Trip reports

Yarner Wood, Devon

Yarner Wood, Devon
Redstart at Yarner Wood Lorraine Highfield

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

It was surprisingly cold with an overcast sky when ten of us met up at the Lower Treadlebere Down car park. Some of the group saw a pair of Bullfinches, a Buzzard and a Treecreeper before we set off. We started walking over the heath and quite soon spotted one of our target birds - a Tree Pipit, which alighted on top of a nearby tree. Other birds seen in this area included a couple of Yellowhammers, Willow Warbler, a pair of Stonechats, Linnets, Whitethroat and Blackcap, and a flushed Roe Deer ran off into the woods.
We then walked down to the Visitors' Centre where on the pond a lone male Mandarin Duck was easily seen as well as a Grey Wagtail and some Mallard. There was the usual busy activity on and around the feeders including Siskin, Coal Tit, Marsh Tit and Nuthatch. A Goldcrest and a Great Spotted Woodpecker were also in the area.
From here our walk took us through the woods. Because of the weather conditions, it proved to be hard work finding birds as they were not showing or singing much and most were high up in the canopy. Fewer Pied Flycatchers were seen than expected and most were males with just a single female seen entering a nest box. A singing Redstart couldn't be spotted and the harsh, rattling call from a Mistle Thrush was one of the few other calls we heard. Rather disappointingly we didn't hear, let alone see, any Wood Warblers.
After lunch, we returned to the Visitors' Centre where a couple of Bank Voles were underneath the feeders and a Marsh Tit showed well. We continued walking through the woods where at last our searching was rewarded with good sightings of a stunning male Redstart. As we were leaving the woods we spotted another, (or possibly the same), male Redstart and witnessed some avian agro as it chased off a male Pied Flycatcher.
A total of 30 species were noted for the day, not too bad considering the conditions. Just a pity there were no Wood Warblers on the list.