Devon Bird Sightings: Bird News from 15th–21st December 2015

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If you were fortunate enough to see any of the birds below please can you submit a description to the County Recorder to ensure they are included in the 2021 Devon Bird Report.

Black Kite


07 Jun



09 Oct

Caspian Gull


01 Dec



13 Oct


Noss Mayo

09 Feb

Little Bunting

Huxton Cross

18 Oct


Chudleigh Knighton

24 Sep

Long-tailed Skua


12 May

Common Rosefinch


10 Jun

Ortolan Bunting


17 Jun

Corn Bunting [2]


22 Jun

Pectoral Sandpiper

Bowling Green

27 Oct

Cory's Shearwater


07 Sep

Purple Heron

Slapton Ley

17 Apr

Glossy Ibis


21 Dec

RC Starling


01 Jul

Glossy Ibis

Otter Estuary

28 Dec

RC Starling

South Huish

09 Sep

Golden Oriole

Combe Valley

09 Jun

Ruddy Duck

Exe Estuary

04 Apr



26 May



21 Aug



30 May

Tree Sparrow


22 Jan

Hooded Crow


03 Jun

Tree Sparrow


14 Nov

Posted June 30th at 11:34 pm by Kevin Rylands in Bird News


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

Monday 21st December 2015

Bowling Green Marsh

Viewed over the afternoon high-tide. c600-Avocet + 2-Spotted Redshank + 2-Greenshank + c100-Redshank + 12-Curlew + 28-Lapwing + 40-Pintail + 4-Gadwall + c300-Wigeon + c100-Teal - 4-Greylag Geese.  Links to some videos.

Spotted Redshank
Spotted Redshank



Posted December 21st, 2015 at 10:08 pm by David Boult in Bird News


Thanks for correction on Firecrest actually being a Goldcrest.  Everyday's a school day for me!

Posted December 21st, 2015 at 8:01 pm by Jo King in Bird News

Queen Anne Battery Plymouth

Storm and wind bringing in a lot of seabirds close to shore today. Braved the weather and was rewarded with a lovely Guillemot very close of the end of QAB pier. 

Posted December 21st, 2015 at 1:09 pm by Paul Cowie in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

The first winter male American wigeon was on the marshes, feeding in the field between the Lion's Rest industrial estate and Cork's Drove at 10.00. Lots of other birds but the rain made viewing very difficult.

Posted December 21st, 2015 at 10:51 am by John Waldon in Bird News

Use of sound recording on Crests.

There seems to be several photos of crests appearing to be agitated I have heard that birders/photographers at Broadsands are using the song tapes to attract the crests. Please bear in mind these tiny birds need to feed almost continuously to survive particularly in colder spells - is a close view or picture worth putting these birds at risk? You might think a few minutes will not make a difference - a few minutes later someone else thinks the same and again and again - at popular sites it will make a huge differrence.

Anyone seeing this technique being used please have a word to the person involved.

Posted December 21st, 2015 at 9:43 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Sunday 20th December 2015

Exminster Marshes

Spent most of Friday and this morning on the Marshes and enjoyed the vast numbers of winter birds - particularly during High Tide.  Reading the various posts from other birders who also visited, I think they've covered most birds I saw.  But thought I'd mention this little Firecrest who turned up amongst 3 Goldcrests in the hedgerow near the Motorway bridge, by the Canal.

(Eds - Jo, it is actually a Goldcrest - it lacks the white supercilium of a Firecrest.)

Posted December 20th, 2015 at 7:36 pm by Jo King in Bird News

Exminster Marshes and Turf

As already said plenty of birds around, I failed to see the American Wigeon but still got 49 Species, stacks of waders off Turf with the Red-breasted Mergansers putting on a good show with the males displaying.

Posted December 20th, 2015 at 5:08 pm by simon thurgood in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

Spent 1315-1500 enjoying the masses of birds on the marshes. Apart from the afomentioned American Wigeon, which spent its time on the Fishermans Car Pool there were huge numbers of waders. 230 Curlew, 500+ Black-tailed Godwits, 84 Bar-tailed Godwits, 770 Dunlin, 400 Golden Plover, 400+ Lapwings and 10+ Redshank. Ducks there were 60+ Teal, 20 Shoveler and 850+ Wigeon. And finally one Peregirne that made evrything fly around a lot, which at times was spectacular.

Posted December 20th, 2015 at 4:53 pm by Steve Cox in Bird News

American wigeon

American wigeon at Exminster marshes on the left of the track leading from the unofficial carpark.

Posted December 20th, 2015 at 4:15 pm by Martin,Jenny Lees in Bird News

American wigeon, Exminster Marshes

Distant views 1pm in fields south of car park.

Posted December 20th, 2015 at 3:49 pm by Richard Archer in Bird News

brixham breakwater sunday 2pm

8 purple sandpiper on old fuelling stage near the end of the breakwater and 2 feeding cormorants fighting over a fish on harbourside of the breakwater

Posted December 20th, 2015 at 3:12 pm by kevin bates in Bird News

Around the Exe estuary

A visit to Exminster Marshes this morning gave a good range of species and lots of birders looking for the American Wigeon but no one was saying that they had found it, as nice as the long awaited sunshine was, being so low it made for difficult viewing conditions.

3 Chiffchaff in the Willows by Lions Rest and 2 Kingfisher flew over the lane, not the density of birds as there were on and over the marsh on Friday but still well worth visit.

Darts Farm a single Brent Goose on arrival and a counted five flying over during the visit, surprisingly quiet, very few of the recent smaller species in evidence, Stonechat, Great Tit and Chaffinch showed well, across the pasture and marsh, a large mixed flock of Fieldfare and Starlings, Curlew, small flock of Wigeon, 7 Stock Dove and very little else.

Bowling Green Marsh a good range of ducks 100’s of Wigeon, a single Tufted drake, Pintail, Shoveler, Mallard, Teal.

Large numbers of Redshank, Godwit and Dunlin, a small flock of Avocet flew in, Lapwing, Greylag Geese, Heron. On the lane in several Fieldfare good numbers of Dunnock and asingle Goldcrest.

Posted December 20th, 2015 at 2:27 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News


The Green Sandpiper still in the flooded field between the reserve and Tarka Trail. Also 1 Little Egret.

Posted December 20th, 2015 at 12:11 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News


Yellow-browed Warbler and Siberian Chiffchaff still present in marsh with at least 2 Firecrests.

On the sea: 1 Red-necked Grebe, 2 Slavonian Grebes, 3 Black-necked Grebes, 12 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Red-throated and 11 Great Northern Divers, 7 Common Scoter

Posted December 20th, 2015 at 10:51 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Saturday 19th December 2015


A Firecrest in Lipson, Plymouth this afternoon. 

Posted December 19th, 2015 at 9:04 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

A wet morning high tide, but great birding. 1080 Blackwit, 590 Avocet, 295 Redshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 109 Bar-tailed Godwit, 80 Dunlin but only 3 Curlew & 3 Lapwing. 240 Wigeon, 115 Teal, 38 Shoveler, 18 Pintail & 5 Gadwall. 

Down by viewing platform 350 Brent Goose with the Black Brant. Also Kingfisher. Another at Goosemore with two Eygptian Geese.

Posted December 19th, 2015 at 3:08 pm by Steve Cox in Bird News

Lower Central Park, Plymouth

Two Ring-necked Parakeets still, in trees opposite junction of Inverdene and Durban Road this morning.

Posted December 19th, 2015 at 10:50 am by richard teague in Bird News


One sandwich tern on the River this morning

Posted December 19th, 2015 at 10:13 am by Gerry Hooper in Bird News

Friday 18th December 2015

Exminster Marsh & Turf Locks

Viewed over the morning high-tide at Turf Locks. c500-Avocets + c250-Golden Plover + 10-Grey Plover + c1000-Black-tailed Godwits + c200-Lapwing + c2500-Dunlin + c70-Redshank + 20-Knot + c50-Curlew + 192-Pintail + 9-Red-breasted Mergansers + c300-Brent Geese. Links to some video footage.



RB Merganser:

Grey Plover:

From Exminster Marsh mid-afternoon the American Wigeon was in field between Lions Rest Ind Est and wood footbridge with a small group of other Wigeon and Curlew, a Peregrine was hunting over the south of the marsh from the eletric pylon and a few Snipe + c300-Lapwing + c200-Brent Geese with several hundred Canada Geese.

American Wigeon:

American Wigeon  at  Exminster Marsh
American Wigeon at Exminster Marsh

Grey Plover  at  Turf Locks
Grey Plover at Turf Locks

Golden Plover   at  Turf Locks
Golden Plover at Turf Locks

Posted December 18th, 2015 at 8:51 pm by David Boult in Bird News

Colebrook Ravens

It's not too uncommon to see the odd Raven over Colebrook, but I was a bit surprised to see at least twelve in a spiral as I left for work this morning.

Posted December 18th, 2015 at 8:36 pm by Chris Marcol in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

A visit to Exminster Marshes just after first light until early afternoon gave a tally of 43 species which unfortunately did not include any of the reported Short Eared owls.

Species identified included large flocks of Wigeon, including the American Wigeon (right hand side of the below image), Golden Plover, Lapwing and Bar Tailed Godwit. Also on today’s list, Song Thrush, Fieldfare, Redwing, Starling, an abundance of Goldcrest, Curlew, Wren, several flocks of Long Tailed Tits and Goldfinch, Raven, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, 13 Bullfinch, Buzzard, Snipe, Stonechat and Meadow Pipit.

Having read one of yesterday posts a visit to Matford Park and Ride as reported by Keith Birchall numerous Goldcrest and a very vocal Firecrest that despite continuosly calling remained out of sight over in the far left corner in a small fenced of area.

On the way home to South Brent ~  Kestrels seen at Ashburton on A38 overhead wires and a second bird hunting at Marley Head before being menaced by a Buzzard.

At home a garden bird watch gave 24 species including Tawny owl (calling at 7.30 this morning) Coal Tit, Long Tailed Tit, Marsh Tit, BTO rung Blue Tit, Wren, Dunnock, Nuthatch and Buzzard.

Posted December 18th, 2015 at 5:46 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Exminster Marsh

Lovely walk round the marsh, Egrets, Herons, Golden Plover, Curlew, Snipe, Blackwits, lots of Wigeon and Teal, cracking flights of Canada Geese and Brent Geese, about 200 Avocets over the River and a few pairs of Merganser on the Canal. At least 2 Cettis calling, Stonechats, Wrens and various Tits thinking it's Spring with lots of singing, highlight for me was a flock of 20 odd Bullfinch on the path from the car park to the pub. No sight of the SE Owl I was looking for but who cares! 

Posted December 18th, 2015 at 5:44 pm by Ben Rowland in Bird News


12 Great Northern Divers, 1 Red-throated Diver, 9 Great Crested Grebes, 5 Black-necked Grebes, 7 Common Scoter, 7 Shelduck.

At Boadsands car parks: Yellow-browed Warbler, 1 Siberian Chiffchaff, 3 Firecrests, 4 Goldcrests, 5 Chiffchaff.

Posted December 18th, 2015 at 5:02 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News


 Dull and dismal on Exmoor this morning but nevertheless 24 Golden Plover circling, 100 Fieldfare and 1000 Starlings near Five Barrows Hill.

Surprised and delighted to see a male Hen Harrier at Moles Chamber appearing suddenly over a gateway that was equally surprised to see me!

20 more Fieldfare at Five Crossways and 2 Carrion Crows mobbing a Sparrowhawk at Leworthy Cross.

Posted December 18th, 2015 at 4:14 pm by Margaret Phillips in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh - Black Brant

Had a look at the field by the viewing platform this lunchtime. I couldn't see the American Wigeon but a fairly large group of Brent Geese joined the small flock that was already there and the Black Brant was in amongst them. Still there at 1.50 when I left, showing well close to the lane.

Posted December 18th, 2015 at 2:25 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News


The Green Sandpiper was again on the flood by the TarkaTrail this morning.

A disappointing ringing session in the reserve - 2 Fieldfares seen and a Chiffchaff which got into, and then out of one of the nets!

Posted December 18th, 2015 at 2:06 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News


At Mudbank Lane late this morning over the high tide was a Great Northern Diver which was very close in to the railway line. Later on it had moved down adjacent to the large carpark at the back of the station. Also at Mudbank a Slavonian Grebe close in and a first-winter Little Gull which performed very well for a while. One female Goldeneye was out in the estuary and a Whimbrel flew by close in. The usual adult Mediterranean Gull was also present. Another Great Northern Diver was over the other side of the estuary near Starcross.

Posted December 18th, 2015 at 12:45 pm by Terry Smith in Bird News

Thursday 17th December 2015


1 Firecrest very vocal with goldcrests at matford park and ride Exeter at 14:15

Posted December 17th, 2015 at 2:20 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News


Looking at the flooded field from the reserve today, a Green Sandpiper flew about!

In the reserve 2 Cetti's Warblers calling.

Posted December 17th, 2015 at 11:46 am by Jon Turner in Bird News

Wednesday 16th December 2015


Again a Firecrest passed through the garden this afternoon. I'm assuming it's the same bird as on 1 Dec and 26 Nov, but who knows?  Yesterday we had two Goldcrests and we don't see those often either.

Posted December 16th, 2015 at 9:51 pm by Jason Smart in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

Viewed over the morning high-tide. The 1w drake American Wigeon continued to show well from the hide and along the road amongst c300-Wigeon + c500-Avocets + c150-Bar-tailed Godwits + c1000-Black-tailed Godwits + Spotted Redshank + c70-Redshank + Snipe + c40-Dunlin + c30-Lapwing + 13-Greylag Geese + c50-Shoveler + c100-Teal + Sparrowhawk.  From the viewing platform 2-Spotted Redshank + 7-Grey Plover + 9-Common Gulls. Link to American Wgigeon.

Posted December 16th, 2015 at 8:15 pm by David Boult in Bird News

Sightings in Plymouth Area

Went looking for the Parakeets this morning on Inverdene Rd and Central Park but found no sign of them anywhere. The weather wasn't that good as it was very overcast, misty and drizzling. Then went for a stroll around Central Park. Plenty of Wood Pigeon, Crows and Magpies, a couple of Blackbirds and some tits and finches but was unble to get any firm identifications. Finished off in Ford Park Cemetery where we managed Song Thrush, Crow and Magpie, the highlight being a Sparrowhawk being seen off by a pair of Magpies. It was still drizzling so gave up and went home for a cuppa. 

Posted December 16th, 2015 at 7:14 pm by Michael Spencer in Bird News

Escot Park, East Devon

NO decent birds to get excited about but 20 members of DB (East Devon Branch) enjoyed each others company in a walk around the parkland and woodland areas (normally off limits to public).  23 later sat down to an excellent Christmas lunch at Escot Park.  Next fieldtrip will be to Black Hole Marsh meeting at 09.30 on Monday 11th Jan 2016.  We wish all Devon Birders a great Christmas.  

Posted December 16th, 2015 at 4:51 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in Bird News

South Brent

Another wet, overcast and murky day at South Brent but the garden feeders have been inundated with birds a total of 31 species recorded today and a possible Song Thrush but only the briefest of views so not 100% sure.

Great to have 3 Siskin on the feeders, on and off for most of the day, other species included Greater Spotted Woodpecker, 8 Long Tailed Tit, flocks of  both Goldfinch and Greenfinch, at one point a count of 18 Greenfinch and over 30 Chaffinch on or around the feeders, Nuthatch, Bullfinch, 6 Goldcrest, Pied Wagtail, Jay, Buzzard, Mistle Thrush, Fieldfare, Redwing and a  Raven overhead.


Posted December 16th, 2015 at 4:14 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

The first winter drake American Wigeon was near the path to the viewing platform, giving good views with Wigeon, Teal and Black-tailed Godwits. Stonechat and Stock Dove nearby.

Posted December 16th, 2015 at 4:02 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

A Short-eared Owl was mobbed by corvids for a few minutes this morning. A Peregrine was very active, but failed to kill. Lots of Canaga Geese, Wigeon and Teal, c130 Golden Plover, hundreds of Lapwings, Curlew and Black-tailed Godwits, but only one Snipe seen. Passerines notably scarce: single Skylark, Song Thrush, Meadow Pipit, Bullfinch and Reed Bunting; 2 Stonechats, a few Goldcrests, Chiffchaffs, Long-tailed Tits and no winter thrushes.

Posted December 16th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News


From Plymouth Hoe with Russ Eynon. 1 x Razorbill, 1 x Med Gull, 1 x Little Gull, 1 x Great Northern Diver. From Rusty Anchor/Millbay, 2 x Black Redstarts.

Posted December 16th, 2015 at 3:31 pm by Tor Elm in Bird News


2 Egyptian Geese again near the flood, and 2 Grey Herons briefly - unusual here.

Posted December 16th, 2015 at 2:57 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

Lunchtime visit today - a Short-eared Owl was hunting over the marsh looking towards Topsham from the railway bridge near the RSPB car park at about 1.55.

Posted December 16th, 2015 at 2:16 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

Brixham Breakwater.

Walk along Breakwater this morning, 1 Great Northern Diver off Breawater beach, 8 Purple Sandpiper on seaward side near old fuel jetty and 5 Purple Sandpiper on the lower legs of jetty. otherwise very quiet. Still places on Torbay boat trips 20th, 27th Dec and 3rd Jan, call 07866202576 if interested. 

Posted December 16th, 2015 at 10:59 am by Nigel Smallbones in Bird News


A newly arrived Siberian Chiffchaff in ditch toward sea wall this morning (photos below and link to video of call here: ), the other pale bird still present and 3 Chiffchaffs, Yellow-browed Warbler still present, 3+ Firecrest, 4 Goldcrest.

   Siberian Chiffchaff Broadsands 16 Dec 2015 ML Siberian Chiffchaff Broadsands 16 Dec 2015 ML

On the sea: 1 Red-necked Grebe, 4 Black-necked Grebes, 2 Slavonian Grebes, 7 Great Crested Grebes, 6 Great Northern Divers and 5 Common Scoter. 

Posted December 16th, 2015 at 10:15 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Tuesday 15th December 2015

Chillington W.W.T.W.

    Siberian Chiffchaff (classic tristis plumage type). 9 Collybita,1Firecrest,8 Goldcrest

Posted December 15th, 2015 at 5:10 pm by Alan Searle. in Bird News

Clennon Lakes

1 Siberian Chiffchaff, 3 Chiffchaff, 2 Firecrest 6 Goldcrest and Kingfisher on site this morning.

Posted December 15th, 2015 at 3:55 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Upper Tamar Lake

A quick look at the Upper Lake this morning before the heavy came in, saw, 12m 1f Goosander (there were 2m and 4f on the Lower Lake), 4 Gadwall 2m 2f, 3 Great Black-back Gulls, 2 Snipe, 12 Great Crested Grebe, c40 Canada Geese, 1m 1f Stonechat, 1 Wren, 7 Coot, 32 Mallard, 3 Grey Heron, 150+ Lapwing flying over, c10 Black-headed Gull.

Posted December 15th, 2015 at 3:47 pm by ROD MUDGE in Bird News


Arrived too late to see if any Spoonbills were on the flood this morning, but close scrutiny from within the reserve revealed a Common Sandpiper there.

Posted December 15th, 2015 at 1:59 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Ladies Wood ~ South Brent

A visit to Ladies Wood, South Brent before the rain set in and stopped play.

Two Treecreeper, at least 8 Goldcrest, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Redwing, Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush, Marsh Tit and Wren.

Brent Mill on the way home gave us 2 Jays and a flock of 42 Redwing.

At home a count of 22 species, which included Tawny owl calling just before 7am, 8 Long-tailed Tit, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Redwing, Fieldfare. Chaffinch in good numbers but a notable number of them have scaly leg mite.

Posted December 15th, 2015 at 1:51 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Matford and Powderham

What a strange December morning; no gloves, midges in the air and great tits singing. At Matford pools the cackling goose was with a few mallard and wigeon. Whilst I was counting the ducks a pair of goldcrest were displaying. Also at least 4 chiffchaff including one that sang briefly.

Earlier at Powderham marshes there were lots of wigeon (715), Canada geese (625) and 2 barnacle geese (probably including the usual bird).

Posted December 15th, 2015 at 10:30 am by John Waldon in Bird News

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