[Simon Thurgood Images] [Simon Thurgood Images]


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!

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