Plymouth Branch Visit to Yarner Wood on 23rd April

It was a chilly start to the day for the 28 members and non-members who arrived for the meeting. This was a slight disappointment as the previous day’s reconnoitre was completed in T shirts. As a result the birds were less willing to show themselves.

 We were able to split into 3 groups for the day and had a great start with singing and showing Blackcap and Garden Warbler in neighbouring shrubs. This was a fantastic opportunity to be able to compare the songs in length, pitch and variation. Someone then reminded us that birds can be accurate mimics and that one or other of Blackcap and Garden Warbler is known to imitate the other, very tricky.

 Walking across the heath failed to produce the usual Tree Pipit but Linnet and Willow Warbler were more obliging.

 Into the woods we soon had excellent views of male and female Pied Flycatchers. They were frequent throughout the day flitting in tops of trees, calling and visiting the numerous nest boxes. One group spent a while watching a female trying to manoeuvre a small Oak twig through the hole into her nest box. We were surprised how long it took before she realized that despite repeated failures getting the twig in with the length across the hole was just not going to work.

 Thanks to Dave Batten for the photo he took of this male.


The cold start to spring had delayed many species. For example the first Wood Warbler had just arrived and the first was heard today, but unfortunately not by any in our group. Even Redstarts proved elusive.

 We also managed to visit the new reservoir hide which gave easy close views of most the Tit family as well as Swallows drinking.

Here is the full list of 39 species.

Mallard, Mandarin Duck, Pheasant, Buzzard, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Tawny Owl [H], Green Woodpecker [H], Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Barn Swallow, Dunnock, Robin, Redstart, Stonechat, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Wren, Pied Flycatcher, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Marsh Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Magpie, Jay, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Raven, Chaffinch, Linnet, Goldfinch, Bullfinch

Phil Stevens