Devon Bird Sightings from 8th–14th October 2012


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Posted October 10th, 2016 at 9:14 am in Bird News

Sunday 14th October 2012

Exminster Marshes in flood

This afternoon, viewing by scope from my granddaughter's bedroom in Exminster, I managed to see the Whooper Swan, a Black Swan (waddling across the estuary mud towards the Clyst channel, Bar-headed Goose, 2 Greylags, c40 Pintail among hundreds of Wigeon and Teal and fewer Mallard and Shoveler, c700 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Ruff, c12 Dunlin, Redshank and c35 Avocets. There was also a smallish wader with a dark pectoral band (Pec???) briefly and a juvenile Herring Gull with extremely dark underside and pale head - I was in Toronto recently, and this bird looked remarkably like the juv American Herring Gulls there - but extreme distance meant no chance of confirmation. All but the Whooper and the gull were south of Swan's Nest lane.

Posted October 14th, 2012 at 10:36 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News

Soar & Thurlestone

Some interesting sightings at Soar today, Perry sat in the cafe drinking coffee,Steve 'twinkle toes' Young picking his way through the mud and a Wryneck!

Quick stop at Thurlestone marsh on the way home rewarded with a lingering female Marsh Harrier, 2 adult Med Gulls, 15+ Snipe, numerous Teal, Little Egret, Grey Heron, 2 Lapwing, lots of Meadow Pipits and Alba Wagtails.  

Posted October 14th, 2012 at 8:55 pm by Bill Macdonald in Bird News

East Soar

After phoning Perry I diverted the family walk to Bolt Head/Tail intending to scoop the easy Wryneck. Bill MacDonald directed me to the bird where he'd last seen it at 12.20 and - I couldn't find it! By 14.20 I had to admit defeat despite the help and good banter of Alan Doidge and Eric Wotton. Barefoot in the soggy fields of thistles and cow pats 'cos I forgot to pack my boots, I did come across a Dartford Warbler in the scrub bank between the hedge and the copse, which flew into the E. end of the copse, and a Grasshopper Warbler flushed from the juncus by the hedge, flying low to dive into the hedge. The female Merlin came overhead at 13.10, harrying a cloud of M'ipits and at 16.00 over East Soar Willows. Oh and Perry's Yellow-browed gave me the slip as well. Lovely day though.

Posted October 14th, 2012 at 7:00 pm by Steve Young in Bird News

Slapton and Prawle

The Wryneck was seen again at various times during the day along Slapton  beachfront , north of trhe bridge,  although I didn't catch up with it until later afternoon. A plea to photographers-this bird was being approached perhaps too closely at times-please give it some distance. Woodlark reported overhead early am and a Bittern reported from Strete Gate. A Grass Snake was sunbathing by the roadside.

At Prawle late am-early pm, some vis mig still happening including 300+Woodpigeon and  10-15 Stock Dove, a few Linnet and Meadow Pipit, 20+Siskin. Red Admiral butterflies very noticeable with 300+ seen. Roy Williams saw a ringtail Hen Harrier pass over eastward. Small numbers of Goldcrests around but still no Firecrests.  

Posted October 14th, 2012 at 6:52 pm in Bird News

Slapton Ley

A Wryneck was showing occasionally between the memorial and and the large logs on the beach, often on the foot path that runs along the top of the beach.

No sign of the Booted Warbler despite a number of birders around.

Posted October 14th, 2012 at 6:37 pm by Jacob Wood in Bird News

Slapton - Higher Ley

'Vis mig' lasted 08:00 ~ 10:45. 1920 Woodpigeon (S) with 7+ Stock Dove amongst them; 8 Jay (N), 22 Meadow Pipit (S/ SW), 37 Skylark (NE), 15+ Swallow (S), 1 House Martin (S), 183 Chaffinch (N), Brambling (3), 9 Siskin (N), 3 Lesser Redpoll (N), 20 Greenfinch (N), 75+ Linnet (mostly S) and 52 Goldfinch (mostly N).

Present: 3 Mistle Thrush, Kingfisher, 3 GS Woodpecker, 9 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 6 Goldcrest, Bullfinch.  

The Wryneck showed very well at times (left with birders grilling it >15:00) beside the beach/ road-side path, ranging from the memorial car-park to 400m N.  Easily and frequently flushed by walkers, but faithfully returned.

Posted October 14th, 2012 at 6:15 pm by Ivan Lakin in Bird News


One of the birds from Westward Ho! beach todat


Posted October 14th, 2012 at 5:49 pm by Steve Hatch in Bird News

Westward Ho!/ Northam beach

29 Golden plovers, 1 med gull and 4 turnstones in and around the rockpools today. Also 1 wheatear on the dunes.

Golden Plover
Golden Plover

Posted October 14th, 2012 at 5:47 pm by Steve Hatch in Bird News

River Caen/River Taw

1215-1500hrs   Good numbers of Swallows moving through,2 Greenshank, 5 Little grebe. 18 Lapwing,6 Gold finch,20+Linnet,1 Kingfisher a Raven and a Buzzard over. 18 Heron was a good count. Isley marsh held 2 Shell duck good numbers of Curlew 150+ Wigeon and 2 Spoonbill.

Posted October 14th, 2012 at 3:50 pm by John hunt in Bird News


06:50-13:30; Warren / Bolt Head / East Soar / Mid Soar.

Clear night, bright sunny day though light - moderate NW wind chilly first thing.

Got there before first light  to get out to the Warren to catch the vis. mig. Early start rewarded with a calling Green Sandpiper near the car park, perhaps an elusive resident at present as i heard one hear 10 days or so back. Also a Little Owl calling in the distance from the bunker direction - not seen one here for years so an encouraging record. The vis. mig never took off, best were 2 Brambling and a Lesser Redpoll, ( i've always called them Lesser by default but many more post like Matt's and i'll have to toe the line and go for Redpoll sp i guess ). Elsewhere saw the first woodpigeon movement of the year- 380 SE in three flocks ( early start this year ?)Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Grey Wagtails, 8 House Martins, 56 Swallows, 2 Wheatears, 2 Blackcaps, 12 Chiffchaffs, 21 Goldcrests, 13 Jays, 28 Siskins and a Reed Bunting. Loads of Skylarks and Linnets in the ploughed fields at Mid Soar.

 The days two highlights were yesterdays Wryneck showing well in the same place and a Yellow-browed Warbler in east Soar Willows. The one that got away was a wader, almost certainly a Buff-breasted Sandpiper or Ruff in a ploughed field at Mid -Soar, too distant and through a heat haze to know which. Did not get much closer when it took off with a load of Larks and i could not relocate it. Like the song by The Eels in Shrek said......' you just gotta let it go '.

Posted October 14th, 2012 at 2:47 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Berry Hd

0730 -1015hrs around headland: 1 Ring Ouzel (again below cafe on S facing slope), 1 Redwing, 10 Goldcrest, 23 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap, 5 Stonechat, 13 Robin. 2 flocks of Long-tailed Tits 19 in total.

Overhead; mostly moving NE: 1 Brambling, 11 Siskin, 3 Redpoll sp., 30+ Meadow Pipits, 6 Jay (high N), 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 18 Skylark, 55 Chaffinch, 6 Linnet, 34 Goldfinch, 7 Bullfinch, 7 Greenfinch, 3 Song Thrush, 6 Starling, 17 alba Wagtails, 25 Wood Pigeon.

Posted October 14th, 2012 at 1:07 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News


Orcombe Point - 0705 - 1130 - tonnes of birds this morning and as ever, counts of some species very conservative with birds moving west over a broad front: 26 robin, 120+ alba wagtail, c200+ meadow pipit, c200+ skylark, 35+ chaffinch, 2 brambling, 20+ goldfinch, 210+ woodpigeon (in several high flocks), 8 song thrush, 15+ blackbird, 3 redpoll sp, 1 lesser redpoll with presumed common redpoll (see photos), c150+ linnet, 10+ chiffchaff, 13+ siskin, 4+ greenfinch, 1 bullfinch, 3 jay, 3 stock dove, 3 starling, 3 great spotted woodpecker, 3 mallard, 100+ jackdaw, 2+ reed bunting, 2+ yellowhammer, 2 grey wagtail, 4 goldcrest, 1 late willow warbler, 3 blackcap, 3+ rook, 8 coal tit (high count), 2 snipe, 12 swallow and 1 stonechat. 

The presumed common redpoll (and lesser) landed close to me on weeds in the dung field. It was clearly a larger bird in direct side by side comparison, lacking the orange-brown wash to the flanks and exhibiting a whitish rump. I find redpolls a nightmare but it was at least nice to see the two together.

presumed common redpoll
presumed common redpoll

presumed common redpoll with lesser redpoll (left hand bird)
presumed common redpoll with lesser redpoll (left hand bird)

Posted October 14th, 2012 at 12:42 pm by Matt Knott in Bird News

Saturday 13th October 2012

Slapton Ley Booted Warbler

At 14.45 I picked up a pale looking hippolais warbler approx 150 M north of the bridge on the eastern path of the higher Ley. Good views in bright sunlight it showed a shortish primary projection with only a hint of a wing panel, well marked head. It flew across to the other side of the higher Ley and was not seen there. On these first short but good views it looked likely to be a worn adult Melodious Warber but there were some niggling features: it looked on the small side, not a long bill and very pale below, many worn adults have some yellow on the throat, pale legs and the jizz was not typical of Melodious, it was flicking along the tops of the bushes and very active ( most Melodious are skulky and slow moving), also mid October is late for this species. I walked to Strete Gate pondering and on the reurn trip refound the bird at 16.05  in the same spot but this time with very good sustained close views as it was flycatching from the tops of the bushes, I managed to get a good set of notes and clinch the ID as BOOTED WARBLER, it has a well marked head, dark almost blackish sub-coronal/lateral crown stripe particularly in front of the eye and pale edged OTF's. It has a pure white throat and  shorter bill than Melod/Icky, pale lower mandible. No yellow tones at all. Ruled out Sykes Warbler.Didn't hear it calling.

I hope it sticks around 'til tomorrow, unfortunately I have promised to take my daughters shopping to Exeter so can't get there (joy). Best place to look is 100 - 200 metres along the path, although I suspect is is quite wide ranging as originally it did fly across the Ley.

Also present Wryneck, a bit further along the track, Whinchat, Female Marsh Harrier and a steady passage south of Swallows.


Posted October 13th, 2012 at 8:43 pm by David Cope in Bird News

East Soar

08.00 to 15.15 carefully avoiding Pete all day and so cunningly missing all the goodies but a lovely pair of Firecrests in Starehole Valley and the Merlin bombing over us from Bolberry as we drove off. Supporting stuff: Woodpigeon (150+ W.), Skylark (75+), Barn Swallow (2-3), House Martin (1), Meadow Pipit (75-100), White Wagtail(20+), Pied Wagtail (5+), Common Redstart (1 fem-type in low sycamores and ash west of farm), Whinchat (1 juv. near car park), Song Thrush (4 W. + 2 in low sycamores and ash west of farm), Blackcap (1 m. and 1 f.), Chiffchaff, (2-3), Goldcrest (10+), Jay (4 W. up out of Starehole Valley), Siskin (3 & 4 W. out of Starehole Valley), Linnet (40+ on airfield). My daughter has just told me no-one wants to read all this anyaway. She's right of course.

Posted October 13th, 2012 at 6:44 pm by Steve Young in Bird News

Slapton Ley

A quick visit to Slapton Ley early this afternoon was rewarded with good views of a female Marsh Harrier flying south over Lower Ley. Cetti's warbler and Chiffchaff also heard, with plenty of Tufted duck and a few Gadwall on the water.

Posted October 13th, 2012 at 6:22 pm by Edd Davies in Bird News


Birding 07:15 - 16:30. A guest appearance by Richard White and all the birds appeared! Little real movement but early on 100+ Alba Wagtails, 45 Chaffinches west, and 10 Siskins west. A Redstart at the top of Starehole and a Firecerest (first of autumn for me) in East Soar Willows. 

Then a purple patch around midday. Two Woodlarks over fields west of East Soar Farm. A Wryneck in the scrub patch below the copse (and for a short time in the hedge lower down next to the willows, before returning) - seen about 5 times between c11:45 and 13:15. Favouring the landward end by the area where the grass invades the scrub and seen several times in a small isolated hawthorn. Whilst standing here (@ c12:30) a Richard's Pipit flew west and disappeared over the Warren.

Otherwise: Redpoll sp 1, Whinchat 2, Chiffchaff 16, Goldcrest 10, Blackcap 1, Grey Wagtail 1, Wood Pigeon 200+, Song Thrush 4, Greenfinch 5, Stock Dove 2.  

A great day's birding!

Posted October 13th, 2012 at 5:57 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Bolberry/Soar Mill Cove

Wryneck in scrub adjacent to path to Southdown Farm but elusive. Also whinchat, 2 swallow, 200 linnet, 20+ siskin over west and 3 more jays.

Posted October 13th, 2012 at 4:26 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Clennon Valley

Cetti's Warbler still singing occasionally on 2nd pond, 2 Chiffchaff 5 Goldcrests 1 Blackcap.

On the Dart at Totnes this morning was a drake Mandarin, 1 Goosander and 3 Kingfishers.

 Mandarin Totnes 13 Oct 12

Posted October 13th, 2012 at 3:55 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Berry Head

Redstart in sycamores bordering meadow, Ring ouzel still down under cafe. 4 Blackcaps 10 Chiff Chaff 11 Linnets was all else I could find. Even hardpressed for Hirundines with just 6 Swallows by end of morning! 


Posted October 13th, 2012 at 12:57 pm by John Lusher in Bird News

Friday 12th October 2012

Around the exe

Orcombe point to sandy bay 08:00 till 11:30

A steady passage west this morning with 300+ meadow pipits, 27+ Siskin, 6+ redpoll, 120+ alba wagtails, 4 jays, 200+ swallows, grounded birds included 25+ goldcrests, 17+ chiffchaffs, sparrowhawk, kestrel.

bowling green marsh 14:45 till 17:10

1 juv curlew sandpiper, 1 garganey, 54+ dunlin, 20+ bar tailed godwit , 10 greenshanks, 1 pochard, 1 tufted duck, 50+ wigeon. 4 little egrets , 6+ little grebes

Posted October 12th, 2012 at 10:46 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Otter Head

Richard's Pipit still present today, Just a request to please avoid entering stubble fields to keep farmer on side. The bird is rarely using the stubbles and is very unwilling to show itself on the ground. It is most likely to be seen in flight (typical view below!) and is fairly vocal. However, you may get lucky in the rough grass adjacent to the stubbles and the coast path. Bird still frequenting area east of last pines on coast path from White Bridge.
Also today:
Redstart - 1
Swallow - steady movement west
Linnet - flock of at least 400 birds this evening
Merlin - 1 along coast path yesterday

Richard's Pipit
Richard's Pipit

Posted October 12th, 2012 at 7:56 pm by Chris Townend in Bird News


08:15-17:30; Malborough - Furzedown / S'thdown / SM Cove / E Soar / Starehole / Warren / Furzedown-M'borough.

Clear night, M-F NW wind, occ.showers some heavy. Hard going finding the sheltered spots today.

Merlin ( F, attacking Pipits Furzedown late afternoon ), 5 Golden Plover, Grey Wagtail, Swallow, 150 Skylark ( grounded ), 500 Meadow Pipits ( grounded ), 2 Whinchat, Redstart ( single Whinchat and the Redstart nr. the cafe - same as yours Rob ? ), 3 Blackcaps, 23 Chiffchaffs and 13 Goldcrests.

Posted October 12th, 2012 at 7:53 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Dawlish Warren

While carrying out some repair work to the mural at Dawlish Warren today managed to catch up with the following: Long-eared Owl (well done Lee C - thanks for the call), 4 Wheatear, 5 Sandwich Tern. Some movement > W  3-4 Brambling (photo of one just outside of the hide) 3 Redpoll, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Grey Wagtail 22 alba Wagtail, 27 Swallows, 2 House Martin, 32 Skylark.

  Brambling Dawlish Warren 21 Oct 12LEO Dawlish Warren12 Oct 12 

Posted October 12th, 2012 at 7:16 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Exminster marshes

The flood water is impressive; covering most of the land north of the lane and half the fields to the south. The lane is impassable even in wellies past the Lion's Rest industrial estate. On arrival I was surprised to see 27 avocets flying over the flooded fields and land on one of the few areas of grass. They flew in and joined 200+ black-tailed godwits, 100+ dunlin, c80 redshank, 300+ curlew, 6 grey plover, 1 golden plover and c30 lapwing. Lots of duck and Canada geese. I failed to do an accurate count due to the spectacle of so many birds and having to help push cars out of the flood. I did see one bar-headed goose with the Canadas, 8+ pintail, c50 wigeon and one whooper swan - north of the lane with 8 mute swans. 

Earlier in the day I walked up to the Exminster golf course. A cirl bunting was singing next to the stubble field opposite the entrance to the golf course. Also in that field a few reed buntings, 12 skylarks, 10 swallows and c30 meadow pipits.

Yesterday a hobby over the village at 14.15.

Posted October 12th, 2012 at 5:56 pm by John Waldon in Bird News

Beesands Ley

Bittern flew across the ley early pm, although little else as water levels high.

Posted October 12th, 2012 at 4:53 pm by Mark Darlaston in Bird News

East Soar

Redstart this morning plus whinchat & wheatear.

8 jays on the clifftop plus first movement of chaffinches, 52 moving west through Starehole. 240 meadow pipit west.

Will have another look this pm.

Posted October 12th, 2012 at 1:39 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Berry Head

Flying visit, Ring Ouzel showing well in scrub below cafe.

Posted October 12th, 2012 at 9:55 am by John Lusher in Bird News

Thursday 11th October 2012

Bowling green marsh

Watched from the hide 13:45 till 16:45

an increase in avocet numbers to 59 was good to see, 83+ dunlin included 1 juv curlew sandpiper, 18+ bar tailed godwit, 500+ black tailed godwits, 14+ greenshanks, 1 snipe, 2 knot, the 2 garganey showed well, 2 pochard, 13 shoveler, a female sparrowhawk tried to take a dunlin causing mayhem. 

Posted October 11th, 2012 at 8:44 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Otter Head Richard's Pipit

The Richard's Pipit still present this lunchtime, frequenting the weedy edges of the stubble field above the earth bank several hundred meters east further along the coastal path from where it was yesterday.

Posted October 11th, 2012 at 7:41 pm by David Cope in Bird News

Thurlestone Bay

Water levels on both marshes risen as a result of yet more rain .

In my garden this morning 2 Song Thrush, 4 Chiffchaff and 5 Blackcap ..On T'stone Marsh only 6 Teal with   2 f Shoveler ..

In the Bay a male Common Scoter with 15 fling east and a SANDWICH TERN .

In the copse still a male Redstart, 10 Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest, 4 Robin .

On South Huish marsh 1 Lapwing, 35 Teal, 2 Wheatear, 12 Snipe and a Jack Snipe ( watched it feeding - bobbing action )

Posted October 11th, 2012 at 6:31 pm by Mike Passman in Bird News

Berry Head - take 2

Seawatch 10:00-15:15: wind S gradually veering NW, some rain/drizzle, clearing. All south: Red-throated Diver, 3 Pomarine Skuas, 8 Arctic Skuas, 13 Bonxies, 4 Common Scoter, 2 Eider, 22 Teal, 3 Balearic Shearwaters, 2 Manx Shearwaters (rather unexpected), 303 Kittiwakes (18% juvs), 5 Common Gulls, 3 Mediterranean Gulls ( ad, 1w, 2w), Grey Heron (heading straight out), 70 Razorbills, 5 Guillemots, Constant passage of hirundines heading out in waves (mixture of Swallows and House Martins) and the star bird, a Hobby briefly insecting over the headland in the drizzle.


Posted October 11th, 2012 at 6:19 pm by Mark Darlaston in Bird News

Axe Estuary

13:00 12+ Snipe, 2 Grey Plover, Spotted Crake all from Tower Hide. Great views of the Spotted Crake feeding along 200m (North to South)  of bank opposite the hide.

Pectoral Sandpiper showing well from the Island Hide.

2 x Kingfishers, 5 x Meadow Pipits, 2 x Jays, 1 x Reed Bunting seen around the Blackhole Marsh area

50+ mixed House Martins & Swallows feeding around the pond.

Great couple of hours in the dry!!!

Very wet with visibility poor at times hense poor quality photo's

Spotted Crake
Spotted Crake

Spotted Crake
Spotted Crake

Spotted Crake
Spotted Crake

Posted October 11th, 2012 at 6:05 pm by Derek Carter in Bird News

Clennon Valley

Cetti's Warbler still present, calling (not seen) around 2nd pond, 7 Chiffchaffs, 6 Goldcrersts, 2 Blackcaps, 1 Nuthatch (rare on site), 1 Water Rail. For 2nd day running no sign of any Long-tailed Tits around the ponds there were two flocks last week!

Posted October 11th, 2012 at 2:24 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Around the Axe

Marsh Harrier over the southern part of Seaton Marshes at 09:30 this morning.  8+ Chiffchaffs around the Borrow Pit but STILL no Yellow-browed!

On the Estuary a Bar-tailed Godwit, with a Redstart showing in the field below the gate way over looking the valley just north of Axmouth.

Just had a text from Ian M; Pec Sand and Spotted Crake both still present this morning too.

Posted October 11th, 2012 at 11:26 am by Steve Waite in Bird News

Berry Hd

Still very murky with the SE wind and low cloud and occassional heavy rain, in between showers  two flocks of House Martins maximum of 250+ in one flock moved East then West perhaps another group of 160+ earlier but could have been part of the flock! Smaller numbers of Swallows 70+, also overhead were 40+ Meadow Pipits, 5 Chaffinch,3 Song Thrush and 1-2 Redwing.

Around the headland.  13 Chiffchaff, 7 Goldcrest, 1 Blackcap. 


Darts Farm, Topsham yesterday 2 Brambling were with a huge flock of Greenfinches toward the fishing ponds dropping into the sunflower crop. 

Posted October 11th, 2012 at 10:25 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Wednesday 10th October 2012

Black Hole Marsh

Here's a distant pic of the Pectoral Sandpiper which was found at BHM on monday. This was taken yesterday but the bird was still present today.

Posted October 10th, 2012 at 9:32 pm by Tim White in Bird News

Around the exe

Bowling green marsh 12:15 till 15:00

from the hide the 2 garganey eventually showed well also 1 ringed plover, 25+ dunlin, 2 knot, 2 pochard, 3 snipe 

from viewing platform 37 avocet, 2 jay, 2 common sandpipers

Mudbank lane  10:45 till 11:40, 37 turnstone, 1 med gull, good numbers of Brent geese, wigeon & pintail 

Orcombe point to sandy bay 08:00 till 10:20, 3 wheatear, 13+ chiffchaffs, 100+ meadow pipits, small numbers of swallows moving east.


Posted October 10th, 2012 at 8:53 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Brents and more, off Imperial Road Carpark Exmouth

16:30 this afternoon 150+ mixed Brent Geese with more coming in to feed on the Eel Grass at Duck Ponds. Impressive movement of mixed Brent and Canada Geese with Wigeon and Pintail from all directions to the same area with 20+ Oystercatcher 5+ Little Egret and Curlew in the same feeding grounds.100+ mixed House Martin and Swallow over head the same area.  Very nice sight but too much movement for a reliable count.

Brent Geese at Duck Ponds Exmouth
Brent Geese at Duck Ponds Exmouth

Posted October 10th, 2012 at 8:41 pm by Derek Carter in Bird News


Steve Cox and I battled rain and mist all day - a surprising number of Meadow Pipits moving east through this - 595 between 0725 - 0930; also 25 Goldfinches, 6 Swallows and 54 Alba Wagtials east in the same period.

Otherwise: a Lapland Bunting seen flying over the copse, then over East Soar Farm and then flushed from the grassy field east of the farm; 1 Merlin; 80+ Skylarks; 6 Song Thrushes; 1 Reed Warbler; 13 Goldcrests; 10 Blackcaps; 1 Whichat; and 4 Wheatears. 

Posted October 10th, 2012 at 8:37 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News


Ringing this morning was slow: No Long-tailed Tits, but 4 Coal Tits! 2 Blackcaps and Chiffchaff, Best (or beast) of the day was a very noisy and aggressive adult Jay - caught in exactly the same net as the last Jay here. Back at the reserve this evening a very large flock of Starlings arrived in a tremendous whoosh sounding like a blast of wind! They quickly departed.

Posted October 10th, 2012 at 7:57 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Otter Head/Ledge

Richard's Pipit still present this morning on coast path on the east side of the estuary. The bird was feeding in rough grass adjacent to coast path approx. 100M east of the end of the pines adjacent to large stubble field. Still very difficult to see, but if you are very patient it is possible to follow it in a scope through the vegetation!

Posted October 10th, 2012 at 6:37 pm by Chris Townend in Bird News

Thurlestone Bay

Another dank day weather wise but some good birds .

On the rocks/ beach - 5 Turnstone, 4 Ringed Plover, 1 Redshank. 2ad Med Gull and 4 Shoveler flew west.

In the copse still 1 1st w male Redstart, 4 Chiffchaff, 1 Willow Warbler.

Whilst watching the Redstart Nick T and i had a female Hen Harrier fly over the marsh and up the valley.also 3 Jay.

On the roof of the flats by the carpark at 12.30 a female Black Redstart.

In a brief ringing session at 16.00 Bob caught 14 Chiffchaff.

Just rec'd info of a Garden Warbler ringed at South Milton Ley on 24 Aug. 2011 and controlled on Fair Isle Shetland on 27 May 2012-. The first time for a recovery this far north ( 650 miles )

Posted October 10th, 2012 at 6:15 pm by Mike Passman in Bird News

Exminster marshes

Whooper swan still viewable from railway bridge by Swans nest pub, looking back towards M5 road bridge. 

However, much better views from the railway footbridge from Exminster village, connecting to Milbury lane. Heavily cropped pic attached. 

Posted October 10th, 2012 at 4:52 pm by Joe Martin in Bird News

Start Point

Wind ESE with heavy drizzle at times. Quick seawatch: c150 Gannets feeding with c50 Kittiwakes off the point, attending were a juv Pomarine and juv Arctic Skua, 2 Balearic Shearwaters (heading NE), c10 Common Scoter (on the sea), 6 Brent Geese (dark bellied) and 2 Bonxies heading SW. 

At the lighthouse: Firecrest, Spotted Flycatcher, Pied Flycatcher and several Chiffchaffs, 2 Wheatears and a Redwing. In the next valley: Blackcap, 3 Ring Ouzels, 2 Goldcrests, numerous Meadow Pipits and up to 3 Sparrowhawks around.

Posted October 10th, 2012 at 4:15 pm by Mark Darlaston in Bird News

River Caen/River Taw.

1200-1430hrs   5Bar tailed godwit,6Greenshank,3 Redshank,5 Little grebe,30+ Oystercatcher,20+Dunlin and a Kestrel. Isley marsh held good numbers of Curlew and Wigeon and 4 Spoonbill. Also noted were large numbers of Starling moving through 2000+ mainly west.Only 1 Swallow seen.

Posted October 10th, 2012 at 3:43 pm by John hunt in Bird News

Exminster marshes

Visit at lunch time slightly ahead of high water. Water levels up since yesterday with extensive flooding north of the lane. Viewing from railway bridge located the adult whooper swan with 4 mute swans. Lots of black-headed gulls and curlew but difficult to count. 

On the main marsh duck numbers similar to yesterday although 2 pintail were new. Singles and groups of snipe frequently flying around and calling with 19 being the largest group. I estimate a total of 30 seen. Also 19 lapwing and c60 black-tailed godwit. A peregrine on a pylon and sparrowhawk on a gate appeared to make the 30 or so meadow pipits nervous.

On the canal bank 6 blackcaps (2 males), 2 goldcrests, 2+ chiffchaffs and 2 flocks of mixed tits. Overhead 2 swallows and 5 house martins.

Posted October 10th, 2012 at 2:48 pm by John Waldon in Bird News


Soar to Southdown to Soar Valley

11.0 am to 1.0 pm

3 Wheatears, 5 Blackcaps, 14 Chiffchaffs, c.120 Linnets, c. 40 Meadow Pipits

Posted October 10th, 2012 at 2:31 pm by Roger White in Bird News

Berry Head

Seawatches 0815-1115 , partly by me and partly by Bob Bailey and John Lusher, produced 7-8 Mediterranean Gulls mostly moving south, 250+ Kittiwakes, 3 Arctic Skua, 3 Pomarine, 1 Bonxie (flew north), 1 Balearic Shearwater, 1 Redthroated Diver, and 11 Brent Geese (all thought to be dark bellied). Groups of hirundines, nearly all Swallows, coasting past the headland , totalling perhaps 500.

Posted October 10th, 2012 at 1:52 pm in Bird News

Tuesday 9th October 2012

Bowling green marsh

watched from the hide 10:45 till 13:45

the 2 garganey showed well right in front of the hide, 582+ black tailed godwits , 2 bar tailed godwits, 13+ snipe, 25+ dunlin, 2 pochard, 18+ shoveler, 3 tufted duck, 1 kingfisher

Posted October 9th, 2012 at 9:57 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Seaton, Blackhole Marsh

Spotted crake this afternoon from the Tower Hide between 16.50 - 17.30 working its way right along the Estuary island opposite the hide, & the Pectoral Sandpiper still on Blackhole Marsh & also a good numbers of hirundines.

Posted October 9th, 2012 at 9:03 pm by Kevin Hale in Bird News

Thurlestone Bay

Another gloomy wet day .

Around South Huish Marsh- 45 Teal, 3 Wheatear, 1 Curlew (over )1 Yellow Wagtail. In the copse 2 1st w male Redstart  8 Chiffchaff, 1 Great Sp Woodpecker.

In the Bay - 1 Great Crested  Grebe and 8 Teal.

Late afternoon Bob B had a Barn Owl at the back of the marsh in trees .

During the day hirundine passage when heavy rain stopped - this morning 600 Swallow and 400 House Martin

Posted October 9th, 2012 at 5:58 pm by Mike Passman in Bird News

Exminster marshes

Lane flooded but passable in wellies. Walked from Lion's Rest estate to Turf along the canal bank. Lots of standing water with more falling out of the sky.

On the various pools 160 black-tailed godwits (c120 flew on to the estuary), 24 lapwings, 28 snipe (flying around in one flock) and one green sandpiper. Duck were hard to count due to the vegetation but managed 8 shoveller, c140 teal, c40 mallard and 28 wigeon. Other birds on the wet meadows were 8 alba wagtails, 6 meadow pipits, one stonechat. 23 avocets were on the estuary close to the canal bank.

On the canal bank a kingfisher, 2 chiffchaffs, one Cettis and one reed bunting. Flying over were 4 jays, c60 goldfinches, 6 greenfinches and a few linnets. My total count of swallows and house martins was about 200 in mixed flocks of which about 70% were swallows.


Posted October 9th, 2012 at 4:59 pm by John Waldon in Bird News


Sunday 7th October. 7.30am.

Saw 2 flocks of 50+ Redwing over Okehampton. Mixed up with them were c. 30 House Martin.

Then saw 1st yr.fem. Snow bunting on the moor. Climate change or what?

Posted October 9th, 2012 at 3:17 pm by Martin Unwin in Bird News

Berry Head - late am

Brief seawatch approx. 11:00-12:30. During a clearance in the weather some passage, though no doubt included some of the same birds seen by Mike L earlier: 2 Ad Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Pomarine Skuas, 5 Arctic Skuas, steady but light passage of Auks (mostly Razorbills), 9 Bonxies, 2 Sandwich Terns and 4 Harbour porpoises (inc. calf). Two interesting observations with the Bonxies, one flew straight in and landed on the rocks by the slope we walk up to the watchpoint - I've never seen a Bonxie actually land ashore there before. It casually preened and looked fairly relaxed and in good condition (but I had no camera!), but was then flushed by another seawatcher arriving who was unaware it was there, it then flew staight over our heads about 10ft up! The other of note, was a Bonxie chasing a storm-petrel sp., some 600m off the headland, only seen first in bins, by the time I got the scope on it, the Bonxie was sat on the water swallowing something petrel sized!

Posted October 9th, 2012 at 3:14 pm by Mark Darlaston in Bird News

Black Hole Marsh, Seaton

Pectoral Sandpiper showing well from Island Hide, but at distance on south west corner; first seen yesterday morning I believe.  Also present 3 Green Sandpiper.  No sightings so far today of Spotted Crake, also first seen yesterday, on saltmarsh opposite Tower Hide.

Posted October 9th, 2012 at 1:57 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in Bird News


Found a Water Rail in the reserve yesterday. Sadly it was a freshly killed bird missing head and breast, but otherwise unplucked. Made me wonder what had taken it. Sparrowhawk kills are almost always surrounded with feathers.

Posted October 9th, 2012 at 1:13 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Berry Hd

Heart stopping moment of the morning was flushing a Stone Curlew from the very end of Berry Hd it flew back toward the meadow calling but after dashing back from the headland, there were only dog walkers and cattle to be found. I'm sure I heard it heading back out toward the headland but could not relocate it there either. I and others have checked the limited fields just behind the headland but again no sign.

Otherwise of interest: 1 male Redstart, 14 Chiffchaffs, 22 Goldcrest, 1 Blackcap, 2 Siskins.

A look over the sea whilst checking the quarry for migrants earlier produced: 1 juv Pomarine Skua and 2 Arctic Skuas harassing a feeding group of about 150-200 Kittiwakes also two ad Mediterranean Gulls and several Common Gull in the same area feeding.

Posted October 9th, 2012 at 11:35 am by Mike Langman in Bird News


Orcombe Point - 0710 - 0845 - 1 jack snipe, 1 snipe, 3+ stonechat, c300+ meadow pipit, c100+ skylark and 1 red-throated pipit in stubble field at top of Gore Lane @0742. The bird is mobile, ranging between both large stubble fields either side of the lane., still present 0815 at least. Please view only from Gore Lane and do not enter stubble fields.

Posted October 9th, 2012 at 9:15 am by Matt Knott in Bird News


Taking the rubbish out late last night, a single Redwing called from the mist.

Posted October 9th, 2012 at 8:58 am in Bird News

Monday 8th October 2012

Bowling Green Marshes

Not very exciting today apart from 4 foxes showed well after the rain stopped this afternoon!

They kept the Grey Heron on it's toes!

Posted October 8th, 2012 at 11:15 pm by Derek Carter in Bird News

Otter Head

After the rain stopped this afternoon a flock of 100+ House Martins over the house heading west. On the coastal path east of Otter Head there was a break in the mist and low cloud when the sun broke through and  then 450+ house martins and swallows (95% House Martins). Flock of 250+ Linnet in the stubble fields near Otter Head plus groups of Skylark (40+) and Meadow Pipt (50+). Highlight was a Richard's Pipt seen badly on deck (only head) in long grass adjacent to coastal path, where I managed to get a couple of record shots.Also seen and heard calling in flight approx 300M along coast path E of Otter Head. Also 1st winter male Redstart and single Wheatear.

Posted October 8th, 2012 at 10:07 pm by Chris Townend in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

The Whooper Swan was viewable from close to the railway bridge by the RSPB car park looking back towards the motorway at about 1.30 this afternoon.

Posted October 8th, 2012 at 9:17 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

Richard - blodspot

Tried to link into your web site- failed- could be my total ignorance of this latest techno !!! help

Posted October 8th, 2012 at 9:03 pm by Mike Passman in Bird News

House Martins

For little more than personal curiosity I wanted to do a bit of analysis on the House Martin passage of yesterday. I would be interested in any HM sightings from yesterday (or the few previous days or today). I can get some of them from here but would be intersted in any reports even if they are of small numbers. Not to clog this site up, more details are on my blog ( and you can leave sightings there as comments.

Cheers, Rich

Posted October 8th, 2012 at 8:57 pm in Bird News


09:15-17:30.  Malborough-Furzedown/ Hgr. Soar/ E Soar/Starehole/ Bolt Head/Warren/Hgr.Soar-Malborough

Mod SE wind and heavy drizzle through the night. Dry and relativly still by 09:00, fog all day.

10 Song Thrushes, 6 Chiffchaffs and 12 Goldcrest on the walk to Furzedown hinted at a good day but it never really took off. All i added were 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Collared Dove ( Hgr. Soar ), 2 Grey Wagtails, Wheatear, 20 Song Thrushes, Redwing ( any been reported elsewhere in Devon yet ? ), 4 Blackcaps, 41 Chiffchaffs and 25 Goldcrests. Might have made a mistake today ignoring Soar Mill Cove as there were a lot of birds around Higher Soar.

Two Roe Deer leapt out of the plantation.

Posted October 8th, 2012 at 7:21 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Start Point

Went over to Start Point with Bob B from 12.30 afew more birds than Dave had this morning- 6 Redstart,

6 Blackcap, 1 Whinchat, 3 Willow Warbler 2 Chiffchaff. 1 Pied Flycatcher ,. A Merlin flew through

Posted October 8th, 2012 at 5:58 pm by Mike Passman in Bird News

Thurlestone Bay

Gloomy day with fog and drizzle - In the copse by South Huish Marsh a 1st  w male Redstart, 12 Greenfinch, 3 Chiffchaff. Overhead 700 Swallow moving east. On the beach 8 Ringed Plover, 5 Dunlin

Around T'stone Marsh - 3 Med Gull, 1 Cirl Bunting, 1 Cirl Bunting and a Merlin. First Goldcrest of the autumn through the garden this autumn.

Posted October 8th, 2012 at 5:53 pm by Mike Passman in Bird News

Around Brixham

Continuing the hirundine theme. We had a break in the mist over the head at 14:30 when a large influx of House martins and Swallows appeared to come in off he sea travelling NE and feeding . For about 15 mins I would estimate that the number of birds was in the thousands and extended accross all of the heath and head. Again probably an 80/20 split in favour of the House Martins.

In the quarry were 3 goldcrests and 8 chiffchaff,male and female Stonechat.On the top ,2 redstart, one at the crossroads and one in the south fort were the highlights There are so many chiffchaffs, I got to 36 in the main gorse stands.

5 wheatear at the start of the breakwater this morning dodging the walkers,over to the pontoon and back.

Another break in the mist at Sharkham showed another busrt of mainly Swallow activity but nowhere near the numbers over the head earlier

Posted October 8th, 2012 at 5:52 pm by Tim Clyburn in Bird News

Hope's Nose

Made a rare visit to the Nose early pm, like elsewhere some fog. A Yellow-browed Warbler in with a mixed flock of Long-tailed Tits, 5 Goldcrests and several Chiffchaffs. This flock was very mobile and we could not locate it again coming back up the hill. Flushed a Snipe at the end of the Nose, where also a Whinchat.

Posted October 8th, 2012 at 5:48 pm by Mark Darlaston in Bird News

Sharkham Point

1645hrs - Yellow-browed Warbler, picked up on call at first and showed well, but due to heavy drizzle at the time unable to grab a photo. It was in almost the same spot as 2 years ago within the rear field of St Marys Bay in the Sycamore/scrub area.

Very foggy this afternoon so little else on the headland and bushes but as most are commenting on, lots of Jays about. Sharkham seems to be a bit of a stronghold for Stonechats at the moment with 12 counted in a very small area.

Posted October 8th, 2012 at 5:26 pm by Josh Marshall in Bird News

West Charleton marsh

 Marsh harrier, flew in off estuary and slowly up the lengh of the marsh, it panicked 12 Blackwits into flight. Little else of note at this site.

Posted October 8th, 2012 at 4:52 pm by John Lusher in Bird News

Chudleigh hirundine passage

After a dull and damp morning, a brief period of hazy sunshine sent the temperature up from 16 to 19C at 12:25. Within 5 minutes the air was full of Swallows and House Martins and over 600 flew NE in 15 minutes. Movement was leisurely though, most birds apparently feeding as they went. There were slightly more House Martins than Swallows, perhaps 60:40. As I looked through bins at them there were good numbers of flying insects in the air: house-fly types, bumble-bees and even a few crane flies maybe 25m up!

As the rain earlier marked the passage north-eastwards of a warm front (airflow from North Africa?), I wonder whether they were following the front and hence any insects carried up by rising air and/or rising temperature. Although Swifts are known to track weather movements (presumably either to avoid bad weather and/or feed on insects carried by the air mass), and I would guess House Martins might do the same, I've not seen hirundine movements suggesting this before. Clearly, moving NE in October is not logical if you should be making for Africa!

Posted October 8th, 2012 at 3:31 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News

Start Point

Early am , Start Farm fogged in but some clearance further down near the lighthouse area, where 3 Common Redstarts, 6 Wheatears, 8+ Robins, Whinchat , 4 Chiffs and a Yellow Wagtail were present. Tried Prawle but completely fogged in.

Posted October 8th, 2012 at 3:16 pm in Bird News

Around the Axe

Little Stint on Colyford Marsh this morning, also Grey Plover on the Estuary.

Earlier from the Tower Hide, Ian Mc had an Arctic Tern and amazingly the Spotted Crake again.  It was last seen about a month ago!

Posted October 8th, 2012 at 3:03 pm by Steve Waite in Bird News

Berry Hd & Clennon Valley

Thick drizzly, mist/fog this morning the only sign of any movement was during a couple of brief clearences of the mist:

There was a mass movement south of Kittiwakes coming out of Torbay; 2236 on the click counter, 100+ Gannets and 1 Sandwich Tern in a 20 minute break in the weather. 

Overhead: 1 Tree Pipit, 8 Skylark, 26 alba Wagtails, 3 Song Thrush, 1 Grey Wagtail, 61 House Martin, 22 Swallow,40 Goldfinch, 3 Siskin and 4 Chaffinch.

Around Headland: 1 Ring Ouzel,14 Chiffchaff, 12 Goldcrest, 11 Blackcap, 4 Wheatear, 2 Coal Tit, 2 Stonechat.


Clennon Valley: Cetti's Warbler still around 2nd Pond, just 2 Chiffchaffs, 3 Goldcrest, 1 Blackcap, 2 Little Egrets, 1 Pintail, 4 Shoveler, 2 Water Rail and a 2nd w Mediterranean Gull. No sign of the Yellow-browed Warbler yesterday or today it was apparently still present on Saturday morning.

Posted October 8th, 2012 at 2:28 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Froward Point

07.40-12.50. More of everything, including Robins and Blackbirds, but notable species only single Redstart and Whinchat.

Posted October 8th, 2012 at 2:21 pm in Bird News

Spoonbills - Isley Marsh

4 Spoonbills at lunchtime today.

Posted October 8th, 2012 at 2:13 pm by Robert Jutsum in Bird News


Sadly, no sign of a Dowitcher, and hardly any Oystercatchers either!

Posted October 8th, 2012 at 12:41 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News


Just took a call from John Wicks who is pretty sure he had a Long-billed Dowitcher at Pottington with the Oystercatcher roost at yesterday morning's high tide. I'll try to get there dreckly to see if I can find it....

Posted October 8th, 2012 at 10:21 am by Jon Turner in Bird News

Get Involved

Not a bird post, sorry but not sure the forum gets looked at that much.

Get involved...

Posted October 8th, 2012 at 9:34 am by Josh Marshall in Bird News


Chased a sheep out of one of the enclosures this morning, and saw 11 Swans (inc 4 juvs) and the Black Swan was with them.

Posted October 8th, 2012 at 9:29 am by Jon Turner in Bird News

East Devon (Sunday)

A few words that might help define the extraordinary passage of house martins witnessed yesterday. At about 10.00 I walked east from the Otter estuary towards Sidmouth. I turned inland at Peak Hill. During the 3 hours I failed to see any house martins. I did record about 100 swallows all flying out to sea  (SE).

Also seen; 2 wheatears, c40 skylarks, 6 brent geese (flying west & dark bellied), a few meadow pipits and c100 woodpigeons (flew out to sea).


Posted October 8th, 2012 at 9:18 am by John Waldon in Bird News

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