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WEATHER: drizzling rain to start with overcast cast, misty conditions. Brighter later with sunshine and a warm temperature of 20C.

I collected Jan and Mick from their hotel in Lyme Regis at 9am, they had booked a day out 'birding' as part of their long-weekend 40th Wedding Anniversary Celebrations. We drove down the hill from the hotel and stopped next to the river Lym. We walked for a short while along upriver in the hope of catching a glimpse of a Dipper. 

Jan and Mick, still smiling after 40 years of marriage, a lovely couple and great company

We saw Grey Wagtail very briefly, but not a Dipper, some re-construction work was going on along the river and this disturbance had probably pushed the Dippers away for a while. We saw the usual common bird species including Herring Gulls flying over us.

Next, we drove out of town to visit a small area of heathland and marsh at Trinity Nature Reserve. Once on the heath it took us quite a while to find a single bird, it was a little windy and the light wasn't good at all, we had our fleeces on too. Eventually we started to see Linnets dashing about making a lot of noise and Mick found a Yellowhammer sitting in a bush. It was female and she was carrying food, obviously still feeding young. 

female Yellowhammer, carrying food

We heard Balckcap and Chiffchiff singing, the latter was later seen on a telephone wire, we also saw a pair of Great Spotted Woodpeckers, a single juvenile Stonechat and we heard a Tree Pipit but never actually found one. Birds flying over included Crow, Magpie, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Stock Dove and a large bunch of Swifts.

Little Egrets on the River Axe  at Seaton Wetlands

At Seaton Wetlands we spent a couple of hours walking to all the hides, we had our picnic lunch sitting in the sunshine, enjoying a hot drink. From the Tower Hide we had most of our bird singhtings, the 'Tower' overlooks the River Axe, and most of the Seaton Wetlands and parts of Colyford Common. 

We saw many of these juvenile Common Shelducks

We added a whole host of birds to our list from the Tower Hide: a large group of gulls were loafing about on the exposed mud during this low-tide period. We saw dozens of Herring Gulls with some Great Black-backed Gulls and Black-headed Gulls. A few Little Egrets also fed nearby with several Curlews, a Redshank, Moorhen, Grey Heron and some Shelduck.

our bird of the day, Sedge Warbler

On the main lagoon, called Black-Hole Marsh, we 'scoped a good number of juvenile Shelducks, also a small flock of Black-tailed Godwits, sporting their lovely summer plumage. In the Reedbeds we saw Reed Warbler and a Sedge Warbler, both were singing but the latter sat out on top of the vegetation and showed very well.

Sedge Warbler again

At the Discovery Hide we watched the Sand Martin colony in action, this artificial nesting colony was doing very well with many nests activily feeding young, it was really good to see such a successful colony. After our lunch break we sat in the Discovery Hide in the hope of seeing a Kingfisher, but alas one didn't show up.

Black-tailed Godwit

Before leaving the wetlands we sat in the island hide admiring much closer views of the Black-tailed Godwits, they looked superb in the afternoon light. We also found a group of Redshanks on one of the islands and with them was a solitary Spotted Redshank. This bird was in heavy moult and looked a complete mess, but after some deliberation we decided that it was a Spotted Redshank.

Sand Martin at the man-made nesting colony

a moulting Spotted Redshank

We left the Wetlands and spent 20 minutes driving to Lambert's Castle where we hoped to see a few woodland species and perhaps a Common Redstart. It was quite busy there, the sun was shining and many dog walkers were out and about. From the car park we crossed a heathland and saw more Linnets, also Goldfinches flew over. 

 a view of West Dorset from the Hill-Fort

Chaffinch taken at Lambert's Castle

Our walk to the Iron-Age Hill-fort was very quiet, we hardly saw a bird. A Mistle Thrush dashed in front of us, both Buzzard and Red Kite flew over at some stage. We heard more than we saw: Nuthatch, Chiffchaff, Chaffinch, Wren, Robin, Blackcap and Balckbird all called during our visit. We did see Chaffinch but not much else. 

Around 4pm we called it a day, I dropped Jan and Mick back at their hotel before heading off back home, it had a very pleasant day, Happy Anniversary to them both.