Society News from May 2019

Trip to Venford Reservoir on 15th May

Posted May 23rd at 9:38 pm in Plymouth Branch by Inga Page

The route started by crossing Venford Dam and travelling down a steep path by the side of the waterworks buildings to the gate at the bottom. For a short distance we followed alongside the stream from the reservoir outfall and then onto the pipeline pathway. This then contoured for 1.5 miles around Bench Tor, when we finally crossed the moor back to the dam.

Below Venford Dam birdsong resounded.  This area of pines and mature deciduous trees was fenced off and provided a sheltered haven, particularly for several hirundines, making use of the buildings for nest sites.

 From the pathway looking down through the tree trunks of this delightful deciduous woodland into the Dart Valley, it felt like traversing a tree canopy trail. In the woodland predominantly of oak, rowan and holly, many summer migrants were found. We heard and saw a pair of Pied Flycatcher calling, as they returned to their nest site. A Redstart sang loudly from a treetop just into the wood. A Spotted Flycatcher fleetingly showed between the tree trunks below and a busy Wood Warbler gave vibrant trills, while shaking vigorously and sporting four colourful rings.

Both Tree Pipit and Yellowhammer were identified on the moorland area and several Cuckoo were heard calling from a distance.

The birds appeared to be finding food but the ground and moss on the tree trunks were both very dry for this time of year.

Thirteen members of Devon Birds were able to enjoy such a special site. 

Species list

Buzzard, Wood Pigeon, Cuckoo, Swift, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Skylark, Swallow, House Martin, Tree Pipit, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Wren, Robin, Redstart, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Wood Warbler, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Goldcrest, Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher, Long Tailed Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Nuthatch, Tree Creeper, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Raven, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Siskin, Linnet, Yellowhammer.     40 species.

Liz Harris


Dawn Chorus at Bedford Bridge - 4th May 2019

Posted May 21st at 5:48 pm in Plymouth Branch by Inga Page

It was still an hour before sunrise when 7 of the Plymouth group met at Bedford Bridge Car Park. But as we were getting ready there was already the beginning of bird song around us.

 As we walked slowly into the woods by the River Walkham this built to a crescendo as more and more birds joined in. Early contributors were Robin, Song Thrush, Pheasant, Blackbird and a distant Tawny Owl. 

On the way up to the Down as dawn broke we spotted a Roe Deer in a glade, which stood still for several minutes watching us watching it. Up on the Down Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Yellowhammer were performing.

Back on to Gem Bridge one highlight was looking down onto the Oak canopy and hearing and seeing two Song Thrushes with their backs to each other but within 10 metres on two separate Oaks. They seem to have agreed that the Bridge was the dividing line for their two territories.

By the river a Grey Wagtail was patrolling and a pair of Marsh Tits were very busy.

After 3 hours, breakfast at Drake’s Cafe was most welcome.

A full list of species seen or heard:

Pheasant, Buzzard, Herring Gull, Wood Pigeon, Tawny Owl, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Green Woodpecker, Barn Swallow, Meadow Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Stonechat, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, Wren, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Marsh Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Carrion Crow, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Yellowhammer (31)

Phil Stevens


Trip to Yarner Wood

Posted May 7th at 6:28 pm in Plymouth Branch by Inga Page

15 members braved the heavy early downpours to explore the reserve. Most of the migrant species were in except for Wood Warblers. Local residents were also showing well.

Species seen or heard:

Mallard, Wood Pigeon, Cuckoo, Green Woodpecker, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit, Grey Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, Redstart, Stonechat, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Blackbird, Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Wren, Pied Flycatcher (pictured above), Great Tit, Coal Tit, Blue Tit, Marsh Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Nuthatch, Carrion Crow, Raven, Chaffinch, Linnet, Goldfinch, Siskin, Yellowhammer

Phil Stevens

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