Society News from April 2018

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


Plymouth Branch Visit to Yarner Wood on 23rd April

Posted April 30th, 2018 at 3:07 pm in Plymouth Branch by Inga Page

It was a chilly start to the day for the 28 members and non-members who arrived for the meeting. This was a slight disappointment as the previous day’s reconnoitre was completed in T shirts. As a result the birds were less willing to show themselves.

 We were able to split into 3 groups for the day and had a great start with singing and showing Blackcap and Garden Warbler in neighbouring shrubs. This was a fantastic opportunity to be able to compare the songs in length, pitch and variation. Someone then reminded us that birds can be accurate mimics and that one or other of Blackcap and Garden Warbler is known to imitate the other, very tricky.

 Walking across the heath failed to produce the usual Tree Pipit but Linnet and Willow Warbler were more obliging.

 Into the woods we soon had excellent views of male and female Pied Flycatchers. They were frequent throughout the day flitting in tops of trees, calling and visiting the numerous nest boxes. One group spent a while watching a female trying to manoeuvre a small Oak twig through the hole into her nest box. We were surprised how long it took before she realized that despite repeated failures getting the twig in with the length across the hole was just not going to work.

 Thanks to Dave Batten for the photo he took of this male.


The cold start to spring had delayed many species. For example the first Wood Warbler had just arrived and the first was heard today, but unfortunately not by any in our group. Even Redstarts proved elusive.

 We also managed to visit the new reservoir hide which gave easy close views of most the Tit family as well as Swallows drinking.

Here is the full list of 39 species.

Mallard, Mandarin Duck, Pheasant, Buzzard, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Tawny Owl [H], Green Woodpecker [H], Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Barn Swallow, Dunnock, Robin, Redstart, Stonechat, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Wren, Pied Flycatcher, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Marsh Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Magpie, Jay, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Raven, Chaffinch, Linnet, Goldfinch, Bullfinch

Phil Stevens


Mid Devon Field visit to Fernworthy

Posted April 24th, 2018 at 9:41 am in Mid Devon Branch by Mike Daniels

On Tuesday 17th April, 8 members joined the Mid Devon field meet at Fernworthy Reservoir. Visibility was marred by heavy rain and although Swallows continued to fly over the water a decision was made to leave and regroup for a walk through the woods at Yarner in the hope of better conditions. The new hide overlooking the small reservoir at Yarner afforded views of a male Mandarin. Another male Mandarin was perched on a branch in what little remains of the former pond. Six male Pied Flycatchers were singing; one female was observed. Pairs of Bullfinch, Coal and Marsh Tits were seen from the hide and a single Redpoll was feeding in the alder trees. The rain didn't stop!

Nick Armstrong

Two-day visit to Somerset Levels NOW FULL

Posted April 10th, 2018 at 4:36 pm in Mid Devon Branch by Inga Page

We've been inundated with bookings for our outing to the Somerset Levels on April 30 and May 1, and I'm afraid we've now reached the limit of people we can take.  Sorry to all those who have missed out.

Up the Creek and Beyond!

Posted April 3rd, 2018 at 5:42 pm in Plymouth Branch by Inga Page

Plymouth Branch indoor meeting 29th January 2018.

With Rupert Kirkwood aka "The Lone Kayaker"


Rupert at the Eddystone Lighthouse

Rupert’s enthusiasm and determination to navigate the waterways and coasts of the Southwest have afforded him great opportunities to see wildlife up-close and personal.

This was an entertaining and informative presentation given with passion. It revealed the many and varied flora and fauna of our region (and beyond) from the unique perspective of a kayaker.

Stunning and inspirational photographs of birds, sea creatures and landscapes viewed from the sea can be found on Rupert’s blog at and, with accompanying commentary, making a visit to this site is highly recommended. We saw many examples of the birdlife that can be seen in Plymouth waters and this presentation certainly whetted our appetite for our forthcoming boat trips on Saturday 14th July. We hope that this will provide us with opportunities to see species such as these photographed by Rupert and shown below.                                                                       John Lloyd


 Storm Petrel                                                                                     


Juv. Puffin


Plymouth Branch Visit to West Charleton Marsh, near Kingsbridge

Posted April 3rd, 2018 at 5:32 pm in Plymouth Branch by Inga Page

10th January 2018

A great birding day was had by the 15 members who attended this meeting. Nobody
fell in the very muddy conditions for a start! The sewage works area is always worth
an inspection and at least 6 chiffchaff were present, a gold crest and a redwing and
also 20+ fieldfare flew over and landed in a nearby tree. Jacki’s sharp eyes found a
fire crest – only seen by a few. A grey wagtail and 2 blackcap were found when we
returned to our cars.
On route to the hide 2 male cirl buntings were spotted and seen by half the group,
which had divided up so that viewing from the hide would be more comfortable.
A stonechat was also easily seen.
The feeders at the hide made easy viewing of various tits, 2 reed bunting and
eventually a water rail. The bay held plenty of widgeon and 2 pintail and 5 shoveler
with 4 red breasted merganser.
Some of the group stopped off at Bowcombe creek on the way home and were
rewarded by good views of a kingfisher, red breasted merganser and greenshank.
Over 50 different species of bird were seen and our thanks go to the volunteers who
maintain the hide and keep the feeders full at the marsh.

Lesley Goonesekera

Plymouth Branch visit to Topsham and Bowling Green Marsh

Posted April 3rd, 2018 at 5:27 pm in Plymouth Branch by Inga Page

9th March 2018

After a number of days of showers and rain the day was mostly cloudy with a gentle breeze.  There were 13 members at the field meeting which started at the Holman Way car park.  From the car park the first stop was the Quay at Topsham for views from the over the river.   This was followed by a slow walk from Quay car park, along the Strand to the Goatwalk to the hide at Bowling Green for the high tide roost .  The water levels on the marsh in front of the hide were higher than expected as the sluice had become defective.  This did not stop the group enjoying good views of a large flock of Avocet, over 15 snipe and distance views of a kingfisher.   By early afternoon the rain had set in for the day so after lunch in the hide the group walked towards Goosemoor, where the rain shortened the meeting as we all agreed that we should call it a day.

Although the weather was not enjoyable the birding we all agreed was very good with a total of 57 species observed.                               

 John O’Connell - Davidson

  1. Mute Swan
  2. Brent Goose
  3. Canada Goose
  4. Shelduck
  5. Wigeon
  6. Mallard
  7. Pintail
  8. Shoveler
  9. Teal
  10. Pochard
  11. Tufted Duck
  12. Red-breasted Merganser
  13. Little Grebe
  14. Cormorant
  15. Little Egret
  16. Grey Heron
  17. Peregrine
  18. Moorhen
  19. Coot
  20. Avocet
  21. Grey Plover
  22. Lapwing
  23. Dunlin
  24. Green Sandpiper
  25. Redshank
  26. Greenshank
  27. Black-tailed Godwit
  28. Bar-tailed Godwit
  29. Curlew
  30. Snipe
  31. Common Gull
  32. Herring Gull
  33. Great Black-backed Gull
  34. Lesser Black-backed Gull
  35. Black-headed Gull
  36. Feral Pigeon
  37. Wood Pigeon
  38. Collared Dove
  39. Kingfisher
  40. Pied Wagtail
  41. Dunnock
  42. Robin
  43. Redwing
  44. Fieldfare
  45. Blackbird
  46. Wren (heard)
  47. Great Tit
  48. Blue Tit
  49. Long-tailed Tit
  50. Magpie
  51. Jackdaw
  52. Carrion Crow
  53. Starling
  54. House Sparrow
  55. Chaffinch
  56. Goldfinch
  57. Greenfinch

Older Posts →

← Newer Posts