Stover Country Park in Spring nr Torquay Devon…and the dog problem.

Stover Country Park is one of the many highlights of living in this area. A large lake is surrounded by a forest of tall trees.

Mallard Ducks, Mute Swans And Coots are regular visitors or permanent residents of the lakes.

Here are three additions to the Mallards, Coots and Mute Swans this Spring.

An Indian Runner.

A Chocolate Muscovite.

A Chayuga Duck.

A wooden walkway above the ground was a good spot on the day I visited, for Nuthatches, Robins, Blue Tits, Coal Tits, and Chaffinches.

A small lake held the lovely surprise of a duck family. Most of the ducklings were bright yellow, but there were two tiny brown ones as well. Mum was white with a yellow beak.

The Mute Swans had moved their nest. Their previous nest had been built close to an area where ducks got fed…unfortunately dogs often hurled into the water chasing the ducks. The day we walked the lake the area was empty of water birds. The Swans new nest was well away from the pathway and had a stream going past giving them protection.

Stover is such a lovely place. The only negative is the dog owners disregard for the birds. Notices are placed around the park asking dog owners to keep dogs on a lead. I’ve seen the ducks being chased and one duck family almost killed by two large dogs.

Please dog owners keep your dogs on a lead in this beautiful country park, loved by walkers, photographers and bird & nature lovers.


Herring Gull W0HA7..the history of this wandering seagull..ringed in Guernsey..resident in Torquay

The Herring Gull is on the UK Birds Red List..their numbers have fallen by 30% between 2000 and 2013.

While some people are happy about this and consider them a pest, I have to admit a liking and admiration for this much maligned bird.

To see a seagull winging its way through a blue sky or raising its young with great devotion is a joy to me. The reason these birds become a nuisance is entirely down to us. If we hadn’t thrown bread and chips to them for our amusement they would not pester us for food. If we had not cleared their breeding grounds for housing they would have no need to swoop on unsuspecting tourists to protect their young.

This Herring Gull seen last Friday on the seawall of a local beach had a white ring around its ankle.

Research and guidance from Twitter followers led to its history..W0HA7 was ringed in Guernsey in December 2012, from where it flew 198 miles across the sea to Torquay in Devon.

It was first seen on Meadfoot Beach in September 2015. I saw it last Friday, January, 2018, on Meadfoot Beach sea wall, so it appears to have decided to stay and was probably a Torquay resident who happened to fly south one winter, before returning to its breeding grounds here in Devon.

Apparently some SouthWest Gulls are known to fly south as far Spain and Portugal in winter.

Here a large flock of adult Herring Gulls and youngsters on the seawall last year..a rare and considering their falling numbers, an encouraging sight.

Thatchers Rock just off of Meadfoot Beach, a Bird Sanctuary, where the seagulls can nest in peace.

Thank you to Paul Veron for information about this ringed Gull and seagulls in general.

Meadfoot Beach Cafe..Meadfoot Beach. Torquay Devon 

Meadfoot Beach Cafe..Meadfoot Beach. Torquay Devon Whether on a warm and sunny or chilly and grey day the warmth of a delicious cup of coffee and snack at this little cafe is welcome. 
The views are lovely. Looking over the waters of Torbay on the right is the historic Berry Head and to the left Thatchers Rock Bird Sanctuary.

Below the cafe balcony is one of three beaches and from the cafe a stroll along Meadfoot Road is a pleasure at any time of the day and year.Climbing the steps behind the cafe leads you onto Daddyhole Plain and the coastal walk as far as the Imperial Hotel. 
Torquay town and harbour is a short drive or bus ride away. 

Back to the cafe. Usually closed at this time of year, it now stays open most evenings. 
There is a special menu available for these nights. 

Served by friendly, charming staff it’s a place to enjoy whether popping in for a coffee or a hot meal. And there is a cosy room on very cold nights for the less adventurous….or sensible😉

‘It’s no big deal if he only put his hand on your knee’

I was fifteen and being given a lift home by a middle aged family friend. I hadn’t seen him for a while, but felt comfortable until he started looking me up and down and saying how I had grown into a beautiful young woman.
Then he put his hand on my knee and as he spoke he gradually moved his hand up my inner thigh. I didn’t know how to react. An adult had never given me unwanted physical attention before…did I move his hand away..was it innocent, friendly behaviour..would I offend him and my parents if I asked him to stop. I felt very uncomfortable.

I pressed my knees together and moved away from him and said nothing.

When we got home I told my mother. She first said I was lying, which threw me, then she said I had gotten it all wrong, he would never do anything to hurt me or them.

I told her I didn’t care if she believed me or not, but that I would never be in the same room as him again..ever.

I didn’t see him again and as far as I know neither did my parents.

But hearing people say that when a man puts his hand on a girl or woman’s knee it is acceptable, friendly behaviour angers me. It may well be innocent if it’s a momentary thing, but the lingering, repeated grip is not…it can make a woman feel vulnerable and uncomfortable, especially when the perpetrator is older and in a more senior position. It is sexual harassment.

That was the first of many experiences of unwanted attention by men who knew they could get away with it because they had a higher status and it was wrong then, forty years ago, and it’s wrong now.

Meadfoot Beach Torquay Devon

Starting from the wide grassy field in Ilsham Road walk towards the sea..there is a wood to one side with a path, nice in Spring when the bluebells and garlic are out.

Cross the road near the car park to get to Meadfoot Beach, a shingle, rocky beach with some sand.
The views are beautiful at all times of the day and in all seasons. Whether the sea is calm and tranquil or furiously beating the stone walls, it is a pleasure to see.

On a sunny day the sea looks incredibly sky blue or turquoise. On a dull day it turns a steely grey, with the occasional shaft of brilliant sunlight spreading sparkling stars over the surface. And the evening light, when the sun is setting, can turn the sea and sky a soft pink or deep red.The view across the sea takes in to the right the historic Berry Head and Brixham and to the left Thatchers Rock bird sanctuary..a breeding area for sea birds. 
And to our great delight last spring we had a Humpback Whale visiting. She could be seen more clearly at Berry Head but the fact she was there in our bay was exciting. Dolphins and Harbour Porpoises can often be seen in the distance.
Meadfoot Beach is generally a quiet beach. No ‘kiss me quick’ hats or rocks for sale here, but there is a nice cafe at the end close to the blue beach huts. Warm meals, snacks and drinks can be bought.

It is also a bird lovers beach..I have seen, as well as the local Herring Gulls, and Cormorants there are Black-headed Gulls, Black-backed Gulls, Egrets, Herons and flocks of Oyster Catchers…and Crows, Pied Wagtails and Rock Pipets. And above, if your lucky, you can see Buzzards, Kestrels or Peregrine Falcons.

People bring along their canoes, Kayaks, and sailboards, and fast boats often pull up for a meal at the cafe. 
Car parking along the sides of the road beneath the wooded cliffs is free.

Stover Country Park nr Torquay Devon..beautiful,peaceful and calming.

Stover Country Park is a short drive from Torquay. There is a large lake there and several streams. A forest of tall conifers and older deciduous trees surround the lake and line the streams. 
My favourite site is the wooden walkway. There can be seen Grey Squirrels and a large variety of birds. Here photos of just some of the birds I saw this week.

The grey squirrels sneak up and pinch the bird seed.Some times a bird of prey will crash through the trees. This Buzzard, a mere shadow in the photo, was heading towards the small lake which can be seen from the walkway. It was after the frogs and toads living in these waters.
This Grey Heron too stood stock still on a log on these waters searching for fish or frogs. It’s first appeared as just a white dot in the distance.

Patience is needed to see the birds especially as shouting children and dogs frighten them off and they disappear completely. But if quiet there is so much to see and children get a kick out of seeing so many varieties. 
Water birds are abundant. Mallard Ducks, Mute Swans, Coots, Moorhens, Crested Grebe, Tufted Ducks, Mandarin Ducks, Cormorants and Black-Headed Gulls and Grey Herons can be seen. 

Butterflies, Dragonflies and Damselflies can be seen flirting across the lake sides. There is a designated Damsel and Dragonfly pond, though it was empty of both yesterday.
Here a rare Small Butterfly seen yesterday and a comma butterfly and several dragonflies I filmed last month.

There is a visitors centre with information and plenty of information boards. Picnic areas have been placed under the trees.
A lovely place in spring and autumn, relatively busy in summer, but worth a visit all year around.