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WEATHER; all day sunshine, light breeze, warm and humid later

Our last full day began with a walk in the woodland at Stover Country Park, we took the path that circumnavigates the Lake arriving just after 6am. Although we did not see too many species we added several to our tour list. In the car park we saw Nuthatch, heard a Blackcap and along the shore of the lake dozens of Mallards loafed around waiting to be fed by the local visitors. We saw Mandarin Ducks and out on the lake Coots, Moorhens, Great Crested Grebe, Canada Geese and Mute Swans went about their business. One swan had an impressive nine cygnets, wow!

Other birds seen during the walk included Coal Tit, two of the group saw a Kingfisher dash by and we all had good views of Treecreeper, many common woodland birds were also seen including our first Jay of the trip and a Stock Dove flyover.

After breakfast we set off to Ladbrador Bay, an RSPB site where Cirl Buntings are been looked after using farming methods sympathetic to their breeding needs and by feeding them in the winter, the programme has been very successful. From the car park you look down a steep sided hill to the sea and a number of footpaths crisscross the slopes over a number of fields.

We saw Common Whitethroat in the first hedgerow with Robin, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Great Tit and we could hear Yellowhammer. Our walk produced a distant sighting of a Cirl Bunting and then a little later we had good’ in the scope’ views of a singing male.

Common Whitethroat seen at Ladbrador Bay car park

Jackdaws, Rooks, Crows and Ravens flew over and scanning the sea we saw our first Fulmar of the trip. Another, much better sighting, of a male Cirl Bunting satisfied all of the group and back at the car we treated ourselves to a coffee and some had an ice-cream, it was only 10:30am!!!  Neil picked out a Hobby at it flew high along the cliffs as we drank our coffee, we also saw Common Kestrel and Common Buzzard during our visit and Skylarks were ever presents singing on high.

It was 11:30am by the time we stopped at a park near Sheldon Zoo, we sat on benches overlooking the mouth of the river Teign and ate an early picnic lunch, we added a few species to list whilst doing so. Several European Shags were feeding out in the bay and many Cormorants sat on the disused pier with Herring Gulls and a Great BB Gull. Scoping the sea we added both Mediterranean Gulls (seen by Neil) and Black-headed Gulls, the tide was high so no waders we found.

our lunch spot overlooking Teignmouth

ten of the group struggling up the hill after lunch

For the afternoon we drove across to Bovey Tracy and parked the bus outside the town near the entrance to a pathway that takes you along the ‘Dartmoor Way’, part way besides the River Bovey.

After a couple of hundred meters a small stone bridge crosses the river, you can walk down beneath the bridge and that is where we found our first and only Dipper of the trip!! It was juvenile and fairly distant but it stayed around long enough for all the group to see it in the scope, at last a Dipper sighting!!

Common Spotted Orchid seen in Stover Country Park

Not much else was seen as we walked a little further and then we returned via a different route to the bus. The group then decided that they wanted to revisit Yarner Wood and in particular to see the Lesser Spotted Woodpecker again and some of the group hadn’t seen a Spotted flycatcher yet!

Neil stayed with the majority of the group at the woodpecker site whilst I walked back into the woods with a small party who had not seen Spotted Flycatcher. It took us a while but we eventually found one, we had good views of it and everyone was happy, we also saw many Pied Flycatchers.

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker chick peering out of the nest hole

Back on the edge of Trendlebere Down where the woodpecker nest site was we added a few birds to the day list and one to the trip list. Stonechats, Linnets, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Meadow Pipits and of course Lesser Spotted Woodpecker were seen well and a single Lesser Redpoll was seen by one of the group.

male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker feeding the chick

We stayed until nearly 5pm watching the woodpecker feeding two chicks we noticed that it was only the male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker actually feeding them, where the female had gone was anybody’s guess.

We returned to the hotel and had our last dinner at 7:30pm, our trip list was now approaching 100 species, we had seen all of our target birds. Tomorrow morning, before we leave the area, we are going onto Dartmoor once again, this time looking for Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Ring Ouzel and Tree Pipit.