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Stover Park, Devon

images to follow

Easily accessible from the A38. Literally about 13 mins from Exeter and close to Yarner Wood and Dartmoor. A nice place to walk around early in the morning. Need to get there early as the dog walkers are up and about pretty early too. The downside to this park is the dog walkers who don't pick up after their dogs. Aaargh! Later on in the morning, cyclists and families use the park.

A good deal to see on the lake such as Pochards, Tufted Ducks, Great Crested Grebes, Mallards, Swans, Coots, Moorhens, various Gulls. They would get more here but apparently the Swans are very choosy about who lands on their lake, so the Geese don't stay around for long as they're attacked by the Swans! Snipe, Bittern and Waterail have all been spotted here.

There's an aerial walkway which leads to a feeder. Not overly great for photography as it's either dark, the sun's right down the lens, or the birds are straight on the feeder and then into some heavy shrubbery. There probably is a chance to get something relatively isolated, but it's hit and miss and something I've not managed yet! Shame, as there are Greenfinch, Tits, Chaffinch, Nuthatch and Bullfinch frequenting the feeder.

There is a hide, but it's been shut for quite a while now. Don't know why, but I think it may be due to vandalism which I find incredible! Around the hide I have seen Tree Creepers, GS Woodpeckers, Jays and the usual feeder-type birds.

Stover's a strange place as it houses a lake, woodland and also heathland in a relatively small area, so there's an abundance of possibilities birding-wise. Also meant to be very good for Dragonflies and insects. I haven't a macro lens so I don't have knowledge of this to a great extent, but there's always plenty of people with macro stuff going around.

Parking is 70p for 2 hours or £1.20 for all day. Quite an interesting Visitor centre which is worth a look in.

Overall, a good place to see quite a variety of things but you compete with dog walkers, families, cyclists and walkers, so early is important.

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Dawlish Warren Reserve

Special thanks to John Lee, South Devon, for some useful information on birds and shooting at Dawlish Warren

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Bowling Green Marsh, Topsham RSPB

A great place for bird watching and frequented by a lot of scope-people! Numbers of birds here are quite astonishing at times and a good place to go at high tide when the water level drives the estuary birds here.

I've not had a great deal of success here either as the sun is right down your lens in the morning and the birds are too far away to get much from the hide itself. An excellent place to just sit and see what's about (except I always forget my binos and have to ask people!)

Next to the hide there are a couple of breaks in the fence and hedge and some ducks can be photographed fairly close. Shoveler, Teal, Pintail and sometimes Godwits. Sun is best early to late afternoon.

A short walk takes you to the viewing platform which looks over Lympstone and the mouth of the Exe Estuary. Good for Godwits, Avocets, Dunlin, Redshanks. Mergansers are spotted quite frequently, but not by me. Admittedly, I don't spend a huge amount of time here, so there's no surprise that I haven't seen much. A case of the more you're there, the more you're likely to see! Quite a steep shooting angle looking down onto the subjects, so not ideal. Best afternoon for sun.

Ospreys attract a lot of visitors and there are opportunities to shoot these just around the corner on what's known as the "Goat walk". When the tide is out, the Ospreys seem to fish in the deeper channel. Again, not had many sightings of these, but a few. No images though!

Towards the end of the day, huge flocks of Avocet, Godwit, Plover, Wigeon and Teal fly in. The odd Curlew and Little Egret are seen here too. Well worth sitting in the hide to view this.

Special thanks to John Lee, South Devon, for some useful information on birds and shooting at Bowling Green Marsh

 

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Budleigh Salterton

I absolutely love this place. Early morning and it's as tranquil as anywhere. In the winter, there is loads of activity going on. Lots to see including Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Curlew, Snipe, Waterail, Little Egret, Heron, Gulls - lots of Gulls, Shelduck and more!

The sun is behind you fairly early, so it's good for photography. Hard to get to the waterway without waders, but there's plenty going on without that. Good place for flight shots as birds fly over the path to get either to the fields where there's a pond, or to the main inlet.

There are two hides on either side of the inlet, but one is quite far from the water, and the other is on the side of the hill, again quite far from the action. Flight shots can be had from both these.

Some spectacular sunrises and the atmosphere here makes this good place to visit.....

 

I will get some images!

 

 

 

 

 

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Aylesbeare Common

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All images and text are copyright of Graeme Lee. If you wish to use any images,