Society News

Trip to Broadsands and Brixham on January 17th

Posted yesterday at 4:42 pm in Plymouth Branch Field Meeting by Inga Page

This, our first field meeting of 2019, led by Doug Herdson, was strongly supported by 26 members who enjoyed a cold but bright January day. We were well rewarded by the sighting of some 44 species with highlights being Cirl Bunting, Red Necked Grebe, Great Northern Diver, Razorbill and Yellow Browed Warbler at Broadsands and Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone and Rock Pipit around the breakwater and Great Northern Diver & Kittiwake out at sea.

Cirl Bunting (Dave Batten)

Turnstone (Dave Batten)

In addition to these avian highlights we saw a pod of fifteen Common Dolphin, including at least two calves, at Broadsands and, at Brixham, five Grey Seal.

Common Dolphin (Dave Batten)

Grey Seal {Dave Batten)

Full species list:

Greenfinch, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Coal Tit, Longtailed Tit, Blackcap, Raven, Song Thrush, Yellow Browed Warbler, Chiffchaff, Cirl Bunting, Reed Bunting, Dunnock, Blackbird, Robin, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Buzzard, Peregrine, Magpie, Blackbird, Goldfinch, Great Black Backed Gull, Black Headed Gull, Bullfinch, Cormorant, Shag, Gannet, Fulmar, Little Egret, Oystercatcher, Herring Gull, Razorbill, Great Crested Grebe, Red Necked Grebe, Great Northern Diver, Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone, Rock Pipit, Kittiwake, Guillemot, Jay, Goldcrest.

John Lloyd


Volunteers Needed for Bird Surveys

Posted January 12th at 12:26 pm in Mid Devon Branch by Inga Page

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: armstronick@gmail.com or tel: 01363 866860

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:  jfajstrickland@outlook.com or tel: 01392 439685. 


Visit to Kingsmill Lake on 17th December 2018

Posted January 1st at 6:55 pm in Plymouth Branch Field Meeting by Inga Page

A lucky break, after a week of torrential rain, allowed thirteen members to enjoy a calm sunny morning walking up the west side of the River Tamar to the hide by Kingsmill Lake. 

A female blackcap took advantage of the bird feeders by the club.

Towards the far shore in the Tamar a Great Northern Diver was identified.

On reaching the hide owned by Cornwall Wildlife Trust, we found that repairs had been completed this year with a financial contribution from Devon Birds.  The hide is well positioned on the south bank of the creek to offer some sanctuary for our winter visits.

Grebe (Dave Easter)

Grey Plover (Dave Easter)

 A flock of seventy Avocet lined the waters edge intermingled with a flock of Dunlin, as well as Curlew, Redshank and Shelduck.  Twenty Snipe sat in vegetation on the mud bank opposite, some appearing very exposed and similarly four grey plover showed well. Other highlights included a single knot and ‘hard to find’ pintail and the blue streak of a kingfisher flashed in front of the hide.

Thirty seven species were identified. 

Liz Harris

 


Trip to Exminster Marshes and Christmas Lunch on 13th December

Posted December 17th, 2018 at 4:00 pm in Mid Devon Branch Field Meeting by Inga Page

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

Annual Draw 2018

Posted November 23rd, 2018 at 11:41 am in Prize winners by Mike Daniels

The following people won prizes in the 2018 Annual Draw

1st Prize £200 - Mrs C Reevell

2nd Prize £75 - Ms S Smith

3rd Prize 2 tickets to Lundy - Mr & Mrs Rhodes

4th Prize 2 tickets for the Devon Birds trip to Lundy - Mr & Mrs Lockyear

5th Prize £50 - Mr M Steer


Field Meeting at Saltram Park on 15th November

Posted November 20th, 2018 at 6:25 pm in Plymouth Branch Field Meeting by Inga Page

Sixteen members met at the Laira Bridge end of the ‘Ride’ for a riverside walk through to Blaxton Meadow and then returning via the NT café to take in wooded walks and pasture.

Though the tide was quite full we were rewarded with a good selection of finches, tits and other species that frequent the trees and bushes that line the Ride pathway. On the river we saw a few gulls, Grey Heron, Cormorant, a Curlew and a skein of Canada Geese.

We walked through toward Blaxton Meadow and had good sightings of several jays with one showing well. Also seen on route were three Grey Heron perched in a tree along the riverside walk. As one might expect there were Great Tit, Robin, Wren and Blackbird as well as plenty of corvids.

Blaxton Meadow proved to be the main event with plentiful numbers of waders, wildfowl and wagtails.

Photographs by Dave Easter

On our return to the car park through Saltram Park we had several Mistle Thrush, Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Full species list (in order of appearance):-

Great Tit, Robin, Goldfinch, BH Gull, H Gull, C Crow, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Canada Goose, Curlew, Wren, Chaffinch, Jay, Blackbird, Greenfinch, B Tit, Turnstone, W Pigeon, Goldcrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Magpie, Starling, Mistle Thrush, Redwing, Mallard, Little Grebe, Shelduck, Redshank, Oystercatcher, Greenshank, Dunlin, Black Tailed Godwit, Pied Wagtail, Grey Wagtail, Moorhen, Coalt Tit, Song Thrush, Jackdaw, Buzzard, Rook, Pheasant [43]

John Lloyd

Devon Birds Plymouth Branch

 


Woodpeckers, Warblers and other Wildlife Highlights

Posted November 20th, 2018 at 6:17 pm in Plymouth Branch Indoor Meeting by Inga Page

Any talk by John Walters is eagerly anticipated by many who are interested in wildlife. This presentation took us on a whistle-stop tour of our region with aerial shots of some of our key wildlife locations. We learnt how our geography and weather systems governed our wildlife and how events presented opportunities for wildlife but also challenges like ‘The Beast from the East’.

The short and eventful lives of bees, wasps and hornets as well as butterflies, moths and other insects  were covered and their importance emphasised in the ecology of our region.  John supported his presentation with some great photographs and evocative illustrations.

Many of us were familiar with John’s work with BBC wildlife programmes and we were treated to the film of ‘his’ family of Long Tailed Tits that he had recorded roosting in a Holly bush in a wood near to his Devonshire home. This footage was the result of many hours of patient and painstaking work and had captured the imagination of a nationwide audience, when it featured on Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s  ‘Wild West’ series.

John is a busy ecologist and has carried out many scientific studies and projects. One example is the re-wilding of Devon roadside verges. These have been stripped back to soil so that they can be seeded with naturally occurring herbaceous plants that will benefit insect life and ultimately support the wider foodchain.

John’s interest goes back to his very early life in Hampshire, where his exposure to the natural world led him toward a career in nature conservation with great passion, energy and enthusiasm.

He communicates this in a relaxed but well informed style that captivates his audiences. For more in depth information about John Walter’s work visit: http://johnwalters.co.uk/

John Lloyd Devon Birds Plymouth Branch


Tips and Techniques for Bird Photography on 29th November 2018

Posted November 4th, 2018 at 1:27 pm in Mid Devon Branch Indoor Meeting by Inga Page

Learn the techniques to better bird photography with Tom Wallis.  The workshop will be held in the skittle room, upstairs at the popular Lamb Inn in Sandford, near Crediton EX17 4LW, a traditional pub with great atmosphere and fine food.   Come earlier for the Mid Devon branch AGM which will be held at 06.30pm before the start of the Camera Workshop at 07.00pm.  Everyone is welcome."


Visit to Dawlish Warren on 30th October 2018

Posted November 1st, 2018 at 6:06 pm in Mid Devon Branch Field Meeting by Inga Page

20 members met at Dawlish Warren for our field meeting walk around the reserve visiting the hide and walking the dunes route path.  49 different species were seen/heard including Cirl Bunting, Kestrel, Sparrow hawk, Skylark, Rock Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Linnet, Guillemot, Eider, Red-throated Diver, Slavonian Grebe, Ringed Plover, Barnacle Geese, Brent Geese, Grey Plover, Sanderling, Turnstone, Wigeon, Stonechat and a probable Yellow-legged Gull. It was a good day in the sunshine with enjoyable like-minded bird watchers’ company.  Many thanks to Digby Greenhill for leading the walk supported by John Whitlock a local, extremely knowledgeable birder.

Next Field Meeting – Roadford, Tuesday 13 November at 0930

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