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29 January 2022

Slapton

Original plan this morning when I looked out of the window was to go to both Slapton and Beesands Leys, then possibly on to Start Point, the weather looked good so off I went.

All good until I reached Totnes and the grey clouds, wind and the odd spot of rain, hoping it was just a passing shower continued until I got to Slapton and parked up, as I was having some breakfast noticed plenty of small birds about, Chiffchaff, Great and Blue Tits, Blackbird and Robin so a good start!

Just as I got out of the car Perry turned up and we both walked towards Ireland Bay, lot of the usual stuff with Coot, Moorhen, Mute Swan, Tufted Duck, Mallard and Great-crested Grebes.

Further along we had the treat of seeing some Golden Eye, 3 in total, 2x male and 1 female, plenty of displaying going on, great to watch. Also saw some Gadwall and Wigeon, we got to the platform that over looks the bay and were joined by Richie and Dave so plenty of banter flying about!

There was 6 species of Gull with some on the water and more on the field opposite, these were mainly Lesser black-backed Gulls with Great black-backed, Herring, Common, Black-headed and Mediterranean Gulls on the water.

Around the hedges and trees, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Dunnock, Robin, Wren, Raven, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Jay, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Cettis Warbler and Crest sp, think it was a Fircrest but not 100%.

Went on the beach to look for the Snow Bunting but no luck, just Gannets and Cormorants on the water.

At this point the weather started to deteriorate a little so decided to make my way home, soon as I got past Totnes the sun was out!

Really good to see Perry, Richie and David, enjoyed the banter!



28 January 2022

Holden

Had a couple of hours today so popped up to Holden to see if the Brambling were showing, I was early so not expecting many humans to be about so less disturbance, it was a lot quieter than my last visit but very few birds for some reason, plenty of food but just a few Chaffinch, Siskin, Great, Blue and Coal Tit, Great-spotted Woodpecker drumming in the distance and that was that.

Decided to spend the rest of my time around by the Butterfly Walk to see if the Hawfinch would turn up but sadly no,but some Crossbill put a bit of a show on so not a total waist of time!



27 January 2022

Dartmoor

Started early and arrived at Yarner to sun, it looked like it was going to be a good day, just looked at the feeders as I wanted to get on to the moor itself.

A bit quiet with very few birds about to be honest, a noisy Siskin, Blue, Coal, Great and Marsh Tits, Robin, Nuthatch, Blackbird and Chaffinch.

Left and up on the moor, almost as soon as I arrived at Haytor it started to rain, very little to see as I travelled around so decided to pay Dunsford Woods a visit which was both frustrating and disappointing, there was plenty of dogs off the lead, at one point I had 6 barking dogs around me and not a owner in sight, eventually 3 women came, when I said about keeping them on a lead they laughed, which was the main response when I asked other dog owners the same. Normally you would see Dipper and Kingfisher here but not one seen, 3 Goosanders flew in but almost went straight again, the only thing saw on the waters edge apart from dogs was a Grey Wagtail, depressing! DWT need to look after the reserves better, they should be policing them better??



26 January 2022

River Exe and Serin

I started early and had planned to spend time around the River Exe, do my usual thing of stopping off at various points to look at what was about, the river was flat and very little to see. Just a few Gulls and Cormorants.

A shout went out that a Serin had been seen in a field at Rousden which is on the road to Lyme Regis so off I went, the field itself was easy to find, the crop was Mustard which looked to me to have gone over, but clearly a good food source. I was met by some local birders who were very helpful, they explained that a Merlin had been sat in the tree and all the birds had gone to the bottom of the field, you could see good numbers of Finches and Buntings in the trees and flying and landing on the bottom hedge, they looked mainly Chaffinch and Linnet to me and in the middle was the Serin. The guys showed me pictures they had taken of both the Serin and Merlin which had been taken in the trees, funny this is the second day a Merlin has popped up just before I arrived!

After about a hour it was obvious the flock wasn't going to come up to the top of the field again so we made an exit.



25 January 2022

Dorset

Visiting family in Yeovil this afternoon, so early start and arrived at Radipole in Weymouth as the sun came up, it was very cold but still plenty to see, was hoping to see some Bearded Tits but didn't see or hear any which was a bit of a disappointment.

There was though plenty to see, 5 species of Gull with Herring, Lesser and Great-black Backed, Black-headed and Mediterranean Gulls, other water birds seen were Grey Heron, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Cormorant, Coot, Moorhen, little Grebe, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Mallard X, Teal, Pochard, Shoveler, Shelduck and a Golden Eye which was a treat!

Wood Pigeon, Feral Pigeon, Dunnock, Blackbird,Goldfinch, long-tailed, Great and Blue Tit, Robin, Reed Bunting and Cettis Warbler.

On the way to Yeovil thought I would go to Maiden Castle to see the Corn Buntings which are normally viewable from the car park. I arrived to see a couple of Bird Watchers with some seriously wide grins on their faces, typically just before I had arrived a Merlin had been sat on the fence posts at the entrance of the car park and had sat there until a car came into the park and flew further down the field viewable in their scopes and it flew off again.

I looked around and even though there was a Raptor about plenty of small birds about including a couple of Corn Buntings sat on distant fence posts, they never came close to the Car Park, perhaps a bit wary? Stonechats, Linnets, House Sparrows, Starling, Meadow Pipits and Dunnock around the fields as well as a flock of Golden Plover in the far end of the field, Carrion Crows, Rooks and Jackdaws, Herring Gulls and Black-headed gulls all on the pasture looking for food.

Although not many pictures and bloody cold, well worth the journey!



24 January 2022

Late Start

Late start this morning, the lock on my front door wouldn't work, so after a visit from a Locksmith and 146 later I was able to get out.

After stopping off at Holden Grill for Breakfast went to Holden where the feeding station is, there had been reports of a pair of Brambling that was using the feeders, so hopeful of seeing them.

Parked up and went and viewed the seen, the birds were quite noisy, many Chaffinch in the trees and the Male Brambling came down to join the other birds on the floor and just as I was going to take the shot when cyclists came around the corner and up they went and that was the way for the time I was there. It was quite busy and people were having their dinner on the benches and the constant movement had the birds on edge and always mobile. Having said that there was plenty of birds with Brambling, Chaffinch, Great, Blue and Coal Tits, Siskin, Robin, Blackbird, Nuthatch, Dunlin and Goldfinch around the feeders, A Great-spotted Woodpecker drumming near bye and Crossbills in the top of near bye trees.

For the rest of the afternoon went around the lanes and fields around the back of Starcross and Kenton, Pheasant and Red-legged Partridge, Woodpigeon, Buzzard, blackbird, Stonechat, House Sparrow, chaffinch, Song Thrush, Rook, Jackdaw and Carrion crow.

Turned out to be an enjoyable day.



23 January 2022

Dartmoor

It being Sunday its always difficult to find a quiet spot to do some bird Watching as the world and its mother, kids and dogs seem to go out and whos to blame them.

So up early and off to Dartmoor, plenty of Corvids on the ground, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow and Rook all looking for breakfast on the grass then as I was passing Emsworthy Mire I had a real treat, just passed the pull in and heading towards Widdicombe when flying parallel to me a Juvenile Hen Harrier, as you can imagine I got a bit excited and by the time I pulled the car over and got the camera out it had flown off towards Hound Tor, tried to re locate it but it had disappeared.

So after that I went on a drive around and saw many of the things you would expect to see on Dartmoor in January, plenty of Redwing and Fieldfare about, especially on the fields close to Soussons.

Several Buzzard and Kestrels seen as well as Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Song and Mistle Thrush,Dunnock, Stonechat, House Sparrow, Starling, Meadow Pipit, Wood Pigeon, Collard and Stock Doves.

Also saw a couple of Foxes which I haven't seen in a long time.

Things started to get busy and I left the moor at 1pm as apart from the humans it was getting a bit overcast and everything seemed to have gone to ground.



22 January 2022

Dawlish Warren Beach

Supposed to be going to North Wales this week as I have a week off but, due to a mixture of things will be staying in the South West.

Today I spent the afternoon at the Warren, the tide was going out and the conditions were ideal.

Found a wide range of shells, Sea Potatoes, Sea Squirts,Crabs and Sea weed.

Managed to get some Rockling and made an attempt to photo in a plastic container with mixed results.

Nice to find a Snakelocks Anemone at the far end of the beach, sadly I didn't spend any time in the Rock Pools at the southern end.

Beach was quite busy with humans and dogs but very few humans and no dogs up the far end. A few Brent Geese, Oystercatchers and Gulls around the tide line, not at all bothered by myself.

Good to see Warden Steve amongst a few friendly birders



18 January 2022

Exminster Marshes

Had a excellent couple of hours at Exminster Marshes yesterday, the weather was good and plenty to see, even got a few photos!

A good cold clear January day, the mist still rising in several areas and the frost was still about, beautiful clear sky, just stunning!

I walked along the back path from the car park to Turf, A pair of Ravens on top of the Pylon where a welcome sign of things to come.

Just past the Ravens The Glossy Ibis that had been around was next to the gate and gave some excellent views, as did the Marsh Harrier who put all the Lapwings and Ducks up, sadly although I saw it several times it was always distant. I also saw Kestrel and Buzzard around the Reserve on several occasions, again distant.

Plenty of water birds as you would expect around the reserve, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Mute Swan, Canada, Brent and Snow Goose, Mallard, Tufted, Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler and Pintail. Also Shelduck, Cormorant and Red-breasted Mergansers on the River.

A few Waders about both on the Marshes but also close to Turf with Curlew, Godwit, Redshank, Dunlin, Avocet and Snipe. The usual Gulls with Herring, Black-headed and Great-black-backed Gulls. Several hundred Golden Plover on the mud flats that occasionally got put up and filled the sky.

Around the hedges and trees, House Sparrow, Starling, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Robin, Dunlin, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Meadow Pipit, Jackdaw, Magpie and Carrion Crow.

Quite a few humans about, mostly bird watchers and mostly quite pleasant!



17 January 2022

Otters at Turf

Have been looking for signs of the Otters as it had gone a bit quiet on that front but just recently found the odd "spraints" but today found foot prints of what looks like a large animal going from the path to the Exe.

Great to see!



14 January 2022

Bits and Bobs!

Been all over the place this week and trying to do some walking/photography and looking for wildlife about the place.

Between the fog settling over East Devon, work and life getting in the way I felt that I have been lucky to see the stuff I have.

I visited Seaton Wetlands, Aylsebere, River Exe at several points, Labrador Bay and the back roads of Starcross and Kenton.

The Wetlands was a bit quiet, the main lagoon was full of water and not many birds, did see signs of Water Vole in one of the ditches, Aylesbere was good, a few Dartford Warblers and Stonechat on view, all the hedges around the roads and reserves had many of the usual birds you would expect in Devon, plenty of Corvids about as well as Pheasants and red-legged Partridge, Kestrel, Buzzard and Sparrowhawk all seen.

Labrador Bay saw several stunning male Cirl Buntings and for once the sun was in the right place.

Didn't see many humans about unless they were attached to a dog!1



09 January 2022

Dartmoor

On a cold, windy and grey day, possibly Dartmoor is not the place to be but I always manage to find something!

Quite a lot of Birds about, especially in sheltered areas, plenty of Blackbirds, Song Thrush, Robins, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Dunnock and wrens around the hedgerows.

Redwings and Corvids of every sort on the pastures, Herring Gulls, Wood Pigeons joining them, Stock and Collard Doves seen in flight.A Great-spotted Woodpecker, flying down the road in front of the car was a interesting with its up and down flight pattern.

A few Buzzard and more Kestrels seen than I have seen in a while, 4 in fact, one male and 3 Females.

Not that many humans about so had the place to myself for long periods.



03 January 2022

Out and About

Early start to get to Stover to beat the Bank Holiday crowds, first car in but quickly followed by others.The water was quite full of birds with Mandarin, Mallard, Mallard X, Tufted, Shoveler, Wigeon, Moorhen, Coot, Mute Swan, Muscovy, Cormorant, Black-headed and Herring Gulls and Grey Heron.

The feeders and bushes were quiet with very little to see, Blue, Great and Coal Tit, Blackbird, Robin, Chaffinch and a Green Woodpecker. Not to mention all the very fat grey squirrels that are eating all the food about.

With all the screaming kids and dogs i made an exit!

Off to Yarner, Bird wise it was very quiet here, but busy with people, hides in use and car parks full, lesser Redpoll, Blue, Great, Coal and Marsh Tits, Chaffinch, Wren, Blackbird and a fly over noisy Raven was all to see.

The weather was deteriorating and was unsure on what to do, Dartmoor weather is so changeable so I decided to go for a ride, nothing was flying and all the birds seen like Redwing were seen on the pastures, the wind and rain picked up a bit but a ray of sunshine appeared when I saw this small Falcon pitch on a dead branch, its a Merlin!! Not seen one in this area before but it was a welcome site, a female or possibly an immature.

I managed to get close enough in my car and take the picture out of the passenger window although with the conditions I was pleased to get any picture, sat and watched it for about fifteen minutes before it went to ground, not sure if to get out of the weather or it spotted dinner!



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