Devon Bird Sightings: Bird News from 1st–7th February 2014


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

Friday 7th February 2014

Paignton (sea front)

Between 1620 and 1645 I saw 1 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Great Crested Grebe and 1 Great Northern Diver off the southern (harbour) end of the sea front. The Black -necked Grebe was within yards of the beach when I left.

Posted February 7th, 2014 at 10:13 pm by Perry J Smale in Bird News

Hope's Nose

Down at the sewer 3 - 4.30pm, a good sized flock of herring, black headed and common gulls, with 3 adult little gulls feeding extremely close to the rocks at the outfall, and a few kittiwakes passing through. Some guillemots scattered on the water (a couple badly oiled); and 3 great northern divers and a great crested grebe in the cove on the north side.

Posted February 7th, 2014 at 9:09 pm by Chris Proctor in Bird News

Around Plymouth

Ernesettele creek

Redshank, Canada Geese, Teal, Curlew, 3 Greenshank, Kingfisher fishing, Distant Avocet roosting at Kingsmill  Lake, 2 Great Crested Grebe and 2 Buzzard.

Leigham Manor Drive River Plym

Pair of Goosander

Saltram and Plym Estuary

with Russ Eynon

2 Chiffchaff (Collybita) Goldcrest, Robin, Blue tit, Great tit, Coal tit, Long Tailed tit, Wren ,Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Curlew, Shellduck, Wigeon (Drake 1), Great Black Back Gull, Oystercatcher, Grey Heron, Moorhen, 7 Common Gulls, Black Headed Gulls, Meadow Pipit, Nuthatch, 5 Skylark, Vocal Nuthatches but only 1 seen, 6 Snipe, 3 Jack Snipe, 2 Little Grebe, 6 Red Breasted Merganser. 

Posted February 7th, 2014 at 7:51 pm by charlie imms in Bird News

Avon Valley & Soar

Most of South Efford Marsh underwater this pm & no sign of water pipits. Tally included: 72 mute swan, 37 shelduck, 57 wigeon, 18 curlew, 2 greenshank, 2 redshank, grey wagtail & 3 chiffchaff.

Earlier a fine walk over East Soar, very quiet but 9 cirl buntings included 2 singing males. Major storm damage to field gates!

Posted February 7th, 2014 at 4:44 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Thursday 6th February 2014

Hope's Nose this afternoon

A sizeable gull flock at the sewer with many herring, black headed, common, and kittiwake plus 2 adult little gulls and an adult mediterranean gull. Also present: great northern diver and 13 great crested grebes.

Little gull
Little gull

Mediterranean gull
Mediterranean gull

Posted February 6th, 2014 at 7:57 pm by Chris Proctor in Bird News

Hope's Nose

Seawatch 08:00 - 11:15. Weather pretty much as at Berry Head. Heading S were c.400+ kittiwake of which c.30 1st yrs, ad little gull, 15 red-throated and 9 great northern divers, 22 gannet. Around sewer outlet were up to 100 common gull, lots of kittiwakes, 1 ad lesser back, herring gulls and black-heads. Feeding off the headland were c.10 great crests, 6 great northerns, ad female eider, 20+ shag and small numbers of auks. At least one purple sand on rocks and an oiled guillemot which later swam out to sea. A greater back killed and ate a dog fish.

Posted February 6th, 2014 at 6:32 pm in Bird News

Berry Head

Seawatch 1030-1300, wind building SE7 around midday and very wet! Heading S, adult Little Gull, c800 Kittiwakes, 6 Red-throated Divers, Black-throated Diver, 2 Great Northern Divers, reasonable passage of auks included a Puffin; and a Slavonian Grebe headed E towards Shoalstone. Just a single Harbour Porpoise. Several GNDs on the sea between Berry Head and Shoalstone, but numbers seem to have dropped off.

Posted February 6th, 2014 at 4:03 pm by Mark Darlaston in Bird News

Torquay inner harbour/marina

This morning there were 2 Great Northern Divers and a guillimot in the Torquay inner harbour/marina area

Posted February 6th, 2014 at 3:41 pm by Adam Davison in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

Pretty much the same as yesterday although the water levels have dropped ever so slightly. Plenty of Snipe showing well and more Dunlin than yesterday. A nice group of 13 Pintail (10 males). Additions from yesterday were 2 Coot and a pair of Tufted Ducks.

Posted February 6th, 2014 at 2:09 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

Wednesday 5th February 2014

river plym leigham manor drive

c200 jackdaws into roost at 1645 and a grey wagtail.

Posted February 5th, 2014 at 10:28 pm by charlie imms in Bird News

Axe Estuary

At Coronation Corner I stopped just after 1300 for a coffee break and picked up the reported Little Gull and watched this appear intermittently over towards the Tower Hide opposite. However, at 1320 there were 2 adults together feeding petrel-like just over the choppy water in front of the Tower Hide. Unfortunately they both disappeared then and I did not see either again. There were also 3 Med Gulls (2 ads and 1 2nd winter).

Posted February 5th, 2014 at 9:52 pm by Perry J Smale in Bird News


No sign of the White-billed Diver this morning despite the rough weather (gust of 91mph at Berry Hd!) there were: 28 Great Northern Divers, 1 Black-throated Diver, 1 Black Guillemot (in the inner harbour at one point), 6 Purple Sandpipers almost on the beach.

Black Guillemot Brixham 5th Feb14 ML    Black-throated Diver Brixham 5th Feb14 ML

Above: 1 w Black Guillemot and  ad Black-throated Diver       Below: Great Northern Divers

Great northern Divers Brixham 5th Feb14 ML

Posted February 5th, 2014 at 8:06 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Axe Estuary

Serious flooding in town today, like many other coastal locations.  Only notable birds were in the Estuary, with two adult Kittiwake early morning and a cracking adult Little Gull for much of the day.  I first saw the Little Gull from the bedroom when I was trying to get Kittiwake on the house list!

Little Gull feeding like a Stormie
Little Gull feeding like a Stormie

Little Gull again
Little Gull

Posted February 5th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by Steve Waite in Bird News

Devil's Point Plymouth

3 Little Gulls together feeding at 1.30pm 5 February

Posted February 5th, 2014 at 2:46 pm by Rob Hubble in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

An incredible amount of water has arrived on the marsh in the last 24 hours. The water depth marker was just sticking out of the water. This meant that a lot of the waders were very close in including a good number of Avocets. Several Snipe were showing well along with a few Grey Plover in amongst the Godwits, Redshank and Dunlin. Not that many ducks but I suppose they have plenty of other places to visit at the moment! A quick look at Goosemoor revealed a lone Greenshank and a Sparrowhawk that made an unsuccesful attempt to grap a Snipe.

Posted February 5th, 2014 at 2:14 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

Tuesday 4th February 2014

Bickington / Barnstaple

Isn't it amazing how a cold and sunny spell brings the birds to the feeders?  This morning we had apart from our usual feathered friends 4 Longtail Tits, 2 Goldfinches, 1 male Blackcap and 1 Spotted Woodpecker.  And 2 active frogs in the pond.

Maren Gracie

Posted February 4th, 2014 at 7:57 pm by Maren Gracie in Bird News

Ring-Necked Parakeet

Saw this Ring-Necked Parakeet in the middle of Exeter today, by the Blackboy Road roundabout. It was alone and according to a lady in a shop opposite, it has been around for a couple of weeks. I would be interested to know if this may be a feral one (blown west from the east)... or just a lone escapee. The photographs were taken by my husband who was with me.

Ring-necked Parakeet


Posted February 4th, 2014 at 7:32 pm by Helen Perriman in Bird News

Lower Tamar Lake

Lower Tamar Lake 11:20

40 Goosander 11m, 10 Tufted Duck 3m 7f, 3 G.S. Woodpecker 1m 2f, 1 Nuthatch, 1 G.C. Grebe, 2 Buzzards soaring.


Posted February 4th, 2014 at 7:13 pm by Rod Mudge in Bird News

Brixham-Berry Head

The White-billed Diver mysteriously disappeared at 10:30, after moving up and back along the breakwater (Lifeboat to the fuel Jetty) a few times - at one point it was sat in the middle of the group of Great Northern Divers (hopefully DMN has a photo!). After it had not reappeared for 1.5hr, I wandered out to Berry Head, where yet more Great Northern Divers were sheltering, giving a total of 38 for Brixham-Berry Head (ML saw more off Broadsands bringing the Torbay total to c50), but still no sign of WBD by 16:00. A further 2 Black-throated Divers off Shoalstone bringing the total to 4. Of note while walking back from Berry Head with ML an unseasonal Manx Shearwater came out of Torbay!

Great Northern DiverWhite-billed Diver

Posted February 4th, 2014 at 5:36 pm by Mark Darlaston in Bird News

Dawlish Warren

An off patch trip to catch up on sea ducks but too stormy for much activity, no eiders, scoters or bonny gull. However the day's tally included fulmar, great northern diver, 560 brent goose ( most on nearby pasture ), 12 wigeon, female long-tailed duck, 9 red-breasted merganser, overflying peregrine, c.480 oystercatcher, c.300 grey plover ( a few knots & ringed plovers mixed in ), c.400 dunlin, 50 turnstone, adult Med gull & 13 linnet.

Posted February 4th, 2014 at 5:14 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

River Plym

1 male and 2 redhead goosander, 7 male and 5 female Mandarin duck, 1 kingfisher and a grey wagtail along the River Plym between Marsh Mills and Plymbridge.

From the Cann Quarry viaduct a marsh tit, a kingfisher at the Quarry pond and the same or another flying along the River.

Blaxton Meadow had 4 male and a female wigeon with shelducks and along the River a greenshank, 7 oystercatcher and 2 female red breasted merganser.

Finally found a treecreeper in Saltram Woods!

But best of all at 15:00hrs a very smart 1st Winter Iceland Gull bathing in the River downriver from the Rowing Club before being disturbed by a fisherman in a canoe, flying off over Laira Bridge and out of sight (presumably the bird seen this morning on Drakes Island).

Glaucous Gull
Iceland Gull

Glaucous Gull
Iceland Gull

Mandarin Ducks
Mandarin Ducks

Posted February 4th, 2014 at 5:07 pm by Stuart Green in Bird News

Ernesettle Creek and Wembury Point

 On a falling tide there were 4 Greenshanks, a Spotted Redshank amongst the 25 or so Redshanks, 28 Teal and a Kingfisher. 

At the Point very few birds save for a very nice adult Yellow-legged Gull roosting on the rocks with the Herring and Great-black Backs.

Posted February 4th, 2014 at 4:42 pm in Bird News

Velator reserve

Re-flooded with the high tide yesterday! Heard Cetti's Warbler and Water Rail, and a fine flyover Mediterranean Gull were the highlights this morning.

Posted February 4th, 2014 at 2:27 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

The Long-tailed Duck made a return this lunchtime (until about 1.45pm) - I hadn't seen it since 16th Jan, but maybe it has been around since then? Good numbers of waders today, particularly Bar-tailed and Black-tailed Godwits, Redshank and Avocet. Also a few Dunlin and Lapwing, 1 Greenshank and 1 Snipe. 2 male and 1 female Pintail. A female Sparrowhawk flew past the feeders as I left the hide.

Posted February 4th, 2014 at 2:10 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News


0800 - 0930 Walk along the breakwater, 21 Great Northern Diver including a tight raft of ten birds in the outer harbour, 2 Black-throated Diver, 1 Red-throated Diver, 5 Razorbill and the White-billed Diver back in the harbour again showing well just outside the entrance to the marina. Black Guillemot near the Lifeboat jetty. Nearby female Common Eider Duck off Shoalstone with a further 5 GN Diver. Obviously they have all seen the weather forecast!

Posted February 4th, 2014 at 10:07 am by Bill Macdonald in Bird News

Drake's Island, Plymouth

Three Spoonbills sat on western ledge this morning as light came up. Still there at 8am when I left. Also 1st wint Glaucous Gull flew from island across in front of Devil's Point before flying up the Tamar at about 8.15am. Two Gannets, 80+ Cormorants (Drake's Island), 30 Oystercatchers (Devil's Pt) and 23 Little Egret's (Mt Edgcumbe).

Posted February 4th, 2014 at 8:29 am by Steve Cox in Bird News

Monday 3rd February 2014

Golden Pheasant

Superb male Golden Pheasant, Huntshaw, nr Torrington, 3pm. I asked a local if it could be someone's 'pet', but he said they just appeared last year. Obviously I should've asked how many he meant by 'they' !

Posted February 3rd, 2014 at 9:14 pm by Alan Ford in Bird News

Slapton Ley

Still loads of wildfowl at Torcross but conditions difficult this morning, loads of sea spray making poor visibility. Saw 3 Black-necked Grebes without to much effort. Also 12 Goldeneye and the leucistic Shoveler. Sea watch from Torcross poor, low numbers of gulls around. Fly by Peregrine only highlight.

Click on the link for short clip of the big sea and high tide this morning - good job for the residents it was not a north-east blow.

Posted February 3rd, 2014 at 3:04 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Torbay boat trip

Another great boat trip around Torbay yesterday morning. In addition to a Black Guillemot & numerous grebes we had the full set of divers  - White-billed / GN / BT & a first for me Red-throated. Thanks again Nigel.

Posted February 3rd, 2014 at 1:56 pm by Paul Treen in Bird News


Huge tide early morning,overtopping harbour front in places. At around 850 Mike Langman, John Lusher and I saw the White-billed Diver, looking from AstraZeneca it was near the old oil jetty at end of breakwater. We then struggled out to end of breakwater, seeing a Black Guillemot close in on the inner side and lots of Great Northerns but no sign of the White-billed. At 1030 the White-billed was off Shoalstone, at 1100 it was off Breakwater Beach but drifting back out towards the end. I don't think it will go far given this week's rough weather forecasts.Totals 12+ Great Northern and 4 Black-throated Diver from various points. 

Posted February 3rd, 2014 at 1:03 pm in Bird News

Spoonbills - Plymouth Sound

1/02/2014:  3 Spoonbills at dawn on Little Drakes Island.
2/02/2014:  3 Spoonbills (unringed) on Little Drakes Island. 34 Little Egrets leaving the roost areas.
(Robert Hurrell)

Posted February 3rd, 2014 at 11:10 am in Bird News

Sunday 2nd February 2014

Roadford resevoir

2 Great Northern DIvers still at Roadford, showing well off the cafe and sundial

Posted February 2nd, 2014 at 9:59 pm by Adrian Davey in Bird News

Bowling Green

A lone greenshank here was great to see along with 5 pintail, black tailed godwit, bar tailed godwit, 4 pochard and numerous lapwing amongst a handful of greylag geese.

Posted February 2nd, 2014 at 9:34 pm by Paul Beard in Bird News

Darts Farm

From viewing area in reserve: good numbers of curlew, nice flock of fieldfare, beautiful kingfisher showing very well near small pools, a lone greenshank, a female brambling and a female reed bunting.

Posted February 2nd, 2014 at 9:29 pm by Paul Beard in Bird News


Today in Slapton ley there were 14 goldeneyes, at least 4 scaups ( 1 drake, 2 females and 1 first winter male ), 8 black-necked grebes, 3 Great-crested grebes, around 40 little grebes, 2 grey heron, kestrel and good numbers of  shovelers, wigeons, gadwalls, mallards, tufted ducks, common pochards, canada gueese, mute swans, cormorants, coots, moorhens and common gulls. In the west part of Slapton there was a special shoveler, a leucistic shoveler.

Off  shore, a flock of about 50 common scoters flew west with 3 great- crested grebe and some gannets.

leucistic shoveler
leucistic shoveler

Posted February 2nd, 2014 at 9:19 pm by Martin Rey in Bird News

Brixham harbour pm

Had a look off AstraZeneca and the Breakwater from about 1430 onward, in case the White-billed Diver was visible.At least 6 Great Northern visible , also a single Black-throated and off AstraZeneca the two Black Guillemots were together.

Posted February 2nd, 2014 at 7:51 pm in Bird News

Topsham rec

topsham recreation ground today  from 14:00 till 18:00 took part in a gull count , an adult Mediterranean gull with leg rings was a good find also a common sandpiper , 1 sparrowhawk and a peregrine twice second time it had caught a gull. 

Yesterday 1st feb bowling green marsh from the hide in the morning 1000+ black tailed godwits, 217+ bar tailed godwits, 600+ dunlin, 230+ redshank, 2 greenshanks, 9 pochard, 4 tufted duck, 13+ pintail, 200+ avocet. A quick look at topsham rec between showers produced 2 1st winter Mediterranean gulls 

Posted February 2nd, 2014 at 7:31 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

lower tamar lake

 40 gooseander,500+ lesser black back gulls.No sign of reported tree sparrow,13:00.

Posted February 2nd, 2014 at 6:57 pm by Robert Marshall in Bird News


A cycle up the estuary  produced little of note and sill only found one Little Grebe. Venturing further up the river, however, proved more interesting with 7 Goosanders (3 drakes and 4 redheads) between Riverside caravan park and Plym Bridge. This included a very confiding pair which I must have watched for an hour - brilliant to be able to see the drake fishing underwater in the clear river.

Also 2 marsh Tits, 2 Nuthatches and 6 Mandarin Ducks (4 drakes and 2 ducks).   

Posted February 2nd, 2014 at 6:51 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Torbay boat trip

A few photos from the morning's boat trip. Good views of all 4 divers in 2 hours was spectacular. The next trip is Sunday 9th February 9am - phone Nigel on 07866 202576 to book.

White billed diver, entrance of Brixham Harbour, 10.20am
White billed diver, entrance of Brixham Harbour, 10.20am

Red throated diver, Churston mussel farm
Red throated diver, Churston mussel farm

Black throated diver, 1 of 3 at 7 quarries
Black throated diver, 1 of 3 at 7 quarries

Posted February 2nd, 2014 at 6:43 pm by Chris Proctor in Bird News

Halspill, Weare Giffard near Bideford

Two Whooper Swans with a pair of Mute Swan on the flooded fields - nearer Halspill than Weare Giffard this afternoon.

(Karen Sims)

Posted February 2nd, 2014 at 5:32 pm in Bird News

Erme Estuary

420+ Golden Plover over Kingston village this morning.

Posted February 2nd, 2014 at 5:26 pm by Steve Cox in Bird News


The Water pipit and Black redstart still present at northern end of the recreational playing field this morning.

Posted February 2nd, 2014 at 5:03 pm by Martin Elcoate in Bird News

Plymouth Hoe

A walk along the front of the Hoe today produced a passing Oystercatcher, several Shags and a few cormorants, an adult winter-plumage Guillemot as well as herring gulls, black-headed gulls and Great black-backed gulls.

Posted February 2nd, 2014 at 4:46 pm by Elliot Dowding in Bird News


Found at Lower Tamar Lake this morning -

A pair of binoculars in a case.

A description will trigger their return.

Phone:  01288 353818

Posted February 2nd, 2014 at 2:53 pm by Harvey Kendall in Bird News

Stover Lake

On a visit to Stover today, there were 9 Goosanders (3 males) on the lake.

Posted February 2nd, 2014 at 1:56 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

Torbay boat trip

Trip from Paignton harbour across bay to Berry Head then back via Brixham Harbour and along the coast. The white billed diver was back at Brixham in the harbour entrance near the big green buoy with 3 great northern divers; found by Janet & me - Nigel downstairs making tea!. A total of 18 great northern divers (scattered), 4 black throated divers (1 Brixham harbour, 3 at 7 quarries), 1 red throated diver (7 quarries), 3 black necked grebe (2 Elberry Cove, 1 at 3 beaches). 28 great crested grebes, with a number flying in to join the flock in the Broadsands - 3 beaches area  from  the north. 4 common scoter (off Preston), 4 purple sandpiper (Brixham breakwater), 1 black guillemot (Brixham breakwater), also good numbers of commoner auks, gannets, fulmars. Mammals represented by 3 porpoises at Berry Head and a grey seal just outside Paignton Harbour. Photos to follow.

Posted February 2nd, 2014 at 12:27 pm by Chris Proctor in Bird News


3 Black-throated Divers, 1 Red-throated Diver, 18 Great Northern Divers,1 Red-necked Grebe, 3 Black-necked Grebes, 74 Great Crested Grebes.

14 Cirl Buntings, 5 Reed Bunting, 1 Siberian Chiffchaff, 3 collybita Chiffchaffs.

## Just had a call from Nigel Smallbones on the Sunday morning birding boat trip - he has relocated the White-billed Diver is just out from the entrance of the Breakwater near the green buoy.##

Posted February 2nd, 2014 at 10:45 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Saturday 1st February 2014


Midday, 4 Great Northern Divers and Black Guillemot outside the outer harbour from Zeneca carpark and another GND off Shoalstone.

Posted February 1st, 2014 at 11:03 pm by Mark Darlaston in Bird News

Hope's Nose this afternoon

The gull flock at the sewer included a mix of black headed gulls and smaller numbers of common gulls and kittiwakes. Unfortunately, it no longer seems to pull in the herring gulls so probably won't be much good for looking for white wingers either. Fair numbers of auks scattered on the water and two great northern divers were in the cove on the north side (1 ad, 1 1st w).

Posted February 1st, 2014 at 6:57 pm by Chris Proctor in Bird News


Broadsands: 11 Cirl Buntings & 3 Reedbunting on seed in 2nd car park. 1 Siberian Chiffchaff and 2 collybita Chiffchaffs in marsh

Clennon Valley: 2 Siberian Chiffchaffs, 1 collybita Chiffchaff, 13 Tufted Ducks, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Water Rail 1 Little Grebe. 

Stoke Gabriel: 1 Continental Cormorant (usual adult) 4 carbo Cormorants, 1 Little Egret.

Posted February 1st, 2014 at 4:06 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News


From the Hoe first thing, a Great Northern Diver off Drake's Island and a 1st-w Mediterranean Gull at Mount Batten. Later a walk round Saltram and the Plym Estuary produced: Snipe (25), Jack Snipe (2 or 3), Wigeon (2 drakes), Little Grebe, Shelduck (55), and Curlew (46). 

Posted February 1st, 2014 at 1:17 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Goosemoor Reserve, Topsham

Avocet with orange, white and green/blue leg rings seen on the River Clyst mud flats (N/G Ref: SX973878) at 15.00 on Thursday 30 Jan 2014 (see photo)

Avocet (Leg Rings)
Avocet (Leg Rings)

Posted February 1st, 2014 at 10:13 am by Colin & Glenys Smith in Bird News

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