Society News from January 2016

Devon Bird Atlas launch at Stover

Posted January 30th, 2016 at 12:04 am by George & Julia Harris

Stover Country Park was full to capacity for the Devon Birds Atlas launch Friday morning.  The current Chairman, George Harris, praised members and the Atlas team for the years of surveying, recording, and the hard work by the Atlas team, species writers, photographers, type setters and all those associated with in turning the records into the splendid result that was there for all to see.

Prince Charles with his strong attachments to Devon and Dartmoor wrote the foreword for this important reference book.

 ITV South West filmed the event and it was covered in our local ITV Westcountry evening bulletin here.

The Western Morning News were also there and one of their articles in Saturday's paper can be seen here

Devon Bird Atlas

Neil Parish MP for Honiton and Tiverton gave his support to the event and major sponsors of the Atlas from Devon County Council, Natural England and The Duchy were thanked by George Harris and were presented with a copy for their generous support of this important up-to-date Atlas of breeding and wintering birds in Devon.

MP  Neil Parish with Co-editors Mike Lock & Stella Beavan

This Atlas puts down a new marker for the conservation of birds in Devon and Nik Ward speaking for Natural England and Tom Stratton on behalf of Dartmoor were keen to use this Atlas to  guide their conservation work in the county.

Nik Ward representing NE at the Atlas Launch with Chair George Harris


"Birds of the Exe Estuary" Monday 1st Feb - Dave Smallshire at the Plymouth Branch

Posted January 29th, 2016 at 6:02 pm by George & Julia Harris

The Plymouth Branch of Devon Birds invite you to a presentation by an experienced naturalist, Dave Smallshire, long term member who observes the Exe Estuary regularly.
He commentates on  cruises  during the winter from Exmouth, travelling upstream  investigating birds in search of food on the rich mudflats. (Bookings for the cruises are from www.stuartline.co.uk, where sheltered seating is to be found on board.)

Dave Smallshire's talk, 'Birds of the Exe Estuary' is being held upstairs in Spurgeon Hall, Mutley Baptist Church, Mutley Plain PL4 6LB on Monday 1st February at 7.30pm.
Parking is in the public car park to the right of the church. Entrance to the church is via the side entrance opposite.   Refreshments provided.
For further details contact Liz Harris 01752 789594.

After our very successful launch of the Devon Bird Atlas today at Stover CP the Devon Bird Atlas will be available to purchase on Monday night price £40 (or £50 with a copy of "The Birds of Devon") cash or cheque, or buy through our website and collect on Monday evening.


Reed Cutting Day at South Milton Ley

Posted January 17th, 2016 at 5:29 pm by George & Julia Harris

The weather held for the annual Reed Cutting at South Milton Ley and Jon Avon was able to make good progress with the cutter.

Jon cutting at S Milton Jan 2016

The weather was kind and there were more bodies than last year, although rather fewer Devon Birds members than we would have liked although Vic Tucker and Nick Townsend were leading the burn!

SML Burn Jan 2016

There was a significant contribution from John Avon as usual and also a good number of South Milton residents and National Trust staff. We were able to clear a good area in the time available, although keeping the damp cut vegetation burning required some effort!

SML - good area cut

Our thanks to everyone who helped today which lead to a good result.  Well done.

Alan Pomroy


Visit to Broadsands with Mike Langman Sunday 24th to learn your divers and grebes

Posted January 12th, 2016 at 4:16 pm by George & Julia Harris

Our own Mike Langman will be giving the talk next Monday 7.30pm on "Identifying Birds". 
This will be an enjoyable informative talk and is suited to all abilities.  Come along to Court Farm Inn and improve your ID skills.

The meeting room is upstairs in this quaint inviting pub.  Please note all Devon members and visitors are welcome at any field/branch meeting. Further information by contacting Martin Lees, tel: 01803 852067

South Devon Members have also expressed an interest in having Field Trips and Mike Langman has kindly agreed to lead this. We shall meet at Broadsands Car Park in Torbay at 9.30am on Sunday 24 January to look for Divers and Grebes in the bay.  More details available from Bob Bailey 07968 374936


New Meeting Point - Taw Torridge forthcoming Field Trip to Hartland Point & Bude, on Sunday 17th January 2016

Posted January 11th, 2016 at 4:43 pm by George & Julia Harris

Please note change of meeting point for the event which is now at East Titchberry Farm NT car park: SS244271, approximately 1 mile east of original meeting point at Blagdon Farm.


Topsham Field Visit 5 Jan

Posted January 10th, 2016 at 1:05 pm by George & Julia Harris

An excellent field visit took place on 5th Jan.  The meeting was well supported, including two members from North Devon.  We saw over 50 different species and the sun shone!  The meeting begun at the quay, where good views of Kingfisher, a male Red-breasted Merganser and two male Goldeneye were seen.  

 It was difficult to identify the 100’s of waders on the mud towards the mouth of the river due to the low sun but Liz picked out 200+ Avocet and Doug some godwit.  Closer view of Avocet was possible from the platform where there were also 10+ Grey Plover and plenty of Dunlin and Oystercatchers.

As always, large numbers of duck were on the marsh outside the hide including the American Wigeon, which gave us good views, once it decided it was time for a swim.  Few waders were visible from the hide - presumably because of the unusually high water levels.  A brief visit to Darts Farm only produced a Coal Tit, as the light was quickly fading.   Lesley Goonesekera

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