Devon Bird Sightings from 15th–21st April 2013

Lockdown relaxations

Devon Birds would like to thank the many members and other birdwatchers who complied with the restrictions during the recent Lockdown and stayed in their local area (village, town or part of city) to birdwatch while exercising (and later) taking recreation. We hope that, despite the obvious frustrations, you found some respite in watching wildlife in your local area and perhaps discovered some birds close to home, that you might otherwise not have seen! As always, please submit sightings to the County recorder and / or BirdTrack. 
Please continue to follow the Covid related requirements (currently "rule of six outside, social distancing etc) while enjoying the new freedoms to extend your birdwatching. Some hides will remain closed for the time being and where you find one open, please follow Government guidelines on keeping yourself & others safe:
Thank you from
Devon Birds News site editors & members of the Records Committee

Posted April 2nd at 4:28 pm by Pete Aley 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


As noted in the minutes of the Oct 2020 DBRC meeting, Tim Jones is standing down after serving as a member of the Committee for an extended sixth year. Tim has been an active member of the Committee, and his consistently pragmatic approach to assessing records has proved invaluable. The Society would like to thank him for his contribution over the past six years and wish him well in the future.

In the hope of maintaining a geographic spread across the Committee, DBRC approached Dean Jones to fill the vacancy. Dean grew up birding and ringing in Antrim and Lothian, before a tour of various European islands, including Lundy where he has been the Warden now for the past four years.

His experience and knowledge from ringing and birdwatching around Europe will be especially useful to Devon Birds and the Records Committee.

Unless the County Recorder receives any other applications before 15th April 2021, Dean will be formally elected to fill the vacancy for a five year period.

For more information and/or an application form please contact:

Kevin Rylands, County Recorder.   Email: 

Posted March 4th at 10:45 am by Mike Daniels 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

Sunday 21st April 2013

melbury forest,nr parkham n.devon.

Grasshopper warbler reeling from 20:20.Hoping for early nightjar but nothing doing.Bonus red deer stag feeding in field.

Posted April 21st, 2013 at 9:23 pm by Robert Marshall in Bird News

Skern wagtail

i dont suppose you can have too many photos when a bird this nice drops in

 {Ed. But it looks like the same pic you last posted!}

Posted April 21st, 2013 at 8:23 pm by Steve Hatch in Bird News

Skern Wagtail

A couple more photos from Paul Barker.

Interesting Yellow Wagtail
Interesting Yellow Wagtail

Interesting Yellow Wagtail
Interesting Yellow Wagtail

Posted April 21st, 2013 at 8:13 pm by Steve Waite in Bird News

Near Toll House A382 Moretonhampsted

At approximately 1330 hours today we were lucky enough to see two of Firecrest in the brambles level with our car. We stopped and observed them for about a minute.

We also saw a Pied Flycatcher in Dunsford Nature Reserve this afternoon.

Posted April 21st, 2013 at 8:07 pm by Tara in Bird News


Another picture of this stunning bird, more available for id purposes if required

Posted April 21st, 2013 at 8:01 pm by Steve Hatch in Bird News


Whitethroat photograph which should of been attached with my post yesterday. Many thanks Mark.

Posted April 21st, 2013 at 7:52 pm by Mark Dyer in Bird News

Around the exe

Topsham 10:00 till 11:00

the female long tailed duck was showing south of topsham quay, 12+ ringed plover from goat walk.

exminster marshes 11:30 till 15:00

a good walk around the marsh the lesser whitethroat was along the back path from the rspb car park with 7+ reed buntings, 6+ blackcap, 1 whitethroat, peregrine, around the rest of the marsh 5 yellow wagtails and a BLUE HEADED WAGTAIL were between the middle car park and fishermans car park but very elusive, 23+ swift, 8+ house Martin and steady passage of sand martins and swallows, 4 pintail, 4+ wigeon, 8+ whimbrel, 1 whitethroat, 6 Cetti's warblers, 10+ sedge warbler, 2 reed warbler, 8+ blackcaps, 7+ willow warblers. 

Topsham quay 15:15 till 15:45, the 1st summer little gull was towards turf with 100+ black headed gulls, 8 little egrets. 

A cuckoo was heard and seen by severall people before I arrived on exminster marsh. 

Posted April 21st, 2013 at 7:39 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Skern Wagtail

Popped down this afternoon to see this bird and was pleased to get a shot or two so hope it helps with a definitive id, I think Steve will be posting some more later.

[EDIT: Ashy-headed looks best bet to me, although it is lacking the small rear supercilium this race often show. On the web there's also some similar white-throated Grey-headed. S. Waite]

Posted April 21st, 2013 at 7:24 pm by Rob Cross in Bird News

Whimbrel in Plymouth Sound

25 whimbrel at Mount Batten 1pm today, roosting at high tide then flew off calling towards the Tamar.

Posted April 21st, 2013 at 7:04 pm by Richard Archer in Bird News

Stonechats. Sharkham Point

Couple of pictures from today...

Stonechat, J.Marshall
Stonechat, J.Marshall

Stonechat, J.Marshall
Stonechat, J.Marshall

Posted April 21st, 2013 at 6:31 pm by Josh Marshall in Bird News

Bradford Reserve and Pottington, R.Taw

10:00 3 Whimbel on the river & a pair of Gadwall plus Buzzard on the reserve.

Posted April 21st, 2013 at 6:18 pm by Maurice Clements in Bird News

Drumbridges, Yarner Wood and Bowling Green

Drumbridges (A38): Black Kite being mobbed by a crow at 7.20am. Moving Southwards. Able to stop and get the bins on it.

Yarner Wood: Pied Flycatchers (2m 1f); Mandarin Ducks (3m 2f);

Bowling Green (1-3pm): Raven over; blackcap (m); Greenshank (7 from viewing platform); whimbrel (2 over and 1 from viewing platform); grey plover (six from viewing platform); Little gull (1st winter) flying, dipping and settling on the water with black-heads close in to Goat Walk

Posted April 21st, 2013 at 5:10 pm by Keith Annison in Bird News

Burrator Reservoir

A cool SW breeze brought drizzle then strengthening rain from 15.00 to 15.45: c.80 Barn Swallows were fluttering low over the water with just 2 Sand Martins amongst them - as far as I could see.

Posted April 21st, 2013 at 5:04 pm by Steve Young in Bird News

Northam Burrows

George Mudford went over to Northam Burrows to photograph

these lovely spring 'alba' Wagtails.

Posted April 21st, 2013 at 5:02 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News


re: Black-headed Wagtail, I agree with Roger. My first reaction was that it isn't Feldegg, but it seems to have features of many of the other potential candidates - including Feldegg, so I hope photos might help in due course.

3 Whimbrel there, and two smart sum plum Dunlin on the beach.

Bradiford reserve had a few Swallows and a Little Egret.

Posted April 21st, 2013 at 4:36 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News


At least 2 Cuckoos being quite vocal and showing themselves on Molland common. and also rather unexpectedly a Great Spotted Woodpecker which is a new one for me on the middle of open moorland away from any kind of woodland.

Also on Exmoor in a wood just east of twitchen via a public footpath a couple of Goldcrest, a pair of Pied Flycatchers and a nice Roe buck. At the far end of the wood where the footpath starts to climb up the hillside great views can be had looking into what I think is a Carrion Crow nest in the trees below (we didn't hang about to see the parent birds).

A great day (til it rained!)


Pied Flycatcher
Pied Flycatcher

Carrion Crow?
Carrion Crow?

Posted April 21st, 2013 at 4:22 pm by Chris Triggs in Bird News

Wagtail at Northam Burrows

There have been a few yellow Wagtails on Northam Burrows recently, but one in particular caught my eye this morning just as I was about to leave there around 10.00. My immediate reaction was that it was Black-headed and I was able to watch it for about an hour, often with close views. Other birders there were Dave Paull, Pat Barrow and Robert Marshall. Pat was able to take good photos which it is hoped can be posted later.

The head was basically black, but shading to grey towards the nape, and the throat was white, both of which mitigate against Black-headed. There was no supercilium.

On looking through many photographs on the web, my opinion now is that it is more similar to Ashy-headed. However opinion of others once the photos are up would be appreciated.

The other possibility is Grey-headed, but the head of this bird was much darker than any photos I have seen of that form.

Posted April 21st, 2013 at 3:47 pm by Roger & Lynne Doble in Bird News

Kingsbridge Estuary

Walked down to the hide at Charleton Marsh this morning. Couple of Snipe still present and a couple each of Sedge and Reed Warbler singing. Blackcaps quite conspicuos and vocal. Water Rail heard. All the Teal and Wigeon appear to have gone, 4 Whimbrel in the bay on the falling tide.

Posted April 21st, 2013 at 2:52 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Sth Huish Marsh

3 Yellow Wag, Blue Heeaded Wag, 4 White WAg and Swift over this morning


Posted April 21st, 2013 at 1:48 pm by Alan Doidge in Bird News


3 Red Kites drifting gently westwards from 1135 - 1140 hrs.


Posted April 21st, 2013 at 12:45 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Northam Burrows

A Black-headed Wagtail being reported from the Burrows this morning, and here's me without a car!

Posted April 21st, 2013 at 12:41 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Berry Head

Have just returned from Berry Head, with all the problems of PIB and seabirds I carried out a count at the seabird colony and had 1,188 Guillemots. from my past records the average for April is 1,104, counted on the 19th and only had 10 birds. Again checking from my past records the Guillemots should start laying on the 25th or around that date. I will carry out further counts over the next few weeks to see if PIB has caused any problems to the Guillemots of BH.  

Posted April 21st, 2013 at 10:44 am by Nigel Smallbones in Bird News

Soar Sat 20th April

A post-Nepal walk for Steve Cox and me to get back into the British birding mode. Sunny conditions with the SE wind keeping it cool. not quite as much variety as Steve Y reported earlier but Willow warbler numbers had picked up with double figures around East Soar willows.

Cirl Bunting 6+, Wheatear 18, Willow Warbler 12+, Chiffchaff 6+, Whitethroat 6, Swallow c20, Blackcap.

Please could visiting birders use the log book in the cafe at East Soar farm - it's in a plastic folder and can now be found on the tables or in the magazine pile.  

Posted April 21st, 2013 at 10:40 am by Pete Aley in Bird News

Berry Hd

A few migrants on headland this morning: 2 Lesser Whitethroats, 2 Whitethroats, 17 Wheatear, 7 Willow Warbler, 8 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcaps, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Photos: Lesser Whitethroat and Great Spotted Woodpecker.


Posted April 21st, 2013 at 10:36 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Juvenile Swallow!

Yesterday (20 April) I saw a juvenile Swallow with about 10 adults perched in a tree by the River Otter south of Otterton. Hoping to find a Red-rumped (after scanning hirundines in April in vain for the last 40-odd years!), I was surprised to see that one bird had an obvious pale throat above the neck band. Although the birds were soon disturbed, I managed to relocate the juvenile in flight, when I confirmed the throat colour and also the short tail typical of juveniles (and that it wasn't anything more exciting!).

The explanation probably lies in early breeding in Iberia (for example), with young birds joining migrants moving north after fledging. A note in British Birds (, page 127) describes birds fledging in Spain on 11 April 1970 and follows an observation in Britain of juvenile Sawllows in Britain in mid-May.

Posted April 21st, 2013 at 9:14 am by Dave Smallshire in Bird News

Saturday 20th April 2013

Whitethroat - Exminster Marshes

Whilst down on Exminster Marshes today found our first Whitethroat of the year and also nice to hear the Sedge Warblers an Reed Buntings calling with meaning.

Posted April 20th, 2013 at 9:58 pm by Mark Dyer in Bird News

Tamerton Foliot, Plymouth

Red Kite late pm over estuary. Unfortunately never quite over Plymouth!

Posted April 20th, 2013 at 8:56 pm by Steve Cox in Bird News


My 8 year old son and I did a loop from the MIddle Soar car park, through the farm to Bolt Head then along the coast to Soar Mill Cove then back up the hill from 06.30 to midday. Mainly bright sunshine and clear sky with cool with northerly wind going east later:

Black Redstart by car park at midday, 10+ singing male Common Whitethroats, 22 Wheatears incl. 5 in off the sea at Bolt Head and 16 together in the field above Soar Mill Cove beach, 1 Yellow Wag N. over first thing, 1 Sand Martin in off the sea, 3 Willow Warblers, 3 Blackcap, and oddly, 1 Shelduck on the Warren cliffs.

Posted April 20th, 2013 at 8:46 pm by Steve Young in Bird News

Exminster Marsh

1.50pm-4.15pm. A Hobby was south of the RSPB car park mid afternoon. The lesser Whitethroat showed really well. Also 2 Bar-Headed Geese. 2 Sedge Warbler, 1 Reed Warbler and Willow Warbler all singing. On the river between the viewing platform and the Goatwalk the Little Gull and Arctic Tern both showing distantly (thanks Keith)

Posted April 20th, 2013 at 7:41 pm by Mark Bailey in Bird News

Thurlestone Bay

Offshore below expectations , Warblers and Wagtails better.

AJL had the best of the offshore records befor 09.30 - 24 Common Scoter, 9 Commic Tern, 1 Ringed Plover

9 Whimbrel

At South Huish Marsh - 12 Dunlin- over, 6 Wheatear, 1 Whitethroat . 1 m Yellow wagtail at 11.30, at 17.00

3 m Yellow and a superb male Blue Headed Wagtail ( found by Bob B )

Earlier at South Huish Marsh he had the first Groppa of the year , 5 Sedge, 3 Reed , 3 Willow Warblers , Blackcap, Ciffchaff. At 18.00 1 Tree Pipit

Posted April 20th, 2013 at 7:31 pm by Mike Passman in Bird News

Hope's Nose


Quiet.  2 Song Thrushes, 2 Ravens, 2 Fulmars, 3 Swallows, 3 Linnets, 6 Greenfinches, 8 Chiffchaff (2 in full song), 6 Gannets, 8+ Shags, Cormorant, 5 Great Black Backed Gulls, 2 Wheatear (1 male and 1 female), Kestrel and 15+ Guillemots.

Posted April 20th, 2013 at 7:25 pm by Paul Darlington in Bird News

Around the marshes

Exminster marsh 09:15 till 11:00

quiet this morning a fall of sedge warblers with 12+ along station road, along with blackcaps, 5+ willow warblers, 3 Cetti's warblers, 5+ buzzards

topsham goat walk and bowling green marsh 12:00 till 17:20

the 1s little gull showed well at times of goat walk and the female long tailed duck drifted up river, a small tern was elusive all afternoon but with patience managed to confirm as an Arctic tern.

bowling green very quiet with 200+ black tailed godwit, 11+ little egrets, 3 greenshanks, 3+ whimbrel, 1 wigeon,2  Cetti's warblers , 3 willow warblers 

Posted April 20th, 2013 at 7:17 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

Big thank you to Bob for telling me about this Lesser Whitethroat and another birder (I dont know the name of) for help in the search, Its a lifer for me!;o)

Posted April 20th, 2013 at 5:56 pm by simon thurgood in Bird News


Around Hackney Marshes & the racecourse this morning: one Reed Warbler, 2 Sedge Warblers, 4 Blackcaps, 4 Chiffchaffs, a Willow Warbler and a male Wheatear, with 10+ Swallows and 5+ House Martins overhead.

Posted April 20th, 2013 at 4:30 pm by Will Salmon in Bird News

Headland Warren to Warren House Inn.

 One Female Redstart, Lots of Wheatear and Winchat. 2 Green Woodpecker,  Reed Bunting, A pair of Cuckoo plus Willow  Wabler and lots of Meadow Pipit all singing.

Posted April 20th, 2013 at 3:02 pm by David Turrell in Bird News

Downend & Saunton Down

After the sea fog had burnt off the perfect morning for an hour or two birding.

2 Sandwich Terns, 1 Guillo, 23 Common Scoters landing in Bideford & Barnstaple Bay + another 7 at Downend flying into the Bay.

400 + Gulls mostly Herring with a few Great Black backed Gulls & 1 Fulmar.following a trawler around.

4 Common Buzzard circling over the Down & my first Common Whitethroat of the year. 2 Goldcrest & the fruity song of the male Blackcaps & the coconut aroma of the gorse flowers in the warm sunshine - in a word - heaven!

Posted April 20th, 2013 at 12:37 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Powderham church

Grasshopper warbler creeping silently around the bushes between the church and the level crossing this morning, a couple of whitethroat there also.

Posted April 20th, 2013 at 10:46 am by Gerry Hooper in Bird News

Berry Head

Quiet morning: 1 Wheatear, 1 Willow Warbler, 1 Blackcap, 8 Chiffchaff. Flying over 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Siskin, 6 Meadow Pipits, 1 Shelduck and a Rook - quite a rare bird at BH.

Forgot to add earlier  probably 700+ Guillemots on the cliffs today - much better!

Posted April 20th, 2013 at 10:43 am by Mike Langman in Bird News


Very pleasant early morning walk from the car park out to the cliffpath and back via Soar Mill Cove but not surprisingly given the clear night and bright conditions saw few migrants. Did hear a passing Whimbrel and saw 7 Wheatears and a few Whitethroats but little else. No sign of the Hoopoe present around the Soar Mil Cove Hotel a couple days ago.

Posted April 20th, 2013 at 10:16 am by Perry Sanders in Bird News


Must be blind (I'll put it down to the sun) - didn't see juv Little Grebes, but at least 2 Pochard and 3 Gadwall on the pond this morning. Out on the wet field a Little Egret and 2 Common Sandpipers, 2 Shoveler and 3 Teal. Singing Reed Bunting about the best in the reserve.

Posted April 20th, 2013 at 10:16 am by Jon Turner in Bird News

Save our seas! Stop the dumping of PIB!

With the second disaster this year involving seabirds contaminated with polyisobutene (PIB) off Southwest England, here's a chance to have your say by signing the two online epetitions asking for the banning of PIB discharge.

A press release from RSPB can also be seen here

I realise this is not Bird Sighting News as such, but a very important topic! I have also put this on the Forum.

Posted April 20th, 2013 at 8:53 am by Mark Darlaston in Bird News

Wrafton pond

Two little grebe feeding two chicks on the pond late Friday afternoon along with a pair of gadwall.

Little grebe and its chick
Little grebe and its chick


Posted April 20th, 2013 at 12:44 am by Tim Kevan in Bird News

Friday 19th April 2013

Bramblings in Chris and Liz Foster's Garden

I spent an amazing few hours today with Chris and Liz  Foster watching and photographing the Bramblings on their garden feeder in Exwick.  Quite a spectacle with several males sporting black caps in their breeding plumage. As if this wasn't enough, Bullfinches; at least 6 in matching pairs, were constant visitors and apparently are permanent residents!

What a sight!
What a sight!

Coming in to breeding condition.
Coming in to breeding condition.


Posted April 19th, 2013 at 11:24 pm by Charlie Fleming in Bird News

South Efford Marsh

i walked for 3 hrs or so and no sign of the Shrike, only photo's we managed to get were of a singing Willow Warbler.

Willow Warbler
Willow Warbler

Posted April 19th, 2013 at 9:08 pm by Rich Edmondson in Bird News

Belstone Cuckoo

I saw and heard my first cuckoo in the Belstone area of north Dartmoor around midday today. The 10 year average for this area is the 22nd, with the earliest being the 15th (2011) and the latest the 28th (2006).

Posted April 19th, 2013 at 8:19 pm by Mike Jones in Bird News

Exminster marsh

Watched from 14:50 till 16:55

a quiet afternoon with the little gull still showing of the canal path in middle of the estuary of riversmeet house, only 3 swift, steady passage of sand martins and swallows and at least 12 house martins, 5+ reed warblers, 4+ sedge warblers, 6+ willow warblers, 3 blackcaps, 7+ chiffchaffs, 3 Cetti's warblers, 1 water rail, 8+ buzzard,1 white wagtail. 

Posted April 19th, 2013 at 7:33 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Hobby ~ South Brent

Just after 6pm this evening I noticed some small finch like birds landing in the canopy of a mature oak tree about 50 yards from where I was standing, as I looked I saw a diving falcon come into view, my initial thoughts were that it was a male Peregrine, but then it pulled out of its stoop and climbing over the top of the oak it flaired and snatched one of the birds that I had seen landing and was seen clearly as a Hobby, it went of with the bird held in its talons towards the moors.

After the strike all that was left was a small puff of feathers that landed in the field next to me, from the colouring the victim was a male Greenfinch, it all happended so fast that if my attention had not been drawn by the landing birds I would have missed the whole specatcle.

First Hobby that I have seen this year and a very notable first.

Posted April 19th, 2013 at 6:16 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Thurlestone Bay

First of the year were 2 Whitethroat and 2 Sedge Warbler,. Only a few Swallow and Sand Martin around

Offshore only 1 Common Tern . On the beach - 5 Whimbrel, 1 Sanderling whilst 10 Turnstone on the rocks

Posted April 19th, 2013 at 6:05 pm by Mike Passman in Bird News

Sharkham Point

Lunch time walk around. 2 Reed Warbler, 1 Grasshopper Warbler (see sticks picture), 4 Willow Warbler, 8 Whitethroat, 7 Blackcap 5 Sand Martin, 15 Swallow. 

Lots of Peacock butterfly, some Painted Lady and what was probably a Large White also.

Posted April 19th, 2013 at 4:04 pm by Josh Marshall in Bird News

Velator reserve

Ringing this morning produced 5 Chiffchaffs and 4 Willow Warblers along with 2 Blackcaps and the first Whitethroat of the year, oddly, a female. Also saw in the reserve a Little Egret - one of those two seen over the reserve yesterday evening, I presume), and a singing Sedge Warbler. Having heard and seen a Little Grebe trilling over the past few days, it was a surprise to see three chasing around the pond. Only 4 juvenile Coots left...

Out on the flood, 2 Shelduck and 4 Pied Wagtails.

Posted April 19th, 2013 at 1:31 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Black Hole Marsh

Early this morning: 1 Yellow Wagtail, 1 Grasshopper (reeling near Tower Hide), 1 Reed, 2 Sedge and 8 Willow Warblers, 1 Brent Goose and 3 Whimbrel.

Beer Head and the Beer Cem Fields very quiet.

Posted April 19th, 2013 at 12:20 pm by Steve Waite in Bird News

South Efford Marsh ~ Aveton Gifford

No sign of the reported Shrike but a steady trickle of birders arriving so I hope it turns up.

First warm sunny morning for some time lots of flying insects to be seen, good numbers of Swallows & House Martins overhead.

One warbler species seen as it flashed by, good numbers of Chiffchaff, some singing from vantage points one seen collecting and then dropping nesting material, two Linnets put up one very coloured but very flighty, female Blackcap and several Long Tailed Tits showing very well, five Egrets on the marsh along with a pair of Shell duck, couple of Jays overhead. Single Morrhen flew into the leat.

Despite low tide very little in the way of waders to be seen

Posted April 19th, 2013 at 12:07 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News


Still three yellow wagtails with plenty of white and Pied's

Still a few Swallows over the pool and one Grasshopper warbler heard but not seen, so no photo (yet!)

Posted April 19th, 2013 at 10:21 am by Steve Hatch in Bird News

Berry Head

A few migrants : 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 6 Chiffchaff, 2 Willow Warbler, 2 Blackcap, over-head 1 Yellowhammer, 1 Redpoll sp., 2 'alba' Wagtails, 8 Swallows. 1 Red-throated Diver >South at sea

Only 132 Guillemots on cliff - hopefully not too concerning as they have not started laying just yet and number fluctuate enormously until the first eggs appear. 

Posted April 19th, 2013 at 9:44 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Thursday 18th April 2013

Northam Burrows - Monday`s lamb attack.

I appologise if this is not the place to discuss this but not all birders read the Forum.

 For those birders at the scene on monday and who witnessed the attack, I report that I have spoken to the farmer, a Mr Peter Withecombe of Northam, and he says that he has the woman`s name and address and she will pay for the lamb, This is the 2nd he`s lost this week alone. He wasn`t very happy with the "Bite twice" policy. He thanked the birders for getting involved.

There is an article in this week`s North Devon Journal about the incident.

Posted April 18th, 2013 at 8:44 pm by Maurice Clements in Bird News

Wrafton, again

Quick look this evening: on the pond 3 Gadwall (2 darkes) 1 female Pochard, pair of Shoveler, a few Swallows and a couple of Sand Martin. Twixt the trail and reserve 14 Alba Wagtails and at last a smart male Yellow Wagtail. 2 Little Egrets flew in close company over the reserve. 30+ Swallows and 20+ Sand Martins hawking in the lee of the reserve.

Posted April 18th, 2013 at 7:53 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

South Efford Marsh- Aveton Gifford

Eric W has just phoned to say the Woodchat Shrike is still showing well at19.30- hasn't moved far from the gorse bush

Posted April 18th, 2013 at 7:34 pm by Mike Passman in Bird News


Tony Skymre and myself had the first cuckoo of the year at Challacombe Down today.  We also had three wheatears and two stonechats.


Posted April 18th, 2013 at 7:28 pm by Jack Aldous in Bird News

Southcott Valley, Bideford


1 Yellow Wagtail; 7 White Wagtails; 1 Black-tailed Godwit and c40-50 Common Gulls.

Posted April 18th, 2013 at 7:20 pm by Maurice Clements in Bird News

Exminster marsh

Watched from 14:30 till 17:40

A good afternoon around the marsh, from the viewing platform looking towards goat walk in topsham, 4 little tern with 1 common tern  and the 1s little gull still showing well at times

around the marsh 4 reed warblers, 6+ willow warblers , 17+ swift, 10+ house martins, 400+ sand martins, 150+ swallows, 4+ buzzards, 1 sparrowhawk, 1 white wagtail, 1 pintail, 15+ shoveler. 

Posted April 18th, 2013 at 6:28 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Woodchat Shrike

 A couple of distant record pics.  It could disappear for up to an hour - probably on the estuary side of the path.

Posted April 18th, 2013 at 6:25 pm in Bird News


6 Arctic Terns briefly over tip pool at 15:00 heading across burrows towards sea.Also around pool 4 yellow wagtails and over 100 whites.On the skern 15 whimbrel,53 ringed plover.15:20.

Posted April 18th, 2013 at 5:41 pm by Robert Marshall in Bird News

Totnes Weir ~ Rv Dart

Suprisingly little to see during a late afternoon visit, large group of Herring Gull on a single bank mid river below the wier, mix of juveniles to full adult, also four Greater Black & one Lesser Black Backed mixed in with them.

One Egret below the weir, topside two Mute Swans and a single Moorhen, single Chiffchaff in a willow stand, lots of birds song but very little to be seen, very strong winds sweeping across the river may be the reason.

A number of Swallows seen in small numbers on the drive home.


Posted April 18th, 2013 at 5:41 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News


Canada Goose punch up in the reserve! And from there in mid afternoon, the Spoonbill flew in to the flooded field but soon departed.

Posted April 18th, 2013 at 5:38 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

South Efford Marsh, Aveton Gifford

Superb Woodchat Shrike at north end of marsh showing well in mid afternoon. Apparently found by birder from Brixham!

Great patch tick!

Posted April 18th, 2013 at 5:00 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Wembury Point 18/04/13

Whilst on a evening walk at Wembury Point a single black bellied brent goose on the beach with a party of oystercatchers. Looked very skittish and had moved on when we returned back along our route at 7.30 pm. High winds on shore meant very little else on offer.

Posted April 18th, 2013 at 2:10 pm by Graham Devine in Bird News

Hartland Point 07.50-10.10

117 Gannet, 20 Fulmar, 653 Manx Shearwater, 1 Whimbrel, 2 Great Skua,1 Arctic Skua,120 Kittiwake, 7 Common/Arcic Tern, 114 auks. 

3 Yellow Wagtail at Skern still later, seen by malcombe shackspeare

Posted April 18th, 2013 at 1:22 pm by david churchill in Bird News


I've been asked to do a bird survey in Chivenor a couple of times a year and I just went in to meet the conservation officer and drove around the site. It's good for Skylarks (hooray) we saw a dozen or so even though the wind was blowing a hoolie. 4 Wheatears too. Looking forward to the survey dates sometime in May and November.

Posted April 18th, 2013 at 12:45 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Wednesday 17th April 2013

Exwick Bramblings.

Chris and Liz Foster still have 12 Bramblings in their garden feeding on their bird feeders including this stunning male which is almost in full summer pluamge.

Male Brambling, Exwick.
Male Brambling, Exwick.

Male Brambling, Exwick.
Male Brambling, Exwick.

Posted April 17th, 2013 at 8:58 pm by Chris and Liz Forster in Bird News

Exminster marsh

Watched from 14:30 till 17:20

walked out to turf and from turf lock by the pub found the 1s little gull between turf and the goat walk at topsham before being put up by a peregrine, on the walk back by the canal swallow and sand Martin started droping down, over the lagoon there was 200+ sand Martin, and good numbers of house martins, just before middle car park a group of 8 swift i stayed watching as long as i could and final totals were at least 500+ sand martins, 200+ swallow, 40+ house martins, 21+ swift, 2 reed buntings, 3 sedge warbler, 8+ willow warblers,10+ chiffchaffs,  1 whitethroat, 5 Cetti's warblers, 2 stonechat, 4 tufted duck, 3 reed buntings, a good afternoon around the marsh. 

Posted April 17th, 2013 at 6:47 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Thurlestone Bay

100% cloud and an incresing SSW wind -F5 am & F 7 pm.

Good start to the day with the 1stw Spoonbill feeding on T'stone Marsh at 07.45, also 2 Reed Warbler singing . A 3.5 hr watch by the cafe  saw the first good passage of Whimbrel - 44 ( largest flock 25 ) with 200+ Swallow, 14 House Matin and 8 Sand Martin over the marsh, other waders - 1 s/pl Dunlin, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Turnstone.1 Wheatear. Offshore- 9 Sandwich Tern, 17 Common Scoter, 2 Gadwall - east.

With better viz and an increasing wind went to Warren Pt at 15.45 , in 1.5 hrs first passage of Manx Shearwater totalled 180 ( largest flock 40) 6 Arctic Tern, 5 Sandwich Tern, 2 Red T Diver. ,3 Fulmar. 5 Guillemot flew east.

No reports of   any  dead Auks today

Posted April 17th, 2013 at 6:20 pm by Mike Passman in Bird News

Southcott Marsh,Bideford

Adult yellow legged gull again for 15 mins took off behind my back whilst looking at 2 yellow wagtails.Also black tailed godwit,20 swallow,30 sand martin,5 white wagtails.16:20-16:40.

Posted April 17th, 2013 at 5:32 pm by Robert Marshall in Bird News

Start Point

Seawatch 09:00-11:00 (forecast spot on, S-SSW increasing through morning): heading SW, reasonable passage of 575 Guillemots/Razorbills and 9 Puffins( I hope they will avoid the pollution further west!), 95 Manx Shearwaters, 3 Bonxies, 4 Red-throated Divers, 5 Arctic Terns, 2 Sandwich Terns, 2 Common Gulls, 6 Whimbrel and 35 Kittiwakes, Next to no grounded migrants with just a couple of Wheatears.

Posted April 17th, 2013 at 5:06 pm by Mark Darlaston in Bird News


First in the garden in 12 years, male blackcap feeding with chaffinches, searching amongst seed husks on the ground beneath feeders.  Unusual as no woodland that close.

Posted April 17th, 2013 at 4:18 pm by Tony Brooking in Bird News

Berry Head

7:30-11:00 seawatch, later joined by Bob Bailey. Not as windy as forecast, cloudy and abit foggy 1-2 miles off shore. Loads of Auks passing the Head and also 3 Puffins, 68 Manx Shearwaters, 3 Great Skuas, 23 Kittiwakes (3 juvs), 7 Gannets, all flying south. Also a Red-throated Diver flying north. 8 Swallows in off the sea.

Posted April 17th, 2013 at 2:19 pm by Paul Albrechtsen in Bird News

Tuesday 16th April 2013

yellow wagtail

Still only record shots as these birds are edgy and are constantly being put up by walkers/dog walkers

Posted April 16th, 2013 at 9:02 pm by Steve Hatch in Bird News


At least 3 yellow wagtails still plus large number of whites.191 being best count but easily over 200.Gourgeous Barn owl flew in front of parked car beautifully lit by evening sun less than ten feet away.18:30-19:00.Black tailed godwit sp + 100 swallows at southcott marsh,bideford.

Posted April 16th, 2013 at 8:18 pm by Robert Marshall in Bird News

Prawle 15+16/4/13

Two days at Prawle with a group of students but I was confined to the area between the car park and Horsley Cove. Very little of interest although a Whitethroat was new for the year for me as was a single House Martin this morning. Up to 10 Wheatears this morning and a tiny trickle of hirundines. Single Willow Warbler yesterday.

Best sighting was a Golden-ringed Dragonfly larva from the tiny sink near the car park (are there any breeding records for Odonata from Prawle?) along with 10 or so Black Oil Beetle.

Posted April 16th, 2013 at 6:02 pm in Bird News

Aveton Gifford

A bonus patch tick when a party of 5 Pied Wagtails flushed a Jack Snipe on South Efford Marsh. In true JS fashion it went into cover and never re-appeared!

Posted April 16th, 2013 at 5:04 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News


25 Common Scoter, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 3 Sandwich Tern 8 Swallows in off sea.

Posted April 16th, 2013 at 3:18 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Yarner Wood

One male Pied Flycatcher. Struggling to find food.

Also Hexworthy, One male Redstart. 

Venford Reservoir. A few Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff all singing away.

It may not feel like spring but it sure sounds like it.

Posted April 16th, 2013 at 1:44 pm by David Turrell in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

A visit mid morning coincided with the high tide so some waders were using the marsh to roost, including 13 grey plover, c60 bar-tailed godwits, 224 curlew (more flew in later) and 4 whimbrel ( a further 5 flew in or over).

The shelduck roost held 47 birds. Other ducks included 7 wigeon, 2 pintail, 8 tufted duck, mallard, teal and shoveller. Exotics included 2 greylag geese and 3 bar-headed geese. A flock of c200 black-headed gulls, feeding on emerging insects on the lagoon, included 2 Mediterranean gulls (one adult s/p and one 1 w/s) and a single adult common gull.

On the canal bank - 1 jay flying north, 11 redpolls including 2 males with extensive red breasts (flammea?) and one whitethroat (nr Turf). Elsewhere I heard one sedge warbler, 3 Cettis warblers, 2 willow warblers, several chiffchaffs and one blackcap. There were lots of swallows and sand martins passing through.

Posted April 16th, 2013 at 1:19 pm by John Waldon in Bird News

Creedy Bridge, Crediton

A red-rumped swallow near Creedy Bridge this morning at around 8am, accompanied by a few sand martins and swallows. Also 10+ wheaters and a smart male pied flycatcher in the area.

Posted April 16th, 2013 at 1:09 pm by Ross Bower in Bird News

Black Hole Marsh

Smart male Yellow Wagtail this morning, before it moved off west with six Wheatears.  Lots of Willow Warblers again and my first Sedge Warbler.

Yesterday afternoon, a Hobby flew north past my house (in NE corner of Seaton) at 17:50.

Ian M had a Velvet Scoter west past Beer this morning.

Posted April 16th, 2013 at 11:03 am by Steve Waite in Bird News

Berry Head

Had a  look around the quarry area 8.00-930 as everywhere else seemed wind blown. Ring Ouzel briefly on slope below the entry track, moved left along the hillside  towards hotel. Down the bottom were Common Whitethroat, 6 Blackcap, 6 Wheatear and a male Redstart again.   

Posted April 16th, 2013 at 10:21 am in Bird News

Monday 15th April 2013


Another Sand Martin pic to go with Robs great set!

Some great views of these birds to brighten up the day after the awful events regarding yet another irresponsible dog owner.

Posted April 15th, 2013 at 11:39 pm by Steve Hatch in Bird News


As I pottered along the tarka trail this evening to see if there were any hirundines over the pond I saw the Spoonbill fly in (7.30p.m.) and immediately start feeding in one of the ponds in the field! I was hoping for an interesting Wagtail but the rapid fly-through of a male Sparrowhawk put all the small birds up and I could only find one Pied Wagtail. The Green Sandpiper was still present. About a dozen Sand Martins and a few Swallows over the pond with several of each over by the reserve trees. Also on the pond the three Pochard and three Gadwall still.

Posted April 15th, 2013 at 9:56 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Migrants - Sidmouth & Exmouth Marshes

Sidmouth Byes @ 1.15

male pied flycatcher,willow warbler & male blackcap

Exminster Marshes @ 3.45 

single swift with 12+ swallows

Posted April 15th, 2013 at 8:43 pm by Ian Pearson in Bird News

Skern, Northam Burrows

Lots of resting Swallows and Martins today along with at least three Yellow Wagtails!

Just to re-emphasise what Maurice stated about the horrific dog attack on a lamb today, an appalling and very upsetting experience! Why can't people just keep their dogs under control?

Anyway a few shots of todays birds!

Posted April 15th, 2013 at 8:33 pm by Rob Cross in Bird News

Exminster Marsh

10.00 - 12.00

Grasshopper Warbler, on the canal path, 3 Greenland Wheatear, 4 Northern WheatearSedge Warbler ( first of the year), 5 Willow Warbler, 12 Black Tailed Godwit, 57 Whimbrel, 1 Knot, 1 Common Sandpiper and 1 Greenshank were the best of the birds I saw today.

Posted April 15th, 2013 at 7:54 pm by Kevin Bainbridge in Bird News

Sharkham Point

Whitethroat popped up this afternoon whilst watching Stonechats. First of many I hope here!

Whitethroat, J.Marshall
Whitethroat, J.Marshall

Posted April 15th, 2013 at 6:05 pm by Josh Marshall in Bird News

Skern and Southcott Valley.

Skern 07:30 - 10:00

17 Bar-tailed Godwits; 1 Dunlin; 10 Shelduck; c50 Ringed Plover. Sandwich Tern 1; Common Tern 2; 2 Wheatear and 1 glorious male Yellow Wagtail. Also 100s of Swallows and Sand Martins and just a few House Martins over the Tip Pond. Too many White Wagtails to count. They were everywhere!

Several of us birders witnessed an uncontrolled dog, attack and kill a good sized lamb. It`s owner took the attitude that it was on "open land" after all! She would have left the scene but was stopped and Police were called but no one was satisfied in how they dealt with it.

Southcott Valley 10:20.

8 Lesser black-backed Gulls; c30 Common Gulls; 1 Black-tailed Godwit; 1 Little Egret; 1 Grey Heron and several herring Gull and Black-headed Gulls. No sign of Yellow-legged Gull.

Posted April 15th, 2013 at 5:26 pm by Maurice Clements in Bird News


Along the beach at Wembury today 2 members of the Devon Wildlife Trust were looking for any washed up seabirds from the current pollution incident affecting the English Channel. Unfortunately there were at least 24 dead guillemots and a dead puffin washed up on the beach with a live guillemot desperately trying to preen on the rocks before heading out back to sea where it was eventually overcome by waterlogging and cold and drowned. Very sad and who knows how many more have died. Some of the guillemot corpses had been partly eaten and the Devon Wildlife Trust lady suspects they have been eaten by foxes scavenging along the beach.

On a lighter note at least 6 chiffchaffs were singing, 2 swallows flew over, 2 male blackcaps were skulking in vegetation (new arrivals?) and 2 willow warblers were bathing in the stream to the beach. I also saw my first oil beetles of the year.

Dead Puffin on Wembury Beach
Dead Puffin on Wembury Beach

Some of the Dead Guillemots on Wembury Beach
Some of the Dead Guillemots on Wembury Beach

Posted April 15th, 2013 at 4:55 pm by Stuart Green in Bird News

Kingsbridge Estuary

Very quiet but enlivened by a Spoonbill landing in front of the hide at West Charleton. Pair pintail on the marsh.

Posted April 15th, 2013 at 4:26 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News


Cuckoo calling near Cuckoo Rock (Roger Smaldon)

Posted April 15th, 2013 at 4:18 pm in Bird News


Two male Redstarts, a Grasshopper Warbler and a Tree Pipit the best Beer Head had to offer this morning. Also a male Redstart in the Beer Cemetery Fieds.

Posted April 15th, 2013 at 1:04 pm by Steve Waite in Bird News


Green Sandpiper again this morning, but no sign of the Spoonbill. Now 6 Cootlets in the reserve.

Posted April 15th, 2013 at 12:13 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Berry Head

0600 -0900 - 17 Wheatear, 15 Chiffchaff, 9 Willow Warbler, 9 Swallow, male Redstart, Blackcap, Ring Ouzle still in the quarry, alba Wagtail over, 3 Bullfinch, 11 Greenfinch, 8 Chaffinch and a handfull of Meadow Pipits.

Posted April 15th, 2013 at 9:32 am by Bill Macdonald in Bird News

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