With ample parking at Dunkery Gate and beyond, I took a recent walk up to Dunkery Beacon, enjoying great views across deep wooded valleys and coastline, changing as I climbed higher. Looking back, I could see across the Severn Estuary towards South Wales and the Bristol Channel with rolling moors between. It was a warm sunny day and one of the best places on Exmoor to be. The expanse of heather dominated moorland is alive with Meadow Pipit and Wheatear. Several raptors were taking advantage of the afternoon thermals and anytime now the Cuckoo will be returning to fill the space with its familiar call. The area between here and Webbers Post is a favourite for this bird, giving short flight views perching on the edge of trees and calling.
The Beacon which stands proud as the highest point on Exmoor is on top of a mound of rock. On the way I stop and watch several Stonechat. They prefer open heathland being ground-nesting birds, perching quite close to the ground and moving across the gorse and low bushes to feed.
The neighbouring Dunkery and Horner Woods offer a few rare birds in the Redstart, Pied Flycatcher and Wood Warbler. These are mostly found in the wooded coombes. Unfortunately not for me on that day and possibly because more time and a lot of patience would be necessary. I did see a few Dippers and Grey Wagtails when checking the streams though, always a joy to see with a promise to myself spend longer in this area on another visit. As usual I called back to The Exmoor White Horse Inn for an afternoon tea
Sherryl Woods …………5th May 2015