Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Misty Dartmoor Day

Wednesday 31st May and it was off to Dartmoor for my annual spring birding day with Mavis and Mike, postponed from May 17th due to the bad weather. Unfortunately it was misty and mizzly as my bus arrived at Yelverton and it became increasingly foggy as we then drove to Warren House. It did however eventually clear up and we had a good day and saw some good birds.

Mavis and myself started off from Bennets Cross on the walk to Challacombe Farm while Mike headed off to Grimspound for a walk before meeting us later at the Farm. The fog was quite thick with occassional clearer spells along with brief rain showers but skylarks could be heard busily singing away. 2 cuckoos were also heard calling with 1 seen in the foggy distance flying low over the Moor being mobbed by meadow pipits - 1 of the cuckoos also gave the occassional odd tri-syllabic call with an extra initial "cuck".

A songlighting tree pipit, a flyover redpoll, a singing whitethroat, a singing reed bunting and 2 singing blackcaps were seen with a garden warbler heard and we also had nice but brief views of whinchats and willow warblers.

Heath spotted orchids were beginning to flower but we couldn't find any sundew.

Heath Spotted Orchid

Heath Spotted Orchid

Challacombe Farm was as good as always with good views of 2 spotted flycatcher, 2 grey wagtails, swallows, house martins and redstarts including a ringed pair feeding young in a nest box. A redpoll flew over calling and a chiffchaff was heard singing, a nuthatch was also heard calling and a male reed bunting was mobile and vocal around the gorse bushes.

 Redstart at Nestbox



Spotted Flycatcher record shot

After meeting Mike we drove off to Warren House Inn for lunch and we had some nice views of a pair of wheatear and more distant views of a pair of whinchat by the roadside along the way. Lunch at the Inn was very nice as always before it was time to head back home - another good day out despite the initial fog and rain.

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