Category: Mid Devon
Mid Devon Field Meet at Dawlish Warren
Continuous rain and floods on the road can be daunting at the best of times, offering little hope for the prospect of a bird filled morning amongst the dunes and heathland of Dawlish Warren for November’s Mid Devon fieldmeet. Nevertheless, on Thursday 16th Nov, six members converged at the carpark close to the tunnel to park on the crown of the camber, the only area remaining free of deep standing water. Good views of Rock Pipit, Sanderling and Turnstones. A Great Skua passed offshore above the breakers. Flocks of Goldfinches and Linnets punctuated the sky with Bullfinches among the brambles, Skylarks and Meadow Pipits in the grass and Teal in the open water amongst the reeds. With Spoonbills in the distance, Curlew calling and a persistent Kestrel, the most notable event was the appearance of a Shorteared Owl that flew up when disturbed by the golf course maintenance truck, alighting on the gorse and offering 30 minutes of close viewing, always alert even when dozing, happily sharing the same spot with a Magpie before being roused by a golf cart for a flight across the sea to the shore in the far distance.
Mid Devon Branch Wildlife Recording Workshop Brampford Speke 13th July 2023
On Thursday 13th July 2023, Paul Pratley, former Chairman of the Wildlife Recording Society, gave 7 Members of Devon Birds a full understanding of the equipment and techniques needed to capture the sounds of wildlife. It was a day of interesting facts and tips delivered by an expert. The group took some of the recording equipment to the fields alongside the river Exe at Brampford Speke and recorded bird song and other sounds for later analysis in the workshop. A practical demonstration of the techniques needed to edit and modify the recordings was demonstrated in the classroom. Members benefited from a rare opportunity to learn and understand the skills necessary in making clear sound recordings of the calls of birds and the sounds of wildlife generally.
The Second Workshop originally scheduled for Saturday 23rd July 2023 is cancelled.
Mid Devon Branch, Trip to Berry Head
Eleven Members representing all our branches turned out for the Mid Devon & Exeter branch field trip to Berry Head on 20th April, ably led by Doug Herdson.
Berry Head is a wonderful place to see the early migrants. Although it was a windy day, the sun encouraged the sheltering birds to sit up in the bushes to sing and churr. Common Whitethroat, Linnets, Goldfinches and Chiffchaff were in full voice. Even the Bullfinch was calling. Migrant Wheatears flew in the wind. The arrival of Swifts and Swallows was noted. A Razorbill and Guillemots were on the cliffs while Fulmars, Gannets and Sandwich Terns wheeled in the wind. The Peregrine was hunting from a perch in the quarry.
A windy, atmospheric day in one of most beautiful locations on the coast. A count of only 25 species or so but a very rewarding day.
Mid Devon’s Field Trip to East Anstey 2nd May, 2023
Mid Devon’s field trip to East Anstey Common, Tues. 2nd May: Attending were 8 members in total including 3 from our Taw & Torridge branch. A bright day, sunny at times, yielding a good cross-section of moorland and woodland species. We all enjoyed the calls and song of Redstart, Wood Warbler, Garden Warbler, Bullfinch, Redpoll and many other species but perhaps the highlights were a displaying male Chaffinch in peak condition and a pair of male Goldcrests aroused in territorial aggression, each displaying their blindingly beautiful luminescent red crown to full effect.
Mid Devon Field Meet, Slapton Ley and Beesands, 9th Feb.
A group of nine members from the Mid Devon, Plymouth and Taw & Torridge groups enjoyed a full day of birding on 9th Feb at Slapton Ley and Beesands Ley. Under the direction of Mid Devon’s guest leader Doug Herdson, we ended the day with a total count of 50 species. Two Pochards and a N. American Ring-necked duck were seen associating with Tufted Ducks at Beesands, while a Marsh Harrier flew back and forth along the Ley before choosing to land awkwardly in the reeds, offering memorable views from the hide. A large number of duck were drawn to the spectacle, congregating in the water directly in front of the Harrier before it sprang up to disappear from view. Highlights at Slapton included one Common Goldeneye, numerous Gadwall, a disgruntled Water Rail and a single Great Northern Diver. The association of Gadwall and Coot was interesting to observe; pointed out by Doug, it appears that it is common practice for Gadwall to steal aquatic weed from Coots – a behaviour known as kleptoparasitism.
Volunteers needed for monthly Bird Survey at historic Fursden House near Thorverton
Devon bIrds is seeking volunteers to participate in a monthly bird survey of the historic Fursden Estate.
The estate consist of undulating fields, streams and woodlands just two miles from Thorveton in Mid Devon, north of Exeter.
The results of our effort will assist Devon Wildlife Trust (DWT) in formulating and estate wide Biodiversity Action Plan. We plan to undertake the first survey in October 2022. To participate, email Nick Arnstrong before Thursday 30th June at email@example.com.
We are also looking for a team of leaders to help plan the bid count and coordinate and monitor specific areas of habitat during the survey. Please let us know if you would like to take on a leadership role.
Mid Devon Branch Field Trip 18th May 10am
Please note that the meeting time for this event is 10am and not 9am as originally published.
Mid Devon Branch visit to Exminster Marshes on Tuesday 25th February
The sun shone when there was a break in the storm clouds on Tuesday morning. Mid Devon’s field trip to Exminster Marshes took advantage of the opportunity and clocked up 48 species during a 4 hour morning saunter along the lane and canal path to Turf Lock. Wildfowl and waders prevailed with close up views of the more common species at this time of year. It’s comforting to see a large, undisturbed mix of Wigeon, Pintail, Shoveler, Teal, Shelduck and the odd diving duck of freshwater and estuary. Snipe, Lapwing and Curlew in the fields while flocks of Godwit, Lapwing and Dunlin circled above. The Peregrine emerged and the Kingfisher fished at the lock. Avocet, Golden Plover, Grey Plover, Redshank, Curlew, Dunlin and Oystercatcher were present on the estuary. The group split in to two for the return leg when the rain forced us back to the cars at 2pm. Eleven members enjoyed the company and opportunity to forget everything else.
Volunteers Needed for Bird Surveys
Mid-Devon Branch of Devon Birds is seeking volunteers to help out with two bird surveys as described below:
1. A monthly bird survey of Cove Farm, located just north of Tiverton. Two adjoining landowners plan to undertake a rewilding project. Cove Farm is composed of pasture, mature hedges and small copses together with a larger plantation and deciduous woodland that in total constitutes an area of approximately 80 acres. The land is fairly steep in places. A 2019 base survey will help substantiate the change that we anticipate will occur as agricultural practice gives way to natural regeneration. We propose to kick off with the first monthly survey during the last week of January. Please contact Nick Armstrong for further details: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Local people are need to help monitor Stoke Woods, at the edge of Exeter, adjacent to the Exe Valley. . The focus will be for Pied Flycatchers but we intend to maintain a database of all bird species and wildlife. A number of nest boxes were placed in position last year. Stoke Woods was incorporated into the Piedfly network last year. Please contact Annabelle Strickland: email@example.com or tel: 01392 439685.
Trip to Exminster Marshes and Christmas Lunch on 13th December
12 Members with welcomed guests from Plymouth, South & East Devon Branches, met on an extremely cold & windy morning but braved the elements to walk around the Marsh. We were rewarded with seeing 48 different species including a wonderful spectacle of a peregrine chasing a crow & eventually feeding off prey on the ground. Other highlights included Barnacle geese, Brent geese, Snow Goose, Snipe, Muscovy Duck, Lapwing, Mergansers, Shoveler, Tufted, Avocet, Stonechat & Bullfinch.Everyone enjoyed a very friendly & sociable lunch together at the Swans Nest pub and were glad to warm up with some hot food & drink.We wish all our members a very Happy Christmas & an enjoyable bird year in 2019