Devon Bird Sightings from 22nd–31st January 2014

2019 Descriptions still outstanding

Many thanks to all observers that submitted their records for 2019. However there are still a number of records that require descriptions before they can appear in the Bird Report.

If you were fortunate enough to find (or see) any of these birds below please could you submit a description to the County Recorder Many thanks, stay safe.

Alpine Swift, Dawlish 11 Jun  Hooded Crow, Baggy Point 10 May
Barred Warbler, Thurlestone 30 Aug Long-tailed Skua, Dawlish Warren 11 Oct
Caspian Gull, Thurlestone, 08 Feb Purple Heron, Slapton Ley 07 May
Caspian Gull, Topsham 02 Aug Sabine's Gull, Thurlestone 14 Aug
Cory's Shearwater, Berry Head 19 Jul Serin (2), Harrowbeer 19 Apr
Glossy Ibis, Otter Est 11-13 Mar Tree Sparrow (2), Berry Head 20 Mar


Posted May 2nd at 3:27 pm by Kevin Rylands in General Birding

Coronavirus update - Daily exercise and Bird Hides

Please be aware that in line with Government guidelines on non-essential travel and social distancing, the Devon Birds hides at Beesands, Fernworthy and Roadford, in addition to hides elsewhere in the County including Bowling Green Marsh, Dawlish Warren and Seaton Wetlands are closed until further notice. Whilst some people may be fortunate enough to be within walking/cycling distance of these sites, others should not be making special journeys to visit these areas at this time. Thank you for your co-operation and stay safe.

Please follow NHS guidelines:

Posted April 16th at 12:04 pm by Mike Daniels in General Birding

Sightings page guidelines & rare breeding bird posting restrictions

We welcome contributions from Devon Birds members and the general public. Please follow the guidelines on this page if you have something to post on the blog, remembering to use the relevant subject.

Please post responsibly, never post details of rare breeding, or winter roosts of vulnerable, species. If you are unsure of what to - or not - to post, there are guidelines on the restrictions  here.

Please note:-

1. That Wood Warbler in probable breeding areas should also not now be published

2.  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all. Editors do this job on a voluntary basis and cannot commit to editing out rare breeding bird information in posts which which include wider sightings. Please help us to avoid the need to delete or not admit posts. Thanks.

For help with ID email photos to

Posted January 8th at 9:12 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding


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 General Birding

Tuesday 28th January 2014


First thing this morning there were two Chiffchaffs at the University site (see earlier posts). I didn't have much time but it appeared to be the putative tristis and what I might describe as an abientinus-type. Definitely not a collybitta  and more greys and greens than tristis, with better wing bars (although perhaps not so different from some of the birds posted nationally in various pics which push the boundaries for me). Although I thought I heard the tristis call a couple of times, unfortunately, no other calls were heard. 

I'm not sure whether one bird is new in or whether there's some overlap in previous sightings. Views welcome. 

Posted January 28th, 2014 at 8:50 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Torridge just up stream of Instow @ 11.30

Single Great Northern Diver on section between sailing club and Zeta berth.

Posted January 28th, 2014 at 2:28 pm by Mark Humfrey in General Birding

Axe Estuary

Dad found this (at first worryingly!) pale 2cy Glaucous Gull on the Axe Estuary this morning. Thankfully I got to it just before it flew out to sea.

A big bird, but not the biggest Glauc I've seen. Possibly the recent Exe Estuary bird?

Glaucous Gull
Glaucous Gull

Glaucous Gull
Glaucous Gull

Posted January 28th, 2014 at 10:21 am by Steve Waite in General Birding

Monday 27th January 2014

Lower Tamar Lake

Lower Tamar Lake 09:00


9 Redwings in with C50 Starlings, 21 Goosander 7m 14f, 14 Tufted duck, 1f Scaup, 1 G.S. Woodpecker, 1 Grey Heron.

Posted January 27th, 2014 at 4:16 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh

Plenty of birds from the hide this lunchtime including impressive numbers of Black-tailed Godwits and Wigeon. A quick walk round to the Goatwalk produced one male Goldeneye and a Turnstone. 

Posted January 27th, 2014 at 2:17 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding

Topsham Recreation Ground

The Water Pipit (anywhere along the shore but mobile) and Black Redstart (the usual spot by the white boat and slipways at the north end) both still present this morning.

Water Pipit - Topsham Rec 27/1/2014
Water Pipit - Topsham Rec 27/1/2014

Black Redstart - Topsham Rec 27/1/2014
Black Redstart - Topsham Rec 27/1/2014

Posted January 27th, 2014 at 10:05 am by Tim Worfolk in General Birding

Upottery Airfield, Smeatharpe

Still pretty quiet but at least a few things worth mentioning at long last.

9 Golden Plover were the first of the year and 3 Cormorants flying North west were noteworthy. 70 Fieldfare, 15 Redwing, 20 Skylark, 10 Meadow Pipits.

4000 Woodpigeon on adjacent farmland

Posted January 27th, 2014 at 9:53 am by Douglas Stannard in General Birding

Sunday 26th January 2014

Sibe Chiff Plymouth

Thought I would venture out at c 3.30pm as there appeared to be a break in the heavy rain.Arrived at the Plymouth ,North Hill site (well described-thanks Rich/Laurie). At 3.45pm a Goldcrest and Robin flew out of cover followed by a sad 'tweep tweep' call and the Chiff sp appeared flycatching from groundcover up to the highest point of the tallest tree ! Sadly never heard it sing tho not surprising given lack of sunshine. Plumage-wise seemed good for Tristis to me-greyish, with greenish remiges and black bare parts.Olive-green wash in some light tho I also found the same with the Clennon Valley birds. Showed a delicate feint wing- bar on RHS. Nice bird in unusual setting (ie close to bus stops).


Posted January 26th, 2014 at 10:43 pm by Tony Marchese in General Birding

Exmouth Beach

Between breaks in the heavy rain around 4.30pm today, 3 Purple Sandpipers amongst a group of 7 or 8 Turnstones on the rocks below the lifeboat station on Exmouth beach.

Posted January 26th, 2014 at 10:40 pm by Nick Pratt in General Birding


Adult Med gull in the Exe Estuary roost late pm seen from the platform at Bowling Green Marsh.

Posted January 26th, 2014 at 8:51 pm by Martin Elcoate in General Birding

Berry Head

Seawatch 11:45-13:30. Arrived as weather started to clear and wind moved more westerly. At distance c200 Kittiwakes feeding and with another closer feeding group was an adult Little Gull. Also moving through were 2 Bonxies, 2 Black-throated Divers and 2 Red-throated Divers. c40 Fulmars on the sea and at least 6 Harbour Porpoise.

Harbour Porpoise - adult & calf

Posted January 26th, 2014 at 5:07 pm by Mark Darlaston in General Birding

Torbay boat trip 9-11am

Trip round the bay from Paignton to Brixham and back in the worst of the weather, horrible rain and strong winds. 38 common scoter off Preston sands to start with. 5 great northern divers, 5 great crested grebes. 2-3 black necked grebes at Broadsands. An adult red necked grebe at 7 quarries was a different bird from the 3 (all immatures) I have already photographed in Torbay so the 4th for Torbay this winter. Auks rather scarce this time but a nice raft of 4 razorbills at Goodrington. A great tit heard calling at 7 quarries was a boat trip tick! Next trip is next Sunday from Paignton harbour at 9am. Phone Nigel Smallbones on 07866 202576 to book.

38 common scoters in front of a very murky Ore Stone
38 common scoters in front of a very murky Ore Stone

Red necked grebe - note black bill with yellow base
Adult Red necked grebe - note black bill with neat yellow base

Black necked grebe
Black necked grebe

Posted January 26th, 2014 at 4:46 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

Shoalstone Brixham

Joined Bill Macdonald for late morning at the shelter in heavy rain .Still a Black Guillemot offshore and 4 Great Northern Divers. Few other seabirds around except Gannets and Razorbills. 

Posted January 26th, 2014 at 2:39 pm in General Birding

Saturday 25th January 2014

Sibe Chiff Plymouth

Just to give an idea of how messed up this bird is on vocalisations, Laurie Allnatt has uploaded some videos to YouTube that he made this morning where you can hear it calling something like tristis and mixed singing.

ttp://      doing its fast high pitched tsi tsi      Tristis like flat call.

In the crudest of ways (put microphone of headset next to earpiece to record!), I was able to extract some sound and generate a very low quality sonogram from the third video. The inverted U shaped call starting at about 4.5 kHz looks pretty good although it sounds a bit happy for a tristis to my ears.


Posted January 25th, 2014 at 6:31 pm by Richard Billington in General Birding

Plym Estuary

A single Mediterranean Gull - an adult with bright bare parts - was amongst a reasonable gathering of gulls on the falling tide. Otherwise a Little Grebe but little else of interest. 

Posted January 25th, 2014 at 5:51 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Photos needed for the Devon Bird Atlas!

This blog, and the website gallery, are packed full of stunning photographs of birds that have been seen in Devon.  Many of these photos would look superb inside the Devon Bird Atlas, which is due to be published within the next couple of years. 

So, if you have good quality images of any species of birds taken in Devon, please send them in! 

For more details see:

(Update 5 Feb: the photo dropbox folder was getting huge and difficult for some to use, consequently the folder has been saved and closed (no need to resubmit photos already sent in). A new dropbox folder 'Devon Atlas 2' is now open and invites have been sent to those wishing to use it. Many thanks to all the photographers that have uploaded photos - a fantastic response with many stunning images! Most have followed the submission details (especially file name) on the above link very well - if you haven't you can amend your own submissions by right clicking the mouse and rename the file. Thanks again)

Posted January 25th, 2014 at 5:08 pm by Steve Waite in General Birding


Bowling green marsh watched from the hide 09:30 till 12:30

1250+ black tailed godwit was a very good count for the marsh, with 14 coloured ringed birds, 760+ wigeon , 6+ Pochards, 7+ tufted ducks, 58+ shoveler, 13+ pintail, 2 Cetti's warblers, 51+ lapwing 1 little egret.

then had a look from the viewing platform, 106+ common gulls, 43+ grey plover, 300+ dunlin, 100+ aavocet 

a quick look from the goat walk produced large numbers of dunlin 2000+ another 20+ common gull and a nice surprise was 3 goldeneye( 2m,1f) 


Posted January 25th, 2014 at 4:49 pm by Keith Birchall in General Birding

Lower Tamar Lake. 25th January 2014

 7+ Mallard, 15 Goosander ( 6 males), 5 Teal, 7 Tufted Duck, 2 Coot, 1 Kestrel skirmishing with a Carrion Crow, 1 Buzzard, 1 Green Woodpecker calling and in flight, 1 Grey Heron.  
On the feeders:- Blue, Great and Coal Tits plus 1 Willow Tit calling then feeding,
2 Nuthatches, 1 Raven over, 12 Carrion Crows and 2 Robins.
Very muddy underfoot - wellingtons essential



Posted January 25th, 2014 at 2:57 pm by Harvey Kendall in General Birding

North side of Taw Estuary from Tarka trail

1 pair of Goosanders, 3000 Golden Plover resting on the sand bank (Chivenor Ridge) & at last a flock of approx 20 Redwing on the way home which is a sign it may be getting colder.

Posted January 25th, 2014 at 2:08 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding


Broadsands: 3 Great Northern Divers,  47 Great Crested Grebes. 17 Cirl Buntings and 3 Reed Buntings on seed in 2nd car park. 2 Siberian Chiffchaffs, 1 collybita Chiffchaff and a Water Rail in Marsh.

Paignton/Preston: 2 Great Northern Divers, 43 Common Scoter, 1 Great Crested Grebe.

Goodrington: 1 Great Northern Diver.

Brixham: 1 Black Guillemot (off Shoalstone), 8 Great Northern Divers, 3 Black-throated Divers. Still lots of Auks feeding north of Berry Hd and in middle of Torbay with Gannets and Kittiwakes.

I don't normally take much notice of Pheasants but this was a stunner!...A melanistic hybrid form several around the Waddeton area of Galmpton.

melanistic hybrid Pheasant Waddeton 26 Jan 2014 ML    melanistic hybrid Pheasant Waddeton 26 Jan 2014 ML


Posted January 25th, 2014 at 10:41 am by Mike Langman in General Birding

pied wagtail roost

Proving you can watch birds at any time or place, saw 50+ Wagtails in two trees in Teignmouth Triangle while eating my Kebab after a good night out at 11.30pm last night

Posted January 25th, 2014 at 12:16 am by Simon Thurgood in General Birding

Friday 24th January 2014

Bowling Green Marsh

Lunchtime visit to the hide and platform produced good numbers of the expected ducks & waders. Of note from the platform were a single Greenshank showing well and 1 Oystercatcher.

Posted January 24th, 2014 at 2:15 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding

Thursday 23rd January 2014

Brixham and Berry Head

This morning watched from Berry Head Hotel in a force four-ish. Moderate activity, lots of kittiwakes, gannets, razorbills, guillemots and fulmars - just two great northern divers. By the lighthouse pretty much just fulmars. Yesterday pm, Brixham harbour and breakwater 3 great northern, 2 black throated divers, auks and a black guillemot just outside of the outside harbour - then watched near the hotel, no sign of the white billed diver!

Posted January 23rd, 2014 at 11:19 pm by Simon Bates in General Birding

Exminster marsh

A quick look along station road from 14:30 till 16:30 produced the male Merlin and a peregrine, 267+ golden plover, 1500+ lapwing spread over the whole marsh, with at least as many wigeon, 2 chiffchaffs, 2 goldcrests, 4+ stonechat, 3 reed buntings, 1 water rail, 700+ Brent geese towards the motorway bridge, as i  left the marsh at least 3000+ starlings performing over powderham marsh.

Posted January 23rd, 2014 at 10:27 pm by Keith Birchall in General Birding

A few sightings from Exeter area and beyond.

A few sightings from a fairly disparate range of sites today.

- Fairly sizable flocks of Siskins on the feeders at Haldon Country Park

- Scaup still present on Decoy Lake, Newton Abbot

- No sign of Yellow-browed Warbler in Alphington

- 4+ Red-throated Divers and 2 Velvet Scoters far off the sea wall at Dawlish Warren

Posted January 23rd, 2014 at 7:34 pm by Tom Martin in General Birding

Yesterday, Tuesday 22nd Lower Tamar Lake

Yesterday the Taw/Torridge group went to Lower Tamar Lake and had a male, female and juvenile male Scaup amongst the Tufted Ducks, as well as Goosander 13F and 11M.

(Maria & Jackie)

Posted January 23rd, 2014 at 5:32 pm in General Birding

Clennon Valley

The Yellow-browed Warbler showed for a while at lunchtime - in the streamside trees just east of the easternmost pond and then moved into the copse at the eastern end of the pond. 2 Siberian Chiffchaffs 200m West of the YMCA along the stream. 5 Snipe and Mandarin Duck also present.

Posted January 23rd, 2014 at 4:43 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding

Lower Tamar Lake

Quiet on the lake this morning.

Goosander 10m 11f, G.C.Grebe 1, Grey Heron 1, Wren 1, Tufted Duck 7m 6f, Scaup 1f with the Tufted, Gadwall 1m 1f, Firecrest 1,

Posted January 23rd, 2014 at 4:07 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

Exminster Marshes

Following yesterday's posts I thought I would give Exminster Marshes a try this lunchtime and was rewarded with a brief flight view of the male Merlin from the lane as it headed in the direction of the Swans Nest pub. Also a Chiff-chaff and a flock of around 30 Redwings by the RSPB car park. A female Sparrowhawk caused some disturbance on the marsh putting up the Golden Plovers and Lapwings etc.

Posted January 23rd, 2014 at 2:10 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding

Brixham Harbour

Early this morning from AstraZeneca a Black Guillemot was still visible, also two Black-throated Divers.

Posted January 23rd, 2014 at 1:46 pm in General Birding


On the sea: 5 Great Northern Divers, 1 Black-throated Diver, 47 Great Crested Grebes and 6 Shelduck.

15 Cirl Buntings on seed in 2nd car park, 2 siberian Chiffchaffs around Marsh awith 1 collybita Chiffchaff 


No sign of the Clennon Valley Glossy Ibis after about 11am yesterday.

Posted January 23rd, 2014 at 11:00 am by Mike Langman in General Birding

Yesterday at S.Efford Marsh

The Glossy Ibis was at S.Efford Marsh yesterday (sorry Rob).


I saw it at c12 afar in a ditch with Little Egrets whilst trying to work out how to get to the new hide (my first visit, shame there isn’t a laminated map on the gate: directions counter-intuitive as you turn away from the hide on a circular mudbath before going towards the river again).  The laminated sign saying not to turn left appeared to have no effect, I saw one person opposite the hide almost by the hedge approaching the ditch – putting up the Ibis? And later 3 other visitors (who appeared to walk into the middle of the marsh as I eventually found the footpath and started walking it - I had even advised one of these birders where the path was and not to go onto the marsh!).  On the other hand I also saw a Peregine fly over so it may have been spooked by this. Later c12:45 as I was returning, by the entrance gates I briefly saw the Ibis fly north over the river by the bridge (reminded me of times at Stodmarsh, Kent in the 1980’s – a quick sighting and equally quickly lost to view!).


Also seen: 2 Egyptian Geese north of the bridge, and Green and Common Sandpipers and a Kingfisher.



Posted January 23rd, 2014 at 9:05 am by Tony Marchese in General Birding

Wednesday 22nd January 2014

Exminster marsh

A quick visit from 14:30 till 16:30 produced in addition to John waldon Earlier post a water pipit was with group of 17 meadow pipit and 7 pied wagtails,4 stonechats showed well and the peregrine and Merlin were still active over the marsh and 78+ redwing in trees by swans nest pub ,  2 water rail along station road. 

Posted January 22nd, 2014 at 8:57 pm by Keith Birchall in General Birding

Black throated divers

Spotted 3 black throated divers around the rocks near the harbour jetty at Babbacombe beach.

Posted January 22nd, 2014 at 6:01 pm by Lisa Broom in General Birding

Sibe Chiff Plymouth

Some pics from Laurie Allnatt of this bird today. As you can see looked really variable according to the light conditions but together with the calls/song, I am quite hopeful for it. Not got a lot of experience with this species so would welcome any comments

Some links to the videos Laurie took to hear song/call:

Posted January 22nd, 2014 at 4:24 pm by Richard Billington in General Birding

Berry Head - Brixham

A good search from Berry Head in calm conditions showed no sign of the White-billed Diver (so last seen there 11:15 on the 19th), although plenty of auks and 5+ Harbour Porpoise. From Berry Head to Brixham harbour at least 10 Great Northern Divers and 3 Black-throated Divers.

Posted January 22nd, 2014 at 4:08 pm by Mark Darlaston in General Birding

Exminster marshes

A brief walk down Station Road at lunch time. Flood water is passable in wellington boots (just). In the lane 3 stonechats and one chiffchaff. Near the canal a male merlin flew out of a tree and flew east along the lane. Wonderful views in bright sun-light. A peregrine was sitting out in the middle of the marsh, north of lagoon and south of the lane. Its presence was upsetting the 600+ lapwing and 300+ golden plover. Elsewhere 1 dunlin and hundreds of wigeon and teal. Brent geese started arriving from the estuary as I left, joining about 200 feeding north of the lane.

Posted January 22nd, 2014 at 2:47 pm by John Waldon in General Birding

Alphington YB Warbler

Yellow Browed Warbler showing very well in the buses around the back car park of the Lucerne Nursing Home in Chudleigh Road Alphington this afternoon ( bushes next to wooden fence of adjacent bungalow). I spoke to the Home manager and she has given permission for birders to look for it but please do not park in the home's car park. 

Posted January 22nd, 2014 at 2:15 pm by David Cope in General Birding

Avon Valley at Aveton Gifford

No sign of glossy ibis on marsh - not surprising when visiting birders standing out in the middle of the marsh!! Birds: 2 water pipit, 2 Egyptian geese, 30 shelduck, 4 redshank, 3 greenshank, 2 common sandpiper, 2 kingfisher, 41 meadow pipit, 34 pied wagtail & first fieldfare on patch this year! 

Posted January 22nd, 2014 at 2:13 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Plymouth chiffchaff

I also heard and saw a chiffchaff just past 9 this morning outside of my window at gilwell hall of residence in Plymouth. a chiffchaff (presumably the same one) has been in the area for over a week, but this was the first time I have heard it sing. Have never heard a sibe song before but it was a more varied song with more than the usual 2 notes so I was suspicious. Let me know if anyone positively I.D.'s it.

Posted January 22nd, 2014 at 1:55 pm by Elliot Dowding in General Birding

Plymouth Possible Sibe Chiff

Heard a really odd song a bit earlier which I eventually realised was coming out of a Chiffchaff. Sounds very good for Sibe Chiffchaff and was calling like a Sibe. The bird looks pretty good too being grey above with some sandy tones. Disclaimer is that in some positions/lights it can appear a little greeny and it was occasionally giving bits of song and calls that sounded more like collybita. The bird is outside the university on North Hill, just behing the bus stops, next to the copper clad building that is under construction. Laurie Alnatt got some pics and if I can work out how to upload the short song recording I got, I will.

Posted January 22nd, 2014 at 12:10 pm by Richard Billington in General Birding

Clennon Valley

The Glossy Ibis is still present today, and 2 Siberian Chiffchaffs - no sign again of the Yellow-browed Warbler.

Glossy Ibis Clennon Valley 22 Jan 2014 ML

Posted January 22nd, 2014 at 11:10 am by Mike Langman in General Birding

Skern,Northam Burrows and Southcott Valley,East the Water,Bideford.

Skern 0835 - 0930

Bar-tailed Godwit 37; Shelduck 16; Wigeon 253; Redshank 62; Knot 18; Dunlin c500; Lapwing c150; O/catcher c200; Grey Plover 41; Turnstone 2; Curlew c60 and Common Gull 21.

Southcott Valley 0955.

Common Gull 6 and Mediterranean Gull 1A, among several Black-headed Gulls and 2 Shelduck.

Posted January 22nd, 2014 at 10:53 am by Maurice Clements in General Birding

Ring-necked Parakeet

Just seen a Ring-necked Parakeet feeding at the seed-feeders in my Exeter garden. Typically, the batteries in my camera are dead!

Posted January 22nd, 2014 at 10:36 am by Sam Stripp in General Birding

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