23 April 2013


Today, Snippet and I went for our first walk of the year that truly felt like spring. For so many months, there has been barely a bird out there, but today, the grass was alive with little spiders, the air full of little flying insects, the odd bee and many, many birds. The sun was shining and, despite slipping over early on and bruising my knee, it was an absolute joy. Even the garden is beginning to show signs of life with many of the hedge trees starting to sprout; not the beech obviously - that will be late May if we're lucky! What follows is a record of everything I managed to photograph. there was a lot that I didn't get: a Wheatear, a couple of Palmate Newts and a trio of Buzzards soaring together.

We started in the garden where Celandine is at last flowering:

Past the big Beech tree on a wall where periwinkle tumbles:

As we walked up the path along the stream onto the moor, I spotted this pheasant; an unusual sight up here and it looked very unsure of itself:

I went to check the place where we put all the rescued frog spawn and saw this toad spawn in the water. Two Newts shot off as I got there so these may not last long. 

On the way over to the stream near the tin shepherd's hut, we saw these lambs. I don't usually see them out on the moor; the farmers normally keep them in fields until they're older.

Then, in the distance, I spotted a mare and foal. Foal D. 

Another dark coloured one. Not black, but after last year's endless skewbalds, it's lovely to see more traditional Dartmoor colours. They were very shy, so the zoom was in action, hence slight fuzziness:

A Meadow Pippet. There were lots and lots of them out today.

A small Tortoiseshell by the stream. Terrible picture - sorry. Zoom rather than macro.I was just amazed to see one at all.

Plant life in the stream. Didn't have time to trawl through books to check what it is.....apologies.

As we walked up the hill away form the stream, I spotted ANOTHER mare and foal. Foal E. Another dark one and enchanting again:

A long walk home again with a few misses again. Only managed to capture another Meadow Pippet:

A cup of Lapsang Souchong and a slice of walnut cake once home. Out again at 3.00pm to feed Trigger. We have a resident Pied Wagtail who joins us at feeding time:

Home again to wait for the school bus. A lovely day including starting a drawing which I'll post about another day. Until next time, here's Snippet today.


  1. Goodness you live in a most beautiful place. Somewhat harsh but beautiful.

    Does the farmer keep tabs on his heard ? does he check them out to be sure they are fine ? with all the freezing weather do they have any shelter and extra food ? I worry about them.
    Love the foals keeping close to Mum.
    They are so beautiful.

  2. The foals are just gorgeous. I wish we'd been able to get closer to the ones we saw on Sunday.

  3. Lovely photos.
    Spring certainly has sprung over the past 10 days.
    It is so nice not having to put layer upon layer of clothing on to go out for a walk. The bonus is when we get back 16paws are free from mud !

  4. Absolutely beautiful photographs Em - that crystal clear celandine - those dear little foals - I am sure there is nowhere else on earth you would rather live.

  5. Parsnip - Yes they do, usually on a quad bike. I often see them with their dogs riding on the back. They've only been back out for a couple of months and they'll b e fine - I promise!

    Rusty D - When we were last at Haytor, there were people feeding ponies ice cream and petting them on the road, so we should probably be glad when they are scared of us! Many get killed on the roads because they associate cars with food. It doesn't happen here really as we don't get many cars and only hardened walkers parking. Do pop in for tea if you're ever passing!

    Molly, Taffy, Monty and Winnie - Lovely to hear from you. So glad I only have the four muddy paws, though I'd like to have eight!

    Weaver - You're absolutely right. I'm extremely glad that the (halfhearted) search for a place for us and my mum is going extremely badly!

  6. Really beautiful photographs as always Em. Lovely to see the signs of the Spring on Dartmoor. It was a beautiful day here too yesterday :)

  7. What a most beautiful post!
    A butterfly!
    Frog spawn

    and Snippet

    so lovely!

  8. RR - It's such a relief to see life at last. I saw tadpoles today too!

    Elizabeth - I was most shocked by the butterfly. I barely saw any last year because of the rain. I don't know what that one was doing there. There wasn't a flower or anything nectar producing anywhere!

  9. The foals are all darling! I love the color of D & E's mothers. The pheasant was a real threat-similar to ours, but different.

    I hate to think of you moving away from the moors :)

  10. Hi Em, Things really seem to be moving there now. It sounded and looked like a very enjoyable walk and you took some lovely photos too. That Pheasant was a very handsome chap :-) Lovely to see the butterfly, let's hope this will be a much better year for them. It was beautiful here too yesterday but I wasn't able to get out and enjoy it :-( Hope the knee isn't giving you too much trouble.

  11. Gail - One of the reasons the search is going so badly is that the area we're prepared to compromise with only has about thirty houses in it! Easy road for Mum but extremely close to the moor. The likelihood is almost zero factoring in her having to like the house too. So....don't worry. We're not going anywhere for a while.

    Shy SB - I do hope you manage to get out soon. It's so frustrating being stuck in the house. No butterflies today but it's not very sunny. Muggy and midgy!

  12. I agree those foals are so cute. Wish the Spring weather would pop up here and flipping well stay!!!

    Gill in Canada

  13. Your snowy picture was shocking; is it always like this in Canada?

  14. I hope you don't move! While I love the foals very much, it's the frog eggs, tortoise shell and the wagtail that tug on my heartstrings and make me homesick. By the way, this butterfly overwinters as an adult and often showes up when you wouldn't expect it.

  15. That makes sense - thank you! I think I would miss European wildlife too. Not as spectacular but easily as beautiful in its own way.


Thank you so much for leaving a comment. It's great to read them and I will always try to reply.