Society News from January 2014

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 - John Walters, the Secret Life of the Long-tailed Tit

13th December - Philip Marlow, African Game Parks are not just the Big 5

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


Photo Plea For the Devon Bird Atlas

Posted January 24th, 2014 at 11:24 am by Steve Waite

With the Devon Atlas fieldwork complete, and all data collected, attention has been turned to the production of the Devon Bird Atlas. Everyone knows any good book needs good artwork and photographs, can you help?

We are looking for excellent quality photographs of every species of bird recorded in Devon, be it a common, scarce or rare species. And this is how to submit them:

Wood Sandpiper

Photographs (up to 5MB) for selection will be collected in a ‘Devon Atlas’ dropbox folder (  

For an invite to submit material contact Mike Langman at

Images can also be sent be to Mike on a CD, DVD or Memory Stick (which will be returned) to Mike at 38 Brantwood Drive, Paignton TQ4 5HZ.

Submission of any illustration or photo assumes that Devon Birds may use the image free of charge in any of their own publications, on the website or for Society publicity purposes, the copyright of course remains with the photographer.

It is essential that every photo submitted is file named to identify species, age (if applicable) location (unless a vunerable species in which please just mark as 'undiclosed site' or UdS), date and photographers initials some file names are restricted to 28 characters in which case they can be abbreviated  i.e. a Mediterranean Gull 2nd summer photo taken at Instow on 20 July 2012 by Jo Bloggs (please use your known Devon Birds initials if you have or know them) could be: MedGull2sInstw200712JBs.

We really look forward to seeing what you can offer.

Barn Owl Trust’s Rodenticide Campaign

Posted January 23rd, 2014 at 3:10 pm

Many of our members may wish to support this campaign to help protect the Barn Owl and other birds and animals that are affected by thse poisons.  Did you know that most Barn Owls in the UK (84%) contain highly toxic rat poison?

Although not all die as a direct result, there is little doubt that sub-lethal doses have contributed to the catastrophic decline in Barn Owl numbers. Rodenticides can be used without any training and product labelling is inadequate and misleading.

Sign the petition here

South Milton Ley - help as clean up continues on Monday 20th Jan

Posted January 15th, 2014 at 8:42 pm

The date and time for the next/final stage of the clean-up of the Reserve is Monday 20th at 11.00am. This is earliest the the NT people can make it.  We have the tractor, grab and driver booked for three hours so will have to get it all finished by 2pm.
If you are willing to help please either email Nick here or tel 01548 560243..  Please would volunteers arrive at 10.30am so that we are all ready for action when the machines arrive.  Many thanks.

Here you can see the story of the clean up SML Clean up story with pictures


Taw/Torridge Field Trip to Hartland / Bude re-scheduled

Posted January 15th, 2014 at 4:20 pm

Please note that this field trip, cancelled due to bad weather earlier in the month, has been re-scheduled for Wednesday 22nd January 2014.

Mid-Devon Field Meeting at Cookworthy Forest on Tuesday 14 Jan

Posted January 15th, 2014 at 4:18 pm

Our group of intrepid birders braved an icy start, coupled with a distinct lack of sunshine, we were glad to have flasks of coffee and tea to sustain us.  Ably led by Ian, his walk took us from Stadson Bridge, through Weekpark plantation and up to the long abandoned and ruined Week Park Farm. We returned via a walk through the forest area alongside the stream where we expected to see woodcock and crossbills which have been seen in good numbers but sadly they failed to materialise on this occasion.  However,  we had an interesting mix of birds, notably snipe, kingfisher, mistle thrush, redwing, raven and goldcrest amongst the other usual suspects!  For a short while we were excited about a bird of prey sitting on a distant tree stump, until if flew off and was then obviously a buzzard!
The area is an eclectic mix of conifer plantations, broadleaf trees, gorse, brambles, scrub, ponds, ditches and open grassland providing a good habitat for a variety of wildlife and birds.  All who ventured out enjoyed this new area for the Mid-Devon group, a good start for 2014, and are looking forward to our next field trip to Steps Bridge in March and hopefully more clement weather conditions.
Annabelle Strickland

Plymouth Group visit to West Charleton Marsh Sat 11th Jan

Posted January 11th, 2014 at 5:57 pm

The weather was kind and members had a very enjoyable visit to West Charlton Marsh.  The visit begun at the sewage works where good views of 2 Chiffchaff, 4 Goldcrest and a Blackcap set the tone for the day.  A Water Rail was heard as we made our way through the marsh, wet and slippery (as can be confirmed by a certain member) but well worth the effort as the bay had large numbers of birds present. These included Shelduck. Wigeon, 6 Pintail, Curlew and Teal.  Good views of 3 Great Crested Grebe and 3 Bullfinch were also seen from the hide.  A total of 36 different species and hundreds of birds were seen.
Most of the group then went to the new hide at Stokely where lovely views of 5 Goldeneye and 4 Black-necked Grebe, 5 Little Gebe and the usual Gadwall and Tufted Duck were also seen.  Our birding skills were fully tested as we managed to find the pair of Scaup present and these were eventually seen by all.
In total 49 different species were noted and it was good to see a couple of new faces at the meeting.
Lesley Goonesekera

South Milton Ley - help this Saturday with Storm damage

Posted January 9th, 2014 at 11:14 pm

Today - Thursday, a small group of Devon Bird volunteers arrived to start the initial clean up of lots of plastic rubbish that has been washed up all around the area.

SML plastic rubbish clearance 9.1.2014

by 11.00am they had already collected numerous bin bags of plastic waste that had been deposited nearby.  There is still much debris and wood to be cleared so if members are willing to come along on Saturday to help with bigger, heavier items please contact Nick - details in the earlier post.

Plymouth Field Meeting this Saturday 11th Jan

Posted January 9th, 2014 at 11:03 pm

Sat 11th 10.00am
West Charleton Marsh SX752425 
Park in village and meet at sewage works, Marsh Lane.
Wellies/boots/walking pole advised

STORM DAMAGE at South Milton Ley - Can You Help this Saturday Please?

Posted January 8th, 2014 at 10:00 pm in Volunteering Opportunties

The storms over the last week have severely damaged the dunes at South Milton Sands, destroying and uprooting the fences and boardwalks by the café as well as most of the piles intended to protect the dunes.

Clearly this is bad news but to make things worse, much of the resultant debris has been washed into the South Milton Reserve. There are around 30+ piles (typically 2.5m long and 0.3m diameter) as well as numerous bits of fence and boardwalk from near the cafe, mostly close to the SW coast path bridge.

There are also other piles of debris and a large tangle of fence and boardwalk on the beach which could potentially be washed into the Reserve.

Nick Townsend is hoping to get a working party together for this Saturday, whilst there is an improvement in the weather, and is looking for some reasonably fit agile people to help extract planks of wood, pieces of fencing, logs and other debris in the marsh and around the area generally.  Obviously wellies, gloves etc, wire cutters, rakes, may be useful to reach objects in some areas.

If you are able and willing to help please would you get in touch with Nick Townsend who will be arranging the operation and can give you details and more information.

He can be emailed here or tel 01548 560243.

SML Storm debris 5.1.2014

DEVON BIRD REPORT 2012 is on its way!

Posted January 4th, 2014 at 12:06 pm

I'm pleased to report that Short Run Press posted out the Report yesterday, Friday, and it should be landing on doormats in the next few days.


Taw/ Torridge Field Trip Cancelled

Posted January 3rd, 2014 at 11:25 pm

Please note due to the adverse weather forecast for Sunday 5th January, the Taw/Torridge field trip to Hartland Point and Bude has regrettably been cancelled.

Older Posts →

← Newer Posts