River Dart

A Pair of Juveniles

Identifying birds gets decidedly tricky the more you look into them.

Bird types can change depending on whether you are looking at a male or female.
Or what time of year it is.
Juveniles can look very different from the adults they’ll eventually turn into.

Take the moorhen for example.
On the left is a juvenile I saw on the river Dart today.

Moorhen juvenile 2 Sept 2018-horz

The moorhen on the right is the adult version you more normally see (I didn’t see that though) Its now got a red beak and looks less brown and more black bodied.

Likewise the black headed gull has significant changes of appearance on maturity.

Black headed Gull juvenile Sept 2018-horz

Juvenile here minus choccy head            Adult here, with a choccy head
Seen today on the river Dart                 Seen on Meadfoot beach July 2017
What makes a positive id of blackheaded gulls – both juveniles and adults – even trickier, is how similar to mediterranean gulls they look.

Anyway, here’s a vid of the juvenile moorhen and juvenile black headed gull seen on the river Dart in Totnes (next to Morrisons) today.
The moorhen, to my eyes, is like a fancy-footed water chicken. It was amusingly flick flicking up its white botty.
The black headed gull was in itchy twitch mode.

Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet

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Red Darter on the Dart

Off this sunny Sunday afternoon to give the new Lumix DMC40 a try out.

Waiting by the Dart river to see if Beautiful Demoiselles might still be around.

Waiting. Watching.

And then dropped down this Red Darter dragonfly.

Red Darter on the Dart Sept 2018

Right in front of where I stood, only 4 feet away.

Having a mini break from dizzy darting about.

In a headspin she was. Chewing a fly.

Red Darter on the Dart 2 Sept 2018

I bent down to get near but she shot up in the air scraping past the top of my head.

I waited around for a while to see if she’d come back.
But she didn’t.

Had to content myself instead with wagtails bouncing about on the far bank.
And being dipped in delicious by the lovely sunny river.

Dashing Dart

A slow walk to the Dart river.

Yet more notices about picking up poo
(I presume this isn’t a Phantom Poo Person on the loose, but the usual dog doo dah bollocks)

Bag that poo April 2nd 2018

Somebody had been out picking up, not Poo –  Plastic.

Plastic Rubbish 2 April 2nd 2018

A ceremonial pile of plastic laid out right next to the river Dart.

Plastic Rubbish April 2nd 2018

Plus a couple of glass bottles, some tin cans, a trainer, and other sundry detritus.

Maybe a nice person picking up plastic but without a plastic bag to bin it with.
Or an angry person making a point of drawing attention to how much plastic gets carelessly thrown around perhaps?

It drew my attention. So I took those pictures. To post on the blog.
(Unfortunately I hadn’t got anything on hand to bin this plastic heap of crap either)

Everywhere around on this Easter Bank Holiday Monday was as inert, as dead, as that plastic pile of poo.

But nothing inert about the river Dart today.

Positively bouncing and bubbling along with unstoppable energy, necessary life.

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