Starting as I mean to go on…

At this time of year I usually do a review of the previous 12 months and another looking forward to the next 12. I may get around to writing them but I really want to get blogging more and rather than waiting for those longer posts, I thought I would start 2022 with something shorter.

After Christmas as home, we spent New Year with friends renting a couple of cottages on the South Devon coast. We’ve done this before and South Devon was no less lovely, despite not having the best weather. We stayed close to Noss Mayo and just a few metres from the South West Coast Path. Down the hill was Stoke Beach which had some spectacular rock formations and crashing waves racing in with the tide; these photos taken on New Year’s Day…

After the walk on the beach, some of us went for a further walk on the Coast Path and while short, it gave me a chance to see some of more wildlife on the first day of the year, adding to the seabirds seen on the beach. In addition to the hovering kestrel in the image below, at Stoke Point we also saw a long sought-after bird for my UK list – Cirl Bunting. They’re very rare in the UK with the only populations being on the coast around where we were staying and a little further down into Cornwall. We didn’t have great views as the flock of birds was mostly feeding in a stubble field and when they were airborne, they weren’t so for long and the light was really poor but a great bird to see in the new year. On the walk we also saw a whinchat, which is the first time I’ve seen one for a few years.

Hopefully, this year will be full of wildlife and the first day won’t be the high mark for the 12 months!

Dartmoor’s Haunted Wood

I spent New Year with my girlfriend and her close friends in South Devon and on the last full day, the two of use headed up to Dartmoor on what was a dark and damp day. We took a wet walk out to Wistman’s Wood which lived up to its spooky reputation.

The old gnarly trees and moss-covered rocks really do give the place a brooding atmosphere which was made all the more sinister by the dark winter day on which we visited.