Birds on Exmoor in the Winter

It’s been a fantastic year for me on Exmoor.  I visit with expectations depending on the season, however, if the bird-watching is quiet then the scenery never disappoints whatever the weather.  Mosses and lichens, many species of both are native to Exmoor.  Take a woodland walk at Webbers Post or Horner to appreciate their beauty and profusion. At Webbers is a dead Hawthorn tree entirely covered with lichen, all year round, an interesting change of purpose!

Another parasitic plant is Mistletoe.  My family are 4th generation dairy farmers and apple growers near the Somerset Levels and for several years now, our orchards have supplied Mistletoe to the White Horse Inn at Xmas time.  The festive decorations at The White Horse are outstanding, against the general character of the 17th century inn and a welcome greeting to its Xmas visitors.

On the festive topic, Partridges aplenty!  Though the Grey Partridge is in decline and a rare sight around Britain, the attractive Red-Legged Partridge is widespread throughout Exmoor.  A winter visitor from Finland and the Highlands of Scotland is the Snow Bunting and several have been reported seen on Exmoor over the years.  Spotted mainly on high ground seeking insects and seeds.  Also open coastal areas such as Porlock Weir and Marshes, feeding off the strandline.

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I leave you with my favourite Exmoor ‘snow’ photo, taken on a Boxing Day visit.  The Magnificent Seven trees near Horner.  Deep snow and overcast, almost a black and white photo albeit for faint hues of green below the bare trees and hedges.

Christmas wishes to my blog-readers and a Happy New Year to you.

Sherryl Woods ……………………..18 December 2015

Written by Peter