Friday 27 May 2016

Dartmoor Day 2016 and Deja vu at Bude

Monday May 23rd and the last day of my holiday and it was off to Dartmoor for the day with Mavis - no Mike again as he is still having health issues and with Mavis having some mobility issues too we had a slightly different day than usual.

A juvenile lammergier (a first for the UK) had been found on Dartmoor while I was away on the Isle of Wight last week but was proving to be elusive and mobile. We kept our eyes open for it throughout the day but with no luck - it had decided to head down to Bodmin Moor in Cornwall! Never mind.

It was sunny but breezey and cool as seems to be the theme this spring but we had an excellent day despite this. We started off at Yarner Wood with 3 male and a female mandarin duck showing well from the hide feeding on seeds on the ground dropped from the bird feeders - the female was quite aggressive and regularly chased off the males. Watching the feeders and marsh tit, blue tit, great tit and coal tit were seen along with great spotted woodpecker, nuthatch, siskin and chaffinch.

Male Mandarin Duck

We walked up the footpath into the woods and Mavis found a nice spotted flycatcher feeding in the canopy. A wood warbler was singing away nearby and we had some good views although it stayed up in the canopy and was constantly on the move. It had a silver ring above a yellow ring on its left leg and a green ring over an orange ring on its right. A pair of redstarts showed well with the male heard singing for brief periods and pied flycatchers were also heard with good views of both  male and females amongst the trees and around the nest boxes.

 Male Redstart

Pied Flycatcher

We walked up to the heathland, hearing noisey great spotted woodpeckers chicks in their nest in a dead tree by the footpath along the way and seeing the female come in with a beakful of food - while looking up at the nest hole a hobby flew over the trees, something we would have otherwise missed.

On the heatland we had nice views of a songflighting tree pipit, a male whitethroat, a "cha-cha-cha-ing" redpoll, stonechat and a green woodpecker.

A few butterflies were on the wing - green veined white, a very tatty peacock and male and female brimstones.

A very tatty Peacock Butterfly

We had lunch at a cafe in Widdecombe which was very nice before heading to Challacombe Farm. Mavis was struggling a bit with walking by this time so we had a gentle stroll around the farm, seeing a female redstart, a male reed bunting, a stock dove, a male kestrel and 2 spotted flycatchers along with the usual birds. 2 garden warblers were heard singing but didn't show themselves and swallows and house martins were flitting about over the stream.

Marsh Marigolds, Challacombe Farm

We had a chat with the lady who runs the farm and she had seen the wandering lammergier 3 times over the past week including a great view of it as it perched in pine trees opposite the farm house - we were not the slightest bit jealous!

Moving on to Warren House Inn in the car and whinchats and wheatears showed well along the roadside while an unseen cucko called regularly.

 Male Whinchat

Male Whinchat

At Warren House we heard another cuckoo and eventually found it in the top of a tree before it flew off, a distant view but a nice end to our day. No lammergier but a great day none the less.

Wednesday May 25th and it was off to Bude for the day for a bit of deja vu. Having put up the awning and sorting out the caravan a few weeks ago we had to do it all again - the stitching on the awning had come undone and so everything was packed away and the awning taken down (not by us) for it to be repaired. It was cool but sunny and did warm up as the day went on and eventually it was all sorted out (again).

A quick look at Maer Lake and 2 singing chiffchaffs, a male gadwall, 2 black tailed godwits and 2 shelducks mating were the highlights while at the caravan a songflighting whitethroat, a male bullfinch and 2 adult robins feeding a fledgling were seen.

A large white and a male orange tip were seen and there were 3 moths in the toilet block - a pale tussock and 2 white ermine - but with new LED lights being installed in the toilet blocks I guess I will be seeing less moths in them in the future.

Pale Tussock

White Ermine

No comments:

Post a Comment