Monday, 17 October 2016

Ring Ouzels in the Mist - Again

Friday 14th October and with reports of ring ouzels at the Avon Dam it was time to head out there for a look. It was a grey and overcast day but as we walked up to the Avon Dam from the car park at Shipley Bridge it became increasingly misty.

A dipper showed very well along the stream and a great spotted woodpecker called noisely from a pine tree but kept itself hidden. As we crossed the small bridge over the stream as the path headed up onto the Moor I noticed some thrushes feeding in the trees on the right and a scan through my binoculars revealed at least 4 ring ouzels amongst redwings, mistle thrushes, song thrushes and blackbirds but they were all very nervous and flighty and after grabbing a beakful of rowan berries they were flying off or diving into cover.

Ring Ouzel

Mistle Thrush and Ring Ouzel

Heading up along the path to the Dam it became increasingly misty with the views becoming increasingly obscured but I did find a male kestrel perched in a tree. Arriving at the quarry and there were 3 birders with massive camera lenses pointing at the bushes and as we got nearer to them 10+ ring ouzels flew out of the quarry bushes and across the valley before diving into the cover of the rowan trees, giving their distinctive "tac" calls as they went. Again they were nervous and flighty, grabbing at the rowan berries before disappearing into cover or flying down to the ground and disappearing amongst the bracken and were a mix of adults and juveniles but it was difficult to assess exact numbers as they were so flighty and the mist was hampering viewing.

Ring Ouzel

Ring Ouzels

Ring Ouzel

Heading back to the car and the 4+ birds I had seen earlier by the small bridge were still present so I would guess there were at least 14+ birds present in the area, it was just a shame that the views were distant and not great in the mist, the same issue I had on my visit in October 2014.

Blackbird and Ring Ouzel

Ring Ouzel

Heading home via Ashburton for lunch and the rain began to fall, at least it had been dry on our walk, and as we drove along the A38 near Smithaleigh I saw a dead barn owl by the roadside, a sad sight and one that I have seen here before a few years ago.

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