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31 May 2021

Chasing Butterflies

Spent a few days looking for Butterflies in Devon and Dorset, Meeth Quarry, Aish Tor, Dawlish Warren, Dunsford Meadows, West Ludworth and Maiden Castle.

I managed 3 new ones for the year, Adonis Blue, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary and Brown Argus.

That brings my total to 25, Small Heath, Green Hairstreak, Wall Brown, Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Small White, Large White, Green-veined White, Wood White, Brimstone, Orange Tip, Red Admiral, Adonis Blue, Common Blue, Holly Blue, Small Blue, Duke of Burgundy Fritillary, Marsh Fritillary, Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Comma, Brown Argus, Small Copper and Peacock.

Did see lots of other Butterflies especially in Dorset but Meeth was empty of Butterflies,not sure whats going on there?

Unfortunately my car has let me down over this bank holiday so all my plans went out the window, hopefully i can get it sorted quickly!



27 May 2021

Adonis Blue

Down to Dorset today, mainly looking for Ludworth Skippers which had been seen.

Unfortunately didn't see any on this visit but did see a new Species for the season, an Adonis Blue and a stunning specimen it was too!



26 May 2021

Brown Argus

After several attempts finally managed to find a Brown Argus at Dawlish Warren, in the end just like London Busses I saw three!

Good to see Phil and Steve



26 May 2021

Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary

Went to Dunsford meadows on Dartmoor today, bit of a grey start but when the sun came out plenty of Moths, Bees, Flies and Butterflies emerged out of the Bluebells.

Best of all was a new one for the year a Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary!



23 May 2021

Roadkill

Among the usual carnage laying dead on the roadside I seen a few of these although not all looking the same.

I have it on good authority that this is a Ferret but a couple of others have looked like Polcats, not sure why there are more about?

I did wonder if there has been a release by an owner? I have seen several on the road leaving Dawlish, Oakhill, which is where this picture was taken, a bit irresponsible if that is the case!

I have been pointed to a great guide on both these Mammals, always had difficulty telling the two apart as well as many cross breeds.

https://www.vwt.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/polecat-ferret-leaflet-.pdf



20 May 2021

Chasing Butterflies

In the last couple of days of good weather I spent around a few sites namely Dawlish Warren, Cerne Abbas and Meeth Quarry.

At Meeth I went looking for a Wood White and was lucky to see one as it fluttered in its characteristic flight along the shrub, unfortunately it didn't settle so no picture. All the butterflies I saw Common Blue, Orange tip and Green Veined White were worn and scruffy and also no Dragonflies or Damselflies seen which was a surprise.

At Cerne Abbas on the Hill lucky to get two new ones with the Duke of Burgundy and Marsh Fritillary which were both stunning, also saw Small Heath, Green Veined White, Brimstone, Green Hairsreak, Grizzled and Dingy Skippers.

Popped into the Warren to see if any Brown Argus about but sadly no, did see some Common Blue, orange Tip and a Small Copper.

That brings my total to 22, Small Heath, Green Hairstreak, Wall Brown, Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Small White, Large White, Green-veined White, Wood White, Brimstone, Orange Tip, Red Admiral, Common Blue, Holly Blue, Small Blue, Duke of Burgundy Fritillary, Marsh Fritillary, Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Comma, Small Copper and Peacock.

Good to see everybody!



19 May 2021

Small Heath

Have seen a couple of these before but not been able to get a picture, this one seen at The Giants Hill, Cerne Abbas in Dorset.

Wouldn't like to say what sex it was, females are supposed to be larger but as this was the only one I saw I couldn't compare.



19 May 2021

Marsh Fritillary

On a visit to the Giants Hill in Cerne Abbas, I managed to find a few Marsh Fritillary although all were very slow in getting moving, this one posed for me quite nicely.

Not sure what sex it is as both sexes look very similar although the Female is normally larger.



19 May 2021

Duke of Burgundy

On a visit to The Giants Hill in Cerne Abbas, I managed to catch up with this stunning little Butterfly.

It was a bit sleepy and didn't move for some time, it was also the only one I saw on this visit.

From looking at the book this looks like a female as the Male is darker.



17 May 2021

Bird Song and Rain!

Due to the weather and other things going on haven't really travelled far and spent a lot of time this Friday and Weekend at Exminster and Powderham Marshes

Saw and heard lots of Bird song in the areas I went, spent most of the time along the back path from the car park to Turf although there were areas I couldn't go because of the height of the water that was at the top of my wellies, the discovery area while I was there was just flooded and you couldn't get in without waders.

When the rain stopped the bird song started and the Warblers were in good voice although most were sat in the bushes rather than viewable and with a hunting male Sparrowhawk about hardly surprising.

Reed, Sedge, Willow, Cettis, Chiffchaff and Blackcap all in good voice. Plenty of Swallows, House and Sand Martins and I counted 6 Swifts but there could have been more, all hawking over the tops of the bushes that run beside the path and the railway line.

Also saw a couple of Hobbies, one looked like it had caught something, possible Dragonfly? Also saw a couple of Buzzard and the local Kestrel hunting.

Also in the bushes, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Wren, Robin, Blackbirds with fledglings, Reed Bunting, Cirl Bunting, Great and Blue Tits.

House Sparrows and Starlings around the Car Parks, Lapwings chasing off the Crows, mainly on Powderham. Talking of Crows, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Raven and Rook all seen. Several Woodpigeon and a couple of flyover Stock Doves also seen.

I didn't pay much attention to the marsh itself but did see Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Little Egret and Mallard, several Stonechat around as well.

Lets hope this rain stops soon, only a month to the longest day!



17 May 2021

Thought I had a Brown Argus

I went to Dawlish Warren a couple of days ago in a dry spell in the hope of seeing a Brown Argus, like everything this year they are late!

While slowly walking through the back meadow I noted this small butterfly sat on top of a grass head, yes I had a Argus and when it flew the brown on the upperside of the wing and I was sold.

But when I got home and studied the pictures I had in fact got a Female Common Blue, the butterfly in question is the one on the left. The picture on the right is of a Brown Argus I took last year.

The tell tale spots are the two on the hindwing of the Argus ( pic rt ) that look like a 8 just below the final orange spot at the top of the hindwing.



17 May 2021

Willow Warbler

While on a recent visit to Yarner on Dartmoor, I walked from the middle car park to the Lower Tremblebere, this area of scrub is good for Warblers and one caught my eye and ear, although over time my hearing is not the best I could tell this bird sounded different.

It also had its wings which looked drooped by its tail, was this a Wood Warbler?

Unfortunately because it was wet the colours in the sun to me looked quite green, other Willow W I had seen near by looked more brown, so plenty of pictures taken and advice taken from Kev R.

The two pictures on the left are from the bird in question and you can see the tail is too long, should be short and broad, see pic on right which is of a Wood Warbler I had taken a couple of years ago in Yarner itself. As for the drooping wings Kev pointed out that the bird was probably trying to dry its wings in the sun.

I continue to learn!



11 May 2021

Small Blue

Went to Berry Head first thing this morning to look for Small Blues which have a small colony here.

A bit windy around the top but down by the quarry out of the wind and it was totally different, did see several but they were the only Butterfly around, plenty of other insects such as bees and hover-flies.



11 May 2021

Common Blue

Went to Dawlish Warren today after visiting Berry Head to look for Common Blue and Brown Argos, found a couple of Common Blue on the back meadow but sadly no Brown Argos. They are late like so many butterflies this year, normally out at the Warren about the 2nd of May.

Did see a couple of Small coppers and singles of Peacock and Orange Tip.

Good to see Gary C who was valiantly trying to take pics of Swallows and Martins as they hawked for insects around the pond.

That brings my total to 19, Small Heath, Green Hairstreak, Wall Brown, Dingy Skipper, Grizzled Skipper, Small White, Large White, Green-veined White, Brimstone, Orange Tip, Red Admiral, Common Blue, Holly Blue, Small Blue Pearl-bordered Fritillary, Speckled Wood, Comma, Small Copper and Peacock.



09 May 2021

Redstarts

Went up on Dartmoor today, the day weather wise started ok but deteriorated as the day went on which was frustrating as Redstarts being the target for the day was seen more as the day went on and normally it was raining.

Saw 7 in the end over 3 sites mostly males and all looking really smart!

Saw plenty of humans today, great to see Steph and Rod, Richie and David S, also plenty of others especially the nice people I met at Challacombe.



08 May 2021

Dorset

Went up to Dorset yesterday as the weather was good and the sun was out,

First stop was Cerne Abbas and the Giant Man, started sunny but then the grey clouds came in, did see plenty of Dingy and Grizzled Skippers and a Small Heath that wouldn't settle for a picture.

Then went towards the sun and the coast by going to Bindon Hill in Ludworth and to my amazement didn't see any Butterflies of any species.

With the Small Heath that brings my total to 17, Small Heath, 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.

Lets hope for some warm weather to get things moving!

Have to say met some great human beings but also one idiot, there is always one!



06 May 2021

Fritillaries at Holden

Went up yesterday to Holden around the Butterfly walk, everywhere else had been too windy and cold so hoping here was out of the wind.

In places it was and very warm and there was plenty of Fritillaries flying around, double figures in fact, but no other species of Butterflies were seen which was a bit weird!

Lets hope it warms up soon



02 May 2021

Cattle Egrets

I've been keeping an eye on a group of Cattle Egret that have been staying around Cockwood and the back of Starcross, there have been sightings of ones and threes but this group seems to be around ten, sometimes I can be watching and another bird pops in from the next field.

All look stunning in their breeding plumage but dont know enough about them to say what age and if they are a breeding group or a bunch of bachelors?

Noted that last night a group of 27 was on the River Kenn at Powderham Estate, I know they are breeding in Somerset so lets hope they are in Devon and Powderham is an ideal site



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