Thursday, 6 June 2013

Exmoor

Instead of filling all in on what I've been up to since my last post in one mammoth blog post, I thought I should split it up a bit and deal with different topics in different posts. The first post, our trip away to Exmoor...

Last week Jess had her first week off work since Christmas, and my month of sitting behind a laptop had really taken everything out of me, so we were both VERY keen to get away.  We really love Dartmoor and this was an option, but we know the place quite well. Exmoor though, I've only been too twice before, so we thought we'd stay here for a few nights.  So last Monday morning off we went...



We stayed just outside Dulverton, at the fantastic Middle Upcott Farm.  It is a beautiful farm house, with a very cosy living area and check out the views from our private balcony... 



We got up to so much whilst we were up here, including a surprise birthday present for Jess. Last year I treated her to some raptor and owl flying and handling at Yarak bird of prey centre (see HERE). There were several people doing it with her though, and although she loved it, it wasn't just Owls. So for this birthday, I booked her in for an Owl evening at Exmoor Owl and Hawk Centre.  So just Owls, and best of all, just the falconer and us two - which meant I got to do it as well!
When we arrived it was clear which Owls hadn't been fed yet. This is Casper before we got to her...



This is Casper and I...



And this is Casper five minutes after she was put back in her cage...



We also fed and flew an Eagle Owl and a gorgeous old Tawny Owl...



They had plenty of other Owls here too which we didn't fly, with these two being my favourite...

Great Grey Owl

A Snowy Owl

And it wasn't just Owls. When I went to Morocco with the Spurn guys and girl in 2005 we didn't get Tawny Eagle (are they still there?)...



And what else did we get up too? Well the Valley of the Rocks near Lynton was pretty spectacular...

 


We had to pay a visit to Tarr Steps...



And this was my first visit to Dunster Castle. I actually found the gardens more impressive than the Castle! (and no, not just because of the Spotted Flycatcher!)...



A trip to Watersmeet on Thursday provided the birding highlight. The 5.5 mile walk showed 14 Wood Warblers (13 singing males), seven Pied Flies (incl. one male taking food into a nest hole), four Redstarts (incl. one female taking food into a nest hole) and two Dippers.
Forgetting the birds, it is a beautiful place in its own right...



Despite the nice scenery I was very happy when we got to Lynmouth, and some food...



And check out these, ice creams dipped in melted chocolate...



Although be wary. Eating too much food like the above may make you look like this after a steep climb at the end of a 5 mile walk...



During the trip we saw lots or Red Deer, lots and lots, even some from our B and B. One allowed stupidly close approach...


Ok, maybe not. We never got anywhere near any of the wild Red Dear. This is the best picture I managed...



There were plenty of other less wild animals around too, with Exmoor Ponies, Sheep and Cattle scattered about the Moor...



Right, I think that's enough for now. I'll finish this post with two photos showing the beauty of Exmoor. What a place, well worth a visit...


2 comments:

  1. Well looks like you both a great time Steve,remember live is for the living.
    John.

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  2. Thanks John. And great advice that! We only get one chance :-)

    ReplyDelete