Dartmoor Nature Tours

Discover Dartmoor's wildlife with a professional local guide  


May (updated on Monday 1 May, 2017)

The name May is probably derived from Maia, the mother of Mercury, to whom the Romans made sacrifices on the first day of the month. On Dartmoor it is the best month to look for birds as all the migrants have arrived and the nesting season is now in full swing.

The weather in April was mainly dry and sunny but once again dominated by cold North-West and Easterly winds that delayed the arrival of migrant birds. After a few warmer days the weather once again turned for the worst with a cold northerly air-stream taking over and temperatures struggling to reach even the low teens. April 30th finally broke the mould with the first rainy day for many weeks.

There are now impressive displays of common dog violets (see picture blow, top right) that grow amongst the bracken stems and whose leaves provide food for the pearl bordered fritillary caterpillars. The adults emerged locally on Monday April 20th but just like last year the cold weather has delayed further sightings (see picture below, bottom left).

Birdwatching Walk – Sunday April 23rd

It was another fine sunny day with perfect light and a gentle breeze – ideal conditions for watching birds. The heathland gave us fine views of yellowhammer and displaying tree pipit plus willow warblers and linnets. Even at 10.00 hours we got excellent views of pearl bordered fritillaries on the edge of the valley bog and orange tips in the gardens of the local houses. Already the trees were coming into leaf but we had some great views of pied flycatchers (see picture below, bottom right) surveying the nest boxes and we heard (but did not see) wood warbler and many others.

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 by telephone (0785 8421 148) or e-mail me at enquiries@dartmoornaturetours.co.uk if you would like to book a place.