Society News from March 2015

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


Report of Plymouth Branch Indoor Meeting 23 March

Posted March 28th, 2015 at 10:38 pm

 Will Ospreys nest on the River Tamar or Lynher ?

This was one of the questions discussed at the talk given by Bruce Taggart on 23rd March. He showed platforms that had been erected on the more secluded areas of the banks of both rivers to entice migratory birds to stay and breed.

The first part of his talk ‘Birds of the River Tamar’ illustrated his keen observations of the birdlife and supporting wildlife on the Tamar and Lynher over the last nine years. The beauty of the River Tamar as a SSSI and Marine Conservation areawas emphasised by the excellent pictures of birds such as Avocet, Spoonbill, Shelduck and waders.  These all enjoy the shelter of the estuary for rich feeding during our colder months and then disperse in the spring.

The second part of the talk described the study on ‘Great Black Backed Gulls on Looe Island’ over the last five years.  Sixty to eighty pairs of our biggest and much maligned gulls nest on this island.  The  chicks are ringed at three weeks with a notable blue ring on the right leg starting with L : and a number. Results from reports on the dispersal of the gulls show that they travel widely, across to the Continent, Channel Islands as well as to the north and east.  Identification of any blue rings can be reported to which will add to the bigger picture.                    Liz Harris

LUNDY VISIT 10 May - get your tickets now!

Posted March 23rd, 2015 at 5:25 pm

Lundy Trip 10th May - Tickets now available in the Shop and by Post

(sailing from Ilfracombe this year due to tide times)

Day Trip to LUNDY   Sunday 10h May 2015


Boarding at Ilfracombe from 8.00am    Sailing from Ilfracombe at 8.30am  Returning to Ilfracombe 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

When purchasing tickets please provide full name and gender of all passengers; this is a steamship requirement

Adults £29, Children (under 16) £16

Buy through the Shop now


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.

Parking info here

Help needed monitoring bird life at Slapton Ley Nature Reserve

Posted March 14th, 2015 at 8:50 pm

Slapton Field Study Centre and Devon Birds has worked together for many years to help inform management of the reserve through monitoring birds breeding, wintering and on passage, giving advice on how habitats should be treated and what considerations should be to look after the special wildlife of the area.

The Society has had a role to play in monitoring birds at Slapton since the early 1960’s but over time that presence has gradually dwindled to a few individuals. The surveyors living in the area have been doing an excellent job have gradually moved on and there’s an opportunity for new people to come along and make a valuable contribution to understanding what’s happening to the bird populations at this important site.

The reserve is designated as Site of Special Scientific Interest and in terms of birds it is notified for its:


  • breeding population of Cetti’s warbler
  • assemblage of breeding birds of  lowland open waters and their margins, and
  • non-breeding passage birds, particularly hirundines, wintering bittern


Cetti’s warbler are monitored by recording singing males to identify Apparently Occupied Territories.

Hirundines roosts are counted on a regular basis during the late summer/autumn  evenings (usually roosting at Torcross) at least once a week.

Open water and margin/fen/reedbed species to be monitored by counting nests or identifying numbers of pairs.

If you would like to become involved in monitoring the bird life at one of Devon’s premier sites please contact Nik Ward to discuss.

Nik Ward 36 Shaftesbury Road St Thomas Exeter Ex2 9BR

01392 424270     mob 079527 84440

Mon 23 March Birds of the Tamar Estuary

Posted March 14th, 2015 at 7:06 pm

Plymouth Branch Indoor Meeting Monday 23rd March Ever thought about how much wildlife exists on the River Tamar as high water recedes to expose large areas of mudflats? 

Bruce Taggart  an experienced wildlife naturalist and lecturer has some of the answers as he has studied the area for sometime and set up Tamar Wildlife.

The first part of the presentation is about 'Birds of the Tamar Estuary' and the second 'Great Black Back Gulls on Looe Island'.

Do join us at Spurgeon Hall, Mutley Baptist Church, Mutley Plain, Plymouth PL4 6LB at 7.30pm.

Refreshments provided.

Identifying Birds - Mike Langman Mon 16 March

Posted March 14th, 2015 at 7:04 pm

Mike Langman will be giving the talk "Identifying Birds" on Monday 16 March at the Court Farm Inn, Abbotskerswell TQ12 5PG starting at 7.30pm. This talk will be thoroughly enjoyed by birders of all levels so even if you have not been to a meeting before come along and hear our own Mike Langman next Monday evening.
Directions to the Court Farm Inn,+Newton+Abbot,+Devon+TQ12+5NY&panel=1&f=d&fb=1&dirflg=d&geocode=0,50.507005,-3.614856&cid=0,0,3009128965426657425&hq=court+farm+inn+abbotskerswell

The meeting room is upstairs in this quaint inviting pub.  Please note all Devon members and visitors are welcome at any field/branch meeting. 

Any enquiries to Martin Lees, tel: 01803 852067

Mid Devon Branch Field meeting at Steps Bridge, Tues 10 March 2015

Posted March 14th, 2015 at 6:59 pm

A cold yet sunny morning saw a group of 12 meet at Steps Bridge for a walk along the riverside path,  During the walk we were lucky enough to see Lesser Spotted Woodpecker in the tall trees around us calling.

Further along the river we had great views of a dipper standing on a rock in the middle of the river and ‘our photographer’, Tom Wallis, managed to get some good photographs. We stopped for lunch in an open glade where we watched a pair of Buzzard overhead.  A fine display of daffodils were in full bloom everywhere giving a very pleasant spring atmosphere.

Dipper R Teign 10.3.15 Tom WallisTreecreeper Steps Bridge 10.3.15 Tom Wallis

28 different species of birds were seen throughout the day which including Treecreeper, Marsh Ttit, Siskin, Mistle Thrush, Grey Wagtail and almost at the end of the walk a pair of Goosanders flew upstream.

It was an enjoyable day for everyone and a special thank you to Tim Channon for leading the walk and ensuring good sightings of all the birds seen.

Next Field Meeting – Tuesday 31 March 09:30am, Eggesford Forest.  Everyone is welcome to come along and join us.  Tel Annabelle Strickland 01392 439685


Field Trip Tues 10th March Steps Bridge, Dartmoor

Posted March 8th, 2015 at 10:35 pm

Meet 09.30am at the car park at Steps Bridge, Dartmoor SX802882 on Tuesday morning 10th March to see a selection of Dartmoor's birds hopefully including Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Dipper etc lead by Tim Channon  - all welcome.
Walks may continue into the afternoon so please bring packed lunch and a drink. 
Enquiries to:
Annabelle Strickland tel 01392 439685 or mob 07557 736456

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