Devon Bird Sightings from 15th–21st March 2013


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

Thursday 21st March 2013

Dutch Ringed Bittern finds a winter home again at Slapton

 Another remarkable story of bird migration and breeding and winter site fidelity!!

A Dutch ringed and GPS tagged Bittern wintered at Slapton Ley in 2011/12 and subsequently returned in the spring of 2012 to the breeding grounds in North-Holland.

Anneka as she is known, has already returned to the breeding area again sooner than expected and when the GPS data was downloaded (via remote access) it has revealed that she has spent a second winter at Slapton........the question is did you see a Bittern at Slapton this winter ? if so it was Anneke !!! Saying that the bird seen by Graham Watson 3rd Feb 2013 (see entry on this site) does not appear to be wearing any colour rings so there were at least two birds wintering.....and what about the bird at Beesands Ley 9th Dec seen by the Plymouth group? another bird??

For more information see the map of Anneke on (click on Anneke on the right-hand side of the map). Anneke left the breeding area on exactly the same date as in 2011 (22nd Oct) but this time took the more direct route through France.

This still involved a sea crossing of 400km. During the migration she flew at altitudes of a few metres to more than 1500m. Unfortunately, it’s not been possible to determine the return route from Slapton to the breeding area.

As long as the GPS-logger keeps collecting data the remote access base stations located in the breeding area will continue to read data so we will be able build up a picture of the breeding ecology as well as migration and wintering habitats.

Posted March 21st, 2013 at 9:12 pm by Nik Ward in Bird News


A brief 30 minute seawatch was quiet from Shoalstone car park,  single Sandwich Tern a noticeable passage of Fulmar but more unusual for me around this area was 17 LBB gulls on the sea.

Posted March 21st, 2013 at 7:34 pm by Josh Marshall in Bird News

Thurlestone Bay

A day which started wet with a F7 SE wind just got worse. Using the tailgate of my car managed a 3hr seawatch from 09.15- as expected SE winds produce the best mornings passage for a few weeks .

Flying east - 100 Gannet, 20 Great B B Gull, 4 Fulmar , 2 Teal 1 Guillemot.

Offshore 2 Great C Grebe, 1 Red T Diver. At 10.55 3 Sandwich Tern flew towards Hope Cove , they returned 5 mins later when they had been joined by a Common Tern- my earliest date for the latter., and less than 25 yards off .

Birds coming in off the sea and flying straight up the valley were - 58 Meadow Pipit, 30 Lesser B B Gull, 12 Dunlin, 2 Alba Wagtail , 2 ad Med Gull

Posted March 21st, 2013 at 7:08 pm by Mike Passman in Bird News


Shelly Beach - 1800 - ad yellow-legged gull this evening. Also 12+ sandwich tern and 16+ red-breasted merganser in atrocious conditions.

Posted March 21st, 2013 at 7:02 pm by Matt Knott in Bird News

Axe Estuary

10 Sandwich Terns resting at Coronation Corner this afternoon.

Posted March 21st, 2013 at 6:05 pm in Bird News

Wrafton Pond Braunton

Malcolm Shakspeare phoned and had 2 Gadwall and 2 sandmartins at 13.15 today

Posted March 21st, 2013 at 5:37 pm by David & Gillian Churchill in Bird News

Bowling green marsh

Watched from the hide 11:00 till 13:00

my first sand Martin of the year flew south, 1 water rail, 2 ringed plover, 7 grey plover, 10+ bar tailed godwit,   1 snipe , 21+ dunlin, 100+ wigeon, good numbers of black tailed godwits , 8+ meadow pipits, 2 Cetti's warblers. 

Posted March 21st, 2013 at 4:16 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Wednesday 20th March 2013


 Barn owl again onto burrows by stone bridge entrance.Was expecting a wheatear or two but alas.Rough weather due in may bring something.

Posted March 20th, 2013 at 9:16 pm by Robert Marshall in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

A couple of hours stroll around the top end towards the M5 produced a nice contrast Winter meets Summer so to speak!

 Bramblings x 6 and Redwings x 10 and our first sightings of Sand Martins x 3, followed by our beloved songbird the Chiffchaff x 4!

Plenty of Snipe 25+, good numbers of Widgeon, Teal, Shoverler, Lapwing, three Buzzards, and one female Kestrel. 48 different species in all.   

Posted March 20th, 2013 at 9:01 pm by Derek Carter in Bird News

Thurlestone Bay

Flat calm sea enabled Divers to be picked up in the Bay-  4 Great Northern and 2 Red Throated.

Female Marsh Harrier on Thurlestone Marsh this morning and on South Huish Marsh this aft.

Duck totals for both marshes - 65 Teal, 6 Shoveler, 6 Wigeon, 2 Shelduck.

Chiffchaff totals - 15 at South Milton Ley and 2 in my garden

Posted March 20th, 2013 at 6:14 pm by Mike Passman in Bird News


A couple of Firecrest in pirivate gardens near the sea front today.   Seen one of them regularly for the past five weeks.

Posted March 20th, 2013 at 5:43 pm by Gerry Hooper in Bird News


Seawatching from 10-11am this morning - nothing much on the sea, but a Red-throated Diver flew north and 3 Common Scoters (2m) flew south.

The highlight however was at 2:05pm when I picked up another 3 Scoters flying south, but this time one of them was a Velvet Scoter! The group then turned around and flew back up north. On the first flyby when the birds were closer, I could clearly see the white secondary panels. It was probably a 1st winter female as it was brown and had a pale belly. It also seemed a tiny bit smaller than the two male Common Scoters it was with.

I don't remember seeing any other reports of Velvet Scoter this winter, so quite a lucky sighting!

Posted March 20th, 2013 at 4:36 pm by Laurie Allnatt in Bird News

R.Taw off Pottington Ind Est.


Lesser black-backed Gull 42; Little Grebe 3 and 18 Sanderling.

Bradiford Reserve.

2 Buzzard and a pair of Gadwall. Just 1 Moorhen, 5 male Mallard and 1 Curlew.

Posted March 20th, 2013 at 4:31 pm by Maurice Clements in Bird News

Bolberry Down to Hope Cove

Cracking male black redstart in Redrot Cove at Bolt Tail.

An astonishing 29 common buzzards soaring over the hinterland of Hope Cove, late morning. Many dropped down to feed in fields, rest drifted away. Maybe a mix of residents & migrants?

Posted March 20th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Rose-coloured Starling Help

A question on the Forum has been asked about the exact location of the Rose-coloured Starling.  Anyone who's seen it able to help?

Direct link here:

Posted March 20th, 2013 at 12:50 pm by Steve Waite in Bird News


Very Quiet on the sea, just 2 Common Scoter and 1 Great Crested Grebe. 1 male Wheatear on the headland (digiscoped at distance of 60m+ with iphone).

Wheatear Male Broadsands 20 Mar 13 ML - Kowa iphone

Posted March 20th, 2013 at 12:14 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Tuesday 19th March 2013

Colour Ringed Waxwing

I contacted a Harry Scott a ringer from Aberdeen about the Devon colour ringed Waxwing and received a very quick response from another ringer Raymond Duncan;

The bird in the photo (white/Black/lime BTO ring number NW50145) was ringed at Claremont Gardens in Aberdeen as a young male on the 28th November 2012.

Harry requested for us Devon folk to keep our eyes open for more of the Aberdeen ringed Waxwings.


Posted March 19th, 2013 at 11:01 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Blaxton Meadow Saltram

Had a walk down Blaxton Meadow on my break from work earlier not expecting to see to much due to low tide. Was very pleased to see a drake Pintail showing well. Also 1 Redshank, 1 Little Egret and 6 Canada Geese, A male Bullfinch was feeding on blossom near to the wardens office.

Posted March 19th, 2013 at 8:35 pm by Charlie Imms in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

The drake American Wigeon was still present with the Wigeon flock in the right hand corner of the reserve at 1.40pm today.

Posted March 19th, 2013 at 3:19 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

Higher Soar to Southdown Farm

Only spring migrant was a single chiffchaff but other movements involved 70 chaffinches (extremely pale birds, probably nominate North European/Russian race), 35 linnets and 4 song thrushes together on open ground but very furtive.

Otherwise skylarks, yellowhammers & cirl buntings all in song throughout a glorious morning. 4 Roe Deer close to the farm

Posted March 19th, 2013 at 1:59 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Bowling green marsh

Watched from the hide 08:30 till 11:45

not expecting much with a low high tide but turned out to be a very good morning 

at 09:45 a few alarm calls from the far side was followed by a female hen harrier emerging from the reeds it flew over the reeds before dropping over the railway line heading towards darts farm, just after this the curlew sandpiper flew in but remained elusive, then at 11:33 a group of wigeon flew in from darts farm direction and i soon found the drake American wigeon it showed well in pool to right of the hide. 

other highlights were 3 Cetti's warblers, 1 water rail, 33 avocet , 200+ bar tailed godwits, 420+ black tailed godwits , 350+ dunlin ,2 knot, 7 snipe, 2 reed buntings , peregrine ,  4 pintail(1m,3f), 190+ wigeon , 3 little grebes, 4+ little egrets, 70+ redshank, 24+ shelduck, 3 song thrush, 1 great spotted woodpecker 

not a bad morning 

Posted March 19th, 2013 at 1:33 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Exminster village

A small flock of 8 waxwings were feeding on berries outside the police house on Dryfields Road near the free car park at 12.30. The rose-coloured starling was in Milbury Lane with 8 brambling.

Posted March 19th, 2013 at 1:02 pm by John Waldon in Bird News


Just had an early Swallow. It flew around over Shoalstone swimming pool for 5 minutes or so before heading off towards the breakwater. All quiet on the headland earlier, only notable birds were a Chiff chaff calling near the end, Sparrowhawk, Stonechat and a Cirl bunting, the latter being decidedly thin on the ground lately.

Posted March 19th, 2013 at 10:45 am by John Lusher in Bird News

Monday 18th March 2013

Bowling green marsh

Watched from the hide from 09:05 till 11:30

the curlew sandpiper still showing well in front of the hide, avocet numbers down to 33, 200+ bar tailed godwits, hard to count dunlin numbers but estimate about 450+ , 1 adult med gull was a nice find. 7+ common gull, 2 very vocal Cetti's warblers, 1 water rail, 6+ chiffchaffs, 1 great spotted woodpecker, 2 little grebes, 1 pintail, 180+ wigeon, 1 little egret, 300+ black tailed godwits. 

from the viewing platform 

the female long tailed duck showed in front of the viewing platform around 12:00 before flying off 

Posted March 18th, 2013 at 9:44 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Breakwater and Berry Head

A walk around the head and Breakwater today gave a firecrest and 4 Bullfinch near the radar dome amoungst others and a Blackcap singing close to the quarry road half way down. No Wheatear seen.

Off the breakwater 7 Purple Sands in 2 groups and a Black necked Grebe very close in off the beach

Posted March 18th, 2013 at 4:38 pm by tim clyburn in Bird News

Kingsbridge Estuary

Charleton Marsh / Bay, 08:40-10:30, high tide.

36 Brent Geese, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe and 5 Red-breasted Mergansers in the bay. 28 Wigeon and 35 Teal on the marsh with a couple calling Water Rails. 7 Chiffchaffs in the sewage works. Spoonbill report in the hide log book for Charleton Bay, 18:00 yesterday. Also in there 2 Avocets on the 10th March ( quite scarce on the estuary, not even annual ).

Posted March 18th, 2013 at 3:05 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Sunday 17th March 2013

Exeter Waxwings

Photo of ringed Waxwing taken in Buddle Lane today by Stan Stanbury.  He has sent off details of the rings and will pass on the information as soon as the results are received. 

Waxwing by Stan Stanbury, Exeter 17.3.13

Posted March 17th, 2013 at 11:03 pm in Bird News

Buddle Lane Waxwings

0900 Sunday morning and 38 waxwings feeding in hawthorn near junction with Lime Grove Road. They were dropping down from a tall birch tree alongside.

Posted March 17th, 2013 at 10:17 pm by Simon M Bates in Bird News


This weekend has seen a drop off of species compared to last weekend at the rec playing fields - no long tailed duck, goldeneye or mergansers. 3 Brambling hanging on in the garden.

Posted March 17th, 2013 at 8:30 pm by Martin Elcoate in Bird News

Beesands Ley

The WeBS counts here this winter have been the poorest i can remember  ( a single Mallard the only duck present in February ) so i was very surprised to find some reasonable numbers today namely 5 Mallard, 2 Shoveler, 15 Pochard, 64 Tufted Duck, 2 Great Crested Grebes and 14 Coot. I was hoping that if they had come around the corner from Slapton there might have been one of the Ring-necked Ducks but alas no. Equally given the time of year i suppose they may be recently arrived birds heading north and resting up a bit. Little in Start Bay apart from a Great Northern Diver off Beesands village. 

Posted March 17th, 2013 at 7:01 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Thurlestone Bay

3m 1f Wheatear, 75 Teal, 12 Wigeon, 8 Shoveler, 1 Dunlin & 3 Snipe.An ad Med Gull over - all at South Huish Marsh

In the bay 2 Great C Grebe and a Red T Diver flew west.

Bob B reports at South Milton Ley- 30 + Chiffchaff and a Firecrest

Posted March 17th, 2013 at 6:12 pm by Mike Passman in Bird News

Merlin: Crow Point/Burrows

Finally, saw my bogey bird!

In full glorious sun at close range giving spectacular views, a male merlin was working the edges of numerous ponds in the dune slacks perching regularly on exposed dead willow. Cracker.

also, little Grebe in the drainage channels on the road down to Crow Point and two mating Brown Hare not far from the toll road. 

Posted March 17th, 2013 at 2:13 pm by Tom Williams in Bird News

Broadsands and Clennon Valley

Broadsands: on Sea 2 Great Northern Divers, 4 Red-throated Divers, 13 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Common Scoter. 1 female Wheatear on sea wall it or possibly another on rocks around headland too.

Clennon Valley: The female still taking meal worms in my garden Black Redstart.

black Redstart Female Clennon Valley 17 Mar 13 ML black Redstart Female Clennon Valley 17 Mar 13 ML2

Posted March 17th, 2013 at 12:33 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Kingsteignton - Newton Abbot

The Firecrest was just beyond the Hackney Marshes car park mid-morning, giving bursts of song in the sunshine. Also the drake Wood Duck still beside the new River Teign footbridge.

Posted March 17th, 2013 at 12:20 pm by Will Salmon in Bird News

Saturday 16th March 2013


A 4 hour seawatch (with JL) was inexplicably poor, with totals of less than 60 each of Gannets and Auks. However, Fulmars reached 60 and Kittiwakes 53, while some quality was provided by 2 each of Great Northern and Red-throated Divers, 4 Manx Shearwaters and 5 Common Scoters. The Shag passage noted yesterday continued, with at least 60 moving west.  The highlight of the walk round was a cracking male Firecrest below the reserve, but very little else was around, with only 1 Water Pipit, 8 Redwings, 2 Chiffchaffs and 4 Goldcrests troubling the notebook.

(Late news from 13th March, a Barn Owl along the bottom fields, 2 Shoveler through, a Black Redstart and a decent fall of 24 Chiffchaffs).

Posted March 16th, 2013 at 7:55 pm by Pat Mayer in Bird News

Thurlestone Bay

On South Huish marsh this morning inbetween the showers- Female Marsh Harrier ( Slapton bird ) 1 Little Ringed Plover, 3 Snipe 75 Teal, 5 Shoveler, , 1 Shelduck. 2 Wheatear. 6 Turnstone flew across the Bay

Posted March 16th, 2013 at 6:32 pm by Mike Passman in Bird News

around the exe

Bowling green marsh watched from the hide 07:45 till 10:00

The curlew sandpiper showed very well in front of thge hide and 600+ dunlin over the marsh, 87 a over, 202+ bar tailed godwits, 200+ black tailed godwits, 7 grey plover,1 water rail, 6 snipe, green woodpecker by the hide , 5 pintail, little grebe, a 2nd winter med gull, with 7 common gull, 3 lesser black backed gull 

Exminster marsh from 11:00 till 13:00

One of the spoonbill showed distantly from the canal bank and soon flew behind the lagoon then as walked back from the viewing platform a spoonbill was just off the main scrape with yellow flag on leg, 5 pochard on the lagoon and 8+ pintail around the marsh 

Stopped off at buddle lane on way home at 14:17 44+ waxwing just along from the green gables pub before flying towards redhills end of buddle lane 

Posted March 16th, 2013 at 6:26 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Galmpton creek

3 Blacktailed Godwit at the head of the creek this pm. Not very remarkable but I've spent the last 13 years working here and have never seen a Godwit at this location. For 10 years before that I was on the Dart trip boats and doing the WEBs count and can't recall seeing either of the species then. I'd be interested to know if anyone else has recorded any 'Dart' Godwits,recent or historic, or is this a first!

Posted March 16th, 2013 at 5:50 pm by John Lusher in Bird News

Exeter- Buddle Lane

45 Waxwing from midday till 1.20pm when the whole flock flew towards Cowick Street. The flock were using a tree in front of 63 Buddle Lane and eating berries from in front of 73 Buddle Lane. This was 500 yards along from the Green Gables pub, where there didn't seem to be many berries left.

Posted March 16th, 2013 at 5:05 pm by Mark Bailey in Bird News


2 Sandwich Tern off Astra Zeneca car park

Posted March 16th, 2013 at 4:51 pm by Josh Marshall in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

A brief visit between the hail and rain showers. The adult spoonbill flew up from the marsh, from west of the lagoon, and continued towards the Clyst at 14.45. Three small flocks (15, 25 & 3)  of black-tailed godwits flew north over the estuary and reminded me how scarce they have been this winter. There were a few more with the lapwings closer to the railway line. Duck numbers appeared to have fallen but there were lots of shoveller and at least 6 pintail.

Posted March 16th, 2013 at 4:41 pm by John Waldon in Bird News

St Thomas, Exeter

Up to 30 Waxwing sat in the tops of the tall trees of St Thomas Churchyard, Cowick Street in the pouring rain and hail trilling away at 3.30 pm this afternoon.

Posted March 16th, 2013 at 4:21 pm by Nik Ward in Bird News


First day in a long time that the bay was not too choppy to check thoroughly.

Preston: 1 Black-necked Grebe, 6 Great Crested Grebes, 21 Common Scoter (54 Turnstone on prom!)

Goodrington: 4 Black-necked Grebes, 6 Great Crested Grebes, 8 Common Scoter, 1 Sandwich Tern

Broadsands: 1 Black-throated Diver, 6 Red-throated Divers, 2 Great Northern Divers,16 Great Crested Grebes, 7 Common Scoter, 13 Guillemots, 1 Razorbill (Red-necked Grebe possibly still present but Id was tricky looking almost into the sunlight- toward Brixham this morning)

(On 14th March I noted a column of 16 Buzzards soaring near Ipplepen. Managed to get six in photo!.)

 Buzzards Ipplepen 14 Mar 13 ML

Posted March 16th, 2013 at 11:02 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Dawlish Warren & Exminster

0650 Dawlish Warren and a super male Wheatear heralds spring, but it's still winter offshore as the rain drives in over a single Great Northern Diver eating a crab, raft of 6 Common Scoter, 5 Shag and a pair of Great Crested Grebe head waving. No Sandwich terns and no martins.

0900 Exminster Marshes middle car park - Water Rail calling, Spoonbill with head firmly lodged in back (don't blame it), and some nice Pintail.

0930 Riverside Park - Reed bunting singing.

Posted March 16th, 2013 at 10:50 am by Simon M Bates in Bird News

American Wigeon at Darts Farm

The American Wigeon was feeding in front of hide this morning, showing very well in the bright spells of sunshine.

Posted March 16th, 2013 at 10:36 am by Gareth Williams in Bird News

Friday 15th March 2013

Exeter Waxwings

A flock of 42 waxwing were seen on Buddle lane at 1.20pm, 500 meters further along the road another flock of 30 were present. Still a lot of berries on the trees so perhaps they will stay a bit longer.

Posted March 15th, 2013 at 10:58 pm by John Gale in Bird News

Newton Abbot

The drake Wood Duck still late afternoon on the River Teign by the new footbridge off Brunel Industrial Estate.

Posted March 15th, 2013 at 7:03 pm by Mark Bailey in Bird News

Otter Reserve

 2 Little Ringed Plovers still on the scrapes

Posted March 15th, 2013 at 5:23 pm by Doug Cullen in Bird News

Sightings from Prawle Point

3 hour seawatch from 7.25am in WSW 4-5 with showers produced : 1 x Manxie at 9.25 am ( wintering individual or migrant ?) ; 2 x Puffins west ; pair of Eider east; fem RB Merganser; adult Med Gull east ;and 7 Divers : 3 x Great Northern wp; 2 x GN sp; 2 x Black Throated. Auks flying west ( 424 ) and going east (403) . Small passage of Shags (29) west. Passerine movement ? 1 x pipit in off sea.


Posted March 15th, 2013 at 5:11 pm in Bird News

Exe Spoonbills

    A mid-morning look at Matford marshes revealed our old friend FJ9 feeding on the back pool, and a look at Exminster marsh showed "yellow flag" still present. Later reports announced that  both birds are now on Exminster marsh.

Posted March 15th, 2013 at 1:55 pm by Brian Heasman in Bird News

Torbay from Broadsands

Checked out Torbay from Broadsands this morning as Sunday is the last winter boat trip for this season, some nice sightings:- 2 Black-necked Grebe ( well into summer plumage), 5 Great Crested Grebe, 8 Common Scoter, 1 Great Northern Diver (well beyond mussel farm bouys) and further out again a bird low on the water, similar shape to GND but smaller, one for Sundays boat trip to find and ID, 2 Mute Swans paddling across the Bay towards Brixham. Just as I walked back off the headland I had a Kingfisher on the rocks and a Cirl Bunting called from scrub behind me. Still 4 places on boat if interested give us a call.

Posted March 15th, 2013 at 10:23 am by Nigel Smallbones in Bird News

Drakes Meadow

Hunting for wheatear and sand martins on my local patch. Nothing doing but all the resident birds seem paired up. Small group of siskin buzzing in alder, c30 redwing, 3 meadow pipit and a roe deer at close quarters.

Posted March 15th, 2013 at 10:03 am by Simon M Bates in Bird News

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