The quest for ring ouzels

Every year I venture up Tavy Cleave on western Dartmoor in the hope of seeing, or at least hearing, ring ouzels. 

My time on Dartmoor is always limited, I am only there for a few days at a time and not always at the right time of year. Last year I had no luck at all. This year I am pleased to say I saw one.

On 25 May I walked up Tavy Cleave in the afternoon. I thought I heard two ring ouzels calling, and then I came across Nick Baker who is studying them and was watching one with his telescope.  I didn’t see one, and decided to return early the next morning.

Ger Tor at sunrise

I was there by 5.30am.  Shortly after entering Tavy Cleave I heard a ring ouzel.  I sat by the leat and waited, I could hear the call but frustratingly I couldn’t see it until, at last, there it was in a small tree, well camouflaged among the rocks.

Where the ring ouzel calls

It was a joy to hear him.  Then I carried on up the cleave past Tavy Cleave rocks, with the sunlight just creeping through, on to the junction of the Tavy and the Rattle Brook.

Tavy Cleave rocks

I returned by the same route, past the waterfall where grey wagtails flirted on the wing, and down to the entrance of the cleave where golden gorse lines the riverside.

Leaving Tavy Cleave

For me, nearly every early morning walk is memorable, and this one was made particularly special by the ring ouzel.


About campaignerkate

I am the general secretary of the Open Spaces Society and I campaign for public access, paths and open spaces in town and country.
This entry was posted in Access, Birds, British Trust for Ornithology, Dartmoor, Devon, National parks and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The quest for ring ouzels

  1. The last time I saw a ring ouzel was on the East Devon coast between Ladram Bay and Brandy Head. They were much easier to find about 30 years ago.

  2. Like the light effects: must try a sunrise walk.

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