Guided Walks

Social distancing and Tier 2 rules will be followed on all of the current guided walks and watches

With over 40 years’ experience as a birdwatcher Mike’s knowledge of birds around Torbay is unparalleled. He leads walks for Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust & Sharpham Trust (usually during the spring and Summer).

The walks vary from general natural history walks to walks concentrating on particular bird groups or species; most cater for birdwatchers of any ability. Places are always limited – booking is essential.

For more information or to book places go the events pages and scroll through the months at:

You can also book onto Mike’s own walks, places are strictly limited, tier 2 restriction being followed – booking is essential:

Dart Estuary Wildlife Cruise  –    

Monday  29th March  (1 place left)        Time: 1pm-3.30/4pm  

Tuesday 30th March  (FULL)        Time: 1pm-3.30/4pm

Wednesday 31st March  (FULL)        Time: 1pm-3.30/4pm

      

Cost: £35 – places limited to 6 people, booking essential on this special trip.

Contact Mike for more information or to book a place.

A specially chartered leisurely wildlife cruise up and down the Dart Estuary on a small/medium charter boat Our Joel . The Dart is a notoriously difficult river to access for wildlife watching, much of the surrounding land is private so the only way to see it properly is by boat. This trip is time to coincide with a low tide offering the best wildlife watching opportunities.

We will first head down river to the offshore Shag Stone and Mew Stone rocks checking the shoreline on the way, there’s a chance of Grey Seals, Harbour Porpoise, Peregrine and rocky shore waders. Learn how to get to grips with Cormorant and Shag identification once and for all!

We then head back up the estuary via the scenic town of Dartmouth and Kingswear, past Agatha Christies summer home of Greenway and village of Dittisham looking for wildlife. Grey and the much rarer Common Seals are possible here. On the estuary mud flats Grey Heron and Little Egrets join Shelducks, Oystercatchers, Curlew and Redshank with luck we’ll find a Greenshank and possibly Red-breasted Merganser and grebes.   

The upper stretches of the Dart Estuary can be good during the winter for Kingfishers, Canada Geese  more grey seals and plenty of Gull species. Over the steep wooded estuary sides we’ll look out for birds of prey and Raven. 

Weather conditions will determine the actual itinerary of the cruise but the Dart Estuary is normally very sheltered. 

What to Bring: Clothing to suit the weather (remember the weather in March can quickly change, and standing or sitting on a boat can be very cold), flask, face mask, binoculars, camera if you have one.

Where to Meet:  At the entrance to the Dart Marina, Kingswear. Parking available in the dart Marina car park approx £3.50 for 3 hours.

Meeting point »

Contact Mike for more information or to book a place.

Woodpeckers, woodland birds and raptors – Yarner Woods (CANCELLED – due to lockdown rules)

 

(CANCELLED) Saturday 6th March          Time: 8.30-11.30pm                
£13 adults (under 18’s £6) – places limited to 8 people, booking essential    

Contact Mike for more information or to book a place.

An early morning start is essential to catch up with active and calling Woodpeckers at Yarner Woods and Trendlebere down .  There’s a real chance of at least hearing and perhaps seeing all three of Devon’s Woodpeckers on this morning’s excursion.  Other winter woodland birds at Yarner should include Treecreper, Nuthatch, Marsh Tit, Siskin and hopefully Lesser Redpoll. March can a good time for Brambling associating with the local Chaffinches.

The small reservoir or the ponds in the woodland usually hold beautiful (although non-native!) Mandarin Ducks. The heathlands are home to Yellowhammer, Meadow Pipits and in winter perhaps Reed Bunting.

If the weather is good we will extend the meeting for another hour for those willing to sit wait or stand and watch for birds of prey that might be soaring over the woodlands and valleys.

The walk will be cancelled if the weather is bad (heavy rain strong winds).

What to bring: clothing to suit the weather (it can be very cold on the edge of Dartmoor), some of the tracks around Yarner are muddy and slippery so wear stout waterproof foot ware, bring a hot drink and a snack especially for those staying on until 11.30am.

Walking distance: we will cover approximately 2.5 miles including some steep inclines.

Meeting point: middle Trendlebere car park grid reference SX783 792  Map: Meeting point »

Contact Mike for more information or to book a place.

 

Dartmoor Cuckoos and chats (FULL – 2 reserve places available)

(FULL – 2 reserve places available) Monday 17th May          Time: 9.00am – 12.30pm                
£12 adults (under 18’s £6) – places limited to 10 people, booking essential    

Contact Mike for more information or to book a place.

A bird rich and beautiful walk (approx. 4.3 miles one fairly steep incline) from Warren House Inn to Soussons Plantation on to Challacombe Farm and back up via Headland Warren and Birch Tor. Hopefully enjoying some of the best birds Dartmoor can offer including Cuckoo, Redstart, Stonechat, Whinchat, Stonechat, Siskin, Willow and Garden Warblers and Flycatchers.

Since early birding walks with the YOC in the 1970’s Warren House Inn  and Soussons has been one of Mikes favourite Dartmoor birding walks. Gone are the Red Grouse and Ring Ouzels but there are still plenty of other birds to keep us busy. Before starting the walk a couple of years ago we even watched a female cuckoo appearing to lay an egg in a Meadow Pipits nest! 

The open moorland should provide us with both Stonechat and Whinchat. On to the marshy bottom of Soussons Willow Warblers will be singing hopefully Reed Bunting too. The scrub and plantation area should be good for Garden Warbler and Tree Pipit. Then down to Challacombe farm always a lovely place to walk through with its Redstarts, Lesser Redpoll and flycatchers. finally we will walk back past Headland Warren farm and past Birch tour  with the chance of more Cuckoos, Wheatears, whinchats and birds of prey.

 The walk will be cancelled if the weather is bad (heavy rain, strong winds).

What to bring: clothing to suit the weather – there are ticks on the moors so long trousers are recommended, stout waterproof foot ware recommended, bring a hot drink and a snack – perhaps a picnic for the end of the walk. 

Walking distance: we will cover approximately 3.3 miles including some steep inclines and rough tracks.

Meeting point: Warren House Inn  car park  at 9.00am  Map: Meeting point »

Contact Mike for more information or to book a place.

 

Spring around Berry Head

 

Sunday 23rd May          Time: 8.30-11.30am                
£10 adults (under 18’s £5) – places limited to 10 people, booking essential    

Contact Mike for more information or to book a place.

Join Mike on a stroll around Berry Head, discover some of its hidden secrets and learn about its resident and migrant wildlife – not just birds. The south coast’s largest Guillemot colony should be bustling with life, we’ll have a close look for any Razorbills among the bathing birds.

By mid-May many of the summer migrants such as Whitethroats and Blackcaps will be back announcing their territories with song and even display. Mike will guide you through the songs and territorial behaviour of the many resident and migrant species. We will be right in the middle or end of spring migration, so anything is possible from Willow Warblers to ‘Greenland’ Wheatears.

Off the end of the headland the mixing of currents from Torbay and Lyme Bay always attracts wildlife, depending on conditions on the day this might include Harbour Porpoise, Grey Seal or seabirds like Gannet, Manx Shearwater or even a Puffin. The breeding Fulmars in the quarry are always a favourite cackling to each other as arriving birds make several false landing attempts.  

With over 40 years of study at Berry Head Mike knows the whereabouts of not only the birds and other wildlife but also some of the headlands rare plants from patches of Orchids to the White Rock Rose and we will search for the elusive and rare Small Blue and other butterflies if the weather is kind on the day.

The walk will be cancelled if the weather is bad (heavy rain strong winds).

What to bring: clothing to suit the weather – there are ticks at Berry Head so long trousers are recommended, stout waterproof foot ware, bring a hot drink and a snack, . 

Walking distance: we will cover approximately 2 miles including some steep inclines.

Meeting point: Berry Head car park  car park  at 8.30am – we will finish outside the Guardhouse Cafe at 11.30 Map: Meeting point »

Contact Mike for more information or to book a place.