As promised, here are a selection of the highlights from Devon, plus a few pictures ...
Various sorties down to the reserve during the week produced some good birds, including Arctic skua, sandwich tern, Mediterranean gull, common gull, dunlin, whitethroat, little egret, linnet, reed warbler, reed bunting, gannet, kittiwake, little grebe and stonechat. A tawny owl was seen in the small hours of Friday morning from the lodge in which we were staying.
I noticed some smaller terns amongst a group of sandwich terns on Saturday evening. They may have been roseate terns, but I did not have my scope and couldn't clinch identification with my bins.
Mediterranean gull amongst black-headed gulls
Butterflies seen included common blue, comma, small copper, meadow brown, red admiral, peacock, gatekeeper, large white, small skipper, large skipper, marbled white and speckled wood. A drinker moth was seen in the hide.
Blue-tailed damselflies seemed to be the predominant species on site. Confirmed dragonflies consisted of emperor dragonfly and common darter. Some probable broad-bodied chasers were seen, but never identified with absolute certainty.
Also, large numbers of six-spot burnet and many cinnabar moth caterpillars on site. Badgers were seen on three separate occasions from our lodge, as were some very large, but unidentified bats.
Cinnabar moth caterpillars
A summer-plumaged Slavonian grebe was seen at Cockwood. Bowling Green Marsh held black-tailed godwits, redshank and a few dunlin, plus a black-tailed skimmer, many butterflies, including ringlet, large skipper and comma, and a yellow shell moth. The caterpillar of the grey dagger moth was seen in Topsham.
Grey dagger moth caterpillar
At Aylesbeare and Woodbury Commons, linnet, meadow pipit, stonechat and Dartford warbler were the best of the birds on offer. Butterflies included small heath and grayling. Several keeled skimmers and a golden-ringed dragonfly were seen, along with azure and large red damselflies. A small tortoiseshell was seen at Exminster Marshes on Thursday.
Large red damselfly
My first assignment having returned home is to have a look for a lesser whitethroat that I heard locally this morning. Not quite within walking distance, but a welcome opportunity to catch up with one of my favourite birds fairly close to home.