its way??

11 March 2018

Beesands Ley

Everything seems to be getting in the way this weekend to getting out for a walk with the camera. Between the weather, family and domestic duties I just managed to get out Saturday afternoon to Beesands Ley which turned out to be quite successful!

I rocked up to the hide to be greeted by a visiting birder/photographer from Bristol who told me 2 out of the 3 birds I was looking for was in front of the hide, the Scaup had not been found.

The Red-necked Grebe looked like it was coming into summer plumage and is a smart looking bird, its been there for a while and hopefully stay a bit longer. The Ring-necked Duck was in with the Tufted Ducks and Pochard who were diving for food in the centre of the ley.

There was also a couple of Gadwall and Mallard around the Ley with Coot, Moorhen, Cormorant, Great-crested Grebe, Mute Swans and a few noisy Canada Geese making a nuisance of them selves.

Not as many Gulls on the Ley as normal, couple of Great-black and Herring Gulls, Also Carrion Crows and 3 Buzzard floating around in the sky.

In the bushes by the path, Cettis Warbler was in full throttle, Blackbird, Dunnock, Robin, Pied Wagtail and Great Tit.

Good to get out, hopefully next weekend I will get a full weekend!

02 March 2018


The Beast from the East meets Storm Emma causing quite a snow fall in Dawlish. The strong winds and high tide also caused a bit of damage on the sea wall, here are some pictures from today.

25 February 2018

Weekends Birding

I was owed sometime off from work so as the weather was good thought I would make the most of it with a visit to Somerset.

First stop after a difficult journey was to see my brother Tim and his wife Ann for some Tea and Toast, always good to catch up! The plan was to go to Bruton to see some Hawfinch then off to Shapwick, have seen Hawfinch in Somerset several times over the years and always in churchyards as the birds are after the Yew. This year birds in at least 5 Churchyards in Somerset that I know of, I think St Marys Church Bruton is a stunning place with 5 Yews. When I parked up I could immediately see the Hawfinch flying from one Yew to another, diving straight in giving no photo opportunities but luckily for me one bird decided to sit in a near bye Beech tree giving me a great view. Trouble about graveyards they are full of history and I love to read the stones and probably stayed at least a hour longer than I should have been. Instead of going to Shapwick I went to RSPB Greylake Reserve which looked just stunning!

Plenty of birds around, on the feeders in the carpark, joining fields and the marshland in front of the hide. Redwing, Blackbird, Starling, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Starling, Reed Bunting, Wren, Chaffinch, Lapwing, Mute Swan, Widgeon, Shelduck, Teal, Mallard, Coot, Little and Great White egret, Snipe, Buzzard and Sparrowhawk made it an enjoyable visit.

On Saturday after doing some domestic stuff I went off to Exminster Marshes that looked very quiet so decided to go to Topsham. Parked up at Darts Farm which was surprisingly busy, usual fare here with Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Black-headed Gulls, Blackbird and House Sparrows.

Along the Cycle track both down and back saw Jackdaws, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, House Sparrows, Robin, Song Thrush, Dunnock and 2 Buzzards loafing about above me. The tide was high but still abit of mud about so there was both Green and Redshanks here, Little Egret, Black-headed Gulls and Teal on the waters edge. At Goosemoor there was Red and Greenshanks, a lone Avocet, Little Egrets, Teal, Mallard, Black-headed and Herring Gulls.

Along the road and Reserve there was Robin, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Blackbird, Great Tit, Wren, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Teal Shoveler, Mallard, Widgeon, Tufted Duck, Pintail, Lapwing, Snipe and Redshank. A lot of the bigger waders were still on the River and the news from in the hide was the Pink Footed Goose was over at Powderham by the bridge so off I went!

From the bridge you could see it distantly with some Canada Geese and the 2 Snow geese, a quick look out to the river and plenty of birds on the mud with Shelduck, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Dunlin, Redshank, Grey Plover and Black-headed Gulls on view.

Sunday saw me go on to Dartmoor which was very cold, but also very busy due to a few organised events which saw cars parked up everywhere! Corvides everywhere looking for food in the pastures, Chaffinch, House Sparrows, Blue Tits, Robins, Starling, Stonechat, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Redwing and Fieldfare. One large field was covered in birds 500+ of Fieldfare, Redwing and Starlings all looking for food in the pasture.

Came back through Powderham to see if any of the Fallow Stags where close enough to take a picture of but as I was driving towards the church when a Cattle Egret flew over, so I parked up and found the bird in a stubble field with 4 other birds. It is the same field as they were seen in last year, today they were flying to and from the Estate grounds to the field and back again. Watched them for about an hour and lucky enough to get a few shots off.

Great to meet family and some other birders especially those in the hides at Greylake and Bowling Green.

16 February 2018

The Scotish Borders

Ive been through the borders many times on my way to the Highlands and Islands but never done any Bird Watching in the area. Had heard about Dumfries from others and the TV and also seen Musselburgh come up many times on Bird Guides with close sightings of Scoter, both Surf and Velvet Scoter so thought I would give it a try.

In the past I would get up at silly o'clock and rest up near the Lake District for a couple of hours before going on, those days are long gone and now I stay overnight at the Premier Inn at junction 42 on my way to Scotland. Just as well I did as the weather on the journey up on the M6 was getting worse and by the time I reached Carlisle the snow was coming down fast and was happy to be tucked up with a cuppa of char!

The following morning I went up the A7 towards Edinburgh, I have been on this route several times before but never in snow, the roads had been cleared by snow ploughs and the scenery was just stunning! Lots of Corvides about with the odd Buzzard, presume looking for carrion although anything black did stand out in the snow, I passed a small lake by the road which mostly frozen and to my surprise 2 Cormorants were sat by the bank, must have been 100 miles from any other water and it was quite high up. While parked up looking at these two other small birds came into view like Blackbird, Chaffinch, Great and Blue Tits, Robin, Starling, Pheasants and a Mute Swan appeared on the water from the field. Then the small birds all seem to dive for cover as a small falcon went over my parked car along the hedge, it looked like a Merlin but it was gone before I could ID it properly.

Managed to get to Musselburgh in good time, so parked up by the harbour and walked along the promenade to get my bearings and boy was it cold!

It was clear but the sea was rough and the wind was biting, you could see lots of birds on the water with gulls feeding further out on the Firth of Forth so it looked promising if the sea was calmer I would be in with a shout! I then went and bought a local map which proved to be an excellent buy as I couldn't understand the local ascent, must say that everybody tried to be helpful, I just couldn't understand anybody! hahaha

Pitched up again in the local Premier Inn and the following day was a lot clearer, still bloody cold and the sea was still abit lumpy, out to sea you could see plenty of Eider Duck, some large rafts of 20-30 birds, Common, Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls in good numbers, Oystercatchers, Turnstones Mute Swans and Cormorants doing fly-byes. Got to the mouth of the River Esk which was a bit more sheltered. Here there was at least 100 Redshank, Oystercatchers, Curlew, Turnstone, Mallard, Widgeon, all 4 Gull species and further out some very smart Golden Eyes, about 20 birds, with some birds in the river itself. Plenty of small birds with Pied Wagtail, House Sparrow, Starling and Robin all present. I caught up with some local Birders on the other side of the river where I managed to translate enough to understand the Surf Scoter was out there but difficult to find due to the waves so decided to give it a miss and walk up the coastal path to the "Ash Pits" or the Musselburgh Lagoons as they are described on Bird Guides. The coastal path is also called "The John Muir Wa"y and a nice walk it is too! Out to sea plenty of birds, more Eiders, Golden Eye and some Long-tailed Ducks plus the bonus of 2 Velvet Scooters bobbing about in the waves, Brilliant!

Found the pools which is called the "Levenhall Links Bird Reserve". The site has been restored from ash lagoons from Cockenzie Power Station and was landscaped and returned to East Lothian Council to create a SSSI quality nature reserve, which now occupies 331 acres of land. There are 6 lagoons which you can observe from 3 hides which are a bit industrial and no roofs so dress well with 2 "Active" lagoons which you cant get near. Plenty of waders here with Bar-tailed Godwits, Oystercatchers, Grey Plover, Redshank, Turnstone, Widgeon, Teal and Mallard on view, great little reserve!

Stayed another night in Musselburgh and off early to Dumfries, more snow falling and while the Pentland Hills looked spectacular in white the roads were becoming difficult to say the least! On to the M74 which was down to 2 lanes with the snow ploughs working overtime. By the time I reached Dumfries it had turned to rain and the sun was trying to come out, decided as I had time I would go to WWT Caerlaverock which is on the Solway coast and by the time I parked up it had stopped raining and the sun was out, never been here before but had heard lots about it. On seeing a Tree Sparrow, the first time in a couple of years was the start of a great visit. Watched the feeding of the Swans which was a mixture of Whooper and Mutes, with these there was Canada and Greylag geese, Tufted, Mallard Widgeon and Teal all scrapping for food.

Around the other pools plenty of other birds such a Pintail, Shovlers, Gadwalls,Curlew, Oystercatchers, Redshanks, Lapwings, Little Egrets and the big spectacle of 1000+ fly over noisy Barnacale Geese who went over head to join the other Geese that were on the fields, must have been a total of 5000+ birds in the end.

Lots of birds on the feeders and on the floor such as House and Tree Sparrows, Goldfinch, Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock and Chaffinch. Also saw Grey Heron, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Stonechat and Reed Bunting.

As normal when I go to Scotland there is a day where the weather is too bad to go walking/bird watching and today is the day! So off in the car to have a look around, so off to the "Crook of Baldoon" which is a reserve on the coast and it was wild! I was sat in the car which was being buffeted about, could see Grey Heron, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Redshank, Curlew, Dunlin and Shelduck carrying on their business as if nothing was out of the ordinary, I couldn't stand up straight!

Then went to see the "Woods of Cree" which is a area of ancient woodland but with trees down on the road I didn't get anywhere near it so back for tea and cake!

Thursday it was very cold but clear and dry! So off to Ken-Dee Marshes to see what was there, its a RSPB reserve and was hoping to see some White-fronted Geese which are here, sadly for me not today! Plenty of birds on the feeders including some Willow Tits that got bullied of by a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Plenty of Red Kites about, really special to see them glide over me while I walked down the path. I would get closer views of these as I went to the feeding station at "Belly Mack Hill Farm", it was very windy here and enjoyed the cuppa on offer here. Got some great views and a lot closer than other feeding stations I have visited.

I had a really good visit and will be back to Dumfries, I think February is the time to visit because of the winter Geese. I also meet a lot of great people, I couldn't understand half of you but pleased to meet you anyway!

09 February 2018

Off to Scotland

Iam off to Scotland in the morning, stop over at Carlisle then to Musselburgh for a couple of days, then off to Dumfries for the rest of the week to see whats about. Hopefully I will have some pics for you when I get back!

04 February 2018

Tundra Bean Goose

Thought I would go to North Devon today to see the Bean Goose which had appeared, I had seen both races of Bean Goose in Norfolk but they were always a long way away and no chance of a picture. This bird is a "Tundra" race and from pictures put up by Rob J on Devon Birds looked like it was close and was with a group of Mute Swans so it might stay.

I eventually got to Bruton which is just north of Barnstable. I found the bird more by luck than judgment as the field it was in was next to the road and the Mute Swans were clearly visible. So turned around and the next task was trying some where to park without going into the ditch! Well parked up and met up with Rob and another local birder, to my amazement it was walking towards me and the sun was out!! The birding gods were shinning on me!

Smart looking bird and clearly enjoyed the company of the swans as kept with them all the time. I left a happy bunny and went off to go to Fremington Quay to see what was there but the road was blocked off with a Police car, don't know what was going on probably nothing, but I decided to carry on towards home and ended up walking around Exminster Marshes.

It was quite windy, cold and grey. Not taking pics weather anyway. I did a circular walk from the RSPB carpark via Turf and back via the path.

Plenty of ducks about but still not as many as I've seen in the past, Widgeon, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Shelduck, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Coot, Moorhen, Curlew, Ruff, Lapwing, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Blackbird, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Great, Blue and Long Tailed Tit, Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Pied Wagtail, Pheasant, Stonechat, Woodpigeon and a Peregrine sat on the Pylon.

At Turf there was Curlew, Grey and Golden Plover, Avocet, Dunlin, Redshanks, Lapwing, Godwit, Red-breasted Mergansers, Great-black Backed, Herring and Black-headed Gulls, Carrion Crows, Cormorants and Mallard on view across the mud flats.

Had a great day out and nice to meet Rob J and other birders, thanks for making me welcome.

28 January 2018


Had a great day out today doing things I love doing with some great people. The morning was spent out on a boat trip and the afternoon was spent at Buckfast Abbey with the bees.

After picking up a takeaway Coffee and Bacon Sarnie I met up with the rest of the group which had been organised by Nigel S and being skipperd by Nigel L on the "Optimist" and compared with the last trip the weather was great.

We went from the harbour to off Berry Head, then past the Mussel Farm along the coast to Torquay Marina then back to Brixham.

In the Harbour there was lots of Black-headed Gulls with a few Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Shags, Cormorants, Turnstones, Redshank, Purple Sandpipers Carrion Crows, Feral Pigeons and a Kingfisher on the Golden Hind.

When we got out of the harbour we went towards Berry Head there was 300+ Gannets diving into the water as well as 11 Common Dolphins feeding on something. Lots Guillemots and Razorbills in rafts on the water with Herring, Great-black Backed and Black-headed Gulls with a couple of Kittiwakes. Cormorants and a Great-northern Diver also seen.

Back towards Brixham and past the Mussel Farm and a circular route back to the harbour via Torquay Marina, more Seals seen on the rocks with plenty of Grey Herons as well, Cormorants, Shags, Little Egret, Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls, Fulmars on the water as well as sat on the cliffs, Kittiwakes flying around as well as a raft of 21 birds sat out to sea, Guillemots, Razorbill, Gannet, Great Crested Grebes, Black Necked Grebe, 4 Scoter and a Peregrine. We also saw 6 sightings of Great Northern Divers around the bay, because we did a circular route some of these might have been the same bird.

After the boat trip, back to Dawlish to pick something up and off to Buckfastliegh to meet up the some Beekeepers, quick check of the community Apery and back to the barn for Tea, Biscuits and talking about Bee stuff!

Had a great day out with some great people, feel very lucky!

21 January 2018

new Scope

I treated myself to a new scope this weekend as a birthday present to myself. I got it from Darts Farm RSPB shop, yes I could have got it cheaper somewhere else such as on line but thought I would add to the coffers of the RSPB and the money towards something positive. I got a "avocet" 80mm 20-80X and I tried it out a couple of times over the weekend, I felt like a "proper birder!" hahahahha.

Don't think I will be carrying around all the time but watching on places like the River Exe will be a positive asset

Spent time today at the Cockwood steps and lots of birds here with Redshank, Greenshank, Dunlin, Oystercatchers, Godwits, Curlew, Turnstone, Red-breasted Mergansers, Little Egrets, Cormorants, Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Shelduck and Carrion Crows.

Had a good conversation with one of the guys that digs for bait, he's got 200 pots for crabs on the exe. He's full of knowledge on what's about especially the birds and very proud of the area that he works in.

14 January 2018

Torbay Boat Trip

Went around Torbay today on a boat trip organised by Nigel S on the boat "Optimist" skippered by Nigel L. In the harbour it was flat calm but out of the harbour it was very "Lumpy" and difficult at times to stand up and defiantly not the best environment to take pictures.

In the harbour there was loads of Shag and Cormorant, Turnstone, Great-black, Herring and Black-headed Gulls, 3 Purple Sandpipers and a large haul of 16 Grey Seals.

Out of the harbour we went past the Mussel farm, there was very large numbers of Cormorants and Gulls. There must have been 300+ Cormorants seen on the day, there was 50+ on the cliffs by the Mussel Farm alone and large numbers seen flying around. Gull numbers were also large over the day, 1000+ easy, on rocks, flying and in the water. Good variety as well with Great-black Backed, Herring, Black-headed and Common Gull as well as Kittiwake and Fulmar seen. Also saw a few Gannets but not large numbers, around the cliffs also saw Shag, Grey Heron, Peregrine, Jackdaw and Carrion Crow.

On the water it was very difficult due to the swell to pick up and positively Id birds on the water, a nice surprise was 3 Brent geese! We also picked up 12 Great Northern Divers but there must have been more, Great-crested Grebes dotted all over the place as well as Guillemots singles and several small rafts of 30+ birds. A couple of small Grebes seen but unable to id as quickly lost in the swell. We had a fly over Black-throated Diver and a single Male Scooter.

Back to Brixham and walked around the harbour after getting off the boat, plenty of Turnstone and a single Redshank in the harbour also saw the electric blue of a Kingfisher flying between the small boats, plenty of Feral Pigeons, Gulls, Cormorants, Shags, Blackbird, Robin, Pied Wagtail and a Rock Pipit. Had a look from the sea wall and plenty of birds in the water, Gulls, Cormorants and a couple of Great Northern Divers were a bonus.

Spent a great morning with a great bunch of people!

06 January 2018


In the Exeter area today and took the opportunity to walk around Goosemoor and BGM, although it was clear it was cold and windy.

A few birds in the hedges when I parked up, the best being a Bullfinch, also Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Wood Pigeon and a few Herring Gulls.

Not many birds down the cycle track, Jackdaw, Great and Blue Tit, Blackbird, Robin and a Buzzard flew down over the creek which apart from a Little Egret was empty.

Goosemoor was full of water and because of the wind all the birds were sheltering in the far corner, Mallard, Teal, Widgeon, Curlew, Godwits, Redshank and Greenshank on view.

Along the road and in the Reserve there was Widgeon, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Tufted, Pintail and Shelduck, Coot, Mallard, Cormorant, Curlew, Godwits, Redshank, Dunlin, Lapwing, Snipe, Canada Geese, Greylag, Starling, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird, Wren, Robin, Great Tit, Dunnock, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie and Woodpigeon.

Also saw this duck which when I first saw it at a distance thought it was the White Cheeked Pintail, an escapee which had been seen in Torbay but looks more like a Widgeon X.

Along to the platform but not for very long, tide on its way out and the mud flats had plenty of Waders on with Avocet, Curlew, Godwits, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Redshank and Greenshank.

Saw lots of people out today all wrapped up to the nines!

30 December 2017

Exminster Marshes

Even though its been a bit of a dull day and no chance of getting any meaningful pictures it was good to get out and walk around Exminster Marshes.

Parked up in the carpark close to the bridge and walked down the back path to Turf. The new track here comes into its own in this wet weather, shame they didn't finish it off and sort the gate area into the farmers field by Turf, you get into a false sense as you walk all the way to the small bridge and then have to turn back as if you haven't got proper footwear your stuffed!! What's that saying "spoiled for a halfpence of tar" or words to that effect, why couldn't they finish the job off??

Anyway back to the birds, just as I was walking down the first part of the path when I was alerted to an alarm call of a Pied Wagtail, I just turned in time to see it being chased by a female Merlin which just missed its prey, typically I didn't have my camera out but to be honest in the dull light I don't think it would have been much cop!

Hundreds of Canada Geese about across the reserve (1000+) Mute Swans, Mallard, Teal, Shoveler, Widgeon, Shelduck, Grey Heron, Cormorants, Moorhen and Coot. Still not the numbers of ducks present that have been witnessed in the past and no Brent Geese seen, didn't see any on the Exe ether?

Lots of Waders on the reserve that were put up a few times by a Peregrine who tried unsuccessfully to find dinner. The Waders that I could pick out were Godwits, Curlew, Redshank, Dunlin, Lapwing, Grey and Golden Plover and Snipe.

Other birds seen around the reserve were Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits, Goldcrest, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Starling, House Sparrow, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Wood Pigeon, Wren, Stonechat and Pheasant.

From Turf Avocet spread over the mud flats, plenty of redshank, Greenshank, Curlew, Carrion Crows, Dunlin, Pair of Red Breasted Mergansers, Cormorants, Herring and Black-headed Gulls.

On the Canal there was a couple of Male Red-breasted Mergansers around the boats.

Even though t was quite blustery there was plenty of people about especially on their bikes, one dog owner made me laugh when her brown Springer Spaniel came up to me barking its head off while wagging its tail, apparently it likes me?? hate to see what it does when it doesn't like you??

28 December 2017


In and around Dartmoor today, so took the opportunity to see what was about. There was still some snow on the ground and the kids having fun at Haytor on their sledges, that's both the older and younger kids. The area around Haytor was quite packed with people enjoying the snow, although snow elsewhere they kept to this area. Is that common sense or the locality of a toilet and a cuppa from the shack?

I noticed around the roads that all the animals had moved closer and on the roads which made some bits a bit more trickier than others, I did lose the back end more than once on ice and that's driving very slowly unlike some idiots who sped past horses on the middle of the road too fast, would say here that they weren't youngster's driving but of an age where you would think they would know better!

Did find big flocks of Fieldfare and Redwing in grass fields around Soussons and Challacombe Farm, also saw plenty of Buzzards on posts, trees and also on the fields. Blackbird, Robin, Great Tit, Chaffinch, Starling, Goldfinch, Wren, Herring Gull, Rook, Carrion Crow, Raven, Jackdaw, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Pied Wagtail and Stonechat seen on my travels.

Good day to be out on Dartmoor today, cold and wild as it should be, wish I could have spent more time looking. Nice to see everybody out enjoying themselves and apart from a couple of idiots in cars behaving themselves!

23 December 2017

Good days Birding!

Had a great day out today, started out at Dawlish Warren at first light. Parked up by the station and as I got out the fantastic song of a Song Thrush that was above me in a tree to be joined by another from a near bye garden. It was in full throttle, just a glorious sound! It was also joined by a Blackbird, Robin, Great Tit, Wood Pigeon and a couple of Collard flew in and sat on the wires, also a Great Spotted Woodpecker started to drum, fantastic start to the day!

I walked off to the sea wall by the boat house, plenty of birds about with Pied Wagtail every where, there was an elderly women feeding some Crows? Not something you see every day??

I arrived at the wall about an hour and half before high tide and it was just starting to get light, you could see stacks of birds every where. Right out to see you could see plenty of Gannets 200+ with other large Gulls, in my bins they looked like Great black-Backed. On the water there must have been 70+ Great-crested Grebes as well as other Divers, I positively ID 2 Great-northern and 2 Red Throated Divers but Iam sure there was more with all the birds diving and coming up in different places. Looked like a few Ducks out there, poss. Eider? Also saw Oystercatchers coming off the sea, Cormorants, with Loads of Pied Wagtails, Starlings, House Sparrow, Robin, Magpie, Jackdaw and Blackbird around the Boat House.

I walked to the hide via the beach and more GCG and Cormorants on view close to the beach with Gulls and Gannets further out. On the Golf Course, golfers were navigating the course with 20 odd Dark-bellied Brent's on the fairway with Dunnock and a pair of Bullfinches in the hedge by the path.

In the Bight there was plenty of Dark-bellied Brent's, Widgeon and Black-headed Gulls with the far side on Finger point popular with Curlew, Oystercatchers, Cormorants and Great-black Backed Gulls.

I arrived at the hide with the tide on the way out but still plenty of birds on show with Dunlin, Turnstone, Grey Plover, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Shelduck, Widgeon, Dark-bellied Brent Geese, the usual Carrion Crows hassling the smaller waders, plenty of waders on the salt marsh (this where I need a Scope!). At the back of the hide there was Reed Bunting, Wren, Great Tit and Linnet.

Back towards the car and while going through Greenland lake there was a group of birdwatchers that found a Firecrest which was a nice find also saw more Bullfinches, Stonechat, Wren, Robin, Magpie and Blackbird. Stopped off at the pond as there is a Jack Snipe but to be honest as I didn't have a scope I didn't hold out too much hope of seeing it but I got lucky as I was looking at the base of the tree in the reeds it suddenly moved its head and bobbed a bit before going back to sleep and becoming invisible again. I moved to the top viewing point to see a Common Snipe, Shoveler and Moorhen before going through the entrance bushes finding Goldfinches, Wren, Blue and Great Tits, House Sparrow, Robin, Blackbird and Magpie.

Quick pit stop for me in the "chipp"y and off up the Exe. Couldn't get in by the Cockwood Steps as the lay bye was full but in the Harbour the water had gone leaving the mud but surprisingly very little on it with a coupe of Redshank, Mute Swan and a Black-headed Gull. Starcross Golf course on the other hand was full of birds with large numbers of Canada and Brent Geese, Oystercatchers and a few Curlew and Godwits.

Stopped off at Powderham where the River Kenn outflow is, if you get the timing right this a great place to view the River, (BUT watch the trains, there is only ever going to be one winner and its not you!) Greenshank, Redshank, Oystercatchers, Dunlin, Curlew, Little Egret, Great-crested Grebes, Mallard, Shelduck, Cormorants, Carrion Crows, Great-black Backed and Herring Gulls with a Rock pipit on the wall.

Birds seen in Powderham, along the road hedge, River Kenn and the lake in front of the castle were Pheasants, Grey Heron, Little Egrets, Curlews, Oystercatchers, Mute Swans Canada Geese, Shelduck, Widgeon, Mallard, Teal, Coot, Moorhen, long-tailed Tits, Goldcrest, Blackbird, Bullfinch, Robin, Woodpigeon, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Mistle Thrush, plenty of Black-headed Gulls and 3 Great-spotted Woodpeckers chasing each other around the trees.

Back home to Dawlish via some farmland so went via Chivestone Farm and little Holden, although only 2pm starting to get too dark for any decent pics but still plenty about with Pheasants, Red-legged Partridge, Rook, Carrion Crows, Jackdaws, Magpies, Woodpigeon, Collard Doves, House Sparrows, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush and Pied Wagtails.

Saw lots of people out today and great to see Lee who's been on his travels to Ethiopia. Plenty of well behaved dogs first thing this morning and their owners behaved as well which is a plus!! Must admit to looking forward to getting Xmas out of the way, I know a bit "Humbug" but its driving me nuts! Also looking forward to the longer days with more sun, Spring is on its way. Having said that it will now snow for the next 8 weeks, HoHoHoHoHo

20 December 2017

Birding around Topsham

Went to Topsham today to see if I could see the Bearded Tits that have been seen in and around Goosemoor. The weather was ok, no wind to speak of but a bit of cloud to make a dull day even duller!

Parked up at Darts Farm as usual and although it was busy, not as busy as I thought it would be. Plenty of birds about especially in the field with then crops just up from the car-park, 20+ Chaffinch, Blackbirds, Robin, Wren, Carrion Crow, Pied Wagtail, House Sparrows, Black-headed and Herring Gulls, Jackdaws and Magpies.

Along the cycle track, Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Great and Blue Tits, Green Finch, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Wood Pigeon, Black-headed Gull and Buzzard.

Goosemoor had Quite a few birds but sadly for me no Bearded Tits did though have Avocets, Redshank, Greenshank, Godwit, Widgeon, Teal, Mallard, Water Rail, Blackbird, Reed Bunting and fly over Curlew, Canada Geese and Wood Pigeon.

The Reserve and the joining road saw Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Starling, Robin, Long-tailed, Great and Blue Tits, Wren, Snipe, Lapwing, Redshank, Godwit, Pintail, Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Gadwall, Widgeon, Teal, Moorhen, Coot, Greylag Geese, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw and Magpie.

T the platform the tide was out and plenty of waders on the mud and its times like these I need a scope but still managed to pick out Avocet, Curlew, Godwit, Dunlin, Redshank, Widgeon, Mallard Cormorant, Little Egret and Herring Gull.

Along the Goat Walk some good views of Avocet, sadly the light was crap!

Met lots of people today and all very sociable!

17 December 2017

Torbay Boat Trip

1st of the year winter boat trips around Torbay with Nigel S on the "Optimist" Skippered by Nigel L. The water was flat as a mill pond but sadly the light was crap which is normal for this time of year.

Plenty of Turnstone in the harbour as well as Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls. plenty of Jackdaws and feral pigeons flying around. At the pontoons there was 4 Grey Seals sleeping away and at the end of the sea wall there was 4 Purple Sandpipers.

Out to sea there was plenty of Gulls with Kittiwakes, Black-headed, Herring, Great-back Backed Gulls and Fulmars. Cormorants, Shags, Oystercatchers, Grey Heron, Black-necked Grebes, Great-northern Divers and Great Crested Grebes in good numbers. Nice to see a raft of 17 female Common Scoters.

Also saw 2 Peregrine, Carrion Crow and a Raven.

Great to be out with a great bunch of people.

09 December 2017

Dawlish Warren

After a another crap week at work time to be out with the birds. High tide at the Warren was 10.30am at 3.8m which was ideal, the only down side was the light.

When I got to the hide there was plenty of waders in front of the hide as the tide was coming in, birds seen Grey Plover, Dunlin, Knot, Turnstone, Sanderling, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Curlew, Mute Swan, Widgeon, Teal, Shelduck, Cormorant, Herring gull, Black-headed Gull, Great-black Backed Gull, Pied Wagtail, Rock Pipit, Linnet and Carrion Crows which were constantly harassing the waders looking for a kill.

On Finger point there was plenty of Great-black Backed Gulls, Curlew, Cormorants and Oystercatchers. In the Bite there was plenty of Black-bellied Brent Geese, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Sanderling, Grey Plover, Shelduck, Teal, Widgeon and Rock Pipit.

Out to sea there was quite a few Cormorant both flying and in the water, also 2 Great-northern Divers off the beach.

Around the rest of the reserve there was Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Blackbird, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, House-Sparrow, Greenfinch, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow and Stonechat.

Met lots of nice people today including a group down from South Somerset, beets going to work!!

25 November 2017

River Exe

Thought I would go up to the Matford Pools to see the American Widgeon if it was still there, on the way pop in several places on the Exe to see what was about. Its been a clear day but at this time of the year you are short of time so didn't hang around in any one place too long.

First stop was Coften steps as I know it, it overlooks the river and looks towards Exmouth. The tide was still high and no mud was showing, nothing seen on the water, a few Cormorants sitting on the wreck and a Back-headed Gull flying around.

Onto Cockwood Harbour which was showing some mud which in turn had some waders on, a couple of Redshank and Oystercatchers, Mute Swans, Mallards, Little Egret and Black-headed Gulls. As I drove past Starcross Golf Course you could see good numbers of Canada and Brent Geese, Oystercatchers, Curlew, Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls. Iam sure there was more but didn't park up to get a more accurate look.

Onto Powderham and the Kenn Outfall which goes into the Exe showed nothing at high tide, there was though 30+ Widgeon on the River Kenn visible from the road as well as Shelduck and Mute Swans on the lake in front of the Castle. also on view around the hedges and pasture was Carrion Crow, Woodpigeon, Pheasants, Blackbirds, Chaffinch, Pied Wagtail, Robin, Long-tailed Tits, Dunnock and fly over Cormorants.

Onto Matford Pools which proved to be a problem as I couldn't find a safe route to entre or a place to park so went to Exminster Marshes instead. Sadly it started to cloud over and rain so parked up in the centre carpark and did a bit from there. A Peregrine was flying around and put the birds up several times, a Raven decided to chase it off and a ariel battle ensued, I think the peregrine was just playing with the Raven, I was hoping they would come closer so I could get a picture but they kept t the centre of the reserve. Saw plenty of other Corvides as they were doing their usual looking for food in the pastures, plenty of Ducks but still not the large numbers we normally get, still needs a bit more water. Widgeon, Teal, Shoveler, Mallard, Moorhen, Coot, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Hundreds of Canada Geese, Lapwings, Curlews, Pheasants, Blackbird, Robin, Bullfinch and Starlings were all seen on this short visit.

Because the weather I decided to have a look around some farmland so went to look around the fields between Chivestone Farm to Starcross from the car. Plenty of Carrion Crows on the fields with the odd Jackdaw, Buzzard, Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock, Chaffinch, Pheasants and the odd Black-headed Gull.

Back to the River Kenn outflow and the tide had gone out a bit and plenty of birds with Widgeon, Mallard, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls washing in the fresh water, also Little Egret, Red and Greenshanks, Oystercatchers, Turnstone and Curlew on the waters edge with a Rock Pipit on the beach.

Then onto Coften Steps, the water was right out and plenty of Waders here with Red and Greenshank, Oystercatchers, Curlew, Dunlin, Godwits, Grey Plover, Turnstone, Shelduck, Little Egret, Mute Swans, Brent and Canada Geese, Cormorants, Red-breasted Merganser, Herring and Black-headed Gulls and a Rock Pipit on the boulders. Word of warning here if you go down the steps beware they are bloody slippery!

After a great day out it was home for tea and cake!

19 November 2017

Exminster Marshes

On this sunny day found me at Exminster Marshes, it looked at first that there wasn't much about, but on looking a little bit harder found some beauts.

The winter ducks had started to appear although not that much water about, just enough to keep them interested with Mallard, Tufted, Gadwall, Shoveler, Widgeon and Teal around the reserve. Saw plenty of Canada Geese and Mute Swans, Coot, Moorhen, Grey Heron and fly overs of Cormorant.

Smaller birds saw good numbers of Starling and Bullfinch, was surprised of the later with 6 birds along the back path and another 4 just up from Turf. Cettis Warbler by the middle Car Park, Starling, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Pied Wagtail, Robin, Dunnock, Wren, Wood Pigeon, Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits dotted around the reserve.

Fieldfare, Redwing and Blackbirds feeding on the berries around the site. Plenty of Corvides on the pastures with Carrion Crow, Rook and Jackdaw looking for food with Magpies in the scrub. Buzzard, Peregrine and a hunting male Sparrowhawk made up the Raptors.

At Turf the tide was out showing the mud banks very well and there was good number of Waders, ones I Id were Oystercatcher, Redshank, Greenshank, Curlew, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Avocet, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Herring, Black-headed and Great black Backed Gulls. There were probably more over the far side but couldn't pick them up in my bins.

Its days like this I wish I had a Scope but don't think I could carry everything around, perhaps I should look into it more and see what light weight gear is out there?

Met lots of happy humans today with runners, walkers, cyclists, anglers, dog walkers, families and a few birders. All very sociable and enjoying the good weather, good to meet up with John Wilkes. Hope you found the Hawfinch and not the miserable gits I found yesterday!

18 November 2017

Haldon and Exe

When I woke up this morning it was cold but clear, a great day for taking pics. So I went up to Holden to look for Hawfinch but typically it had started to cloud over and while I was lucky to see 20-25 Hawfinch I didn't really get any decent pictures. There was also sadly a bit of disruption by a couple of people going into the trees underneath them which sent them flying and another time a dog barking which didn't help. There was a bit of bad feeling between people as well so not a happy place.

Also saw Chaffinch, Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tit, Goldcrest, Buzzard, Woodpigeon and Carrion crow.

I then went to the River Exe by Powderham where the River Kenn has its out fall. Plenty of Gulls here with Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls of all ages washing in the water. Also Widgeon, Mallard, Shelduck, Cormorant, Little Egret, Redshank, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Mute Swan and Brent Geese.

Around the Lanes plenty of birds you would expect to see in the fields with good numbers of Carrion Crows, Rooks and Jackdaws feeding on pasture and freshly tilled ground. Also Magpie, Starlings, Blackbirds, Woodpigeon, Collard Doves and Pheasants everywhere!

Saw lots of people about today most of which were happy soles, shame a few birder/photographers got silly

11 November 2017

Weather for Ducks!

After having a crap time at work, we have all got to apply for our own jobs at the school I work, it appears 30yrs hard work and loyalty counts for nothing! I was looking forward to going out and having a good walk and see some wildlife and even better to take some pics to unwind. But typically on my day off it rains and the light is crap!

Needed to get out so went to the hide at Bowling Green and glad I did, there was about 2-300 Avocets there and put on an aerial display while coming into land. Even though it was raining and the light was crap they still look spectacular!

Lots of ducks and I was impressed with the numbers of Pintail, also Shoveler, Mallard, Teal, Widgeon, Tufted Duck, Moorhen, Coot, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Greylag Goose, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Godwits, Lapwings, Curlew, Goldfinches, Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock, Wren, Long-tailed, Blue and a Great Tit. Also a Male Sparrowhawk flew down the road.

Popped into Goosemoor and Red and Greenshank here, Grey Heron, Little egret, Teal, Mallard, Widgeon and Black-headed Gull.

Hope tomorrow a better day.

04 November 2017


Went up on Dartmoor today, started off at Emsworthy at the Hound Torr end. It was quiet windy and heavy showers, sunny to dark cloud. Typically when a subject came close it was dark and wet and distant when it was good light!

At DWT Emsworthy there was several Fieldfare flying around, it was difficult to know if they were different birds or the same flying around. I could say there was 150+ birds but to be honest I think it was a flock of 40+ birds being quiet flighty and moving around from tree to tree.

While driving around saw 1 Redwing only but plenty of Fieldfare scattered around, no big flocks 5-6 birds away from Emsworthy.

Also saw Mistle and Song Thrushes, Blackbird, Robin, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Starling, Chaffinch, House Sparrow, Magpie, Raven, Carrion Crow and Jackdaws.

Saw plenty of birders around looking for Hawfinch which had been seen yesterday but no luck today.

27 October 2017

Start Bay

Went south to the Bay today, nice sunny day but windy in places. First stop was Start Point and walked down to the Light House to see what was about in the Tamarisk. When I got there the wind was blowing the Tamarisk around and it was difficult to see the birds, there was definitely some Crests saw 4 birds and at least one was a Firecrest. Also saw Robin and Stonechat by the Lighthouse, on the road to the carpark I saw Raven, Kestrel and two noisy Peregrines that flew over and tried it on with the Kestrel who out flew them as hey sped by it just moved to the side. The Peregrine might be fast but the Kestrel is far more manoeuvrable.

Plenty of Jackdaws flying over and a flock of 35 Goldcrests at the carpark, a few gulls about mainly Great-black Backed and Herring Gulls, nothing else seen out to sea.

Off to Beesands Ley, on the water there was 40+ Gadwall, 50+ Canada Geese and 46 Mute Swans, a few Coot, a Moorhen and a Grey Heron. Along the path there was a few Blackbirds, Blue Tit, Bullfinches, Wren, Dunnock, Robin, Chaffinch, Carrion Crow, Pheasant, Woodpigeon and 30 Canada Geese in the field behind the Hide.

Onto Slapton Ley which was a bit of a disappointment with the only ducks being seen was some Mallards and Tufted Duck, Mute Swans and Canada geese, Coot, Moorhen and plenty of Gulls. Black-headed, Herring, Great-black and Lesser-black Backed Gulls of all ages. Around the edges there was House Sparrow, Cettis Warbler, Wren, Blackbird, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Goldcrest, Robin, Kestrel and Wood Pigeon.

In between these stop offs there was plenty of birds around the roads, at Kellaton there was lots Corvides in the pastures hunting for food, mainly Rooks but Carrion Crow and Jackdaw present. Also close to Kellaton 100 odd Gulls, mainly Herring Gulls sat in a field as well as 20+ Woodpigeon, 50+ Starlings on the wires, also Blackbird, Song Thrush, Meadow Pipit, Kestrel, Buzzard, Chaffinch and Stonechat.

Saw loads of Red Admirals today with one Speckled Wood, also met lots of nice people today, two ladies doing some painting in the hide at Beesands were great company.

25 October 2017

Out and About

Went to Dartmoor on the look out for some winter thrushes such as Redwing and Fieldfare, there has been some reports of Redwing on parts of Dartmoor this week so was hopeful. Unfortunately after driving around to spots I know I've found them in previous years found no birds, some berries but no birds. I don't know what other people think but I don't think there is as many berries around this year.

While driving around did see plenty of other birds though with Mistle and Song Thrushes, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Great and Blue Tits, Blackcap, Wren, Stonechat, Pied Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Chaffinch, Buzzard, Green Woodpecker, Wood Pigeon, Stock Dove, Magpie, Raven and Carrion Crow.

Dartmoor is so different through the week with less visitors about and more of the locals are about and at work, you also see things like I saw today, a number of soldiers running in full kit towards me down the road and the local hunt, have mixed feelings about hunting but they did look good, Hounds, Horses and Huntsman in all their colourful coats.

The afternoon was spent in Stover Park which was full of families enjoying good weather, great to see so many kids out exploring the wild and not sat in front of the screen.

The Birds don't seem to mind with plenty of Blue, Coal and Great Tits, Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Coot, Moorhen, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Mute Swan, Cormorant, Wood Pigeon, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Carrion Crow, Black-headed, Herring and Lesser-black Backed Gull.

Plenty of Dragons at Stover with loads of Darters and a few Hawkers enjoying the sun.

A very enjoyable day out and about and met loads of interesting people.

24 October 2017

Grey day

I got my timing spot on when I went to see what was about on the River Exe, I stopped off on several points between Dawlish and Powderham and lots of great views of birds. This was down to timing it were the tide was going out and the water was about 10ft from the wall so the birds were far enough away for them not to be that fussed about you but close enough to get some great views. The problem was it was so dull and grey that any pictures I got were only fit for the delete button!

At Cockwood Steps there was Mute Swan, Great-crested Grebe, Dark-bellied Brent Geese, Little Egret, Turnstone, Redshank, Curlew, Godwit, Oystercatcher, Cormorant, Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls.

In Cockwood Harbour the water had completely gone, a few waders in here, not seen so many Oystercatchers in here before 50+ with singles of Curlew and Redshank, also Mute Swans and Gulls, mainly Black Headed.

Along to the outfall from the River Kenn by Powderham, 50+ Gulls here washing them selves in the fresh water, mainly Herring but a couple of Black-headed, 18 Mute Swans, greenshank, Redshank, Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Little Egret, Cormorant and Carrion Crow. In Powderham grounds apart from the impressive Fallow Deer stags a few Pheasants, Mallards on the river and a couple of Blackbirds.

You can tell its shooting season as there is Pheasants everywhere and all very jumpy and nervous, not surprising as everybody seems to want to shoot you!

I popped into Exminster Marshes and viewed from the car looking to see if the Duck population had risen, plenty of Mallards and I heard a Widgeon but very little water on the Marsh. There was though hundreds of Corvides on the pastures with Rooks, Carrion Crows and Jackdaws all on the pasture hunting for food. Not a lot else seen, home for Tea and Toast!

23 October 2017

Labrador Bay

Went to Labrador Bay this afternoon to look for some Cirl Buntings, on arriving at the car park the view out to sea was just stunning! You could see down the coast towards Portland and far out to sea, no birds though apart from the odd gull which was a surprise.

On walking from the car park through the fields and following the hedge into the stubble field where you could hear plenty of Cirls and with my bins found 4 at various points on top of bushes singing away, a few popped up as I walked up the path which was great to see. In the small field they had started to put seed down but no birds feeding or near it. Cirls singing and flying in from across the road to the stubble in the bigger field, counted 15 but could have been more.

Also saw Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Great and Blue Tit, Chiffchaff, Carrion Crow and fly overs of Raven, Woodpigeons, Great-black Backed and Herring Gulls of all ages, plus the sound of a Green Woodpecker in the distance.

Also loads of Red Admirals and a few Speckled Woods flying around.

Really enjoyable afternoon spent in a lovely little reserve.

22 October 2017

Dawlish Warrem

I went to the Warren today at low tide to try and find some Portuguese Man o`War that have been coming ashore in large numbers here and along the beach at Teignmouth.

I walked the beach from Red Rock all the way to the point and didn't find one, I bumped into one of the wardens who was standing guard stopping dogs from going to far up the beach and he showed me a picture of a bucket full of them that he had to pick up off the beach last week to stop people being stung, but none for me, typical!

Not that many birds about, probably down to all the people, dogs and kids running around all having a great time on the beach and why not?

Did see Turnstone, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls of all ages. Close to the point where the tide was right out plenty of Gulls here joined by Oystercatchers feeding around the rocks which had become viewable as the tide had gone out. On the sand dunes there was a few Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtails. Further round the wind was really picking up the sand and blowing it about so I walked back across the Point back to the Bite, again very few birds here because of the wind, just a few gulls flying over. No birds in the bite, first time I've been here since the work has finished and the new fences have been put up, must admit Iam impressed. I expect some birders and photographers will moan as they cant see some birds because of the fence but I think it will give the birds areas where humans and dogs cannot go.

Winter must be here as the ponies have arrived on site, they are advertised as Shetland Ponies? No way, I've been to Shetland and seen real Shetlands and these ponies are 4x the size!

Only birds seen were a few Blackbirds, Robin, Wren and a small Tit flock in the entrance bushes with Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits.

Seen lots of people today, even though it was windy and cold at times everybody seemed happy to be out in the fresh air!

15 October 2017


Went up on Dartmoor today on this windy grey day and spent the morning in the car traveling around looking to see if any Winter Thrushes have arrived, plenty of berries but no birds yet.

While traveling around I did see Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Robin, Stonechat, Dunnock, Meadow pipit, Wood Pigeon, Stock dove, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Raven, Magpie, Buzzard, Starling, House Sparrow and about 30+ Chaffinch on one of the hedges.

The afternoon saw me at Yarner Woods, most of the birds seen here were at and around the Pond Hide with Blue, Long-tailed, Marsh and Coal Tit, Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Robin, Blackbird, Grey Wagtail and Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Lots of people about on the moor and everybody seems happy enough, I do think there should be a special test before going on the moor, if you cant reverse stay away!!! enough said!

14 October 2017

Exminster Marshes

Went for a little walk around Exminster Marshes today, didn't do the full circuit due to time available.

Went down the back path from the car park, there had been some reports last week of Merlin, Peregrine and Marsh Harrier seen from here but not for me today, on this grey day not that many birds about apart from Corvides with Raven, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw and Magpie all seen around the reserve, especially around the fields by the Lion estate.

Not many water birds about with singles of Coot, Moorhen and Widgeon. A few Mute Swans and a large flock of Canada Goose. Good numbers of Starling, Goldfinch, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Dunlin, Woodpigeon, Pheasant, Great-black Backed Gull, Kestrel and Sparrowhawk all seen around the reserve from the road up to the fisherman's car park as I didn't venture further.

I walked up the path by the Lion Buildings and came across a Tit Flock which was moving quiet quickly through the trees and hedges along the path, there was Long-tailed, Great and Blue Tits, Chiffchaff and what Iam all most certain was a Yellow Browed Warbler, well about 75% certain as it was moving fast and I couldn't see the head that well to see the yellow stripe over the eye but did see the wing bar!

Even though it was grey and lack of sun I was surprised to see a few Butterflies with Spotted wood and Red Admiral as well as a couple of Hawker sp Dragonflies.

Hope the sun comes out tomorrow.

08 October 2017

Birding around the South Hams.

On this beautiful day I thought I would head south. Should have got up earlier but still made it to the north end of Torcross line by Street Gate at 9.15am. Parked up and went to see what was out to sea which was very calm. Plenty of Gulls sat on the water, with Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls of all ages. There is a little hut here selling tea and cake so as I hadn't had any breakfast thought I would have a cuppa but nearly fell backwards when they wanted £4 for a cup of tea and a small piece of cake, for that price I was expecting the best china and a napkin but it was a small cardboard cup and the cake in a paper bag. My fault I should have been more organised and filled a Flask!

I was going to have a more detailed look at the ley but there was very few birds about. From the road all I could see was large numbers of Gulls sat on the water with a few Mallards and a Great Crested Grebe so I didn't waist too much time here and went off to Beesands to see what was at the Ley there.

Plenty of small birds in the hedges along the path to the hide with Cettis Warbler, Blackbird, Wren, Robin, Blue and Great Tit, Pied Wagtail, Magpie and Woodpigeon.

When I got to the hide the first order of the day was to open all the windows and keep the door open as it was alive with flies, it made me cringe! When I sat down there was a obvious difference to Slapton with large numbers of Ducks with Gadwall, Shoveler, Mallard and Tufted. Little Grebe, Cormorant, Moorhen and large numbers of Coot, must have been 75+, also plenty of Mute Swans, counted 20 but must have been more behind the island. Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls of all ages viewed from the hide. I spoke to another birder at the carpark who talked about "Green Blooms" at Slapton which the birds don't like, hence lots of birds at Beesands. With the warm sun plenty of Butterflies about with Red Admiral and White sp fluttering around. An Emperor Dragonfly patrolling in front of the hide was a nice sight. There was plenty of other interesting insects along the path and I wish I had a better knowledge of them, trouble is there is so many of them!!

Off to the other side of Kingsbridge and first stop is South Huish but didn't stay long enough to see any birds as they wanted to charge me £5 to park my car for a hour, I suppose the National Trust needs the money but that takes the biscuit!

So off to South Efford Marsh, I love this little reserve, I think the path to the hide finds me more birds than being sat in the hide and you never know what will pop up from the Estuary just over the hedge, today a Kingfisher just few up and sat in a tree next to me. I stood dead still and watched this beautiful bird for a couple of minutes before it flew off, stunning. Also along the path was a Slow worm, believe it or not my first of 2017. Plenty of small birds in the bushes with Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Chiffchaffs, Stonechat, Wren, Robin and Blackbirds. On the Marsh there was Canada Geese, Mute Swans, Little Egrets, Redshank and Moorhen. Plenty of gulls but mostly Black-headed Gulls. From the hide there was a group of about 30 Curlew, Cormorants, Mallards, More Canada Geese, Stonechat and some flyover Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow and a Buzzard loafed over.

After this I went up the Tidal Road on the next door River Avon, Grey Heron, a few Little Egret, plenty of Mallard and well over 100 gulls at roost, mainly Herring Gulls but there was a few Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls of all ages. Also singles of Greenshank, Redshank and Common Sandpiper.

Saw lots of people today all very friendly and happy out in the sun.

01 October 2017

Birding around Darts Farm and Topsham

Not sure where to go today with the weather and ended up at Darts Farm, did think about going to Seaton but started late so Darts Farm it was.

It was quite busy but have seen it a lot busier, lack of holiday makers I presume? The feeders outside of the RSPB shop seem to be a favourite with the resident House Sparrows with Robin, Blackbird, Pied Wagtail, Carrion Crow and Great-black Backed Gulls around the site.

Along the cycle track towards Goosemoor saw Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Blackbird, Robin, Great and Blue Tits, Goldfinch and Magpie. The tide was starting to come in and Waders could be seen along the creek with Godwits, Red and Greenshanks feeding along the waters edge.

At Goosemoor on my first visit there was very little to see as there was no water just mud, a solitary Curlew and a few Black-headed Gulls was it. On my way back there was 30 Greenshank, Redshank, Curlew, Godwit, Little Egret and in the bushes by side of track a noisy flock of Long-tailed Tits made their presence known.

On to the Bowling Green Marsh and a noticeable rise in Ducks since my last visit, sadly too far to get a pic but a very smart male Pintail on view on the Island with Pochard, Mallard, Shoveler, Gadwall, Teal, Widgeon, Shelduck, Coot, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Canada Goose, Mute Swan, Redshank, Juv Ruff, Dunlin, Godwits, Lapwing, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Jackdaw, Mistle Thrush, Woodpigeon, Stock Dove, Wren, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Robin, Black-headed, Herring, Great-black and Lesser- Black Backed Gulls on view. There was also a Buzzard on the ground eating something but couldn't see what it was. Iam sure I missed something as a lot of birds to be seen!

Down at the platform saw plenty of Redshank, Mallard, Little Egret, Carrion Crow and a few Curlew on the mud. On the Goat Walk there was little to see except a Cormorant, Curlew and a few Black-headed Gulls.

I did see a couple of Hawker sp and some Red Admirals flying about.

I had a good time in the hide at BGM, it was a good atmosphere. Its not always like that, as sometimes when you go in there its like one of those old country pubs were all the old boys have their own seat and visitors are not welcome. I think things are getting better and I get what the RSPB are trying to do by getting families in there as today, watching a RSPB volunteer trying to get a over excited 5yrold to look through a scope was hilarious! We need to understand these are the birders of tomorrow and we all need to engage with them. Today there was a young man (10) had his own scope, field guide the works, we need more of this. My only gripe is the cost of a cup of tea, for £1.70 I expect a china mug not a small cardboard cup!

Great to see all the happy birders about today as well as many others.

A conversation between two people in the hide was a classic " Why have they built the scrapes close to the hide? (ans) So normal people can see the birds". hahahahaha

24 September 2017

Lyme Bay Boat Trip

Went out on a boat trip organised by Nigel S on the "Optimist" skippered by another Nigel. In the harbour it was calm and flat but further out it was fairly lumpy especially around Berry Head where the tidal race was making the boat rock!

In the harbour plenty of Black-headed Gulls, Cormorants and Turnstones running around the quayside. We looked for Seals but none but then one appeared by Berry Head when we looking for the Harbour Porpoise, it came to the back of the boat looking for food, really tame. We also looked for Purple Sandpipers at the Jetty by the end of the breakwater but none seen, bit early I think for them.

As we worked our way up to Berry Head a few Gannets, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Shag and a couple of Oystercatchers on the rocks. As I have already said Seal and a couple of Harbour Porpoise by Berry Head itself.

We went out further and saw a couple of Common Dolphin at distance, with the weather getting worse with grey cloud and some rain although I thought the sea was a little calmer the further we went out.

Nigel started to chum and very quickly Great-black Backed Gulls appeared and almost took over the area and it wasn't until by Great and Artic Skua's mixed things up a bit with aerial combat after the chum, there was both light and dark phase birds, the light wasn't the greatest but managed to get off a few shots.

A bit later the boat was joined by several Gannets including a stunning dark Juvenile which circled the boat, a lone Fulmar and several Kittiwake, these are stunning little birds. Also on view was some Shearwaters, positive sightings of 1 Manx and 1 Balearic but several birds I couldn't id. We also saw a few Guillemots on the way back.

On the way back to Dawlish I popped into Labrador Bay to see if there was any Cirl Buntings about. They haven't started to use the feeding station yet so very few birds about. I did see 4 Cirls around the hedge and in the stubble as well as Chaffinch, Blackbird, Wren and Dunnock. Plenty of fly over Herring Gull, Carrion Crow and Wood Pigeon.

Nice to be out on the boat with a great bunch of people, looking forward to next week!

23 September 2017

Davidstow Airport and Soussons Woods,

There had been a report of a Juvenile Buff Breasted Sandpiper at Davidstow which was joined by another in the week. This is a Vagrant from North America which I hadn't seen before so a trip down the A30 was planned for this morning, its quite easy to get to and an hour and fifteen minutes I was there. On the websites there was warnings about not going on the runways as there was still planes taking off and landing, if you was to see this old runway with pot holes in you would wonder how!

Anyway I went up the road to see a clump of cars parked up which is normally a sign were the bird is and sure enough both birds were there. I managed to get some pictures off and the birds although moving around feeding were staying in one spot. This want good enough for some clown in a 4x4 parked on the grass, there was 2 massive lens sticking out that could pick a Alien on the moon. It kept starting up and moving a couple of feet, in the end the birds got fed up and flew off with the 4x4 chasing them across the airport! Well after a bit of Anglo Saxon and looking at the back of the camera I was relieved that I had got some pics after the journey, I turned around and headed home.

I decided to go through Dartmoor and head for Soussons to have a look for some Crossbills, several had been seen lately so I thought I might get lucky. Sadly not! I did see a couple at a distance high up in some Scots Pine but that's all, did see lots of other birds mainly small stuff such as Blue, Coal, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Wren, Robin, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Blackbird and a couple of noisy fly over Raven. In the sun there was a couple of Butterflies, Spotted Wood and Red Admirals and a Roe Deer Buck walked across the path in front of me, great to see.

Met a few people about on Dartmoor walking, cycling and on Horse back enjoying the glorious weather.

17 September 2017


Went for a walk at Powderham this evening on the off chance there would be a Osprey about but sadly no.

Plenty of other stuff to see, the Fallow Deer Stags were putting on a good show and plenty of birds about 8 Greenshank flew in to the River Kenn to join the large number of Little Egrets and Grey Heron lining the bank, Mallard, Widgeon and Teal also on the water. Shelduck on the large lake with Carrion Crows, Jackdaws and Rooks in trees and the pasture. A few gulls about but mainly Black-headed Gulls with a few fly over Woodpigeon and Cormorants.

Really enjoyable walk on a lovely evening.

16 September 2017

River Exe and Bowling Green

The day looked like sun and showers so decided to split the day up, AM walked from Powderham church to Turf and PM went to Topsham.

Sure enough lovely sunny morning when I parked up at the churchyard at Powderham. Lots of birdsong with a Robin giving its all on the fence. Rooks being quiet noisy in the trees above me with Pheasants and Woodpigeons in the stubble. The wires were getting full of Swallows and the odd House Martin flying around. The woods the other side of the field you could hear alarming Blackbirds and others so not sure what had upset them?

Off up the river which was mainly mud because the tide was out, plenty of Black-headed Gulls with the odd Great-black Backed and Herring Gull present, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Curlew, Oystercatcher, Godwits, Cormorants, Canada Geese, Mute Swans, Swallows and Rock Pipit. In the fields and path there was Wren, Reed Bunting, Goldfinches, Chiffchaff, Dunnock, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crows, Robin, Blackbird, Swallows and about 100+ Starlings on the bushes around Turf. At Turf the mud flats were quiet, but you could see about 100 Curlew up river on the mud.

Once I got back to the car off to Darts Farm, stopping off for a Bacon Butty and a Costa Coffee (I live the high life!). Its so much easier now they have finished the road works going into Exeter, shame about the Traffic Lights!

Darts Farm to my surprise wasn't that busy so a parking space was quickly found, as I got out of the car a Male Sparrowhawk flew overhead being chased by a number of Chaffinch.

Off down the cycle track towards Bowling Green and not that many birds about, the creek was empty. Goosemoor wasn't that busy either, 22 Greenshanks, a couple of Redshanks, Spotted Redshank, Black-tailed Godwit, Little Egret and a Shelduck was the totals here.

I got to the Hide just before the birds started to arrive as the tide came in, plenty of Black-headed Gulls, Lesser- black Backed and a couple of Herring Gulls. Godwits, Lapwing, Ringed Plover, Dunlin, Redshanks, Curlew Sandpipers, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Widgeon, Pintail, Coot, Moorhen, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Swallows, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Buzzard and Sparrowhawk. Down at the Platform not much to see as the tide was in and just Curlew flying over going to the reserve.

Met lots of people today, young, old, men and women and all seem happy enough, the heavy showers didn't seem to stop peoples enthusiasm for getting out and enjoying the countryside.

10 September 2017

White Wagtail

While I was looking around the fields yesterday amongst a group of 20 Pied Wagtails this pale bird stood out, not sure if it was a White Wagtail or a Juv but with the help of Kevin R who confirmed it was a White Wagtail.

09 September 2017

A Great Day!

Off to the Warren today, the weather was going to be changeable with sun and showers. I thought I had arrived late for high tide but the timing was perfect, it was just on the turn and because it had been a high one, (4m) there was still plenty of water in the bite and in front of the hide. The work on the flood defences has finished so access to the hide is good, the new sand bank seems to be a favourite with the birds, especially the small waders who were there in good numbers.

Off to the hide were the island was covered in birds, mainly Oystercatchers but a few Sandwich Terns and one small Tern which I confirmed with the experts upstairs as a Artic, I think it was a 1st Summer but open to be told otherwise.

Then all the birds went up, it turned out to be a Osprey which was circling over head, always a great site and could watch them for ages, sadly it didn't dive for fish and just drifted off over the beach. Eventually the birds came back including some Black Terns, brilliant! A new bird for me as I always seem to miss them.

Also saw Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Sanderling and a Little Stint in the Bite, Cormorants, Herring Great-black Backed and Black-headed Gulls, Swallows, Linnet, Rock Pipit and Carrion Crow.

Around the rest of the reserve there was Swallow, House Martin, Blackbird, Robin, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wheatear, Stonechat, Magpie and Woodpigeon. A few Butterflies around with Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown and White sps fluttering around. Also a few smart Migrant Hawkers.

Off to Exminster Marshes to see if there was any Yellow Wagtails about but sadly no, in fact very little on show except some Swallows, Great and Blue Tits, Robin, Carrion Crows and a few Wood Pigeons.

Decided to see what the countryside had to offer, plenty of fields have been ploughed up or just stubble. Went on a circular route around Chivestone Farm and Kenton. Plenty of Pheasants, Red-legged Partridge, Grey Wagtails, Buzzard, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow and Jackdaw. Also saw several large flocks of small finches on the stubble, they looked like Chaffinch from distance in my bins but good numbers. Its good to sit in the car by a gate or lay-bye and watch the fields, its surprising what will appear at times. Saw plenty of Rabbits and Squirrels running around but also sadly Badger as road kill.

Had a great day and met lots of birders today, Kev, Ivan, Steve the Warden at the Warren amongst many others.

02 September 2017

Ibis and Cake!

As today is supposed to be sunny and tomorrow should be raining I decided I better make use of it! A trip to North Devon to see the Glossy Ibis at Fremington Pill was the plan, up to 7 had been seen so off I went.

First stop though was Holden Grill for Breakfast, it was packed but as I was hungry in I went, full of Bikers ("Blue Angels" I think) and a load of youngsters that had come from the Powderham and the festival (Lockdown I think?) Great atmosphere as well as great food. Anyway back to the birds, off to North Devon and the roads not to busy, suppose the holiday season has almost finished, as I parked up at the car park a Peregrine swooped down over the mud flats of the River Taw and missed its pray, good start! the tide was coming in and forcing more waders to come closer with Oystercatcher, Redshank, Dunlin, Curlew, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Canada Geese, Great-black Backed, Herring and Black-headed Gulls all seen from the quayside.

Along the Creek there was lots of waders with good numbers of Redshank, with smaller numbers of Greenshank, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, Ruff, Little Egret and Glossy Ibis, only one on show today and great views but sadly the sun behind. Because of its position if I come again early morning would be best with the sun more behind me.

Plenty of Black-headed Gulls on the mud flats as well as Woodpigeon, Carrion Crows, Swallows, Goldfinch and Feral Pigeons.

Met lots of nice people today, plenty of birders at Fremington and good to have a chat to Brian Simms, also to a couple of Fishermen who clearly loved their "spot". Also must sing the praises of the Café, their Lemon Drizzle cake is to die for!!

30 August 2017

Seaton Marshes

The day started with rain but the forecast for the afternoon was sunny so a trip to Seaton was on. By the time I got there the sun was out and the birds were singing, first stop was the Tower hide and my first view of the electric blue of a Kingfisher one of three views of them on this visit.

The tide was quite high but still a few Gulls about as well as Curlew, Redshank and Mallard. On my way back to the car later when the tide was almost completely out there was several hundred Gulls, Great-black Backed, Herring and Black-headed Gulls of all ages, Cormorant, Little Grebe, Curlew, Redshank, Moorhen, Carrion Crow and Little Egret.

On to Black Hole Marsh, the Island Hide and other viewing points saw plenty of Waders in perfect light for taking pictures as well as being close which is always a bonus! Greenshank, Redshank, Common and Green Sandpiper, Godwits, Curlew, Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Snipe, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Mallard, Teal, Shelduck, Little Egret, Swallow, Little Grebe, Moorhen, Coot, Herring, Great-black Backed and Black-headed Gulls.

Also death visited in the shape of a Peregrine Falcon that swooped down and took a Common Sandpiper, while other birds moved this Sandpiper froze which meant curtains, shame I wasn't quicker with the camera but great to watch if not for the Sandpiper!!

Another birder passed on to me that there was Yellow Wagtails with the cattle on the Common so off I went, sure enough around the cattle looked like six birds, unfortunately at a distance and half covered with vegetation but at least I've seen some! Also saw Grey Heron, Little Egret and another Kingfisher. A Green Woodpecker was on one of the telegraph poles, woodpigeons, Carrion Crows, Jackdaws, Great and Blue Tits, Blackbirds, Robin and Magpie.

Very few Butterflies with just a few Whites, saw a couple of Emperor Dragonflies and that was that!

Met lots of nice people today, good to sit down with Brian and have a good chat, lots of other birders too. Nice to see plenty of families showing the kids the birds, I know some people don't like it but these kids are tomorrows birders! Great atmosphere here as always.

29 August 2017

Evening walk around Exminster Marshes

Parked up at the RSPB carpark and walked along the road towards the fisherman's carpark and back. A lovely evening with clear visibility but the wind was definitely picking up.

Plenty of Swallows about especially around "Toby's" and the cattle in the fields. Also in the fields were a few Carrion Crows but I didn't see anything else, possibly due tot he length of grass. To be fair the cattle had cleared some areas so wont be long before the hairy lawn mowers do their job!

Around the hedgerows there was a few Woodpigeons, Great and Blue Tits, Dunnock, Robin and Blackbird. On a couple of telegraph poles there was some Collard Doves with fly-overs of Cormorant, Herring Gulls, Woodpigeons with good numbers of Carrion Crows and Jackdaws traveling towards Exeter.

Pleasant evenings walk!

28 August 2017

Bank Holiday Weekend

This weekend has been a mixture of music and bird watching, I spent quite a bit of time at the music festival outside the ship in Teignmouth and then walking around Exminster Marshes and Topsham, looking especially for Yellow Wagtails which had been seen in both places but sadly missed by myself.

The weather had been great which is not normal for a bank holiday but it went well with the music and a few beers!

To be honest not many birds on the times I visited Exminster, plenty of Swallows hawking over the reserve and over the road, Starling, Wheatear, Woodpigeon, House Martin, Blue and Great Tit, Carrion Crow, Coot and a Pied Wagtail.

There was plenty of Dragons about, many of them looked like Migrant Hawkers but there was others and the odd Darter. A few Butterflies with Red Admiral, Speckled wood and plenty of White.sp fluttering around.

Topsham on the other hand had plenty of birds, not the ones I was looking for but still plenty to see. I parked up in Darts Farm as normal which was quickly filling up with shoppers and those like me going for a walk.

Down the cycle track dodging all the bikes, kids and groups of walkers a few birds about with Green Woodpecker, Jackdaw, Magpie, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Robin and Chiffchaff. The creek was full of water as it was high tide on the way down with no birds but on the way back there was Redshank, Godwits, Little Egret and Black-headed Gulls. Goosemoor saw all the birds pilled up on the bank, you could see Godwits and Redshanks but because of the vegetation not a lot else. On the way back after the tide had almost gone, not only could you see the Black-tailed Godwits and Redshank you could see Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Dunlin, Little Egret, Shelduck, and Great-black Backed, Herring and Black-headed Gulls.

Plenty of birds on the reserve viewable from both the road and the hide, although I still had problems finding some birds due to the height of the vegetation so I probably missed some birds but I did see Grey Heron, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Herring and Black-headed Gulls, Curlew, Whimbrel, Redshank, Greenshank, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Teal, Shoveler, Mallard, Widgeon, Common Sandpiper, Coot, Lapwing, Swallow, Buzzard, House Sparrow, Blue and Great Tit.

Onto the platform and as the tide was going out more birds appeared some with there summer plumage still Redshank, Greenshank, Knot, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Curlew, Bar and Black-tailed Godwits, Oystercatchers and some fly over Canada Geese.

Not a lot on the goat walk with a few Shelduck, Mute Swans, Cormorant and Black-headed Gulls, not forgetting some annoying cyclists who cant read signs about getting off!

Plenty of butterflies about especially Red Admirals, Speckled Wood and White sp every where, just not settling to get a positive Id.

Plenty of people about and on the whole very nice bunch, nice to meet Patrick and another birder who introduced himself, sorry I forgot your name ,Iam useless on that front as I need to write it in my book (old age!). As always great to see Dave Stone and David Boult who let me look through his telescope, he has a knack of spotting a bird a mile away, telling you its age and sex before you have drawn breath! That's skill for you!

24 August 2017

Exminster Marshes

Went to Exminster Marshes today in hope more than anything of seeing some Yellow Wagtails. There had been the odd sighting with 3 last week, but was surprised by the length of the grass, even if the cattle were close you would still have difficulty seeing anything, don't think I have ever seen it that long before? Still Yellow Wags will be coming through for the next month so hopefully the cattle will eat the grass down a bit more. I did a circular walk from the RSPB carpark via Turf and back.

Did see plenty of Swallows hawking around the reserve, especially down by Turf, 200+ Starlings around Turf on the wires and boat masts, small flocks of Goldfinch especially around the Thistle heads, Blackbird, Blue and Great Tits, Chiffchaff, Robin, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Rook and Jackdaw, Magpie, Mute Swans and Cygnets, Buzzard, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Curlew, Black-headed and Herring Gulls.

Saw lots of people today, all seem to be enjoying themselves except for the odd impatient driver, god sake get a life!!!

22 August 2017

The Warren and Somerset!

Got a bit behind in doing some Blogs but life getting in the way again! Last Saturday (19th)I went out to the Warren to catch the high tide in the early evening. The hope was to get a few Terns in front of the hide, especially a Black Tern which I've been unable to see let alone get a picture of! I didn't hang around the reserve and straight to the hide, they had stopped working on the flood defences so I used the normal path.

Got to the hide and the wind had picked up and it was coming directly across the front of the hide from left to right and apart from Oystercatchers birds were in short supply, there was Dunlin and Ringed Plover flying around but they pitched in the bite. A few Gulls around with Great-black Backed, Herring and Black-headed Gulls of all ages, Little Egret, Swallows, Starling, Linnet, Pied Wagtail, couple of Sandwich Terns and one Common Tern. Cormorant, Carrion Crow and a Kestrel fly-by. A bit disappointing but that's life! On the way back there was plenty of Magpies, Blackbird, Robin, Pied Wagtail, Moorhen, Starling, Linnet, Wood Pigeon, House Sparrow and Goldfinch.

Today I went up to Somerset and spent most of the day between Shapwick and Ham Wall.

In Shapwick I only looked in the Scrape at mere as it had just been drained, there was also some disruption due to the new hide being built at Noars Lake so didn't bother going any further.

Double figures of Great White Egrets, Little Egrets, Black Tailed Godwits, Mallard, Gadwalls, Coot, Lapwing, Herring and Black-headed Gulls, Cormorant and fly over Carrion Crow and Woodpigeon.

Over to Ham Wall and walked up to the Avalon Hide stopping off at all the various viewing points. Lots of great birds as well as Flowers, Trees, Butterflies, Dragonflies, Flies and Beetles! you could spend weeks here and still not see everything!

Saw Great-white Egret, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Grey Heron, Coot, Moorhen, Water Rail, Little grebe, Mallard, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Cormorant, Bittern, Buzzard, Marsh Harrier, Dunlin, Swallow, House Martin, Cettis Warbler, Great and Blue Tit, House Sparrow, Herring and Black-headed Gulls. Other Birders said they had seen Bearded Tits, Hobby and a Merlin, sadly I had missed all of them!

Plenty of Dragons about with Emperors, Hawkers sp and Common Darters seen, a few Butterflies with Peacock, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral and many White sp. Did find a 22 spot Ladybird which is a first for me, a local told me they are "Everywhere" had to laugh.

met lots of great people today and always a pleasure to come to Somerset, such a friendly bunch!

21 August 2017

Yet another Perigrine is Poisoned in the South West!!

Message sent by

Linzi Berryman (Police, Community Messaging Officer, Devon and Cornwall)


Officers are investigating an incident after being contacted by staff at Glendinning Quarry in Ashburton, on Tuesday 15 August, following reports of an injured Peregrine falcon.

The falcon had been located on the floor of the quarry which is home to a breeding pair of Peregrine falcons.

Devon and Cornwall Police Wildlife Crime Officer, PC Josh Marshall, sought that the juvenile Peregrine falcon was given the immediate care it required. However, the bird died the next day.

PC Marshall said: "The initial inspection and condition of the bird strongly suggests that this bird had been poisoned. The bird has now been placed into the Wildlife Investigation scheme administered by Natural England where it will be forensically examined to establish the cause of death and a police investigation has now begun into the incident.

"Members of the public are warned that poisons commonly used to commit a crime like this are incredibly toxic to humans and pets. Should any person locate any dead or injured birds they are strongly advised not to touch them or let pets come into contact with them.

"Ingestion of these poisons can lead to death. It is incredibly concerning that individuals are using these types of chemicals within public areas that not only kill our wildlife but could also place members of the public, children and their animals into harm's way.

"The area of Ashburton and neighbouring Buckfastleigh is unfortunately a hot spot for poisoning of these birds of prey. Previous incidents at the site are as follows;

2011 - 1 poisoned Peregrine falcon at White Cleaves (Buckfastleigh) Quarry - substance used - Aldicarb and Carbofuran.

2005 - Poisoned bait (racing pigeon) Glendinnings Quarry- substance used Aldicarb. A live bird with clipped wings. Adults missing presumed dead, chicks rescued. Police fitted telemetry device to see if pigeon would relocate but this failed. In Legal Eagle 47, page 5 - https://www.rspb.org.uk/Images/legaleagle47_tcm9-132970.pdf

2005 - 1 poisoned peregrine and 1 poisoned bait (pigeon) - substance used - Aldicarb, peregrine found on dead pigeon which had wings clipped.

2003 - Two men with a pigeon on a length of string appearing to try and lure peregrines from the top of White Cleaves (Buckfastleigh) Quarry. Police visited site but men had gone.

2000 - 1 poisoned Peregrine, substance used Aldicarb at Glendinnings quarry

2000 - 1 shot Sparrowhawk near Buckfastleigh (it lived).

1992 - 2 dead peregrines at White Cleaves (Buckfastleigh), with pigeon flesh in crop - tested positive for Malathion.

"As can been seen from this data, the use of illegal banned poisons are evident and put the public at significant risk. In the 2005 incident, a number of children could have been harmed or potentially worse when the poisoned bait (a racing pigeon) was located wondering around near to a childminders address.

"Significantly racing pigeons have been used as the bait for a number incidents both here and nationally and the answer to solving and preventing these poisonings could lie somewhere within a rogue minority of the racing pigeon community.

"Peregrine falcons do not differentiate between prey items such as wild pigeons and racing pigeons, this obviously causes conflict with some prize racing pigeons being taken by these birds of prey.

"Generally the method used will be to smear the bait with a vasaline type substance containing the poison onto either a live or dead bird. When the Peregrine plucks and eats the bait item the poison is then ingested and kills the bird. The bird dies then endures an excruciating few hours whilst waiting to die.

"South West Peregrines, a volunteer group who monitor these birds and others within the South West, have described the incident as 'abhorrent'.

"We are urging members of the local community to come forward with any information they may have that can assist in bringing these offenders to justice."

Information is handled in the strictest of confidence and can be passed directly to PC Marshall at Joshua.marshall2@devonandcornwall.pnn.police.uk or by email 101@dc.police.uk or calling 101 quoting log number 0223 180817.

Information can be passed anonymously to Crimestoppers via 0800 555111 or the charity's website at www.crimestoppers-uk.org

Tony Whitehead speaking for RSPB in the South West said: "Peregrines are magnificent and much-loved birds, whose comeback over the past twenty years is a conservation success. However, once again, it appears the peregrines at this site have been deliberately targeted and, it is suspected, poisoned.

"Should this prove to be the case, this is outrageous and the criminals must be brought to justice. We are also concerned that, should this again prove to be a poisoning, someone is wantonly placing toxic chemicals in the countryside which can be a danger to both humans and pets.

"Someone in the local community must have information about who's doing this and we urge people to come forward and contact the police. A £1,000 reward has been offered by the RSPB for information that directly leads to the prosecution of the offender."

18 August 2017

Powderham to Turf Lock and Back

Had a bit of time this morning so parked up at Powderham Church and walked up to Turf Lock and back. The weather was very changeable from Blue skies to thunder and lighting. The tide was out but by the time I was walking back was coming in, plenty of Gulls with Black-headed, Herring and a few Great-black Backed Gulls present. Mute Swans, Canada Geese in the water with Little Egrets, Oystercatchers, Redshank, Godwits and Curlew seen on the tide line.

On the pasture a few Little Egrets in the odd ditch with plenty of Corvides feeding in the grass with Jackdaw, Rook and Carrion Crows. Around Turf there was plenty of Starling with 100+ on wires and pasture, other small birds present in small groups, 20+ Pied Wagtail around the Lock gates, 10+ Chaffinch in the bushes and plenty of Goldfinch feeding on the Thistles all along the path. A very smart Wheatear looking for flies on the sea wall. Plenty of Swallows hawking for flies around the pub with plenty of House Martins hawking around the fields, mud flats and Churchyard close to the "Vergers Cottage" where there looks to be a few nests.

Also saw Pheasants, Woodpigeon, Robin and Blackbird.

Plenty of people about enjoying the "different" weather in true British stile!!!

17 August 2017

Looking for Black Terns

I went to Dawlish Warren to catch the high tide today, only problem was there wasn't much of a high tide and when I got there all the birds were at some distance. I had heard that several Black Terns had been seen around the Exe and at Brixham so hoping one might put down in front of the hide.

I walked out towards the point and as many of you know there is restricted access due to the work being done on the dunes and the flood defences. I keep getting conflicting directions about the hide, signs, websites and the odd person says no entry and then I get told you can cross the golf course as long as you don't disrupt play. Well when I got to the golf course there was no one to be seen so off I went.

When I got in view of the hide I saw a female Sparrowhawk chasing some small birds at the back of the hide, this was the first of several appearances as well as a Peregrine which put in a few dives at the waders that were about the hide and Bite. These were mainly ringed Plover and Dunlin but there was a couple of Sanderling in there as well.

All the usual Oystercatchers and a lone Curlew. Cormorants and plenty of Gulls with Great-black Backed, Herring, Black-headed and a Common Gull. Several Mute Swans, Canada Geese as well as the usual Slavonian Grebe seen up river. Several Swallows and Swift seen here as well as else were on the reserve. about 20 Sandwich Terns and 1 small Tern which at first I thought was a juv Black Tern but it turned out to be the long staying juv White Winged Black Tern when I looked on the computer, a little disappointing but will be out again over the weekend as the tide will be higher Saturday and Sunday, so here's hoping!

13 August 2017

Challacombe, Headland Warren and back via the Moor

Having spent a fair amount of time next to the coast in various places decided to go inland and see what Dartmoor had to offer.

Went to Challacombe Farm with the plan to do a circular walk. Saw lots of birds, especially Juveniles but sadly all at a distance. Also the paths were very overgrown, not sure if its the time of year or the fact there is nobody to look after them anymore? At times I couldn't see parts of the moor because of the height of the bracken! I thought I was in luck with a Whinchat sat on a wall only for it to be frightened off by 5 lads on off road bikes screaming down the track, I could scream, throw a brick in temper at them but what's the point? I do wonder if they were allowed but after talking to other walkers it could be down to it being a bridal Path? They must be doing damage to the path??

Anyway back to the wildlife, saw Swallow, House Martin, Robin, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Carrion Crow, Jay, Woodpigeon, Buzzard, Stonechat, Whinchat, Wheatear, House Sparrow, Blue Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Male Sparrowhawk.

A few butterflies with Peacock, Gatekeeper, Meadow Brown and several White sp.

Also saw a few Keeled Skimmers around the pools close to the path, a few Dor Beetles on the paths. These stunning Beetles with its metallic blue legs and its shiny body, you can see my reflection in its body it was like a mirror!

A good walk and apart from the cyclists met lots of people all out enjoying the moor.

10 August 2017

Seaton Marshes

Went to Seaton Marshes today which took forever! Between 3 sets of road works and Sidmouth Folk Festival it took an extra hour to get there, still it was worth it! Great Weather, Birds, Insects and met loads of nice people, what more could you ask for?

Walked along to the tower hide, the tide looked like it was on its way out with plenty of mud visible, Curlew, Redshank, Mallard, Little Egret, Little Grebe, Carrion Crow, Black-headed gull and plenty of Herring Gulls of all ages.

On to the Island Hide to see what was on the marsh, was reports of Cattle Egret but I couldn't see any, there was though quite a few waders with Godwits, Green and Common Sandpipers, Ringed and Little Ringed Plovers, Dunlin, Redshank, Greenshank, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Moorhen, Mallard, Water Rail, Black-headed and Herring Gull, Cormorant, Little Egret, Shelduck, Swallow and a Kestrel. Also a Mink swam across some of the water and sent the birds into a panic!Typically many of the birds had the sun behind them and just looked like black shadows when I took a picture.

On the lagoon two Common Sandpipers started to fight and I managed to get some great shots , but typically the sun went behind a cloud and they look a bit grey!

On to Colyford Common and Viewing Platform were there was 20+ Canada Geese, Little Egret, Grey Heron and Carrion Crows on show. A walk around the Reed bed Loop found Little Egret, Moorhen, Mallard and fly over Woodpigeon.

Around the rest of the reserve I found Magpie, Wren, Robin, Blackbirds, Goldfinches, Wheatears and a few Buzzards loafed over head.

Plenty of Dragonflies around the ponds and reeds with several Emperors, Southern Hawker and Common Darter. Butterflies saw Meadow Brown, Gatekeepers, Red Admiral, Speckled Wood and White sp.

Lots of nice people around the place, a mixture of birders, walkers and site seers, families the lot, lovely atmosphere!

05 August 2017


Went to the Shetlands for a week starting on the 28th July and what a week! This will be my 3rd visit, in the past I have gone in the May half term which is perfect timing for seeing some of the breeding birds. It is though a bit of a rush because I have to get back to work, so decided to come up later and see the Shetlands at a different time and in a more relaxed state!

I stay with Rebeca and Phil who run a B&B and the Shetland Sea Bird Tours from Lerwick on the main island, their knowledge on where to go and what to see has been just first class!

Well the trip didn't start very well as my luggage was lost by Flybe which included my walking boots, maps, coat and bins amongst other clothes, they were very apologetic but it was so frustrating to start the holiday off like this but the bag was returned 24hrs later, better late than never!

My first morning turned out to be a real treat, I was going out with Phil on the boat, and he was running a trip to see the Gannets off the Isle of Noss. There was also a report of a Pod of Orca which was 6 animals and moving up north on the East coast, if we were lucky we might see them. Well Phil got a call on his mobile and we diverted over to the other side of the sound and there they were.

One looked like he was caught on the rocks but he was splashing his tail close to the rocks, this apparently was to disturb the seals to make them move away from the safety of the rocks. You could see Seals on the rocks and they weren't moving anywhere, had they gone in the water it would have meant certain death! The pod moved around the coast sticking close to the rocks looking to bag a seal, a couple of the younger animals were breaching out of the water but the large male which the locals call "Buster" carried on looking for food. I could have taken more and better pictures but must admit transfixed by these magnificent animals. There were people on the hillside getting such great views and quite close as the Whales tried to get at the Seals on the rocks, those in the boats kept a safe distance to give them room in the water. They eventually dived and moved away, we caught up with them later but not for long, a memory that will stay with me for a long time!

We went to see the Gannet colony on Noss, what a sight!

There is a reported 22000 pairs so with younger birds well over 50000 in total. We were able to get quite close to these stunning birds, there was birds of all ages on the cliffs and Phil explained how the colony worked with the older birds at the top of the cliff and the younger ones at the bottom, a few young birds had fallen to their deaths and several Great Skua were scavenging on them. There were Guillemots and a few Razorbills nesting on the cliffs as well.

We moved away from the cliffs and Phil put some Mackerel in the water and we got a show of the Gannets diving, amazing to watch but I should have taken a smaller lens with me to get better shots of the diving birds, but again another fantastic moment to watch and will go better prepared next time.

On the water we also saw a few Puffin, Fulmar, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Black Guillemots, Artic and Common Terns, Shag, Red Throated Diver and Oystercatcher so it was a great morning and one I will remember for a long time.

In the afternoon I went to the south of the main island and saw Artic and Great Skua, Fulmar, Hooded Crow and Great-black Backed Gulls from the car while I was driving. First stop was Grutness Pier which is always a good spot especially for Waders if the tide is going out, but the tide was high! Still saw a few Eider Ducks, Great Skua, Shag, Common Gull, Great-black Backed Gull and several noisy Artic Terns.

Then on to Quendale and saw Twite, House Sparrow, Raven and plenty of Greylag Geese in the fields, in the Loch of Hillwell there was plenty of birds, Ducks, Gulls of allsorts and ages, 2 Red -throated Divers and then 1 which turned into 3 Common Crane! I had been pre warned that they had been seen on the island as they often pass through but didn't expect to see them here. Unfortunately I was unable to get close enough to even get a half decent shot, the site is quite open and they would have seen me coming, great bird! Then off to Loch of Spiggie, the road never really gets close but you can get good views down into the Loch to see what's there.

Great Skua seem to like this Loch for having a wash as in previous visits there was over 20 in the water, also saw 2 dark phase Artic Skua fly overs as well as Raven, Starlings, Mute Swans, Oystercatchers, Rock doves, Common, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls. Then on to Bigaton traveling north up the island on the west coast saw lots of Gulls of all shapes and sizes sat on the fields as well as Oystercatchers, Curlew, Raven and Rock Doves, this was about the only place I saw many Swallow and this road seemed a bit of a hot spot. Then don to St Ninian's Isle which was quiet windy, plenty of Great Skua here with Eder, Cormorants and Gulls on the water with lots of Artic Terns flying around. Back towards Lerwick with Raven, Hooded Crow, Oystercatcher and Starling seen from the car. Got myself some tea and sat on the rocks at Breswick, although the wind was starting to pick up it was really nice sat here with a few Grey Seals, Oystercatchers, Redshanks and Hooded Crows as company.

On Sunday the wind was lower but there was a bit of cloud about, decided to go over to the west of the mainland to see if any Red-throated Divers were still about in the small Lochs here, many chicks have fledged and birds have moved to the coast but thought I would chance my luck. Absolutely fantastic scenery along this coast and worth just stopping in a lay-bye just to take it in! From the car plenty of bird sightings with Gulls of all shapes and sizes, Hooded Crows and Ravens. Artic Terns, Curlews, Redshanks and Starlings everywhere! Where the farmers had cut the fields for silage and hay the ground was full of Lapwings, Gulls, Curlew, Rock Doves and Starlings. Lots of Greylags in fields and Lochs as well with the odd Mallard. Then headed up to Melby on the A971 which goes over open moorland with Lochs and Lochetts, sheep everywhere mixed up with the Lapwing and Oystercatchers. Wheatears are quite plentiful along this road as well; in fact it was difficult to miss them with the car at times. At the end of the road is a beach which is good for waders and there was Turnstone, Sanderling, Dunlin and Ringed Plover in good numbers here with more Wheatears, Pied Wagtails, Cormorant and the ever noisy Artic Terns. Back on the road a few Meadow Pipits, more sheep, then diverted north on the B9071 towards Voe, again stunning scenery as you pass Aith Voe. Once I got to Olna Firth I parked up and looked over the fish farm there, plenty of Artic Terns here with a couple of Dark phase Artic Skua chasing them, Herring Gulls, Cormorants, Hooded Crow, Ravens and Red=throated Diver fishing around the farm. Then up to Esha Ness, again stunning scenery, Greylag Geese, Red-throated Divers, Lapwing, Wheatears and Starlings, hundreds of them! Then back to Brae and headed for the ferry terminal at Toft to look for some Otter were I saw plenty of Artic Terns, Great and Artic Skua, Gulls, Black Guillemot, Red-throated Diver and Grey Seals but no Otters!

Back to Lerwick for tea and very luckily for me an invite to watch the Storm Petrels being ringed at Sumburgh Head over night. They set up speakers that continually play the calls of Storm and Leaches Petrels which brings the birds into the net on the side of the garden below the lighthouse. It started at 11.30pm for me and finished at 3.30am when it was starting to get light again and what an experience; they ringed 140+ Storm petrels and 1 Leaches Petrel. They trusted me with taking them once they have been ringed to be released which was a real joy to handle these birds. I did muck up on the camera side as I failed to prepare, it was dark and couldn't see what I was doing, a learning experience!

Monday and it was off to Fetlar, so didn't hang about and straight to the ferry port and over Yell and on the next ferry. Once I got to Fetlar the weather was just great, blue skies and very little wind. The down side of this the Skuas don't turn up but plenty of other stuff to see with Snipe, Twite, Wheatears, Hooded Crows, Artic Terns and Meadow Pipits along the road. I got to Lake Funzie and just sat quietly on the grass to see the Red-throated Divers, Female Long-tailed Duck in the middle, and Waders such as Dunlin, Ringed Plover and luckily a Juv Red-necked Phalarope as well as a male. Sadly they were a bit skittish and difficult to take pics of. Also saw plenty of Oystercatchers, Fulmars, Gulls of all shapes and sizes, Gannets, Cormorants and Starlings!

On Tuesday I went back to Fetlar to look for Otter by going for a walk by the Ferry terminal, sadly I didn't see one but a few Seals and plenty of the normal birds. The wind had started to pick up and I saw a few Skuas about the place with an Artic among them, plenty of Twite seen on this visit.

Got back to Lerwick and had another chance of watching the Stormy ringing at Sumburgh Head, this was an even better night with 170 Stormies and 6 Leaches Petrels rung which I was told was excellent for this site, I was knackered by the end of it but it was worth it for the experience and would recommend it if you get the chance, I would defiantly do it again, but would take a flask of strong coffee!!

Wednesday was a late start off to Unst because I was still tiered from last night, went looking for some Two Bar Crossbills which had been seen there. Phil gave me directions which were spot on as normal but somebody forgot to tell the Crossbills to turn up! Must admit I didn't hang around too long and went off North to Skaw and the most northerly beach which is called "Stonnus Beach" and beautiful it is too! Had a look around the island, around pools and coast line and found plenty of Great Skua, Artic Skua, Artic Tern, All Gulls of various shapes and Sizes, Red Throated Diver, Fulmar, Wheatear, Greylag Geese, Whimbrel, Curlew, Hooded Crow, Raven, Rock Dove, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Twite, Blackbird and Starling. Great day around this Island, wish I had given myself more time here to go up to Herma Ness and with the weather turning bad tomorrow it will have to wait until next year!

Thursday was horrendous weather wise and were ever I go in Scotland there is always one day when it pores during the holiday and it's that day today! I did go out but didn't do a lot and went back to Lerwick to pack to go home.

Friday and home, just had a great week! A huge amount of thanks go to Rebecca and Phil who make my stay so good, a real warm and friendly atmosphere in the place and not forgetting there daughter Ayda, its been a real scream! Met lots of people and learnt new things which is what its all about! Roll on next year!

23 July 2017

Its a Long-tailed!!

Went out on another boat trip with Nigel, this time we went out 8.5 miles out. The weather was great compared with the end of last week when high winds and rain hit the South West, but we were hoping some of the great birds that came in would be left.

We left Brixham at 9am on the Optimist skippered by Nigel, the trip is normally 3 hours and always a friendly occasion!

We passed Berry Head and for the third week running no Harbour Porpoise but further out 2 Common Dolphins were seen, although they didn't come near the boat and there wasn't the usual bow riding.

Nigel S started "Chumming" at about 8-8.5miles out and at the beginning it was very quiet with only 1 or 2 birds, Nigel was trying out "Chum" in blocks of ice and dropped the first over the back and left it to drift while tying the second to the back of the boat which over time created a nice slick which in turn brought some quality birds in.

After about half an hour the birds started to fly in with Herring, Great-black Backed Gulls, Fulmar, Kittiwake and Gannets of all ages. We saw about 20 Manx Shearwaters but very few got close but the slick brought in 5 Storm Petrol's which skipped over the water. I also saw in the distance a Bonxie chasing a Gull and then a Skua came into the slick and at first we thought it was a Artic and much discussion on the boat when I looked at it on screen it cant be anything other than Long-tailed Skua!

Brilliant mornings birding with a great bunch of people!

16 July 2017

8 Miles out!

Went out on another boat trip off Berry Head today, got out 8 miles! It was a bit lumpy and didn't get many good pics because I couldn't keep the camera still but still saw some quality birds!

In the harbour there was a few Turnstones about with plenty of Swifts hawking over the harbour. Herring and Great-black Backed gulls of all ages, Shags and Cormorants all seen here.

On the way out we saw a Mediterranean Gull amongst a few Black-headed Gull flying near Berry Head. He saw quite a few Manx Shearwaters as we were traveling and I lost count at 50 but there must have been more. When we started "Chumming" several flew around the boat and we also saw a Balearic Shearwater flying away from the boat.

We were also joined by 2 Great Skua's, 1 Storm Petrol, Fulmars, Kittiwakes, Gannets, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls who came in for the chum. The Stormy stayed around for some time but always distant, landing occasionally on the slick from the "Chum".

Also saw a few Guillemots and one of the group saw a Dolphin which was the only one we saw and for the second week no Harbour Porpoise??

Great group of people though to be out with and looking forward to next week!

02 July 2017


On Saturday I went to Topsham to see if I could find the Spotted Redshank which was still in its summer plumage.

so parked up at Darts Farm which was quite busy with humans but no birds to be seen? Along the cycle track there was Blackbird, woodpigeon, Swallow, House Martin, Wren, Greenfinch and Goldfinch.

The tide was coming in and there wasn't much to see at the Creek apart from some Black-headed Gulls. Again at Goosemoor plenty of Black-headed Gulls with Greenshank, Redshank and the Spotted Redshank but sadly on the far side to far for a picture. A few Lapwing, Little Egret, Grey Heron and fly over Woodpigeon and Magpie.

Along to the reserve and plenty of birds around the edge of the water but difficult to see because of the vegetation, but could see Black-tailed Godwit in summer plumage, Redshank, Mallard, Shelduck, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Lapwing, Swallow, House Martin, Starling, Little Egrets, grey Heron, Carrion Crow, Buzzard, Black-headed Gulls, Woodpigeon and Magpies.

Plenty of Butterflies seen with White sp, Ringlet, Comma, Red Admiral and Meadow Brown.

On the way back to the car I passed Goosemoor again and the tide was well in, the birds had been pushed into the grass and hardly noticeable but comically two cows decided they would try and cross the water, after about 10ft they decided not a good idea!

Didn't see many birders about but lots of other humans enjoying the sun, very pleasant too!

Today Sunday I went on a boat trip organised by Nigel S on the "Optimist" with Captain Nigel out 5 miles from Brixham, beautiful day and lots to see.

Started well with 30+ Common Dolphins putting on a show around the boat, you can never tire of seeing these gorgeous animals! There was several small groups and there looked like there was some young ones amongst them.

Plenty of Gulls especially when Nigel did the chumming, don't know what he had in it but it stunk!!! Herring and Great Black-backed Gulls, Fulmars and Gannets put on a good show.

We also saw Good numbers of Manx Shearwaters, a few Balearic and 1 Storm Petrol came close to the boat, plenty of Guillemots sat on the water wit one Razorbill seen. I saw a Skua but couldn't positively Id it but most probably a Boxy. On the way back we saw a adult Med gull on the water by Berry Head.

Great time spent with some great people, so looking forward to next week!

27 June 2017

More from Aish Tor

I've been up to Aish Tor a few times over the last couple of days to try and get a decent pic of a High Brown with its wings shut but over the last week only managed one.

The weather has not been the best with ether it sunny with a high wind or dull and no wind! Have seen a few High Browns but only with there wings open, seen lots of other species with Dark Green and some worn looking Pearl Boarded Frits,

Green Hairstreak, Meadow Brown, Large Skipper, Ringlet, Small Heath, Small Tortishell and Red Admiral.

Ive also meet lots of interesting people who obviously know more than me, good to see Bob Bailey and Dave Holloway amongst many others.

Great couple of days!

23 June 2017

Aish Tor

Took a trip to Dartmoor and Aish Tor this afternoon to look for High Brown Fritillary which have just emerged. Unfortunately by the time I got there the wind had picked up and the grey clouds had started to fill the sky.

I got lucky as the Fritillaries were on the ground on the paths, But most of them had there wings down which didn't show the unmistakable underwing, but the very last one suddenly folded its wings and I got a shot, would have preferred it on a branch/flower but had to put up with it on the ground.

Also saw Red Admiral, Ringlet, Speckled Wood, Meadow Brown and a Dark Green Fritillary.

Birds seen were a Yellowhammer, Garden Warbler, Blackbird, Carrion Crow, Raven, Buzzard and Woodpigeon.

I think I will have to re visit soon!

21 June 2017

Dunsford Woods

Had a walk in the shade today in the lovely Dunsford woods. The River Teign was quite low but the water looked crystal clear and many small fish were easily seen. Mallard, Grey Wagtail, Dipper and the electric blue flash of a Kingfisher was seen on the river. The river was also full of dogs and humans all enjoying themselves keeping cool in this hot weather, have to say the Dippers and Grey Wagtails must be used to it as they didn't seem to care!

Plenty of bird song with Blackcap, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Robin, Wren, Blue, Great, Long-tailed and Marsh Tit all seen or heard. Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Buzzard and Herring Gull all seen in flight.

Plenty of Butterflies with Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Meadow Brown, Silver Washed and Dark Green Fritillary's all seen and a Blue sp that Iam not sure about, most probably a common.

Met lots of nice people and some mad dogs today out enjoying the countryside.

20 June 2017

Back on the trails

Feeling better and under orders from the specialist to go walking at least 3 miles a day to get my lungs back working, that is something I wont argue with especially in this glorious weather!

Yesterday evening I had a walk around Exminster Marshes which nearly killed me but I felt better afterwards. A few birds about with Carrion Crow, Wood Pigeon, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Sparrow hawk, Goldfinch, Wren, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Swallow, House and Sand Martins, Swifts, Buzzard, Sedge Warblers, Bullfinch, Skylarks, Reed Bunting, Chiffchaff, Stonechat, Magpie, Pied Wagtail, Shelduck, Mallard and Mute Swans with cygnets.

From Turf there was mainly Black-headed Gulls, Herring Gulls, Mute Swans, Shelduck, Carrion Crow and Curlew.

A few butterflies with Speckled Wood, Peacock, Meadow Brown and White sp. lots of other insects but surprisingly didn't see any dragonflies, perhaps it was the evening??

Today I went to Aylesbere, it was very hot and many of the birds were keeping low in the shade, Stonechat, Dartford Warblers, Yellowhammer, Blue Tit, Robin, Wren, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Green Woodpecker, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow,Buzzard and Herring Gull showing a wide range of species like the different habitats around the reserve.

Plenty of Small Heath and Meadow Brown Butterflies as well as loads of Dragonflies especially down close to the two ponds with Chasers, Skimmers, Emperors and Damselflies.

Met a group of 4 birders who looked like they were having some fun on their day out, nice to see people not taking life too seriously!

11 June 2017

Feeling Ill

Hi all, if your wondering were I have been, I've been struck down with a very nasty Chest Infection which Iam having trouble getting rid of. The Drs are trying there best but it just wont go away, hopefully I will back on the trails sometime soon.

30 May 2017

Wood White

I went to Meeth Quarry today with the sole purpose of seeing a Wood White, it is a butterfly I had seen before but could never get one to settle. I wasn't sure about the weather today but off I went, the weather actually played a major part in my success because it was dull they weren't flying all over the place and the 6 that I saw sat nicely.

Did bump into a local expert who directed me to were most of them were, you just have to be careful and look were you are putting those size nines!

Lots of birds about, all that you would expect in woodland glades.

Well worth the journey!

21 May 2017

Chasing Butterflies

Managed to get out today for a short time, I went up to the Butterfly walk at Exeter Forest. Nice amount of sun, but was a bit windy and many butterflies were staying close to the ground, many of them had damaged wings which was a result of the previous last weeks bad weather.

Saw plenty of Pearl-Boarded and Small PB Fritillaries and several trying to mate, Brimstone, Peacock, White sp on the wing, Speckled Wood, Painted Lady and a Dingy Skipper.

Also saw a Adder, Dragonfly Sp possibly a Skimmer and several different types of interesting Bumble Bees (must get better at taking pics of these!)

There was an organised group who came to see the butterflies as well as a few other individuals who clearly were experts, I try hard on these occasions not to show my self up and say very little. Nice to meet everybody and must get up there again sometime!

14 May 2017

Stood next to a tree!

Original plan was to go to Exminster Marshes to see if I could find a Lesser Whitethroat but luckily I checked Birdguides to see that a possible Eastern Subalpine Warbler was at the Warren so off I went.

Arrived to find plenty of people stood, gazing at a Hawthorn tree but no bird, good to see people I hadn't seen for a while so time well spent having a chat, then a few waving hands and people staring at another tree with bins. We all went up and as I got there it flew off to the woods and then flew into another tree, a Hawthorn by the back path, plenty of people got bins on it, could I see it??. It was like the golden shot-"right abit left abit up, up, right its just there!" "Simon its there! Right of the trunk!" "Where I cant see it??" Then suddenly I clicked onto it and managed to get a few crap shots.

I also saw Cirl Bunting, Whitethroat, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Reed Warbler, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Woodpigeon, Herring Gulls and a Great-spotted Woodpecker.

As I didn't think I would do any better I thought I would go up to the Marshes and continue my search for the Lesser Whitethroat. As I got to the carpark you could hear plenty of bird song and down the path there was Dunnock, Blackbird, Linnet, Whitethroat, Blue and Great Tits, Robin, Sedge and Reed Warblers, Chiffchaff, Skylark, Lapwing and Carrion Crows, did see a Peregrine a few times and my first Swifts of the year, 9 in fact as well as Swallows and House Martins, plenty of insects about, the best being some Hairy Hawkers!

Thought I would give the Warren another go and there was still a few people watching a different tree when I got there, stood there for another hour and got a couple of glimpses. You hear the call and its silhouette when it could be seen in the tree, sadly it was getting windy and the sun was right behind the tree, so said my goodbyes and off for tea!

Great to see all the old faces today and some new ones, there's a couple of birders that need to chill out a bit and stop being so "Anal!!!"

09 May 2017

Grasshopper Warbler

Had a good couple of sessions listening and getting the occasional glimpse of these birds.

With a bit of research and a lot of help from friends I finally managed to get some pictures. They were on a typical habitat you would expect of Moor and scrub in Devon, I did also find a bird that was slightly different in colour which threw me a bit but all added to the fun.

I was worried that I wouldn't be able to hear the high pitched call but I managed ok, it was though still difficult to pin down. Only when a bird moved did I stand a chance of getting a picture.

Did see and hear plenty of other birds, several Cuckoos, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, sound of a Tawny Owl, Reed Bunting, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Wood Pigeon, Lesser Redpoll and Carrion Crow.

Really enjoyed this challenging and rewarding day out.

06 May 2017


Went up to Dartmoor this afternoon as I was at Buckfast Abbey on a Bee Keeping Course in the morning which Iam really enjoying and would recommend it!

Joined Dartmoor via Bovey Tracy, the weather was crap and thought it might turn into a washout but as I got closer to Challacombe farm it brightened up. Had a good walk around the farm and saw some stunning birds including Redstart, Lesser Redpoll, Chiffchaff, Robin, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Great, Blue, Marsh and Long-tailed Tit, Wren, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Pied and Grey Wagtail, Stonechat and Swallows.

I then jumped in the car and went up to Warren Farm to see if any Whinchats were there, I parked up on the road and did a circular walk, plenty of very smart looking Wheatears, Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, Robin, Stonechats and Reed Buntings but sadly no Whinchats.

Plenty of birds about Dartmoor visible from the car, but typically when I wanted to stop and take a picture there was always an impatient driver behind me! Still I saw Wood Pigeon, Stock and Collard Dove, Jackdaw, Magpie, Jay, Carrion Crow, Raven, Stonechat, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Yellowhammer, Blackbird, Robin, Mistle Thrush, Chaffinch, Wren and Pied Wagtail.

Parts of the moor was busy with the Ten Tors and well done to all those concerned, the Moor was also full of baby animals, Lambs, Calves and Foals which was a joy to see.

01 May 2017

Around the Exe

Spent time around the River Exe today, starting off at Dawlish Warren which was rather wet when I arrived, plenty of birds around looking a little bedraggled in the rain. Still in good voice though!

A few Whitethroats about, the first I've seen this year also saw Stonechat, Linnet, Chiffchaff, Robin, Blackbird, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tit, Swallow, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw and Carrion Crow. On the pond there was Canada Geese, Mallard and Moorhen. Plenty of birds on the golf course, especially around the flooded tees with good numbers of Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Shelduck, Canada Geese and a few Whimbrel. There was Whimbrel all over the reserve, in front of the hide and on the beach and several flying around.

Out to sea there was Cormorant and some Great Crested Grebes with Herring and Black-headed Gulls flying around, a few Turnstones on the sea defences. Thought it was a bit quiet out to sea.

In front of the hide there was Curlew, Black and Bar-tailed Godwits, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Brent Geese, Whimbrel, Cormorants, Great-black Backed, Herring and Black-headed Gulls and a Sandwich Tern.

Not that many people about but good to see Lee for a quick chat!

Then off to Darts Farm in Topsham to have a look around the reserve. Darts Farm was packed with shoppers and only just got a parking place. Down the cycle path saw Magpie, Blackbird, Jackdaw, House Sparrow, Robin, Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, Dunlin and a very smart looking male Sparrowhawk which might account for a lack of birds!

Goosemoor was full of water and plenty of birds on the far bank with Godwits sp, Curlew, Knott, Greenshank, Redshank, Shelduck, Mallard, Little Egret, fly over Jay, Woodpigeon, Swallows and Sand Martins with Cettis Warbler and Magpie in the bushes next to path. Sounded like Sedge and Reed Warblers in the reeds.

Along the road there was Chiffchaff, Dunnock, Blackbird, Robin, Goldfinch, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Wren and House Sparrow. At the platform the tide was almost out and plenty of birds flying past to go down the river and you could see large flocks of waders doing ariel dancing further down the estuary, did see Godwits of both types, Curlew, Greenshanks, Shelducks and Little Egrets.

In the reserve I saw Moorhen, Coot, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Shoveler, Tufted duck, Teal, Widgeon, Mallard, Both Godwits, Ruff, Knott, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Buzzard, Blackbird, Robin, Song Thrush, Pied Wagtail, Starling, Cettis, Sedge Warbler, Swallows, Wren and a couple of Fox's sunning themselves by the hedge.

Lots of humans about of all shapes and sizes, all seem to be happy on this bank holiday, especially when the sun came out!!

29 April 2017

Exminster Marshes

Went to Exminster Marshes today for a walk around, although it was a bright sunny day it was quite windy and out of the sun it did feel a bit cold.

There was though plenty of bird song to put a smile on your face with Chiffchaff, Reed, Sedge and Cettis Warblers in fine form. Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Starling, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Lapwing, Curlew, Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow and Magpie.

Swallows, House and Sand Martins hawking over the lagoons. looked like Swallows collecting nesting material and taking them into "Toby's" by the car park.

Coot, Moorhen, Little Egret, Grey Heron and Mallard all seen around the ditches, one Mallard had 9 chicks with her which was just great to see.

At Turf there was a couple of Whimbrel, Shelduck, Mallard, Mute Swans, Little Egret, Cormorant, Turnstone and a flock of about 35 Curlew flew in but left almost immediately, Great-black Backed, Herring and Black-headed Gulls.

Quite a few Butterflies about with Orange Tip being the greater number with Speckled Wood, Peacock and several White Sp. on the wing.

Lots of happy humans about enjoying the Bank Holiday sun, not sure how long that will last??

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


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


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


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!

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


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


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


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


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.

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


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

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.

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.

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!

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.

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!

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


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 He