Monday 27 June 2022


I'd already planned to cycle over to Mum's, in Topsham, after work this afternoon. She's recovering from another hip operation. In and out of hospital in ten hours at the age of nearly eighty. Amazing! When Mark's text pinged through I stuck the bins and camera in the rucksack and popped in to see this Tundra Bean Goose at Dart's Farm, which is on the way. It wasn't terribly close but good to see all the same, partnered up with a Greylag Goose. Odd to see one in June but not unprecedented - I remember finding a May bird, on Bowling Green, years ago. Really nice to meet Phil this afternoon and good, as always, to see Bob. Thanks of course to Mark for the text.
On the way home I had a quick look at Goosemoor, where an adult Mediterranean Gull and my first juvenile Black-headed Gull of the summer were noted. At least 1 Dark-bellied Brent Goose is still summering off Mudbank. No doubt the other bird was close-by.

This white Black Horehound is growing at Lower Halsdon Farm, beside the cycle track. Below, growing beside the white, is what Black Horehound usually looks like...

And below - an archive photo from 2020 - a little better than the above.

Sunday 26 June 2022

Archer's Dart

 Archer's Dart - an incredibly smart moth and only my third trapped.

A bit of a 'bitty' day today. I had a few things to do but managed to squeeze in a look at a few things en route. Birds off Mudbank included 21 Shelduck, 38 Curlew, 5 Whimbrel, 2 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 1 Grey Wagtail and an adult Mediterranean Gull
At West Lodge, the Sedge Warbler is still belting out a song, and a Reed Bunting was flying around - my first record in Exmouth this year. 
A stroll through fields between Exton and Woodbury produced a Green Sandpiper and a Kingfisher.

Smaller Tree Mallow - I only know one site for these, so popped in today. They're still going strong, around the edges of Topsham Quay carpark. This one was in the shadow of a boat that was being repaired.

Small Skipper - West Lodge.

Golden-ringed Dragonfly.

Loads of Marbled Whites at West Lodge, and masses of Meadow Browns.

Southern Marsh Orchid.

Female Emperor, ovipositing.

Most Bee Orchids are a long way past their best, but those few remaining flowers still look the business.

A peculiar, densely-flowered Pyramidal Orchid.

Much more typical blooms. I love Pyramidal Orchids. These were at Exminster.

Red-eyed Damselfly - Countess Wear.

Red-eyed Damselfly (with a male Common Blue Damselfly below).

Scarce Chaser.

Saturday 25 June 2022

Crescent Dart

 Crescent Dart - this localised, coastal species never turns up in numbers but it's my third or fourth from the garden trap. A couple have been so poorly-marked that I've nearly passed them off as Heart and Dart. No such problems with this one! Colder temperatures and breezy conditions meant far fewer moths last night, and no immigrant species. 

Ivy Broomrape - I saw stacks of this in Torquay today. The pale yellow 'banana' variety is a real favourite of mine, and a nice change from all the 'purples' in Exmouth.

Pyramidal Orchid. One of forty spikes on Dinan Way.

Friday 24 June 2022

Redshank, Bordered Straw

 This adult, breeding-plumaged Redshank was off Mudbank this afternoon - the first I've seen for a while and a typical mid/late June occurrence. Otherwise, still 2 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 10 Sandwich Terns and 3 Whimbrel.

Soon, the local Common Spotted Orchids will be past their best, so I visited a couple of the premier roadside sites (that I know of) to photograph them. They may be common but they're nonetheless lovely.        

This Common Spotted Orchid was nearly three feet tall, reaching for light amongst quite dense vegetation.

A cursory count of the Wright's Lane Broad-leaved Helleborines revealed ten plants, but I'm sure there'll be more than that because they're not easy to spot. I can't wait to see them in flower! Unfortunately, this little-used lane has recently been re-surfaced, which has left some of the plants splattered with tar. Others have been nibbled at by slugs and/or snails, but the plants in the darkest spots seem to be doing better than last year. Fingers crossed.

This box-fresh Oak-tree Pug caught me a little by surprise. I'm used to seeing them a little earlier in the spring in this condition. Many moths and lots of variety in the trap last night, but the only immigrants were 3 Rusty Dot Pearls and a Bordered Straw.

Presumed Apple Ermine but can't be sure without dissection.

Scalloped Oak.

Lots of people have been reporting Bordered Straw of late. It's a moth I used to see more of when I started trapping, back in 2006. Today's individual looked pretty immaculate. I've trapped more Scarce Bordered Straws over the years but the ambition, of course, is to see Eastern Bordered Straw...

Wednesday 22 June 2022

Norfolk Hawkers, Henbane

Norfolk Hawker. This is the first of two seen this afternoon. The second individual is pictured below.

I drove down to Slapton after work, to see if I could see the Norfolk Hawkers that have recently been reported from the dipping platform. I was kind of expecting fleeting views, in the warm sunshine, so was quite taken aback to find two, posing beautifully, between short flights along the boardwalk! I'd go as far to say that they were easier to see and photograph then any other species of dragonfly I've seen. Beautiful! Really nice to meet Billy this afternoon and a big thank you to Perry for keeping me up to date on the appearances of this rare (in Devon) dragonfly. Billy had seen three individuals this afternoon, but hadn't noted any with a broken wing, so it seems there may potentially be four individuals, at least, in the area. Well worth the trip down and a species I've not seen before. Love those big green eyes!

The second of two seen.

Ever since my interest in wild flowers took hold, I've wanted to see Henbane. A big 'thank you' to Perry for pointing me in the right direction. It's a gorgeous plant but very poisonous, so I didn't get too close, although the chances of me consuming it were always pretty slim!

 Sulphur Pearl Sitochroa palealis.

Yellow Horned-poppy. Lots of this along the back of the beach, along with some lovely stands of Viper's Bugloss and Wild Carrot.

I stopped off on the way home, at Staverton, to look at another very poisonous plant - this one is Monk's Hood or Wolf's Bane. It's one of the most toxic plants in the UK. 


I'm still not tapping into much immigrant activity but the garden trap did produce this dapper Vestal last night.