Report on Ruby Trail Walk by Mid Devon on 14 April

Nine members enjoyed a splendid spring day walking the lanes and riverside close to the market town of Hatherleigh. The early morning mist soon burned off to give perfect birding conditions, in still air and bright sunshine we were able to record 34 species.

The lack of leaves on the trees made bird spotting much easier for the nine pairs of enthusiastic eyes. Some interesting courtship displays and calls were encountered, the Great Spotted Woodpecker in particular gave us a tree top treat as a pair pursued one another oblivious to the birders below.

The River Lew was sparkling in the late morning sunshine and it was not long before a Dipper was sighted as it collected nesting material then darted down stream to its regular breeding site below the old railway bridge. Spring flowers were bursting all along the hedgerows, abundant Primroses and Violet showing well, with Bluebell and Ramsons about to flower. A Tortoiseshell butterfly was seen feeding on the Marsh Marigold flowers and Yellow Brimstone were making the most of the warm sunshine.Dipper R Lew Sue Hayes

The group had a relaxing picnic lunch sitting on the river bank, rewarded with the sight of a pair of Nuthatch putting the finishing touches to their chosen nest in a tree hole immediately opposite us. They had been busy reducing the nest entrance hole to the required size. A Grey Heron gave us a fly-pass, circling Buzzards making the most of the thermals, and Teal took fright from their secret pond in the woods, all exciting to watch.

In the afternoon most of the group spent an hour on Hatherleigh Moor where we enjoyed distant views of Dartmoor and added Willow Warbler and Skylark to our list.

A thoroughly rewarding day in excellent company of the friendly Mid Devon members.   Digby Greenhill   Many thanks to Digby for leading the walk and to Sue Hayes for the beautiful Dipper photograph.         Annabelle

Next meeting – Belstone Dawn Chorus walk lead by Chris Walpole followed by breakfast in the Village Hall on Saturday 25 April at 0530, meeting at the Village Hall. 

Following meeting – Whitchurch Down lead by David Thomas on Tuesday, 28 April, meeting at 0930,  SX505735.