Friday, 8 March 2013


On Tuesday the inaugural field meeting of the Mid Devon Branch of the DBWPS was held at Eggesford Forest, which is on the A377 about 15 miles North of Crediton. In the absence of any other volunteers, Annabelle, a member of the East Devon Branch, had stepped up to the plate and offered to lead this first meeting. Five more of us from East Devon went along to give Annabelle some moral support, and we were joined by a further 14 birders, including George & Julia Harris the DBWPS Chairman & Assistant Recorder/ Data manager respectively. Annabelle had cleverly organised the best weather of the year so far; blue sky & sunshine!

George gave us an update on current DBWPS projects & we then headed off into the woods. We had seen Siskin & Nuthatch in the car park, and a slow wander then produced a further 18 species including Treecreeper, Great-spotted Woodpecker, Coal Tit, Buzzard, Raven and several Goldcrest, which were the first I've heard singing this year. Being the first meeting it was also an opportunity for everyone to get to know each other, so as well as bird watching there was plenty of chatting going on.  All very pleasant!

A pleasant wander in the woods
We returned to the car park for lunch and had the luxury of picnic tables on which to eat our butties in the sunshine.

Ten of us stayed on for an afternoon session and headed back up into the woods via a different path. From the edge of the woods a large flock of birds, possibly plovers of some sort, were seen in the distance, although they'd vanished by the time I managed to get the scope up. A farm track that had been too muddy for Annabelle to recce on her previous visits had dried out & we were all game for a bit of exploring, so we walked east across the open farmland.
Leaving the woods....note the blue sky!
We were enjoying a pleasant walk in the sunshine, seeing Stock Dove,  Collared Dove, Starling & House Sparrow, when we came across 'The Spot'. We were at the edge of a field that dropped steeply to a boggy stream, and suddenly it was all go! It was the sort of place where you could take a deckchair & stay all day to see what turns up. In that little corner we had three stunning male & a female Yellowhammer, a gorgeous Grey Wagtail (which turned it into the 'The Yellow Spot'!), Pied Wagtail, Chiffchaff, Bullfinch,  Sparrow, Chaffinch, and Starlings, which were looking amazing in the sunshine. Meanwhile a Skylark was singing in the distance, the first I had heard this year. Blackcap & Stonechat were also seen, but I managed to miss them.
More blue sky....
Lovely views
The Yellow Spot
We finally dragged ourselves away & headed down the valley to the forest, adding Redwing to the list. I missed Fieldfare and another Grey Wagtail, which apparently had a particularly dark head.

Heading back to the forest
It really had been an excellent day, with the afternoon session far exceeding expectations & adding 15 species for the day (although I only saw 12 of them). So well done to Annabelle who organised the meeting, including the fabulous weather! The Mid-Devon birders were a friendly & interesting bunch so I'll be going along to more of their meetings if they're within striking distance.

Myself, Annabelle & Libby decided to round off the day with a visit to Exminster in search of the Rose-coloured Starling. Unfortunately, I think we were a bit late in the day, as even the Common Starlings disappeared shortly after we arrived.

Annabelle & Libby Rose-coloured Starling hunting

1 comment:

  1. Hello there,stumbled across your blog.

    Beautiful part of the country you have there Susan.

    WE regularly stay at Rousden (shrubbery) caravan park each year,Trinity hill is my local patch when we are down your way!

    Had really good views of Nightjar last summer,even managed a few piccies!