Society News

Devon Birds Plymouth Branch Field Meeting – Aylesbeare Common 13th July 2017

Posted yesterday at 8:57 pm by Kevin Cox

After a number of days of showers and rain the day was mostly cloudy with a gentle breeze. There were 12 members at the field meeting, which started with a slow walk on the private road past the bushes and heath before turning right onto the blue route. There were distance views of Yellowhammers and brief views of Dartford Warblers during the initial section of the meeting. The heath appeared at its best for the heather was in full bloom and this may have enabled us to enjoy 14 species of butterfly around the common. In the muddy area near the stream there was a profusion of Sundew plants. Unfortunately some of the group left and just before the car park a Dartford Warbler sat up and sang on a gorse bush giving us excellent views.                                                                          

John O’Connell-Davidson


Herring Gull

Wood Pigeon


Green Woodpecker

Carrion crow


Long tailed tit

Blue tit

Great tit

Coal tit


Willow warbler


Dartford warbler







Tree pipit







28 Species

Silver-washed Fritillary



Small Copper

Small Heath

Large White

Large Skipper

Red Admiral



Green-veined White

Speckled Wood

Meadow Brown

Small Tortoiseshell


14 Species


Other noticeable observations

Rabbit                                      Emperor Dragonfly & Gold-ringed Dragonfly

Slowworm                               Sundews                    

Mining bees

Species list compiled by Douglas Herdson

Mid-Devon Field Meeting - Chudleigh Knighton Heath

Posted June 24th at 6:11 pm by Inga Page

Mid Devon Field Meeting Chudleigh Knighton Heath – Tuesday 13 June 2017

 Green hairstreak butterfly     Green hairstreak butterfly

Emperor butterfly  Emperor dragonfuly

12 members attended Chudleigh Knighton Field Meeting this week for a very enjoyable day’s birding in summer sunshine. Apart from all the birds we had the additional interest of observing various dragonflies together with the Heath's rarest resident,- the narrow-headed ant.

Amongst all the birds seen were a good number of yellowhammers, a pair of kestrel and a pair of buzzards.  It was great to have such an extensive knowledge within the group able to identify the dragonflies and damselflies over the pond, eg: emperor, 4spotted chasers, black tailed skimmer, golden ringed, broad-bodied chaser and large red damselfly.  They all looked so beautiful in the sunshine.  Butterflies included green hairstreak, small heath, speckled wood and brimstone.

Annabelle Strickland, Mid-Devon Coordinator

Plymouth Branch Indoor Meeting – Monday 12th June

Posted June 19th at 9:17 pm by Kevin Cox

Ford Park Cemetery - A Developing Wildlife Story

Speaker: John Boon



John Boon is an enthusiastic speaker, keen to share the knowledge and experiences he has gained from being a Trustee at Ford Park Cemetery. The Trust, which has run the 34-acre site since 2000, has limited resources but aims to involve the community, maintain a variety of habitats as well as operate a working successful cemetery.

He gave a fascinating insight into the history of the site, which at one time, was well beyond the city boundaries. In 1901 there were 3000 people interred there in a year. He talked of the gravestones of local dignitaries of Plymouth’s past buried there, as well as notable naturalists, like H.G.Hurrell.

He explained that managing the site for the community involved sharing its history and wildlife with everyone. Sometimes, with only two workers, it was a balancing act so that graves could be accessible and maintained. It meant leaving a variety of habitats with wildlife corridors between, which would encourage an excellent range of insect, moth, butterfly, bird life and flowers.  He illustrated the talk with wildlife and historical photographs.

The meeting was well attended and John Boon provided an interesting insight to the wildlife that could be found at Ford Park- a haven of peace within the city.

Jill Stevens

Fursdon Bird Day

Posted June 10th at 2:26 pm by Kevin Cox

Following last year's Bird Day, the Fursdon Estate in mid-Devon hosted another successful event on 28 May. Members of Devon Birds were present, along with RSPB and Devon Wildlife Trust, to talk to visitors about the birds on the estate and to take them on guided walks around the grounds.


John Strickland, Jerry Tallowin and Annabelle Strickland from Devon Birds


Devon Birds Plymouth Branch Visit below Bennett’s Cross and onto Challacombe Farm, Dartmoor 18th May 2017

Posted May 28th at 9:46 am by Kevin Cox


After three days of persistent heavy rain 13 members were pleased to be greeted by sunny weather at the start of the walk down to the valley. Meadow Pipit were plentiful and the first Cuckoo was soon heard and then glimpsed at a distance. As we dropped down Whinchat became abundant and great views were had of both females and males. Tree Pipit were also singing, parachuting and perching. Numerous Willow Warbler and Wren, with Blackbird, Robin and Chaffinch gave a busy sound track, as we walked along the valley floor.  In the same area a striking Reed Bunting showed itself well.

Photos by Dave Batten

By now we had seen at least 4 Cuckoos, definitely two males and probably two females. At the lunchstop Siskin appeared along with a flock of 21 Herring Gull on their way to somewhere. Just after lunch the highlight for many was the view of a male Crossbill, which although well camouflaged, was obligingly chilling out. At least two other Crossbill were seen nearby. Redstart were heard and a male was at last seen at a distance.

 The walk across to Challacombe added a few more Wheatear to our solitary one previously seen. The good weather was not to last and the heavens opened, hail included, though the nesting Swallows were not deterred. Our spirits were lifted by excellent views of a male Redstart and then a pair of Spotted Flycatcher, as we sheltered under the trees waiting for a slight lessening of the rain before we headed back.  The full list totalled 42 species.

Phil Stevens

Grey Heron



Herring Gull

Great Black-Backed Gull



Green Woodpecker [H]



House Martin

Tree Pipit

Meadow Pipit

Pied Wagtail

Grey Wagtail







Northern Wheatear


Song Thrush

Blackcap [H]

Willow Warbler



Spotted Flycatcher

Great Tit

Coal Tit





Carrion Crow

House Sparrow





Reed Bunting


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