[Simon Thurgood Images] [Simon Thurgood Images]


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!

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