Devon Birds – Events

Devon Birds and its branches hold a number of meetings throughout the year. These include indoor and outdoor Society and branch events, as well as meetings and events held in association with other groups and organisations.

All Devon members are welcome at any meeting organised by the Society or its branches. Many meetings are free or require only a nominal charge to cover hire costs and refreshments. Non-members are also welcome. Other meetings, such as Council meetings, may be restricted, while some, mostly those held in association with other organisations, may charge an admission fee. Every attempt has been made to make this clear in each entry. If in doubt, please contact the event organiser.

Contact details are available in the Programme.

An email to will normally bring a quick response from the appropriate officer.

Upcoming Events

30 May

Ham Wall

All day. Meet at RSPB car park.

2 Jun

Devon Wildlife Trust Reserve at Volehouse

A walk around the DWT Volehouse Reserve (map reference SS 347 165 ) – British Naturalist Association Taw & Torridge Branch.

Flowers, Singing warblers and Marsh Fritillary Butterfly.

Meet at Pill car park Bideford at 9:30 as limited parking at the site.

Afternoon visit by kind invitation to Tudor House N/A Cory Manor House to view the wild flower meadow.

Owners happy to offer cream tea.

Bring appropriate footwear and packed lunch

Further information Brian Sims

01271 34360

5 Jun

Dunnabridge, Dartmoor. Meet Dunnabridge Pound Farm carpark, PL20 6SF, grid ref SX645745, 9:00am-3:00pm

Dunnabridge in the morning for possible Grasshopper Warbler & moorland birds; Vennford Reservoir for the afternoon. Meet at Dunnabridge Car Park, B3357, Dunabridge Pound Farm, Dartmoor PK20 6SF,  grid ref SX645745. Leader: Helen Allin

10 Jun


An overview of the programme for 2024 can be found by clicking on the links below.

Diarycard 2024 Inside

Diarycard 2024 Outside

Full details of each event are provided in the events section of the website.

10 Jun

Trenchford Reservoir, Bovey Tracey

Meet in car park at SX804823  (Pay and display and toilet). AM/PM.

11 Jun

Clearbrook, Yelverton

We will meet at the car park where the cycle track meets the dry leat and the road turns off down to the bridge at Goodameavy SX 518 651.  This is on the right hand side as you drive down the road from the A386 to Clearbrook.

From here we will take a walk around the heathland where we will hope to see Linnet, Stonechat, Yellowhammer and any other little gems that might pop up.

Returning to the cars we will move down to the car park at SX 522 656.  We will walk down to the River Meavy in search of riverside birds. The route takes us to some older woodland with the occasional glade which should prove good for butterflies. There are some stiles on this section.

This is an ideal opportunity to visit a local site which provides an opportunity to explore birds in a variety of habitats.  The walk is approximately 5km.

For further information please contact the event leader Mary Johnson 07891 844516



17 Jun

Nightjar Walk II venue to be announced by mid-May

Our now regular ‘follow-up’ Nightjar event will be very much dependent upon the success of our first visit in May.  With the ever increasing height of the new growth at Cann Woods sightings of the birds are becoming more difficult.

In the interim we will explore locally for a possible alternative site to see Nightjars.  The venue therefore cannot be confirmed at this stage.  We will update this post and provide full details by mid May 2024.

Note this meeting is very weather dependant. For up-to-date information please contact the leader Chris Marcol 07976 359647

22 Jun

Nightjar – Hartland Forest

Nightjars in Hartland Forest.

Meet 20:00 for hopefully sightings of birds displaying.

Bring torch for the return walk

Leader; Martin Unwin

Meeting point to be added near the date once the birds have been located.


27 Jun

Berry Head Country Park, Brixham. Meet in the car park, SX 940562, TQ5 9AP, 10:15am-3:00pm

Berry Head, Brixham for seabirds, orchids and general wildlife. We are making this a joint meeting with Plymouth u3a Wildlife group. Meet in the car park, SX 940562, Gillard Road, Rea Hill, Brixham, TQ5 9AP.  Bring a packed lunch (there is the Guardhouse Café if you forget). On approaching Brixham do not go down into town but follow the signs for Berry Head Country Park (i.e. fork right at the traffic lights). Parking is £7 for the visit, a reason to car share. Leader, Doug Herdson.

27 Jun

Nightjar evening. Wheathill Plantation/East Budleigh Common

Meet at car park at SY040847 (approach via Bystock Ponds road). Bring torch. Finish about 23.00hrs


5 Jul

Nightjars in Cookworthy Forest. Halwill Junction. Grid ref. SS417016, EX22 7YH, 6:30pm-9:00pm

An evening walk to see and hear Nightjars in Cookworthy Forest. Also, the possibility of Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Kestrel, Crossbill, Siskin, deer etc. Plan on a walk before settling at a vantage point to view the nightjars. The entrance to the forest is situated North of Halwill Junction on the A3079 (Ashwater), EX22 7YH. Meet at the car park 6.30pm and picnic area at grid ref. SS417016. Leader, Matt Willson & Helen Allin.

10 Jul

Mardon Down – creatures of the night

An evening on Mardon Down, near Moretonhampstead, looking for moths, bats and twilight birds including nightjar and owls. Meet at the car park at SX 76419 87220. Leader: Rose Leach with Tony Whitehead (RSPB, birds) and Lisa Schneidau (moths and bats).

14 Jul

Hartland Point

A circular walk at Hartland Point with the British Naturalist Association – Taw and Torridge Branch

Meet at Pill car park Bideford at 10:00 or 10:45 if going direct to Hartland Point car park (map reference SS  235 276 )

possible car park charge.

Bring packed lunch and sturdy footwear

There is a café in the car park

Further info Brian Sims 01271 34360

15 Jul

Blackhill Quarry/Bicton Common

Meet at Frying Pans car park on roadside at SY037850.

7 Aug

Meshaw Moor, DWT, near Witheridge, Grid Ref SS761184. EX36 4NE, 9:30am-2:00pm

Meshaw Moor, a DWT reserve w/13 fields of original Culm grassland, one mile south of the village of Meshaw, close to the B3137, between South Molton and Witheridge. Meet in the carpark that sits parallel to the minor road adjacent to a small farm building.  Culm bird life and wild flowers. Bring a packed lunch. Leader, Nick Armstrong.

11 Aug

Baggy Point

A walk out to Baggy Point with the British Naturalist Association

Birds, butterflies and possibly seals.

Meet at car park at Park School Barnstaple (the former park and ride site) at 9:30. This will save money and protect the environment (currently free parking)

Or if going direct to the Baggy Point car park  at 10:15 (map reference SS 432 397 ) (Post Code EX33 1PA). Car Park charge.

Possible cream tea at the end of the day.

Further information Brian Sims 01271 34360





17 Aug

Saltram Park and Blaxton Meadow, Plymouth

If you are a regular viewer of the Devon Birds recent sightings page you will never cease to be amazed at the range of species that are seen at this venue and the dedication of local birders to monitor the bird populations.  This event therefore provides an opportunity to visit what has been called Plymouth’s ‘birding gem’ – one not to be missed, especially if you have not been here before, as is so often the case with venues ‘on your door step’.  For those who regularly birdwatch this area it is an opportunity to meet up as a team and share your insights.  With high tide expected just just before 17:00, the birds will be pushed on to Blaxton Meadow by the rising tide, and so close views are assured of ducks and waders and hopefully there will be a star appearance of a Kingfisher or two!

Parking is available in the National Trust Saltram House car park for which there is a charge for non-members.

We will meet at the bird hide / viewing area overlooking Blaxton Meadow.  We will be based mainly in this area, however there are opportunities to explore the site more fully and you can expect a walking distance of approximately 4km.

For further information please contact the event leader John O’Connell-Davidson 07885 536218.

21 Aug

Meeth Quarry DWT Reserve

A return to Meeth Quarry to walk a different part of the reserve than in our spring visit. We will be covering the open area of Woolladon Lake and Clay Tip and the Culm grassland of Ash Moor looking for raptors, warblers, chats, flycatchers and woodpeckers. Meet in the main car park (Grid ref: SS539084). Bring a packed lunch. Leaders: Helen Allin and Martin Worsfold

5 Sep

Dawlish Warren

Meet at end of main car park at SX980787.  (Pay n. display fee). (LOW tide 13.00). AM only.  .

8 Sep

Torrington Common

A walk around Torrington Common with the British Naturalist Association.

Butterflies, flowers and trees.

Meet at Park School Barnstaple (former Park and Ride car park currently no charge) at 10:00. Or in Torrington Common lower car park at 10:30.

Steep in places. Bring sturdy footwear and packed lunch.

Cream tea at the end of the day (possibly last of the year)

Further information Brian Sims 01271 34360

11 Sep

Seaton Wetlands

A visit to the Axe estuary at this time of year will not only provide an opportunity to see many familiar species of wetland birds, but may offer a chance to see some rarer species of Sandpipers and other Waders or even an Osprey passing through on autumn migration.  There are excellent hides with views over the river, marshes and scrapes from elevated positions with a high tide due at 12:00. Meeting in the car park, accessed through Seaton Cemetery at SY 248 914, our walk will be approximately 6.5km.

For further information please contact the event leaders Kev and Jacki Solman 07812 805668


16 Sep

Birds and Mammals of Kenya-Jeff Hacon

Jeff Hacon is a retired Biology teacher and Secretary of the South Devon Branch of Devon Birds.

Jeff’s talk describes a trip to Kenya in 2018 visiting Amboseli, Masai Mara and a mystery location close to Nairobi.

Members £3 Non-Members £4 Entry fee includes refreshments

18 Sep

Northam Burrows County Park, grid ref. SS451304, EX39 1NL 9:30am-2:00pm

Take Broad Lane to Burrows Lane and enter Northam Burrows County Park. Park on the side of the road after crossing the small bridge over The Pill, grid ref: SS451304. Bring a packed lunch. Leader Nick Armstrong.

20 Sep

Soar and Starehole Valley

We will meet at the National Trust car park near the airfield at SX 713 375 (pay and display for non-NT members).  As we journey on our approximately 6km walk, we pass through farmland into a sheltered valley with dense scrub, small trees, ponds and a stream.  It is a question of expect the unexpected, not least because of the time of year and the weather conditions.  The fields typically attract large flocks of finches, Skylarks and Meadow Pipits and we will search the hedgerows and margins for Yellowhammer and Cirl Bunting.  We hope to have a last encounter with summer migrants such as Wheatear and Willow Warbler before they leave our shores.

For further information please contact the event leader John Lloyd 07811 232206


23 Sep

Beer Head

Meet at end of lane at SY224886. AM only.

27 Sep

Taw Estuary

The Pill and Fremington Quay, Taw Estuary.

For waders in summer plumage. Glossy Ibis, Spoonbill, Herons and Egrets.

Park at Fremington Quay car park and meet on the green area opposite the Cafe.

SS51566 33339 – 51.07996 – 4.11992

Leader: Debbie Frazer

30 Sep

The Dartmoor Curlew Recovery Project by Jon Avon

Curlews are considered to be one of the most pressing bird conservation priorities in the country. The UK holds a quarter of the world’s population but in our changing landscapes they are increasingly unable to rear chicks so their population is rapidly declining.  Back in 2017 Jon Avon was reporting the alarming news that only 3 Curlew chicks had fledged on Dartmoor in the previous 15 years.

We will be welcoming Jon to our meeting to talk about the head-start programme, the careful monitoring and the progress that the project is making to try to reverse the decline.

We meet in the Spurgeon Hall of Mutley Baptist Church on Mutley Plain PL4 6LB 

Meetings start promptly at 7.30 pm.

Suggested donation £5.00 

Refreshments are available.

There is a public car park opposite the church hall entrance with free parking after 6.00pm.  You need to register your car for this using the ticket machine and display the printed ticket.

The hall is up a flight of stairs. Easier access via 6 stairs is available but please contact Liz Harris 01752 789594 in advance.

4 Oct

River Caen and Velator Scrape – Braunton

River Caen and Velator scrape, Braunton. (High tide is 07:27).

Meet at Velator Quay car park  at 10:30  Grid Ref: SS484354

For Marsh harrier and other Raptors. Cetti’s Warbler, Kingfisher, Waders and late migrants.

Leader: Martin Unwin/ Kevin Wigley



10 Oct

Powderham Church-Turf

Meet at roadside at SX971843. (HIGH Tide at 10.00)

13 Oct

Fugus Foray at Devon Birds Godborough Reserve

A Fungus Foray led by John Willatts for The British Naturalist Association.

Meet at DB Godborough Reserve at 11:00 (map reference SS 475 273).

Steep in places so sturdy footwear and bring a packed lunch.

Further information Brian Sims 01271 34360

21 Oct

Bird Behaviour-an Illustrated Talk – Ian Gasper

Ian Gasper is a former headteacher, much-travelled individual and well-known speaker.

This talk will cover many aspects of how birds live: their physiology (what makes them different), their movement, their feeding methods and abilities, their breeding and intelligence.

Members £3 Non-Members £4 Entry fee includes refreshments

21 Oct

Emsworthy Mire Reserve, (Nr Saddle Tor, Dartmoor)

Meet at small car park at SX748761 on B3387 (Hay Tor to Widecombe road).  AM only.

21 Oct

Emsworthy Mire

We will meet at the car park at SX 748 761 before embarking on our approximately 3km walk around the Devon Wildlife Trust Reserve.  Renowned for swathes of bluebells in May / June it is the colour red that we will be keeping an eye out for, and not just that of the iconic red roofed barn.  Instead it will be the red of Hawthorn and Holly berries and maybe the red flashes on the flanks of Redwing.

The hope is that our visit will be timed for the arrival of thrushes, winter visitors such as Fieldfare, Redwing and flocks of Mistle Thrush and Ring Ouzel, our only summer visiting thrush, which is a regular autumn passage migrant.  The latter use this site as a feeding stop off as they move down from upland areas in the north, before heading to the Atlas Mountains in north west Africa for the winter.

With the effects of climate change becoming more noticeable the timing of visits to see these birds is becoming more problematic.  In 2023 Ring Ouzel seemed to arrive early and stay later at a number of Dartmoor sites.  We will be on the look out for many other species including Raptors, Golden Plover, Meadow Pipit and Green Woodpecker.

For further information please contact the event leader Chris Marcol 07976 359647

24 Oct

Fernworthy Reservoir and Plantation, grid ref. SX667839, TQ13 8EA 9:30am-3:30pm

Plan on morning and afternoon walks around reservoir and forestry plantation. Crossbill, Siskin, Willow Tit possible. Bring a packed lunch. Meet at the car park (pay and display) grid ref. SX667839, postcode TQ13 8EA. Leader, Helen Allin.

7 Nov

Mutters Moor, Sidmouth

Meet at Peak Hill car park at  SY109872, AM only.


11 Nov


We will hold a short AGM at the start of the evening before welcoming our guest speaker for this event.   Please check the website at a later date as we will post further information once we have confirmed the details of the presentation.

We meet in the Spurgeon Hall of Mutley Baptist Church on Mutley Plain PL4 6LB 

Meetings start promptly at 7.30 pm.

Suggested donation £5.00 

Refreshments are available.

There is a public car park opposite the church hall entrance with free parking after 6.00pm.  You need to register your car for this using the ticket machine and display the printed ticket.

The hall is up a flight of stairs. Easier access via 6 stairs is available but please contact Liz Harris 01752 789594 in advance.

12 Nov

Exminster Marshes, Station Road, RSPB carpark, Grid Ref: SX953872, EX6 8DZ, 9:30am-2:30pm

Expect a mix of waterfowl, waders and other birds. From A379, take Station Road past the Swan’s Nest Inn and over the hump-back bridge to the RSPB car park on the right, grid ref: SX953872. Leader, Nick Armstrong.

18 Nov

Birds, Beasts and Bugs of Devon – John Walters

John Walters is a life-long naturalist and ecologist who explores the natural world through field sketching, photography and video.  He has appeared in many television and radio programmes including the recent BBC David Attenborough Wild Isles series.

This illustrated talk will show some of the amazing variety of wildlife found in Devon, from Cuckoos to the Hornet Robberfly and from dancing Adders to giant Atlantic Bluefin Tuna.

Members £3 Non-Members £4 Entry fee includes refreshments

18 Nov

Parke, Nr Bovey Tracey

Meet at Nat.Park HQ car park at SX805785.Pay n. display fee if not NT member.

20 Nov

Roadford Reservoir, meet at layby near hide grid ref. SX435930, EX21 5BB, 10:00am-1:30pm

An interesting mix of dabbling and diving ducks, the odd wader or two and the possibility of something unusual. Leader, Helen Allin

23 Nov

Slapton Ley

We will meet on Slapton Ley Bridge on Sands Road at SX 828 443.  There is limited parking by the bridge but there are more spaces further along Sands Road as well as at the Slapton Sands Memorial pay and display car park.  With the high tide expected at 11:00 we will spend some time sea watching for bird and mammal species in the hope of catching a glimpse of dolphins, seals or even breaching whales.  The beach has in the past afforded stunning views of Snow Bunting.

We will walk round part of the Ley to view what is always an interesting mix of wetland species, ducks, divers and gulls as well as woodland birds.  This SSSI and National Nature Reserve is often used as a stop off point for unusual species, it being the largest fresh water lake in the South West and separated only by a narrow shingle bar from the sea. The marshes and reedbeds provide useful cover and shelter from the extremes of the weather.  Footpaths can be very muddy if the weather has been wet so it may be advisable to bring wellies for our 5km walk.

For further information please contact the event leader John Lloyd 07811 232206

24 Nov

Skern – Appledore

The Skern, Appledore.

Meet just over the bridge from Burrows Lane at 13:00. (High tide is at 15:28).

Grid Ref: SS451304

Peregrine and other Raptors, Snow Bunting, Gulls, Waders, Plovers and possibly wintering Black Redstart.

Leader: Martin Unwin

11 Dec

Dawlish Warren, Grid Ref: SX97878 9:00am-12:00pm

Dawlish Warren Mid Devon Christmas walk Wednesday 11-Dec, starting 09.00am. Meet at the first car park (pay and display) on the right at the mini-roundabout before the tunnel entrance, Grid Ref: SX978785. Leader Nick Armstrong


12 Dec

Escot Park, Talaton

Meet at car park at SY082981. AM only


12 Dec

St John’s Lake and River Lynher

We will meet on Marine Drive, Torpoint SX438547.  Walking from here along Chapeldown Road, we will scan the shoreline and St John’s Lake for waders, gulls, ducks, grebes and divers.  There will be the opportunity to return to this location at the end of the trip to see which birds have arrived on the incoming tide (high tide approx. 14:55).

We will drive 4 miles along the A374 to Wacker Quay to walk along the River Lynher (approximately a 4km walk).  The car park and path can be very muddy so it is advisable to bring wellies.  This second site will provide opportunities to observe further species of waders such as Avocet, Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwit.  We may be fortunate enough to see Spoonbill which are occasional visitors.

For further information please contact the event leader Doug Herdson 07910 078599

15 Dec

Birdwatching Bonanza

Birdwatching Bonanza with the British Naturalist Association

Meet at Park School Barnstaple (former Park & Ride car park currently free) to car share at 9:00.

If going direct meet at 10:15 at Darts Farm (post code EX3 0QH)

Visiting Darts Farm. Goosemoor, the RSPB Reserve at Bowling Green Marsh, the River Clyst, Goat Walk and possibly Exminster Marshes and Powderham.

Bring packed lunch, hot drinks, warm clothing. Level walking

Further information Brian Sims 01271 34360

12 Jan

RSPB Ham Wall Reserve in Somerset

A trip with the British Naturalist Association to RSPB Ham Wall on the Somerset Levels.

Hopefully to see Bittern, Kingfisher and Starling murmuration.

Meet at the car park at Park School Barnstaple (former Park & Ride site currently free) at 9:00 to car share. If going direct meet at Ham Wall car park at 10:45. Post code BA6 9SX. Parking charges unless an RSPB member (remember to take your membership card).

Toilets and a small café.

If café is closed there is also

Sweets on Blakeway, Meare BS28 4UE (ST 438 434)

Avalon Marshes Centre Meare BS6 9TT (ST 426 414)


Bring warm clothing, hot drink and a packed lunch. Very level walking.

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