This job is fantastic for inspiring you to learn what you have previously not given to time to. The quad-bike seems to be rather good at disturbing butterflies, so that when driving it around the reserve, one is often surrounded by multi-coloured beating wings. This provides the perfect mode of transport for butterfly identification practice, but not so much butterfly photography. All I have managed, after a week of trying to capture them, is a rather measly picture of a speckled wood.  

Speckled wood on Exminster

Butterflies which can be seen on our reserves include:

Red Admiral

Speckled Wood

Gate Keeper


Marsh Fritillary

Painted Lady



Although it is well known that many of our birds undertake incredible migrations, through tremendous feats of navigation and stamina, what is less celebrated is the fact that so too do some of our butterfly species. When shown the map of the painted lady migration, it would be easy to mistake it for a bird migration. It always astonishes me, that such delicate looking creatures can manage such long distances!

Painted lady migration routes (

Talking of migrants, we have had a couple more exciting sightings over the last couple of weeks. It is always easy to tell when something exciting is around and about, because often the car park is rather full, and people can be spotted gathered in anticipation. It was nice to see people gathered at Matford marsh to see the glossy ibis. These are beautiful birds which shimmer in the sunlight when caught at the right angle. Far more common to the Med, it’s quite a treat to get them this far north – although given current temperatures, they may well think they’re in the Med! There was also another osprey passing through, along with a spoonbill at Bowling Green. All this has equated to a really good couple of weeks for bird watching!

We also undertook a moth trap this week and got some really beautiful species we hadn’t yet seen this year:

Garden tiger moth showing its brilliant orange under wings


Rosy footman - one of our most vibrant small moths

We had one of our largest work parties this week, which meant a very productive day, with three gate ways being mended: two latching posts, one hanging post, two wing ways and a bit of fencing for good measure!

The team getting stuck in!