Thursday 30 March 2023

Hothfield Heathlands, end March 2023

The Great Grey Shrike returned to the main bog at Hothfield, so I went looking for it, for a second time and was successful! 

It was hunting for ground-based insects exactly in the middle of the bog. Going down for insects and then returning to perch about 2m off the ground.  It was always distant from the path but still gave good views. A local birder offered the hope that it will stay all summer. Apparently there used to be a resident population of GGS’s at Hothfield in the 1980’s.


Also present in the Oaks were a pair of Jay’s. 

And a Yellow Hammer was showing well in the small trees on the outskirts of the bog.


Saturday 25 March 2023

Devon, mid March 2023

An unplanned return to Devon to fix my son’s computer, allowed me a couple of slots of wet and windy birdwatching at Seaton Wetlands, Ham Wall, Lodmoor and Arne.

Nothing of note was seen on the Wetlands or Ham Wall (wet and very windy) but a very knowledgeable volunteer introduced me to the Aviemore (?) hide, which has great views of the reed beds.

Lodmoor had a distant Spoonbill, a few waders and LE's, plus noisy guls. Two male Mute Swan’s were in constant disagreement over a female.

 The Dunnock's at Lodmoor seem particularly tame.

Arne is a lovely walk, when the sun is shining, but the WTE’s were not visible over the harbour, and it was too early for any Osprey sightings. There were Siskin on the feeders plus an occasional Coal tit.  One of the local squirrel’s had also installed itself on the table feeders and was looking rather fat.

Saturday 18 March 2023

Seaton, early March 2023

We spent 6 days in Seaton at the beginning of March. The weather was not conducive to photography or even walking but there were a couple of trips of note.

We took a Stuart Line trip up the River Exe. This was their standard trip, not one of their birdwatching specials.  There were Cormorant and Shag on the river estuary and, for once, it was easy to tell them apart.

There was also a very laid-back Grey seal on a mid-river pontoon.

Several days later, I managed a morning walk up stream from Colyton, on the footpath that follows the River Coly northwest. There was a pair of Dippers travelling up and down the river, sometimes carrying nesting materials in their beaks.  They did not let me get too close and were always facing into the sun.  There was also a pair on Grey wagtails by the river, plus several Little egrets.

The Wetlands themselves, including the Black Hole marsh were rather unproductive, as usually seems to be the case these days.

A few Shelduck and gulls in the marsh, plus Widgeon and teal out on the Axe estuary.

Friday 17 March 2023

Elmley, Mid March 2023


Trip with U3A group to Elmley.  The weather was unsettled, it was raining most of the time, so the light was poor – really too poor for the micro 4/3’s camera.

After several drives on the entrance track, we decamped for tea and cake in the café. By the time we returned to the car park the weather had cleared up for the drive back.

The Long-eared and little owls were not to be seen but one SEO appeared in the roosting area just as we were leaving.


Species seen included Buzzard, Marsh harrier, Curlew, Lapwing, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Skylark, Grey heron, Pheasant, Red-legged partridge, Coot, Moorhen, Mallards, Widgeon and Mute swans.

Slimbridge, late November 2023