[Simon Thurgood Images] [Simon Thurgood Images]


30 April 2019

Out and About

Spent the last couple of days on Exminster Marshes and Dartmoor in between doing domestic stuff.

Originally went to Exminster to see if the Cattle Egrets were about and try and get a pic while they were in their breeding plumage but unfortunately they weren't to be seen.

I did though see a Hobby which originally seen by another birder from the middle car park, I went up the Drove and watched it from the end gate, it was hawking over the canal, then gaining height and then returning and doing a circuit, watched it doing this four times before I lost it.

Went looking around the scrapes for Yellow Wagtails but none to see but did see Pied Wagtail, Blue and Great Tit, Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Sedge, Reed and Cettis Warbler, Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon, Mallard, Shelduck, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Coot, Moorhen, Reed Bunting, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Robin, Blackbird, Swallow, Skylark, Linnet, House Sparrow and Kestrel.

Today in between doing other stuff went up on Dartmoor and visited various places, amazed to run into a small flock of Guinea Fowl on the road, a stunning Male Redstart, saw several Whinchat, Wheatear, Swallow, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Stonechat, Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Jackdaw, Rook, Raven, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Linnet, Wren, House Sparrow, Chaffinch and heard both Curlew and Cuckoo.

Good to see Dave H and Peter T at Exminster and bumped into some birders from Kingsbridge today which was nice, hope you had a productive day!

28 April 2019

Exminster Marshes

After a bit or bad weather had the need to get out for a walk so decided to go back to Exminster Marshes to see what was about, when I arrived it started to drizzle and thought about doing something else but as I was driving I bumped into Kieth B who said there was some Swifts over the Canal and he had seen a Hobby about.

I parked up at the Fisherman Car Park and went up on the Canal and sure enough there was at least 6 but could have been a lot more as they were coming in over the hedge from the river. It was also my first time since my op to use my big camera equipment and it was entertaining trying to follow these fast flying birds around the sky, shame it was so dark with the clouds.

I turned around and after bumping into David B I parked up in the RSPB car park and walked back down the rd. After seeing plenty of reports of Yellow/ Citrine / Blue Headed Wagtails I thought a good look around the scrapes was in order but the only Wagtails were Pied.

While walking down the road with Dave I saw what I thought at first was a Swift, I stupidly said Merlin because it was obviously too big for that, it was a Hobby, probably the one that was seen earlier by Kieth B. It sat on a post by a gate, bit too far for me to get a good pic unlike David who with his scope and phone got some cracking pics which he put on Twitter. The Hobby then flew up and caught something which was small, possibly a Sand Martin?

Plenty of other birds about, Swallow, House and Sand Martin, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Grey Heron, Little and Cattle Egret, Mallard, Shelduck, Shoveler, Coot, Moorhen, Lapwing, Whimbrel, Oystercatcher,Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Reed, Sedge and Cettis Warblers, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Robin, Blackbird, Wren and Starling.

The Cattle Egrets are in Summer Plumage and look really smart but unfortunately today was unable to get close enough to get a pic due to some disruption by other humans, certainly going to go back over the next couple of days to try again.

Good to meet up with Kieth and walk around the reserve with Dave B, also met lots of other humans, shame the weather was a little better but there is always tomorrow!

25 April 2019

Exminster Marshes

Early start and nearly regretting it straight away due to the heavy showers. The weather forecast was supposed to be clear?

Parked up at the RSPB car park and did a circular walk via Turf. Lots of singing birds when the sun came out and as soon as it rained it went dead quiet. Lots of Sedge Warblers giving it there all to be joined by Cettis, Reed Warblers, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warblers, Wren, Blackbird and Robin on the song front.

Bird song then started from a base of a bush and took ages to see any type of bird, my hearing isn't the best these days and started to think it was a Lesser Whitethroat, it quickly appeared on a twig at the top and disappeared almost as quick but I managed to get off a couple of pics and the more I looked at them the more it looks like a Common Whitethroat, what ever it is, it was nice to find it.

Swallows, House Martins, Skylarks and Meadow Pipits, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Lapwing, Curlew, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Kestrel, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Shelduck, Shoveler, Teal, Mallard, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Starling, House Sparrow, Cormorant, Woodpigeon and a Osprey to finish the morning off.

Good to meet Dave S and Dave H as well as quite a few other birders walking about the place.

24 April 2019


Instead of going south yesterday I went north to Somerset and spent time looking for Dragonflies, hoping to see my first for the year, I was lucky to see several at Shapwick and Greylake, unfortunately they wouldn't sit for a picture but still great to see. I could sit and watch these fantastic insects for ages.

When at Shapwick I did a circular walk using the "Sweet Track" from the main drag to "Decoy lake and Hide".

Then spending some time in the hide, walking back along the track then going on another track to the road and on to "Canada Farm" and after spending time in the hide back to the car using the road.

The "Sweet Track" has been developed and they have cut some more trees back to allow the lower growth to develop along the stream and boggy areas, plenty of Butterflies, Damselflies and a couple of Dragons which looked like Hairy Hawkers. I also saw one at Greylake when I walked around the "Reed Bed Loop".

Although not paying much attention to them it was hard not to notice all the birds about, especially the singing Warblers such as Reed, Cettis, Sedge, Blackcap, Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Great and Blue Tit, Pied Wagtail and Chaffinch. Also heard Cuckoo and Great-spotted Woodpecker and while in the hide at Decoy saw 4 Marsh Harriers, Grey Heron, Tufted Duck and Mallard.

The lake at Decoy was full of Lilly's and will be a great show in a couple of weeks time, this is how I remember Stover Lake before they ruined it!

22 April 2019


Went up to Haldon to look around the Butterfly Walk which follows some of the Electricity pylons to add to this years tally of Butterflies and wasn't disappointed.

Saw good numbers of Pearl-boarded Fritillarys, Large White, Green Veined White, Speckled Wood, Peacock, Orange Tip and Brimstone which takes my tally to 11. If the weathers good tomorrow may go south to see if i can pick out a Wall and Green Hairstreak?

21 April 2019


Living the dream this weekend! Dartmoor was just a stunning place to be this last couple of days, great weather, stunning scenery, great wildlife and a large bunch of great humans put the final touches to it. A bit frustrating not to have the use of my main camera equipment but in the end it didn't stop the fun.

Started Saturday morning as I rolled up in the Emsworthy Mire Car Park on Dartmoor, as I got out of the car you could hear a Curlew calling between the car Park and Saddle Tor, a lady was walking her dog coming down the path which obviously set the alarm call off, might add the dog was on a lead and the owner was behaving herself, didn't see the bird but great to hear.

At this point I also bumped into Paul T who had just come back from a walk around the reserve to say he had heard a Cuckoo, so after chewing the cud with Paul off I went. Just as I got to the gate I could hear a Cuckoo in the far left corner and managed to pick it out sat in a tree so made my way over to that area of the reserve, as I made it to the far side and sat by the wall another bird started calling on the other side of the barn so that was two Cuckoos! Brilliant, the first bird then flew off and I walked around the higher side of the reserve. Plenty of Wheatears about and some very stunning Male birds, also Meadow Pipits and Skylarks filling the air with song. When I made it to the Barn there was a stunning Male Redstart singing in one of the large Trees, it came down for a second or two on the wall close to me, ow for my camera!

Also saw some Ravens that were dancing in the air with each other, Buzzard, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch, Woodpigeon, Stonechat, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Wren.

Plenty of humans about and saw Steph and Rob M at a distance and got a wave.

Off through the holiday traffic to Challacombe to spend the afternoon here doing one of my favourite walks, circular walk from Challacombe to Headland Warren Farm by the path and return by the road, started off below the pond and walked up the stream, so many birds here and trying to work out what was here was fun, through the cacophony of calls (big word for me) I picked up Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Wren, Robin and a Garden Warbler and it took me ages to get a visual. Plenty of Swallows, Jay, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Raven, Jackdaw, Buzzard, Woodpigeon, Chiffchaff, Blackbird, House Sparrow, Stonechat, Pied Wagtail, Great- spotted Woodpecker, Redstart, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting and Wheatears.

Did have a funny moment here as I left the farm up the track towards Headland Warren I was joined by a group of 4 Orange Pigs, quite friendly and just checking me out, they freaked a few other people out though, very funny!

Today Sunday went for a walk on the Two Moors Way from just down from the Warren Pub to Hameldown Beacon and back, taking in Birch, Hookney and Hameldown Tor. Also visited Grimspound, love history and going around these places, was impressed with the stream that goes through the site, the little pools were full of Newts and a few other water animals such as Water Boatmen. The water just so clear and good enough to drink, also saw a few Common Lizards, plenty of Beetles such as the Green Tiger Beetle, loads of small Brown Moths, no idea what they were.

Plenty of Wheatears about Grimspound, Skylarks singing everywhere, only blocked out once by some idiot with a Drone, he must have heard me swearing because it moved on. Also saw Buzzards, Ravens, Stonechats and Meadow Pipits.

Had such a great couple of days and met so many nice humans out enjoying the great weather, deep joy! hahahaha

19 April 2019

Bird Song

Out early today enjoying the weather. Great to see so many summer migrants out and about.

Swallows seem to be pairing up, plenty of chatter as pairs fly, many around Powderham and the river Kenn as well as Exminster Marshes which I had a good walk around.

Also at Powderham estate as well as Mute Swan and Canada Geese there was a Egyptian Goose, Shelduck, Grey Heron, Mallard, Coot and Moorhen. Plenty of smaller birds including a Reed Warbler which was a first for me this year. Also seen Woodpigeon, Rook, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Jackdaw, Robin, Blackbird, Wren, Blue and Great Tit, Goldfinch, Pheasant and a lone Little Egret in a field just past the church.

At Exminster Marshes I parked up in the RSPB car park and did a circular walk via Turf. As soon as I got out of the car you could hear the Reed Warblers, just a fantastic sound! Many of the birds in full song with Cettis in full explosive song in several places around the reserve. Reed Warblers mainly on the back path and a couple of Sedge Warblers on the rd by the canal, to add to this Blackcaps, Goldfinch, Robin and Wren giving it their all, it all sort of died down after midday, probably worn out hahahaha

Still a few ducks about with Mallard, Shelduck, Shoveler, Teal and Wigeon. Also Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Coot, Moorhen, Grey Heron, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Skylark, Lapwing, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Dunnock, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Pied Wagtail and Pheasant.

At Turf, plenty of people but few birds on the River, couple of Curlew, Cormorant, Shelduck and the usual Gulls.

Plenty of Orange Tip Butterflies about with some Peacock and a single Speckled Wood plus a new one for the year a Green-veined White which makes 9 species.

Plenty members of the human race about, good to meet Bob amongst many other birders, loads of others about walking, running, riding bikes, families, single people, you name it and they were out, happy to say all happy, all smiling and no miserable gits found, thank god!

18 April 2019

Allowed out!

Well after 8 days finally got out in the car and after a Bacon Baguette at Holden Grill ended up at Middle Tremblebere car park.

I didn't take my usual camera equipment as it weighs to heavy to carry around after a Hernia op. I could tell the difference between my usual D500 and my old D90 and certainly miss having it and looking forward until next Wednesday when hopefully I will have moved on enough to carry it without doing myself any damage.

Being out in the fresh air is a big lift as I was starting to climb the walls.

Saw lots of stuff today and great to see new summer migrants such as Willow Warbler, Pied Flycatcher and Redstart, also the sound of Tree Pipit and possibly a Garden Warbler but unfortunately didn't see. Other birders saw Yellowhammers but sadly I did not.

Plenty of the resident birds with Wren, Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock, Great, Blue, Coal and Long-tailed Tits, Raven, Buzzards, Goldcrest, Woodpigeon, with Canada Geese on the reservoir and some Swallows Hawking over the water. I did also see and hear both LSW and GSW, some other people were lucky enough to get some photos but I was not.

A few Butterflies, mostly Brimstone, Speckled Wood and a new one for this year a Holly Blue, due to being laid up a bit behind on the butterfly front and only 8 species so far.

Great to meet up with Steph M, Patrick H and plenty of other humans who were good company.

Sad though, to see some people put others down, you dont need to blow out other peoples candles to make yours burn brighter!

13 April 2019

Wild Flowers

Having a bit of free time on my hands has given me the opportunity to go through pictures not yet put up on my website.

A new flower for me a "Pink Purslane". This stunning little plant was found at South Efford Reserve along the path to the Bird Hide in South Devon a couple of days ago puts my species list up to 185.

Flowers are not a strong point for me and trying to Id plants and flowers often lead me to emailing more knowledgeable people as while I own several books the picture on the page never seems to look like the plant I have in my hand!

I have the Flowers split into 6 sections, Orchids, Blue, Green, Red, White and Yellow flowers in a attempt to make it easier to look for, not sure it works!

12 April 2019


Spent a couple of days in Hospital for a Hernia Operation, was supposed to be a day case but because of delays and issues with another patient my op finished late and was too late for me to go home which was fine as I was well looked after.

Dont care what anybody says the NHS is wonderful, iam sure you can find fault in any organisation but the people in there where all trying their best to do the best with what they had. Plenty of locals I know from Dawlish to people from all over the world, love listening to all the different dialects, from Devon, Irish, Spanish, Polish, Indian to Filipino amongst many others.

Because its a Hernia I cant lift anything or drive for a while but hopefully I will get out for a walk with my smaller camera, I can always use the train. Thanks for all your best wishes.

09 April 2019

Emsworthy Mire

After a bit of a late start finally made it to Emsworthy at about 11.30am to hopefully see the Great Grey Shrike and wasn't disappointed.

Managed several sightings, all distant but finally managed to get a reasonable shot. It was still there at 3pm when I left. The weather wasn't the best, quite grey and the occasional drop of rain, but you get what it is from the picture.

There was also reports of Redstart by the barn, but was unable to locate them after a hour of looking, Did see Jackdaw, Raven, Carrion Crow, Rook, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Stonechat, Wren, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Pheasant Buzzard and Kestrel.

Great to see everybody, the great and good where there, Dave S, Dave H, Ian T, Dave P, Charlie F amongst others whose names I forget ( sorry ) and good to meet Bill D. Good atmosphere about the place with everybody in good cheer which is always a positive point!

07 April 2019

Weekends Fun

Had a good weekend out and about although it didn't start off that good when I got to my car to find a parking ticket on it. The guy got to the car before me, that will teach me to stay in bed that extra half an hour!

Spent Saturday around Exminster Marshes and the River Exe between Turf and Powderham and on Sunday I spent some time on Dartmoor which I will come to later.

Before I got to Powderham I had a look at Cofton Steps, the tide was high and it was quite rough and any birds on the water was lost in the waves. I parked up at Powderham Church underneath the Rookery which was in full noisy mode, there was also a flock of Goldfinch trying and failing to compete in the noise levels.

Up over the bridge and on the path to Turf, on the fields plenty of Carrion Crows, Magpie, Rook, Canada Geese, Oystercatcher, Mallard, Pheasant, Dunnock, Robin and Goldfinch.

The River seemed to have calmed down and the wind had died down a little.

The tide had turned and it was going out, waders such as Redshank, Oystercatchers and Curlew were on the tide line and joined by Shelduck and Carrion Crows on the mud.

Also Cormorant, Grey Heron and Little Egret flying around with Mallard, Teal and a rather sick looking Brent Goose sat on the mud close to Turf. I was looking for a Osprey which had been seen on the Exe this last couple of days, which I didn't see, but I did see my first Sandwich Tern up close, it was flying around just below the Turf, then flew down River to the Warren.

Around the Reserve, fields and Road I saw Carrion Crow, Rook, Jackdaw, Magpie, Canada Geese, Shoveler, Teal, Wigeon, Mallard, Moorhen, Coot, Mute Swan, Little Egret, Grey Heron, Sand Martins, Swallows, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Blackbird, Reed Bunting, Chiffchaff, Robin, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Wren, Woodpigeon, Cettis Warbler, Lapwing and a Common Sandpiper in the field between the Reserve and Turf, it flew up as I got to the gate.

Out of the wind it was quite warm and Common Lizard about with Butterflies out such as Orange Tip, Speckled Wood and Peacock, loads of Bumble Bees and flies about, especially close to any water.

Sunday as I've already said I decided to go to Dartmoor, it was grey, misty and occasional drizzle. I had decided to do a circular walk around Challacombe Farm, Warren Farm and back down the farm but had to give up after a while as my knee started to play up, so did some Bird Watching from the car.

Saw plenty of Corvids with some impressive Ravens, Carrion Crows, Jackdaw, Rook, Magpie, Jay, Blackbird, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, House Sparrow, Woodpigeon, Pied Wagtail, Stonechat, Chaffinch and some very smart looking Wheatears.

Met loads of humans, walking, running, on bikes, families, with Dogs and on Horses. All friendly and its been good to stop for a chat.

05 April 2019

Here, There and Everywhere!

Considering the weather, domestics etc I've seen some good stuff this week and met some great humans.

Early Monday found me at East Soar Car park wrapping up warm as compared with last week it was a bit of a shock to the system, I did think the more I walked around the more sheltered it would become but sadly this was not to work out. I did a circular walk via the farm, a small diversion to Starhole but it was "blown out" by the wind that was coming straight up the valley and nothing to see, back to the car park via middle Soar, this was the best bit, although it was cold and windy there was a couple of smart Yellow Hammers on top of the hedge, there was also plenty of Skylark singing, Meadow Pipit, Linnet, Wren, Blackbird, Great and Blue Tit, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Raven, Pheasant and plenty of Herring Gull sat on the fields.

I then went to hopefully a less windy South Efford to the Reserve and walk around to the Hide. Certainly a lot better here, to the point a few Butterflies out with Small Tort, Peacock and Speckled Wood flying around. A few birds about with Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Rook, Magpie, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Grey Heron, Canada Geese, Mallard, Shelduck, Teal,Coot, Pheasant, Woodpigeon, Cormorant, Herring Gull, Dunnock, Wren, Blackbird, Robin, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits. As it was low tide there was very little in front of the hide and on the River there was only a few Gulls and a Red and Greenshank, Mallard, Little Egret and a couple of Grey Wagtails.

On the way home I popped into Stover Park which continues to disappoint me, hardly any Ducks on the middle, Mallard,1 pair of Tufted and some Mandarins, didn't even see any, GCgrebes?? I will look forward to them finishing all the work and lets see what happens. All the usual birds there and not surprising considering all the food that is being put down. all corn, surprised the Squirrels can move or the Pigeons can take off!!!

On Tuesday morning while eating my way through my Bacon Baguette at Holden Grill I picked up a message from Lee Collins that he had found a Red-rumped Swallow at Dawlish Warren so off I went, thankfully I got there before the rush, lucky that this is my 2nd of the year and this one was above my head, brilliant! A lot of twisting and turning later I got a few quite respectable shots, no awards but good enough for me, apart from the Swallow there was a couple of Sand Martins and at least 1 House Martin, so a good show around.

Decided to get out of the way and go to Exminster Marshes and see whats about so did a circular walk, good to see both Sand Martins and Swallows, Lapwing, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Mute Swan, Canada Geese, Grey Heron, Shelduck, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Mallard, Coot, Moorhen, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Dunnock, Cettis Warbler, Chiffchaff, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Pied Wagtail and Cormorant.

At Turf there was a few birds about even though it was cold and windy, in fact it was cold enough for me to sit inside to have my coffee and cake instead of sitting by the River Exe to have it. A few up close Oystercatcher which as soon as I got the camera out flew off, Mallard, Teal, Curlew, Godwit, Cormorant, Redshank, Shelduck and Little Egret.

On Wednesday after doing some domestic stuff I paid a visit to Labrador Bay to see the Cirl Buntings, it was great t see so many and the results of all the hard work that goes on here, you hear a lot about the feeding that goes on in Torbay but not enough about the work here, well done to everybody, counted 22 of various ages and sexes, just brilliant!

With more domestic stuff Thursday I managed to get out for a walk along the sea front to Coryton Cove, plenty of Gulls about, a few Tunstones, Great-crested Grebe off the wall as well as a Seal getting some air, best of all was the sound of chicks on the cliff behind the Beach Huts, Kestrels! I think this is a new site as not seen them here before, hope the gulls leave them alone!

Today I went over to Topsham while it was dry before shopping in Exeter, parked up close to the bridge and went to Goosemoor and to my happy surprise a Great White Egret had flown in, a bit distant but good enough for me.

Around the roads, reserve and the platform I saw Sand Martins, Shoveler, Gadwall, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Curlew, Godwits, Redshank, Avocet, Canada Geese, Greylag, Mute Swan, Herring and Lesser-black Backed Gulls, Chiffchaff, Woodpigeon, Great and Blue Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Robin and Blackbird.

Weather aside had a great week, great to catch up with Dave S, Lee C and Steve amongst many others.

© Simon Thurgood 2022
Images on this website may not be put as any part of any collection without any prior written permission.