Society News from September 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


Taw Torridge & Mid Devon Field Trip to Tamar Lakes

Posted September 21st, 2014 at 3:06 pm

There was a cool breeze blowing on Sun 14 Sept as members from Mid-Devon joined us to walk around the upper lake. An angling competition was taking place and we wondered how much disturbance this would have on our birdwatching, but we needn’t have worried.  We stopped to talk to a fisherman who said a “goshawk’ had been seen on several occasions that morning and we were immediately on full alert looking for what we thought was probably an Osprey.

We were not disappointed as within minutes we spotted it. We had several good sightings, even a fishing attempt which was unsuccessful.

On the muddy margin across from the hide, four Common Sandpipers were seen with another larger bird. After some debate we agreed it was a Ruff still showing some summer plumage.

Some of the group then spotted 2 Whinchats and a female Reed Bunting.

As the cloud lifted and the sun came out, we headed to the lower lake where we enjoyed a picnic lunch whilst watching a family of Great Crested Grebes with their stripy headed young. 

Afterwards we had a leisurely walk to the lower lake hide, on the way it was disappointing to see that the thick hedges had been replaced by post and wire fencing. The scrape in front of the hide was overgrown and no open water was visible and no birds were seen there.  Retracing our steps and crossing the weir we walked beside the old canal to Virworthy Wharf, where in a barn museum there are interesting information boards depicting the story of  the canal’s construction.  

Few birds were seen but we enjoyed a pleasant walk - hedgerows laden with berries and sloes, whilst Small Tortoiseshell and Speckled Wood butterflies flitted amongst the wildflowers.

Bird species seen 42.

Jackie Bosley

Review of Plymouth Field Trip to Bowling Green Marsh

Posted September 18th, 2014 at 9:54 pm

A successful field visit took place on 18th September.  A little low cloud gave rather hazy views of Knot and eight Avocet from the Goat Walk but there were lovely sightings of numerous black tailed godwit and a variety of gulls on the mud flats of the Exe. 

Viewing from the platform was challenging as long grass obscured sights through the telescopes of birds up the River Clyst. Eventually we had sightings of four Curlew Sandpiper and a distant Ruff mixed with Redshank and Dunlin.

After eating lunch supplemented with plenty of blackberries we made our way to the brand new RSPB hide.  Mandy soon spotted a juvenile Ruff close to the hide, where it continued to give us beautiful views for the rest of our visit.  As the tide rose, more Godwits flew in and four Greenshank, many Redshank and two Spotted Redshank joined them in a far corner of the water. 

Eventually over 40 different species of bird were seen and also Doug pointed out several Red Admiral butterflies and some Speckled Wood also showed well.

Lesley Goonesekera

Review of Plymouth's Inddor Meeting 15 Sept

Posted September 16th, 2014 at 7:56 pm

Hidden in the heart of Plymouth and bordering onto Central Park lies Ford Park Cemetery which is a package of tranquility and wildlife. As chairman of Ford Park Cemetery Trust and an experienced bird watcher, John Boon shared his knowledge about the ‘Birds of Ford Park Cemetery’ observed though the seasons.

In spring, swallows, warblers and other grateful migrants find a refueling point after the perilous crossing of the Channel. In the summer adequate shelter and food allows some common species to breed. Birds from the north or east pass through on migration in autumn and in winter some such as redwing, and occasionally at times rarities find shelter in the sanctuary of the cemetery. 

The Trust has a duty to manage part of the cemetery for the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.  Yet as a working cemetery the Trust has the difficult task of balancing formal and informal areas for the families of Plymouth and for wildlife. John’s involvement and passion were obvious throughout.  He described the redevelopment of the grounds to include a Victorian chapel and exhibition centre. The informative exhibitions and walks reflect the events and history of the city. The programme is found at

Liz Harris

Taw & Torridge Branch October meeting change of speaker

Posted September 14th, 2014 at 8:55 pm by Steve Waite

Thanks to Vickey Hassell for this update...

Phillip and Gill Marlow have had to postpone their talk for the Taw & Torridge meeting on Tuesday October 14th. The talk will now be given by Colin and Patricia Humphrey and will be called ' Ecuador and Galapagos'. 

If anyone wants to enquire about this talk Vickey will be away, but you can contact Jackie Bosley or Maria Fernandes on 01237 470089.

15 & 18 Sept - "Birds of Ford Park Cemetery" and visit to Bowling Green Marsh

Posted September 3rd, 2014 at 3:55 pm


Monday 15 Sept -  Talk  'Birds of Ford Park Cemetery' - John Boon (a trustee of Ford Park Cemetery) will share with us the varied wildlife found in the quiet of the cemetery, backing on to Central Park Plymouth.Rarities have been found particularly during the winter.

To be held upstairs in the Spurgeon Hall, Mutley Baptist Church, Mutley Plain  PL4 6LB at 7.30pm Refreshments available.  Contact Liz Harris Tel. No  01752 789594  or Colin and Glenys Smith 01752 335831

Thurs 9.00am 18 Sept Plymouth Group Field Meeting to Bowling Green Marsh Topsham SX968882. Meet in Topsham at Holman Way Car Park.   Experience the new RSPB hide recently opened.  Contact Liz Harris Tel No 01752 789594 for further details.



Bowling Green Marsh

Posted September 2nd, 2014 at 11:24 am by Steve Waite

We are delighted to inform our members and others that the brand new hide at RSPB Bowling Green Marsh is now open for business. Many thanks to the RSPB for keeping us informed of all the developments.

Bowling Green Marsh hide

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