Devon Bird Sightings from 1st–7th December 2015


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

Monday 7th December 2015


Late morning male Brambling seen in trees around the fishponds with mixture of other finches and 3-Reed Buntings around the reedbeds.

Early afternoon from Goosemoor a Water Rail seen in the pond near the bridge and 2-Spotted Redshank with 3-Greenshank and other waders around the main pond on the marsh.  Links to videos.

From Bowling Green Marsh c250-Avocets; 22-Bar-tailed Godwits; c850-Black-tailed Godwits; c300-Redshank; c450-Dunlin; 3-Snipe; c60-Lapwing; 28-Curlew; 3-Pintail; 1-Tufted Duck; c200-Wigeon; 13-Greylag Geese; c35-Shoveler; c60-Teal. 

Posted December 7th, 2015 at 10:13 pm by David Boult in Bird News


Midday to early afternoon, additional to Mike's counts. 2 brent geese (briefly) and 5 great northern divers on the sea. 8 cirl buntings were at the feeding station. 2 firecrests and the yellow browed wabler were still showing well by the stream at the far right corner of the car park.

Posted December 7th, 2015 at 9:10 pm by Chris Proctor in Bird News


It would appear that the wintering Blackcaps have arrived in South Hams (or at least Dartington) in the past few days. On Friday (4th) had a male on the feeders, Sunday (6th) had both male and female whilst today what i presume to be the same male was present. 2 Red Admirals were on the wing last Thursday (3rd) at Strete gate. No observations from Saturday although i did see 11 superb Hornets!

Posted December 7th, 2015 at 6:54 pm in Bird News

Haldon ~ Darts Farm ~ BGM and home

Haldon Forest Park this morning was very murky to the point of it being difficult to identify any of the birds in the area due to very poor light, prominent birds identified being Chaffinch, Coal Tit and Siskin.

Dart’s Farm started with a pair of Mistle Thrush a reasonable sized mixed flock of Greenfinch and Chaffinch. Around the hide and ponds, 2 Stonechat, Kingfisher, 20 plus Goldfinch, hunting Kestrel giving very close up views. Godwit, Wigeon and a handful of Brent Geese circling before moving off. On leaving a flock of 100 plus Linnet with a single Brambling feeding on the sunflower heads around vegetable field.

Bowling Green Marsh several good sized flocks of Wigeon, Greylag Geese, Shoveler duck showing well, a small number of Lapwing and Curlew  The railway tunnel at the beginning of the footpath gave several Goldcrest and one Firecrest possibly a second.

Heathfield Industrial Estate gave views of 2 or 3 Goldcrest.

Ashburton(A38) Kestrel on overhead wires.

Back at home in South Brent a Heron overhead, I counted 7 Goldcrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 10 Redwing, Buzzard and Long-tailed Tits.

Of note was the fact that the BGM Goldcrests were highly coloured birds with  green and grey upper plumage while the birds at home were the usual drab buffish colour.

Posted December 7th, 2015 at 5:04 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Saltram & Plym Estuary

Paid a visit this morning and early afternoon on a rising tide. Species identified were: blackbird, canada geese (about 50), chaffinch, curlews (about 20), dunnock, little egrets (3), little grebes (4), grey  herons (6), male pheasant, pied wagtails, redshanks (about 50), robins, starlings, herring gulls, black-headed gulls, common sandpiper (3), wren (3) and a kingfisher. Surprise was a very late freshly emerged peacock butterfly. Weather overcast with sunny spells.

If anyone is going to Saltram from Sainsbury's end the path from the end of the Railway Bridge to the Sewage Outfall has been cut back providing wide open views of the Plym.

Posted December 7th, 2015 at 4:32 pm by Michael Spencer in Bird News

Berry Head

A seawatch this morning produced 1 Pomarine Skua, 700+ Kittiwake 100+ Gannet and 260 Auks also 15-20 Common Dolphin, 3 Harbour Porpoise and a Firecrest in the woods with 5 Goldcrest.

Posted December 7th, 2015 at 3:55 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News


The Yellow-browed Warbler showed well this morning with a minimum of 4 Firecrest also around the car parks and marsh, 3 Chiffchaff and 3 Goldcrest. A quick look at over the seawall produced, 3 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Slavonian Grebes and 1 Black-necked Grebe.

Yellow-browed WarblerBroadsands 7 Dec 2015 ML

Video clip here :

Posted December 7th, 2015 at 3:00 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

darts farm & exmouth marina

A quick look at darts farm 10:30 got me 2 female bramblings in with a finch flock consisting of linnets,chaffinches,goldfinch and greenfinch. Then I went for a look at Exmouth Marina saw there 1 female black redstart and 6 red breasted mergansers

Posted December 7th, 2015 at 1:45 pm by Tom Jurd in Bird News

Slapton Ley

1st winter Marsh Harrier over Higher Ley (bird at Torcross last week had more creamy-white on forewing) suggests two birds recently. Quiet on ley (too mild?): 60 Gadwall, 44 Wigeon, 158 Tufted Duck, 3 Pochard, the usual punk Hybrid, 1000 Herring Gull, 128 Great Black-backed Gull & 14 Lesser Black-backed Gull. On sea just 6 Shag.

Posted December 7th, 2015 at 12:47 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News


The two Spoonbills were back this morning by the Tarka Trail when I arrived at the reserve at about 09.15. In the reserve a lot of Blackbirds and Finches alarm-calling and high up in one of the Macrocarpus trees, a Tawny Owl, studiously ignoring them!

The Barn Owl was hunting around and in the reserve yesterday morning.

Posted December 7th, 2015 at 11:08 am by Jon Turner in Bird News

Roundham Head

Single Velvet Scoter in bay off Goodrington beach. Seen from cliff walk.

Posted December 7th, 2015 at 11:08 am by Claire & Chris Grove in Bird News

Burma Star Gardens

Stunning male Black Redstart still present, though actually seen on wall of property on the other side of the road to the gardens.

Posted December 7th, 2015 at 10:55 am by Claire & Chris Grove in Bird News

Sunday 6th December 2015

Torbay boat trip

A few more photos from this mornings boat trip. In addition to species previously mentioned by Chris there was also a flock of 7 Common Scoter next to the Mussel farm. Passed the Burma Star Garden on the way back to my car and was immediately treated to the male Black Redstart. Well worth getting up early & wet for!

BN / SLAV / BN Grebe in formation
BN / SLAV / BN Grebe in formation


Black Redstart
Black Redstart

Posted December 6th, 2015 at 8:17 pm by Paul Treen in Bird News


One swallow alongside river Kenn 2:30

Posted December 6th, 2015 at 4:51 pm by Gerry Hooper in Bird News

Torbay boat trip this morning

Due to strong winds and drizzle the boat ran a reduced route out from Paignton to just short of Berry Head and back. Quite a few gannets and kittiwakes were sheltering in the bay and fulmars back at the Broadsands colony. 4 great northern divers scattered along the route, 3 great crested grebes, 4 (possibly 5) black necked grebes and 2 slavonian grebes at Broadsands, 7 common scoter at the Churston mussel farm, 1 Little Auk flying east off Shoalstone, also 11+ razorbill and 1 guillemot. Common shorebirds included turnstones, oystercatchers, herons at the Chuston roost and a little egret.

Mixed flock of Black Necked and Slavonian Grebes, Broadsands
Mixed flock of Black Necked and Slavonian Grebes, Broadsands

Little Auk, off Shoalstone
Little Auk, off Shoalstone, showing white tipped scapulars

Little Auk, off Shoalstone
Little Auk, off Shoalstone ... and dark underwings

Posted December 6th, 2015 at 3:34 pm by Chris Proctor in Bird News


Whilst leading a walk for Torbay Coast & countryside Trust we found a Yellow-browed Warbler in the back corner of the 1st Carpark, also present 2 Firecrests, 2 Chiffchaff, 25+ Siskins, 3 Goldcreat. On the sea 2 Slavonian Grebes, 5 Black-necked Grebes, 3 Great Crested Grebes ,1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Razorbill. We missed a Little Auk seen at the south side of Broadsands Bay by about 15 mins!

Posted December 6th, 2015 at 2:00 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

South Efford Marsh

Late post for Saturday 5th: 1 Firecrest, 1 Greenshank, 1 Kingfisher and ca 110 Teal, South Efford Marsh, late afternoon

Posted December 6th, 2015 at 9:32 am by Andy Smith in Bird News

West Charleton Marsh

Late post for Saturday 5th: 40+ Common Snipe, 3 Jack Snipe, 75 Teal and 120 Curlew, West Charleton Marsh, early pm.

Posted December 6th, 2015 at 9:30 am by Andy Smith in Bird News

Slapton Ley

Late post for Saturday 5th: 3 Firecrests in woods along trail at northern end of Slapton Ley

Posted December 6th, 2015 at 9:27 am by Andy Smith in Bird News

Saturday 5th December 2015

Hound Tor area

Ringtail hen harrier seen flying around the moor this morning in the area up above Widecombe on the way to Hound Tor, along with 2 ravens.

Posted December 5th, 2015 at 12:15 pm by Tim & Aishlyn Youngs in Bird News

Friday 4th December 2015



On a cycle ride, near the east gate cafe Tavistock. Firecrest in a willow tree over river with group of Long Tailed Tits, also Grey Wagtail. En route - Bullfinches & Marsh Tits at the north end of Gem Bridge.

Posted December 4th, 2015 at 10:31 pm by Colin Hannaford in Bird News

Goldcrest at Otterton

Plenty of Goldcrest's around Otterton this afternoon. Four on the ground one taking a bath!

Two Goldcrest bathing
Two Goldcrest bathing

Posted December 4th, 2015 at 9:28 pm by Derek Carter in Bird News


This afternoon on the sea: 1 Black-throated Diver, 2 Red-throated Divers, 7 Great Northern Divers, 5 Black-necked Grebes, 7 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Slavonian Grebe.

Around the car parks: 2 Firecrest (see David Pakes entry below!), 3 Chiffchaff, 4 Goldcrest 

Posted December 4th, 2015 at 7:55 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News


The female Black Redstart continued to show well around the Marina apartment rooftops late morning. Link to video.

Viewed mudbank over the mid-day high-tide. 2-Mediterranean Gulls showing in front the viewing screen 1 with Polish red darvic ring either PPR2 or PRR2 (details sent off) amongst the Black-headed Gulls with good numbers of Pintail, Wigeon, Brent Geese, Oystercatchers, Curlew, Turnstones and a few Redshank.  Link to 2-Med Gulls.

Black Redstart  (Marina)
Black Redstart (Marina)

Mediterranean Gull  (Polish red darvic ring PPR2 or PRR2)
Mediterranean Gull (Polish red darvic ring PPR2 or PRR2)

Mediterranean Gull
Mediterranean Gull

Posted December 4th, 2015 at 7:53 pm by David Boult in Bird News


A quick look round the reserve this morning showed an increase in Finches, and these included the first Siskins (about 8) seen there this year.

Posted December 4th, 2015 at 7:33 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Lower Tamar Lake

This morning I shared the hide with Nigel Bastin, up until I left we didn't see the Smew, but we did see: 2 Water Rail showing very well, 10 Goosander 7m 3f, 10 Tufted Duck, 1 Scaup (f), 4 Snipe, 2 Bullfinch, 1 G.B.B. Gull, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Sparrow Hawk,1 Jay, 1 Grey Heron, 1 L/Grebe, 1 Cormorant, 23 Canada,  25 Mallard, 2 Raven,  around the hide and car park feeders Willow, Marsh, Great, Blue, Coal and Long Tail Tits,Nuthatch.

Posted December 4th, 2015 at 7:13 pm by ROD MUDGE in Bird News

Broadsands Firecrest demise

Sad, but excited, to witness a sparrow hawk take a firecrest I was about to photograph at Broadsands at lunchtime today. Pleased to say there was more than one present as I managed  to photograph another there later in the day.

Posted December 4th, 2015 at 6:57 pm by David Pakes in Bird News

MortePoint / Capstone Point

This afternoon from Morte Point i saw 2 Manx Shearwaters 3 Great Skuas & 2 Great Northern Divers on the sea. 16+ Gannets were flying steady holding position in the strong westerly wind. Also during last weeks Storm, Wed to Fri from Capstone Point, a Little Auk, several Skuas & Divers  also Dave Parker & myself both saw Sooty Shearwaters on different days.

Posted December 4th, 2015 at 6:32 pm by Martin Thorne MWG in Bird News

Red Kites

Between 2.15 and 2.30 this afternoon I was driving along the A361 towards Barnstaple near the Harpridge turn off just after the Tiverton roundabout when  was suprised to see a red Kite. 15 miles further down the road over the forested area to the right of the viaduct by the Fillleigh estate there was another one.

Posted December 4th, 2015 at 5:22 pm by richard yeats in Bird News

Leucistic Robin

Leucistic Robin showing well this morning.

Thanks to Rob Jutsum/Martin James Bond for exact location.

Posted December 4th, 2015 at 5:08 pm by Colin Scott in Bird News

Harleston to Slapton Bridge via Start ( & back )

Two Firecrests, 11 Goldcrests & Chiffchaff in the wayside scrub & 21 Stock Doves on pasture. Female Marsh Harrier over the higher ley and in/around Ireland Bay 2 Goldeneye, 36 Wigeon, 51 Tufteds, 4 Water Rails, 2 Snipe, 2 Common Gulls & two Cetti's Warblers.

Posted December 4th, 2015 at 4:38 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Ford Park Cemetery, Plymouth

Visited this morning for about an hour or so. Weather overcast with variable light but dry. Apart from the usual suspects (Magpie, Crow and Pigeon) were seen Blackbirds, Greenfinch, Great Tit, Song Thrush, Robin, a Wren and 2 cats. No sign of the Redwings from about a week ago or anything else much either. Some Herring Gulls circling overhead as the skies darkened.

Posted December 4th, 2015 at 3:16 pm by Michael Spencer in Bird News


Short-eared owl flew high from Exminster Marshes, over Topsham rec and off to the east, being chased by a Crow all the way (08:00 this morning).

Posted December 4th, 2015 at 1:32 pm by Martin Elcoate in Bird News


Only 1 fem Common Scoter left at Downend after all the gales we have been having recently.

Posted December 4th, 2015 at 12:21 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Short Eared Owl Exminster

Great close view of Short Eared Owl this morning flying over near the Swans Nest and then heading over the railway line towards RSPB Exminster side at 7.30am.

Posted December 4th, 2015 at 8:06 am by Peter Otley in Bird News

Thursday 3rd December 2015

Green Sandpiper

This bird is still in the muddy pool at Yarde Farm SS646344 near Stoke Rivers Barnstaple. It has been there some weeks now and seems settled and busy feeding.

A large flock of Redwings near the stone barn at Orswell was good to see. The colder weather expected this weekend may bring in  a few more winter visitors.

Posted December 3rd, 2015 at 2:46 pm by Karen Sims & John Towers in Bird News

Berry Head

Seawatching this morning produced with BMc & MD: 1 Sooty Shearwater, 5 Great Skua, 1 Skua sp. (Arctic/Pom), 1 Little Gull, 1 Mediterranean Gull, 933 Auks (approx. 80% Razorbill). Also at least 4 Harbour Porpoise and 1 Grey Seal.

Update from MD additional birds this afternoon: 1 Little Auk, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 2 Great Skuas, 2 Pomarine Skuas, Great Northern and Red-throated Diver 

Link to video of one of the Great Skuas: https://yout 

Posted December 3rd, 2015 at 2:24 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Westward Ho!

A report from Dave Paull this morning of 3 Purple Sandpipers between Nassau Court and the defunct swimming pool. Also a Long-tailed Duck offshore.

Posted December 3rd, 2015 at 12:54 pm by Roger Doble in Bird News


My visit to the reserve this morning was rewarded with views of a Barn Owl between the reserve and the harbour. Later on I saw it again, this time in the reserve.

Posted December 3rd, 2015 at 11:40 am by Jon Turner in Bird News

Wednesday 2nd December 2015

Fleet Mill, Totnes

1 Bittern over the reedbed at Fleet Mill south-east of Totnes late this afternoon. Also at least 3 Water Rails calling.

Posted December 2nd, 2015 at 9:58 pm by Andy Smith in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

Viewed over the mid-morning high-tide. 146-Bar-Tailed Godwits (big increase since monday); c850-Black-Tailed Godwits; 2-Spotted Redshank; c50-Redshank; 28-Curlew; c250-Dunlin; 27-Lapwing; 7-Snipe; 14-Greylag Geese; 1-Little Egret; 19-Pintail; c35-Shoveler; c70-Teal; c40-Wigeon; 1-Sparrowhawk; 1-Buzzard and no Avocets present on the marsh. From the viewing platform 1-Spotted Redshank feeding near riversmeet house; 12-Grey Plover; 4-Common Gulls; c45-Black Headed Gulls; 2-Red Breasted Mergansers; c100-Wigeon in field left of path. From the goatwalk c550-Avocets on far side near Turf Hotel.

Link to my videos for today and over past few weeks:

Spotted Redshank
Spotted Redshank

Spotted Redshank
Spotted Redshank

Bar-Tailed Godwit
Bar-Tailed Godwit

Posted December 2nd, 2015 at 8:35 pm by David Boult in Bird News


A run over the southern side of Dartmoor gave a productive birding day, Buzzard and Heron near Holne Bridge.

Dartmeet giving Goldcrest, Song Thrush, Long Tailed Tit, Nuthatch, Dunnock, Male Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Coal Tit, Great Tit. The most numerous bird being Chaffinch.

Two Bridges Flocks of Fieldfare , female Kestrel and a Buzzard.

On the higher moors just past the Warren House Inn gave Raven and a flock of 14 Golden Plover struggling into a strong head wind.

Challacombe, produced the days first Redwing flocks, a Grey Wagtail and Raven.

Between Runnage and Post Bridge a female Hen Harrier came overa hill and dived into a flock of Carrion Crows making a determined attack onone crow, on missing her intended prey she swept up and tried to take another bird without success before flying out towards the valley below Soussons plantation.

Between Bellever and Cator Green Cross large mixed flocks of Redwing and Fieldfare along with smaller numbers of Pied Wagtail and Meadow Pipit.

Apologies for the image quality but all the birds photographed were rather further away to give any real detail.

Posted December 2nd, 2015 at 2:37 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News


A nice surprise of a Firecrest in the back garden this morning. 

Posted December 2nd, 2015 at 1:22 pm in Bird News

Firecrest, Plympton

Record shot of a Firecrest in my back garden yesterday (1 Dec) - presumably the same bird that dropped in just as flittingly on 26 Nov. We have had one or two visits in previous years, but they always seem to come when the light's too low for a photo. I'm beginning to wonder whether this is coincidental.

Posted December 2nd, 2015 at 1:41 am by Jason Smart in Bird News

Tuesday 1st December 2015

Tarka trail - Chivenor.

Enjoyed the Leucistic Robin again today in the same place. Amazing how perfect the leucism is!  

Posted December 1st, 2015 at 7:57 pm by Martin James Bond in Bird News

Topsham and Exmouth

High tide at Bowling Green saw good numbers of Avocet and Dunlin some Knot, Pintail and the usual Redshank and various ducks, all very jumpy but no raptors seen - until later a female Kestrel at the veiwing platform. Not much of note on Goosemoor except 1 greenshank.

Mudbank had approx 6 Turnstone in amongst lots ot Brent and Pintail and Wigeon etc. 

Bird of the day a female Black Redstart at Exmouth Docks.

Black Redstart at Exmouth Docks
Black Redstart at Exmouth Docks

Black Redstart at Exmouth Docks
Black Redstart at Exmouth Docks

Female Kestrel Topsham Viewing Platform
Female Kestrel Topsham Viewing Platform

Posted December 1st, 2015 at 5:28 pm by Martin Rooney in Bird News

Paignton ~ Dartington ~ South Brent

A visit to Broadsand’s with Keith Male resulted in us meeting up with Bob Bailey who very quickly and kindly positioned us to see two Firecrest a long awaited first for me, also in the corner of the closed off car park were Chiffchaff, Goldcrest, a flock of 12 plus Goldfinch and a Raven overhead.

Off shore were 6 Crested Grebe, a Great Northern Diver, Velvet Scoter and a Black Necked Grebe picked out by Bob.

A visit to the Roundham Head area where Bob had reported seeing a male Black Redstart found us at the Burma Star garden where the male Black Redstart showed on an almost constant basis, a very elusive female showed briefly on two occasions. Also of note in the garden were Blackcap (male and female) and two Song Thrush.

Marine Parade, Preston gave a count of 36 Turnstone which included the Dutch rung bird that is over wintering at this location, Oyster Catchers, a Heron, two Greater Black Backed Gulls, Shag, Cormorant, Bob arrived while we were there and added a few species to his sea watch list.

Dartington Drive and Hall despite the habitat gave very little, good numbers of Redwing, Mistle Thrush and Blackbirds feeding in a mature Yew tree a few Pied Wagtails and a Wren were about the sum of it from that area.

Back home at South Brent, a garden watch gave me a total of  23 species including Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch all in double figures, Rook, Coal Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Sparrow Hawk, Redwing and 3 Raven overhead.

Posted December 1st, 2015 at 5:10 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News


Whilst in the reserve this morning, I saw a bird that I thought was a Cormorant flying nearby, but it didn't look right, so I hurried out into the open and saw what can only have been a Diver sp flying strongly towards and over Chivenor in the direction of Fremington.

If anyone sees a Diver in the estuary, I'd be interested to get an id!

Posted December 1st, 2015 at 1:49 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News


Broadsands: 7 Black-necked Grebes, 2 Slavonian Grebes, 5 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Great Northern Divers, 1 Red-throated Diver, 9 Common Scoter. 6 Chiffchaff, 2 Firecrest, 2 Goldcrest, 4 Cirl Buntings. 

Goodrington/Paignton: 1 male Velvet Scoter, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Black-necked Grebe.

Posted December 1st, 2015 at 1:40 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News



Higher Slapton Ley,fm Marsh Harrier.


Mansands,on track from car park to beach Firecrest with flock of Goldcrests and long-tailed Tits.

Posted December 1st, 2015 at 1:36 pm by Martin Lees in Bird News

Lower Tamar Lake

Overcast but dry this morning with a steady breeze. The female Smew showed well from the hide for a few minutes around 10.25, before diving into the reeds not to be seen again in the next half hour. Also from and around the hide, 5m and 2f Goosander, Kingfisher, c10 Tufted Duck, Snipe, Water Rail, Raven, Great crested Grebe, Willow Tit and Cetti's Warbler.

Posted December 1st, 2015 at 12:02 pm by Roger Doble in Bird News

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