Dartmoor Nature Tours

Discover Dartmoor's wildlife with a professional local guide  

April 

April (updated on WEdnesday 26 April, 2017)

The Romans called this month Aprilis. It may come from a word meaning to open, or it may come from Aphrodite, the Greek name for the goddess of love.

There is an old saying that if March comes in like a lion it goes out like a lamb but this year March ended with plenty of April showers and above average temperatures and there is plenty of water in the rivers and streams (see picture below, top left). This time last year it was very stormy and this delayed arrival of migrant birds but current conditions are much more benign.

Chiffchaffs are here in force and blackcaps and willow warblers should be arriving any day now and swallows have also started coming in. Butterflies are also out in good numbers especially brimstones and a few commas (see picture belowtop right) and peacocks.

Granite

Granite is the bedrock of Dartmoor and the rocky outcrops called tors are its most distinctive feature (see picture below, bottom left). The tors are the remains of a high mountain range that was formed by volcanic activity about 270 million years ago. Cooling and release of pressure on the rock led to the formation of horizontal and vertical joints that we can see on the tors. Subsequent erosion under both warm tropical conditions (during the Carboniferous period) and extreme cold (the Glacial and post-Glacial periods) have reduced these mountains to tiny remnants of their former selves.

Wheatears are one of the first birds to arrive on the moorland and they set up territory in and around the granite tors and wherever there are dry stone walls and areas of short grass for them to pick off the insects on which they feed (see picture below bottom right).

Future Events - Spring Birds Walk

Langaford Farm Bird Walk Sunday 14th May at 09.30

This is a free walk (but donations welcome) for the Langaford Farm Trust in an interesting area where there is not normally open public access but you do need to book in advance.

Please contact me by telephone or e-mail me if you would like to book a place (see details below).

You can find details of other walks in the Events section of this web site.

Telephone (0785 8421 148) or e-mail me at enquiries@dartmoornaturetours.co.uk if you need more information about any events.