Wednesday, 23 February 2022

Blackhill Buddleia Bullfinches

  Ponies on Blackhill Quarry - think they're Exmoor and/or Dartmoor.

Blackhill Quarry today - 10 Tufted Ducks, 1 male Ring-necked Duck, 5 Goosanders, 6 Crossbills over, 1 singing male Dartford Warbler, 5+ Bullfinch, 2 Ravens and 1 Kingfisher. Just down the road, at Hayes Barton pig farm - c100+ Chaffinch and at least 10 Brambling although there could have been considerably more. The birds were down into stubble and up in to the hedge so quickly that I just couldn't get a true handle on numbers. A surprise sighting there today was a single Green Sandpiper, which flew from a wet area over towards the river Otter.
A very quick look off Mudbank produced the pair of Goldeneyes, 2 Greenshank, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 3 Teal, 13 Pintail and 9 Wigeon.

Goosander - one of just five this evening.

Ring-necked Duck with Tufties this evening.

Quarrying has ceased at Blackhill and the site is now undergoing restoration/rewilding which, as far as I'm aware, involves some considerable re-landscaping. They've left the cliff with all the Sand Martin tunnels and it's looking as though the site will become more and more special as nature regains its rightful place. It's already home to a wonderful array of birds, reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates. I think I'm right in saying that it will be opened up for public access in 2030, which sounds like a disastrous idea. The pebbled heaths are so heavily used, and disturbed by the public (and military), that it seems utter madness not to keep this area fenced-off and quiet. 


Dartford Warbler - already established and breeding within the quiet confines of the quarry.


  1. Totally agree, there is enough places for people to trash already!

    1. Thanks Tom. Good to hear from you. All the best. Matt

  2. My view Matt is this rewilding has been created for wildlife to inhabit to thrive as is happening right now and we have all seen it in this area. More and more habitat is being lost to development all around us squeezing out our local wildlife so this little gem which has been created will over time get even better. The crazy idea to open it up for every man and his dog to trash it is outrageous. The footpath running through the middle should be closed and diverted around this new reserve. Clinton Devon Estates should apply to Devon County Council for this footpath diversion to save this creation for the good of the habitat and wildlife its attracted. We know it is planned to allow full public access by 2030 so why not apply now to divert the footpath, if it was a housing development going there the footpath would be diverted with any issues. Looks like you apply to Devon County Council for a permanent diversion see link for details. Seams a great reason for a permanent diversion £1600 well spent if DCC accepted the proposal.

  3. Hi Derek - that's a very interesting idea. Many thanks. The way things are going it'll be a giant housing estate before too long. The local authorities seem hell-bent on building on every available bit of land. it's so depressing to see the destruction of the countryside as you drive up Hulham Road and out of Exmouth. Haven't seen you for a while. Hope you and the family are all well. Matt