Sunday, 1 May 2016

Red Kite at Grenofen Woods

A trip to Grenofen Woods on April 30th and another sunny but cold and windy day and again there was not a butterfly to be seen but I did manage to see some good birds including a very nice red kite.

I was looking out for any hobbys flying over the woods but could only see buzzards soaring and displaying overhead. I caught a brief view over the trees of what I initially thought was a buzzard but as I got my binoculars on it it disappeared from view but I was sure from my brief view that it was actually a red kite. Despite watching and waiting it didn't reappear and so I carried on with my walk. I kept an eye out overhead for any further signs of it and finally it reappeared soaring high overhead heading west and giving some good views - it was moulting some of its primary feathers and it spooked a flock of gulls feeding in a field as it passed over before being lost from sight. A nice surprise and my first Grenofen sighting although I still find it strange that red kites haven't colonised Dartmoor yet.

 Red Kite
Red Kite

I didn't get to see any hobbys and I also didn't get to see (or hear) garden warblers, the bird I was really hoping to see (or hear) - I guess it was too cold for them to sing and they were probably too busy trying to find food. I did see a nice tree pipit which flew up from the ground into a tree top where it sang for a while before songflighting over to another tree, dropping to the ground and totally disappearing from sight! Also seen were 2 male redstarts which were having a sing off and chasing each other through the trees, their song was quite spiky and aggressive sounding, subdued and almost growly in nature. I also heard a 3rd redstart singing the much more usual type of pleasant song.

Willow warblers were seen and heard along with a male blackcap and chiffchaffs,  2 marsh tits, a raven, 2 jays and 2 nuthatch. Both green and great spotted woodpeckers were heard. Blue tits were very noticeable throughout the woods and it was nice to see 2 well grown mistle thrush chicks in a nest in a tree with an adult bird feeding in a grassy field nearby.

A minotaur beetle was ambling across the grass near some horse poo and a bee fly was feeding on violet flowers but there was very little other insect life on view - please get warmer soon!

Minotaur Beetle

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