Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Devon Birds Records Committee

After serving as a member of the Committee for five years, Chris Townend will be standing down at the end of June 2018. Chris, who leads wildlife watching holidays through his own company 'Wise Birding', has been an active member of the Committee, and his consistently pragmatic approach to assessing records has proved invaluable. The Society would like to thank him for his contribution over the past five years and wish him well in the future.

A formal application to fill the vacancy has been received from Andrew Smith, from Buckfastleigh, which is supported by members of the Committee. Andy has been birding for over forty years and moving to Devon in 2015, Andy has since explored the County, regularly visiting Soar and South Huish during migration, whilst more locally he spends his time and surveying at Hembury and Holne Woods.

Over the last 20 years Andy has led over 130 bird and natural history tours, mainly for Naturetrek. His experience and knowledge from birdwatching in over 50 countries including much of the Western Palearctic will be especially useful to Devon Birds and the Records Committee.

Unless the County Recorder receives any other applications before 15th April 2018, Andy will be formally elected to fill the vacancy for a five year period.

For more information and/or an application form please contact: Kevin Rylands, County Recorder. Email: Recorder@devonbirds.org.uk

Posted yesterday at 11:01 am by Mike Daniels in General Birding

Membership

If you follow our Blog but are not currently a member of Devon Birds please consider joining Devon Birds to help us with the upkeep of running the website and this service as well as our valuable conservation work .

Posted October 10th, 2016 at 9:14 am by George & Julia Harris in General Birding

Sightings Page Changes

Acting on comments to Devon Birds some changes have been made to this page. To the right of this header post you'll see there are now several subjects for you to choose to read and post on. Just click your chosen subject and use as previously.

Please be careful not to post under the wrong subject. If you do, you can still easily go back to edit and change the subject yourself so it appears on the right page.

Please try and keep posts short, particularly in the Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts page. Photographs are still very welcome.  

For help with ID email photos to id@devonbirds.org.

Posted June 30th, 2016 at 9:24 pm by George & Julia Harris in General Birding

Wednesday 21st February 2018

Heathfiedl Starling Roost

21st February 2018:  An estimated 20-25,000 into roost.  This was my first visit to the site and is a much higher estimate than the 7,000 or so quoted by several people.  I may have over-estimated and was sussing the site out as part of a wider study in South Devon.  I have had considerable experience estimating large flocks as a regular WeBS counter on the Mersey Estuary for 15 years and  have been monitoring the Starling roost at Slapton on an almost daily basis for the last 6 years and a roost (in bamboo - shades of South Brent) at Ashprington which began in early December 2017 and has now finished.

Estimating at Slapton can  be done by estimating individual flocks as they arrive making an overall estimate more accurate - none come in from the sea!  However, both the Ashprington and Heathfield roosts are less easy to use this technique as there is no overall view from all directions that birds could be coming from.  However, it would be possible to estimate birds coming into Heathfield from the Dartmoor direction although clearly that is primarily because of where the roost is generally viewed from.  It is well known that people tend to under count such large roosts/flocks but I may have lost my touch!

It is possible that there were more birds tonight at Highfield ahead of the arctic airstreams over Scandinavia & the Continent and that over the North Atlantic coalescing  over the UK.  Numbers at Slapton fluctuate depending on weather conditions and always peak ahead of cold northerly airstreams dipping again as the cold spell hits the UK only to rise again ahead of the next cold airstream.  Birds are clearly migrating through Slapton in a similar way to Wood Pigeons and finches  and possibly follow the south coast in a similar way after breaking off from the main flyway down the Danish, Dutch, French coast and crossing the English Channel at Dungeness.  Work is currently in hand to see if there is evidence for this from datasets held by British south coast county ornithological societies and Scandinavian/European datasets, particularly long term datasets from Falsterbo and Ottenby in Sweden.  There clearly seems to be a correlation with data from Dungeness BO.

The Slapton roost has regularly been used for at least 213 years and, in recent times, always finishes before Christmas (although extending into mid- January in two of the last three years and showing changes in behaviour, particularly in relation to site fidelity within the Slapton reed beds depending on weather conditions and the need for greater shelter, possibly as a result of climate change).  I would be interested in meeting anyone who regularly counts the Highfield roost to see if data from there may be of use to this study as well as to see if I have lost my touch (!) although I'm pretty clear there were more than 7,000 tonight.

Posted yesterday at 8:10 pm by Dennis Elphick in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Upper Torridge Estuary

12 Common Sandpipers

Posted yesterday at 12:07 pm by Rupert Kirkwood in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Monday 19th February 2018

Mansands

0945. Watching a swan coming in off the sea, [unusual enough at this venue] but as it landed on the pond was blown away to find it was a Whooper! It stayed around for half an hour then after some rather disconsolate honking, it took off and landed on the sea quite close in. Still there when I left at 10 am. This bird knew I'd left my camera at home.

Posted February 19th at 12:01 pm by John Lusher in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Bramblings ~ South Brent

Female and male Brambling on the garden feeders this morning, initially the female just before 9am followed by female and male at 10am.

Trio if Siskin (2F ~ 1M), two Greenfinch, pair of Song Thrush, Nuthatch, male Bullfinch, BTO ringed Blue tit checking out a nest box and a low flying Heron passing over the garden.

  

  

Posted February 19th at 11:19 am by Steve Hopper in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Sunday 18th February 2018

Braunton Burrows

The Tundra Bean Goose was still visible from the Sandy Lane Car Park today, albeit quite a distance and still hanging about with the Mute Swans. Definitely needs scoping. (apologies for poor quality)

   

Posted February 18th at 8:58 pm by Steph Murphy in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Thursday 15th February 2018

Brixham Breakwater Gulls

Adult Glaucous Gull still on the breakwater today. Joined by a juv/1w Iceland Gull

Glaucous Gull   Iceland Gull
Glaucous Gull                                     Iceland Gull

Posted February 15th at 7:44 pm by Samuel Gray in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

East Budleigh

The putative Italian Sparrow still showing well on the feeders in Cadbury Gardens late afternoon. Also a fleeting male Bullfinch and a fly over Buzzard.

more details http://dixiesbirding.blogspot.co.uk/?m=1

Posted February 15th at 6:30 pm by Spencer Dicks in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Torbay

Broadsands this morning: 14 Great Northern Divers, 30 Great Crested Grebes, 5 Common Scoter and 70+ Common Dolphin.

Brixham: The adult Glaucous Gull was commuting back and forth along the breakwater, spending some time on rocks back by the lifeboat station. Also the' Berry Head' juv/fw Iceland Gull was spending a lot of time out at the end of the breakwater.

 GlaucGulladBrixhn150214ML blog   GlaucGulladBrixhn150214ML blog 2

Glaucous Gull adult

 Iceland Gull juv/fw Brixham 15 Feb 2018 ML  Iceland Gull juv/fw Brixham 15 Feb 2018 ML2

Iceland Gull juv/fw

Posted February 15th at 2:11 pm by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

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