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Yarner Wood, Devon

Yarner Wood, on the edge of Dartmoor in Devon, is a place that I used to frequent when I first started bird photography. A lovely area of woodland and also a good spot for birds.

I haven't spent huge amounts of time walking around the wood as it's pretty heavy going with a 500mm. Very hilly to say the least. I usually walk up the hill from the car park about 500 yards to the bird hide and set out my stall there for a few hours. A flask is a must!

Yarner

The hide itself is positioned looking across a valley onto the opposite hill. Great for DOF! The perches are natural and attract Blue Tits, Great Tits, Coal Tits, Marsh Tits, GS Woodpecker, Chaffinch, Robin and Nuthatch. Siskin have been known to come to the feeders but I've not seen them. I had a Fox sleeping at the bottom of the valley for about 2 hours and then just trotted off. A bit too far for my kit unfortunately. You'll no doubt notice from the image below that the hide is not ideal for large lenses.

I struggle a bit with the 500/4 as it's not very manoeuvrable once in there. It's fine when there aren't any other people in the hide (which is generally the case) but the slots still hinder you with certain perches and bird positions. I should add that I use a tripod in there and those using a beanbag would find it less restrictive, but still far from ideal. I think someone has spoken to the ranger to request bigger shooting slots to cater for photographers, so hopefully the issue may be resolved.

Yarner hide

 

The feeders come down at Easter I think and go back up at the end of October. Not worth a trip to the hide when the feeders are down. Trust me! But there's other things around if you're willing to walk the woods. Around the woods I have seen Pied Flycatchers, Fieldfare, Buzzards, Sparrowhawk, Green Woodpecker, Mandarin Ducks! Wrens and it's a very good site for Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers - so I'm told. I've yet to see them, but they are there and are spotted fairly frequently in the season.

Photography wise, The sun gets above the opposite hill on the left at about 10am. Prior to that it can be a bit dark and shutter speed is an issue. The sun then moves to the right and is straight down your lens, so for the purists, it's tough, but for the more artistic, there's probably an opportunity for backlit shots etc.

Yarner hide

Probably best when it's light overcast, but well worth a visit. Even if there's nothing else to shoot, it's great to just watch the birds feeding whilst drinking your coffee. Solitude!

Yarner Wood

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