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30 May 2020

Aish Tor

Went up on Dartmoor today on the hunt for Butterflies and almost turned back due to the amount of traffic and lack of parking spaces.

Eventually got to my destination Aish Tor and found a place to park.

Everybody wanted to have a splash around in the near bye river and on a day like today who could blame them!

On my arrival there was already a few Butterfly enthusiasts, one guy told the rest of us that he had 14 High Browns on a Bramble bush further down the track, at first I was a bit sceptical but when I eventually found the said bramble there was 8 on it and several others flying near bye.

Iam not sure why they were around this particular bush, it didn't look any different to any other?

Plenty of other Butterflies about, another new one for the year was a Dark Green Fritillary which makes it 31 so far.

Also Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary, GVW, Meadow Brown, Large Skipper, Green Hairstreak, Small Heath and plenty of moths, Bees and a Dragon.

It was very hot here and I originally thought I got here to late in the day and nothing would be flying, how wrong I was, didn't help that i had trousers on instead of shorts to protect myself from Ticks.

Nice to meet up with so many great people!



28 May 2020

29 up

Went to Cornwall today after being advised that Heath Fritillarys were seen here. They have a hot spot at Luckett Nature Reserve which is in Greenscombe Wood.

Normally I use a map but today I used Google maps on my phone, it sent me to the wrong end and down a narrow lane! So no more tech and back to using a Map!

Eventually got to the right place, the woods are a bit of a hidden gem, so much to see. While I saw plenty of other butterflies including a new one for this year a Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Brimstone and another Small Tortoiseshell which wouldn't pose for a picture. Like London Busses, 4 turn up at once! Heaths are smart little Butterflies!

On the way home I popped into Meath Quarry first of all to see if it was open and if it was to see some Wood White. Luckily it was and very soon I came across not one but six Wood Whites which ended a great day chasing Butterflies!

Big thank you to Colin S for the info on the Heaths and that makes 29 species so far this year.



23 May 2020

Exminster Marshes

Went to Exminster Marshes today and not really expecting to see much in the wind, especially in the way of Butterflies.

Did though see a few birds, plenty quite vocal with Reed, Sedge and Cettis Warblers, the odd Blackcap, Robin, Blackbird and Song Thrush adding their bit as well.

Best bit was the Swallows, House Martins and about 15 Swifts Hawking for flies in the wind.

Today they were not only above the Canal but around the railway line, noted this before that after a train goes through it sends all the flies upwards and they pick them off, such superb flyers!

Not that many people about.



22 May 2020

Dunsford Meadows

Plan today was to go to Aish Tor to see what was about but when I arrived it was windy and cold so took the decision to do a 180 and go to Dunsford Woods and Steps Bridge on Dartmoor.

Glad I did as I had a great session here, lots of the usual birds you would find in a wood and some were very vocal.

Along the River Teign which was quite low due to the lack of rain there was 2 very smart Gooseanders, Dipper, Grey Wagtail and Kingfisher, there was a lot to see as there wasn't many other visitors and no dogs in the River.

Plenty of Butterflies about with Peacock, Spotted Wood, Brimstone, Common Blue and Green Veined White.

Also picked up 2 more species to make 26, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary and to my surprise a Large Skipper!

A few people about but not as many as I expected, all seem happy and keeping their distance.



19 May 2020

Berry Head

On the Butterfly hunt at Berry Head today.

2 new species for this year with Small Blue and Large White. It took a bit of time, but as soon as the sun came out, butterflies were everywhere!

Good numbers of Common Blue and I also saw a couple of Wall which I had seen before but no picture. It took me a little while but eventually settled on the road to soak up the sun.

That makes 24.

Plenty of people fishing of the end and the Bay looked great!



18 May 2020

Dartmoor

looks like things are getting back to some sort of normal, work seems to be calming down and being able to get out is brilliant!

Went up on Dartmoor today to try and catch up on some bird watching and visited Yarner, Elmsworthy and Warren Farm.

It started off with a chill but soon warmed up, a few butterflies about but nothing new for the list.

Plenty of quality birds about with Meadow and Tree Pipit, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Pied and Grey Wagtails, Stonechat, Lesser Redpoll, Linnet, Wheatear, Robin, Blackbird, Mistle Thrush, Wren, Jay, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Starling, Great Tit, Swallow, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Buzzard and a Curlew flying over the car park at Elmsworthy.

Great to meet up with Dave Boult and other humans, although the behaviour of dog owners was awful!

Dont know why they cant read and keep the dogs on a lead?? Does my head in!!



16 May 2020

Exminster Marshes

Had an enjoyable time walking around Exminster Marshes, took my Butterfly total to 22 with a Red Admiral.

Plenty of noisy birds about with Cettis, Sedge and Reed Warblers in full song with extra performances from Robin, Dunnock and Blackbird. All the other birds you would expect to see as well as a Hobby which was always a bit to far for a picture.

A few people about all obeying the social distancing.

Stay Safe everybody!



15 May 2020

Grasshopper Warblers

Went today to visit a site I know that has been good for Grasshopper Warblers.

I arrived quite early and quickly found a singing Warbler, but very hidden.

In the end I found three Reeling birds, there was probably more but my hearing is not as good as it used to be.

Unlike in previous years I didn't find any that wanted to pose for me and this was the only picture I managed to get.

Stay safe everybody



13 May 2020

21 Up

Took advantage of the change in Lock down advice and took a trip to Cerne Abbas in Dorset.

Left early and when I arrived at the Giant at Cerne Abbas I was the only human about, it was lovely to be honest to be sat on a hill in the sun surrounded by Wild Flowers and Butterflies all around, the only thing missing was my flask of Tea! In my haste to get started I left it on the side when I left.

New Species for this year were Duke of Burgundy and Marsh Fritillaries, Green Hairstreak, Grizzled and Dingy Skippers as well as Small Heath.

After about a hour here I made my way home and back in Dawlish for 1.30pm, not many people on the road and i only saw one other person walking his dog to Social Distance from which was a big surprise.

I went for a walk on Holden yesterday and saw plenty of Pearl Boarded Fritillaries.

Also in the pics is a Brown Argos which I finally got a pic of at Dawlish Warren. Still haven't seen though a Red Admiral which is a big surprise to me, normally its one of the first. Not sure what the total will be this year because of reserves being shut, safety first for everybody. To be honest wasn't expecting the lock down to be eased as it has been.

Stay safe everybody!



12 May 2020

Stormy Seas

The sea has been a bit rough over the last week and has tested the new sea defences at Dawlish.

I walked the beaches at Dawlish and Dawlish Warren and plenty of storm debris on the sand. Lots of shells such as Razor Shells, Whelks and Clams.

Sea Urchins especially at the Warren and plenty of Egg casings at Coryton Cove which was also covered in Sea Weed.

All the usual Bird Life about, there is a pair of Rock Pipits around the Beach Huts at Dawlish and a few Swallows seen hunting flies over the sea weed at Coryton Cove.

When the water was calm several Seals seen Snorkelling both at Dawlish and at the Warren.

Also at the Warren I finally found some Sand Lizards, Male and Female. Found the female with some help from Phil the Warden and also saw a few other humans about.

Lock down easing this week and hoping to catch up with some more butterflies, you cant beat being in a field of flowers and Butterflies, lifts the soul!!

Stay safe everybody!



02 May 2020

Frustrating!

Spent a couple of days around Dawlish Warren to catch up with some Butterflies that I had been told had emerged and to see if I could find some Sand Lizards.

First the Butterflies,its been quite windy and combined with new Butterflies which I find a bit flighty and not easy to get a pic.

The little paddock close to the entrance proved fruitful for GVW, Common Blue and Small Copper, this little area was out of the wind which probably helped.

There was Speckled Wood along the path by the first pond and the back field had another Blue, Orange Tip, Peacock and a very flighty Brown Argos close to the Apple tree, just wouldn't settle.

Further along by the fence that separates the reserve and the golf course there is an area of Gorse and my first Small Tort of the year was flying around but again frustratingly wouldn't settle.

I walked out and up on the dunes looking for Lizards and after a long look managed to find some tracks but no Lizards which was a surprise as it was a bit of a sun trap here.

Just as i was getting ready for a return trip I could see a Butterfly which I identified as a Wall but it kept flying away from me, hopefully it will be there when I return next week!

Lots of bird song with the Whitethroat on full throttle!

Stay safe everybody!



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