Devon Bird Sightings from 22nd–30th November 2015

Scarce Breeding Birds - important posting guidelines

Please do not post any information about scarce or rare breeding species. They may be vulnerable to persecution or disturbance. 

The exception is information on these species at well known sites (e.g. Broadsands for Cirl Bunting and Aylesbeare for Dartford Warbler) or birds which are obvious migrants away from breeding sites.

If in any doubut, please don't post but report your sighting to the county recorder asap. Site editors cannot commit to editing posts which breach these guidelines, and the whole post may be removed or not admitted.

Further details can be found in the link below, but note, Wood Warbler is now also included as a scarce breeder:-

Posted April 15th at 3:02 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News


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

Saturday 28th November 2015

Exminster Marshes

Had a double take at this Canada Goose on Exminster Marshes, plenty of Geese with large numbers of Canada and Brent, also the Black Brant was in the group close to the middle car park.

Posted November 28th, 2015 at 6:09 pm by simon thurgood in Bird News

Robin - Tarka trail - Chivenor

Forgot to mention that the forehead on this bird is white but when viewing head on as in photo 3 it looks like a supercilium.

Posted November 28th, 2015 at 11:54 am by Rob Jutsum in Bird News


Combined count with Bob Bailey:

Preston/Paignton: 2 Black-necked Grebes, 1 Great Northern Diver, 2 Razorbills.

Broadsands: 6 Black-necked Grebes, 4 Great Northern Divers, 4 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Guillemot, 1 Razorbill. Around Marsh and car park: 4 Lesser Redpoll, 1 Firecrest, 3 Goldcrest, 2 Chiffchaff.

Lesser Redpoll Broadsands 28 Nov 2015 ML                            

                                              Photo : One of Broadsands Lesser Redpoll

Posted November 28th, 2015 at 11:53 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Robin - Tarka trail - Chivenor

Cycled back along the trail again before the worst of the rain came in & the Robin was still in the same location singing just like a Robin!

Not able to digiscope it - too active, so employed the compact pocket camera & snapped away between the joggers passing by.

So you can all now see it & make up your own minds.I think it may be either a immature or leucistic Robin but please let me know if it is something else.

Posted November 28th, 2015 at 11:39 am by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Ring necked Parakeet.

Out for a run this morning, a female Ring necked Parakeet making a lot of noise was watching me. A Greater Spotted Woodpecker came to investigate to see what all the fuss was about. At Woodland wood, by the footbridge. SX473593. Down from the South East for winter perhaps?

Posted November 28th, 2015 at 9:55 am by Alan Livsey in Bird News

Friday 27th November 2015

Slapton Ley

Female Marsh Harrier, Dartford Warbler and 3 House Martins!

Posted November 27th, 2015 at 6:29 pm by David Cope in Bird News

Godborough Reserve Bideford

During our Friday work party on the reserve we had two pairs of Grey Wagatails on the new scapes. Glad to see that all the hard work is paying off when new species are seen for the site.

Posted November 27th, 2015 at 4:33 pm by Karen Sims & John Towers in Bird News

Stover Lake

A quiet morning but notable sightings include the 1st male Goosander of the autumn, 208+ Common Snipe, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Little Grebe, 1 male Tufted Duck and two Water Rail. Away from the Lake, chaffinches and siskin noted overhead/ 4 marsh tits along the lake path and 2 Mistle Thrush singing.

Posted November 27th, 2015 at 2:10 pm by JDA in Bird News

Tarka trail - Chivenor

An interesting Robin (normal vocalisations) that has adult plumage with a white chin & throat & very light grey breast with no spots (not a juvenile) or red or orange feathers by the side of the Tarka trail. Possibly immature Robin but not seen one like this before. Sorry no photo.

Directions:- The shortest route is to walk from the Braunton Inn along the Tarka trail towards Chivenor. The Robin is approx 100 metres from the Chivenor roundabout & mobile flying from one side of the trail to the other but remaining in the same area.

Posted November 27th, 2015 at 12:28 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Brixham Breakwater

A walk along Brixham Breakwater this morning 1 Great Northern Diver looking out towards Berry Head. Trawler in far distance with many gulls behind, could only make out some Gannets diving. Further along towards end of Breakwater by old fuel jetty 14 Purple Sandpiper all on the horizontal supports and showing well. My highest numbers this winter.

Purple Sandpiper N Smallbones

Still places on our Sunday morning boat trips in Torbay, if interested call 07866202576 or email


Posted November 27th, 2015 at 12:22 pm by Nigel Smallbones in Bird News

Thursday 26th November 2015

Soussons Down

Great Grey Shrike , ranging from area of forest that was cut down last year behind the Golden Dagger mine along to the start of the moorland of Soussons Down. Two active Green Woodpeckers. One Great Spotted Woodpecker, Four Fieldfare and Kestrel

Posted November 26th, 2015 at 11:49 pm by Barry Rankine in Bird News

Black Redstarts x 2

Two female Black Redstarts around Exmouth Marina near the slipway to Shelley Beach. Plenty of Brent Geese around this area of the Estuary with Red Breasted Mergansers fishing in the bays at low tide. A Kingfisher using the boats as lookout posts in the small creeks 

Black Redstart at Exmouth
Black Redstart at Exmouth

Black Redstart no.2 located around the Marina
Black Redstart no.2 located around the Marina

Posted November 26th, 2015 at 8:55 pm by Derek Carter in Bird News

South Huish

Terry Goddard had two very late House Martins over the car park and Ley late morning.

Also three Bramblings at Beedsands Ley.

Posted November 26th, 2015 at 8:34 pm in Bird News

Downend & Baggy Point

 3 female Common Scoters at Downend.

0 Common Scoters at Baggy Point.

0 Red throated Divers at Downend & Baggy Point.

0 Black Redstart at Baggy.

Posted November 26th, 2015 at 4:37 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News


1 x male Black Redstart in Ford Park Cemetery and 2 x Black Redstarts around the old warehouse in Millbay Docks. I then recieved a call from Russ Eynon in Beaumont Park where we found a Yellow Browed Warbler. 2 x Firecrests have also been seen together in this park in previous days.

Posted November 26th, 2015 at 4:12 pm by Tor Elm in Bird News

Dawlish Warren

1sandwich tern along the beach at 2:30ish 

Posted November 26th, 2015 at 3:38 pm by Gerry Hooper in Bird News


Possible 1st w Ring-billed Gull sat out on sea with Common Gulls at Broadsands flew off high inland at 10.15hrs, hopefully it will return to the gull roost at some stage for closer scrutiny. 

Preston Seafront: 38 Turnstone, 1 Ad Mediterranean Gull, 2 Black-necked Grebes, 3 Great Northern Divers, 2 Razorbills.

Broadsands: 2 Slavonian Grebes, 1 Black-necked Grebe, 7 Great Crested Grebes, 4 Great Northern Divers, 7 Common Scoter, 1 Razorbill.

Around car parks and marsh: 4 Firecrest, 3 Goldcrest, 2 Chiffchaff, 7 Cirl Bunting, 1 Reed Bunting.

Posted November 26th, 2015 at 11:24 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Wednesday 25th November 2015


A Firecrest today and yesterday in bushes by the Aquarium.

Posted November 25th, 2015 at 5:47 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Sherpa scrape - Wrafton Pond - Tarka trail

1 Pintail on the scrape which is unusual in this location.

4 Gadwall on the pond - 1 male + 3 females.

1 Grey Plover on R.Taw next to the Tarka trail below the Braunton Inn which is not unusual!

Posted November 25th, 2015 at 3:27 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Matford Pool - Cackling Goose

A quick visit to Matford Pool this lunchtime - the Cackling Goose there feeding in the company of a small group of Mallards. Also a Gadwall, 2 Little Grebes and a Sparrowhawk.

Posted November 25th, 2015 at 2:13 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

Wintering Blackcaps

In the last week our wintering Blackcaps have started to arrive in our Yelverton garden and currently we have at least 3-4 males plus two females which arrived yesterday.  All are busy feeding up.

If you too have wintering Blackcaps please include them in the records you send in or drop me an email.

Posted November 25th, 2015 at 1:06 pm in Bird News

Tuesday 24th November 2015

Buzzard hunting at Torquay Station, lunch time

Surprised when pigeons burst across the station followed by a buzzard! It missed, went and sat on platform roof then moved to shed and then lampost by station gate, much to the continued alarm of the pigeons! The buzzard let me approach and snap him with a little mobile phone! Janet

Buzzard perched after attack
Buzzard perched after attack

Posted November 24th, 2015 at 6:16 pm by Chris Proctor in Bird News

Exmouth bird trip

A very good day on the Stuart Line trip from Exmouth today. Highlights were the Boanaprte's Gull, a Short Eared Owl  flying across the Exe just below Topsham, 2 Great Northern Divers and at least 5 Greenshank. Wader flocks included both Godwits, Grey and Golden Plover, many Avocets, Turnstone and Oystercatchers. Mergansers, Common Scoter, Gannet and Kingfisher completed a very interesting trip.

Posted November 24th, 2015 at 5:30 pm by Marftin Sage in Bird News

Cackling Goose

14.30 Cackling Goose at Manaton Marsh initially at the west end of the Marsh (near the thatched cottage) associating with a large group of Mallard. Also on the marsh usaul Teal etc. and Llittle Grebe. On the canal ponds one Snipe and a some Siskin in the hedgerow between the river and the Double Locks otherwise usual suspects. On the Northbrook no sign of the Dippers but first sightings of Kingfisher there for a long while.

Posted November 24th, 2015 at 4:01 pm by Martin Rooney in Bird News

Tamar Lakes

The Lower Lake showed 10 Goosander 6m 4f, 3 Grey Heron, 9 Tufted Duck, 2 Scaup 1m 1f, 12 Mallard, 4 Wigeon, 2 Cormorant,1 G.C.Grebe, 2 Marsh and 1 Willow Tit, 1 Nuthatch, 1 Jay and the usual on the feeders.

On the Upper Lake there were 4 Fieldfare, c200 Starlings, 19 Canada Geese, 8 Coot, 1 Snipe, 1 Cormorant, 1 G.C.Grebe,  C60 Black-headed and Herring Gull, 24 Mallard, 8 Coot.

Posted November 24th, 2015 at 2:03 pm by ROD MUDGE in Bird News


On sea: 4 Great Northern Divers, 2 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Black-necked Grebe 7 Razorbill.

Around marsh and car parks: a minimum of 4 Firecrest, 4 Goldcrest, 3 Chiffchaff, 1 Reed Bunting, 2 Cirl Buntings.

Posted November 24th, 2015 at 11:23 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Monday 23rd November 2015

Northam Burrows

We arrived at the Burrows just after 12.30, we certainly weren't disappointed with our afternoons bird watching, we saw  oyster catchers, curlews, shelducks, lapwings, little egrets, dunlins, red shanks, 100 +golden plover, brent geese and most remarkable of all, perched on one of the wooden pilings was a merlin!  From here we drove on to Islay Marsh, saw several more oyster catchers, grey plovers, more dunlin, red shanks,30+  godwits , 20+ little egrets, 3 herons and 2 spoonbills.  On the way back along the tarka trail we saw a little egret being watched by a kingfisher! 

Posted November 23rd, 2015 at 10:29 pm by Ali & Andrew Gooch in Bird News

Ford Park Cemetery, Plymouth

1400 - 1500

Had a brief walk around this afternoon and apart from the usual crows & magpies I noted Chaffinch, Goldfinch (small flock), about 8 - 10 Redwings, a couple of Mistle Thrushes and a Blackbird. A few pigeons (wood and otherwise) finishing off the stroll. General note, the cemetery now closes at 1530 daily during the winter months.

Posted November 23rd, 2015 at 7:23 pm by Michael Spencer in Bird News

Lower Tamar Lake

Lower Tamar Lake was very cold and still this morning, the ducks were still grouped up in the sun light, I saw 3 Grey Heron, 9 Tufted Duck, 14 Goosander 9m 5f, 3 G.C.Grebe, 1 Cormorant, 6 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 8 Mallard, 2 Song Thrush, 6 Snipe, 2 Mute Swan, 1 Wren, C70 Redwing and Fieldfare, on the car park feeders 1 Willow,2 Marsh,2 Great,5 Blue,2 Coal Tit,1 G.S.Woodpecker, 1 Nuthatch, 2 Dunnock. 1 Robin, 6 Chaffinch, 3 House Sparrow.

Posted November 23rd, 2015 at 7:17 pm by ROD MUDGE in Bird News

Double Locks Jack Snipe

Single Jack Snipe showing well on mud alongside reeds at the Double Locks Wetland viewpoint (2nd from Swing Bridge) today at 12:45pm. 

Posted November 23rd, 2015 at 7:03 pm by Mike Booth in Bird News

Birch Tor/Headland Warren

Hen Harrier (Ringtail) quartering the slopes on the Warren House side of Birch Tor about 2pm before heading over the ridge towards Headland Warren. No sign of the Great Grey Shrike though.

Posted November 23rd, 2015 at 6:45 pm by Rob Hubble in Bird News

Paignton Pier

1st winter Red throated diver seen by Janet from Paignton Pier at lunchtime, feeding just north of the pier.

Posted November 23rd, 2015 at 5:53 pm by Chris Proctor in Bird News

Slapton Ley

Female Marsh Harrier at Torcross end late pm. Also Cettis & Water Rail heard. Just missed 5 otters under Slapton Bridge!

Posted November 23rd, 2015 at 5:16 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Teigngrace & Haldon Forest

Two visits to the Teigngrace area failed to locate the Cattle Egrets that have been frequenting the area, the local farmer stopped to chat and told us that he had seen two birds fly out first thing this morning so there is a good chance that the overnight plunge in temperatures has sent them off to warmer climes.

But the field that the Egrets had been in gave, Pied Wagtails, Meadow Pipits, Cirl Buntings (3) Black Headed Gulls, Little Egrets (14) Sparrow Hawk overhead, Dunnock, Robin and numerous Magpies, close by a Common Sandpiper.

The track to Stover from the railway sidings gave, large numbers of Long tailed Tits, Blue Tit, Great Tits, Nuthatch, Tree Creeper, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush, Redwings, Goldcrest in good numbers and a very strikingly marked Grey Wagtail.

Haldon Forest Park was not overly busy with bird life but a good range of the expected species, a hunting Sparrow hawk flushed a flock of some 50/60 Siskin, a Song Thrush gave a close up snail bashing demonstration before walking under my camera tripod, the newly refurbished pond area by the toilets is proving a very popular bathing and drinking spot for several species.7 Fallow deer on the way out back towards Chudleigh.

A Kestrel on overhead wires on the A38 near Ashburton.

Buzzards showing just about everywhere on today’s trip.

Posted November 23rd, 2015 at 4:49 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News


Arrived early for a ringing session this morning (cold) and there were the two Spoonbills asleep in the pond by the Tarka Trail. They had gone by 8 a.m. Ringing was productive with 2 Kingfishers caught, although only one needed ringing. A big range of species in, over and nearby. The cold weather has got the Thrushes on the move - 4 Song Thrush ringed and 6 new Blackbirds. Didn't catch any of the 10 or so Redwings seen early on.

Posted November 23rd, 2015 at 4:29 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Black Redstart _RWY Plymouth

2.45pm Black Redstart feeding around the main entrance arch at Royal William Yard. One for the out the office window list!

Posted November 23rd, 2015 at 2:50 pm by Graham Devine in Bird News

Darts Farm

At Darts Farm this lunchtime, 1 Brambling in with the finch flock. Other highlights were 1 Kingfisher and 1 Kestrel.

Posted November 23rd, 2015 at 2:41 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

Sunday 22nd November 2015


 I have been fishing up Upper Tamar over the last  couple of months  & been noticing numbers of starlings flying over i think to roast in the reeds up the far end ,,, but this evening  at dusk the numbers were in there  10,s of thousands  , very impressive , could even hear the wings as they flew over my head :)

Posted November 22nd, 2015 at 8:27 pm by Matin Cox in Bird News

Stover Park

An afternoon stroll around Stover. Around the lake Marsh, Blue & Great Tits. On the lake 1x Great crested grebe, 2 x Tufted duck and numerous black headed gulls. Strangest sight was a female Mallard with a very very late brood of 9 ducklings - let's hope they make it!

Posted November 22nd, 2015 at 8:13 pm by Paul Treen in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

On the high tide, roosting: 31 Curlews, 119 Redshanks, 16 Grey Herons, 5 Oystercatchers, 2 Dunlins and 3 Greenshanks. Also 3 Little Egrets, Kingfisher, Goldcrest, Shag (ad), 7+ Snipe, 3 Jack Snipe, Green Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush, and 30+ Redwings.  

Posted November 22nd, 2015 at 7:34 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Vis Mig Sidmouth

Salcombe Hill this morning: 19,000+ Woodpigeons, 16 Stock Dove, 2,019 Chaffinch, 8 Brambling, 196 Goldfinch, 45 Linnet, 4 Siskin, 2 Reed Bunting, 90 Skylark, 45+ Mipit, 60+ Starling, 2 Mute Swan.

Made more of an effort to count the impressive finch movement and so neglected the pigeons a bit today.  Tricky to keep track of the big flocks of Woodpigeons moving West over the sea, along the cliff edge and inland so certainly an underestimate.

Darford Warbler around the look out point again.

Posted November 22nd, 2015 at 6:43 pm by Dan Hennessy in Bird News

Torbay boat trip, 9am-12am

The trip started well with a fingfisher in Paignton harbour. Out on the water, 3 great northern divers, 2 great crested grebe, 1 fulmar, 2 gannets, 15 grey heron, 2 little egret, 8 purple sandpiper and 2 turnstone at Brixham Breakwater, hundreds of guillemot on and around the Berry Head colony, a few razorbill at sea in the bay, groups of kittiwake off Berry Head with 1 common gull. 3 shelduck flew past off the Orestone. 2 porpoise were feeding in their usual place in the Berry Head tidal rip.

Shags on Cod Rock, Berry Head
Shags on Cod Rock, Berry Head

Guillemot, Berry Head
Guillemot, Berry Head

Porpoise, Berry Head
Porpoise, Berry Head

Posted November 22nd, 2015 at 6:31 pm by Chris Proctor in Bird News

Green Sandpiper

Green Sandpiper on the edge of a small are of flooding outside a silage pit. This was at Yarde Farm SS646344 southest of Stoke Rivers near Barnstaple. Showing really well and busy moving around the wet area with Meadow Pipits and Pied Wagtail.

Posted November 22nd, 2015 at 5:21 pm by Karen Sims & John Towers in Bird News

Exe Estuary Slavonian Grebe

The resident Slavonian Grebe was in its favoured haunt off the railway steps near Cockwood at lunchtime.  It has retained an arc of dark feathering around its cheek - not typical of winter plumage (perhaps somehow related to its inability to fly?). Its wings are all there, as shown by shots of it flapping.

Posted November 22nd, 2015 at 5:03 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News

Around topsham

watched from 11:00 till 15:15

The Firecrest is still around showing well by the railway bridge at the top of bowling green road with goldcrests and coal tits also 1 blackcap.

then watched from the goatwalk 630+ avocet was a very good count for November ( only 466+ yesterday so big increase over night) , 40+ grey plover, 4 red breasted mergansers.

then into the viewing platform at bowling green marsh , a kingfisher showed well and the spotted redshank was to the right of the viewing platform , excellent numbers of dunlin with 3000+ and another 10+ avocet, 5+ jay.

then from the hide at bowling green marsh , 13 pintail , 60+ lapwing , 594+ wigeon 65+ shoveler, 10+ snipe, 800+ black tailed godwits, 32 bar tailed godwits, 380+ dunlin, 1 grey plover, 6+ curlew, 1 sparrowhawk, only 113+ avocet came in over the high tide, 2 buzzard, 1 sparrowhawk.

Posted November 22nd, 2015 at 5:01 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News


1 Black-necked Grebe on the sea just north of the memorial car park.

Black-necked Grebe Slapton 22 Nov 2015 ML

Video link here:

Posted November 22nd, 2015 at 4:46 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Soussons Farm Area

Sighted on a walk:

Great Grey Shrike at Golden Dagger Mine area at approx 11:45, also Treecreeper, Bullfinces(6), Reed Buntings(6), Redwings(many), Fieldfares, Mistle Thrushes, Gr Spotted(2) & Green Woodpeckers.

Posted November 22nd, 2015 at 4:43 pm by Colin & Joyce Hannaford in Bird News

Morning dog walk along the River Caen to the fishermens huts

Lovely bright morning with numbers of Starling, Redshank, Lapwing, Golden Plover, Meadow Pipits. Also Dunlin, Geenshank, Buzzards, Shelduck, Pintail, Wigeon, Egrets, Cormorants, Shags, Curlew, Herons etc and two SHORT EARED  OWLS hunting and showing really well over the north end of the airfield at Chivenor near Sherpa Marsh.

Posted November 22nd, 2015 at 3:04 pm by Rob Barnes in Bird News

Tamar estuary / Ernesettle

0830 - 1145

Fairly quiet, winds died down: 11 Black Tailed Godwit, 7 Little egret, 7 Shelduck, 10 Wigeon, 30 Teal, 5 Great Crested Grebe fishing, 35 Avocet over by Kingsmill lake.

4 Greenshank, 1 Kingfisher and 32 Snipe in Tamerton creek, and a Black headed gull with a leg ring.

Posted November 22nd, 2015 at 1:11 pm by Alan Livsey in Bird News

East Soar - Woodpigeon migration

4800 Woodpigeons west through the area from 0900 to 1100 hrs. Only 3 Stock Dove. Also 150 Skylarks on the stubbles.

Posted November 22nd, 2015 at 12:25 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News


On Sea: 4 Great Northern Divers, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Common Scoter, 1 Shelduck. Flying past 33 Common Scoter, 5 Gadwall.

Around marsh and car parks: 5 Cirl Buntings, 1 Reed Bunting, 3 Firecrest, 2 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest

Posted November 22nd, 2015 at 10:14 am by Mike Langman in Bird News


c20,000 Woodpigeon west over Orcombe by 0900. Flock sizes much bigger than yesterday (c2000+) and consequently harder to count

Posted November 22nd, 2015 at 9:38 am by Matt Knott in Bird News

Wood Pigeon Migration

This morning’s Wood Pigeon migration over the South Brent area commenced at 07.46hrs with an initial 12 birds coming over, by 09.00hs I had a total count of 6,454 birds.

The first flocks were coming from the direction of Dartmoor and headed westerly, given the still conditions the flocks were generally flying much higher than previous days, that said several large flocks were low enough for me to hear the whir of their wing beats they passed over and were reminiscent of a Starling numeration.

Other species seen during this time were Green Woodpecker, Raven, Rook, Pied Wagtail, Stock Dove, Jay and a count of 29 Herring Gull.

Posted November 22nd, 2015 at 9:23 am by Steve Hopper in Bird News

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