Society News from July 2013

Taw & Torridge Branch Indoor Meetings - updated

Posted September 2nd at 5:16 pm in Events by Mike Daniels

The Taw & Torridge Branch are restarting Indoor Meetings at the Castle Centre, Barnstaple. Start times are :7.30pm. Details for the remainder of 2022 and beginning of 2023 are:

8th November - Philip Marlow, African Game Parks are not just the Big 5

13th December - John Walters, the Secret Life of the Long-tailed Tit

10th January 2023 - Emma Scotney, An Introduction to Bats

14th February - James Fentom, Plovers of St Helena: A study

14th March - Stephen Powels, Tawny Owls

11th April - Ian Gaspar, Bird behaviour: an illustrated talk


Cuckoo Tor crosses the Sahara

Posted July 28th, 2013 at 4:36 pm

Tor seems to have made incredible progress in the last few days having crossed the Mediterranean into Tunisia, crossing the Sahara along the border of Algeria and Libya, through Niger and is now in Nigeria and he appears to be on the edge of the Erma Nature Reserve fairly close to the border with Chad.

Devon Cuckoo update

Posted July 24th, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Dart  has flown south for a summer holiday to Mallorca, adding a new island to those visited by tagged Cuckoos. He has travelled 500km (310 miles) from Italy to the south coast of Mallorca and is currently north of Cala Figuera in the Park Natural Mondrago.

Tor  poor quality transmissions from Tor on 23 July show that he is on Corsica, along with Sussex the Cuckoo.

It looks like Dart and Tor could cross from these islands to Africa but we will have to wait and see what they do next. 

Whortle  has now been in the area of the southern French Alps for four days and is now inland West of Barcelona.  

Ryder  seems to have retraced his steps a little, back to a much greener area of Morrocco the Tazekka National Park close to Fes where we imagine food would be more plentiful.

BARN OWL Sightings

Posted July 24th, 2013 at 5:26 pm

The Barn Owl Trust have been in touch and due to the very cold, wet start to the year there is great concern about this species and the ack of sightings..

Please drop me an email giving details of any Barn Owls you happen to see and I have agreed to pass the information on.

Just to remind all; Barn Owl is a Schedule one species and it is a criminal offence to intentionally disturb any breeding Schedule one species unless you hold the relevant license.

Many thanks, 


Ryder is in Morocco

Posted July 19th, 2013 at 11:35 pm

There had not been any signals from Ryder for a week and we were surprised to see that when he transmitted on 16 July he had become the most southerly tagged Cuckoo. 35km (20 miles) south-west of Valencia, 530km (330 miles) SSW of his last position in France. Further signals received on the evening of 18 July show that he had continued south and was leaving the Atlas Mountains of Morocco in a south-westerly direction. This makes him the first of the tagged Cuckoos to arrive in Africa and he has taken the westerly route via Spain. The transmission period continued until the early hours of 19 July showing that he was still heading south, close to the Algerian-Moroccan border.

August Meetings

Posted July 19th, 2013 at 11:23 pm


Members and non-members are welcome to attend any of these meetings

Thurs 1 Aug 10:00  Witheridge Moor (Mid Devon Group)

Meet Witheridge Moor Cross SS859150 for Tree/Meadow Pipits, Skylarks & Butterflies Leader – Ray Jones  tel: 01884 255386 (bring packed lunch)

Sat 10 Aug   09:30  Dawlish Warren (morning only) (East Devon Group) -Meet reserve end of car park SX980785 Enquiries David Jannaway  01395 567159

Thurs Aug 29 10:00  Wembury (Plymouth Group)

meet NT car park SX518484  For migrants (bring packed lunch)

Enquiries Lesley Goonesekera 01548 856011

INDOOR MEETING (Members and non-members are welcome to attend, a small fee is charged)

Mon 19 Aug 19:30 “The Falkland Islands” - John O'Connell Davidson

Held at: Court Farm Inn, Abbotskerswell    Enquiries Martin Lees tel 01803 852067


AFRICA here we come - Dartmoor's Cuckoos are on their way!

Posted July 14th, 2013 at 5:42 pm


A poor quality signal on 28 June indicated that the last Devon tagged Cuckoo still in the UK was also on his way. Dart was transmitting during his crossing of the English Channel and further signals on 30 June and 1 July showed him travelling down through Central France and Southern France almost following a parallel line to Whortle’s migration south. A good location on 3 July placed him just over 30 km (20 miles) north-west of Montpellier, having covered around 930km (580 miles) since leaving his Devon location.


The evening of 22 June showed Ryder as just west of Holne. The next signal, early in the morning of 25 June showed he had arrived on the coast of Brittany and Lower Normandy, about 30km (19 miles) east of Saint-Malo and 50km (30 miles) north of Rennes, after completing a distance of 270km (169 miles) including crossing the English Channel at one of its widest points.  

He currently appears to be feeding up a few miles NW of Toulouse.


At a similar time as Ryder transmitted from France, in the early hours of 25 June, Tor also revealed his new location!  Although on a similar longitude, he was over 340km (200 miles) further to the east in the region of Lorraine.  He is just 30km (19 miles) south-west of the border with Germany.  Since the last position received in England he has covered around 770km (475 miles).


On 26 June Whortle decided to move, having been in Devon in the late evening, just 48 hours later he had travelled 1030km ( 640 miles) to the south-east of France, transmitting his location from there on the evening of 28 June. He appeared to be in hilly landscape in the region of Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur. Further signals received on evening of 1st July show that he continued onwards a further 206km (128 miles) close to the Italian border, in the extreme south-east corner of France, to the east of Tende in the Mercantour National Park within the Maritime Alps.  Whortle ventured in to the Po Valley in Italy in the early morning of 4 July, travelling 85km (53 miles) in a north-easterly direction from his location in the corner of France. A series of transmissions showed him moving around the area near Piampaludo but two days later returned to his previous location in France. He may have been unable to find sufficient food and therefore returned to the last good feeding site.

Whortle has now been in the area of the southern French Alps for several days and is 5km (3.5 miles) north-west of Meailles. He is only 24km (14 miles) west of David (one of the 2012 Welsh Cuckoos). These two birds were only 9.5km (6 miles) apart at their brief stopover point in northern Italy. It will be interesting to see where they both go from here.

Whortle is off

Posted July 1st, 2013 at 8:07 am by Steve Waite

The third of the four Cuckoos tagged on Dartmoor is now in France.  Up until the weekend Whortle was still on Dartmoor, but a satellite transmission on 28 Jun showed his new location in the south of France. Whortle was north west of Marseille, about 80km inland, seemingly not far from the Gorges de l'Ardèche Nature Reserve. This reading shows he has over taken both Ryder and Tor who left for France on 21/22 June. 

Follow them here  Dart, Ryder, Tor and Whortle

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