Friday, 23 April 2010

Dartmoor

I allow myself at least one day of off-patch birding when I have a week off work, but not having a car for a couple of days this week has so far prevented this! I'm glad to say though, I had my car back with me at 5pm Thursday. That evening I headed off to Exeter and spent the night at my brother's.

I woke up in the city at 6am, and headed for my Cirl Bunting survey site. An hour and a bit (and no Cirl Buntings) later, I got back in my car and headed even further away from patch! Yarner Wood was my destination...

I haven't been here for YEARS, it was great to be back! I had a very enjoyable few hours wandering about...

At least two Wood Warblers were singing well. It was nice to have one quite low down for a change, allowing me to get these rather pleasing shots...

Such stunning birds! (click to enlarge if you didn't know that already)

Pied Flycatchers were very conspicuous, I counted 16 during my walk. All but two of these were males so there's clearly plenty of females still to arrive...

None of them allowed close approach though

Every single one of the males was singing, so I thought I'd take a video. You can hear a Wood Warbler singing too...



At the start of this video you can hear Siskins as well; several of these and two Crossbills flew over the wood during my walk.

A Lesser Spotted Woodpecker tormented me and a couple others as it drummed for a few minutes and sang once in the treetops near to us, couldn't see the bugger though!

On the common above, a lone Tree Pipit sang. I was so busy watching it that I nearly fell over the mother of all ants nests!!! Check out this...


Not a good thing to fall into!

After Yarner, I headed to Challacombe Farm. Opposite the entrance a pair of Redstarts were busy feeding, though the male soon took up a spot in a large Oak tree and began singing away. A Cuckoo called now and then from up the valley.

From here, I went to one of my favourite places on Dartmoor...

The Warren House area

Another Cuckoo was here and sang almost continuously and two Wheatears looked very small and pale compared with the Greenland-type hulks I've been used to seeing on patch lately...

Totally different from the big orange things I'm seeing down here at the moment!

Best of all here were a gorgeous pair of Whinchats, which are just about identifiable in the following photo...

The stonking male is the one hidden behind all those twigs!!

It was getting on for lunch time, so this place looked very inviting...

The world famous Warren House Inn!

And this was my end of trip treat...

Cheese and ham baguette

Verdict: definitely overpriced and could have done with more ham... but I love the location of this place so much that none of that mattered :-)

I spent a bit of time on patch late afternoon when I returned to Seaton. A Lesser Whitethroat singing south of the track down to Blackhole Marsh, a Common Sandpiper at Lower Bruckland Ponds and seven Whimbrel on the Estuary being the best.

So I have had a very enjoyable day, and it's so good to have my car back...


No comments:

Post a Comment