Devon Bird Sightings from 22nd–30th April 2013


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

Tuesday 30th April 2013

Yarner Woods

A lovely morning at Yarner Woods today produced several Pied Flycatchers a male Redstart and Stonechat on the heath.

Posted April 30th, 2013 at 9:49 pm by Mark Dyer in Bird News

Mansands/Wood Huish farm

A Red Kite was lingering around the Mansands and Wood Huish farm area this evening first seen at about 4.30pm then again an hour later and again at about 7.20pm, on the last occassion it was flying back down toward Mansands.

Red Kite Mansands 30 April 2013 ML

Posted April 30th, 2013 at 9:08 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Wrafton pond

Yahoo! First Swifts of the year at 1800. Summer must nearly be here. 

Posted April 30th, 2013 at 6:42 pm by Andy Leat in Bird News

Axe Estuary

Two Hobbies have been feeding over my house (north east Seaton) and Black Hole Marsh for a couple of hours this afternoon.  Also whenever I've glanced out of the window I've seen hirundines/Swifts flying north.

Posted April 30th, 2013 at 3:25 pm by Steve Waite in Bird News


This photo was sent from a small isolated hotel in Dartmoor and they have attracted Redpolls to their feeders.  This winter I have received quite a few records of garden feeding Redpoll - so if you have also had a visitation please send your records in.

Lesser Redpoll Dartmoor David Martin

Posted April 30th, 2013 at 3:16 pm in Bird News


Walked round Sherpa marsh this morning, quite a few Sedge/Reed Warblers now singing, one Common Sandpiper, and that was about it! Oh, two Swifts and 2 House Martins over.

Posted April 30th, 2013 at 1:47 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Berry Head Colony

1019 Guillemots on cliff, 19 in water below colony and 9 on cod rock and best of all the first egg. 1 seal and in Northern fort, 6 Wheatear. Still very cold wind. Looking at past records should be around 1250 birds, a bit short but could still be weather conditions!!

Posted April 30th, 2013 at 10:56 am by Nigel Smallbones in Bird News

Isley Marsh and Yelland Power Stn area.

07:45 - 09:45

No sign nor sound of a Savi`s Warbler reported in Yelland testerday on Birdguides and Rare bird Alert.

A great morning did throw up 5 Grey Plovers (some in summer plumage); 1 Knot; 2 Dunlin (also in sum plum); 14 Whimbrel; 1 Ruff; many Sedge and Reed Warblers; Common Whitethroats; a Willow Warb; Reed Buntings and most unusual, a Guillemot just off Isley on the rising tide at 08:55. I`ve never seen one here before, in well over 20 years but I think there was one off the Skern not long ago.

Posted April 30th, 2013 at 10:22 am by Maurice Clements in Bird News

Monday 29th April 2013

Exminster Marshes

Late morning into the early afternoon visit to Exminster Marshes, most of the bush thickets were full of bird song, the big Q was what was singing? Did manage to spot two male Blackcap, several Chiffchaff one of the days highlights being a well marked Warbler that turned out to be a Sedge Warbler the other highlight were the Hobbys, four in view on several occassions, a number of pictures taken show the birds carrying prey items, birds seen to be feeding in flight on more than one occasion.

Good passage of Swallow and House Martin, one Sand Martin seen.

Canadian Geese had the company of at least three Bar Headed Geese and a small number of Grey Lags also on the marsh.

Only a few very flighty Wagtails to be seen, possibly put off by the presence of the Hobbys.

Posted April 29th, 2013 at 10:21 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Berry Head Guillemots

Volunteers needed to monitor the Guillemots at Berry Head see:

A training morning will take place for those willing to help on Friday..

Posted April 29th, 2013 at 8:01 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

During a boat trip from Exeter to the Turf on the Exeter canal this morning there was a steady passage of swifts overhead. A single common sandpiper flew north and 2 dunlin were at Turf. A peregrine was flying west over the estuary north of Turf.

Walking back over the marshes at 13.30 I counted 6 hobbies south of the motorway bridge (these birds were probably over the lagoon earlier). I heard or saw 1 lesser whitethroat, 2 whitethroats, 3 Cettis warblers, 4 sedge warblers and 2 reed warblers.

Posted April 29th, 2013 at 3:18 pm by John Waldon in Bird News

S. Devon - various

Saturday....2 x yellow wags, at slightly different locations, between the 2 car parks. Distant view of hobby towards railway lines, so decided to walk that path, and were treated to a hobby flying (hunting) low across the marshes.

Sunday PM at Ipplepen, above Animals in Distress, single Red Kite, much to the distress of local corvids !

Posted April 29th, 2013 at 11:55 am by Trevor Leaman in Bird News

Wood Warbler Colyton

Singing Wood Warbler in private woodland near Colyton this morning. I think only the third or fourth ever patch record!  It's in suitable habitat and was constantly singing, so I'm hoping it will stay.

Also, drake Velvet Scoter still present close in off Seaton, and Ian M saw the Osprey again this morning over the Estuary.

Wood Warbler
Wood Warbler

Posted April 29th, 2013 at 10:29 am by Steve Waite in Bird News

Sunday 28th April 2013

Osprey, Axe Estuary

I had some brief & distant but enjoyable views of an Osprey as the light was fading this evening. It was eating a fish on the mud in front of Tower Hide but flew off just before I arrived. I relocated it on one of the tram line posts slightly further upstream.

Image © Tim White
Image © Tim White

Posted April 28th, 2013 at 11:42 pm by Tim White in Bird News

Thurlestone Bay

Flat calm sea  this morning produced a Great N Diver, a Black T Diver ( close inshore ) 5 Common Scoter. 2 Sandwich Tern. At least 60 Whimbrel on the rocks or in the fields. Good passage of Hirundines - 100+ Swallow, 20 House Martin, 10 Sand Martin., 3 Swift. First Hobby of the year flew through. 5 Yellow Wagtail showed well and at 12.40 another male Blue Headed Wagtail found .Waders on the Marsh - 7 Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover, 1 Little Ringed Plover

Posted April 28th, 2013 at 5:37 pm by Mike Passman in Bird News

Ilfracombe - 28th April

A solitary Lesser Black-backed Gull resting on the church roof - have not seen this species around the town very often & another Razorbill close in again on the water - this time near the harbour.

Posted April 28th, 2013 at 3:52 pm by Chris & Sally Bollen in Bird News

Plymouth Area

Recent sightings sent in by Robert Hurrell

24/4 Western Kings, Plymouth Sound:
2 Sandwich Terns, 26 Whimbrel, 2 Curlew, 1 Sand Martin, 1 Fulmar, 14 Shelduck overhead in one flock.

Drakes Island: 3 Swallow, at least 8 visible active Cormorant nests, 4 Shag, many Herring gulls nesting or carrying out nesting activity, 10+Canada Geese in pairs (one obviously sitting), 6 Mallard display chasing, 3 Oystercatcher.
25/4 Western Kings, Plymouth Sound:
1 Oiled adult Guillemot drifting out on the morning tide from Tamar trying repeatedly to rid itself of substance on breast and belly feathers. Did not dive.
4 Sandwich Terns, 4 Whimbrel, Curlew heard, 1 distant Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Swallow, 1 Fulmar
26/4 Wembury Point
Min 85 Whimbrel (largest flock of 62!), 1 Common Sandpiper, 8 Dunlin (nearly full sp), 2 Little Egret, 2 Whitethroat, 5 Sandwich Terns.

Posted April 28th, 2013 at 3:20 pm in Bird News

Dartington and Exminster/Powderham Marsh

After being seen yesterday evening prior to dusk, thought it would a good bet that we could relocate the Night Heron in daylight hours and sure enough at 9.00am about 100 yards beyond the second gate on the riverside path, the First Summer Night Heron was stood out on a log on the other side of the river in full view. It flew back down the river for 100 yards and after flying again ended up roosting in thick cover 50 yards before the second gate on the far bank. The bird has one long white head plume.

A sad sight was a dead Canada Goose on the marsh by the entrance to Dartington, with its mate stood by its side.

On Powderham Marsh, a Wood Sandpiper (found by BBH mid morning) showed distantly from the viewing platform. A Common Sand was with the Wood Sand before we got there.

Plenty of Swifts around both Powderham and Exminster Marshes. c100 Pale-Bellied Brent Geese in 2 flocks of c70 and c30 high up over the River Exe, 5 Whimbrel and a Greenshank flew over Exminster. 5 Redpoll still present as were 3 Bar-Headed Geese. 

Posted April 28th, 2013 at 2:23 pm by Mark Bailey in Bird News

Exminster Marshes 7.30 - 11.30am

54 Sedge, 7 Reed, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, 7 Whitethroat, 1 Lesser Whitethroat 

Posted April 28th, 2013 at 1:25 pm in Bird News

Berry Hd

Berry Hd very quiet - no evidence of any grounded migrants! At sea 11 Manx Shearwaters, 9 Whimbrel, 2 Great Northern Divers 2 Harblour Porpoises.

Dartingtons Night Heron last night, it flew off down river at 9.05pm - it's got better timing than my watch:

1st Summer Night Heron Dartington 27 april 2013 ML

 I expect some better photos today- as its been showing in daylight!

Posted April 28th, 2013 at 9:28 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Berry Head Colony

885 Guillemots on cliffs, 9 on the water, 5 on the island( cod rock ) and nice to see 14 Kittiwakes also on the cliffs. Not much else about. Will count again on Tuesday!!!

Posted April 28th, 2013 at 9:25 am by Nigel Smallbones in Bird News

Southcott Marsh,bideford.

2 yellow wagtails m&f,07:40....20 whimbrel,skern.

Posted April 28th, 2013 at 8:34 am by Robert Marshall in Bird News

Saturday 27th April 2013

Exminster/Powderham Marshes 7am - 10am

Blue-headed Wagtail, 30 Sedge, 5 Reed, 6 Cetti's, 5 Willow Warblers, 3 Whitethroat, 5 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 7 Whimbrel, 3 Common Sandpiper, 4 Ringed Plover, 44 Shelduck, 50 + Sand Martin, 50+ Swallow, 5 House Martin, 20+ Swift.

Posted April 27th, 2013 at 9:28 pm in Bird News


Single Crane seen flying over Cadover Bridge in direction of Yelverton at 8pm Saturday 27/04.

Posted April 27th, 2013 at 8:41 pm by Rob Hubble and Stella Tracey in Bird News

Around the marshes

Bowling green marsh 07:35 till 09:30

the summer plumage spotted redshank was on the far side from the hide, 12+ whimbrel, 12+ bar tailed godwits, 3 grey plover, 2 common ssandpiper, 2 greenshanks, 7 wigeon, 2 willow warblers, 5+ blackcaps, 1  reed warbler, good passage of swifts, 160+ black headed gulls.

exminster marsh 10:00 till 12:30

the blue headed wagtail showed very well in scrape by middle car park with 3 yellow wagtails(2m,1f) good passage of sand Martin and swifts,6+ buzzards, a few sedge warblers and willow warblers, a hobby was reported over the lagoon, 60+ dunlin.

on way home popped into local patch around mill on the exe pub in exeter and had a nice common sandpiper on the weir. 

Posted April 27th, 2013 at 8:02 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

Common sandpiper 1 

Swallow 5

Whimbrel 3

Chiffchaff 2 outside of hide calling

Blackcap 1 calling the other side of the road

Wigeon 2 m 3 fm

Yellow wagtails 3 over calling

Pied Wagtails 6-7 feeding on the ground

Posted April 27th, 2013 at 7:20 pm by Stephen J Turner in Bird News


Chris Caldwell found his trip to the compost exciting this afternoon as he was rewarded with a sighting of a Red Kite drifting overhead towards Throwleigh.  See Gallery for photo - as photo will not upload.

Red Kite Throwleigh 27.4.2013 Chris Caldwell

Posted April 27th, 2013 at 4:08 pm in Bird News

Berry Head

Only 88 guillemots on cliffs at Berry Head this morning, will count again Sunday morning and see if birds back, 2 whitethroats and a few swallows but not much else, wind moving round to the north and cold.

Posted April 27th, 2013 at 3:49 pm by Nigel Smallbones in Bird News


Did the circuit from the car park out to the Warren, down to Starehole Valley and back through East Soar Farm this morning. Very quiet, only highlight were 20 Wheatears and a female Merlin which had a pop at some of them around the airfield ( i can't remember seeing a Merlin this late in spring around here before ). Elsewhere just a handful of Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs. Quite a few Whitethroats on territory.

Posted April 27th, 2013 at 12:58 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Southcott Marsh,bideford.

f Yellow Wagtail,10 White wagtails,09:00.Nothing down skern this morning clear conditions early evening allowed them to move on.

Posted April 27th, 2013 at 11:34 am by Robert Marshall in Bird News

Instow C.G to Yelland Main jetty.

07:30 - 09:00

15 Pied wagtails on the cricket ground. 19 Whimbrel, 2 Common Sandpiper and 2 Little Egret on the foreshore. 8 Wheatear, 1 Common Whitethroat, 1 Stonechat and a smattering of Meadow Pipits and Linnets on Instow Barton Marsh. 3 Grey Herons were showing interest again in the fir trees on the old power station site, now that the generator pit ponds are infilled. Swallows, Martins and 1 Raven overhead. It would be interesting to find out where the Sand Martins are nesting now, seeing that they were also ousted from the generator pit ponds due to Health and Safety! Sedge and Reed warblers heard and seen in the overflow pond reedbeds. Just 2 Blackcaps and Chiff chaffs in bushes on the Tarka Trail.

Posted April 27th, 2013 at 10:31 am by Maurice Clements in Bird News

Friday 26th April 2013

Night Heron Dartington

After a cold wait by the riverbank, at 9.05pm precisely, Alan Doidge, ENW and I had the  Night Heron   flying upriver  until lost behind the riverbank trees in dim light, unable to establish whether it dropped in anywhere. Exactly same time as last night's sighting. Alan initially picked it up apparently coming across from the other side, just after 3 Grey Herons flew across calling noisily . It seems necessary to wait at the original spot, ie. from the parking pull-in by the stone building, walk 100+ yards along the estate road then turn right through the gate (marked with a notice about dog fouling)  which takes you down to the riverbank, follow the path for 100+ yards further until you come out on an open stretch of bank. Those birders who tried waiting by the estate road were unable to see the bird.  3 Swifts fed overhead before sunset.



Posted April 26th, 2013 at 10:08 pm in Bird News

Exminster marsh& bowling green marsh

Exminster marsh 14:45 till 16:30

The blue headed wagtail was showing well at times from the middle car park with 4+ yellow wagtails (2m,2f),good passage if swallows, sand martins and increased house martins, first sizeable movement of swifts with 100+ in 20min count, plenty of blackcaps, sedge warblers , 2 wheatear.

bowling green marsh 17:30 till 19:15 from the hide

70+ whimbrel best count of spring so far, the summer plumage spotted redshank, 17+ greenshanks, 2 avocet, 2 common sandpiper, 17+ bar tailed godwits, 70+ dunlin, 1 wheatear, 7 wigeon, 140+ black tailed godwits. 

Posted April 26th, 2013 at 9:33 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Grand Western Canal, nr Sampford Peverell

16.30-16.45 hrs: on large freshly ploughed field next to Batten's Bridge - impressive sight of 26+ buzzards landed and scattered around field, including very pale individuals; plus13 stock doves, 55+ herring gull, 6+ lesser black-backed gull, mobile group of 7+ pied wagtail (2 'possibly' whites), corvids and wood pigeons.  Also in locality 1 great black-backed gull overhead.

Posted April 26th, 2013 at 9:24 pm by James Morrison in Bird News

Red Kite

Red Kite drifting northwards over Stafford Cross on the A3052, near Colyton, East Devon at 17:15 this afternoon. Spotted it as I drove home. It was fairly low as it battling against a brisk Northerly. Nice brief views.

Posted April 26th, 2013 at 9:01 pm by Derek Carter in Bird News


little tern+5 whimbrel.20 white wagtails.17:30-18:00.Last night a surprise tawny owl in the garden.

Posted April 26th, 2013 at 9:01 pm by Robert Marshall in Bird News

Ring Tail Montagu's Harrier over River Axe

The bird flew SW over Black Hole Marsh at 5pm. Here's the evidence!

Posted April 26th, 2013 at 8:17 pm by Tim White in Bird News

Newton Abbot Racecourse

Martin Wolinski had a Red Kite today at 1.30pm flying over Hackney Marsh- it circled over the racecourse and headed off over the new bridge.

Posted April 26th, 2013 at 8:10 pm by Mark Bailey in Bird News

Thurlestone Bay

First Little Tern of the year flew through at 08.45 with 8 Sandwich and 1 Arctic Tern. 39 Whimbrel , 3 Bar T Godwit, 1 Curlew and 4 Dunlin recorded. A partial s/pl Black T Diver on the sea

Posted April 26th, 2013 at 6:08 pm by Mike Passman in Bird News

English Channel 30nm S of Start Point

Yesterday fishing 30nm off Start Point, good passage of terns in murky conditions, included: 6 Black Terns (all bp), 40+ Common Terns with at least 7 Arctic Terns, also 4 Little Gulls (all bp ads) and my first 3 European Storm-petrels of the year. In addition constant passage of Swallows with a few pipits and alba Wagtails crossing the channel, and a pod of 30+ Common Dolphins.

Black TernBlack TernBlack TernBlack TernCommon TernCommon Tern

2 different breeding plumage Black Terns and Common Terns (remember these use the zoomable feature, click a photo to zoom).

Posted April 26th, 2013 at 4:58 pm by Mark Darlaston in Bird News

Exminster marshes

Lucky to see a Red Kite and the blue head today. Also saw Hobby, sedge warbler,Reed warbler and Grasshopper wars lee.

Posted April 26th, 2013 at 2:59 pm by Jason smith in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

At lunchtime today (until 13.45), the Blue-headed Wagtail was showing well at times, although quite flighty in the blustery wind with 3 Yellow Wagtails from the middle car park.

Posted April 26th, 2013 at 2:10 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

Near Chudleigh Knighton

The highlight of the first Breeding Bird Survey transect in 'my' 1-km square to the north of Chudleigh Knighton this morning were 11 Greenland Wheatears. This was the first record of a Wheatear during these transects since starting in 1994. Birdwise, everything else seemed much as expected, but some insects were conspicuous by their absence - notably no Orange Tips or St Mark's Flies, both of which are normally around in good numbers by now.

The Wheatears were in a large meadow with racehorses. Not long ago this and an adjacent field were arable, holding several pairs of Skylarks and occasional Woodlarks. Sadly, but not surprisingly, the latter have abandoned the area as 'horsiculture' has taken over. Skylarks are still there, though whether they will breed there in such short turf is another matter. On the positive side, Yellowhammers seem to be attracted to horses - or perhaps rather their food! My square now has only one arable field left. It's a very varied square, so an interesting one to monitor, but I do regret the demise of a nice mix of arable, grassland and woodland that contributed to the habitat diversity. Big changes in less than 20 years!

Posted April 26th, 2013 at 12:22 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News

Berry Head

Berry Head Quarry 1 Marsh Harrier (fem) passed over the headland at 7:30am being mobbed by gulls, flew off towards Hope's Nose.

1 Whimbel, 1 Wheatear and a Whitethroat in Quarry car park. several Wheatears around southern fort,

Posted April 26th, 2013 at 10:55 am by Paul Nunn in Bird News

Common sandpiper

 24/04/13 venford reservoir Dartmoor

Small group of 5+ common sandpiper feeding around edge of reservoir. Pair of great Crested Grebe up by the inflow.

Posted April 26th, 2013 at 8:17 am by kelvin phillips in Bird News

Thursday 25th April 2013

Around the marshes

After work walked out to exminster marsh along the canal good numbers of blackcaps and a few whitethroat and a reeling grasshopper warbler between the water works and the motorway bridge , 4+ reed warbler and 5+ sedge warbler, 2 stonechats.

Then got the ferry over to topsham, the 1st summer little gull was still of the rivers meet house from goat walk, also 12+ ringed plover, 4 grey plover and 187+ black tailed godwits. As I got to the path going up to the viewing platform at bowling green marsh noticed lot of gulls in the air and a bird of prey first impression was goshawk and once i got my bins on it and confirmed it as a goshawk looked most likely a female by its size compared to the gulls around it I watched  it drift of over the viewing platform and put up the waders on the clyst as it went over great sight and my second sighting on the marsh.

from the viewing platform a little grebe, 4 great crested grebes, 40+ whimbrel, 4 blackcaps. 

From the hide, the summer plumage spotted redshank again, 14+ greenshanks, 40+ whimbrel, 96+ dunlin, 60+ shelduck, 4 tufted duck, 7 wigeon, 6 little egrets, 4 little grebes, 3 blackcaps, 12 bar tailed godwits, 180+ black tailed godwits. I had a call from Martin wolinski about 100+ pale bellied Brent geese flying towards bowling green and finally got them over rivers meet house(thanks Martin ) he also had the female marsh harrier later on exminster marsh. 

Posted April 25th, 2013 at 9:46 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

River Dart - Dartington

Adult Night Heron flew down river at 21.05hrs (sorry Terry), for directions see yesterday's blog.

Posted April 25th, 2013 at 9:41 pm by Bill Macdonald in Bird News

Brent Geese

The Brent Geese passing Ladram Bay mentioned by Steven below were all Dark-bellied, as they passed close in to Orcombe Point some 10-15 minutes later. However, there were 48 Pale-bellied Brent Geese resting up on Pole Sands off Exmouth seafront some 20 minutes earlier!

Also off Orcombe Point were single Black and Little Terns, feeding with half a dozen Sandwich, but the former didn't hang around for long. The whole flock were gradually drifting off east, along past Sandy Bay. 

Posted April 25th, 2013 at 9:32 pm by Terry Smith in Bird News

Braunton Marsh - 24th April

Couldn't resist taking photos of these little Mallards with their mum & this solitary Redwing feeding alone in the field near the White House - should have left for home by now I would have thought. Dozens of Swallows skimming low over the marsh & several Wheatears also about

Posted April 25th, 2013 at 8:28 pm by Chris Bollen in Bird News

Northam Burrows

George Mudford sent me these photos to post which were

taken last Tuesday morning.

Posted April 25th, 2013 at 8:23 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Razorbill just off the Capstone at Ilfracombe - 20th April

My first time out & about for past 6 weeks - these winter viruses are a devil to shake off - this is only the second razorbill I have seen close in at Ilfracombe in past 8 years.

Posted April 25th, 2013 at 8:23 pm by Chris Bollen in Bird News

isley marsh/yelland.

2 male yellow wagtails in sheep field alongside tarka trail from yelland end to isley marsh entrance also 85 whites.Reed warbler in first group of reeds on marsh,25 whimbrel,4 little egrets on the marsh.16:30-17:10.This morning 2 swifts over landkey.11:00.

Posted April 25th, 2013 at 6:45 pm by Robert Marshall in Bird News

Thurlestone Bay

A day of contrasting weather- morning 100% cloud and fog, afternoon sunshine and clear horizon .

Big concentration of Hirundines in the morning  380+ Swallow, 10 House Martin, 15 Sand Martin , 1 Swift, On South Huish Marsh a max of 6 Yellow Wagtail  2 White Wagtail, 12 Dunlin, 3 Whitethroat, 3 Teal, 2 Shoveler.

Offshore -am 10 Sandwich Tern, 1 Ringed Plover with 4 dunlin -east, 9 Whimbrel , this afternoon , 2 Black T Diver, 1 Great N Diver, 8 Common Scoter -all on the sea

On the beaches 17 Whimbrel, 1 Bar T Godwit and our first Common Sandpiper of the year

Posted April 25th, 2013 at 6:19 pm by Mike Passman in Bird News

Ladram Bay

50 brent geese flew past Ladram Bay, heading west, today at 13.00.

Posted April 25th, 2013 at 4:48 pm by Steven Henry in Bird News

Around the Axe

It's obvious there's been quite a bit of migration going on today, I wish I could have spent more time out there!

Swallows have been most obvious, with constant trickle for most of the day. Amongst them just a few Sand and House Martins, and my first Swift of the year.

At Black Hole Marsh late morning, a singing male Lesser Whitethroat, a Whitethroat and a Yellow Wag were the highlights. Then a few hours later, a Garden Warbler north of Coronation Corner besides the Axe with another Whitethroat, and a few Blackcaps and Willow Warblers. Gav also had a Redstart here a bit earlier.

This evening to top the day of nicely an immature male Marsh Harrier was hunting over Colyford Marsh

Tomorrow looks potentially exciting, with a light n w wind and some rain forecasted early morning...

Lesser Whitethroat
Lesser Whitethroat

Garden Warbler
Garden Warbler

Posted April 25th, 2013 at 4:36 pm by Steve Waite in Bird News

The Skern re ashy-headed wagtail

on tuesday april 23rd at 7.00pm i went to the skern to look for yellow wagtails to film, when i arrived Steve Hatch had found and was filming the ashy-headed wagtail, i joined him for the next hour before he had to leave for work, i then stayed filming and watching this brilliant bird, at around 11.45am the ashy-headed was feeding at the pond end near the road, then someone slammed a car door on the bank above spooking the ashy, the bird immediately took off with five white wagtails soaring high into the sky heading easterly towards Appledore,if it does not return me and Steve could have been the last to see it. What a cracking bird. Thanks Steve. G. Mudford


Posted April 25th, 2013 at 3:42 pm by George Mudford in Bird News

River Caen/River Taw.

1130-1430hrs  On the flooded field 11 plus White wag 3Common sand 1 Yellow wag and good numbers of swallow feeding over the field and pond. Horsey island held 3 + wheatear, 6+ singing Skylark and good numbers of Meadow pipit and Linnet.

Posted April 25th, 2013 at 3:20 pm in Bird News


I cycled from Barnstaple to Braunton this morning, one Common Sandpiper, one Black-tailed Godwit and three Whimbrel. One each of Sedge Warbler, Chiff and Blackcap the only singing Warblers. 2 Gadwall flying determinedly east past Ashford sewage works. Nothing of note in Bradiford reserve.

Velator reserve had a few House Martins over, good numbers of Swallows and a lone Swift. A dozen White Wagtails on the wet field.

Sue Bruce saw Lesser Whitethroat at the end of the boardwalk at Crow Point yesterday.


Posted April 25th, 2013 at 12:50 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Wednesday 24th April 2013

Night-heron Dartington

I should have put directions in the last blog: SX801621. Probably park at the edge of Totnes and head north along the Dartington estate drive at a sign for "Swallowfields". Past the marsh on the left, through a narrow traffic calmer then go through a pedestrian gate by a 5-bar gate off the driveway. This dogwalker's footpath runs north along the west bank of the Dart and the willows 2-300m north of the gate seems to be the spot.

Posted April 24th, 2013 at 10:25 pm by Steve Young in Bird News

River Dart, Dartington

Steve Waite's tip-off regarding a "small streaked heron" seen twice today arrived just in time for my 11 year old daughter and I to get there at 20.00 with 30 minutes of daylight remaining. The dense mature willows lining both banks of the river Dart made Night-heron the obvious candidate. One last patrol along the bank (now with the torch) at 20.45 suddenly produced an adult night-heron flying in over the river at tree-top height. It banked and flew back downriver appearing to drop to the river. More scanning in near darkness failed to relocate it. Emily blasted off some shots with my camera as I watched it fly in noting plain pale grey underparts and possibly a snippet of black crown. She did well I think in near darkness.

Thanks Steve for the gen.


Posted April 24th, 2013 at 9:59 pm by Steve Young in Bird News

Exminster marsh and bowling green marsh

A frustrating morning having to be in Taunton as texts came in of the great white egret on exminster marsh ( thanks guys for all the info) finally got to the marsh at 16:20 first bird was a hobby over head at the railway bridge followed by 2 grasshopper warblers by the rspb car park and a lesser redpoll , 2 willow warblers and severall sedge warblers but no sign of the great white egret, after receiving info walked back to the railway bridge with keith Annison and got distant views of the great white egret on powderham marsh.

A quick look in bowling green marsh from 18:10 till 18:45, the summer plumage spotted redshank again on far side from the hide, 14+ greenshanks, 2 avocet , now 6 little grebes, 1m wheatear, 5+ whimbrel, 1 common sandpiper, 4 tufted duck(3m,1f), still good numbers of black tailed godwits with a few bar tailed godwits, 80+ redshanks, 5 wigeon , on walk back to topsham from the hide, 7+ blackcap and 2 whitethroats.

Posted April 24th, 2013 at 8:26 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News


20 white wagtails.No sign of ashy headed,Checked pools at back of tip also.16:45-17:10

Posted April 24th, 2013 at 7:32 pm by Robert Marshall in Bird News

Exminster marshes

Another photo of todays Great White Egret. Also a female Marsh harrier over lagoon 12:00 and 5 Lesser redpoll in RSPB carpark at 12:45. 

Posted April 24th, 2013 at 6:19 pm by Joe Martin in Bird News

Exminster Marsh

The Great-White Egret, in non breeding plumage still 12.30pm feeding in a ditch quite distantly south of the lagoon viewed from the footpath south of the RSPB car park. Interestingly, a Great-White Egret was present in the same ditch on April 23-24th 2011 !

Posted April 24th, 2013 at 5:34 pm by Mark Bailey in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

  A good days birding included the following:  Great White Egret that dropped in at 8:30 am and remained, Hobby, Peregrine on prey, Lesser Whitethroat, Cuckoo calling near Turf Hotel, a cracking male Whinchat and a few Swifts early on.  Plenty of Sedge,Reed and Cettis Warblers.

Record pic of GWE dropping in at 8:30am.
Record pic of GWE dropping in at 8:30am.

Posted April 24th, 2013 at 4:48 pm in Bird News

News from Lundy

Tim Davis & I were on Lundy 16-20 April and have posted news on

The breeding-plumaged Long-tailed Skua flying up Millcombe on 16th must rank as one of the most bizarre (and exciting) birding experiences I have ever had! Though it was seen again, further up the island, it did not hang around for more than an hour or so. The long-staying Chough, which arrived in late October, was last seen on 30 March. Perhaps driven off by either the unseasonably cold weather, or (possibly more likely) by the island's resident crows as they became increasingly territorial at the start of the breeding season?

News from the island yesterday (23rd) is of a Golden Oriole.

Posted April 24th, 2013 at 11:39 am by Tim Jones in Bird News

Berry head Colony.

841 Guillemots on seabird colony Berry Head.  807 on cliffs, 23 on water below colony and 11 on Cod Rock.

Further early morning counts will give me a clear indication if BH colony has been affected by PIB. No Kittiwakes present on cliffs. Next count Friday.

Posted April 24th, 2013 at 9:48 am by Nigel Smallbones in Bird News

Berry Head

Very little in the way of grounded migrants: 3 Willow Warbler, 8 Chiffchaff (mostly on territory now), 3 Blackcap, 1 Whitethroat, 1 Swift (over) and two Swallows. A brief seawatch produced 2 Purple Sandpipers > north, cutting in close to go into Torbay (perhaps heading toward the breakwater?), 1 Whimbrel, 2 Puffin and 6 Manx Shearwaters. Dave Norman saw a single wheatear at by the coastguards building.

Posted April 24th, 2013 at 9:09 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Tuesday 23rd April 2013

Little Gems

Cracking male Pintail at Dawlish Warren ealier today.Later today at bowling green i was stunned when i came across this grass snake just going about its day.

Posted April 23rd, 2013 at 9:55 pm by Mark Dyer in Bird News

Exminster Marshes, 6pm to 7pm

The Blue-headed Wagtail was feeding with four Yellows around the lagoons, togther with a single Little Ringed Plover.

A flock of ~26 Whimbrels flew up the river valley; a fine sight and sound in the evening sunshine. I heard a second flock later on but never saw them; they may well have been above the scattered low cloud.

At least 20 Swift and a good collection of hirundines of three species

Posted April 23rd, 2013 at 8:33 pm by Peter Hopkin in Bird News


trip to skern this afternoon to see the Ashy-headed wagtail and had great views till 18.10 also present a reed bunting and several pied wagtails and swallows also 2 wheatears

seen by David,Gillian and Clive Churchill

Posted April 23rd, 2013 at 7:57 pm by David & Gillian Churchill in Bird News

Around topsham

Watched from 15:00 till 18:00

from the goat walk the 1st summer little gull showed well also 12+ ringed plover and 2 1st summer med gulls, 5 whimbrel whilst watching the estuary a cuckoo called from behind goat walk towards bowling green marsh but was unable to relocate. 

From the viewing platform at bowling green marsh the female long tailed duck was in middle of the estuary, a little grebe to the right of the platform , 6 grey plover, sparrowhawk over, severall blackcaps, 6 great crested grebes down river . 

From the hide, a stunning full summer spotted redshank was on the far side, with 12 greenshanks, 19+ bar tailed godwits, 12+ whimbrel, 6+ little egrets, 10+ house martins, 2 willow warblers, 150+ black tailed godwits, 4+ dunlin, 70+ shelduck. 

Posted April 23rd, 2013 at 7:47 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News


Just a few more final pictures of the recent  wagtails 

Posted April 23rd, 2013 at 7:34 pm by steve Hatch in Bird News

Thurlestone Bay

Just arrived back from a few days away - Late afternoon at South Huish Marsh 2 m Yellow Wagtail,

1m Blue Headed Wagtail ( not seen since sunday ) and a m Whinchat - news from Bob B and Vic T

Posted April 23rd, 2013 at 6:49 pm by Mike Passman in Bird News

Prawle catch-up, 19 - 23/04

Generally very quiet migrant-wise during this period, but made up for by a decent few hours on Sunday (21st). At 11.55, 2 Red Kites flew east, and at 13.35, a male Golden Oriole flew from the East Prawle direction across the top of the airfields towards Pigs Nose Valley. Whimbrels peaked at 20, Wheatear at 6, Whitethroat 13, Blackcap 6, Willow Warbler 20 and Chiffchaff 16. Still low numbers of Swallows and House Martins, while other migrants were limited to just 2 Sedge Warblers and singles of Whinchat, Redstart and Yellow Wagtail.

Posted April 23rd, 2013 at 5:24 pm by Pat Mayer in Bird News

Sharkham Point

4 Grasshopper Warbler(reeling and eventually giving good views), 1 Sedge Warbler and 2 Wheatear. Lots of male Whitethroat now on territory and the first female seen today.

Butterflies - lots of Peacocks and my first Speckled Wood of the year.

Grasshopper Warbler. J.Marshall
Grasshopper Warbler. J.Marshall

Sedge Warbler J.Marshall
Sedge Warbler J.Marshall

Wheatear. J.Marshall
Wheatear. J.Marshall

Posted April 23rd, 2013 at 4:32 pm by Josh Marshall in Bird News

Another Seaton Red Kite

Just had a Red Kite circling over Black Hole Marsh, before it headed off west.  It was a very distinctive bird, missing a couple of inner primaires from each wing. Our third in four days.

Posted April 23rd, 2013 at 3:36 pm by Steve Waite in Bird News

Delayed news - Waddeton 21.04.13

Red Kite flying towards Kingswear over Waddeton Farm.  Accompanied by a Raven.  Numerous Skylark and Wheatear throughout the fields at Waddeton.

Posted April 23rd, 2013 at 3:03 pm by Seb Loram in Bird News


Yet another migrant Red Kite drifting E at 11:00.

Posted April 23rd, 2013 at 2:28 pm by Mark Darlaston in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

Lunchtime today (1.15 to 1.50) there were 4 Yellow Wagtails (looked like 1 male and 3 females) showing well amongst the cattle just past the Lions Rest Estate along with a Pied Wagtail

Posted April 23rd, 2013 at 2:12 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News


Ringing in the reserve this morning - details on the ringing forum page. But I did see the Spoonbill on the wet bit outside the reserve very early, it had gone by 6.30. 2 Grasshopper Warblers reeling in the reedbed south of the reserve.

Posted April 23rd, 2013 at 2:11 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Skern Wagtail

Perhaps Identification discussion should and could be sent to our forum pages... 

This is better place for any discussion rather than using the news pages.

Posted April 23rd, 2013 at 9:29 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Monday 22nd April 2013


Quick look in on the pond this evening, much the same, a few Swallows and fewer Sand Martins over the water with 3 Gadwall 2 Shoveler and a Pochard. Out on the wet field 18 Pied and a pair of Yellow Wagtails.

Posted April 22nd, 2013 at 8:50 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Exminster marsh & bowling green marsh

Exminster marsh 15:00 till 16:30

The Blue headed wagtail was elusive showing off from lions rest industrial estate between the road and the lagoon with 5+ yellow wagtails(3m,2f) , 5+ white wagtails, 4 blackcaps, 3 sedge warbler, 1 Cetti's warbler, 10+ whimbrel, 5 swift, 10+ house martins good numbers of swallows and sand martins, 3 buzzards.

Bowling green marsh 17:10 till 17:45

1 little ringed plover was a nice find, 150+ black tailed godwits, 2 Cetti's warblers, 5 blackcaps, 4 whitethroats, 2 Willow warblers, 2 reed buntings(1m,1f), 3 wigeon, 1 tufted duck, 1 little grebes, 18+ greenshanks on far side from the hide was my best count for some time. 

Posted April 22nd, 2013 at 8:24 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Skern Wagtail

A few more shots of this very smart bird which was showing really well this afternoon.

Posted April 22nd, 2013 at 7:36 pm by Rob Cross in Bird News

Yarner Wood

At least 4 pairs of Pied Flys now,with 2 seeming to be nest building already. 2 Treecreepers were the other best bits

Posted April 22nd, 2013 at 6:22 pm by Tim Clyburn in Bird News

Exminster Marsh

Earlier at Exminster between 12 and 12.30pm, the male Blue-Headed Wagtail with 5 Yellow Wagtails(2m,3f) and 7 White Wagtails were all showing well from the middle car park, before flying onto the end pool briefly and then back again to the middle of the marsh. The flock had first flown in at c11.30am.  Also, a Hobby flew low over the middle car park at 12.25pm. (Thanks to REB,BBH and DJH for sticking with this mobile flock)

Posted April 22nd, 2013 at 6:14 pm by Mark Bailey in Bird News

Axe Estuary

First time I've looked at the Axe's new hides. While walking back the gulls went up around 3pm, the culprit a Red Kite drifting north.

Posted April 22nd, 2013 at 5:35 pm by Mark Darlaston in Bird News

King's Wood

Heard our fist cuckoo last night in Kings Wood which is in the Erme Valley

Posted April 22nd, 2013 at 5:32 pm by Ann Willcocks in Bird News

South Huish Marsh, West Charleton

My first visit to this location on a chilly overcast day and it began to rain as we arrived !!

Highlight were close up views of a Whitethroat on the way out.

From the hide ~ Single Snipe, Five Egrets, which kept moving off and returning, Eight Teal (3 M ~ 5 F) One Shellduck, One  Moorhen, small number of flitting Chiffchaffs, Whitethroat that was feeding directly below the hide under the windows, male Blackcap flew by several times, nice but distant views of a pair of Stonechat on the reeds, male in full summer plumage.

Small numbers of Swallows passing periodically during the visit.

On the way out Skylarks could be heard but I couldn't spot them.

On the way home Skylark both heard and seen at Sign of the Owl Cross, Wrangaton, also got some close up images of a Hare feeding in the same field.

Posted April 22nd, 2013 at 4:02 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

On a lunchtime visit between 1.15 and 1.50 the Blue-headed Wagtail was showing fairly distantly from the middle car park looking back towards the railway line. Along with at least 2 Yellow Wagtails and 4 White Wagtails. Hard to tell numbers as the birds would get lost in long grass. Also large numbers of hirundines, many on the ground and perched on fences. At least 1 Swift.

Posted April 22nd, 2013 at 2:05 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

Northam Burrows and the Skern.

07:30 - 09:30

At 07:30 the Ashy/Black-headed Yellow Wagtail was still on the edges of the landfill pond together with 6 White wagtails; 3 Whimbrel; 1 male Reed Bunting. Swallows and Martins didn`t appear until 08:00.

The Yellow Wagtail would disappear for up to an hour at a time before returning to the road end of the pond.

On the Skern were 3 Sandwich Terns and 3 Wheatear, plus 4 more White Wagtails.


Posted April 22nd, 2013 at 10:46 am by Maurice Clements in Bird News


Single female Pochard on the pond (but no Mallards!!!) Out in the wet field (rapidly drying out now) the Spoonbill until 7.30. A good size flock of Sand Martins hawking by the reserve. In the reserve, a Reed Warbler singing, along with a Blackcap, and a few Willow Warblers and Chiffs. Canada Goose now sitting on nest.

Posted April 22nd, 2013 at 8:35 am by Jon Turner in Bird News

The Skern Wagtail

The feedback I've had so far all say it's Ashy-headed Wagtail Motacilla flava cinereocapilla.

Posted April 22nd, 2013 at 8:02 am by Steve Waite in Bird News

The Skern Wagtail Identification

What a cracking bird!

A white throat doesn't rule out Black Headed (feldegg) as first-summer males can have a white upper-throat, they also can have a greyish nape: both features on this bird. It could also be Black-Headed from it's far eastern range, also known as 'melanogrisea' which has a white line separating the black ear coverts from the yellow which this appears to have. It could also be a feldegg intergrade.

One can never be 100% sure of course with Yellow Wagtails, my second thoughts are a very dark headed Grey Headed Wagtail, thunbergi, but it does have jet black on the crown which these rarely have.

Best reference for sorting these out is 'Pipits and Wagtails of Europe,Asia and N Africa (Krister and Alstrom), page 279 particularly useful.

Posted April 22nd, 2013 at 7:05 am by David Cope in Bird News

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