Dartmoor Nature Tours

Discover Dartmoor's wildlife with a professional local guide  


May (updated on Monday 14 May 2018)

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.

So far May has been a more settled drier month than April but with some very cold nights.

Black Tor Copse Visit – Wednesday May 9th

I made my annual visit to Black Tor Copse to photograph the woodland and also count Cuckoos and Ring Ouzels in this isolated upland valley. The light conditions were ideal for photography, but it was still very cold with a maximum of 10 degrees centigrade. Despite this we heard 3 Cuckoos calling plus a more obliging one that was sat in the top of one of the oak trees. Likewise, one Ring Ouzel (see picture below, top right) was heard and another one seen also sitting in the top of an oak tree. Please visit my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/Dartmoornaturetours) if you want to see more. The adult Pearl Bordered Fritillaries finally emerged locally on 6th May and at time of writing are present in good numbers and taking full advantage of the sunny weather as the males fly around at high speed looking for the females who take time to feed on the nectar offered by Bugle flowers. (see picture below, bottom left).

Langaford Farm Birdwatching Walk – Sunday May 13th

After having to cancel the previous walk because of the cold weather conditions were ideal for watching birds with a gentle breeze and bright sunshine (see picture below, bottom right). There were good numbers of Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps plus nice views of the more elusive Garden Warbler singing from the top of a hawthorn bush in the hedgerow.

The trees were well into leaf and although we heard Pied Flycatcher it was proving difficult to see a singing male until he obligingly perched himself right at the top of one of the conifer trees. After that we had good views of a male Redstart sitting on a twig in one of the hedgerows plus Tree Pipit in the usual location and a group of Redpolls flying around. A small charm of Goldfinches were feeding on the dandelion seed heads.

Altogether we saw or heard around 30 different species of birds but the surprise of the day for me was the pair of Tufted Ducks on one of the ponds!

Future Events - Spring Birds Walk

The next birdwatching walk will be on Sunday May 20th. The walk will start at 09.30 hours from the Trendlebere Down Lower Car Park when we should see pied flycatchers, redstarts and wood warbler. 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!

Please contact me if you are interested by e-mail or telephone (details as shown 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. You can also Follow me on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Dartmoornaturetours