Icy night camping followed by whinchat, wheatear and cuckoo
We wild camped on Saturday night at Dick’s Well behind Brat Tor.
We set up our tents in bright sunlight before our 10 Tors teams arrived later in the evening
As darkness fell the moon rose – close by Jupiter shone brightly.
It was a still but cold night – in the morning the tents were covered in frost
This is my walking boot which was inside my tent all night – crusted with ice – thank goodness for my 3 season Rab sleeping bag!
In the morning we walk back to Nodden Gate – the sun was shining again. Beside the River Lyd is this lovely matrix of habitats, moorland, gorse and small shrubs – a softly re-wilded landscape
Patches of gorse are great habitat for the whinchat – we saw a couple of birds on our walk back (this rather blurry photo was taken on the Islesof Scilly last year)
There had also been a large fall of wheatear overnight. The previous day there had been a couple of birds – Sunday morning they were everywhere. It is great to see and experience migration in action – it is such an exciting time of the year.
Later in the morning we walked from the Willsworthy Ranges around to Lane End and saw a couple of cuckoos – our first birds of the year. The first bird we saw was a female who performed her characteristic bubbly call. Moments later a male arrived and sang the classic cuck – coo call. Both birds were being chased around by a carrion crow – cuckoos in flight can look very like a bird of prey and I suspect the crow thought they were sparrowhawks and wanted rid of them in case they predated its nest. (This photo was taken last year in Northamptonshire by my friend Steve Brayshaw.)