River Dart Enchantment

A few pictures from yesterdays ‘enchantment’ on the Dart river.

I was too intent on looking for Beautiful Demoiselles to have much time or attention for anything else.

I noticed the Red Devons in the river but only got to them as they were coming out. But one obliging chap stayed in

Drinking the Dart 2

He stood in the water for well over 10 minutes obviously enjoying the river cooling him down (not that it was a particularly sweltering day)

And now he’s having another drink of river Dart sparkling champagne.

Drinking the Dart

I was seeing quite a few butterflies flitting about but felt I had to keep my attention focused on finding those Demoiselles

Here’s a fairly common butterfly (but new, and therefore uncommon, to me)

Gatekeeper Aug 2017

That’s called a ‘Gatekeeper’. He seemed to be guarding those flowers there (help! what are they called Haze?!)

I could hear a buzzards high pitched keening call from above but he was too high and too far away for me to get a clear image of.

But I could get decent (or indecently) close pics of these Demoiselles. This is the male (far more beautiful than the plainer female)

Beautiful Demioselle male 2

These Beautiful Demoiselles have made my summer they have.

Well, so far. Until some other marvel magics the moment I happen to be sauntering into next.

Beautiful Demoiselles (on the river Dart)

Out for a walk down the river Dart yesterday afternoon. Shock! Horror! It actually felt like a summer day for a change (we’re not seeing enough sun, feeling enough heat this year down in Devon)

I wasn’t expected much.

But then I got everything I wanted.

Beautiful Demoiselles!

That’s the actual name of these damselflies: “Beautiful Demoiselles”

How lucky am I?! The afternoon was transformed.

I got into my zone of intent absorption looking for these ‘beauties’ with my camera.

First there was a bronze green female. Then a bigger blue black male fluttered up.
I was having to be patient, use stealth, to get close enough up to them to get good vid.

And meanwhile the steam train was tootle tootling back and forth.

And the buzzard was up there above hunting and swooping.

And a little herd of Red Devon cows descended into the water to drink a refreshing bellyful of river.

My mood moved out of neutral into slightly enthralled.

A bit of Thursday afternoon enchantment on the Dart river with the Beautiful Demoiselles.

Boodiful! (as they say down here)

Vid & Words: Ian Nisbet

The Hide on Dawlish Warren

Dawlish Warren on a sunny Saturday autumn afternoon.

We walk out to The Hide, but a low tide means we don’t see many wading birdies: a solitary curlew, a solitary little egret; a flocket of linnets, a couple of crows – and that’s about it.

But it feels snuggly being in this hide drinking homemade lentil and ginger soup looking out on the soggy mudflats of the estuary.

I’m doing my customary clips of films, trying to capture a Golden Medal moment that isn’t quite happening due to lack of bird activity. But it’s feeling ok enough – more Bronze than Gold.

The quiet of the hide hiding us from the exposed basin of The Bight feels becalming.

On the limp back we snapple a few tall reeds for the reed boat Haze wants to make for her Unicorn box.

I’m stroking the noses of docile Shetland ponies.

A pair of swans yap lap green algae off the top of a reedy pond next to the visitor centre.

By 4 it’s just turned towards dimpsy and the day feels done; time to be heading back for buttered crumpets.

Wimbling on The Warren

A warm wimble onto Dawlish Warren this Sunday afternoon.

Over the sand duney path to the Spit at the back overlooking Exmouth. This is where all the serious twitchers come to capture birdies with their big lenses.

I’m waving my spotty Lumix into the air vainly trying to film nesting skylarks; but they disappear too quickly into the blue high sky. To be heard still, but not seen.

This about the best I could do; a still from a film clip

Pair of Skylarks

The pair of them larking about. But far too lively and alive to get stuck in a camera.

This dead sea-bird was better. Probably a gull.

Gulled out

All the meaty bits pecked off it. I don’t lament much for gulls. Too many of them pestering about. The deader the better. One less gull = 2 more of some other bird far more interesting.

While I was hopping about looking for skylarks Haze was sat here

Haze on the Warren 2

Exmouth is there on the other side. A strong swimmer could easily swim across.

Look! – points Haze – theres a seal bobbing its head out of the sea. But it was a bit too far out to get a good look at with the camera.

But walking back along the beach here are some sanderlings skittering in and out of the surf.


We took our shoes and socks off and dipped our toesies, like a pair of little sanderlings, into the warm sea. Not really a paddle. But refreshing.

Dawlish Warren is good for birds. And rabbits. And Shetland ponies. Will be well worth another visit this summer.