Devon Bird Sightings from 8th–14th February 2014


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

Friday 14th February 2014

Shoalstone and Brixham update

Nine Great Northern Divers around the harbour today, with limited visibility unable to find anything else. After a call from MD, I visited Shoalstone late pm. At 1730 the Pomarine Skua was chasing gulls offshore, then appeared to be departing southward past Berry Head. 

Posted February 14th, 2014 at 10:09 pm in Bird News

Shoalstone, Brixham

Seawatch from Shoalstone shelter late afternoon, extremely windy - southerly storm force 10 gusting more!. A few Great Northern Divers sheltering, out to sea a steady passage of Fulmars, with at least one 'dark' phase, many Kittiwakes getting forced further into Torbay with Gannets. At 16:35 an adult (winter) Pomarine Skua sheared into view and sat off Shoalstone, it then headed towards the breakwater and harried Kittiwakes, at times over the outer harbour, close enough for photos, but no camera! Last seen heading further into Torbay towards Elberry / Broadsands.

Posted February 14th, 2014 at 8:54 pm by Mark Darlaston in Bird News


Continuing a nice run of gulls in Exmouth this week, that includes two kumlien's and a glaucous gull, this little gull was feeding close-in off the coach park this evening. Yesterday there was an 'intermedius' type lesser black-backed gull with 5 'graellsi' types in the estuary.

Posted February 14th, 2014 at 7:37 pm by Matt Knott in Bird News

Stover Country Park

Stover Lake level is at its maximum but a great opportunity to see snipe and water rail.

80+ snipe swimming and clinging to any tall vegetation in the flooded northern marsh, 4+ Water rail, 16 goosander (6 males),

6 tufted duck, 3 pochard, 3 great crested grebes,  7 cormorant , 2 kingfisher,  <10 black headed gull, marsh tit singing,  15 siskin,  1 female buzzard.

(Visitors advised to be aware of current dredging works around the inlet channel, cycle route behind the pinetum and other islands. )

Jon Avon

Posted February 14th, 2014 at 3:06 pm in Bird News

13th Feb - Fremington Quay

Single Greenshank amongst well over 100 Redshank. 15 Little Egret at the roost at the top of the Quay near the road - most I've seen there.


Posted February 14th, 2014 at 1:01 pm by Chris Bollen in Bird News

Exe Estuary cruise

Yesterday afternoon's Stuart Lines Cruise was very interesting. It was a relief to have a mainly afternoon between stormy days! Both the dunes at Dawlish Warren and the fine sediments in the upper estuary have been badly eroded (the dunes were breached last week though what effect this will have remains to be seen).

We saw 2 Little Grebes, no Great Crested, but the usual Slavonian at Cockwood and the Black-necked by Turf Lock gates. Also 8 Goldeneye (one drake at Topsham), single Guillemot and Spotted Redshank (Powderham), c1000 Black-tailed and over 100 Bar-tailed Godwits, a total of about 15 Sanderlings (most seen so far this winter), but less than 100 Avocets, including 13 near Dawlish Warren - where were the rest?

The resident Harbour seal was on its favoured haul-out site, Bull Hill sandbank, but the big surprise of the day was literally the last bird seen before we docked: the Bonaparte’s Gull. It was feeding just off Warren Point and we were privileged to get excellent views of it.

Posted February 14th, 2014 at 11:46 am by Dave Smallshire in Bird News

Thursday 13th February 2014

Axe Estuary

A 1st winter Glaucous Gull 200m upstream from the tram sheds at 13.00hrs. No sign of Kumlien's Gull.

Posted February 13th, 2014 at 9:04 pm by Stan Stanbury in Bird News

Dawlish Warren

Three hours watching off the sea wall & dunes produced one Slavonian Grebe, 7 Great Crested Grebes,2 Great Northern Divers, one Red-throated Diver N, 159 Brent Geese, 24 Common Scoters, 5 Velvet Scoters & 2 Eiders. A Long-tailed Duck also reported.

Posted February 13th, 2014 at 4:28 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

River Plym, Saltram, Plymouth

Pair of Common Sandpipers and a pair of Goosanders seen at 12.15 in the sheltered part of the Plym at Marsh Mills. Weather sunny but strong wind.

Common Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper


Posted February 13th, 2014 at 3:56 pm by Colin & Glenys Smith in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

Fairly quiet at the marsh this lunchtime. The highlight was good views of a Water Rail by the railway line just past the small pond in the corner.

Posted February 13th, 2014 at 2:11 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

Exminster marshes

Access to the marshes is very limited with flood water in Station Road about 2 feet deep. I walked from Starcross and at the Turf was rewarded by wonderful views of a black-necked grebe and kingfisher in the entrance to the canal. In the estuary avocets were feeding all along the shore with redshank, dunlin and one greenshank. Further north along the canal I heard several chiffchaffs singing and saw 2. Two ravens flew overhead. Amongst the other birds seen were 2 jays, c100 brent geese and c500 wigeon.

Black-necked Grebe

Posted February 13th, 2014 at 1:53 pm by John Waldon in Bird News


08.30 - 10.30 with strong W - NW wind, blue sky and some sunshine! 

5 Great Northern Diver, 16 Great Crested Grebe, 3 Razorbill, 2 Common Scoter and Grey Seal from the beach & headland.

10 Cirl Bunting, 7 Reed Bunting and 2 Chaffinch on seed in the far carpark, with 1 Siberian Chiffchaff, at least 2 collybita Chiffchaff and a Water Rail on the marsh.

Posted February 13th, 2014 at 11:10 am by Bill Macdonald in Bird News

Wednesday 12th February 2014

Hope's Nose this afternoon

Check of the gull flock at the sewer in battering winds. Just commoner species with good numbers of black headed, common, herring and kittiwake. 5 great northern divers were in the cove and around the point, and many guillemots and 1 or 2 razorbills scattered over the sea.

Posted February 12th, 2014 at 8:35 pm by Chris Proctor in Bird News

Axe Estuary late afternoon

No sign of the adult Kumlien's Gull on the Axe this afternoon or adjacent flooded fields. Watched from around 2.30pm - 5pm. Spent a couple of hours checking small groups of large gulls that were visiting the estuary. There were also a fair number of large gulls loafing on fields just to the north of Tescos car park which can be viewed from the cycle path just north of children's play area adjacent to car park.
Adult Kittiwake and adult Med Gull on Axe.

Posted February 12th, 2014 at 6:21 pm by Chris Townend in Bird News

Axe Estuary

Adult Kumlien's Gull showing well in the rain by the tram sheds at the lower end of the Axe Estuary 08:40-10:00 at least.

Kumlien's Gull
Kumlien's Gull

Posted February 12th, 2014 at 10:33 am by Steve Waite in Bird News

Tuesday 11th February 2014


I watched the 2 Marsh Harriers hunting around the Velator area today which later came to rest in a one of the fields.

Great views of a couple of Kingfishers sticking to the drainage dykes to fish... presumably the main bodies of water are too muddy with the rain we've had.

Marsh Harriers
Marsh Harriers

Posted February 11th, 2014 at 9:59 pm by Chris Triggs in Bird News

River Plym & Sound

Walked between Plym Bridge and Laira Bridge. 4+ Siskins by the caravan park and 3 Manadrin Ducks (1 drake) up stream from there). A pair of Goosanders near Sainsbury's, and on the estuary - 3 Little Grebes, 3 Greenshanks, 2 Common Sandpipers, 2 drake Wigeons, 2 redhead Red-breasted Mergansers and an adult Mediterranean Gull. 

Later at Devil's Point, a Great Northern Diver and a Red-breasted Merganser (redhead).

Posted February 11th, 2014 at 8:51 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Plymouth sound

A walk along the Hoe produced 3 Guillemots and a Razorbill, a 1st winter Mediterranean gull, 2 Great Northern Divers quite close to shore, as well as shags and cormorants and some Turnstones on the rocks. Also a large grey seal swimming close to the harbour walls.

Posted February 11th, 2014 at 5:16 pm by Elliot Dowding in Bird News

River Teign @ Lower Netherton

Quick look on the Teign at high tide: 11 Avocets which is a good count for the river. 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Greenshanks, 6 Redshanks, 13 Curlews and 4 Common Gulls amongst the Black headed and Herring gulls.

Posted February 11th, 2014 at 5:05 pm by david cawthraw in Bird News

Plym Estuary 11am

 2 male Bullfinches feeding on buddlia bushes across the river, not far from the Gooseanders 

Posted February 11th, 2014 at 3:54 pm by Chris theisinger in Bird News

Brixham Harbour

A quick look at lunch time produced Black Guillemot in outer harbour and 17 Great N Divers between outer harbour and Shoalstone. 

Posted February 11th, 2014 at 3:04 pm by Steve Cox in Bird News

Axe Estuary

A truly stunning adult Kumlien's Gull on the Axe Estuary, north of Coronation Corner, 11:55-12:00 today. When it flew off it headed down river and seemed to veer east as it flew towards the sea. Really hope it comes back!

Kumlien's Gull
Kumlien's Gull

Kumlien's Gull
Kumlien's Gull

Posted February 11th, 2014 at 12:37 pm by Steve Waite in Bird News

Mansands correction

Sorry all dont know what made me type Garganey when I meant Gadwall. Senility has come early.

Posted February 11th, 2014 at 9:39 am by Tim Clyburn in Bird News

Monday 10th February 2014


A quick walk with the dog this morning to view the effects of the gales and rain. Result is that the lakes are bigger but little damage to the beach outlet itself. Similar to Perrys notes on Slapton  a noticable lack of any gulls whatsoever on the outlet and only 1 Cormorant in the bay. There are 3 Gadwall amongst the Teal, Coot and Moorhen but no sign of any Snipe. Also the marsh Stonechats seemed to have disappeared  but 2 Goldcrest showed well at the hide.

Posted February 10th, 2014 at 9:25 pm by Tim Clyburn in Bird News

River Plym and Mount Batten

  To add to the Plym birds there were also 4 Goosanders [2m/2f] and a Red-breasted Merganser plus Turnstones, Common and Lesser Back-backed Gulls in the morning.  From the pier late afternoon in squally weather an adult Med Gull, several Guillemots and a Little Gull fluttering delicately over the waves.

Hen-pecked Goosander!
Hen-pecked Goosander!

Posted February 10th, 2014 at 7:33 pm in Bird News

Plym Estuary

A lunch time visit as I was in the area, produced 60 Shelduck, 61 Curlew, c75 Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 1 Common Sandpiper and 3 Little Grebe.

Posted February 10th, 2014 at 6:00 pm by Steve Cox in Bird News

Slapton Ley


Calmer day, though standing on the shingle ridge, still a moderate to fresh wind coming anywhere from SW-NW.

7 Black-necked Grebe, 22 Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, 132 Gadwall, Shoveler, 54 Wigeon, 2 Scaup ( m,f ), 366 Tufted Duck, 32 Pochard, Red-crested Pochard x Tufted Duck hybrid, 9 Goldeneye and 353 Coot. Out in Start Bay were 3 Great Northern Divers, Slavonian Grebe, 2 Common Scoter and a few Razorbills. Surprisingly few gulls around ( winds with an easterly component best to bring them in here...when it was rough saturday morning i had to do a non-birding drive along the line and there were none around then so low numbers not due to calmer conditions ).


Posted February 10th, 2014 at 5:30 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Around the Otter Valley/Estuary

An enjoyable morning for 17 members of the East Devon Branch with ChrisTownend leading. (Thanks Chris). The road to Whitebridge had been opened overnight having previously been flooded.  A Reed Bunting was singing and a Med. Gull quickly found on flooded fields.  Kingfisher, 2 Cettis Warbler,  6 Shelduck, 14 Little Egret, 17 Curlew and others were present above the bridge.  At sea a single Gt Northern Diver close to the shore, plus 3 Red Throated Divers, a few Guillemots (1 oiled) and Shags were present.  2 Ringed Plover were in a creek while a couple of Turnestone were out on the rocks. 

After lunch those of the group remaining, drove on to Otterton Sewage works to view the sea (Crab Ledge).    14 R-throated Divers, singles of C.Scoter, Fulmar, Gt Crested Grebe and Kestrel added to the list.    Note: the coastal path to Ladram Bay is closed beyond this point.

Posted February 10th, 2014 at 5:00 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in Bird News

Around the Axe

A sea watch this morning from Seaton 08:00-09:25 (with a ten minutes shopping break during a heavy rain shower!) showed:

23 Red-throated Diver, 1 Black-throated Diver, 4 Brent Geese, 50+ Kittiwake and 40+ Guillemots/Razorbills. Except for a few unwell looking auks close in, everything flew west.

This afternoon, no sign of yesterday's adult Glaucous Gull on the Estuary, but Avocet still and yet another hybrid Gull (an adult, presumably a HerringxLesser Black-backed)...

Mantle colour ok for YLG - but nothing else was!
Mantle colour ok for YLG - but nothing else was!

Posted February 10th, 2014 at 4:17 pm by Steve Waite in Bird News

Lower Tamar Lake

Lower Tamar Lake

Some sun for a change, but very windy.

14 Goosanders (6 male), 1 Great Crested Grebe, 2 pairs of Tufted Duck, 10+ Mallard, Blue, Great, Coal and Marsh Tits on the feeders plus 1 Willow Tit and 2 Nuthatches.

3 Mistle Thrushes, 3 Robins, 9 Lapwing over, 1 Pheasant and 17 Black headed Gulls.   18 Rooks, 5 Carrion Crows and 1 Magpie.

Posted February 10th, 2014 at 2:38 pm by Harvey Kendall in Bird News

Around the Teign

At Decoy Lake, Newton Abbot the overwintering male Scaup remains. Yesterday a female type Black Redstart was again around my house in Kingsteignton, having been in the area for a month now, and Kevin Rylands found an adult Glaucous Gull on The Salty between Teignmouth and Shaldon.

Posted February 10th, 2014 at 7:48 am by Will Salmon in Bird News

Exmouth Kumlien's Gull

First-winter kumlien's gull - Exmouth Beach 9/2


Posted February 10th, 2014 at 7:38 am by Matt Knott in Bird News

Sunday 9th February 2014

Hopes Nose

Early afternoon at Hopes Nose. Kittawakes/ BH / Common Gulls near outlet. Most unexpected bird - a Redshank keeping a Guillemot company on the rocks. Whilst sheltering from heavy hail storm noticed a female Eider sat on the rocks that later swam past. Approx 10 GND & 1BTD.

Female Eider
Female Eider

Med gull (?????)
 Common Gull

Posted February 9th, 2014 at 9:58 pm by Paul Treen in Bird News


A few photos from this week and an update from Saturday and Sunday afternoons. There were still  20 or more  Great Northern Divers between AstraZeneca and Shoalstone this weekend.  A Black-throated Diver was off the yacht club slipway this afternoon. The Slavonian Grebe was sheltering from a hailstorm by the yacht club slipway yesterday and today off AstraZeneca. Strangest sight today was a Moorhen on the wooden pontoon off the slipway- unexpected in a marine habitat, probably my first ever here.

The two diver photos relate to Tuesday am before the big blow arrived. One shows the White- billed Diver swimming out from the harbour together with  part of a line of eight Great Northerns-a little distant but nice to frame both together for  comparison. As some may have heard ,a White-billed Diver flew away east past Ferrybridge (Dorset) on Thursday, probably the Brixham bird departing? as not seen here afterwards.The other shows a different view of a Great Northern, flying in over the breakwater to shelter as conditions roughened.


Posted February 9th, 2014 at 9:10 pm in Bird News

Hope's Nose

An afternoon walk down to the sewer produced no little gulls today, with the flock consisting of black headed, common and kittiwake. Around the point and in the cove were 10 great northern divers and a female eider, both species close off the rocks. Just before sunset 9 of the divers went into the cove to roost in a tight flock - a great sight.

Posted February 9th, 2014 at 7:03 pm by Chris Proctor in Bird News

Turf Locks

Black necked Grebe in th Turf Basin today. Little else of note but good numbers of them nonetheless.

Posted February 9th, 2014 at 6:14 pm by Gerry Hooper in Bird News

Guillemot on the Plym

Stotted this Guillemot on the Plym Estuary today at 2pm. I also noticed its left eye was completley closed over.


Posted February 9th, 2014 at 6:04 pm by Rich Edmondson in Bird News


First-winter iceland gull in the estuary off Mudbank @1430 and later relocating to the beach off the Lifeboat Station where this photo was taken. Still present with large number of herring gulls 1630 at least.

dark-billed individual
dark-billed individual

Posted February 9th, 2014 at 5:10 pm by Matt Knott in Bird News

Bowling green marsh & topsham

Started at topsham quay at 11:00 between the quay and topsham museum came across a group of 37+ turnstone feeding very close giving great views and 2 grey wagtails. Walked to the goatwalk first time this week and the damage from the storms was extensive large slabs of concrete ripped up and will take some time to be repaired. The path to the viewing platform at bowling green marsh is also closed but looking from the road found a group of 50+ meadow pipits spread over the field and included 1 water pipit. 

From the hide 21+ pintail, 9+ pochard, 4+ tufted duck, 64+ shoveler, 2 snipe, 200+ wigeon, 90+ teal, 6 greylag Geese, 24 shelduck, 32+ lapwing, 15 avocet, 80+ redshank, 1 black tailed godwit, 2 buzzard. 


Posted February 9th, 2014 at 5:09 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Hooe lake/Radford lake


In strong winds this morning were 2 Cormorant, 3 Little Grebe, plenty of Herring and Black Headed gulls, 1 Little Gull picking bits and pieces from the water surface, 1 Greenshank, and 1 sick Guillemot with a damaged looking wing, behind Hooe lake wall.

Posted February 9th, 2014 at 3:34 pm by Alan Livsey in Bird News

Saturday 8th February 2014


Maer Rocks - combined totals for three visits. c2000+ herring gulls feeding off the beach but nothing of interest among them....yet. 2 eider, 1 great northern diver, 1 diver sp, c100+ kittiwake, 1 male long-tailed duck, 3 guillemot, c50+ auk sp, 2 dark-bellied brent goose, 35+ fulmar (all pale and all south), 1 manx shearwater south @ 1530, 4 common scoter and 2 scaup heading towards the river late pm. Also 20 turnstone on Maer Rocks with 10+ purple sandpiper yesterday afternoon - a personal 'highest count' for me. More details plus photos on my blog.

Posted February 8th, 2014 at 7:27 pm by Matt Knott in Bird News

Plym and blaxton meadow

10:45 this morning the tide was in and there were very strong gales, 6 brave red-breasted mergansers were on the water as well as a Great black-backed gull feeding on a dead duck that was floating in the water. On the meadow 63 curlews, 3 greenshank, 8 oystercatchers and lots of shelduck, also lesser black-backed gulls, common gulls, black-headed gulls (and among them a single nearly pure white leucistic gull). In saltram woods were a few nuthatches, coal tits, great tits, blue tits and long-tailed tits. And on the way back I spotted an adult Guillemot on the estuary who must have been blown in by the gale.

Posted February 8th, 2014 at 2:49 pm by Elliot Dowding in Bird News

Little Gull

Little gull giving great views at Hopes Nose, also med gull Black headed and Kittiwakes feeding at the outfall.

Posted February 8th, 2014 at 2:41 pm by Simon Thurgood in Bird News

Hopes Nose

No little Gulls present in the outfall first thing this morning but at 9.00am whilst sea watching at the point an Adult Little Gull flew in distantly from the north and came straight into the outfall where it showed very well till at least 9.40am( often the closest bird in to the rocks). Also 2 Great Northern Divers and 2 Great Crested Grebes on the sea. Plenty of Auks sat around close in and c15 Fulmar south.

Posted February 8th, 2014 at 11:07 am by Mark Bailey in Bird News

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