Todays Safari May 13th

We have had some fantastic safaris in the last week with very clear viability and lots of Exmoor wild red deer on show.

We spent time today just parked up watching a herd of a dozen Exmoor pony mares with their foals playing in the heather.

We were also more than lucky with our next sighting of a very rare bird on Exmoor.

Exmoor does indeed boast a wide range of birds. Meadow Pipit and Skylark are common. Red Grouse are feared to be near extinct but there have been a few sightings in the vicinity of Dunkery. During the summer the moorland erupts with Stonechat, Tree Pipit, Whinchat, Wheatear, Cuckoo and Lapwing being among the species that breed. The Ring Ouzel has become increasingly rare but the Dartford Warbler is no longer an unusual sight.

There are a good number of raptors with Hobby and Merlin breeding on the moor as well as the Buzzards, Kestrels and Sparrowhawks.

The broad leaved woodland supports a greater diversity of birdlife with all three woodpeckers, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Tawny Owl, Buzzard, tits and finches all resident.

The conifers are not without their share. Flocks of tits and Goldcrests are common. Redpoll and Siskin are also present.

The short grass in grazed fields is attractive to waders. Groups of Curlew, Lapwing and Golden Plover are common.

There are three reservoirs and many significant rivers with numerous tributaries due to the high rainfall on Exmoor.

Along the rivers there are respectable populations of Dipper, Kingfisher and Grey Wagtail. Common Sandpipers, Green Sandpipers and Sand Martins appear along the river edges.

The largest reservoir is Wimbleball which also supports the greatest number of bird species. In winter, duck are present depending on the weather and regularly include Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Pochard, Tufted Duck, Goosander and Goldeneye.

Waders are rare but Green, Common and Wood Sandpipers, Greenshank, Spotted Ringed Plover have been seen on passage. Dunlin, Ringed Plover and Redshank are regular visitors. Around the lake are breeding habitats for Wood Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Whinchat, Raven and Willow Tit.

The other reservoirs are smaller and do not boast such a wide range of species. Nutscale has Scaup, Pochard and Goosander. The surrounding area is home to Buzzard, Raven, Redstart, Grey Wagtail, Dipper and Cuckoo as well as commoner birds.

Eddie armed with his trusty book for those more unusual birds was surprise to see a Siberian Stone chat, we believe that it was blown off course by the very strong east winds. A first for our safari trip to see one of those.

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