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Small White butterfly

IMG_5665 Correction.jpeg

Great tit


Longtailed tit


photo 2   Speckled Wood


photo 3   Chloromyia Formosa






photo 5     Kestral


  photo 6   Bullfinch


Jenny Wren


photo 1 Goldcrest



Painted Lady butterfly


The waterfalls gushing now






Stinking Iris berries

Nature Observations: Eastcliff(Mules)Park – October 2019

by Catherine Locke

2nd October

A lot of robins about. A  lovely clear October day. Crickets singing in the grass, and craneflies in the top meadow, although this year I have noticed a decline in their numbers in the park. Good to see the meadows left uncut until later, as last year they cut early and took the harvest of hay and wildflower seed to the new Dawlish Countryside Park to spread on the meadows there.


Today I saw two Red Admiral and three Small White butterflies. Not many Large Whites about this year.


The trees are just beginning to turn now in the park. A group of tall Sycamores are gradually turning yellow by the lower edge of the top meadow.


The sun lights their fires.


Birds seen:

Robins (everywhere)

a family of Blue Tits

a family of Magpies

Flock of Goldfinches

a Great Tit family

pair of Wrens

a Nuthatch

flock of Long Tailed Tits

a pair of Dunnocks

many Wood Pidgeons

two families of Crows

a family of Jays( always heard first when they are in the trees and, if lucky, are then seen).

Its amusing to watch families of Grey squirrels using the long branches of the

Monteray pines by the park steps as arial runways.


6th October

Sunny. Lucky to see 6 Red Admiral butterflies and so many honey bees on sunlit ivy flowers. The ivy tumbles over a wire fence which separates the park from the grounds of Cliffden. Ivy is such an important resource for insects as late flowering pollen and nectar, and provides berries for birds afterwards, and shelter for them too.

Altogether in the park today I saw eight Red Admiral butterflies, one Small White and four Speckled Woods. Unusual as it is a windy day. I was pelted by leaves and Sycamore seeds along the lower path. I saw a couple of squirrel drays in the Sycamore trees; a tangled mass of twigs leaves and earth, often in an irregular shape, in  a high fork of a tree.


I was blessed today to see three separate families of Goldcrests. I usually hear their thin high pitched see-see-seee call first before I spot them hopping around in the branches, often going upside down to take tiny insects from twigs and leaves. I saw an unusuall fly on an Elder leaf. Around half an inch long with a copper green shiny thorax and brown wings over the abdomen. I looked it up later and found it was a type of soldier fly called Chloromyia Formosa, a male as the female has different colours. Usually flies May to August but there is no mistaking the species.


13th October

A flock of Goldfinches twittering as they flew across the park. A cheerful sound from a colourful little bird that is one of my favourites, and increasing in numbers in the UK.


Wood Pidgeons are gathereing in large flocks now, going from one feeding site to another and feeding safer in groups. Crows flying over in spread-out flocks as well.


A lot of interesting Fungi about after recent rains. Some of the types I've seen are:

Clumps of Fairies Bonnets on rotting wood under trees at the Rowden's edge path, and in the same area Charcoal Burner fungus. Under Holm Oaks and English Yews in a dark wooded area near the Rowdens I found a group of Large- cap Shaggy Parasol mushrooms, and in the grass under a tall fir tree I found clumps of cultivated mushrooms. By the OverDell path I saw Destroying Angel toadstools, and on rotting logs behind the Walled Garden, King Alfreds Cakes,

hard black rounded fungal growths. In The Dell woods Orange Jelly fungus on a rotting stump with Yellow Fingers and Candle Snuff fungus. Also the rubbery brain gelatinous forms of Jews Ear fungus.


19th October

A sunny but cold day. A lot of Grey squirrels about, mostly munching on sycamore seeds up in the branches. Saw a queen bumble bee looking for a nest site. Quite a few robins again, mostly making a titting noise, showing other robins that this is their territory, or a short sharp whistle as an alarm call. There are many flocks of

Goldfinches around.


Great to see a kestral hovering over the meadow in the park. She was chased by crows several times but was quick at dodging them. I also saw a pair of Willow Warblers in a tree next to the Walled Garden. I had my binoculars so I managed to get a good look at them as they searched for insects. Saw a handsome male Bullfinch in a bush near "Finch Copse" which is my name for for the stand of hawthorn, blackthorn, hazel and sycamore, with a natural tunnel walkway through it, by the lower meadow.


27th October

A sunny and calm day today. Wasps and flies sunbathing on the large leaves of tree mallows by the park steps. So many families of Grey squirrels in the park now, running and jumping or feeding on tree seeds. There were several families just in the Monteray pines. A wren zipped past my nose to land in a bush at the bottom of one of the pines. Robins titting everywhere. At least 6 pairs heard and 7

individuals seen. It was a Wren day as well with 3 pairs heard and 2

individuals. I also saw 5 separate families of Magpies in the park, with their chattering calls echoing all the time. Yesterday's gale force winds had almost stripped exposed trees of their leaves. Two of the Tree Mallows had been snapped in the wind. I saw the hovering female kestral again, in her usual spot over the rabbit brambles and hedgerow of the lower meadow. A family of Goldcrests seen in trees by the lower path, which is a sheltered path that leads to a fork. One of the prongs of the fork is The Dell path, the other prong leading above The Dell through woodland. I call this, appropriately, Overdell Path. I often see Bullfinches there.


I took the Dell Path today and heard the twittering of many gold finches in a towering Ash tree by a garden fence. Today was a real Goldfinch day as I saw one large flock, two smaller flocks, and a juvenile on a garden feeder near to the park boundary. The juvenile has the bright yellow wing streak but the head is grey with no sign of the red,white and black of the adult. The yellow wing flash is, I think, for flock recognition, whereas the striking colours of the adult head plumage are for attracting mates in the breeding season, and red is also a warning colour for predators.


The ponds are very full now with each waterfall gushing loudly into rapidly flowing streams, and thence to the tiered ponds. Primroses and Hydrangeas are still in bloom. Spotted a pair of Bullfinches in trees adjacent to pond number 3, near to a garden peanut feeder. Also seen there a pair of Dunnocks, a family of Goldfinches and a family of Blue tits.


Top meadow has been mown now and the grass taken for making hay. Magpies, crows and Herring gulls searched for worms and insects upon the cut meadow.


Over the lower meadow I saw a flock of crows, a flock of around 25 Wood pidgeons, a striking jay in the hedgerow with a large acorn in its beak. I heard recently on Autumn Watch that jays can carry 8 acorns in their crop and another in their beak and they will bury them all in different place. That is good news for the oak tree as they will forget at least a percentage of them. Highly poisonous bright red berries have now appeared on the Black Bryony, a climbing plant with large heart-shaped leaves, and finally orange berries are spilling

out from cracked open pods of the Stinking Iris, under tree shade.


Catherine Locke



photo credits

photo 2  author    Charles J Sharp [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]

photo 3 author    Hectonichus [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

photo 4  author    voir ci-dessous [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

photo 5   Author    Sepand Bakhtiari [CC BY-SA 4.0 (]

photo 6  Author Francis C. Franklin / CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]censes/by-sa/4.0)]

photo 1 © Francis C. Franklin / CC-BY-SA-3.0 [CC BY-SA 3.0 (]

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