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Monday, 26 June 2017

The Exminster Marshes

A look around the Exminster Marshes today only got me the usual birds for this time of year .With 5 Little Egret , 2 Grey Heron , 20+ Common Shelduck , 17 Common House Martin , 6 Common Sand Martin , 5 Barn Swallow , 4 European Reed Warbler , 2 Sedge Warbler , 2 Blackcap and a male Reed Bunting ,
Also seen were Large Wite , Red Admiral and Small Tortoiseshell Butterflies .

Sedge Warbler ( Acrocephalus schoenobaenus ) . The Exminster Marshes . Devon




Saturday, 24 June 2017

Red-Rumped Swallow

Now I don't usually go anywhere near Bowling Green Marsh at the weekends because of the disturbance around the marsh . But today I decided to go down and have a look for the summer plumaged Spotted Redshank on the Clyst Estuary but there was no sign of it today. So I was on the way back to the hide when a swallow flew in front of me going towards the main pool showing a pale rump . My first thought was Red-Rumped Swallow but I had only got that view of it up till now so I put news out of a probable R R S & hurried back towards the hide with fingers crossed . When I got there and looked at the pool there were a few Common House Martin , Common Sand Martin and Barn Swallow feeding over the pool and then there to my elation was a superb looking Red-Rumped Swallow feeding with them . I then put the confirmed news out and watched the bird for a while , it then flew over the railway line towards Goosemoor but it then returned to the marsh and by then another birder had got the news and managed to get there and see the bird . We watched it for a short time and then it flew over the railway line again and was lost from view , we stayed looking for it for quite a while but I had to leave then and I don't think that it was seen again . Also seen was this female Western Marsh Harrier that dropped into the marsh for a while .

Western Marsh Harrier ( Circus aeruginosus ) . Bowling Green Marsh . Topsham . Devon



Friday, 23 June 2017

Thursday 22nd June

Elegant Tern

My mate Andy and myself went up to look for an Elegant Tern that was seen yesterday on Brownsea Island near Sandbanks in Dorset . We got to Sandbanks ferry terminal around 11 a/m and had to wait for the ferry , as we were stood there some Terns came in from the seaward side of the terminal most of them were Common Tern and a few Sandwich Tern , then there right in front of me a tern flew by close to shore , my brain took a while to take in what I was looking at but I was lost for words . Andy must have picked it up the same time as me because then we both shouted out in unison Elegant Tern , we then watched the bird fly in front of us heading towards Brownsea Island until it was lost from sight .
We then caught the ferry over to the island expecting it to be in with the other terns but we never saw it again .There was a report from a birder on the island that he had picked it up around the same time but it was flying back towards the sea again . Both Andy and myself had seen the Elegant Tern at Dawlish Warren in Devon back in 2002 but it was still nice to catch up with another one .

Common Tern ( Sterna hirundo ) . Sandbanks . Dorset


Wednesday, 21 June 2017

No Sign !!

Early this morning I went to see if yesterdays Great White Egret was still around . I checked Goosemoor , Bowling Green Marsh and the Clyst Estuary but there was no sign of it today ! and there wasn`t a lot either to look at with only a male Great Spotted Woodpecker and European Reed Warbler , Blackcap and Common Chiffchaff , also seen were Red Admiral , Meadow Brown and Small White Butterflies .
And a look at the Clyst Estuary got me 4 Little Egret and a smart looking summer plumaged Spotted Redshank .

Great Spotted Woodpecker ( Dendrocopos major ) . Bowling Green Marsh . Topsham . Devon


Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Great White Egret

I had a call at just gone six this evening telling me that there was a Great White Egret showing on Bowling Green Marsh ( Thanks Gary ) , so I jumped in the car and got there as fast as I could and my luck was in as the bird was still showing on the far left hand side of the marsh & as we were looking at it , it flew across the marsh and landed right out in the open on the far side of the marsh from the hide .This is only the second record of one of these birds on the marsh ! the first one was way back on the 20th September 2004 found by me , so all the other birders had the joy of a pull back on me , Oh well that's life lol

Great White Egret ( Casmerodius albus ) . Bowling Green Marsh . Topsham . Devon




Silver-Studded Blue

I had a look around the Bystock Pools area this morning and up in the meadow I saw the following Butterflies , numerous Marbled White , Meadow Brown and Small Heath , 2 Silver-Washed Fritillary , 2 Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary and a male Silver-Studded Blue .
Around the pools Dragonflies were everywhere with numerous Keeled Skimmers , a single Emperor Dragonfly , 2 Golden-Ringed Dragonfly , 2 Large Red Damselfly , a few Beautiful Demoiselle and a Green Hairstreak Butterfly .

Silver-Studded Blue ( Plebejus argus ) . The Bystock Meadow . Devon



Marbled White ( M . galathea ) . The Bystock Meadow . Devon


Golden-Ringed Dragonfly ( Cordulegaster boltonii ) The Bystock Pools area . Devon


Sunday, 18 June 2017

Ridgways Cackling Goose

This morning I went to the Pynes Hill area of Exeter to have a look for Marbled White Butterflies and I found quite a few of them flying around in the baking sunshine but after spending an hour with them waiting for just one to settle  ! I had to give up and make do with this one flight shot !!
Also seen were Meadow Brown , Large Skipper , Small Skipper , Common Blue and still quite a nice show of Bee Orchids .
I had received news that a Cackling Goose was on the main lagoon on the Exminster Marshes so this evening I went over and grabbed a look at it , it looks like the Ridgways Cackling Goose that was in the same area last year but where it has been too nobody knows lol .

Marbled White ( M . galathea ) . Pynes Hill . Exeter . Devon


Small Skipper ( T . flavus ) . Pynes Hill . Exeter . Devon


Large Skipper ( Ochlodes venatus ) . Pynes Hill . Exeter . Devon


Saturday, 17 June 2017

Red Kite

This morning I walked down to have a look at a field in Topsham that is covered in Common Poppies and the view that I got was superb , but the sad thing is that the field has been sold for development so grab your chance now to see them .
Later in the day I took a look around the meadow at Highfield Farm in Topsham and a Red Kite flew over me heading towards the Clyst Marshes , also seen were the following Butterflies , Large Skipper , Meadow Brown and Meadow Brown .

Common Poppy ( Papaver rhoeas ) . Topsham . Devon



Common Blue ( P . icarus ) ( Female ) . Highfield Farm . Topsham . Devon



Friday, 16 June 2017

Flogging a Dead Horse

This morning I had a look at both sides of the Exe Estuary . I started off at Goosemoor in Topsham but I only got a Cetti`s Warbler and a Large Skipper Butterfly , I then had a look around Bowling Green Marsh but again the birding was very slow and I only saw a Great Spotted Woodpecker , 2 Blackcap , and singles of European Reed Warbler , Common Chiffchaff & Reed Bunting .
I then went for a look at the Exminster Marshes but it was just the same there with only the following birds seen , Barn Swallow , Common Sand Martin , Common House Martin , also seen was my first Meadow Brown of the year and 2 Slow Worm .

Large Skipper ( Ochlodes venatus ) . Goosemoor . Topsham . Devon


Meadow Brown ( M . jurtina ) . The Exminster Marshes . Devon



Saturday, 10 June 2017

Bee Orchid

Todays shots are of one of my favourite flowers the superb looking Bee Orchid taken in the rain today at the Pynes Hill area of Exeter .

Bee Orchid ( Ophrys apifera ) . Pynes Hill . Exeter . Devon



Bowling Green Marsh

Once again the time of year has come to praise Mr Pete Otley  for the management of Bowling Green Marsh !! as I went for a look there today and was rewarded with some superb views of some thistles and grasses of enormous height all around the edges of the pool , the only trouble is that there could have been a dozen or so birds hidden away behind all of the foliage , perhaps even a Great Bustard but you would never get the chance to see them lol
I put in a request around 3 weeks ago asking for the edges to be cut , not a lot to ask for ! for a reserve that is claimed to be the jewel of the South West . But I wont hold my breath lol .
So once again Mr Otley the enigma that you are , thank you for all of your endeavour ! as for all of the time that I have been birding the marsh I have only met you twice and then you promised a new scrape in front of the hide, but perhaps that is still somewhere over the rainbow lol .

Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Great Skua

First thing this morning I was down in my local town of Topsham and to my utter surprise I was rewarded with a fly over Rose-Ringed Parakeet a 1st for me on the Exe Estuary and only my second sighting in Devon . I then went down to Exmouth to have a look at Lyme Bay and yes it seemed a stupid thing to do seeing that it was low tide and I didn`t manage to see much at all , but I did see a Great Skua a 1st for the year ! along with 3 Common Scoter and a couple of Sandwich Tern .
I then had a look around the East Devon Commons and at Bystock Pools there were some very nice Beautiful Demoiselles , a couple of Small Red Damselfly and a Cinnabar Moth , and at another area I saw the following Butterflies , a Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary , 2 Small Heath & 2 Speckled Wood .

Beautiful Demoiselle ( Calopteryx virgo ) ( Male & Female ) . Bystock Pools . Devon



Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Good Birding

Another good days birding had today in Somerset . We started the day off at the Ham Wall Reserve to have a look for the male Little Bittern that has been on show there , I picked a good spot in hope of getting a shot of it and after spending around 2 hours standing there I decided to walk down to where the other group of birders had gathered , and would you believe it !! as just as I reached them the bird flew...Hence no photos lol  , also seen around the reserve were 7 Garden Warbler , numerous Cetti`s Warbler , 6 Great White Egret , 4 Little Egret , 5 Western Marsh Harrier , a Red Kite , 2 Eurasian Hobby , a very nice but very distant female Red-Footed Falcon  & 2 Common Cuckoo .
We then heard news that there was a Gull-Billed Tern showing at the Steart WWT so we went to see if we could catch up with it and our luck was in as it was still showing but again it was always very distant .

Garden Warbler ( Sylvia borin ) . Ham Wall RSPB . Somerset


Cetti`s Warbler ( Cettia cetti ) . Ham Wall RSPB . Somerset


Gull-Billed Tern ( Gelochelidon nilotica ) . Steart WWT . Somerset



Monday, 29 May 2017

Bowling Green Marsh

A morning visit to Bowling Green Marsh this morning got me this 2nd summer Mediterranean Gull that showed for a while before flying off to the Exe Estuary , also seen were 6 male and a female Tufted Duck , Little Egret , Grey Heron , 7 Black-Tailed Godwit , 4 Bar-Tailed Godwit , Cetti`s Warbler , 2 European Reed Warbler and a Common Chiffchaff .

Mediterranean Gull ( Larus melanocephalus ) . Bowling Green Marsh . Topsham . Devon


Grey Heron ( Ardea cinerea ) . Bowling Green Marsh . Topsham . Devon


Friday, 26 May 2017

Red Kite

This morning I did an early morning Kite watch around the Exe Estuary but after looking for a couple of hours all I managed to see was 1 Red Kite and that was quite sad after yesterdays explosion of birds !! Later in the day I went over to the Exminster Marshes to try again but no luck there either , but it didn`t turn out a bad day as I had 2 Egyptian Geese , a fly over calling Yellow Wagtail that I searched for but couldn't find it in the longish grass , a Eurasian Hobby that came and went in an instant and a female Western Marsh Harrier that was quite distant out in the middle of the marsh as you can see by the photo !

Egyptian Goose ( Alopochen aegyptiaca ) . The Exminster Marshes . Devon


Western Marsh Harrier ( Circus aeruginosus ) . The Exminster Marshes . Devon


Wednesday, 24 May 2017

White-Winged Black Tern

Another great days birding had today with my mates Ken and Andy . we decided to go to Martin Down in Dorset , and on the way there we stopped near the town of Dinton where we saw a Red Kite , 3 Red-Legged Partridge , a Yellow Wagtail , 3 Yellowhammer , 4 Corn Bunting and a Brown Hare . We then carried on to Martin Down to look for European Turtle Dove and we managed to see 2 of them along with 2 Common Whitethroat and another 4 Corn Bunting and a Small Blue Butterfly .
We then made a decision to go for a 1st summer White-Winged Black Tern that was showing at the Staines Reservoirs in Surrey and after a bit of a tedious journey we arrived at the reservoirs only to be told that the bird had flown off , but it soon returned and we got nice views of it , also seen were quite a few Common Tern and a summer plumaged Black-Necked Grebe , our next stop was just down the road at Wraysbury where we went to Magna Carta Lane and got views of another Red Kite and 3 Rose-Ringed Parakeets .

White-Winged Tern ( Chlidonias leucopterus ) . Staines Reservoir . Surrey



Common Tern ( Sterna hirundo ) . Staines Reservoir . Surrey



Red Kite ( Milvus milvus ) . Magna Carta Lane . Wraysbury . Middlesex


Sunday, 21 May 2017

Marsh Fritillary

I went out to a meadow near the town of Chudleigh Knighton this morning to look for Marsh Fritillary Butterfly and after walking around the meadow for about an hour & a half I managed to see one but it was soon lost from view again .
Also seen were the following Butterflies , Painted Lady , Dingy Skipper , Small Copper , Small White , Green-Veined White and Common Blue , & also seen were a couple of Burnet Companion Moths .

Painted Lady ( Cynthia cardui ) . Nr Chudleigh Knighton . Devon


Dingy Skipper ( Erynnis tages ) . Nr Chudleigh Knighton . Devon


Burnet Companion Moth ( Euclidia glyphica ) . Nr Chudleigh Knighton . Devon


Friday, 19 May 2017

Woodchat Shrike

A trip out to Cuckoo Ball on the edge of Dartmoor today to look for a female Woodback Shrike that has been showing there for a few days now . We did manage to see the bird but it was very distant and it soon was lost from our view , it seemed to spend a lot of time out of view on the ground ( very strange for a shrike species ) , also seen were a few very smart Yellowhammer`s and a Common Cuckoo was heard calling .
We then went to Headland Warren to look for Whinchat and we managed to see 2 male and a female bird ( what a stunning little bird the male Whinchat really is ! )

Woodchat Shrike ( Lanius senator ) . Cuckoo Ball . Dartmoor . Devon


Yellowhammer ( Emberiza citrinella ) . Cuckoo Ball . Dartmoor . Devon


Whinchat ( Saxicola rubetra ) ( Female ) . Headland Warren . Dartmoor . Devon


Wednesday, 17 May 2017

Tuesday 16th May

A days out birding in Dorset with my mates Andy & Ken turned out to be a real good day . As we started the day off ay Lydlinch Common to look for Common Nightingale  and our luck was in as saw one and heard another 2 on call , we also had at least 6 Blackcap , 4 Garden Warbler , 3 Lesser Whitethroat , a calling European Green Woodpecker and 2 close Roe Deer .
We then heard news of a Golden Oriole seen at Portland Bill so we got in the car and headed for there , on arrival at the obs we were told that it was still around but had not shown for a while but we did see a Hummingbird Hawkmoth so that was nice , we then went for a look around and saw a couple of Common Whitethroat and a Spotted Flycatcher . Then the Golden Oriole was found again in the fields opposite the Obs and after a while it showed distantly right out in the open and you could see that it looked like a 1st winter male bird .
We then started to head for home stopping on the way at Ferrybridge where we saw around a dozen Little Tern , 2 Sandwich Tern and a Common Tern , we then got news of a Greater Short-Toed Lark found at Cogden Beach and as it was on our way home we just had to go for it , with the rain now falling we then had an horrendous walk along the pebbled beach for around a mile ! with no sign of the bird at all and being that we were now knackered ! we turned around and started heading back to the car and after about walking about halfway back . There was the bird stood in front of me ! I called to Ken and got the other birders who were there onto the bird and we all got good views of it , I could only get these two distant shots of it as the bird looked a bit nervous and other birders were still walking along the beach in hope of seeing it..........A great days birding with great mates !

Lesser Whitethroat ( Sylvia curruca ) . Lydlinch Common . Dorset


Golden Oriole ( Oriolus oriolus ) . Portland Bill . Dorset