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29 April 2021

Dorset

Went up to Dorset today as the weather was good, first stop was Cerne Abbas to see what Butterflies were on the main hill with the Giant Man, normally I visit in the first/Second week of May but putting in a extra visit.

Double figures of Grizzled Skippers, have seen these before but not been able to get a picture, lucky this time with a willing subject, there was a couple of Dingy Skippers and that was that!

Plenty of Wild Flowers with stacks of Cowslips and a few Early Purple Orchids, few birds with the only excitement being a Raven having a scrap with a Buzzard.

The afternoon saw me going to Maiden Castle to look for Corn Bunting but hardly any birds at all around the Castle, couple of Stonechat and that was that. There was loads of Gulls and Crows following a Plough in a joining field but nothing you wouldn't expect.

A couple of Butterflies here with Peacock and Small Copper, all quiet on all fronts!



26 April 2021

Dingy Skippers

While on the footpath between Seaton and Lyme Regis found several very mobile Dingy Skippers, the one on the left I think is a Male?

The one on the right with a damaged wing looks like a female but as normal open to be told Iam wrong!



26 April 2021

Green Hairstreak

Walking on the coastal path between Seaton and Lyme Regis I found this Green Hairstreak sat on a hedge, stunning little butterfly.

Difficult to sex this butterfly with its wings closed.

This brings my tally to 16, Green Hairstreak, Wall, Dingy and Grizzled Skipper, Small, Large and Green-veined White, Brimstone, Orange Tip, Red Admiral, Holly Blue, Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Comma, Small Copper and Peacock.



26 April 2021

Wall

Went to Seaton today and walked along the harbour to look at the fishing boats, equipment and anything in the harbour.

While at the harbour entrance this Wall Butterfly appeared and settled on a Dandelion, looked a little damaged on its right forewing.

To me it looks like a female



24 April 2021

Meath Quarry

Saturday afternoon I popped into Meath on my way home, plenty of bird song with all the usual singers.

Few Butterflies, Orange Tip, Brimstone and Speckled Wood and best of all was my first Large Red Damselfly of the year, hopefully first of many!



24 April 2021

Grasshopper Warblers

Went to a Hot Spot for these brilliant birds, one of my favourites!

Managed to get there earlier this year and as the sun was coming up.The bird song was at full tilt in the morning sun and in the middle of Willow Warblers, Robin, Blackbird, Song Thrush to name a few the Reeling of Grasshopper Warblers, unmistakable sound!

Heard 6 reeling birds but there was probably more, most stayed in their respective bushes but one came out and gave me a good show, such a great morning, sun, flask of tea and bird song!



23 April 2021

Grizzled Skipper at Holden

On Friday on the way home from Dunsford I popped into the Butterfly walk at Holden to see what was about, it was a bit windy so started to walk back through the bottom middle bit and a to my amazement a Grizzled Skipper landed at my feet but a s soon as I lifted my camera up it was off, I managed to locate it again but it was off again.

I looked for it for about a hour and then gave up, I also popped in again today but I failed to see it but another guy, think his name is Paul said he had seen one down the bottom but was very mobile.

Sure I will catch up with one in Dorset, just wanted one at Holden in a picture, as they are very scarce there apparently?



23 April 2021

Dunsford Woods

I was supposed to be up to Dorset on Friday but life got in the way it was quite winy so thought being in the woods would be sheltered, well it was to a point.

I parked up the Meadow end and when I got out of the car the sound of Bird Song was just wonderful, all the usual stuff with Blackcaps on overdrive!

There was so many wild flowers there with the odd Orchid starting to come up.

A few Butterflies about and I finally managed to get a picture of a Holly Blue which was great.

Good to see David Price and have a chat, he looks after the nest boxes on site which seem to be doing ok



22 April 2021

Death by Strimmer

While at Exminster Marshes on Thursday, as I drove into the car park I was shocked to see that they have cut all the wild flowers down??

I tackled the Warden and apparently it is to make the stones visible so the cars dont hit them? So why did they cut behind them??

The Warden said the guy that did it went to far so why didn't they properly train and supervise?

I tried to put the pictures up on their website and it was blocked and also the comment I put up about it being blocked, cant cope with some negative news!

Come on RSPB you are supposed to be a conservation group!



22 April 2021

Short eared Owl

While at Exminster Marshes today I was fortunate to see the Short eared Owl that had been around for the last couple of days.

It was quite distant when I first saw it and with the help of Rob with his scope I got some good views.

Luck came my way again as it flew towards us, quite high and being chased by Crows who weren't to amused by its presence. It was quite bright and was worried I had the camera on the right settings but managed to get a few half decent shots.

Great to see everybody, especially Dave B, Rob and Steph Murphy and John W,( good to see you out John )



21 April 2021

Small White

Yesterday I came across plenty of White butterflies, this one confused me a bit with the extra Black around the top edge of the wings that looked like a GVW, but a GVW 1st brood doesnt have spots which makes this a Small White and thanks MR C for the help.

Today I went to Holden again, a bit windy and not much about, but managed to find 2 fresh Pearl-bordered Fritillaries between the path and the trees.



20 April 2021

Red Admiral

Found this very worn Red Admiral at Exminster Marshes today, looks like its a over wintered Butterfly.

This brings it to 11 with Holly Blue, Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Orange Tip, Green-veined White, Large White, Brimstone, Speckled Wood, Comma, Small Copper and Peacock.



19 April 2021

Marsh Tit

Couple of days ago while walking around various places, I came across these two little stars, wasn't sure if they were Willow or Marsh?

My hearing is not the best so with a little help from Kev R he identified them as Marsh Tits from the pale patch on the bill.

I made a quick escape and let them get on with their nest building. Great little birds and lets hope they are successful!



19 April 2021

Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Visited a few places today looking for Butterflies, went to Aish Tor on Dartmoor and got lucky with seeing 2 fresh Pearl-bordered Fritillaries chasing each other about.

I also saw a Holly Blue but wouldn't settle for a picture.

Looks like they have done a lot of work here and plenty of Violets in view so hopefully plenty of Butterflies later in the year.



17 April 2021

Green-veined White

Found this Male Green Veined White at Exminster Marshes.

Again a butterfly found on Dandelions which shows the importance of this plant to insects in the early part of the year.



17 April 2021

Whinchats

On Dartmoor today found two rather flighty Whinchats, both males in their usual nesting areas.

Plenty of Wheatears, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks but sadly no sound of any Cuckoos or sight of any Redstarts although both have been seen on Dartmoor today



15 April 2021

Yarner

Went to Yarner this morning which was quite busy with humans of all sorts, some with dogs attached and some annoyingly free running, some people cant read!

Also annoyingly the Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers have moved from their tree they were making hole in, but why am I surprised? I shouldn't be as groups of humans stood at the bottom of the tree looking up, some with Bins, some with Cameras and others just looking.

They have moved to the top and the humans have moved as well but hopefully where they are now they wont be disturbed, I didn't join the group and away from the madding crowd I was joined by the Female LSW who even gave me a tune as well, beautiful birds even better when you have them to yourselves!

Also on show was several Pied Flycatchers who looked very smart also singing away. lots of Bird Song, just a joy to listen to!



15 April 2021

Small Copper

Went to Dawlish Warren this afternoon looking for a Small Copper, I have been several times after it had been seen a few days ago but the weather hadn't been the best. Phil C text me to say they were showing well and off I went. In the end I found Three.

That makes 7 with Peacock, Speckled Wood, Brimstone, Orange Tip, Comma and Large White.



14 April 2021

Peregrines at Exminster Marshes

Its been noticeable the extra activity of the Peregrines at Exminster and hunting from the Pylons, couple of days ago I saw one rob a Crow of a Slow Worm on the ground. Several other sightings of them on and flying from the Pylons, have been told they are the birds from the Church in Exeter but not sure how they know that?

Today there was two birds, the bigger bird pushed off the smaller one off the Pylon, the smaller one ( Pic on left ) has a white breast while the other has markings up to the neck and a lot bigger.

Is it male and female or Adult and Juvenile?



14 April 2021

Large White

Originally thought this was a Small White due to its size but after some help from Phil C its turned out to be a female Large White.

It was on a path at Exminster Marshes. Did see Orange tip, Speckled Wood, Peacock and Comma as well along the back path, but Butterflies a bit slow so far this year



07 April 2021

Pintail

Walking around Exminster Marshes today and to my surprise there is still a pair of Pintail.

I might be wrong but normally arnt they moved on by now?

They both looked stunning and did the characteristic tails up like no other!



06 April 2021

Dartmoor

Went up to Dartmoor today which was windy and cold, intermittent showers, hail, snow and sun.

I visited Yarner, Trendlebere, Emsworthy Mire, Soussons, Challacombe Farm, and the high Moor.

Soussons was a waste of time because the wind was blowing the trees around, Yarner was good as it was in the shelter, good views of the Lesser-spotted Woodpecker as well as the Greater-spotted Woodpecker, Good views of Pied Flycatchers but sadly distant.

The High Moors held the best views of Birds as due to the wind they were all on the ground, many Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Stonechats and Wheatears. The later in good numbers on the rd up from Challacombe farm.

Many Corvids on the floor, especially Jackdaws but also Rook, Carrion Crow and Ravens, Magpies and a solitary Jay also seen.

Several Buzzards seen sat down out of the wind as well as Woodpigeon, Blackbirds, Song Thrush, Chaffinch, Chiffchaff, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tits, Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Pied Wagtail and House Sparrow.

Good to meet David Bailey who was taking shots of the LSW at Yarner. I would recommend you visit his blog https://www.thehallofeinar.com/



03 April 2021

5 up

Managed to find another 2 new butterflies for the year!

A female Orange Tip on some Periwinkle, found this on a country lane at the back of Kenton, flower and Butterfly looked stunning in the sun.

The Comma was one of two seen at Dawlish Warren by the entrance bushes.



02 April 2021

Under a Rock

While doing some Beach combing on Dawlish Warren Beach I picked up a rock and found all sorts of goodies!

Apart from Shore Crabs there was a Worm Pipefish,see top left picture. Five-bearded Rockling with the Crab, top right picture.

The fast moving Butterfish which I put into a pot so I could take a picture, stunning looking fish.

Its amazing what you can find out there, I like to go in an area about 2/3rds down the beach in a flat area, lots of flat stones from buildings which are easy to lift up.

I also found plenty of other interesting stuff such as Green Sea Urchins that where alive that normally would be washed up dead. This an area that just keeps giving!



02 April 2021

That makes it 3

Its a bit slow on the Butterfly front this year but made it to 3 with a Speckled Wood, in fact like London Busses, you dont see any for ages and then 3 came along together!

This time last year I had 5, one of them was the Large Tort at Portland which due to lockdown i have missed this year.

So that is Peacock, Brimstone and Speckled Wood, long way to go yet!



01 April 2021

Lesser-spotted Woodpeckers

While I have been out walking I have been lucky enough to see several Lesser-spotted Woodpeckers, because I've been at work supporting others get exercise the best views have always come when I haven't had the camera, but this last couple of days I have been able to catch up with them.

All quite mobile and going around in pairs, many pictures because of looking into the sky have turned out as silhouettes but some turnout ok.

Did see and hear other Woodpeckers and its times like this that the distinctive calls and drums of the three species become evident.

Stay safe out there!



© Simon Thurgood 2021
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