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07 April 2021

Pintail

Walking around Exminster Marshes today and to my surprise there is still a pair of Pintail.

I might be wrong but normally arnt they moved on by now?

They both looked stunning and did the characteristic tails up like no other!



06 April 2021

Dartmoor

Went up to Dartmoor today which was windy and cold, intermittent showers, hail, snow and sun.

I visited Yarner, Trendlebere, Emsworthy Mire, Soussons, Challacombe Farm, and the high Moor.

Soussons was a waste of time because the wind was blowing the trees around, Yarner was good as it was in the shelter, good views of the Lesser-spotted Woodpecker as well as the Greater-spotted Woodpecker, Good views of Pied Flycatchers but sadly distant.

The High Moors held the best views of Birds as due to the wind they were all on the ground, many Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Stonechats and Wheatears. The later in good numbers on the rd up from Challacombe farm.

Many Corvids on the floor, especially Jackdaws but also Rook, Carrion Crow and Ravens, Magpies and a solitary Jay also seen.

Several Buzzards seen sat down out of the wind as well as Woodpigeon, Blackbirds, Song Thrush, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Pied Wagtail and House Sparrow.

Good to meet David Bailey who was taking shots of the LSW at Yarner. I would recommend you visit his blog https://www.thehallofeinar.com/



03 April 2021

5 up

Managed to find another 2 new butterflies for the year!

A female Orange Tip on some Periwinkle, found this on a country lane at the back of Kenton, flower and Butterfly looked stunning in the sun.

The Comma was one of two seen at Dawlish Warren by the entrance bushes.



02 April 2021

Under a Rock

While doing some Beach combing on Dawlish Warren Beach I picked up a rock and found all sorts of goodies!

Apart from Shore Crabs there was a Worm Pipefish,see top left picture. Five-bearded Rockling with the Crab, top right picture.

The fast moving Butterfish which I put into a pot so I could take a picture, stunning looking fish.

Its amazing what you can find out there, I like to go in an area about 2/3rds down the beach in a flat area, lots of flat stones from buildings which are easy to lift up.

I also found plenty of other interesting stuff such as Green Sea Urchins that where alive that normally would be washed up dead. This an area that just keeps giving!



02 April 2021

That makes it 3

Its a bit slow on the Butterfly front this year but made it to 3 with a Speckled Wood, in fact like London Busses, you dont see any for ages and then 3 came along together!

This time last year I had 5, one of them was the Large Tort at Portland which due to lockdown i have missed this year.

So that is Peacock, Brimstone and Speckled Wood, long way to go yet!



01 April 2021

Lesser-spotted Woodpeckers

While I have been out walking I have been lucky enough to see several Lesser-spotted Woodpeckers, because I've been at work supporting others get exercise the best views have always come when I haven't had the camera, but this last couple of days I have been able to catch up with them.

All quite mobile and going around in pairs, many pictures because of looking into the sky have turned out as silhouettes but some turnout ok.

Did see and hear other Woodpeckers and its times like this that the distinctive calls and drums of the three species become evident.

Stay safe out there!



29 March 2021

Haytor Quarry

Went around the pond at Haytor, the water here is always crystal clear and is a stunning area to walk around and the slower you walk the more you see.

I did see quite a few remains of Toads in the water so not sure what has eaten them but also a few crossing the paths to and fro the pond.

Also saw Newts, Sticklebacks and lots of other marine life which I couldn't Id and a place I need to re visit.

Stay safe out there!



28 March 2021

Around the Beaches

This last couple of weeks spent quite a bit of time around the beaches of Dawlish and some of the rock pools.

The beaches seem to be constantly on the move with beach levels dropping and raising on a daily amount, this has been seen the most at Coryton Cove, especially at the far end. There hasn't been the storms so the Warren seems to have stabilised for the moment, but dont think that will last long.

Just after the storms sand covered a normally pebble beach by Langstone Rock, this has now cleared and the long shore drift here continues to bring in some goodies, the smaller shells such as Pelicans foot and Auger shells, always a good place to pick up Ray Casings, picked up a few Small-eyed and Thornback Ray Casings here.

The Warren continues to be good for the bigger shells and stuff like Sea Potatoes, also if you catch the tide right about three quarter way along the beach when the tide is out is a good area for crabs and fish caught in pools.

The Rock Pools both at Langstone and Dawlish continue to hold Anemones and some great Sea Weed, some of the pools are so clear.

Found a nice Turban Top Shell at Coryton and it was moving which is quite rare!

Thankfully not much rubbish about but my collection of "Sea Glass"continues to grow.

Stay safe out there!



25 March 2021

Breeding Season

It was clear from walking around Exminster Marshes yesterday that spring is very defiantly in the air!

Saw lots of birds flying around with nest material and found a Goldfinch in the final throws of building a nest.

Also saw a couple of Blackbirds with a mouth full of worms, birds like Cettis Warblers giving their explosive songs in their various territories.

Plenty of Bumble Bees about as well as the odd Hoverfly but didnt see any Butterflies which was a surprise as it was warm enough!

Stay safe out there!



18 March 2021

Love is in the Air!

While doing some rock Pooling at Coryton Cove I could hear the sound of Kestrels making a racket on the cliff edge that is behind the Beach Huts.

They have been nesting here for the past 2-3 years and are a regular sight here.

That evening an excellent couple of pictures taken by Gary Cook of them mating was taken from the Beach Hut area. The following morning I went to Lee Mount and looked down and they were still going through the mating ritual, they coupled 3 times while I was there, the first 2 times they were slightly out of view but on the third the Female stood closer to the edge giving great views.

Not sure if this is the nesting site as well, we will have to see but if it is it will give great views of the chicks and them growing up and give it at a safe distance.



18 March 2021

Sinenis or Carbo

Saw this Cormorant on the Exeter Canal close to Turf at the beginning of March.

I thought it was a Sinensis because the angle of bare skin behind gape is bigger than 90%.

But I've seen other people question other peoples photo of the same bird saying it is a Carbo because of the white head? Any thoughts??

Picture on the left is what I think is the "Sinenis" and the one on the "Right" is what I think is the "Carbo"



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