Devon Bird Sightings: Bird News from 22nd–28th February 2014


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

Friday 28th February 2014


Yesterday still three Black-throated Divers in the harbour, one of them this  pale individual presumed first winter, which has been around for several weeks. Usually it is  accompanying an adult. I have heard visitors mention seeing a Red-throated Diver in the harbour during that period and wonder if any of the sightings involve confusion with this bird.Structure, neck thickness, bill shape would of course separate them.Also still six Great Northern Divers in the area,

Today the harbour was rougher in a strong NW wind and I was unable to find divers inside it. An exhausted Razorbill came ashore by the yacht club and sat in the middle of the footpath. I phoned RSPCA Wildlife Rescue to ask for help but unfortunately the lady handling the call did not want to send anyone. I had to spend time explaining what a Razorbill was and why they are coming ashore, but she stated forcibly I should leave the bird alone and it would recover unaided and return to sea. It appears some briefing of their telephone staff is urgently needed.

Posted February 28th, 2014 at 8:55 pm in Bird News

Sand Martin

Sand Martin at Bowling Green Marsh 5.00 to 5.30 pm

Posted February 28th, 2014 at 7:23 pm by Lyndon Hughes in Bird News


A few sightings from the last week.

24th: adult Glaucous Gull, Fish Quay 0845, adult Kittiwake and Razorbill nearby.

25th: adult Glaucous Gull, Fish Quay 0850, 3 Guillemots and Great Northern Diver in the Sound.

26th: adult Glaucous Gull, Fish Quay 0850, 3 Guillemots and Mediterranean Gull (ad-s) in the Sound, Peregrine on the Guildhall.

27th: ad Kittiwake in the Barbican and a Great Northern Diver on the Plym Estuary.

Posted February 28th, 2014 at 7:17 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News


18 Cirl Bunting on seed today (peak count this week) with 5 Reed Bunting and 2 Chaffinch. No sign of the 'Sibe' Chiffchaff in a stiff North Westerly. 

Posted February 28th, 2014 at 5:00 pm by Bill Macdonald in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

The adult and 1st year Little Gulls were still present this lunchtime but not showing as well in a strong wind. Also 2 pairs of Gadwall on the lagoon.

Posted February 28th, 2014 at 1:30 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

Torquay Marina

Black-necked Grebe at 1100am in the marina, next to inner harbour.

Posted February 28th, 2014 at 1:07 pm by david cawthraw in Bird News

Plymouth Barbican

Glaucous gull on the fish quay roof again this morning, preening and looking relaxed. Juvenile Kittiwake flying round Sutton Harbour together with Shags and Cormorants doing a spot of fishing.

Posted February 28th, 2014 at 12:39 pm by Alan Livsey in Bird News

Thursday 27th February 2014

River Otter

A pair of Goosanders seen yesterday and today on the River Otter near Cadhay Bridge.

Posted February 27th, 2014 at 11:22 pm by roger le voir in Bird News

Exe Estuary

A short boat trip from Topsham to near Lympstone and back this morning between 10.30 and 12.30. A second winter Med gull was with a few black-headed gulls near Topsham. Further down the estuary near Turf was a bright white gull that turned out to be an albino black-headed gull. The plumage was entirely white/pale cream with a pale brown hood. The bill resembled that of the black-headed gull in shape and colour and the legs were bright red. An interesting bird that caused a flew minutes of excitement.

Additional excitement included a peregrine launching an attack on dunlin within a flock of Brent geese, the largest flock (200+) of bar-tailed godwits I have seen in the upper estuary and a few avocets.



Posted February 27th, 2014 at 2:20 pm by John Waldon in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

Same Little Gulls as yesterday. Adult and 1st year bird. Both were on the water near to the middle car park when I left at about 1.15. The 1st year bird tends to frequent the pool nearer to the fishermen's car park though.

Posted February 27th, 2014 at 1:33 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

Wednesday 26th February 2014

Exminster Marsh Little Gull

There was no sign of yesterday's Little Gulls on Exminster Marsh this morning at around 11 until noon. Back in doors, Dave Stone rang me to tell me that an adult  was now on the pool by the middle carpark and the "bridges path". I went back and eventually took some more nice pics. It seems that this is perhaps one from Topsham seen earlier in the morning by Tim.  I could actually see this bird picking  flies off  the surface water and even catching them in flight. When I looked later at my hundreds of shots I could discern the very faintest hint of pink suffision on the breast

This time there are loads more "in flight "shots on my Web Site if you want to look. Paste the link in to your browser, thanks.

Just the vaguest hint of pink on the breast.
Just the vaguest hint of pink on the breast.

Posted February 26th, 2014 at 7:53 pm in Bird News

Teignmouth seafront. Weds 26th

Two black Throated Divers 75 metres off Teignmouth Seafront.

at 3.00 pm.

Posted February 26th, 2014 at 5:07 pm by Patrick Case in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

Two Little Gulls present this lunchtime until about 1.50. An adult and 1st winter bird so possibly the ones that Tim had at Topsham Rec earlier. They were showing well on the pools to the left of the lane between the middle and fishermen's car parks. I had a quick look at the lagoon and although I didn't see the Black-necked Grebe, it had apparently been seen earlier today.

Posted February 26th, 2014 at 2:10 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

Topsham Recreation Ground

Delighted to see two Little Gulls dropping in this morning, albeit briefly - after a quick look round both left in a northerly direction. Maybe not quite the white-winger I've hoping for but always a pleasure to see. Also the Water Pipit is still present.

1st winter Little Gull - Topsham Rec 26/2/2014
1st winter Little Gull - Topsham Rec 26/2/2014

Adult Little Gull - Topsham Rec 26/2/2014
Adult Little Gull - Topsham Rec 26/2/2014

Posted February 26th, 2014 at 11:45 am by Tim Worfolk in Bird News

Tuesday 25th February 2014

Bowling Green Marsh

A few hours this afternoon revealed the usual fare of ducks and waders, but the highlights were a pair of Peregrines which landed not too far from the hide.


Posted February 25th, 2014 at 9:48 pm by Mike Jones in Bird News

Yarner Woods and Stover CP

Yarner Woods: 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker,Nuthatch,  Blue, Great, Long tailed, Coal and Marsh Tits,Mandarin Ducks. 2 Grey Wagtail.

Stover CP

3 Redhead Goosander, 3 Tufted Duck (2m), Mallard,Pochard. 2 Lesser Black Backed Gulls, Black Headed and Herring Gulls, 3 Cormorant, 2 Mute Swan, Pair of Displaying Great Crested Grebes, Pair of Mating Coots, 7 Siskin, pair of Bullfinch, Treecreeper, Chaffinch, Nuthatch, Goldfinch, Moorhen and Fab long views of 2 Water Rails.

Posted February 25th, 2014 at 9:00 pm by Charlie Imms and Russ Eynon in Bird News

Marsh harrier, velator.

Marsh harrier patrolling the reeds above velator this evening and spooking the sheep. I haven,t seen it for quite a while. Nice to see it is still around.

Posted February 25th, 2014 at 7:45 pm by Andy Leat in Bird News

Coleton Fishacre

A quick walk to the front and back via Coleton Farm this afternoon really illustrated the problems for seabirds.  The water is still extremely dirty so vision feeders such as auks and cormorants were conspicuous in their absence. As a fisherman I cannot remember the water staying so dirty for so long. The cliffs were blown out with only a pair of Stonechat above Kelly Cove. The only blessing on the day was a flock of 14 Yellowhammer roosting at the sheds in the farm.

Posted February 25th, 2014 at 6:52 pm by Tim Clyburn in Bird News

Avon Valley inc.South Efford Marsh

Highlights were adult Mediterranean gull on the estuary & 2 water pipits on SE marsh. Also: 64 mute swan, 46 shelduck, 4 redshank, 2 greenshank, 3 common sandpiper, 11 lesser black-backed gull, grey wagtail & 47 pied wagtail,

Posted February 25th, 2014 at 5:24 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

plymouth barbican

Lovely adult Kittiwake flying around sutton harbour at 3:00pm amongst other gulls, no sign of the glaucous gull. one winter plumage guillemot close to the harbour wall and two others in breeding plumage further out in the sound. 20 Turnstones flew out of the harbour gates and there were a few shags in iridescent breeding plumage hanging around.

Posted February 25th, 2014 at 4:16 pm by Elliot Dowding in Bird News

Little Gull

The 3 Little Gulls, 1 juvenile (pictured) and 2 juveniles  were showing wonderfully this lunchtime on Exminster Marsh, just before the Fishermans Car Park. I have lots more photographs on my Web Site, have a look here. Please opy and paste the link in to your browser.

Posted February 25th, 2014 at 3:31 pm in Bird News

Seabird Wreck Update

As many of you will be aware from the news and from sightings posted here the winter storms have taken their toll on many wintering seabirds, especially auks. The RSPB have received reports of a minimum of 174 casualties in Devon including 98 Guillemot, 48 Razorbill, 4 Puffin and singles of Kittiwake, Shag, Great Skua and Manx Shearwater.


Birds have been reported from both coasts with the largest numbers from Saunton Sands, Wembury and Seaton. The Puffins were from Sidmouth, Seaton, Wembury and South Milton.


Around the SW over 800 birds have been reported wrecked, of these around 15% have been oiled, the majority of birds have simply been exhausted trying to ride out the storms.This is a conservative estimate.  No doubt there will have been many more but not found or reported. 


Away from the SW numbers have been much higher with 2-300+ auks reported from individual beaches in south Wales and over the Channel 15,000 dead on French beaches, 11,000 of which are Puffin.


It is thought Puffin have been particularly affected because they dive mostly in the upper 30m of the sea so the extreme turbulence/turbidity due to the storms will have serious hampered their ability to feed. Another possible factor is the later moult of Puffin compared to other auks, many may well have dropped all their primaries and been flightless as the storms rolled in.


To help investigate this if you do come across a dead Puffin if you could to take photos of the head and, if practicable, the wings of beached birds to see if their primaries are still growing that would useful data.


If anyone has been out to Berry Head or other seabird colonies it would be interesting to know if the numbers on the cliffs have been affected yet. Counts this summer may also shed some light on any longer term impacts.


For advice on what to do if you find a seabird washed up in Devon please see here  

Posted February 25th, 2014 at 2:19 pm by Kevin Rylands in Bird News

Lydford Forest

Great Grey Shrike seen yesterday by Peter Chapman in Lydford Forest at SX491845.

Posted February 25th, 2014 at 10:35 am by Steve Waite in Bird News

Monday 24th February 2014

Brixham Breakwater

7 Great Northern Divers showing very well catching crabs just offshore at Shoalstone this afternoon.

Posted February 24th, 2014 at 8:49 pm by John Walters in Bird News

around plymouth

In addition to earlier posts Glaucous Gull viewed on fish quay roof and later on bows of boat called Size Matters. 1 adult Kittiwake,17 mute Swans, 1 Shag,10 Turnstone,

Plymouth Sound

Great Northern Diver, Breeding Plumage Guillemot and unfortunateley 1 dead.

on to Saltram and then C40 Curlew on the pool with  an additional 21 in top field, 7 oystercatcher,13 lesser black back,  4 Great Black, 10 common Gulls, Black headed Gulls, Herring Gulls,Little Egret, Shellduck

Efford Marsh

C 5 Goldcrest, 2 pair mallard, Grey Heron,,Moorhen,Blue,Great and Long tailed Tit and a Buzzard. Grey Wagtail.

Posted February 24th, 2014 at 8:45 pm by Charlie Imms and Russ Eynon in Bird News

More Plymouth

Great views of the Adult Glaucous Gull at last, as described by Steve below. Also three Guillemots off East Hoe.

In addition male Kestrel in Ford Park Cemetery, a species I rarely see in Central Park, so fingers crossed maybe leaving the grass long is helping.

Posted February 24th, 2014 at 5:45 pm by Steve Cox in Bird News


By the aquarium one very sick looking Razorbill on the water, two dead birds belly up in the same area.

Good views of the Glaucous Gull, initially sleeping on the fish quay roof away from the other gathered gulls, Peregrine falcon came over and swept back across the city side of the Barbican scattering gulls all over the place. Shorlty afterwards the Glaucous took off and made several circuits of Sutton Harbour before landing on one of the moored fishing boats. Large Seal inside Sutton Harbour showing well.

Devils Point a Cetti's Warbler singing strongly, a Great Northern Diver on the water closer to Cornwall than Devon.

Victoria park good views of botht eh harris hawk and the Buzzard that it is paired up with, the Buzzard seen first landing at the nest site, a short while later she joined the Harris hawk in a tree on the opposite side of the park, both then took off and went their seperate ways.

Kestrel seen hovering  over the A38 just the Exeter side of Saltram.

Posted February 24th, 2014 at 4:17 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

A good lunch hour's birding today. Three Little Gulls (2 adults and 1 first year) showing well feeding above the pools to the left of the lane between the middle car park and the fishermen's car park. Also a Black-necked Grebe on the lagoon. Chiff-chaff singing by the middle car park too.

Posted February 24th, 2014 at 2:05 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News


Sorry to post this here and feel free to move it or delete it. I met Mike Langman yesterday and we went out and saw some Little Blue Penguins. This morning, we went on the Albatross cruise. Saw 5 Species. I'll post a trip report on the forum when we return. 

PS we were in Kaikoura New Zealand, he's gone South, we've gone North. Back in April. I knew he was over here, but never expected to meet!


Posted February 24th, 2014 at 5:47 am by Jon Turner in Bird News

Sunday 23rd February 2014

Noss Mayo

A Guillemot was blown on to a local field Noss Green in poor condition but still plenty of fight! Went off and bought a fresh mackerel which I cut into strips. After a bit of force feeding the bird took strips of fish when offered. Bird since collected and at a rescue centre. Bird walked into the kitchen for breakfast.

Posted February 23rd, 2014 at 9:10 pm by J J Spooner in Bird News

Dawlish Warren

During an hour's seawatch from 13:45, a distant Skua, presumed to be Pomarine on size and time of year, chased a Kittiwake before landing on the sea. Also c10 Fulmars, c20 Gannets, 110 Kittiwakes and c50 auks, mostly Guillemots, moving south. A Razorbill rescued from the surf died later.

On the sea, at least 5 each of Great Northern and Red-throated Diver, Slavonian Grebe, 80 Common and 3/4 Velvet Scoters and Long-tailed Duck.

Water Pipit in front of the hide.

Posted February 23rd, 2014 at 8:39 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News


The adult Glaucous Gull in its usual spot on the Fish Quay roof just after midday and still there mid afternoon. Also an adult Kittiwake in the Barbican and 2 Great Northern Divers in the Sound. 

Posted February 23rd, 2014 at 7:46 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News


Marsh Mills and Blaxton Meadow, River Plym :- 4 goosanders(2 male, 2 female), 1 common sandpiper, 1 grey wagtail, 1 raven eating a dead guillemot on the shoreline, 2 stock doves, 1 little grebe, 1 female bullfinch, 5 redwing over, 2 snipe (no Jack snipe though), 1 little egret, 8 ad common gull. Also 2 roe deer.

Main River :- 4 red breasted merganser (1 male, 3 female).

The Barbican, Plymouth :- 1 ad glaucous gull on the fish market roof at 16:00hrs, 1 ad kittiwake amongst gulls feeding around fish quay, 1 little grebe on Sutton Harbour in summer plumage, 1 grey seal around lock gates

Plymouth Hoe : - 2 great northern diver, 4 guillemots

Posted February 23rd, 2014 at 7:29 pm by Stuart Green in Bird News

Plym Estuary

This afternoon on a falling tide were 21 lesser black back, 4 Greater black back gulls, 3 Little Grebe, 1 Greenshank, 4 Red Breasted Merganser (1 male 3 females) on the river, 24 Shelduck on Blaxton meadow, and 1 singing Skylark over the recycling centre.

Posted February 23rd, 2014 at 7:27 pm by Alan Livsey in Bird News

South Huish

Glaucous gull and 12+ kittiwake amongst the gull roosts on the South Huish reserve.

Posted February 23rd, 2014 at 6:51 pm by Richard Jenkins in Bird News


Single Spotted redshank at Bowling Green Marsh this morning on the high tide.

Posted February 23rd, 2014 at 1:47 pm by Martin Elcoate in Bird News

Saturday 22nd February 2014


From the headland just 4 distant Great Northern Diver, 9 Great Crested Grebes and 2 Razorbill. On seed in the car park 10 Cirl Bunting, 8 Reed Bunting, 3 Chaffinch (numbers remaining consistant this week). Also Siberian Chiffchaff still present in the flooded ditch between the two car parks at the lower end towards the beach huts.

Signs of spring with displaying Rock Pipit, singing Skylark in the fields behind the car park and nearby a pair of nest building Blackbirds.

Great to see so many photographers enjoying the Cirl Buntings, dog walkers allowing, the feeding station is against the hedge line in the far car park between the two sets of stored beach huts.

Posted February 22nd, 2014 at 10:29 pm by Bill Macdonald in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

The adult Glaucous Gull had found its way to the top of the estuary on the falling tide, early afternoon. Also a lone Guillemot still present, 57 Curlews, 39 Shelducks, single Greenshank and Little Grebe, 7 Snipes, 2 Jack Snipes and a vocal Green Woodpecker.

Posted February 22nd, 2014 at 8:31 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

A good days birding in decent weather not too cold & little wind but dry. We saw some nice birds including Greenshank, good numbers of Curlews. Also a handful of B H Gulls coming into summer plumage, Commom Gulls 2-3 always good to see.

From the hide a nice looking Merlin over the reeds.

Posted February 22nd, 2014 at 8:30 pm by Stephen J Turner in Bird News


Couldn't find the Yellow-browed warbler at Topsham rec despite looking for around an hour. Having finished looking around Topsham (Bowling Green, Goatwalk and Highfield Farm) I returned home to find the warbler in the trees next to the gate between Riverside Road and The Retreat Drive. Briefest of views before it flew towards Wessex Close, eluding the garden list.

Posted February 22nd, 2014 at 4:58 pm by Martin Elcoate in Bird News

R.Taw. Taw Bridge to Ashford Strand. 14:45 - 16:30

12 Goosanders ( a pair below Taw Bridge; 5 Redheads on Penhill Marsh shoreline; 3M and 2F at Ashford Strand.)  Also 1 female R.B.Merganser at Ashford.

313 Dark-bellied Brent off Penhill Marsh. 3 Little Grebe; 2 Little Egret in the ditch next to Ashford Sewage Works; 43 Wigeon at Ashford Strand and c2000 - 2500 Golden Plover in flight above Chivenor airfield.

At 16:05 2 unringed Spoonbill on shoreline at rear of RGB.


Posted February 22nd, 2014 at 4:37 pm by Maurice Clements in Bird News

Darts Farm, Topsham.

Thought I had found the 'never to be seen again' Chough but not so! Unusual Crow with long curved, dark bill seen initially in tree with three other Crows before in landed briefly to allow quick photo and then flew off towards the inductrial estate.  I presume the bill was deformity.    (East Devon Branch are holding their next meeting here on Wed 26 Feb at 09.30.meeting).   

Posted February 22nd, 2014 at 12:47 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in Bird News

Beesands, Slapton, Start Bay.

Did the WeBS count at Beesands this morning, still dire there, the only duck was a Mallard. A quick look at Slapton Ley from Torcross showed good nos of wildfowl still present. The male and female Scaup together off the tank with 4 Black-necked Grebes. The Red-crested Pochard X Tufted Duck also nearby. A look at Start Bay from the central car park produced single Red-throated and Great Northern Diver.

Posted February 22nd, 2014 at 10:18 am by Perry Sanders in Bird News

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