Ring Ouzel, Devon by Chris Townend

Tour Dates 1: Sunday 6th – Friday 11th June 2021 (Exmouth to Exeter) 
Tour Dates 2: Sunday 13th – Friday 18th June 2021 (Exmouth to Exeter)
Tour Price: £1,299pp
Deposit: £300 per person
Conservation Donation from Wise Birding: £50 – £100
Minimum Number: 6 people
Maximum Group Size: 7 people

Target Species
Birds: Manx Shearwater, Puffin, Guillemot, Razorbill, Peregrine, Hobby, Wood Warbler, Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, Tree Pipit, Whinchat, Common Redstart, Grasshopper Warbler, Common Cuckoo, Ring Ouzel, Cirl Bunting
Mammals: Common Dolphin, Red Deer

Tour Summary
This new tour visits some of the most beautiful areas of Devon as we visit the Jurassic South Coast, Dartmoor National Park, the spectacular coastline of Exmoor NP and a day trip to the island of Lundy! This itinerary gives you the best chance of seeing many of the upland specialities as well as some great seabirds and of course Devon’s speciality species, the Cirl Bunting.

The tour begins on the south coast of Devon, just east of the Exe estuary where we visit farmland for Cirl Buntings and a good selection of coastal species before heading inland to Dartmoor. Here, we will spend a couple of nights in the centre of the beautiful Dartmoor National Park where we will enjoy the upland specalities like Ring Ouzel, Whinchat, Common Cuckoo and Tree Pipit. We will also visit the sessile oak woodlands where we should find Common Redstart and Pied Flycatcher and maybe Lesser Spotted Woodpecker. We will also make a compuslory visit to the highest Pub in Southern England too!
Our final two nights will be based at Devon’s rugged and spectacular north coast where we will stay near Lynmouth. A short evening boat trip along the coast will take us to the auk colonies and give some great photographic opportunities followed by a day trip to the island of Lundy. The boat crossing should reveal a good selection of seabirds including Manx Shearwater and Puffin, plus a good chance of Common Dolphin. We will spend the day exploring the island with the warden and and keep an eye out for any unexpected rarities that Lundy is famous for!

ACCOMMODATION: 5 nights in Devon
1 night in Budleigh Salterton, 2 nights in Dartmoor National Park and 2 nights in Exmoor National Park
Included Meals: Half board

DAY 1: Arrival Exmouth and transfer to Budleigh Salterton
After a mid afternoon pick-up from Exmouth train station we will take the 15 minute drive to the coastal town of Budleigh Salterton. Once settled into our comfortable bed and breakfast we will take a walk along the Otter Estuary for a selection of common breeding species such as Reed Warbler, Reed Bunting and Stock Dove and we may even see some signs of Beaver activity too! Overnight Budleigh Salterton

DAY 2: Coast near Otterton – Dartmoor Postbridge
This morning we will take a short drive to the nearby coast and an area of excellent farmland habitat with a healthy population of Cirl Buntings. The birds are usually easy to find and we should enjoy good views of this very localised species. A short walk along the coast should reveal nesting Fulmars and Shags on the cliffs and maybe a Peregrine hunting the adjacent farmland. After a coffee break or Cream Tea(!) in the picturesque village of Otterton we will then head inland to the centre of Dartmoor National Park.
En route to Dartmoor we will stop at some high quality woodland where we hope to find Pied Flycatcher and Common Redstart and a chance of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker too. We will spend the early evening in the near vicinity of our accommodation where we will try for singing Grasshopper Warbler, Dipper and drumming Snipe. Overnight Postbridge

Eurasian Hobby by Chris Townend

DAY 3: Dartmoor National Park
We will head out early and visit an area of Dartmoor where Ring Ouzels can still be found. Sadly, Dartmoor is now the last remaining place in Southern England where this species still breeds as the population shifts north with climate change. The Ring Ouzel’s distinctive song should help us locate them before we get distracted by other species such as Whinchat, Hobby and Common Cuckoo. Assuming we have been successful with our Ring Ouzel quest, we will then travel to a new area of woodland for species such as Common Redstart, Pied Flycatcher and possibly Wood Warbler as well as other commoner woodland species. After a visit to the highest Pub in Southern England, the afternoon will then remain flexible for any species that we may be missing. Overnight Postbridge

DAY 4: Dartmoor NP – Exmoor National Park
This morning we head to the spectacular north coast of Devon and the beautiful village of Lynmouth. We should arrive at our accommodation for lunch and there will be time to relax before we take an afternoon boat trip along the coast. The cliffs along this coast are hugely impressive and there is no better way to experience this than by boat. This will also enable us to get close to the small breeding colonies of Razorbill and Guillemots, often allowing great photographic opportunities. Other birds we hope to find may include Raven, Peregrine, Shag, Cormornat and Fulmar. Overnight Lynmouth

Common Dolphin, Devon by Chris Townend

DAY 5: Lundy Day trip
We will depart early in time for our departure from Ilfracombe on the famous Oldenburg ship crossing to the island of Lundy. The sailing takes just over 2 hours and can be very good for both seabirds and cetaceans. We should certainly enjoy good views of Manx Shearwaters during the journey as well as both Guillemot and Razorbill. Common Dolphins are also regularly seen on this stretch of sea, although sightings depend on the state of the sea! As we near the island our first Puffins should be easily seen.
Once on the island we will take the steep walk up to Millcombe Valley, an area always worth checking for migrants. At this time of year, though most migration has slowed down, Lundy is always full of surprises and rarities are always possible with species such as Red-rumped Swallow, Rosy Starling or Bee-Eater all a possibility at this time of year!
We will then meet the Lundy warden who will escort us on a walk to the northern part of the island. Here, we will enjoy the numerous breeding seabirds and stunning scenery and learn about the positive seabird recorvery that has taken place on the island. Overnight Lynmouth

DAY 6: Lynmouth to Exeter
After a leisurely brekfast at our accommodation, we will then take the journey to Exeter train station where the tour will conclude.

Please note this is a flexible itinerary which may need to be adjusted slightly dependent on arrival / departure times, weather conditions and the most recent information from our local guides

Leader: Chris Townend / Mike Langman
Included in cost: Accommodation in twin en-suite rooms, meals except lunches (starting with breakfast on day 2 until breakfast on day 6), 2 boat trips, ground transport and services of leaders.
Not included in cost: Travel to/from Exmouth/Exeter, lunches, drinks, travel insurance.
Accommodation: A mix of good quality Bed and Breakfast / Hotels
Single Supplement: £175
Transport: Minibus throughout
Difficulty: Moderate
We will generally walk between 5-10Km each day. Particularly on Dartmoor, the terrian can be steep and paths can be amongst granite boulders. On Lundy, there are a number of steep paths to negotiate when exploring the island.
Climate: Be prepared for a typical unpredictable English Summer!
Tour Start Point: Exmouth railway station, Devon
Tour End Point: Exeter railway station, Devon

Lundy Island, Devon by Chris Townend