Saturday, 31 August 2013

Not Quite Dorset

I've just spent a week in Dorset with the family, in which the world of natural history was put to one side, apart from a single day when I took the coastal path out of Lyme Regis and headed westwards to meet a tall stranger with a penchant for Cadbury's Chocolate Buttons...

I arrived at Seaton, just over the county boundary into Devon, where Gavin Haig (he of Not Quite Scilly fame) met me for a most enjoyable tour of the birding patch that he is lucky enough to have on his doorstep. The small band of regular birders (some of whom I ticked) have turned this sleepy edge of the county into a birding hot spot. We started at Seaton Hole, where we viewed the very bushes that were once haunted by a Hume's Warbler, while scoffing Lemon Sponge Cake and a mug of coffee - us that is, not the warbler. From here we could also gaze along the cliffs to Beer Head, the site of yet more birding successes.

The jewel in the crown of the area must be Black Hole Marsh (above), a recently created reserve to which the local council deserves heaps of praise. It was full of waders, including Little Stint (2), Curlew Sandpiper (5), Greenshank (1), Ruff (1), LRP (2), Turnstone (1), Green Sandpiper (3) and Black-tailed Godwit (50). If we got bored with watching the waders then there were Little Egrets, Yellow Wagtails and even a Cuckoo (good patch bird apparently) on show as well.

By the time we reached Colyford Common, we had both reverted to type and took on the mantle of grumpy (or wise) old boys and put the world to rights on many subject matters. To save my legs from the seven and a half mile walk back along the under cliff, Gavin then kindly drove me back to Lyme Regis.

Thanks Gavin, it was a great way to meet a new patch and finally put a face to a name, even though we probably scowled at each other along Staines Reservoir causeway some time 'back in the day'. A nicer and more knowledgable chap would be hard to find - you, that is, not me...

Gavin is available for guided tours throughout the autumn, rates varying from the basic 'Bag of Buttons' package through to the 'Single Malt' special. But a word of warning - do not mention the Solitary Sandpiper.


  1. Thanks Steve, it was a real pleasure. Mind you, in anticipation of Giant Buttons I was of course on my best behaviour!

    1. See what I did with the post headline Gav?

    2. Neat! Catchy blog title there I reckon!