Category: Branch News
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.
Notice of Annual General Meeting 2023
Notice is hereby given that the 2023 Devon Birds Annual General Meeting will be held on Tuesday 18th April 2023 at the Exeter Court Hotel, Kennford, Exeter EX6 7UX.
An Agenda for the meeting will be published nearer the time.
There are currently vacancies on Devon Birds Council for 2 Ordinary Members, also the following positions will retire by rotation as required by the Constitution. Chairman (1 nomination received), Vice Chairman, Treasurer (available for re-election), Recorder (available for re-election), Communications Officer (available for re-election), Publications Officer (available for re-election). Nominations for any of these positions, Trustee Members or Branch Representatives of the Council may be made by the Council or by any three members by notice in writing to the Secretary at least 6 weeks before the Annual General Meeting in order that members can be advised within the required timescales.
Volunteers to assist the Society at the Reserves, at the Branches or in other areas are also very welcome. A volunteer to assist with administration of the new Website would also be welcome.
A vacancy also currently exists on the Devon Birds Records Committee.
More information is available by contacting the Secretary, Mike Daniels (firstname.lastname@example.org) and by referring to the Devon Birds CIO Constitution, Sections 12 (Charity Trustees) and 13 (Appointment of Charity Trustees) on the Website (www.devonbirds.org).
The meeting will be followed by a talk by John Walters, wildlife artist and author, ecologist and speaker, titled ’30 years Wildlife Watching in Devon’.
Report on Broadsands and Brixham Breakwater Field Trip on 16 January 2023
For the first 2023 field trip, 24 people from the Plymouth Branch met at Broadsands. In the hedgerows around the car parks a number of birds were enjoying the winter sun, notably a very mobile Chiffchaff, a Goldcrest and several Cirl Bunting which were regularly flitting down to the seed at their feeding site. Looking out to sea, from the area above the beach, there were good views of a range of species all actively fishing: 6+ Great Northern Divers, Razorbill and very distant Gannets. A strong, cold wind made the water very choppy, however a raft of about 25 Common Scoter were unperturbed. Excellent views of a Black-necked Grebe were to be had from the footpath round to Elberry Cove.
At Brixham Harbour the Grey Seals were loafing on the pontoons and swimming in the bay. From the breakwater the group enjoyed watching 5 Purple Sandpiper and Rock Pipit. The species list for the visit was as follows:
Great Northern Diver, Great Crested Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, Gannet, Cormorant, Shag, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Mallard, Common Scoter, Buzzard, Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Kittiwake, Razorbill, Woodpigeon, Feral Pigeon, Rock Pipit, Pied Wagtail, Dunnock,
Robin, Stonechat, Blackbird, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Long-tailed Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Magpie, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Cirl Bunting
Total 40 species
Visit Leader Doug Herdson
Plymouth Branch visit to St John’s Lake and the River Lynher, Torpoint
Please follow the link below to find a report of the recent Plymouth branch visit to St John’s Lake and River Lynher
Saturday 3 December Field Trip Report for St John’s Lake and River Lynher, Torpoint
For the final field trip of the 2022 season 25 people from the Plymouth Branch made a foray across the water, assembling on Marine Drive and moving on to Chapeldown Road. Four hours before high tide large numbers of duck and geese were visible on the far side of the water. Much closer views of a party of 5 Little Grebe were enjoyed together with a variety of waders, which included Turnstone, several small flocks of Dunlin together with at least 12 Ringed Plover. There were distant views of a Great Northern Diver which was actively fishing.
The group moved on to Wacker Quay as the tide came in and pushed waders on to the salt marsh. Good numbers of Teal and Wigeon were seeking shelter from a bitterly cold wind together with a lone Gadwall. Waders were hunkered down in the marsh vegetation but the predominantly white plumage of a group of approximately 50 Avocets were showing clearly on the distant shore.
Upon returning to Chapeldown Road for the high tide, the group were rewarded with excellent views of 24 dark-bellied and 4 pale-bellied Brent Geese and up to 3 Great Northern Divers. Local residents were keen to share their recent sightings too, with a Black Redstart seen daily on roof tops in the area, although none of the group were lucky on this occasion.
|Great Northern Diver||Dunlin|
|Great Crested Grebe||Avocet|
|Little Grebe||Great Black-backed Gull|
|Grey Heron||Common Gull|
|Little Egret||Black-headed Gull|
|Gadwall||Great Spotted Woodpecker|
|Brent Goose (dark-bellied)||Magpie|
|Brent Goose (pale-bellied)||Great Tit|
|Canada Goose||Blue Tit|
|Mute Swan||Long-tailed Tit|
Total 53 species
Plymouth Branch – Soar & Starehole Valley for Migrants
Please open the link below to download a report of the Plymouth Branch trip to Soar and Starehole Valley, looking for migrants
Plymouth branch visit to Seaton Wetlands
Please see the attached report of a visit that Plymouth Branch members made to Seaton
Plymouth Branch second Nightjar walk at Cann Woods
Please see the link below for the report of Plymouth Branch’s second visit of the year to Cann Woods
Aylesbeare Common Meeting – Plymouth Branch
Please see the link below to access a report of the recent trip to Aylesbeare Common by Plymouth Branch
Plymouth Branch at Cann Woods
Please see the below link for a report on the Plymouth Branch’s Nightjar Walk at Cann Woods