Society News from May 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


Evening meeting to Cann Wood on 4 June and indoor meeting on 8th June

Posted May 27th, 2015 at 10:27 pm

Are you interested in seeing nightjars and hearing their mysterious churring?
The Plymouth Branch plan to meet on Thursday 4th June at 9pm at Cann Woods?
Chris, one of the committee members has been observing them so we will endevour to locate them.

Directions from Marsh Mills Roundabout.
Going towards Plympton take the Plymouth Road B3416.
At the third road left, turn left up Larkham Lane B3214  and then follow onto Crossway.
Turn left up Boringdon Hill.
Pass Boringdon Hall on the left, Elfordleigh Hotel Golf and Country Club on the right and Woodside Animal Centre on the left 
Arrive at a small car park on the left at SX547596 
Bring a torch  

Plymouth Branch members are also meeting on Monday 8th June at 7.30pm at Mutley Baptist Church in Spurgeon Hall upstairs.
Pete Aley is talking about the birdlife that he has observed on the the River Plym and around Saltram
titled 'The Plym Estuary and Saltram: a birder's story'.
Do join us to find out about the wildlife so close to us at one of our well known areas of Plymouth.
For further information contact Liz Harris at 01752 789594 or


Belstone visit by Mid Devon Group on 23 May

Posted May 25th, 2015 at 7:51 pm

12 of us met at Belstone Village on a very sunny and warm morning on Saturday 23 May.  Our Leader for the day, Chris Walpole, who lives locally and has considerable local knowledge, led us down Belstone Cleave toward SkaighAmongst many otherbirds we saw on our way down were swift, linnet, willow warbler, black cap. One of our group who had never been there before remarked that it was one of the most beautiful places he had been for birdwatching and another commented on the most amazing sights he had seenWe crossed the River Taw over the footbridge and climbed up toward Skaigh Warren where we saw tree pipit, 2 male redstarts and a mistlethrushrunning around the ground.  Other birds seen on our decent toward the river were siskin, grey wagtail, goldcrest, dipper and pied flycatcher. Some of us at the rear of the group were lucky to spot the pied flycatcher. Chris was surprised as he had never seen them in this area before and will return to the spot to see if there are more!!

Everyone had wonderful day and a very special thanks to Chris who certainly knows the sight and sound of birds and was most helpful to the Group.

Total species – 43

Next Field Meeting – Sunday 7 June 0930 at Tavy Cleave – Meet Lanehead SX537823 – Leader Annabelle Strickland

Visit to Throwleigh by Mid Devon group on 19 May

Posted May 25th, 2015 at 7:47 pm

A small band of brave souls met for this walk but the weather was against us with strong wind and blustery showers, sometimes hail. We were all glad of hats and gloves.

We quickly picked up our first handful of birds, a few hardy swallows, a group of linnetspied wagtail and sparrows. We did a short loop (having to shelter for several showers) down to the brook, up and along above the fields, which produced our first yellowhammer and we enjoyed watching several from then on over Throwleigh Common to Shilstone Tor. Sightings included the young robin as pictured, redpollmistle thrush, a family of ravensstonechatsky lark and pipit. Once at Shilstone Tor, we left the moorland edge down lanes, fields and tracks past Shilstone, and Forder, where we watched a handsome male siskin, along DeveLane where blackcap sang but stayed well hidden, and back via Throwleigh to the cars. The weather was not kind, but despite that we had 41 species seen and heard.

Many thanks to Mary Wallis for leading the group


Keep Reporting Cuckoos please

Posted May 19th, 2015 at 6:43 pm

Devon Birds Cuckoo sightings page news

Cuckoo sightings and hearings are still increasing steadily on our Cuckoo sightings page ( Thank you to all who have submitted sightings so far, please keep them coming!

As expected, most sightings are from across Dartmoor, but we also received a good number of reports from wider Devon, including a sightings from around Exmoor, Barnstaple and the South Devon coast. Popular areas on Dartmoor include Haytor, Postbridge and Burrator. We are still keen to find out about potential Cuckoo strongholds in less-visited Dartmoor locations, as well as the wider Devon area, so why not grab your binoculars and visit a new patch this bank holiday weekend?!

We have received over 400 Cuckoo sightings and hearings to date. With over 380 sightings on Dartmoor, and another 60 sightings in the wider Devon area, we are collecting great information on the whereabouts of our Devon Cuckoos. Please keep submitting your sightings; can we beat the 728 records of the 2014 season? Thank you all for your involvement in this project!

The Cuckoos are back! We have been receiving news of Cuckoos being heard and seen for the past days, and we have so far received nine sightings on our Live Sightings map. We would like to remind everyone who sees or hears a cuckoo to submit their sighting to our website at

Field Trip to Throwleigh 19 May

Posted May 14th, 2015 at 4:53 pm

Come and join the Mid-Devon Branch field meeting at Throwleigh Common on Tuesday, 19 May, meeting at 0930, SX659914.  We will be looking for spotted flycatcher, yellowhammer, redstart, marsh tits and cuckoo amongst may other species.

Mary Wallis will be leading the Field Trip but further information and details are available by contacting Annabelle Strickland on tel 01392 439685 or Mob: 07557 736456.
The walk is possibly morning only, however, we may be guided by Mary as to where else to look locally after lunch for those who wish to stay longer.

We look forward to seeing you there, everyone is welcome so bring your friends along to join us.

Mid & East Devon Field Trip – Meldon, 12 May

Posted May 13th, 2015 at 10:11 pm

A mix of 15 Mid and East Devon groups met at Meldon Quarry car park on a chilly but dry morning.  Our Leader for the day, Roger Jewell who lives locally and knows the area really well, led us to the small quarry area where a Rock Dove was observed. Then down to the Redaven Brook and across the bridge for a short look around where several of the usual suspects were seen.   Returning over the bridge we saw Spotted Flycatcher and eventually back to the cars. Picnic lunch saw us enjoying the surroundings and watching Raven, Bullfinch etc.

After lunch we walked the lane and had great views of Pied Flycatcher nesting and saw a Treecreeper. On our way back to the car we diverted up through the ‘bluebell wood’ which was an absolute delight and a carpet of blue with the most wonderful perfume.

5 of us returned to the valley area by the brook and were treated to a good view of a pair of Spotted Flycatchers.  As we wandered up river we saw a pair of Grey Wagtails nesting on the river bank between two rocks.  Further upstream we heard a Cuckoo and eventually spotted it in a tree across the valley.

Everyone had a most enjoyable day and special thanks to Roger.

Total species – 37

Next Field Meeting – 19 May 0930 – Throwleigh Common / Shilstone Tor – meet at SX659914.   Leader – Mary Wallis

Field Trip to Meldon on Tues 12 May

Posted May 10th, 2015 at 10:15 pm

The Mid-Devon Branch (and any other Devon members, friends and visitors) are invited to Meldon on Tuesday 12 May at 0930 (meet Viaduct/Quarry Car Park SX561918) where we hope to see Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Marsh Tit and Pied Flycatcher and many other species.  Hopefully the bluebells will be as spectacular last year.

Roger Jewell will be leading the walk and we will also be joined by some East Devon members,  Any further information is available by contacting Annabelle Strickland on tel 01392 439685 or Mob: 07557 736456.

We look forward to seeing you and everyone is welcome to join us.  Please support the Mid Devon Group.

Look for Cuckoo and other moorland birds from Haytor - 16 May

Posted May 6th, 2015 at 4:24 pm

A moorland birding walk organised and run by Dartmoor National Park

Join Devon Birds' member and DNP Ecologist Naomi Barker get a feel for spring, listening out for cuckoos and other birds nesting on the moor, such as skylarks or yellowhammers. Learn more about the DNP project undertaken in partnership with Devon Birds as part of a national project managed by the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) tracking cuckoos on their amazing 11,000 mile journey to their wintering grounds in Africa, and the tricks they use to make other bird species raise the cuckoo chick. Please bring binoculars and do not wear brightly coloured clothing, sorry no dogs. Cost Adults £5.00, children 14 & under free. Booking is essential as numbers are limited, please book on 01626 831040 (Mon – Fri).
Location  Haytor lower car park, outside the Visitor Centre  Booking: Yes  Charge: Cost Adults £5.00, children 14 & under free
Contact details for further information:
  Booking is essential as numbers are limited, please book on 01626 831040 (Mon – Fri) or email:

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