Dartmoor Nature Tours

Discover Dartmoor's wildlife with a professional local guide  

March 

March 2020 (updated on Sunday 1st March)

March was called Martius by The Romans after the god of war, and Hyld Monath (loud or stormy month) by the Saxons . There is an old saying that if March comes in like a lion it goes out like a lamb but we never know what lies ahead!

The United Kingdom continues to be battered by a succession of Atlantic storms which have brought record rainfall and gales. Many areas have experienced repeated flooding and Bovey Tracey was featured on the BBC National News (see picture below, top left). The end of the month also saw cold air coming in from Greenland bringing widespread hail and sleet and snow on the higher parts of Dartmoor. br>
In contrast this time last year saw record breaking temperatures due to a warm southerly air stream caused by the position of the Jet Stream! In contrast the Jet Stream is now much further south and bringing all the storms with it.

Butterflies in February

Although the weather has been mild it has also been wet and windy so there have only been a few sightings of Red Admiral in the garden (see picture below, top right). In a normal year I would have hoped to have seen my first brimstone by now but no luck so far.

As March progresses and the weather warms up, more birds start to return to Dartmoor. Stonechats have already taken up territories on the local heathland and will soon be joined by other moorland species such as Wheatear, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, and Linnets. If the mild weather continues the first Chiffchaffs will soon be heard singing from the woodland edges. Dunnocks have been in full song for several weeks and this one was very obliging as it performed from a branch (see picture below, bottom left).

One beneficiary of the wet weather are the so-called lower plants such as ferns mosses and lichens and they are looking their best now. Feather moss (Thuidium tamariscinum ) is one of the dominant species in the Dartmoor woodlands and seems to be expanding at the expense of others (see picture below, bottom right).

Future Events - Spring Birds Walk

The next birdwatching walk will be on Sunday March 29th. The walk will start at 09.30 hours from the Trendlebere Down Lower Car Park when we hope to see the first arrival of Chiffchaffs and other returning migrants. Charge is £5.00 per adult

This is a walk of 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 need more information about any of these events.

You can also follow me on Facebook at

https://www.facebook.com/Dartmoornaturetours/