We spotted 26 Different Birds This Week!

We spotted 26 different birds this week!

Wastor Farm, Lydford, Devon, 6 May, 2023

Eyes peeled, ears pricked, binoculars at the ready,
We spent a week at Wastor, on the edge of Dartmoor.
The woods were alive with birdsong, dawn till dusk,
So we took up the challenge (as all nature-lovers must)
We made a list!

We spotted 26 different birds this week,
Not quite a full A-to-Z, but presented here in alphabet order
(Not to offend any of them, or to be accused of bias).
We saw and we heard…

Blackbirds everywhere, some hopping in the grass,
Some in the trees singing melodies.

A bold bullfinch parading his pink plumage
From the top of his favourite tree.

A buzzard effortlessly soaring and hovering
With barely a flicker of its wing tips.

Two Canada geese flying in, honking,
Landing together on the pond.

Numerous chaffinches, black white and pink,
Cheerfully singing their chaffinch songs.

Chiffchaffs, heard often, but seen only once,
Forever repeating their two-tone call.

Crows, big, black and ubiquitous,
On the ground, in the air, croaking everywhere.

Cuckoos calling, audible across the valley,
But never seen, or even heard close by.

Dunnocks, brown and boring and inconspicuous
Until they sing and call you to notice.

A goldfinch singing in a sycamore tree,
We saw its red head, but not its gold wings.

Great tits, perched proudly, easy to see,
Calling ‘teacher, teacher’, one and all.

Green woodpecker with a red head
Glimpsed briefly as it flashed across the wood.

Two greenfinches in a vicious street-fight,
Right in the middle of the tarmac lane.

A jackdaw nesting in a chimney pot,
Popping out like a rabbit from a burrow.

Magpies, strident in black and white,
Squabbling with each other in the trees.

Mallards on the river, swimming in pairs,
But no little ducklings hatched yet.

Pheasants in the fields, young and old,
Red-headed males at the alert in the long grass.

Robins galore, everyone’s favourite,
By far the least afraid of us.

Skylarks singing and singing high over the moor,
Not even put off by the mist and the rain.

Sparrows fluttering at our window,
They must be nesting in the eaves.

Stonechats perched on top of gorse bushes,
Their call sounds like two stones chinking.

Swallows swooping to and fro over the farm yard,
Occasionally resting on the wires to be admired.

Thrushes (mistle or song, who knows?)
Singing and showing off their speckled breast.

Wheatears on the moor, flitting from rock to rock,
Disappearing ahead in a flash of black and white.

Wood pigeons in the wood (where else?)
Repeating their name, ‘wood-pigeon-pigeon’.

Tiny wrens, hopping in the undergrowth,
Singing amazingly loud for such a small bird.

So there we have it, the amateur Dartmoor birders’ list –
We spotted 26 different birds this week!

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