Devon Birds Plymouth Branch – Trendlebeare Down and Yarner Wood Field Visit 24 April 2017

The Plymouth Branch of Devon Birds chose to visit this area of ancient woodland, before bird identification is made harder with the wonderful mosaic of greens  enclosing the tree canopy. The reserve encompasses the East Dartmoor Woods and Heaths National Nature Reserve.

Twenty-nine of us gathered and we divided into three groups.  As we crossed the dry heathland, Yellowhammer, Stonechat and singing Willow Warbler were spotted as well as displaying Tree Pipit parachuting down to a tree. Just into the woodland an impressive male and female Redstart flitted into the glade from hollies under a row of birch trees adjacent to the Down. 

Further into the wood the numerous nest boxes had occupants of Blue Tits, Nuthatches and Pied Flycatchers. During the walk, at least four nest boxes showed Pied Flycatchers supplying nesting material. The song of these migrants was heard frequently from males posturing on the young rowan saplings nearby.  At least two geolocators have been retrieved this year from these birds as part of the research by Malcolm Burgess, linked with Exeter University. Malcolm will be showing the results of his project to Plymouth Branch in a talk 13th November on ‘Tracking Devon’s Birds’. 

All three woodpeckers were seen or heard, although the Lesser Spotted was only seen by one group and appeared to be less vocal, presumably nesting now. Returning Wood Warblers were sought and viewed high in the canopy by one group on the higher slopes of the woodland, where a Cuckoo was also heard beyond the woodland periphery. Other birds of interest included Sparrowhawk over the Down and Hobby found in the valley along with an elusive Blackcap, as well as Siskin and Bullfinch, which took advantage of the feeders near the hides. This gave a total of forty-one species identified.

Liz Harris