Society News from January 2020

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


Trip to Lyhner Estuary, 7 December 2019

Posted January 14th, 2020 at 8:42 pm in Plymouth Branch by Inga Page

A group of Devon Birds members gathered by Wacker Quay on the Lyhner in South East Cornwall.  The weather and light produced excellent viewing conditions. From a viewpoint in the layby above Wacker, we had views right across the Lyhner Estuary.  Shelduck were plentiful and at least 100 Avocets were seen, as were Grey Plovers, Great Crested Grebes, Wigeon, Grey Heron and a few Little Egrets, and a few distant godwits.  On going down to Wacker Quay and looking up the creek, Redshank were common and a Spotted Redshank could be identified at the far end.  Then a Great Northern Diver swam in and dived around immediately in front of the group.  Some members spent time carefully checking through the flock of several hundred teal, in a fruitless search for the male Green-Winged Teal that had been reported from this site.  A short walk through the woods took the group to a more extensive saltmarsh with open views down the estuary.  Curlew, Cormorants and a few Dunlin were seen and one person glimpsed a couple of flying Greenshank.  On return to Wacker, three Roe deer were grazing just over the creek.

Great Northern Diver with crab, Dave Easter

Teal, Dave Batten

On moving on to Torpoint, and looking out over St John’s Lake the tide was now well up, but the pier by the boatyard held a good selection of gulls including Common Gull and Mediterranean Gull.  Most of the waterfowl were on the far side, but Shelduck, Wigeon and a small group of Pale-bellied Brent Geese were to be observed on or around the island.  Finally, as the group prepared to leave an unafraid Rock Pipit was poking around on the beach below us.

Redwing, Dave Batten

A good day in most favourable weather produced a favourable total of 47 species of birds.

The list was Wacker Quay - Grey Heron, Little Egret, Goldcrest, Blackbird, Redwing, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Black-headed Gull, Shelduck, Wigeon , Teal, Mallard, Grey Plover, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Avocet, Coot, Crow, Robin, Wood Pigeon, Dunlin, Cormorant , Canada Goose, Great Northern Diver, Spotted Redshank, Redshank, Greenshank, Buzzard, Pheasant (including one white), Dunnock, Blue Tit, Wren, Greater Spotted Woodpecker and Long-tailed Tit.  Additional species found at St John’s Lake – Magpie, Mediterranean Gull, Common Gull, House Sparrow, Feral Pigeon, Mute Swan, Little Grebe, Turnstone, Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Jackdaw, Starling and Rock Pipit.

Douglas Herdson

South Milton Reed Cuts

Posted January 10th, 2020 at 6:10 pm in Events by Inga Page

Each year, Devon Birds' volunteers cut part of the reed bed in South Milton Ley to regenerate growth. This year we are planning two cuts either side of the boardwalk, about halfway between the sewage works and the coast path. The first cut will be on Sunday 19 January starting at 9.30am and the second on Sunday, 2 February, also starting at 9.30am.

Our mechanical reed cutter greatly reduces the work of the volunteers but there is still plenty to be done by hand, gathering and burning the reeds. This year we hope to have a second mechanical cutter running so there will be more work than in previous years. There is a friendly atmosphere and an enjoyable few hours of physical work! We usually finish around lunchtime.

Bring wellies and gloves, wear warm old clothes and if you have long-handled bagging hooks and/or rakes please bring them along as well. Please bring your own refreshments. We meet by the sewage works but if you are a bit late, the smoke will give away where we are working. Please park in the field at the beginning of the cul-de-sac leading down to the sewage works.

If you are interested in helping with the reed cut, please contact Vic Tucker (01752 216887) or Nick Townsend (01548 560243 or email ).

I will check conditions a few days before each cut to confirm it is going ahead and send around an email and put notices on Devon Birds and Thurlestone Bay Birds websites.

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