Society News from June 2016

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 - Philip Marlow, African Game Parks are not just the Big 5

13th December - John Walters, the Secret Life of the Long-tailed Tit

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


The Plym Peregrine chicks have fledged

Posted June 20th, 2016 at 10:16 pm June 2016 – National Trust Plym Valley

David Houghton the NT Peregrine Project Manager has just given us an update on the birds:

There have been some new faces appearing at the Plym Peregrine Project in Plymbridge Woods, near Plymouth. In April the resident wild falcons were sat on four eggs on a ledge on a long-disused slate quarry, this marks the pair's sixth nesting year. In May the four chicks hatched, although unfortunately just a few weeks later two had disappeared from the nest with only a female and a male chick remaining.

However, over the last week the volunteers have amazingly spotted all four chicks emerging. This means that the parents continued to feed the chicks after they had fallen from the nest. Now six weeks old and fully-grown the chicks have started to take their first tentative flights. 

In the next few weeks they will be taught flight skills and hunting tactics by their parents, this will help them to survive on their own in the wild as they become more independent. There will be some fantastic sights as the birds play together in flight, do airborne food passes and perform breath-taking dives.  See peregrine blog

BioBlitz on Sat 25 June at Stantyway Farm, Otterton , East Devon

Posted June 15th, 2016 at 6:47 pm

BioBlitz - come along and help

to be held on Sat 25 June at Stantyway Farm, Otterton , East Devon  (map ref: SY089849, post code EX9 7JJ). 

Spotted Flycatcher tracking project - help needed

Posted June 13th, 2016 at 9:16 am

We need your help in locating spotted flycatcher nests in Devon to contribute to a new project.

Spotted flycatchers have seen declines of 83% since the 1960s. Reasons for this decline may include factors operating within UK breeding grounds, such as reduced availability of invertebrates, but the species may also be declining due to problems along their migratory journey to Africa and back. But we still know almost nothing about their wintering grounds, we don't even know where UK birds go or the routes they take. It is possible they go as far as South Africa like our swallows, but we don't know. We need this information if we are to begin to understand what part of the annual cycle causes problems for spotted flycatchers, and where we might need to focus future work to reverse declines. To do this we are conducting some pioneering work that will track migrations and determine wintering areas using tiny tracking devises. These geolocators weigh only 0.36g - incredible!

But to be able to do this we need to catch and tag spotted flycatchers in places where they return each year, as we need to recapture tagged birds the year after to retrieve the tag and its data. The best places to do this are peoples gardens. So if you have nesting spotted flycatchers in your garden or farm in Devon, and are happy to have your spotted flycatchers captured and tagged for this project, please could you email or give me a call on 07876737372.

Emma Inzani, RSPB Research Assistant

Find out how to help our House Martins - John Walters' talk

Posted June 12th, 2016 at 3:40 pm

Our House Martins are back and they are busy building nests.  But the birds are declining fast and they need our help.  Come along to one of six talks across Dartmoor to find out more about these wonderful birds and what we can do for them.
An illustrated talk by naturalist John Walters starting at 7.00pm is being held at the following venues:


Dunsford village hall -  21st June   

Scorriton village hall -  22nd June

Chagford Endecote House - 24th June

Ilsington village hall  - 29th June

Mary Tavy Coronation hall  -  30th June

Horrabridge village hall -1st July

Did you know that a House Martin nest is made from over 1000 pieces of mud? Or that people used to think that they hibernated at the bottom of ponds? John Walters will uncover the secret lives of these amazing birds
and tell you about the Dartmoor House Martin Project that is taking place in six parishes, including Dunsford.
Dartmoor’s House Martins need our help – in the last 30 years they have disappeared from half the places they used to be found in Devon. Come and find out about these wonderful birds and what we can do for them.
For more information, visit

This is a partnership project by Devon Birds, DNPA, DPA and Duchy of Cornwall. 

Please spread the word to anyone you know in the Dartmoor area - we want to get as many people as possible involved in the campaign to save these amazing birds. 

Older Posts →

← Newer Posts