Society News from April 2014

Nesting Peregrines

Posted April 28th, 2014 at 2:21 pm by George & Julia Harris

Members may like to follow the nesting progress of Peregrines at St Michael's Church Exeter (follow links) and Nottingham University (direct link) where the eggs have just hatched both currently have four young.


Cuckoos are returning – tell us when and where you’ve heard one!

Posted April 27th, 2014 at 7:34 pm by George & Julia Harris

Our Dartmoor cuckoo project which began with the tagging of four Dartmoor birds last year is waiting and hoping that the two birds who survived the arduous migration to Africa will make it back to our shores this spring.

Last year Devon Birds in partnership with Dartmoor National Park Authority (DNPA),  took part in a ground-breaking national satellite tagging project run by the British Trust for Ornithology to learn about the migration of Dartmoor’s cuckoos and start to understand the reasons for their alarming decline.

In May 2013, satellite tags were put onto four Dartmoor cuckoos - named Dart, Ryder, Tor and Whortle. Sadly, two of Dartmoor’s cuckoos died on their way to their wintering grounds: contact was lost with Dart in Mallorca, and Ryder perished during his Sahara crossing. Tor and Whortle both made it successfully to the West African rainforests. British cuckoos are now beginning to return, with most of the tagged cuckoos, including Whortle, now in Portugal. Meanwhile, Tor’s tag appears to have developed a fault, but we are hoping to welcome them both back on our shores by the end of April. We shall give updates as we hear more news.

Devon Birds have created a live web map that allows members of the public to enter their cuckoo sightings on a simple form. That record, together with any others that have already been submitted, can be seen on a live interactive map by clicking on the cuckoo link on the front page of our website.

Despite the cuckoo being such an iconic bird, very little is known about their numbers, distribution and behaviour here on Dartmoor. We are hoping to gather more information about cuckoos locally by asking the public to contribute. We are using new technologies such as interactive maps, as well as the more traditional method of picking up the phone to get people to tell us where they have seen a cuckoo.

In 2014,  Devon Birds and DNPA are funding the tagging of a further three birds to help gather more data on the lives of our Dartmoor cuckoos. The progress of these three birds, in addition to the two cuckoos from 2013, will be tracked and can be followed online.

Naomi Barker, DNPA Ecologist and Devon birds' member said: ‘We are slowly building a picture from all the different pieces of the complex puzzle that is the life of the cuckoo. The satellite tagging is providing us with a lot of data on their international movements, so together with getting more data on their local whereabouts, we will hopefully have a much better understanding of what is causing the declines and be able to start doing something about it.’

So make sure you enter your sightings on our form so they show on the map instantly!


Lundy Trip - book your tickets now

Posted April 23rd, 2014 at 9:50 pm by George & Julia Harris

Day Trip to LUNDY   Sunday 18th May 2014

On M.V. OLDENBURG

Boarding at Bideford from 8.00am    Sailing from Bideford at 8.30am  Returning to Bideford c 8.30pm

Bar and buffet available on board

Everyone is welcome, birdwatchers or those who would just like a peaceful day on this beautiful Island. We also hope to include a sail around the Island to see the seabirds and seals

full name and gender of all passengers is a steamship requirement, please give details when purchasing

Adults £29, Children (under 16) £16

Hurry - buy through the Shop now

or

Tickets available from:  Mark Humfrey, Morada, St John’s Lane, Barnstaple  EX32 9DD              Tel. No. 01271344556

All applications must be clearly marked ‘Lundy Trip’ and must include a SAE please. Cheques should be made payable to Devon Birds.


Malta Massacre on Migration Watch Chris Packham reporting on illegal shootings in Malta

Posted April 23rd, 2014 at 9:18 pm by George & Julia Harris

This week Chris Packham is making a nightly video diary to raise awareness about the slaughter of migrant birds on Malta. Follow this link to see the last two nights and to watch the next three as they are released.

 http://www.chrispackham.co.uk/

Josh Marshall and Roger Little two Devon Birds council members have first hand experience of the illegal shooting and trapping of birds in Malta and Sicily. Both have attended camps with the aim of recording and deterring illegalities so if you want first hand information please contact either one of them.

Please also consider taking action against those responsible for the destruction of the birds we so cherish in Devon. Write to your Euro MP and consider making a donation to BirdLife Malta. There are links from Chris Packham’s web page above.

If you are holidaying in Malta let local residents know the strength of feeling against Spring Hunting and the illegal shooting of protected bird species.

 

 


The Hatherleigh Trip went well !

Posted April 19th, 2014 at 10:23 am by George & Julia Harris

On a bright sunny morning seven members of the Mid Devon group enjoyed a four hour walk around a number of Hatherleigh's varied habitats, including woodland, moorland, farmland and riverside, all of which provided a good selection of birds. In total we recorded over 30 different species on our 4 mile stroll, with stunning views of Bullfinch, Skylark, Swallow, Dipper, Nuthatch to name just a few of our sightings. All the birds seemed to be in full voice and we were rewarded with wonderful sound of the various warblers, finches, Wren and Song thrush all doing their best to attract our attention.

The riverside section was at its most beautiful with the sun shining on the fast flowing River Lew and it was here by the old railway line bridge crossing we stopped for a picnic lunch. A Dipper sped by but we failed to see the local Kingfisher, however we were not disappointed as we were thoroughly entertained when one of our party accidentally knocked their thermos into the middle of the river! The retrieval party took over twenty minutes before it was safely back on dry land, thanks mainly to brave Sue who voluntarily paddled in bare feet to secure the wayward flask!

Another great day’s birding, now we look forward to our next outing at Meldon on Tues 6 May and the Dawn Chorus at Belstone – 0530 Sun 27 April.


John Walters -"Birds of Dartmoor", Mon 28th April

Posted April 18th, 2014 at 2:10 pm by George & Julia Harris

The Plymouth Branch have arranged for John Walters, wildlife artist, to give one of his popular presentations on Monday 28th April starting at 7.30pm in the Main Hall (ground floor) Mutley Baptist Church,Mutley Plain, Plymouth, PL4 6LB

Refreshments are available and also parking is found in the public car park opposite (subject to charges).

Friends and family also welcome. Enquiries to: Liz Harris 01752 789594


All About Birds - Mike Langman Mon 21st April

Posted April 15th, 2014 at 7:43 pm by George & Julia Harris

A reminder that Mike Langman will be giving the talk next Monday, 21 April (Easter Monday) starting at 7.30pm at the Court Farm Inn, Abbotskerswell, TQ12 5PG.  The talk is ”It's all about Birds".  For more information go to South Devon News


Field Trip Thurs 17th April - Hatherleigh Ruby Trail

Posted April 15th, 2014 at 7:40 pm by George & Julia Harris

The next Mid Devon Field Trip, the Hatherleigh Ruby Trail, will take place this Thursday, 17th April starting at 10.00am.  Meet at the Market Car Park (not in town car park) SS538045.  The walk will take in Hatherleigh moor so walking boots or wellies recommended. Please bring a packed lunch.  Come and enjoy this beautiful, unknown part of Devon with all its wildlife.
Leader: Digby Greenhill.
For more details either contact Digby Greenhill on 01837 810067 or Annabelle Strickland tel 01392 439685  Mob 07557 736456.


Postponed AGM and H G Hurrell Lecture "Exciting Conservation Projects for Devon's Birds"

Posted April 7th, 2014 at 12:55 pm by George & Julia Harris

Wed 30th April 7.30pm

Please come along and support Dr Malcolm Burgess who has kindly agreed to give his talk which was postponed along with the AGM.

This will now take place on Wednesday 30 April 7.30pm at the Kenn Centre, Exeter Road, Kennford, Exeter EX6 7UE directions: http://www.kenncentre.co.uk/page_2807786.html  - we've treble checked the booking this time!

Malcolm's talk “Exciting Conservation Projects for Devon’s Birds” will cover Pied Flycatchers, Wood Warblers, Swifts and Cuckoos and is the The H G Hurrell Memorial Lecture for 2014.

His talk will be preceded by the Annual General Meeting (details in the February Harrier). 

AGENDA

1 Apologies
2 Minutes of the 2013 AGM
3 Matters arising from the Minutes
4 Chairman’s Report
5 Secretary’s Report
6 Treasurer’s Report
7 Election of Officers
8 Election of Council Members

Followed by

The H G Hurrell Memorial Lecture

given by:

Dr Malcolm Burgess on:

Exciting Conservation Projects for Devon’s Birds

Malcolm’s talk will cover Pied Flycatchers, Wood Warblers, Swifts, Cuckoos etc

There will be a break for tea/coffee

Anyone wanting a paper copy of the Report and Accounts should contact the Secretary, Mike Daniels, Tel: 01822890899 or by Email nellmegfly@gmail.com


LUNDY TRIP - four weeks to go! Get your tickets now

Posted April 7th, 2014 at 12:51 pm by George & Julia Harris

Day Trip to LUNDY   Sunday 18th May 2014

On M.V. OLDENBURG

Boarding at Bideford from 8.00am    Sailing from Bideford at 8.30am  Returning to Bideford c 8.30pm

Bar and buffet available on board

Everyone is welcome, birdwatchers or those who would just like a peaceful day on this beautiful Island. We also hope to include a sail around the Island to see the seabirds and seals

full name and gender of all passengers is a steamship requirement, please give details when purchasing

Adults £29, Children (under 16) £16

Hurry - buy through the Shop now

or

Tickets available from:  Mark Humfrey, Morada, St John’s Lane, Barnstaple  EX32 9DD              Tel. No. 01271344556

All applications must be clearly marked ‘Lundy Trip’ and must include a SAE please. Cheques should be made payable to Devon Birds.


An interesting trip to Eggesford Forest on Tues 1 April

Posted April 2nd, 2014 at 9:33 pm by George & Julia Harris

The Mid-Devon Branch met at Eggesford Forest on Tuesday 1st April and the early morning mist was soon burnt off by warm sunshine. Setting off from the car park the group walked up through Hilltown Wood and out into the open areas of countryside.

Yellowhammer Tom Wallis Eggesford Forest 1.4.2014

We were treated to wonderful views of a pair of yellowhammers on the hedgerow, photo courtesy of Tom Wallis.  Coming back through the valley towards the woods we saw a jackdaw fly from the hole in a big old oak tree. After lunch in the picnic area by the car park we walked the eastern circular track through the forest.  In all we spotted/heard approximately 32 different species of birds including goldcrest, treecreeper, songthrush, chiffchaff, blackcap, stock dove, siskin, sparrowhawk and raven etc.

The next Mid-Devon meeting will be the Hatherleigh Ruby Trail on 17 April - Meet at Market Car Park (not in town car park) SS538045.  All welcome - look forward to seeing you there.          Annabelle Strickland

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