Devon Bird Sightings: Bird News from 8th–14th December 2013

2020 Records request

If you saw any of the records below please submit a description to the County Recorder to ensure they make the official record. Many thanks.

·         Bee-eater 03-Aug Wistlandpound Res

·         Caspian Gull 15-Apr Fremington Pill

·         Caspian Gull 14- Sep Powderham

·         Crane [3] 22-Mar Milton Abbot

·         Crane [2] 24-Jun nr Ottery

·         Glossy Ibis 20-Jun South Efford Marsh

·         Glossy Ibis  02-Nov Seaton Marshes

·         Golden Oriole 07-Apr Fremington Pill

·         Golden Oriole 28-May Weston Mill

·         Golden Oriole [2] 23-Jun Bolt Head

·         Greenland WF Goose 20-Dec Roadford




·         Green-winged Teal Nov/Dec Exe Estuary

·         Grey Partridge 13-May Bishops Tawton

·         Grey Partridge 12-Nov Exminster Marshes

·         Leach's Petrel 30- Sep Labrador Bay

·          Leach's Petrel 31-Oct Sidmouth

·        Long-tailed Skua 04-Jul Dawlish Warren

·         Montagu's Harrier 17-May West Dart River

·         Ring-necked Duck Jan/Feb Meeth

·         Spotted Crake 09-Apr East Down

·        Stone-curlew [2] 22-Sep South Huish



Posted June 18th at 11:40 pm by Kevin Rylands in Bird News


At a recent Council Meeting it was agreed that Field Trips (Guided Walks) and Indoor Meetings could restart as soon as Branches were happy to proceed, with all necessary Covid safe precautions in place. 

Full details are now on the website.

Taw & Torridge Branch will not be re-starting Indoor or Outdoor Meetings before January 2022.

Posted April 16th at 11:17 am by Mike Daniels in Bird News

Think before you post...!


Please think very carefully before posting any information on scarce or rare breeding species both here and elsewhere online.

A list of ‘at risk’ species in the county can be found here. Please note that Wood Warbler should now also be treated as on the list. All species included need to be protected - many receive full legal protection under Schedule 1 and/or are rare in the county and may be vulnerable to persecution/disturbance. It is an offence to intentionally disturb any of the Schedule 1 species during the breeding season without a valid licence. This also applies to anyone taking photographs of these species at or near the nest or whilst feeding dependant young.

Some species may be found breeding at numerous locations however please keep information on these species limited to well-known sites (e.g. Labrador Bay for Cirl Bunting, Aylesbeare Common for Dartford Warbler). Others may be found as obvious migrants and as such can also be posted eg coastal Ring Ouzel and passage waders, or raptors eg Little Ringed PloverRed Kite or Marsh Harrier.

If you have any doubts and think there is a chance there may be breeding, either because of the habitat or behaviour of the bird(s) then do not post, but please submit your records to the County Recorder and the RSPB.

Please be aware that egg collecting and other forms of persecution remain very real hazards for some of Devon’s birds.

Posts which breach these guidelines are likely to be not admitted / removed althogether, rather than edited.  


Posted March 15th at 11:56 am by Mike Langman 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

Saturday 14th December 2013

Hope's Nose

Seawatch 2.30-4pm produced little in the way of birds: 25 gannets feeding offshore and a couple of kittiwakes and fulmars. However two porpoises were close off the rocks and a seal in the cove to the north.

Posted December 14th, 2013 at 10:12 pm by Chris Proctor in Bird News

Otter Estuary

A rare visit to Budleigh Salterton in hope of some gulls this a.m. produced this 1st winter Yellow-legged Gull. Very distant and fairly unco-operative, but a smart and distinctive bird nonetheless.

Yellow-legged Gull 1W - Otter Estuary 14/12/2013
Yellow-legged Gull 1W - Otter Estuary 14/12/2013

Posted December 14th, 2013 at 4:12 pm by Tim Worfolk in Bird News

Downend & Baggy Point

No Scoters at Downend this morning but 13 females at Baggy Point plus 1 Eider.

On leaving Baggy Point the gusts of wind were so strong I almost joined the seabirds with my first & what would have been my last flying lesson!

Posted December 14th, 2013 at 2:10 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

South Milton Ley

Just received a report from Arthur Livett of flushing a Great White Egret from the reeds at South Milton Ley around 9.20 this morning  near Bob's ringing area.  It circled around for some time, settled in a field for a while and then was last seen by him down by the little bridge.  Arthur's not sure whether it settled again or it may have gone further...

Posted December 14th, 2013 at 12:16 pm in Bird News

R.Taw. Barnstaple to Ashford

190 Dark-bellied Brent off Penhill Marsh; c3000 Golden Plover and c800 Dunlin mid-river; c3500 Lapwing.

3 Black-tailed Godwit; 3 Grey Plover on Ashford sewage works foreshore and 7 Goosander (all redheads) diving and feeding mid-river.

Posted December 14th, 2013 at 12:08 pm by Maurice Clements in Bird News

Friday 13th December 2013

Newton Abbot and the Teign

A few sightings from this afternoon.

Decoy Lake; drake Scaup still present, a Gadwall and 24 Tufted Duck.

Passage House Inn near high tide; 77 Redshank, single Greenshank, Common Sandpiper, and 30 Snipe which took off from reeds.4 Little Grebe .

Lower estuary from roadside car park; 10 Red-breasted Merganser.


Posted December 13th, 2013 at 5:19 pm in Bird News

Thursday 12th December 2013

Bowling Green Marsh

The usual fare this lunchtime until about 1.50, with the Long-tailed Duck and female Red-breasted Merganser still from the hide. Good numbers of waders, with most from the viewing platform, including the Spotted Redshank, although it will probably have headed toward the hide as the tide gets higher. Also around 10 other Red-breasted Mergansers from the platform.

Posted December 12th, 2013 at 2:17 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

Clennon Valley

The Yellow-browed Warbler showing in usual place 200m W of YMCA (please do not park in the YMCA car park during the week) in sallows above stream. Also 1 Chiffchaff, 7 Goldcrest, 4 Snipe, 1 Kingfisher 2 Water Rail 2 Little Grebes, 6 Tufted Duck 2 Teal and 2 Shoveler. 

Posted December 12th, 2013 at 1:13 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Berry Head & Brixham Breakwater


Berry Head: 10+ Common Dolphins fairly close in to the headland, also 5 Harbour Porpoise (including one calf).

Brixham breakwater: 23 Purple Sandpipers, 13 Turnstones

Posted December 12th, 2013 at 9:12 am by Mark Darlaston in Bird News

Wednesday 11th December 2013

Lower Tamar Lake

A quick look at the lake this morning, noticed less female Goosanders today than normal.

8 Tufted Duck 4m 4f, 15 Goosander 12m 3f, 1 Gadwall, 11 Mallard, c50 Teal, 2 Raven, 1 Snipe, 1 Water Rail, 2 Coot.

Posted December 11th, 2013 at 7:18 pm by Rod Mudge in Bird News


3 Siberian Chiffchaffs one quite buffy brown bird the other two showing yellow in the supercilium and paler overall, also 3 (collybita) Chiffchaffs present in the marsh and 3 Goldcrests.

tristis Chiffchaff Broadsands 11 Dec 2013 ML  tristis Chiffchaff Broadsands 11 Dec 2013 ML2

Photo of one of the Siberian Chiffchaffs with yellow in supercilium in sunlight and in shade.

The Yellow-browed Warbler showed again at Clennon Valley this afternoon (D. Land)

Posted December 11th, 2013 at 5:12 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Braunton Marsh

2 Female type Marsh Harriers seen from the Toll Road to Crow Point this afternoon.

Also a female Merlin in the Burrows near the point.

[Steve Mawby]

Posted December 11th, 2013 at 2:53 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

Very good numbers of waders from the hide today until about 1.45 particularly Avocets and both Black-tailed and Bar-tailed Godwits. Also 1 Spotted Redshank and just 1 Golden Plover today. The Long-tailed Duck was up and down as usual and the female Red-breasted Merganser was sat on the near bank showing very well. Also 1 male Pintail.

Posted December 11th, 2013 at 2:10 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

near Bradworthy

Surveying on private land c.4km NW of Bradworthy yesterday; a female or juvenile Marsh Harrier flew NE just before midday. Also a Peregrine, 53 Teal and several Willow Tits.

Posted December 11th, 2013 at 9:48 am by Will Salmon in Bird News

Tuesday 10th December 2013


Broadsands:On sea: 1 Black-throated Diver ,3 Great Northern Divers, 2 Black-necked Grebes 5 Great Crested Grebes

In marsh: 3 Siberian Chiffchaffs & 3 Collybita Chiffchaffs 1 Water Rail. 9 Cirl Buntings on seed in 2nd car park. 

Clennon Valley: the Yellow-browed Warbler and 1 Siberian Chiffchaff 200m w of YMCA this afternoon

Posted December 10th, 2013 at 8:19 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Bowling Green / Exmouth / Otterton Sewage Works

Bowling Green - In addition to Nick's post 1 Spotted Redshank and the Long-tailed Duck still viewable from the hide late morning

Exmouth Seafront - Long-tailed Duck close in-shore just off Maer Rocks mid afternoon

Otterton Sewage Works - at least 2 RT Divers and 2 GN Divers plus 15+ Fulmar and 40+ Common Scoter

Posted December 10th, 2013 at 7:17 pm by Chris Townend in Bird News

Hope's Nose

The eider was on rocks in the quarry on the north side this afternoon.

Eider, Hope's Nose Quarry
Eider, Hope's Nose Quarry

Posted December 10th, 2013 at 4:34 pm by Chris Proctor in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

Good numbers of waders over a high tide at lunchtime today until about 1.50. In amongst the Lapwings were 17 Golden Plovers. Good numbers of Avocet, but not enough time to count them! Most unexpected was a female Red-breasted Merganser resting on the bank with the wader flock to the right of the hide. Not a bird I can remember seeing from the hide here. Also 3 male and 1 female Pintails.

Posted December 10th, 2013 at 2:16 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News


Driving over the new bridge this morning, I saw 4 Goosanders fly upstream.

Posted December 10th, 2013 at 10:56 am by Jon Turner in Bird News

Monday 9th December 2013

Hartland area

50+ Red-throated Divers feeding in the race between Hartland Point to Hartland Quay (probably more as sea choppy), also good numbers of auks a few Kittiwakes and Harbour Porpoise.

On Bursdon Moor single ringtail Hen Harrier and Merlin.

Posted December 9th, 2013 at 7:07 pm by Mark Darlaston in Bird News

Escot Park, East Devon

An enjoyable few hours this morning to reconnoitre the EAST Branch fieldtrip around the Escot Estate this Wednesday.  (Please note that reservations for the Christmas lunch are now closed).  Walk starts at 0930 and those attending for 'lunch only' should meet at 1230.  I would like to dedicate this walk in memory of the late Paul Stubbs, whose sudden death was announced recently.  I will miss you Paul.

Plenty of birds around with 4 very approachable Buzzards, 74 Lapwing in fields, Bullfinch, Raven, 12 Fieldfare, 45 Mallard, c50 Linnet and a probable Jacksnipe (disturbed but immediately went to ground in the 'spash pools' below the car park. 

May I take this early opportunity to wish all Devon Birds members a very Happy Christmas and great birding for 2014. 

Posted December 9th, 2013 at 6:44 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in Bird News

Horsey Island, Braunton Marshes. 0855 - 1030

3 Grey Plover and 27 Dunlin on the White House foreshore.

Horsey Island and Ramshorn Pond(Tarka the Otter)

12 Greenshank; 23 Teal; 5 Little Grebe; 5 Redshank; 2 Little Egret; c500 lapwing on Horsey fields and 1 Buzzard. No sign of Harriers. 

Posted December 9th, 2013 at 6:39 pm by Maurice Clements in Bird News

River Caen/River Taw

A wonderfull walk on a sun filled day. Good numbers of Curlew,Lapwing and Golden plover. A Female Marsh harrier was hunting over the whole area. 3 Greenshank 6 Little grebe 2 Great crested grebe 50+ Redshank 2 Stonechat. On Isley marsh 4 Spoonbill.

Posted December 9th, 2013 at 6:33 pm in Bird News


a quick visit to bowling green marsh this afternoon.

plenty of avocet and dunlin,highlight was two peregrine sending all the birds up,one of the peregrines had taken a wigeon and dropped it,which was quickly claimed by a buzzard,good view of female kingfisher from viewing platform,two male pintail(as picture) showing quite nicely.


Posted December 9th, 2013 at 4:48 pm by gray clements in Bird News

Kingsbridge Estuary

No surprises but a good day included 7 little grebe, 10 great crested grebe, 20 cormorant, 20 shag, 27 little egret, 80 brent goose, 2 Egyptian goose, 98 shelduck,780 wigeon, 110 teal, 12 pintail, 14 red-breasted merganser, 138 oystercatcher, 3 grey plov er, 90 lapwing, 380 dunlin, 2 black-tailed godwit, 15 bar-tailed godwit, 180 curlew, 89 redshank, 2 greenshank, 40 common gull & 2 kingfisher. 

Posted December 9th, 2013 at 4:42 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News


Black-throated Diver, Great-northern Diver, and Red-throated Diver all present. 2 Black-necked Grebes also. In the marsh 2 tristis type Chiffchaff 

Posted December 9th, 2013 at 4:13 pm by Josh Marshall in Bird News

Clennon Valley

The Yellow-browed Warbler showed well by stream 200m w of YMCA this afternoon.

Yellow-browed Warbler clennon Vly 9 Dec ML    Yellow-browed Warbler clennon Vly 9 Dec ML2

Posted December 9th, 2013 at 2:17 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Sunday 8th December 2013

Plym Estuary & Saltram

A single Jack Snipe, 2 Snipes, 3 Dunlins, a Common Sandpiper and a buck Roe Deer. 

Posted December 8th, 2013 at 7:27 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Torbay boat trip

Morning boat trip from Paignton harbour along the coast to Berry Head and back. 3 great northern divers (2 of them calling to each other off Elberry Cove), 1 black throated diver (Churston Point), 8 great crested grebes, 1 black necked grebe (Broadsands), 21 common scoter (Preston), 500 guillemot (Brerry Head), 1 purple sandpiper and 3 grey seals (Brixham harbour), and a few porpoise off Berry Head.

Next trip Sunday 15th December at 9am from Paignton Harbour. To book phone Nigel Smallbones on 07866 202576

Common scoter flock, Preston
Common scoter flock, Preston

Black throated diver, Churston Point
Black throated diver, Churston Point

Great northern diver, off Brixham
Great northern diver, off Brixham

Posted December 8th, 2013 at 5:51 pm by Chris Proctor in Bird News

Beesands Ley


A little improvement on recent visits. Little Grebe, 3 Mute Swan, 7 Gadwall, Pintail, 4 Teal and 8 Mallard. Out at sea a Red-throated Diver off the cellers. Picked up a flock of about 80 Wigeon way out on the sea that eventually came in and out of my sight to land presumably on Slapton Ley or furthur inland towards Kingsbridge Estuary.

Posted December 8th, 2013 at 4:57 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Slapton Ley


2 Great Crested Grebe, 17 Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe ( Ireland Bay ), 123 Canada Geese, 220 Wigeon, 133 Gadwall ( can't be far short of a record count for Devon ? ), 15 Teal, 7 Shoveler, 259 Tufted Duck, 2 Scaup ( male and female from Stokeley hide ), 76 Pochard, Red-crested Pochard X Tufted Duck hybrid, Goosander ( redhead Stokeley Bay ), 397 Coot, 50+ Moorhen, c 200 Common Gull and 3 Mediterranean Gulls ( first winter, second winter and adult ). Quiet on the sea apart from 2 Great Northern Divers.                                                                                                                                          




Posted December 8th, 2013 at 4:52 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Teign Estuary

Selected sightings from today: 

Decoy Lake - drake Scaup still, 34 Tufted Duck, Gadwall, Great Crested Grebe, Little Grebe, Green Woodpecker

Wetland south of Bishopsteignton - Teal, Water Rail, Chiffchaff, 5 Song Thrush, c.15 Meadow Pipit

Lower estuary (high tide) - 11 Turnstone, 9 Red-breasted Merganser

Upper estuary (falling tide) - 98 Redshank, 13 Greenshank, 20 Lapwing, 5 Dunlin, 2 Common Sandpiper, 10+ Snipe, 5 Little Grebe, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 3 Grey Wagtail

Posted December 8th, 2013 at 4:46 pm by Will Salmon in Bird News


On sea: 1 Black-throated Diver, 3 Great Northern Divers, 2 Black-necked Grebes, 1 Slavonian Grebe, 5 Great Crested Grebes.

In Marsh: 1 Siberian Chiffchaff, 2 'collybita' Chiffchaffs, 1 Goldcrest - up to 9 Cirl Buntings on seed early morning.

Posted December 8th, 2013 at 12:55 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

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