Devon Birds Plymouth Branch Visit below Bennett’s Cross and onto Challacombe Farm, Dartmoor 18th May 2017

Posted May 28th, 2017 at 9:46 am

       

After three days of persistent heavy rain 13 members were pleased to be greeted by sunny weather at the start of the walk down to the valley. Meadow Pipit were plentiful and the first Cuckoo was soon heard and then glimpsed at a distance. As we dropped down Whinchat became abundant and great views were had of both females and males. Tree Pipit were also singing, parachuting and perching. Numerous Willow Warbler and Wren, with Blackbird, Robin and Chaffinch gave a busy sound track, as we walked along the valley floor.  In the same area a striking Reed Bunting showed itself well.

Photos by Dave Batten

By now we had seen at least 4 Cuckoos, definitely two males and probably two females. At the lunchstop Siskin appeared along with a flock of 21 Herring Gull on their way to somewhere. Just after lunch the highlight for many was the view of a male Crossbill, which although well camouflaged, was obligingly chilling out. At least two other Crossbill were seen nearby. Redstart were heard and a male was at last seen at a distance.

 The walk across to Challacombe added a few more Wheatear to our solitary one previously seen. The good weather was not to last and the heavens opened, hail included, though the nesting Swallows were not deterred. Our spirits were lifted by excellent views of a male Redstart and then a pair of Spotted Flycatcher, as we sheltered under the trees waiting for a slight lessening of the rain before we headed back.  The full list totalled 42 species.

Phil Stevens

Grey Heron

Buzzard

Kestrel

Herring Gull

Great Black-Backed Gull

Woodpigeon

Cuckoo        

Green Woodpecker [H]

Skylark

Swallow

House Martin

Tree Pipit

Meadow Pipit

Pied Wagtail

Grey Wagtail

Wren

Dunnock

Robin

Redstart

Whinchat

Stonechat

Northern Wheatear

Blackbird

Song Thrush

Blackcap [H]

Willow Warbler

Chiffchaff

Goldcrest

Spotted Flycatcher

Great Tit

Coal Tit

Jay

Magpie

Jackdaw

Raven

Carrion Crow

House Sparrow

Chaffinch

Siskin

Linnet

Crossbill

Reed Bunting