Devon Bird Sightings: Bird News from 22nd–31st October 2013

Coronavirus - Devon Birds bird hides

During the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak the use of Devon Birds bird hides should be in line with Government guidelines to individuals on how to protect themselves.

Please follow NHS guidelines:

Thank you for your co-operation and stay safe.

Posted August 25th at 9:58 am by Mike Daniels in Bird News

Changes to Devon Bird Sightings

This page was initially set up to give a concise news summary of birds of interest seen in Devon. Anyone noting interesting species, passage and counts could post the details to inform other birders what was going on around the county. Photos could also be added for interest and to enliven the posts. It was accepted that because other wildlife was of interest, this would also appear especially when included in a birding post.

However, in the last year, more posts have been appearing purely on subjects other than birds. Whilst of interest to some observers, this is detracting from the aim of the pages, i.e. principally bird sightings.

Devon Birds has therefore taken the decision to require contributors of other wildlife to post this in the Other Wildlife subject. However it’s accepted that occasional, exceptional, other wildlife seen during a birding outing justifies inclusion in the bird sightings post. This should, however, be a minor part of the post.

Photos are often appearing as a gallery, or even acting as a personal photo blog, rather than of county-wide sightings of interest. Devon Birds has a Gallery which members and other birders are welcome to submit their often stunning photos to, for others to see. Many of these photos need not then appear on this page. From now on, only two photos per post will be accepted to help keep posts more concise.

Devon Birds very much welcomes posts that already meet these criteria and those that will continue to do so. It would also be great to widen the input from keen birders who currently don’t contribute, including some old friends who have dropped out. Hopefully the changes will encourage wider participation, so if you look at the site but don’t post, please consider doing so.

Our aim is to provide a concise daily news summary of bird sightings around Devon, and these changes should fulfil this goal.

Below is a summary of the changes:

  • Bird News (bird sightings of interest, with added occasional other wildlife) will be the default subject when visitors arrive at this page.
  • Other Wildlife posts therefore won’t initially be shown unless visitors click Other Wildlife under Subjects on the right-hand side.
  • Only two photos can now be submitted per post.
  • General bird photos should be posted in our Gallery please.
  • Co-authors should now only use the Submit a Blog Post form, to ensure a more consistent format for posts.

Posted August 21st at 3:53 pm in Bird News


If you follow our Blog but are not currently a member of Devon Birds please consider joining Devon Birds to help 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 in Bird News

Monday 28th October 2013

Yellow-rumped Warbler on Lundy, 28 October

Happily not just a rumour, but true! Tim Davis and I came back from Lundy this afternoon, in spite of the weather, where in the last hour of our last day, we found a Yellow-rumped (Myrtle) Warbler in Millcombe (approx. 11.10 hrs). Further details can be found at Still can't quite believe it, including the stressful circumstances of having to leave the island just minutes later!

Posted October 28th, 2013 at 8:32 pm by Tim Jones in Bird News

Thurlestone Bay

Seawatching from the car in very strong W winds, only bird of note a single Leach's Petrel @ 0955hrs >W, blown into the bay and clearly struggling in the conditions. Eventually lost from view close to shore and may have even headed in land. 

Posted October 28th, 2013 at 5:05 pm by Bill Macdonald in Bird News

Shoalstone , morning

With the storm clearing away rapidly to bright clear conditions,  there was a predictable lack of any close seabirds. A watch from 0800-0900 produced  distant views of a Manx Shearwater, Great Skua flying south and a Pomarine which stopped off to chase Kittiwakes.

Posted October 28th, 2013 at 4:56 pm in Bird News


Orcombe Point -  8 pintail and 11 wigeon 'in off', 7 dark-bellied brent goose, 2+ common scoter, 1 tern sp (prob sandwich), 5 common gull, 2 snipe, the juv white-fronted goose, c30+ skylark, c20+ meadow pipit, 3+ stonechat, 1 black redstart, 1 coal tit, 1 goldcrest, and 1 mistle thrush.

Mudbank - 4+ pale-bellied brent goose, 1 little gull (fw), 1 mediterannean gull (2w), 2 greenshank and 20+ turnstone.

juv white-front - present for its 13th day but easily overlooked in its chosen field
juv white-front - present for its 13th day but easily overlooked in its chosen field

mistle thrush - scarce on Orcombe
mistle thrush - scarce on Orcombe

Posted October 28th, 2013 at 3:05 pm by Matt Knott in Bird News


YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER Milcombe Valley per Birdguides.

However, not much chance of getting there, the Oldenburg stopped sailing on 25th.......

Posted October 28th, 2013 at 2:57 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Roadford Reservoir

Finally after all the hype and media frenzy, a wind-blown inland seabird!

Grey Phalarope feeding in Lower Grinacombe Inlet (north of Shop car park), west side of lake at 08.30 today. [Jon Tidball]

Posted October 28th, 2013 at 1:20 pm by Steve Waite in Bird News

Sunday 27th October 2013

Bowling green marsh

Watched from the hide 10:00 till 12:30

1 curlew sandpiper, 1 adult spotted redshank, 1 juv male ruff, 1 green sandpiper, 11+ knot, 180+ dunlin, 60+ bar tailed godwits, 600+ black tailed godwits, good numbers of redshank, curlew, teal & wigeon, 7 shoveler, 13+ meadow pipits, 2 Cetti's warblers 

a quick look from the viewing platform produced 13 common gulls and from the goat walk 16 avocet. 

Posted October 27th, 2013 at 8:12 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Thurlestone Bay

  Bay watched from 09.00-12.30 Very rough seas , Showers and a gale SW wind ( incresing at 12.00 )

Only Gulls around  48 G BB Gull, 28 Black H Gull and a juv SABINE's Gull east . No sign of anf Petrel or Phalaropes . Always Monday !

Posted October 27th, 2013 at 6:52 pm by Mike Passman in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Back to earth after a week on Scilly.

Curlew up to 59, still one Bar-tailed Godwit with them, Oystercatcher 6, Greenshank 3, a Snipe and a 1st-w Mediterranean Gull.

Posted October 27th, 2013 at 5:39 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Saturday 26th October 2013

Teign Estuary

Teignmouth 08:15-09:15: adult Bonaparte's Gull still present north of the pier. A brief seawatch produced 4 Kittiwake, 3 auk sp. and a Common Gull all heading south.

Fields/wetland south of Bishopsteignton 10:00-11:00: c.50 Meadow Pipit, 21 Skylark, c.10 Redwing, 2 Water Rail, 4 Teal, Redpoll (heard), Grey Wagtail, Reed Bunting and a late Whinchat.

Flow Point 11:10-12:00: 2 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Common Sandpiper, 4 Dunlin, 105 Curlew, 390 Oystercatcher, 14+ Shag, 5 Linnet, Rock Pipit.

Posted October 26th, 2013 at 9:58 pm by Will Salmon in Bird News

Prawle Seawatch

With Pat M,John L, and Frank S, in strong south-westerly winds ( the starter before the main feast ?) from 8am to 1pm ,totals of birds seen flying west : 2 Sooty and 7 Balearic Shearwaters ;an immature Pomarine Skua and a Bonxie; a Black-Throated Diver (winter plumage); 5 Med Gulls, 4 Common Scoter (east) and 3 Shelduck. And at least 5 Harbour Porpoises.  Also a steady trickle of meadow pipits and skylarks (79) plus 9 Swallows .

Posted October 26th, 2013 at 9:25 pm in Bird News

Bassett's Ridge - Taw Estuary

89 Pintail feeding on Bassett's Ridge at low tide this afternoon.

Posted October 26th, 2013 at 9:13 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

East Soar

10.45 - 15.30. For the first time this autumn I thought I could justify a post-dawn start since the place would be blown out by the fresh south westerly. WRONG! The God of Birding instantly laughed at my poor judgement (see Steve's post below). I found out at 12.00 but there was no sign by 13.30 in strengthening wind. The 3 Ring Ouzels were still showing quite well in Starehole plus 3 Firecrests in Starehole, East Soar Willows and the gorse just west of them. Also fem. Blackcap and juv. Whinchat at Middle Soar and Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers.

Posted October 26th, 2013 at 7:46 pm by Steve Young in Bird News

Bowling green marsh

Watched from 09:45 till 13:15

on the walk down to the hide had 5 crossbill fly over the marsh heading west, from the hide 1200+ black tailed godwits, 72+ bar tailed godwits, 2 golden plover, 3 grey plover, 16 avocet, 150+ dunlin, 12+ knot, 1 adult spotted redshank, 280+ wigeon, 190+ teal, 9 shoveler, 2 whimbrel, 2 stonechat(1m,1f) 1+ sparrowhawk, 3 buzzard , 2 Cetti's warblers. 220+ curlew, 160+ redshank, 3 greenshanks, 3 green sandpipers ( 1 departed high south)

Posted October 26th, 2013 at 7:21 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Wrafton Pond

A brief visit this morning revealed that three Wigeon and 2 Gadwall were amongst the scores of Mallards. Plenty of Coot, Moorhen and Little Grebes.

 I saw 2 Great-spotted Woodpeckers fly out from the reserve, the first there since 12 July.

Posted October 26th, 2013 at 1:23 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

East Soar

visited East Soar between 0745-1145. A strong breeze meant I headed towards Starehole Valley. Very few birds though as leaving saw 3 Ring Ouzel on southern side of valley. A few Song Thrushes too. A loop around Bolt Head and over to the small wood and up popped a very obliging Red-breasted Flycatcher. Showed very well. Followed by coffee and carrot cake. 

Totals: Song Thrush 12+, Chiffchaff 2, Goldcrest 3, Blackcap 1, Wheatear 1, Great Spotted Wood 1 and Chaffinch 10. Also 30 Meadow Pipits and 25 Skylark. 


Posted October 26th, 2013 at 1:02 pm by Steve Cox in Bird News

Redwings ~ South Brent

All morning there has been a steadfy flow of Redwings generally headed in a westerly direction passing over South Brent on the edge of the moors, largest flock was an estimated 150 /200 birds several flocks of 30 / 40 birds and smaller groups and individuals.

Saw a flock of about 20 unknown birrds early this morning in the distance and suspect it may have been Golden Plover

Nuthatch in the garden and a lot of Jay movement evident

Posted October 26th, 2013 at 12:29 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Taw/Torridge Field Meeting cancelled

Please note due to adverse weather conditions forecast for Monday 28 Oct, the Taw/Torridge field meeting to Bowling  Green Marsh is unfortunately cancelled.

Posted October 26th, 2013 at 12:02 pm in Bird News

Friday 25th October 2013

Lundy update

Thanks to Tim Jones for the texts, who's currently on the island with Tom Bedford, James Diamond, Richard Campey and Tim Davis.

Over past week or so they've seen Short-toed Lark, Richard's Pipit, Lapland Buntings, Yellow-browed Warblers, Balearic Shearwaters, Black Tern and Little Gull. Best of all came today with a Red-throated Pipit that was still present at dusk.

More details and info on their return.

Posted October 25th, 2013 at 9:15 pm by Steve Waite in Bird News

Berry Head

7:45am-4:00pm Weather, cloudy some sun and south-southwest winds. All going south. 5 Bonxies, 1 juv Pom Skua, 1 Arctic Skua, 6 Balearic Shearwaters, 1 Manx Shearwater, 1 Grey Phalarope, 5 Great Northern Divers, 3 Brent Geese, 21 Common Scoters, 3 Common Gulls. The unusual sight was seeing a Sparrowhawk coming in off the sea, also saw a Merlin in off the sea. With MD & DS

Posted October 25th, 2013 at 6:23 pm by Paul Albrechtsen in Bird News


Lifeboat Station - 2 adult little gulls together west @ 1610 then heading towards the Warren. Also 1 auk sp, 1 2w mediterranean gull, 2 red-breasted merganser and 7+ turnstone during a quick post work seawatch.

Mudbank - ad yellow-legged gull with c120+ great black backed gulls.

Yesterday - the white-fronted goose still at the top of Gore Lane but no sign this afternoon, though the farmer had clearly been working in there today.

Posted October 25th, 2013 at 5:35 pm by Matt Knott in Bird News

Otter Estuary and Upottery Airfield

Otter Estuary, Budleigh Salterton

No sign of the Whooper Swans this morning and nothing unusual on the estuary/grazing marsh. An hours seawatch from Lime Kiln was slighty (but only slighty) better than expected with 23 Brent Geese west, a small movement of B-h gulls west (around 30) and a single Common gull west. However the highlight was a late Hobby around midday that went out to sea at Otterton Ledge, then came across the bay before coming back over the town . Oddities were 5 Skylarks in off and 1 going the opposite way.

Upottery Airfield, Smeatharpe

The highlight today was 2 Ruffs (a juv m and a juv f) that had been brought in by the first significant flock of Lapwings for the autumn (53 No,). 3 Wheatears still present, 1 Stonechat and around 10 Ravens. Starling numbers increasing rapidly with around 1000 present plus small flocks going past that appeared to be on passage.




Posted October 25th, 2013 at 4:33 pm in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh 09:15 to 12:00

40 species. Highlights included 5 female Pintail, 23 Avocet, 10 Greenshank, 1 possibly 2 Spotted Redshank, lots of Teal and Wigeon, 30+ Bar Tailed Godwit, 30+ Redwing overfly, 2 Cetti's, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Stock Dove, pair of Stonechats over the back (good for BGM) and a Raven being mobbed in the air by two Crows (twice).

Posted October 25th, 2013 at 3:29 pm by Simon Bates in Bird News


First Black Redstart of the autumn in Ford Park Cemetery today, two days later than last year. Also a few Redwings.

Posted October 25th, 2013 at 2:30 pm by Laurie Allnatt in Bird News

Torcross - Start Point

08:20 - 13:00. Reasonable amounts of shelter in certain places on the coast path but few birds about eg 4 Goldcrest and 2 Chiffchaffs, zero Redwings let alone Black Redstarts. Up on Start 10 Swallows went through and a Reed Bunting present. Elsewhere a calling Water Rail at North Hallsands.

Posted October 25th, 2013 at 2:16 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

Lunchtime in the hide today until about 1.40. Good numbers of the usual waders, including 1 Spotted Redshank and 23 Avocets. Also 3 female Pintails.

Posted October 25th, 2013 at 2:05 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

Thursday 24th October 2013

Exe today

With a group of students on a boat trip up and back down the Exe today (Exmouth to Topsham and back). Little of much note but 20ish Avocet between Turf and Topsham, 2 Barwit and an interesting gull off about Starcross that appeared to be a reasonable candidate for a 3CY intermedius type LBBG.

Posted October 24th, 2013 at 9:19 pm in Bird News

Prawle Red-breasted Flycatcher

Seen briefly but well for about a minute at 14.30 in the lane down from the paddocks. Only just in time though, as a flock of sheep, followed by 2 dogs and a tractor swept up the lane, so that was alI I saw of it!  The highly vocal Yellow-browed Warbler of recent days was not heard in over 3 hours, so has presumably left.

Posted October 24th, 2013 at 8:11 pm by Pat Mayer in Bird News

Thurlestone Bay

 With a clear night and lighter winds this morning turned out to be the best viz mig of the autumn

Bob B was at Huxton Cross  fom 08.00, whilst I looked from my garden , we then met up at 09.30 and watched from the car park until 12.30  Totals in 4.5 hours were -

422 Skylark, 316 Mipit, 125 Chaffinch, 75 Goldfinch 37 Linnet, 25 Siskin, 78 Redwing, 5 Fieldfare, 3 Brambling, 11 Yellowhammer, 8 Reed Bunting, 3 Song Thrush, 2 Blackcap, 3 Chiffchaff. 6 Little Egret

Best of the morning at 12.00 a flock of 18 Crossbill ( first this year )

On T'stone Marsh - 1 Shoveler , 20 Teal, 14 Wigeon, 75 Mallard ( big increase no more than 10 this week )

Offshore 13 Common Scoter flew east.

Posted October 24th, 2013 at 6:17 pm by Mike Passman in Bird News

westward ho!/Northam beach

One from yesterdays flock of about 100 Golden plovers

Golden Plover
Golden Plover

Posted October 24th, 2013 at 5:12 pm by steve Hatch in Bird News

Meeth Nature Reserve

The largest lake produced 25 Canadas, 20 Mallard,10 Lesser Black Back mixed ages, 2 Little Grebes feeding separately,1Coot and 1 Egret circling overhead. 

Many Long-tailed.Tits feeding in alder and willows, as were Marsh Tit, Siskin and Redpoll.Approx 15 Lapwing flew in while a  Hobby was persued by a crow.   Other birds present:-several Jay, Meadow Pipit, Pied Wagtail, a few Starling,Robin, wren, and a Great Spotted Woodpecker, Buzzard, Kestrel.    Many Crows around also several Magpie and several flocks of Goldfinch.

An enjoyable morning!

Sue Clark

Posted October 24th, 2013 at 3:16 pm by Sue Clark in Bird News

Kennick Resevoir, Yesterday

From 10:00 to 15:00 Highlights included 3 crossbill; 9+ siskin; 5+ raven; a female peregrine and lots of ruddy darters.

Posted October 24th, 2013 at 8:33 am by Simon Bates in Bird News

Wednesday 23rd October 2013

Prawle Sightings

A day of surprises topped by finding a Red Breasted Flycatcher in Merrimore Lane, top of Pig's Nose Valley at 12.55 ( my first after c 20 years of hoping for each autumn ) but last seen at 1.05pm despite searching with help from Pat. Photo to follow . We then heard and saw one Yellow Browed Warbler in same spot where originally found on Saturday opposite chicken coop. Earlier a 2 hour seawatch in strong westerly wind produced initially 2 Common Dolphins and a Merlin chasing a party of 13 skylarks over the sea but just 6 Balearic Shearwaters and only a distant skua sp. Steady but small passage of pipits, alba wagtails, skylarks and  goldfinches plus a few swallows and a few chiffchaffs,goldcrests. Also a Tree Pipit  doing what it does, perched in a tree. 2 Clouded yellows and 3 Painted Ladies .A good day's birding !


Posted October 23rd, 2013 at 10:06 pm in Bird News

Kingsbridge Estuary

All day out on the estuary - no surprises in selected counts of 12 great crested gebe, 25 cormorant, 37 little egret, 400 wigeon, 225 mallard. pintail, 153 oystercatcher, 14 barwit, 225 curlew, 68 redshank, 3 greenshank, 1160 black-headed gull & 23 common gull.

Also 3 painted ladies & a clouded yellow.

Posted October 23rd, 2013 at 6:15 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Colyton St Mary, Paignton

A morning of raptors, Hen Sparrow Hawk seen hunting over some heavy cover, Buzzard overhead, a Barn owl broke cover and flew down the valley and to end the morning a hen Merlin.

Numerous Linnet and Goldfinch in evidence, a Heron overhead several times.

Several Red Admiral butterflies still in evidence

Back home at South Brent a pair of Raven heard and seen high overhead engaged in a swirling aerial display

Posted October 23rd, 2013 at 5:32 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Otter Estuary, East Devon

A nice family group of six Whooper Swans (four juveniles) out on the flooded estuary this morning.  Also 26 Wigeon, 10 Curlew and a single Swallow overhead.  Elsewhere up the valley 2 Water Rail.  All the scapes now well covered with water.

Posted October 23rd, 2013 at 12:36 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in Bird News

Tuesday 22nd October 2013

Thurlestone Bay

   4 Storm Petrel flew east at 09.30, 12 Wigeon flew across the Bay

On both marshes- 85 Teal, 3 Wigeon, 1 Shoveler, 1 Little Grebe


Posted October 22nd, 2013 at 6:07 pm by Mike Passman in Bird News

Berry Head

Seawatching 0815 - 1515hrs wind SSW-S with occasional showers.

7 Balearic and a single Manx Shearwater, 10 Bonxie, 6 Pomarine Skua, 11 Arctic and star of the show a remarkably close juv Long-tailed Skua @ 1305hrs >S. Also one unidentified Pom/Arctic and 11 Common Scoter.

On the rocks behind the watch point a Black Redstart and nearby 3 Blackcap & 2 Chiffchaff in the quarry.

BMc, MD, DN et al..

Posted October 22nd, 2013 at 4:51 pm by Bill Macdonald in Bird News

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