Tel. 01626 834399
Linda Corkerton (summer events)
Tel. 01626 821966
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Bovey Tracey Local Group
Throughout the year this group arranges a series of indoor and outdoor activities that are open to all and are advertised in Devon Wildlife Trust's events leaflet and on the events webpage.
Previous talks and walks
Dormice in Devon - Wednesday 13th March
This was our last indoor meeting before we all venture outside for our summer events. Over 50 people attended a mixed evening of a short AGM followed by a farewell to our chairman Malcolm Billinge, and hello to new chairman John Wych. Dawn Lenn from DWT headquarters in Exeter was there to present Malcolm with a copy of 'Wildlife in Trust' by Tim Sands, signed by all at DWT. The remainder of the evening was given over to our speaker Leonardo Gubert, who gave an illustrated talk covering the conservation work he has been doing across Devon with the Highways Agency, Exeter University and Liverpool University. Lots of facts and pie charts and also lots of information on the habits, habitat, and distribution of the dormouse. It seems there are many more of these cute rodents running around the Devon countryside than we realise, all very good news. Although you need a licence to handle the dormouse, you can, if you have the space, put up nesting boxes, or take part in a survey to count dormice. More about that, and other projects on the people's trust for endangered species website: http://www.ptes.org/index.php?cat=110
Dartmoor - the source of many rivers - Wednesday 9th January
Naturalist and DNP walks guide, Brian Maddock, presented our first talk of 2013, which proved to be an overwhelming attraction. The hall was full to bursting and unfortunately many were turned away at the door, but those lucky enough to find a seat were treated to Brian's DVD of the rivers and wildlife on and around Dartmoor. There was some excellent photography, including underwater and night shots, with the natural sounds of Dartmoor providing the soundtrack. Some surprising footage of badgers chasing and catching a rabbit, which they quickly took underground for a chat, and a salmon, whose tail was swiping the river bed to clear a path for egg laying. Brian rounded the evening off with a Q&A followed by an explanation of the technical side of wildlife photography. We look forward to his next DVD and presentation.
The Heath Potter Wasp - 5th December
'The Heath Potter Wasp' - perhaps not a headline to prise you from your armchair and send you out into a cold winter evening, but those that did make that journey were treated to possibly the most interesting talk of the year. John Walters, local naturalist and expert on the HPW, started with the history of the Heathfield reserve, listing its many inhabitants and the importance of the Heath to so much of our wildlife, especially the HPW. John has been studying this solitary wasp for many years and has spent countless hours lying in the heather and gorse, tracking the wasp from its 'quarry' site, a patch of bare clay where it collects its material for nest building, and the pond or puddle, its water supply, to its nest site, which may be up to 130 metres away. Each female makes 20-30 trips carrying mud balls between her jaws and front legs, to build each of the ten or so clay pot nests of about 10 mm high that she constructs during her lifespan of a few weeks. In each pot she lays a single egg suspended inside the neck of the pot by a strand of silk - to avoid being crushed by up to 38 sedated caterpillars that are then squeezed into the pot as a food supply for the grub when it hatches. Pots built before mid-June usually produce adults the same year, and those built after this will over-winter and emerge the following year. A most captivating and inspiring evening. For more information on the tiny Heath Potter Wasp and some fabulous close-up photography, or any of John's other research, visit johnwalters.co.uk. (Image by John Walters.)
Field of Fungi - Saturday 17th November
A beautiful autumn morning saw 41 people turn up at Deer Park Farm in the Teign Valley, home of Audrey Compton and John Whetman, for a seasonal fungi foray. After John had, with difficulty in the muddy farmyard, parked the 15+ cars, Audrey set the scene with a short talk and some examples of the fungi and lichens to be found around the farm. The fields in this beautiful valley are very steep and have never been ploughed, fertilised or sprayed - just given a gentle massage by the feet of sheep and cattle over many years. This has helped to spread the seeds and split the bulbs of the abundant spring wild flowers and grasses, which in turn support the butterflies, grasshoppers, beetles and spiders. In the autumn the cool north facing fields are a favourite habitat for fungi, especially waxcaps, the A4 guide Audrey gave us listed over 20 species to look out for. Armed with egg-boxes for collecting, it was eyes down and careful where you tread as an ordinary looking (if very steep) green field proved to be a riot of colour beneath our feet. Waxcaps have a mushroom shape with a waxy or slimy feel and some beautiful colours, like the tomato red Crimson Waxcap, the rich orange coloured Honey Waxcap with it's faint honey wax smell, and the unusual shiny green Parrot Waxcap. Hardest to spot were the fairy clubs, fragile stems with no caps and just 3 to 6 centimetres tall. Our thanks to John and Audrey for a lovely morning that could so easily have spread into the afternoon.
The ecological reserve of Guapiacu, Brazil - Wednesday 14th November
Siri Frost, ecologist, and Richard White, photographer, from Newton Abbot, presented a most interesting talk on their trip to the ecological reserve of Guapiacu in the Atlantic Rainforest of Brazil. The 3,000 acre REGUA Reserve they visited is just 80km from Rio de Janeiro and forms the wooded mountain backdrop to the city. The Atlantic Rainforest is one of the most important eco-regions in the world and a biodiversity hotspot, but sadly it is considered the second most threatened biome on the planet. Only 7% of the original forest remains, and what is left is becoming increasingly fragmented. There are 55 species of mammal and over 450 species of bird in the rain forest - sections of which are still privately owned, and under threat from clearance for logging, coffee plantations and cattle ranching. The forest is also alive with spectacular moths and butterflies and a myriad of crawling jumping biting creatures. Richard's splendid macro photography bought many an 'Ooh!' and 'Argh!' from the audience. Much of the work carried out in the rainforest is supported by The World Land Trust, an organisation many of us had not heard of, but it's patron Sir David Attenborough recently said, "The money that is given to the World Land Trust, in my estimation, has more effect on the wild world than almost anything I can think of." Many thanks to Siri and Richard for bringing to light, and life, a little known corner of our world.
Acoustic café - 20 October 2012
On Saturday 20th October the fourth acoustic café, raising funds for DWT, took place at the parish church rooms in Bovey Tracey. The organisers Mark and Jane Bailey, with support from the local DWT group committee, had booked a line-up of eight singers, many of whom were also songwriters, and prepared a sumptuous two course meal for the sell-out audience. The hall was decorated with bunting, the candle-lit tables with vases of fresh flowers, and the atmosphere was very welcoming. The evening started with the main course, a mouth watering array of quiches, pies, lasagne, bread and salads, all prepared, apart from the salads, by the amazing Jane Bailey. Everyone then settled down for the first four acts, one from just across the road and others from as far as Plymouth, each performing three or four numbers and all donating their time to the evening. At half time Jane again had the audience's jaws dropping as tables groaned under the weight of a delicious selection of puddings. With great bowls of cream and custard for toppings, this was a weight-watcher's irresistible nightmare. Before the final four acts got under way the raffle prizes were passed out to the lucky winners. This raised a healthy £130 from the generous ticket buyers. Well fed and watered, the audience, encouraged by the performers, were ready to join in the odd chorus or two, bringing the evening to a satisfying close. Thanks must go to Mark and Jane for all their hard work, and to the performers for giving up their time so generously. After some modest expenses, £510 was raised in support of Devon Wildlife Trust.
Wildlife in Antarctica - 10 October 2012
The first of the Bovey Tracey group's season of indoor events was attended by around 60 people. David Norman was the speaker, with an illustrated talk about wildlife in Antarctica and surrounding seas. Of the seventeen species of penguin found in the southern hemisphere, only six are found in Antarctica proper, and David's many photos showed what endearing creatures they are. The emperor penguin, yet to discover Thomas Cook, is the only species that nests and breeds in Antarctica through the frigid winter. Regular sightings of albatross from the cruise ship, and the boat's uncomfortably close encounter with an iceberg, may have brought to mind The Rime of the Ancient Mariner and the fate of the Titanic, but thankfully all was well. Skua and other birds were also on the photographic menu, as well as a pair of well insulated ladies swimming in a volcanically heated lake - sure to raise the temperature of all the men on board. An enjoyable start to an exciting programme of winter talks.