Saturday, 17 April 2021


This male Redstart was typically flighty and camera-shy, but a very welcome sight in what has been a very poor spring on Orcombe. Still no House Martin, Whitethroat or Yellow Wagtail, but there's still time...

Orcombe Point - 0630, in clear conditions, with yet another ground frost. Highlight was a male Redstart but also 1 Siskin, 3 Willow Warblers, 2 Snipe, 3 Wheatears and at least 15 Linnets.
Off Mudbank - 3+ Whimbrel, 2 Sandwich Terns and a Dark-bellied Brent Goose.

Small White and Greater Stitchwort.

The Green-winged Orchids are emerging in numbers now.

Lousewort is starting to flower on the local heaths.

I think this small plant is a type of Sorrel but the leaves don't look right for Sheep's Sorrel. I'd really appreciate any suggestions.

A Whimbrel almost 'melts' into the background off Mudbank this morning.

Thursday, 15 April 2021

Early Spiders

Lu and I spent the morning on the Purbeck coast, in Dorset, with the aim of seeing the famous Early Spider Orchids. We saw loads and enjoyed a walk along the stunning coastline, before grabbing some lunch at Corfe Castle. A beautiful day in a gorgeous part of the world, and the orchids didn't disappoint.

Dancing Ledge.

Several Guillemots and Razorbills were resting on the water, and clearly breeding on the cliff-face beneath the coast path.

Looking east towards Durlstone Head.

Salad Burnet is another new one for me. Plenty seen at Dancing Ledge.

 Corfe Castle with Poole Harbour in the background.

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

Bog Beacon

Really delighted to see my first Bog Beacons Mitrula paludosa today - a species of fungus.

Numbers down a bit on yesterday, but managed to record at least 8 Willow Warblers, 8 Blackcaps, 6+ Wheatears, a Yellowhammer and a White Wagtail.
Off Mudbank - 8 Whimbrel, 14 Pale-bellied Brent Geese, 1 Dark-bellied Brent Goose and a roof-top Wheatear.

A stunning combination of Bog Beacon and Marsh Violets carpeting shady, wet areas of Bystock reserve.

This strikingly white Buzzard headed east, over our back garden this morning.

Yellowhammer is an infrequent visitor to Orcombe - as usual, picked up on call.

Roe Deer - Orcombe Point.

White Wagtail

Buck's-horn Plantain

Spotted Medick

Tuesday, 13 April 2021

WWs and Wheatears

Willow Warbler - one of at least twenty moving through the hedgerows of Orcombe Point today - the best showing of this beautiful species, so far this spring and I'm sure I'll have missed a load more.

Finally - an upturn is spring passage on Orcombe - a fall of at least 20 Willow Warblers and 10 Wheatears in fine, clear conditions today. Several Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs in song too, and six Sandwich Terns off the point. Off Mudbank - just 1 Dark-bellied Brent Goose.
Yesterday on Orcombe - 6 Willow Warblers and a fly-over Siskin.

Common Dog-violet - masses of these in flower on the commons at the moment. I've been searching for different colour varieties with only limited success...

Thrift is well on its way to flowering but only one 'proper' flower-head so far...

One of at least 10 Wheatears on Orcombe today. My highest tally this spring.

Can't resist checking on the Green-winged Orchids when walking past.

Sunday, 11 April 2021

Night Heron

Not easy to see! I've got a bit of a soft spot for Night Herons, so decided on a quick trip down to Slapton before Joel's afternoon football match. Once I got my eye in I found it fairly easy to pick out, but directing others onto it, not so easy...

Six Willow Warblers and 2 Meadow Pipits was all I could find on Orcombe this morning, so I decided to nip down to Slapton for the first-summer Night Heron, discovered there a couple days ago. Good scope views of various parts of the bird, at different times - most visible when preening and stretching. Also down there - good views of a Cetti's Warbler, the long-staying Red-necked Grebe, c30+ Tufted Duck, 1 Gadwall and a singing Reed Warbler.
This was only my fourth Devon Night Heron, with previous birds at West Charleton Marsh on 28/3/93, a self-found first-summer bird at Countess Wear on 12/4/99 and an adult at Bowling Green Marsh on 4/4/06. About time I saw another!

Plumage-wise - like a subdued, dull adult with grey-black crown, bluish-grey bill and amber eye. You could sometimes see its yellowish legs and feet. Otherwise the upperparts, or what was visible of them, looked plain grey, and it appeared yellowish-buff around the lores and neck sides. I didn't get a good look at the wing coverts, but the Countess Wear first-summer had buff spots in this area.

Saturday, 10 April 2021

Wall Speedwell?

I think this is Wall Speedwell but the tiny flowers look way more mauve than anything I can find online. I'd really help any help/suggestions.

Again, nothing bird-wise but yesterday there were 4 Wheatears and a Willow Warbler on Orcombe, marking a mini-upsurge in migration!

Musk Stork's-bill

Bee species - Edit - thank you to Nick for the id - Grey-patched Mining Bee.

Pond Snail

Bush Vetch

Small Tortoiseshell

I don't know what it is about this flower but I just love it - Rue-leaved Saxifrage on the Maer this afternoon.

This lone Snake's-head Fritillary is underneath the public footpath sign, nearest the Geoneedle.