Dartmoor Nature Tours

Discover Dartmoor's wildlife with a professional local guide  


February 2018 (updated on Thursday 1st February)

February derives from the word februare meaning to purify and from Februa, the Roman festival of expiation.

January was a very mixed bag of weather but mainly unsettled with some very wet and windy days, some hail and snow showers but very little sunshine. There were also some very mild days and primroses and hazel catkins can now be seen locally.

There has been a local influx of Bramblings and Hawfinches from the European mainland. A flock of 25 Bramblings has been seen feeding on roadside beech mast on the edge of Bovey Tracey and some have also been seen under bird feeders in local gardens (see picture below, top right, provided by Chris Laycock). Bramblings are birds that normally breed in Northern Europe and Russia and visit the UK in highly variable numbers each autumn. Hawfinches are fairly widespread across temperate Europe but much more elusive than Bramblings and feed mainly on the tree tops especially where there are wild cherry trees.

Mistle Thrushes and Song Thrushes (see picture below, bottom left) are also in song now – the Song Thrush sings mainly at daybreak whilst the Mistle is heard whenever the wind gets up – hence their old name of stormcock.

Ravens are already staking out their territories and actively calling and displaying (see picture below, bottom right)– these are traditionally early nesters and they also like to keep their territory clear of any rivals (especially buzzards).

Future Events - Winter Birds Walk

The next birdwatching walk will be on Sunday 11th February. The walk will start at 09.30 hours from the Lower Car Park on Trendlebere Down (Bovey Tracey end). Charge is £5.00 per adult

This is a short stroll of just over 2 miles and lasts for 3 hours. The objective will be to find as many different birds as possible!

Telephone (0785 8421 148) or e-mail me at enquiries@dartmoornaturetours.co.uk if you would like more information.