Society News from February 2013

Taw/Torridge field trip report, for February 2013

Posted February 25th, 2013 at 11:08 am by Steve Waite

Nine members met at the Skern, Northam Burrows wrapped up against the cold north wind, and gathered to scan the salt marsh.  The sun shone highlighting 100+ Golden Plover as they rested on the marsh, 200+ Dark-bellied Brent Goose grazed on the shore line with Oystercatcher and several Grey Plover.  Walking towards the point, where the two rivers meet the sea, a Great-crested Grebe showed in the estuary and 100+ Wigeon and 50 Shelduck feeding along the shore. Skylarks were heard reminding us that spring is just around the corner. Instow cricket club was our next stop, to check a near-by barn where Little Owl is sometimes seen, but no luck on this occasion!  A short walk to the river bank produced several Grey Plover, 200+ roosting Oystercatcher, 150 Lapwing and 8 Sanderling.

After lunch we headed to Yelland and RSPB reserve, Isley Marsh.  Two Mistle Thrush were seen in the adjacent meadows with a Kestrel overhead.  Just offshore at Isley we spotted 5 Spoonbill sleeping on a mud bank with Curlew, Wigeon, Redshank, Teal and 2 Ruff.  A lone Snipe was spotted by Andy Cudmore, and a debate was had about a possible Jack, although views were not good enough to verify.  Other Snipe flew as a low flying helicopter came over sending large flocks of Lapwing, Dunlin and Golden Plover into the sky, and as they wheeled in the air catching the sun it was a beautiful spectacle to end the day.  52 species seen.

Jackie Bosley


Barn Owl Survey

Posted February 11th, 2013 at 10:32 pm by George & Julia Harris

We are working with the Barn Owl Trust who will provide their final records for our Atlas so please help

Yes, it’s that time again: it’s the  Devon Barn Owl Survey 2013!             A joint project with Barn Owl Trust Logo

Third time around…

Following previous surveys in 1993 and 2003, this year will see Devon’s Barn Owl population surveyed for the third time. This one-calendar-year survey aims to record as many nest and roost sites as possible and mainly involves re-checking all places where Barn Owls were recorded during the last survey (281 nests and 348 roosts) plus all occupied sites recorded during the intervening nine years. In 2003 we checked/ recorded a staggering 1,176 sites and this year we expect to be checking even more. As in previous years, this year’s survey will be mainly carried out by the Barn Owl Trust with help from the Society. DBWPS members are invited to contribute information on nest/roost sites they know of or may have discovered in the course of their fieldwork for the Devon Bird Atlas Project. All of the sites recorded by the Barn Owl Trust will be included in the Devon Atlas. However, as the Barn Owl is a Schedule One species, site names and exact locations are never published.

Please report your sightings!

Although the main thrust is to record occupied nest and roost sites, we are always interested in recording any one-off sightings or perhaps the white owl you regularly spot but have no idea where it roosts. We even record dead Barn Owls! (Road casualties and fallen nestlings a speciality).  If you normally send in sightings to us at Devon Birds these will be extracted and passed on to The Barn Owl Trust.

Why bother?

The Devon Barn Owl Survey is certainly not just research; it’s a vital population health check. When sites are visited or reported we always check to see if sites are under threat and identify any opportunities for pro-active conservation work. So, as well as producing a new population estimate and distribution map, the surveys allow us to target future conservation work at sites where the birds most need our help.

How you can help?  Please used the special Devon Barn Owl Survey Form which has been produced for society members

Barn Owl Gray ClementsDevon Barn Owl Survey 2013

DBOS, Barn Owl Trust, Waterleat, Ashburton, Devon, TQ13 7HU

Note: Physical detailed searches of farm buildings and trees can only be carried out by people who are capable of using large heavy ladders and who have been trained to work safely whilst avoiding disturbance. A licence from Natural England is also required.


Devon Birds on Twitter

Posted February 7th, 2013 at 10:41 am by Steve Waite

Exciting news, Devon Birds are now on Twitter.

If you are a twitter user we can be found @DevonBirds.

Devon Birds on Twitter

So go find us, and follow us! And if you are not a Tweeter, then why not become one: http://twitter.com/

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