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