[Simon Thurgood Images] [Simon Thurgood Images]


29 April 2017

Exminster Marshes

Went to Exminster Marshes today for a walk around, although it was a bright sunny day it was quite windy and out of the sun it did feel a bit cold.

There was though plenty of bird song to put a smile on your face with Chiffchaff, Reed, Sedge and Cettis Warblers in fine form. Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Starling, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Lapwing, Curlew, Mute Swan, Canada Goose, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow and Magpie.

Swallows, House and Sand Martins hawking over the lagoons. looked like Swallows collecting nesting material and taking them into "Toby's" by the car park.

Coot, Moorhen, Little Egret, Grey Heron and Mallard all seen around the ditches, one Mallard had 9 chicks with her which was just great to see.

At Turf there was a couple of Whimbrel, Shelduck, Mallard, Mute Swans, Little Egret, Cormorant, Turnstone and a flock of about 35 Curlew flew in but left almost immediately, Great-black Backed, Herring and Black-headed Gulls.

Quite a few Butterflies about with Orange Tip being the greater number with Speckled Wood, Peacock and several White Sp. on the wing.

Lots of happy humans about enjoying the Bank Holiday sun, not sure how long that will last??

23 April 2017

Trendelbere and Yarner

Had a great day on Dartmoor today, arrived a little later than I wanted but life getting in the way again. Plenty of birds about though, parked up in the middle car park on Trendlebere with lots of bird song about me with a couple of Blackcap and Willow Warbler really going for it!

Also saw Yellow Hammer, Lesser Redpoll, Linnet, Great Tit and Woodpigeon as I walked across the top of the Moor towards the lower carpark, surprisingly no Buzzards or anything flying up the valley.

From the Moor crossed the road to the triangle area of gorse with more birds in song, a Tree Pipit in display, I tried very hard to get a picture of this but just couldn't get the camera to focus on the bird. Also saw Chiffchaff, Yellow Hammer, Stonechat, Willow Warbler, Wren and fly overs of Raven and Buzzard.

Into the woods at Yarner, the trees starting to come out into leaf, such a stunning place to be. Not that many birds near the feeders, but still plenty about with Chaffinch, Lesser Redpoll, Robin, Blackbird, Pied Flycatchers, Redstarts, Great-spotted Woodpeckers, Nuthatch, 3 Mandarin Ducks, Mallards, Grey Wagtails, Siskin, Great, Blue, Coal, Marsh and Long-tailed Tits and a fly over Raven.

Plenty of humans about enjoying the moor, lots of birders and photographers about, some who need to learn some field craft and some basic manners. They thankfully were in the minority as most of the people I met today were just lovely!

22 April 2017


I spent a very enjoyable afternoon at Haddon Hill in Somerset looking for the two-barred Crossbill which typically didn't turn up.

I did though enjoy myself taking pictures of the common Crossbills which came in for a drink, the different colours showed up brilliantly in the sun.

I also saw several Buzzard, Hobby, Raven, Robin, Blackbird, Great and Blue Tit, Woodpigeon, Willow Warbler, Chaffinch, Pied Wagtail and several Swallow. Other birders there saw Pied Flycatcher, Redstart, Swift, Wheatear and a Coal Tit which I missed.

Good see Tom and several other old faces as well as some new ones.

16 April 2017

Dunsford Woods

I spent the morning doing a recce around various sites looking for Grasshopper Warblers, I didn't find any but was certainly interesting looking around new places, looks like I could have some fun here!

I spent the afternoon at Dunsford and it appears the world and his mother and her dog had the same idea!!

I was pleasantly surprised and the amount of Birds, Butterflies and Flowers on show. Even though there was plenty of dogs and humans in the water there was Dipper and Grey Wagtails on show.

In the woods Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Robin, Wren, Blue, Great, Long-tailed and Marsh Tits, Blackbird, Song and Mistle Thrush, Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker, fly over Raven, Buzzard and Wood Pigeon.

Plenty of Butterflies with Orange Tip, Brimstone, Peacock and Speckled Wood.

The Daffodils have died off and have been taken over by Wood Anemone, Bluebells and Wild Garlic.

As I've said before plenty of humans about and plenty came up to chat about what was about and what I had seen, nice to see so many happy people and enjoying the great outdoors!

15 April 2017

Yarner and stuff!

Late start today as life getting in the way again. Thought I would spend the afternoon at Yarner to see if I could find a Pied Flycatcher amongst other things.

I parked up at the middle car park at Trendlebere with the idea of walking across the top of the moor to the triangle bit and go through to Yarner. I was hoping to see the reported Tree Pipit which has been seen several times in this area but sadly I failed to find it. It was quite windy when I got out of the car and there was very little sight of birds or humans for that matter. I only saw a Robin and a couple of Buzzards flying over, it wasn't much better on the triangle until you went further over and got out of the wind and plenty of birds singing here with Stonechat, Linnet, Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler.

Plenty of bird song coming from Yarner with Chaffinch, Long-tailed, Blue, Great, Coal and Marsh Tits. Several Siskin, Bullfinch, Willow Warblers, Nuthatch, Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Robin, Blackbird, Redstart and a male Pied Flycatcher, did hear others but didn't see any.

Not that many humans about which was a surprise, a few families doing the Easter Egg challenge that has been set up which they seemed to be enjoying.

A few Birders/Photographers about the place and all seem to be behaving themselves, one birder even smiled at me!!

13 April 2017

Emsworthy Mire, Trendlebere and Yarner.

I spent most of today at Emsworthy before popping into Trendlebere and the top path at Yarner before heading home.

I just walked around the top half of this fantastic reserve, so diverse and different habitats.

Could hear the singing Redstart as soon as I entered the reserve, a stunning male. Also my first Cuckoo of the year, a bit far away for me to get a decent photo but still a joy to hear and see.

Also saw Stock Doves, Wood Pigeon, Stonechat, Meadow Pipits, Skylark, Chaffinch, Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tit, Reed Bunting, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Buzzard, Robin, Blackbird, Wren, Dunnock, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Magpie, Raven, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw and four wheatear.

Plenty of marsh flowers starting to come out with some stunning Marsh Violet.

Off to Trendlebere, the middle car park across the moor and over the road to the Triangle and into Yarner and back to the car. This little walk saw Stonechat, Willow Warbler, Redpoll, Raven, Woodpigeon, Long-tailed, Blue and Great Tits, Robin, Blackbird and Skylark.

11 April 2017

Shapwick and Ham Wall

Went up to Somerset today to see if I can see some Bittern and some Marsh Harriers and wasn't disappointed!

The Bitterns were "Booming" over both reserves and managed to see a couple in flight but never close, the same was for the Marsh Harriers. They were displaying on both reserves and put on a great show in front of the Avalon Hide on Ham Wall, just fantastic birds!

Also had a bit of luck as I arrived a Black-winged Stilt just touched down in the Meare Scrape, these are stunning birds. Also saw about 25 Black-tailed Godwits on the scrape as well.

Plenty of ducks about the two reserves with the best being a Garganey which was in front of the Avalon Hide, with Tufted Duck, Pochard, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal, Gadwall, Little Grebe, Great crested Grebe, Cormorant, Glossy Ibis, Grey Heron, Great White Egret, Little Egret, Moorhen, Coot, Greylag Goose, Mute Swan, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Blackbird, Robin, Blackcap, Sedge Warbler, Wren, Cettis Warbler, Chiffchaff, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Sand Martins, Swallows, Buzzard, Pied Wagtail, Herring Gull, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Wood Pigeon and Pheasant.

Met plenty of old faces and new, well worth the journey

10 April 2017

Dawlish Warren and Exminster Marshes.

Just out for a few hours this afternoon visiting the Warren looking around the bushes then off for a late visit to the Marshes to see if the reported Short Eared Owl was around.

At the Warren all the birds you would expect with Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock, Wren, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Herring Gull, Linnet, Woodpigeon, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Chiffchaff, House Sparrow, Stonechat, Great Spotted Woodpecker, total of 8 Swallows and 3 Female Wheatear. On the pond there was Mallard, Moorhen, Canada Geese and Little Grebe with 3 chicks which was nice to see.

Off to Exminster, the wind was starting to pick up giving a bit of a chill in the air. I parked up in the middle car park and there was lots of Sand Martins with at least 1 House Martin and a couple of Swallows hawking over the scrapes. Also Mute Swans, Canada geese, Shoveler, Mallard, Teal, Shelduck, Moorhen, Coot, Reed Bunting, Skylark, Pied Wagtail, Cormorant, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Curlew, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Chiffchaff and a couple of Sedge Warbler which was a welcome sound but sadly no SEO!

09 April 2017

Weekend Fun

Saturday morning saw me at Buckfast Abbey on a Beekeeping Course, its a long story so wont bore you why Iam doing this, but would say Iam enjoying every minute of it and meet some very nice people!

I decided to go to Topsham in the afternoon to look for the Spotted Redshank which has turned almost into full breeding plumage. Because Bridge Road was closed I decided to go on the M5 but that was a huge mistake and got stuck in several traffic jams but did eventually make it and parked up at Darts Farm, the place was packed, but not a bird in sight!

Down the cycle path brought Song Thrush, Blackbird, Robin, Great and Blue Tit, Wren, Chiffchaff, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow and Woodpigeon. Apart from a Moorhen and a Little Egret nothing to see and Goosemoor was even worse, the tide was out and it was devoid of birds which was depressing after all the trouble I had to get here.

Along the road towards the hide there was a few birds with Woodpigeon, Greenfinch, Chaffinch, Robin, Wren, House Sparrow and Dunnock. There wasn't the usual amount of birds on the road side of the hide due to the new play park full of noisy kids! I didn't bother going in the hide but could see plenty of birds from the roadside with Shelduck, Mallard, Shoveler, Pintail, Tufted Duck, Teal, Widgeon, Moorhen, Coot, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Starling, House Sparrow, Dunnock, Wren, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Jackdaw and Magpie were on view.

When I got to the Platform the tide was coming in and seemed quite fast, plenty of birds on view which cheered me up with both Black Tailed and Bar Tailed Godwits, Curlew, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Knot, Sanderling, Oystercatcher, Greenshank, Redshank, Shelduck, Mallard, Cormorant and a fly over Kestrel.

As the tide was coming in and the light was still good I went back to Goosemoor to see if the Spotted Redshank was there?

Well thankfully it was and Goosemoor was transformed from a empty place to a packed place full of birds with the Spotted Redshank, Greenshank, Redshank, Black-tailed Godwits some of which were in there summer plumage, Curlew, Shelducks, Little Egrets, Teal, Mallard, Herring and Black-headed Gulls. The trip turned out to be a success and worth going through the traffic agro.

Sunday morning saw me go up onto Dartmoor to look for some Summer Migrants, did my normal journey to Soussons stopping at several places to see what's about. Once at Soussons I walked through until I got to the open moor, over the top to Headland Warren, then to Challacombe and back to the car. Going through Soussons saw Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Redpolls, Robin, Wren, Chiffchaff, Green Woodpecker and a couple of mobile Crossbills high up in the trees. Came out into a scrub area and Chiffchaff, Willow Warblers, Robin, Blackbird and a stunning male Redpoll.

Then on to the open moor with Stonechat, Raven, Skylark, Wood Pigeon and a couple of Buzzard loafing about in the blue sky. They were joined later by 2 more and spent the whole time I was walking just flying around giving the occasional call.

At Headland Warren there was just a Pied Wagtail and a few Chaffinch to see. Onto the path to Challacombe saw Meadow Pipits, Skylark, Pied Wagtails, Wheatear, Wren, Carrion Crows and a single Swallow sat on a fence which was a welcome sight.

At Challacombe there was Song Thrush, Chaffinch, Blue and Great Tits, Chiffchaff, Pied Wagtail, Robin and Blackbird. From Challacombe across the fields to Soussons Farm saw more Skylarks, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Robin, Carrion Crow, Jay, Wren, Carrion Crows, Stonechat and a couple of Swallows hawking for flies. On the way back to the car there was Green Woodpecker, Jay, Robin, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch and Stonechat.

Around Dartmoor saw plenty of Skylarks, Stonechats, Meadow pipits, Buzzards, Raven, Carrion Crows, Jackdaws, Magpies, all the birds you would expect to see on the moor.

Met loads of people this weekend and had a great time, still another week of the holiday to go, should be fun! I hoping to catch up with some Grasshopper Warblers which will mean a early start, have been told the older you are the harder it is to hear the call, lets hope Iam not too old then! hahaha

07 April 2017

Ive been hacked!

Sorry if you received a email from me with "Dropbox", Even though I have all the protection my email contacts have been hacked and everybody on it seems to have had an email, apologies and hopefully it wont happen again!!

06 April 2017

West Charlton and South Huish Marshes

Just had a wonderful day looking around these two reserves. At West Charlton which I visited this morning was just full of bird song, saw 30 Species here and most of them was in full song! The hedgerows up to the hide were just full of birds with Blackcap, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Wren, Cirl Bunting, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits.

Around "Wals scrape" there was Teal, Mallard, Moorhen, Grey Heron. Carrion Crow, Magpie and Woodpigeon in the opposite Hedges with a couple of Buzzards loafing about in the sky.

From the hide looking out to the estuary there was Shelduck, Cormorant, Herring Gulls, Carrion Crows, Little Egret and Redshank.

Also saw Orange Tip and Speckled Wood Butterflies. Have to say this is a fantastic little reserve and well done to those who look after it!

Off to South Huish after I filled the car and myself up with fuel. For some reason I always go the long way to South Huish, but as it was such a lovely day it didn't really matter, but one day I will get it right!

There had been several sightings of white winged gulls amongst other sightings so hoping my luck would be in. Plenty of people about and I nearly choked when I was charged £5 to park up! Later I went for a cuppa and bit of cake at the café and they were a bit steep with the prices £1.80 for a plastic cup of tea!! I will need to come prepared with a flask next time I come here!

Back to the birds which I saw plenty of with 31 species including Iceland and Glaucous Gulls which was with Lesser-black Backed and Herring Gulls of all ages in the field to the left with the sheep. Also in here in the scrape at the bottom was a stunning Black-tailed Godwit in Summer Plumage which unfortunately was to far away to get a decent picture.

In the main marsh area there was Little and Cattle Egret, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Shoveler, Mallard, Teal, Widgeon, Coot, Grey Heron, Cormorant, Rock Pipit, Pied Wagtail, stunning Male Wheatear, Stonechat, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie with fly overs from Buzzard, Kestrel and several Swallows which was a great sight!

Met lots of happy people today including Mike Passman who I met at South Huish, good to have a chat. Mike is full of local knowledge and runs the local website for the area and well worth a look http://thurlestonebaybirds.co.uk/

05 April 2017


I went up to Dartmoor today on the lookout for some summer migrants that had been seen this last couple of days.

First stop was Yarner as there had been a report of a Pied Flycatcher on the 3rd of April, after walking around the reserve it was a no show and I had met several other birders who also missed out, others were also looking for a Tree Pipit which had also been seen in the triangle area next to the reserve, but that also was missing. I did hear a Willow Warbler but didn't see it, I did though see a Redstart on the top path that flew out of a tree and caught an insect then flew back into the trees and went missing. Also saw Siskin, Blue, Great, Coal, Long-tailed and Marsh Tits, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Blackcap, Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Mallard, Mandarin and Raven.

Then off on the road via Widdicombe and Soussons seeing more Ravens, Buzzard, Carrion Crow, Wood Pigeon, Stock Dove, Magpie, Blackbird, Robin, House Sparrow, Skylark and Stonechat.

Stopped off at Challacombe Farm for a walk around, saw Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Robin, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Chaffinch, House Sparrow, Meadow Pipit and a Reed Bunting.

Saw a few Brimstones, Common Lizards out in the sun and plenty of Wood Ants out gathering food at Yarner.

Plenty of birders and other humans out on the moor enjoying the sun and a pleasure to meet you all!

03 April 2017

Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers

I've been looking to find some LSW at both Dunsford and Yarner but hardly a sniff and then today I saw 3 all within half an hour, just like London busses!!

Saw a male and female not far from the bridge and another male further up the river, one male posed for me but the other two birds were always on the move.

Also saw Dipper, Grey Wagtail, Robin, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Green Woodpecker, Woodpigeon and a Buzzard loafing about in the sky. Good to bump into David Price again and plenty of other humans enjoying the reserve.

Seeing the LSW was certainly a joy and a privilege to find 3!!

02 April 2017

Aylesbere, Seaton and Exminster Marshes.

Had a great day out today, started off at Aylesbere, then off to Seaton Marshes and finishing off at Exminster Marshes.

Aylesbere is a great place to go bird watching, it has a diverse range of habitat although most people see it as heathland it has plenty of woodland and scrubland which gives the reserve a wide range of birds from Dartford Warblers on the heath to Green Woodpeckers in the Copse. Saw 3 Males and 1 Female Dartford Warblers today, although great views they were always on the move, also saw Stonechats, Linnets, Blackbird, Robins, Dunnock, Greenfinch, Wren, Great and Blue Tits, Raven and a Buzzard loafing about in the sky. Plenty of humans about including lots of people on mountain bikes cycling up and down the path, must have been some competition as I have never seen it before. Hope it doesn't happen to much as I wouldn't want to see damage to the paths?

Off then to Seaton Marshes to see what was about, there was very little from the Tower Hide as the tide was up and plenty of people in canoes enjoying themselves! Did see Shelduck, Mallard, Oystercatchers and about 30+ Herring Gulls of various ages.

In Black Hole Marsh there was lots of Shelduck all very aggressive towards each other with several fights going on. Also Pintail, Teal, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Little Egret, Black-headed and Herring Gulls, Black-tailed Godwits some in breeding plumage, Grey Plover, Knot, Oystercatcher, Cormorants, Canada Geese and a couple of Collard Doves.

Around the rest of the reserve there was Starling, Wren, Dunnock, Great and Blue Tits, Magpie, Carrion Crows, Robin, Chiffchaff, Blackbirds, Woodpigeons, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Mallard and some Mute Swans by the activity centre, there was a bit of a nasty scrap between two Cobs which brought a bit of a crowd, not sure how it ended but not something I would want to watch!

Then off home with a stop at Exminster Marshes, I walked the full circle from the RSPB car park with Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Teal, Shoveler, Mallard, Widgeon, Coot, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Black-tailed Godwit, Curlew, Lapwing, Herring Gull, Blue and Great Tit, wren, Robin, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Skylark, Pheasant, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk and a Peregrine sat in the pylon. Also I saw my first Swallow of the year which passed over the car park as I parked up which was just great to see!

Plenty of flowers about with one of my favourites the "Cuckoo Flower" out in force at Exminster, saw a few Butterflies today but all were Peacocks which was a surprise, thought I would see some different ones but not today!!

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