Arriving at the RSPB car park at Exminster Marsh at 9:30 and it was surprisingly quiet with very little bird song. Swifts, swallows, house martins and sand martins were very active over the marsh, flying low over the ground trying to find food, and Canada geese and shelducks were roosting amongst the cows.
I walked along the back path towards the Turf Hotel and began to hear bird song - a few very quiet reed warblers and 2 noisey reed buntings. Sedge warblers were much more vocal and showy and Cettis warblers were explosive but secretive amongst the vegetation. A lone willow warbler was heard along with chiffchaffs and blackcaps but there were no whitethroats or lesser whitethroats.
Reed Warbler in a tree!
A peregrine was perched on the usual pylon, taking short flight sorties around the marsh causing complete panic amongst the nesting lapwings. A small falcon high overhead turned out to be a hobby, it was joined by a second bird and both flew off north, while a female kestrel flew low along a hedgerow.
Nervous looking Grey Heron
Despite the cool conditions I found a few damselflys perched on vegetation by the footpath in more sheltered areas. They were small and easily overlooked but nice to find.
Large Red Damselfly - male
Large Red Damselfly - female
At least 3 reed warblers were singing in the reeds at the main pond with 1 bird seen, the birds were keeping low down in the strong breeze. A blackcap, a chiffchaff and 4 whitethroats were more showy. A green woodpecker, a great spotted woodpecker, a female stonechat and 8 whimbrel feeding on the grass in Greenland Lake were the other avian highlights and a brief sunny spell brought out a female orange tip, green veined whites and my first small copper of the year.
Female Orange Tip on Cuckoo Flower