These Nightjars were so close to me at one stage they almost knocked me over
Please everyone note the plant this Blue Tailed Damsel is resting on
And this Red Admiral, you really can't keep a good bramble down
Dartmoor Forests revealed a wonderful observation of a Long-eared Owl out hunting in the sunset light. Clearly this Owl was hunting with either a sitting female or very young owlets in mind as it floated low of the clear fell part of the forest, momentarily halting itself in flight with wings outstretched then plunging into the long grass, this particular area is over 1300 ft above sea level. I don't know how this compares with Steve's area but certainly the snow and frost would have lasted longer here than on the south west coast.
Peregrine Falcon was not the only raptor recorded on our Forest surveys
Once again these forest survey have echoed much of what I mentioned during the winter blog updates, in that whether on the Blackdowns, Exmoor, Dartmoor, Bodmin or Haldon they have a superb diversity of life within them and even if I were to just highlight some of the birds such as Goldcrest, which is noted for its dramatic decline over the hard winter 09/10, yet is found everywhere, and yes in good numbers in these forests. Maybe whats happened is that the plantation tree's actual give them and others better protection during long cold snaps, so if that is true and long cold spells are to be feature of climate change in the UK, then this makes forests suddenly become very important areas indeed. Other Birds of note again Yellowhammer stands out in the young tree's and clear fell areas, as do Whitethroat, Willow Warbler and Song Thrush. Cuckoo was noted in all the locations we have been to so far, indeed even at Haldon Forest on the 24th June. Nightjars well a big WOW! as they were literaly everywhere and a even bigger wow with us finding them between 02 and 03 hours coming together on forest paths lit by the moon. Glow worms were starting to emerge at Haldon last Thursday and I suspect that's the first this year, as normally I catch up with this species in Mendip and Somerset Levels but this year I have been too busy with the forest project to visit my traditional haunts.
Oh yes by the way. If you are enjoying following this and other projects I highlight on my blog, then please do join us and become a member of the Hawk and Owl Trust, you can join online by going to http://www.hawkandowl.org/ we need all the support we can get. Its not all over yet either, having a short break now to do some Barn Owl ringing and nest checking of other Owls and Birds of Prey, then back out to visit Dartmoor and Haldon again in a week or so. OK so that's the quick catch up time to retreat to my pit, however for tonight it will be the more sensible time as apposed to 0500hrs. And folks I'm not complaining as you can tell I love it, however my stomach does not, its fun way to shed pounds. Thanks again to all who have supported this project so far from Forestry Commission to all the Bird watching groups and Hawk and Owl Trust volunteers, we ought to have a big party at the end.