Sunday, 10 May 2015

Colour Ringed Wood Warblers at Yarner Woods - 2015

May 9th and a day of sunny spells with a strong breeze and the bribe of cake at Bovey Tracey had David driving me out to Yarner Wood for a couple of hours while he shopped for garden stuff at Mole Valley and Trago Mills.

I heard a pied flycatcher singing as soon as I got out of the car but I couldn't find it in the trees and so I headed off up the footpath towards the bridge. Almost immediately a wood warbler was heard singing in the young birch trees on the right of the path and I managed a few distant views as it constantly moved around the branches - it had an orange ring on its left leg and 2 on its right leg, a yellow ring and a dark blue or black ring. By the bridge a second bird was singing and I had much better views - this bird had an orange ring on its left leg and an orange ring and a red ring on its right leg. It sang constantly as it moved through the canopy but I had some lovely views of what is one of my favourite birds - I always worry that it will be the last time I see one as their numbers are plummeting here in the UK. Another bird was heard briefly singing nearby and later I had views of an unringed bird feeding high up in the canopy in the same area.

 Wood Warbler
 Wood Warbler singing away
Wood Warbler - close up of leg rings

Pied flycatchers were busily singing away throughout the woods and I had some good views of male birds flitting about the trees.

Pied Flycatcher

Also seen were a pair of bullfinch, a pair of siskin with the male looking quite stunning as it fed on the woodland floor, 2 treecreepers, a female great spotted woodpecker, marsh tits and nuthatches. A green woodpecker and a redstart were heard only and a raven croaked noisely as it flew over the trees. 6 male mandarin and a pair of mallards were around the pond while a grey wagtail was heard calling nearby.

Mandarin Duck - 3 of the 6 males around the pond

On the heath a male yellowhammer was half heartedly singing while a male whitethroat was much more energetic. A redpoll flew over in display flight, cha-cha-cha-ing away, and swallows and house martins passed overhead.

A holly blue, male and female brimstones and a longhorn moth, Nematopogon swammerdamella, were also seen in the woods and common milkwort was in flower on the heath.

 Longhorn Moth - Nematopogon swammerdamella
Common Milkwort

May 10th and it was grey and overcast but at least the breeze had dropped. I headed off to Wembury for a walk and despite being a Sunday it was relatively people free. Along the beach at high tide were 5 whimbrel and a little egret roosting with 42 oystercatcher, a shelduck and a pair of mallard. 9 Canada geese were resting in the wheatfield and another 2 birds were out on The Mewstone.


After a bit of searching I eventually found a female Dartford Warbler at Wembury Point - as usual it was constantly on the move and this time I avoided the urge to try and take some more distant and blurry shots of it. It was nice to see the female again but there was no sign of the male (or males).

Whitethroats, chiffchaffs and blackcaps were as vocal as usual and swallows were noticeable flitting around overhead. 2 cirl buntings were briefly heard singing and a male kestrel hovered over the fields above the horse stables.

Strangest sight was a female type red breasted merganser close to shore at Wembury Point, it was busily snorkelling and occasionally diving as it drifted off  towards the main beach and is my second ever sighting at Wembury.

Red Breasted Merganser

Also seen were 3 common lizards, bloody nosed beetle larva, a bedraggled looking water carpet moth in the toilet block, a lackey moth larva nest and 2 common carpet but no butterflies were on the wing. Ragged Robin and yellow flag iris were flowering in the valley to the beach and a pasty for lunch from the café rounded off a pleasant mornings walk.

 Lackey Moth Larva
Bee Sp.

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