[Simon Thurgood Images] [Simon Thurgood Images]


29 December 2021

Powderham to the Marshes and back

The weather this morning wasn't great, grey and wet, the high tide was about mid day and was hoping to walk the route to catch the hide tide as to see plenty on the Marshes.

So arrived at Powderham Church about 10.30am and started to water proofs on, get ready etc when I heard this strange cackle from the field, I looked up and there was some Egyptian Geese, in fact seven. in the past I had seen a couple in this field but never seven, possible family group?

In the stubble fields ether side plenty of Pheasants, Woodpigeons, Rooks, Jackdaws and the odd Herring Gull all looking for food.

Over the bridge, the river looked grey and moody and just a ray of sun. A mixed flock of Ducks on the water with Pintail, Wigeon, Mallard and Teal, Waders seen on the river were Oystercatcher, Avocet, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Redshank and Curlew.

On the river its self, a few Red-breasted Merganser, Mute Swan, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls. On the wall there was several Pied and one White Wagtail, in the fields plenty of Rooks, Carrion Crows, Magpies and a single fly over Jay, Canada and a couple of Brent Geese on this part of the walk but hundreds of Canada's in the fields close to Turf with distant views of the Pink Foot and White-fronted Goose. I missed the Bean goose that flew off towards the Clyst.

Domestic birds in the shape of Muscovy Ducks on the canal and two big white Farm geese on the field close to the Fishermans Car park.

The Marshes were full of birds being constantly being put up by Marsh Harriers, Sparrowhawk and Peregrine, another birder said he saw a Merlin but sadly I missed that.

Flocks of Starling, Lapwing, Godwits and Dunlin regularly put to the sky with Wigeon, Teal, Pintail, Shoveler, Mallard, Shelduck, Mute Swan, Coot, Moorhen around the pools, some fly over Snipe and Cettis, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Reed Bunting, House Sparrow, Blue and Great Tits in the hedges and bushes.

Lots of humans about and all smiling and sociable, nice to see happy people!

28 December 2021

South Devon

Went the South Hams this morning, left 6.30am to get to Start Point for Sunrise, the plan being to park up at the car park and walk down to the Lighthouse and then walk back to the car via Matscombe, then to Beesands and Slapton Leys to see whats about.

I got to Start Point ok and on time but the wind was strong, strong enough to rock the car, from the car I could see nothing was flying and I didn't fancy walking around the cliffs with this wind so plan B was put into action and a diversion to Lannacombe Beach to do some Beach combing was first stop.

No birds on the beach or near bye bushes, all blown out but the beach was covered in seaweed and looked promising, it was "Bootlace Weed" or "Mermaids Tresses", it looks like loads of Bootlaces which is what I know it as, first thing I noticed that the beach was also covered in Cuttlefish Bones, never seen so many and unsure why this beach was covered in them? All the usual shells, a couple of Small-spotted Catshark eggcases and a very smart Blond Ray Ray eggcase.

Feeling happier with myself I went off to Beesands Ley, the wind was still quite strong and all the birds were in the small bay and close to the reeds staying in shelter making it difficult to see, making matters worse a very aggressive Mute Swan was having ago at everything. When they did come out you got some great views of the Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Pochard, Mallard, Tufted Duck, Teal, Shoveler, Coot, Grey Heron, Black-headed Gull, Black Swan, Mute Swans, Wood Pigeons, Magpies, Carrion Crows, Blackbird, Dunnock, Pied Wagtail and Canada Geese on the field behind the hide.

Off to Slapton Ley, due to the wind, waves where making it difficult to see birds on the water but still managed to pick out Mallard, Mallard X, Tufted, Gadwall, Great-crested Grebes, Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Coot, Moorhen, Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls and Cormorants.

The bushes were almost all blown out except for an area close to the entrance, several Cettis Warblers heard but not seen, Wren, Dunnock, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Blue and Great Tit, Robin and fly over Buzzard.

As the wind wasn't getting any better, I thought I would pop into Stover on my way home. It was so busy I couldn't even get into the car park so turned around and went home.

Saw a few humans about and most happy and well behaved that except some Dog Walkers at Slapton Ley, dogs off the lead and in the water and the usual bags of dog poo all over the place, depressing!

28 December 2021

Egg Casings

Starting to find Egg casings around the Beaches.

Picture on left shows the difference in size.

Blonde Ray at the bottom with Spotted Ray on top.

Thornback Ray top right and Small-spotted Catshark bottom right.

The Blonde Ray was found at Lannacombe and this beach is the only place I have found this egg casing, dont know why, perhaps I haven't looked hard enough!

25 December 2021

Merry Xmas!

Out on a walk to Coryton Cove this morning before going to work.

Found this Thornback Ray Egg Case washed up, my first for a while.

Have a great day everybody and to those like myself, have a good shift!

22 December 2021

Out and About

Had an excellent day out today, started off with a Bacon Baguette from Ryder's at Dawlish Warren to go with my tea which I ate at Cockwood steps at first light. The River at high tide and choppy making it difficult to see anything in the water because of the waves, a few Cormorants and Black-headed Gulls and that was it. Cockwood Harbour was just filled with water and no birds but the Orchard and Starcross Golf Course had plenty of Brent Geese, Oystercatchers and Curlew.

Further along by Starcross Train Station some Mute Swans, Wigeon and Teal, a few more Gulls around the Boats, mainly Herring Gulls sitting out of the wind.

The River Kenn out flow proved fruitless and very little on the River Kenn except a couple of Moorhen and Grey Heron. The wind was keeping the smaller birds on the floor and I saw plenty of Blackbirds about. I parked up at Powderham Church, Rooks, Magpies, Pheasants, Woodpigeons on the fields, Robin, Dunnock and Wren around the Graveyard as well as a Buzzard sat on a limb of one the trees which flew off as I passed, one of six I saw today. I walked to the otherside of the bridge that crosses the Railway, at high tide its a good area for Ducks on the River and sure enough about 50 Pintail and Shelduck sat just off the wall, I did take some pics but the light was crap and they weren't up to scratch which was the same all day, took loads of pictures but most have been deleted!

Got back to the car and went to Exminster Marshes and look for the Pink Footed Goose which has been around for a few days, sadly it wasn't there today but saw plenty of other stuff,great to see a flock of Golden Plover over head looking for somewhere to settle, a Marsh Harrier on the Marshes putting up the waders especially the Lapwings, plenty of Curlew, Godwits and Redshanks about, Mute Swan, Brent and Canada Geese, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Pintail and I thought I saw a Gadwall, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Moorhen, Raven, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Blackbird, Robin, House Sparrow, Starling, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Wren and Cettis Warbler.

Then from the North 3 stunning Whooper Swans appeared and landed on the ponds behind the Fishermans Car-park, they were there for about 15 minutes before a rather aggressive Mute Swan objected to their presence and they flew off tot he centre of the Marshes, but still viewable from the Canal Bank, stunning Birds.

From here I went down the country roads at the back of Kenn and Starcross, plenty of Woodpigeon, Rooks, Pheasants, Red-legged Partridge, all the usual farmland birds. I also saw a herd of about 25 fallow Deer running across the Road, couple of Stags, just stopped the car and watched, stunning sight to watch them disappear across the field.

Came back via the back road to Starcross from Mamhead and plenty of cattle Egrets amongst the Cattle and Sheep as well as a few Little Egrets.

Back to Dawlish and a walk to Coryton Cove, the sea was quite rough and plenty of waves, hoping to find something around the beaches, sadly I wasn't expecting to find a dead Common Dolphin at Boat Cove, it didn't look fresh, it looked like it had been battered about in the Sea with the Birds taking a bite from the wounds, sad to see but we dont live forever! I did report it on the Govt site but what they do with the information I do not know?

Surprised not to find much on the beach, a few Pied and grey Wagtails, Rock Pipits and the usual Gulls.

With the dark clouds coming in time to go home, looking forward to the lighter evenings.

20 December 2021

White Fronted Geese

Typically while I have been to work there has been a bit of an influx of Grey Geese, Russian White Fronted Goose at South Huish and The River Otter close to East Budliegh, also a Pink Footed Goose at Exminster, Barnacle Goose also at South Huish as well as all the Brents and Canada's about.

Today got lucky as with a day off and the 34 White Fronted Geese where on the area just up from the car park at East Budliegh.

Lots of people about, dogs the works, most humans ok, but did meet a few idiots, sadly older members of the human race who should know better! Merry Xmas!!

14 December 2021

Out and About

On this rather grey miserable day decided to stay close and spend some time on the River Exe, Exminster Marshes and around the hedges and roads at the back of Starcross and Kenn.

On the River itself saw Cormorants, Shelducks and Red-breasted Mergansers, as the tide was out saw plenty of Waders with Avocets, Godwits, Curlew, Oystercatchers, Dunlin, Red and Greenshanks.

Didn't see great numbers of Gulls but Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls all seen. Grey Heron and Little Egrets all seen flying around Powderham Estate.

A few Ducks about but not as many as I expected and only saw Mallard, Shoveler, Teal and Wigeon, a few Moorhen, Canada Geese, Brent Geese, 2 x white Farmyard Geese at Exminster M, Mute Swans.

Lapwings, Pheasants, Woodpigeons, Collard Doves, Buzzards, Kestrel, Magpie, Jay, Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Wren, Blackbird, Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Robin, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Chiffchaff, Cettis Warbler, Reed Bunting, Pied Wagtail, Stonechat and House Sparrow.

A few Humans about and all socially distant!

12 December 2021

Out and About

Was supposed to be away in Dorset for a few days, catching up with friends but worries over Covid kicked it into touch.

So today I started the Day on Dartmoor at Yarner, did see a good variety of Birds but not many of them and all the usual stuff with Great, Blue, Coal, Marsh and Long-tailed Tits, Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Blackbird and the sound of a GSW drumming.

I left when it started to rain and drove up onto the moor using my car as a hide.

It was quite windy, wet and misty, very little was flying, there was a flock of 30+ Fieldfare flew over head, Redwing, Song and Mistle Thrush seen on pasture, Starling, House Sparrow, Bullfinch, Wren, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Robin seen around the hedges and road side.

A couple of Raven, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie and several Jay seen especially near to Postbridge.

I didn't see any Raptors until on my way home with several Buzzard and single Kestrel and Sparrowhawk. All the birds you would expect to see around Farm Land, Rooks, jackdaws, Woodpigeon, Pheasants, also saw a Covey of about 25 Red-legged Partridge at the back of Kenton, plenty of Gulls about too, mainly Black-headed but herring and a couple of GBB as well sat on the fields.

08 December 2021

Beach combing at Langston Rock

Spent some time today at the Dawlish side of Langston Rock at Dawlish Warren, the tide was out and plenty to see on the Beach.

The breakwater acts as a stop when things gets dragged up the long beach or "Long shore Drift". Plenty of Shells with Clams, Razor, Slipper, Oyster, Otter and Mussels to name a few, plenty of Cockles of all sizes.

Also found Sea Potatoes and Sea Squirts in the Sea Weed. Plenty of Common Starfish and several Parasitic Anemones, a couple Dead and looking worse for wear. Did find several pieces of fish including a Dead Plaice.

I wish I could have spent more time here as you never know what I might have found!

It was a bit different to the summer as I was the only human on the beach!

06 December 2021

Dawlish Sea Front

The work continues at Dawlish, they are starting to work on the area where the brook comes out and like many other people looking forward to it being finished so we can all get back to normal!

Plenty of birds about this morning, the usual Feral Pigeons and Gulls on the breakwater, also a couple of Oystercatchers, Turnstones, Rock Pipits, Pied Wagtails, Carrion Crows, Cormorants and Robin.

© Simon Thurgood 2022
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