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17 May 2024

Bempton Cliffs

I left work at 4pm on Thursday and started my journey to Bridlington to stay at the Premier Inn which is on the seafront,but first stop for the night is Bromsgrove just south of Birmingham and then northwards to Bempton Cliffs.

Good job iam staying for more than one day because the place was covered in sea mist, although I still got to see and hear the birds on the cliff.

Great to see Tree Sparrows around the visitor centre and the sound of Whitethroats and other Warblers and Skylarks singing in the mist.

Spent a couple of hours here, tea and cake before going to find my hotel.

Staying in the Premier Inn at Bridlington and very nice too!

The weather not doing me any favours with the sea mist rolling in and taking time to burn off so decided to pop down to Spurn Point for the morning as its only an hour away, cant believe I have never been here before, timing wasn't brilliant as the tide was coming in so couldn't walk to the point, so looked around the Canal area and Kilnsea Wetlands. For some reason surprised to see several Avocets in the pools, not expecting to see them here. After spending the morning here I went back to Bempton Cliffs and the sun was burning off the mist so was able to see out to sea and better views of the cliffs, great to see Puffin, Guillemot, Razorbills, Gannet, Fulmar, Kittiwakes and Gulls.

Sunday morning, late start and full English breakfast before arriving at Bempton, clear of mist but still a cool breeze, plenty of people here to enjoy the weather and wildlife.

Saw all the Auks and wildlife this place is famous for, later on sat in Cafe and the Barn Owl flew by giving everyone some great views, I had a cuppa in my hand and not my camera so sadly no pics.

Bird species seen over the weekend- Avocet, Common Sandpiper, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Gannet, Puffin, Razorbill, Guillemot, Fulmur, Kittiwake, Herring, Greater-backed Gull, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Skylark, Whitethroat, Chiffchaff, Goldfinch, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Wren, Tree and House Sparrows, Starling, Swallow, House and Sand Martins, Barn Owl, Buzzard, Peregrine, Kestrel and Red Kite.



14 May 2024

Chasing Butterflies

Went to Dawlish Warren today looking for Butterflies inbetween the rain showers.

Looking for Brown Argus which I found a single that was quite fresh, also saw Common Blue and Small Copper in the Back Meadow and another new one in the car park a Red Admiral.

Saw Orange Tip and Green-veined White as well.

So that makes 17 species so far- Green Hairstreak, Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Brimstone, Orange Tip, Green-veined White, Small White, Duke of Burgandy, Pearl B Frit, Speckled Wood, Common Blue, Holly Blue, Brown Argos, Small Copper, Peacock, Red Admiral, Comma.



10 May 2024

Corn Bunting

While in the area I stopped for lunch at Maiden Castle, and was serenaded by Skylarks and Corn Bunting.

Always a joy to hear these at full tilt!



10 May 2024

Chasing Butterflies

Went to The Giant at Cerne Abbas today, nice to see the sun out and it got quite warm as the day went on.

Managed to see plenty of Butterflies and 4 new ones for the year today being Green Hairstreak, Dingy and Grizzled Skippers and best of all Duke of Burgandy.

Other Butterflies seen, Holy Blue, Peacock, Brimstone, Small White, Orange Tip and Green-viened White.

Lots of other insects about with some stunning Beautiful Damasol, Sheld Bugs, Ladybirds, Bees of all sorts, Queen Wasp, Crane Flies and a few Spiders.

Also seen a few Adders, 1st of the year, always a good spot here.

Flowers I think are fewer compaired with last year but hardly surpising with all the rain.

There was plenty of birds about as I could hear them but today I had my eyes firmly on the floor!

A few humans out looking for the "Duke"

So that makes 13 species so far- Green Hairstreak, Grizzled Skipper, Dingy Skipper, Brimstone, Orange Tip, Green-veined White, Small White, Duke of Burgandy, Pearl B Frit, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue, Peacock, Comma.



04 May 2024

Chasing Butterflies

Been a few places trying to catch up with some butterflies, although cold in the wind, out of the wind plenty to see especially at places like Dunsford Woods where I found a single Pearl-bordered Fritillary as well as 5 other species.

Also I saw a Small White from my car while stopped on a back road.

That makes 9 species so far- Brimstone, Orange Tip, Green-veined White, Small White, Pearl B Frit, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue, Peacock, Comma.



21 April 2024

Dartmoor

This last 3 days I have spent on Dartmoor, mostly on the Eastern side visiting Yarner, Emsworthy Mire, Soussons, Challacombe and Warren Farms, Steps Bridge and many places in between.

Friday was windy and cold, Saturday and Sunday were Sunny but still cold in the wind. It is notable how far behind the moor is compared to the coast as many Trees and Shrubs still not in leaf with the exception on Steps Bridge in the woods were Bluebells, Wild Garlic, Yellow Rattle and Wood Anemones where out in bloom.

Plenty of Summer Migrants arriving with Pied Flycatchers at Yarner, Redstarts in several places, Whinchats in their usual haunt, Swallows in good numbers but no sign of any Martins yet. Willow Warblers in good numbers in several places, several Cuckoos heard and one seen at Emsworthy Mire, the local Meadow Pipits were not as pleased to see it as I was and gave it a hard time forcing it off its perch. Wheatears seen in many places especially in the valley up from Challacombe. I went looking for Tree Pipit at Yarner, but none seen, but a single bird was seen just past Soussons by the Farm entrance.

Another notable traveller was a White Stork, I was at Challacombe looking through my bins at a Redstart when I heard a noise above and there was the Stork turning in the air and by the time I had picked my camera up, it had drifted over the hill towards the South West, a bit frustrating but still great to see it.

Good selection of Raptors with several Buzzard, couple of Kestrel, Male Sparrowhawk and a Goshawk put in an appearance and looking through my bins had its dinner in its claws!

Other birds seen were Great, Blue, Coal, Marsh and Long-tailed Tits, Robin, Wren, Dunnock, Blackbird, Song and Mistle Thrushes, Skylark, Meadow Pipit, Yellowhammer, Linnet, Siskin, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Redpoll, Chiffchaff, Reed Bunting, House Sparrow, Blackcap, Pied and Grey Wagtails, Pheasant, Grey Heron, Mallard and ducklings, Woodpigeon, Stock and Collard Doves. Raven, Carrion Crows, Jackdaws, Magpies, Jays.

At Yarner Lesser and Greater-spotted Woodpeckers and I heard a Green Woodpecker calling at Soussons.

While sat down watching the Whinchats I realised a pair of Chaffinch was building a nest almost next to me and not paying me any attention at all, just carried on, amazing looking nest!

On the Mammal front I saw both Fallow and Roe Deer, the Roe Stag was quite un fazed by my presence and let me take a few pics before walking off, also a few Grey Squirrels.

Didn't see any Butterflies, too cold but some Bees, Flies and hoverflies about as well as a Common Lizard sunning himself at Soussons.

Plenty of Humans about, great to see all the youngsters training for the 10 Tors and great to see so many happy people, not going to talk about dog walkers, Photographers with no common sense and speeding drivers!



12 April 2024

Exminster Marsh

While on the hunt for butterflies along the back path to the Turf at Exminster Marshes, plenty of Birds and other insects to see, not forgetting all the bushes and trees coming into leaf and the odd flower.

Sedge and Cettis Warblers in full song mode but difficult to see with all the leaves coming out, Skylarks joining in overhead. Chiffchaff, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Robin, Wren and Dunnock blasting out the odd note, all great to hear.

Lapwings quiet on the way down where chasing off Crows and Gulls on the way back, other birds seen Great, Long-tailed and Blue Tits, Woodpigeons, Buzzard and Raven.

Only duck seen was some Mallard, a few Canada Geese and good numbers of Mute Swan otherwise quiet on the water front.

Quite a few Damselflies, Ladybirds, Hoverflies, Honey, Carder and Bumble Bees, Spiders and Shield Bugs to be seen.

Great to stop and have a chat with the wardens and volunteers to see what is going on.

Happy Days!!



12 April 2024

Chasing Butterflies

The suns out so off to find some Butterflies, experience has shown me that at this time of year Exminster Marshes along the back path and the " Discoverey Area " are good place to start, Cuckoo Flowers are out which are a fav of the Orange Tip and plenty where seen, also a Holly Blue flew by me and sadly carried on so no pics.

I found a pair of Green-veined Whites coupled which made it 3 new ones for me this year. Also seen Peacock, Brimstone and Speckled Wood.

This makes 7 species seen so far- Brimstone, Orange Tip, Green-veined White, Speckled Wood, Holly Blue, Peacock, Comma.



09 April 2024

Seaton Wetlands

Spent a lovely few hours at Seaton Wetlands today, for a change it wasn't raining on my day off, was very windy though.

The Sand Martins had returned to the nest boxes that are close to the centre, the Wardens were saying the boxes had been there for 12 years and this was only the 2nd time it had been used, it is thought because there historic nesting site on the River Axe had been washed away they had found a new site, let's hope it continues.

They have a Swift Tower with boxes on which has been used this last two years but no sign yet although it's a bit early. Also in a different box is a pair of Kestrels which can be seen on camera from the visitor centre, 3 eggs so positive signs.

Also the Avocets are back who nested there last year for the first time and can be seen from the Island Hide.

He tide was in and high, only a single Godwit and a couple of Oystercatchers around, as normal good numbers of Shelduck and a Mute Swan on a nest.

Met lots of nice humans which is always a plus!



05 April 2024

Dartmoor

In between the rain and wind spent several hours on Dartmoor this week, time spent at Yarner, Soussons, Challacombe Farm, Bellever Forest and plenty of places in between sat in my car while it rained!

One of those places, I sat next to a small bridge over what I know as "Walla Brook" plenty to see here while sat in my car in the rain, best being a pair of Goosanders, Grey Heron, Pair of Mallards and a Grey Wagtail.

All the usual stuff seen, more Wheatears arriving especially just up from Challacombe Farm. Plenty of Ravens about, playing and displaying in the wind, great to watch.

Plenty of Buzzards about, Goshawk seen in several locations at a distance, but very little else on the Raptor front.

Saw and heard a Lesser-spotted Woodpecker, they are starting to nest but alarmingly a GSW had its head in the hole today so I hope its not chased off, only time will tell.

Several Crossbills, Redpolls, Siskins seen amongst the usual members of the Tit family, Robins, Blackbirds, Dunnock, Wren, Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, Mistle and Song Thrushes, Grey and Pied Wagtails, Yellowhammers, Stonechats, Wood pigeons, Collard and Stock Doves, House Sparrows, Starlings, Magpie Jay, Jackdaws, Rooks, Carrion Crows and Herring Gulls.

Some Trees trying to come into leaf but very little to see on the insect front.

Plenty of very nice humans about, but also a couple of dick heads who don't know how to drive on the moor, saw the sad site of a Ewe dead on the side of the road, no excuse for it!



© Simon Thurgood 2024
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