A redstart was also heard but I could not get a sight of it and I managed brief views of 2 males and a female pied flycatcher with 2 more males heard singing. A tree pipit showed briefly on the heathland perched in a birch tree but didn't sing. Other highlights were a hunting female sparrowhawk, a flyover peregrine, willow warblers, 2 marsh tit, 2 treecreepers and 2 flyover swifts, and around the pond were 5 male mandarin duck, 2 male mallards, a fledgling grey wagtail and a male siskin on the feeders in front of the hide.
May 3rd and with dry but overcast weather I headed off to Grenofen Woods near Tavistock. Along the river a fledgling dipper was seen with a pair of grey wagtails and 2 male mallards. In the woods I heard 2 redstarts but could not see them amongst the trees, a treecreeper, 2 marsh tit and a nuthatch.
The open downland above the woods was much more productive with a pair of bullfinches feeding on silver birch buds, the male looking absolutely gorgeous, a marsh tit, a songflighting tree pipit, a raven mobbing a buzzard and finally good views of male redstarts singing, at least 4 in total. Best of all were 2 garden warblers singing right out in the open atop hawthorn bushes either side of the footpath, presumably the footpath being the boundary line between the 2 territories and causing the birds to be much more showy than they usually are - certainly the best views of garden warbler I have ever had. 2 more garden warblers were heard singing but kept themselves well hidden amongst the bushes.
Garden Warbler - crap photo!
May 4th and I fancied a walk on The Moors and so I caught the bus to Burrator, something I have never done before. I headed off to Cuckoo Rock but it was unfortunately cuckooless but I did see 2 tree pipits, 3 male and a female wheatear and 4 male and a female redstart with another 2 males heard singing. An immature peregrine flew over, it had a very tatty and short looking tail and quite brown looking upperparts.
On the reservoir 3 great crested grebes were a surprise along with a Canada goose, 3 cormorants (2 immatures), a Muscovy duck and a white feral mallard with male mallards. In the surrounding woods I found 2 treecreepers, goldcrests, coal tits and siskins and I finally saw my first brimstone butterfly of the year along with 2 holly blue and many green veined whites.
Marsh Violet?, Cuckoo Rock