Halloween saw me up at silly o'clock, setting mistnets to ring birds up on the moors. An early start to try and ring some Redwing failed miserably, but we had some compensation in the form of two Treecreeper, nine Meadow Pipit and a Reed Bunting, as well as some reasonable retraps - a male Chaffinch and a Blue Tit ringed earlier this year, and a Great Tit ringed last year. Nothing thrilling, but pleasant.
We stomped off for a walk for a couple of hours after the wind came up, heading over Grimspound and Hamel Down.
Star sighting of the day was of two Red Grouse; a very, very scarce bird on Dartmoor - none of your cosseted, augmented shooting populations from up north! Red Grouse were (re-?)introduced onto the moors many years before I was even a twinkle in my parents' eyes and the birds cling on by their feathery toes as a Devon breeding species. A handful of other species up on the tops - 2 Meadow Pipit, 2 Stonechat, a Carrion Crow, a Raven, a Snipe and a small flock of Starling with some Fieldfare mixed in. A whole eight species is about par for the course up there!
Down in the valley, still a couple of Common Darter dragonflies egg-laying into the pond at Challacombe, with a young Common Frog seen hopping across a mire patch. Bizarrely, there was an abundance of what looked like 'cosmic snot' on the path north of Grimspound: unfertilised frogspawn, but at the wrong end of the year. Very odd...