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30 May 2017

Wood White

I went to Meeth Quarry today with the sole purpose of seeing a Wood White, it is a butterfly I had seen before but could never get one to settle. I wasn't sure about the weather today but off I went, the weather actually played a major part in my success because it was dull they weren't flying all over the place and the 6 that I saw sat nicely.

Did bump into a local expert who directed me to were most of them were, you just have to be careful and look were you are putting those size nines!

Lots of birds about, all that you would expect in woodland glades.

Well worth the journey!



21 May 2017

Chasing Butterflies

Managed to get out today for a short time, I went up to the Butterfly walk at Exeter Forest. Nice amount of sun, but was a bit windy and many butterflies were staying close to the ground, many of them had damaged wings which was a result of the previous last weeks bad weather.

Saw plenty of Pearl-Boarded and Small PB Fritillaries and several trying to mate, Brimstone, Peacock, White sp on the wing, Speckled Wood, Painted Lady and a Dingy Skipper.

Also saw a Adder, Dragonfly Sp possibly a Skimmer and several different types of interesting Bumble Bees (must get better at taking pics of these!)

There was an organised group who came to see the butterflies as well as a few other individuals who clearly were experts, I try hard on these occasions not to show my self up and say very little. Nice to meet everybody and must get up there again sometime!



14 May 2017

Stood next to a tree!

Original plan was to go to Exminster Marshes to see if I could find a Lesser Whitethroat but luckily I checked Birdguides to see that a possible Eastern Subalpine Warbler was at the Warren so off I went.

Arrived to find plenty of people stood, gazing at a Hawthorn tree but no bird, good to see people I hadn't seen for a while so time well spent having a chat, then a few waving hands and people staring at another tree with bins. We all went up and as I got there it flew off to the woods and then flew into another tree, a Hawthorn by the back path, plenty of people got bins on it, could I see it??. It was like the golden shot-"right abit left abit up, up, right its just there!" "Simon its there! Right of the trunk!" "Where I cant see it??" Then suddenly I clicked onto it and managed to get a few crap shots.

I also saw Cirl Bunting, Whitethroat, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Blackbird, Robin, Dunnock, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, House Sparrow, Reed Warbler, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Woodpigeon, Herring Gulls and a Great-spotted Woodpecker.

As I didn't think I would do any better I thought I would go up to the Marshes and continue my search for the Lesser Whitethroat. As I got to the carpark you could hear plenty of bird song and down the path there was Dunnock, Blackbird, Linnet, Whitethroat, Blue and Great Tits, Robin, Sedge and Reed Warblers, Chiffchaff, Skylark, Lapwing and Carrion Crows, did see a Peregrine a few times and my first Swifts of the year, 9 in fact as well as Swallows and House Martins, plenty of insects about, the best being some Hairy Hawkers!

Thought I would give the Warren another go and there was still a few people watching a different tree when I got there, stood there for another hour and got a couple of glimpses. You hear the call and its silhouette when it could be seen in the tree, sadly it was getting windy and the sun was right behind the tree, so said my goodbyes and off for tea!

Great to see all the old faces today and some new ones, there's a couple of birders that need to chill out a bit and stop being so "Anal!!!"



09 May 2017

Grasshopper Warbler

Had a good couple of sessions listening and getting the occasional glimpse of these birds.

With a bit of research and a lot of help from friends I finally managed to get some pictures. They were on a typical habitat you would expect of Moor and scrub in Devon, I did also find a bird that was slightly different in colour which threw me a bit but all added to the fun.

I was worried that I wouldn't be able to hear the high pitched call but I managed ok, it was though still difficult to pin down. Only when a bird moved did I stand a chance of getting a picture.

Did see and hear plenty of other birds, several Cuckoos, Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, sound of a Tawny Owl, Reed Bunting, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Wood Pigeon, Lesser Redpoll and Carrion Crow.

Really enjoyed this challenging and rewarding day out.



06 May 2017

Dartmoor

Went up to Dartmoor this afternoon as I was at Buckfast Abbey on a Bee Keeping Course in the morning which Iam really enjoying and would recommend it!

Joined Dartmoor via Bovey Tracy, the weather was crap and thought it might turn into a washout but as I got closer to Challacombe farm it brightened up. Had a good walk around the farm and saw some stunning birds including Redstart, Lesser Redpoll, Chiffchaff, Robin, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Great, Blue, Marsh and Long-tailed Tit, Wren, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Pied and Grey Wagtail, Stonechat and Swallows.

I then jumped in the car and went up to Warren Farm to see if any Whinchats were there, I parked up on the road and did a circular walk, plenty of very smart looking Wheatears, Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, Robin, Stonechats and Reed Buntings but sadly no Whinchats.

Plenty of birds about Dartmoor visible from the car, but typically when I wanted to stop and take a picture there was always an impatient driver behind me! Still I saw Wood Pigeon, Stock and Collard Dove, Jackdaw, Magpie, Jay, Carrion Crow, Raven, Stonechat, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Yellowhammer, Blackbird, Robin, Mistle Thrush, Chaffinch, Wren and Pied Wagtail.

Parts of the moor was busy with the Ten Tors and well done to all those concerned, the Moor was also full of baby animals, Lambs, Calves and Foals which was a joy to see.



01 May 2017

Around the Exe

Spent time around the River Exe today, starting off at Dawlish Warren which was rather wet when I arrived, plenty of birds around looking a little bedraggled in the rain. Still in good voice though!

A few Whitethroats about, the first I've seen this year also saw Stonechat, Linnet, Chiffchaff, Robin, Blackbird, Blue, Great and Long-tailed Tit, Swallow, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw and Carrion Crow. On the pond there was Canada Geese, Mallard and Moorhen. Plenty of birds on the golf course, especially around the flooded tees with good numbers of Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Shelduck, Canada Geese and a few Whimbrel. There was Whimbrel all over the reserve, in front of the hide and on the beach and several flying around.

Out to sea there was Cormorant and some Great Crested Grebes with Herring and Black-headed Gulls flying around, a few Turnstones on the sea defences. Thought it was a bit quiet out to sea.

In front of the hide there was Curlew, Black and Bar-tailed Godwits, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Brent Geese, Whimbrel, Cormorants, Great-black Backed, Herring and Black-headed Gulls and a Sandwich Tern.

Not that many people about but good to see Lee for a quick chat!

Then off to Darts Farm in Topsham to have a look around the reserve. Darts Farm was packed with shoppers and only just got a parking place. Down the cycle path saw Magpie, Blackbird, Jackdaw, House Sparrow, Robin, Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, Dunlin and a very smart looking male Sparrowhawk which might account for a lack of birds!

Goosemoor was full of water and plenty of birds on the far bank with Godwits sp, Curlew, Knott, Greenshank, Redshank, Shelduck, Mallard, Little Egret, fly over Jay, Woodpigeon, Swallows and Sand Martins with Cettis Warbler and Magpie in the bushes next to path. Sounded like Sedge and Reed Warblers in the reeds.

Along the road there was Chiffchaff, Dunnock, Blackbird, Robin, Goldfinch, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Wren and House Sparrow. At the platform the tide was almost out and plenty of birds flying past to go down the river and you could see large flocks of waders doing ariel dancing further down the estuary, did see Godwits of both types, Curlew, Greenshanks, Shelducks and Little Egrets.

In the reserve I saw Moorhen, Coot, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Mute Swan, Shoveler, Tufted duck, Teal, Widgeon, Mallard, Both Godwits, Ruff, Knott, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Buzzard, Blackbird, Robin, Song Thrush, Pied Wagtail, Starling, Cettis, Sedge Warbler, Swallows, Wren and a couple of Fox's sunning themselves by the hedge.

Lots of humans about of all shapes and sizes, all seem to be happy on this bank holiday, especially when the sun came out!!



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