For our third and final day in Dorset we actually hopped over the border to Devon for a walk along the River Coly. We did the same thing during our visit last year and were rewarded with sightings of nesting Kingfishers and Sand Martins. With Easter being a few weeks earlier this time around we weren’t expecting to see quite so much activity, so four Sand Martins back over their colony was a very welcome sight. As with everywhere else Chiffchaff numbers were very buoyant although they always seemed to find a way of hopping out of range just as I got the camera out. Another couple of male Blackcaps, two Treecreepers, several Goldfinch and a Grey Wagtail were all very nice finds, whilst a Little Egret and a Cormorant were on the unusual side given the small size of the river.
One of the highlights of this walk is always the large number of butterflies that can be seen in the fields that border the river. Again numbers were lower than last year because of the earlier timing of our visit, but there were still plenty of Orange-tips and Speckled Woods on the wing. Orange Tips are a particular favourite of mine although they do have a habit of landing only occasionally. In the end I had to follow this one around the field for a good few minutes before it finally succumbed to the temptations of a Dandelion, a task made all the more difficult by the field being full of cows who seemed intent on charging around the place. Fortunately only one dash for safety was necessary.
The only bird photos I managed to get during the day were of this Wren who was skulking through the undergrowth. Once again the low light performance of my new camera really came to the fore in a situation where previously I wouldn’t have been able to take anything usable.
On an even smaller scale we spotted a Green Shield Bug sat on a tree branch not far from the Wren above. It took a lot of research before I finally had it correctly identified mainly, as you can probably tell, because it isn’t in fact green. Apparently this species turns brown when it goes into hibernation and once spring arrives its a couple of weeks before the green colour has been completely restored. Given this I presume the individual below had only recently emerged from its slumbers.
Although not something I normally photograph I couldn’t help noticing some of the wild flowers that are now starting to come into bloom. Several fields were full of Cuckoo Flower while groups of wild Primroses seemed to be doing even better than the cultivated varieties in our garden back home.
Bluebells were also just starting to flower as was the wild garlic which smelt absolutely fantastic. If you are in the area I highly recommend taking the walk yourself as it’s only going to get better as the season progresses.