We started the month in North Wales, in perfect weather, visiting four of the RSPB Reserves: South Stack and Valley, on Anglesey, Lake Vyrnwy and Ynis-hir, as well as stopping at Penmaenpool on a number of days. Two hundred miles north, the season is probably a fortnight behind us in Devon, allowing perfect birdwatching in the woodlands at Lake Vyrnwy and Ynis-hir. Mid-May,and back in Devon, heavy rain (Ten Tors abandoned late on the Saturday) and then the weather improving towards the month end.
Tuesday 1 May Hot and sunny, wind still Easterly
South Stack: Fulmars (6) above the tide race, with Harbour Porpoises, Guillemots, Cormorants, Choughs, Black Backed and Herring Gulls, Oystercatchers; on the Reserve, Whinchats, Stonechats, Wheatears, Meadow Pipits and Larks. Kestrel.
Valley: Tufted and Ruddy Duck, Pochard, Mallard, Great Crested and Little Grebes, Moorhens, Coots, Heron, Greylag Geese and goslings (3 families, all at different ages), Larks, Pipits, Cetti's Warbler, Reed Warbler.
Wednesday 2 May Hot and sunny
Penmaenpool: Common Sandpipers (3), Goosander (m).
Lake Vyrnwy: Pied Fly Catchers, Ravens, Great Crested Grebe, Wood Warblers, Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Crossbill, Stonechat, Nuthatch, Chaffinch, Swifts.
Thursday 3 May Hot and sunny
Ynis-hir: Pied Fly Catchers, Greater Spotted Woodpecker and fledgling, Lapwings, Canada Geese, Wood Warblers, Redshank, Snow Goose (?), Mistle Thrush, Stonechats, Garganey, Stoats (3), and an Adder.
Friday 4 May Hot and sunny; wind abating
Snowdon: Ravens (2 pairs, one on the summit and the other just before Bwlch Main).
Harlech: Red Kite
Monday 7 May Driving rain and wind; cold
Valley of the West Dart, above Postbridge: solitary Heron.
Sunday 13 May Rain clearing, warm(ish)
Hennock Reservoirs: Swallows very low over Kennick Reservoir; at Trenchford, Swallows (40+) on the dam.
Sunday 20 May Sun and cloud; not cold
Fernworthy and Sittaford: in the woodland, Chaffinch, Blackcap, Garden Warbler(?), a pair of Jays; on the reservoir a solitary Great Crested Grebe; on the moor, Meadow Pipits, Wheatear and Larks, but not in the profusion of a month ago; high overhead Buzzards (3) and later one being mobbed by two Crows. Dormouse in the leaf litter near the hide.
Cuckoo song in woodland and on the moor, but no sighting.
Bank Holiday Monday 28 May Sun and cloud; windy with hail and rain later
Near Easton Court: a charm of Goldfinches in the hedgerow along the road.
Below Hangingstone Hill and Taw Head: Snipe
Wheatears, Larks and Meadow Pipits