Devon Bird Sightings from 8th–14th March 2015

Coronavirus - Devon Birds bird hides

During the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak the use of Devon Birds bird hides should be in line with Government guidelines to individuals on how to protect themselves.

Please follow NHS guidelines:

Thank you for your co-operation and stay safe.

Posted August 25th at 9:58 am by Mike Daniels in Bird News

Changes to Devon Bird Sightings

This page was initially set up to give a concise news summary of birds of interest seen in Devon. Anyone noting interesting species, passage and counts could post the details to inform other birders what was going on around the county. Photos could also be added for interest and to enliven the posts. It was accepted that because other wildlife was of interest, this would also appear especially when included in a birding post.

However, in the last year, more posts have been appearing purely on subjects other than birds. Whilst of interest to some observers, this is detracting from the aim of the pages, i.e. principally bird sightings.

Devon Birds has therefore taken the decision to require contributors of other wildlife to post this in the Other Wildlife subject. However it’s accepted that occasional, exceptional, other wildlife seen during a birding outing justifies inclusion in the bird sightings post. This should, however, be a minor part of the post.

Photos are often appearing as a gallery, or even acting as a personal photo blog, rather than of county-wide sightings of interest. Devon Birds has a Gallery which members and other birders are welcome to submit their often stunning photos to, for others to see. Many of these photos need not then appear on this page. From now on, only two photos per post will be accepted to help keep posts more concise.

Devon Birds very much welcomes posts that already meet these criteria and those that will continue to do so. It would also be great to widen the input from keen birders who currently don’t contribute, including some old friends who have dropped out. Hopefully the changes will encourage wider participation, so if you look at the site but don’t post, please consider doing so.

Our aim is to provide a concise daily news summary of bird sightings around Devon, and these changes should fulfil this goal.

Below is a summary of the changes:

  • Bird News (bird sightings of interest, with added occasional other wildlife) will be the default subject when visitors arrive at this page.
  • Other Wildlife posts therefore won’t initially be shown unless visitors click Other Wildlife under Subjects on the right-hand side.
  • Only two photos can now be submitted per post.
  • General bird photos should be posted in our Gallery please.
  • Co-authors should now only use the Submit a Blog Post form, to ensure a more consistent format for posts.

Posted August 21st at 3:53 pm in Bird News


If you follow our Blog but are not currently a member of Devon Birds please consider joining Devon Birds to help with the upkeep of running the website and this service as well as our valuable conservation work.

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

Saturday 14th March 2015

Darts farm

An early afternoon visit to Darts Farm found a sizable group of birders gathered to watch and view the two very affable Penduline Tits that showed very well, mostly in the willow and thorn bush thicket between the pond to the left of the hide and the hide itself. Interestingly although they were seen to pull grubs from the Bullrush heads they were also very clearly eating the greenery from the opening buds in the thorn trees.

Also showing well around the pond were Stonechat, Chiffchaff, male Reed Bunting, Goldfinch, Wren, two very amenable Robins, Blue and Great Tits, on several occasions the Penduline’s were seen off by the Blue Tit’s.

A couple of flights of Godwits passing by as a back drop made the day.

Posted March 14th, 2015 at 10:42 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Slapton Ley

First summer migrants of the year. Watched 5-6 Sand Martins towards back of Ley for approx 10 minutes before flying off inland over the trees. Great Crested Grebes, Tufted duck & a number of LBB Gulls.

Posted March 14th, 2015 at 5:23 pm by Paul Treen in Bird News

South Huish

late morning 1 ad Iceland Gull with Herring Gulls on marsh then flew off up valley with 150+ Herring Gull.

Iceland Gull Ad South Huish 14 March 2015 ML 2   Iceland Gull Ad South Huish 14 March 2015 ML

2 White Wagtails with Pied Wagtails around horses on grass by car park.

Posted March 14th, 2015 at 5:03 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Wrafton pond

Quick look at the pond for early Sand Martins just now, sadly none, but a lone Swallow hawking over the pond, Tarka Trail and wet field adjacent. Probably my earliest Swallow, by some margin! 

Also several Chiffchaffs in the Willows around the pond.

Posted March 14th, 2015 at 4:58 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Slapton Ley

Sand Martins (4) foraging over Ley-side scrub.

500 metres further on, Redwing (c10) feeding on ivy berries. 

Overwintering Chiffchaff very active in the bushes

Posted March 14th, 2015 at 4:53 pm by Peter Shaw in Bird News

South Milton

Quick visit because of the icy wind blowing, but saw my first wheatear-which didn't hang around, and 4+sand martin.  The ruddy shelduck, teal and shellduck still present.  Lesley

Posted March 14th, 2015 at 4:09 pm by l. goonesekera in Bird News

Wheatear on Orcombe Point

Quick hour around the top fields produced 4 Wheatear, 20+ Meadow Pipit, 2 Stonechat, 5 Skylark, 1 Rock Dove. Spring movement on the Point. More to come.....


one of the Stonechat
one of the Stonechat

Posted March 14th, 2015 at 3:41 pm by Derek Carter in Bird News


Arriving at the reserve at shortly after 6 this morning there were the 2 SPOONBILLS out by the Tarka trail.

We ringed 4 Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap. So, migration under way!

Posted March 14th, 2015 at 1:08 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Dartmoor - Wheatear

Had my first three wheatears this morning on Tor Rocks - also plenty of Skylark moving back up onto the moor.  Buzzards displaying overhead - I hope the weather stays good for them - and us!

Ann Willcocks

Also Jan Daniels had a male Wheatear flying across the Princetown Road 9.30 this morning and a Brambling feeding in the garden!


Posted March 14th, 2015 at 12:23 pm in Bird News

Friday 13th March 2015

Exminster Marshes

Quick visit to Exminster Marshes this afternoon - at about 4.20 there were 3 male and 1 female Wheatears to the right of Station Road just before the Lions Rest.

Posted March 13th, 2015 at 4:59 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

Ford Park Cemetery & Central Park, Plymouth

Visited this morning but so no sign of the Wheatears, or very much else apart from the usual Crows and Magpies. It was very cold with a stiff wind blowing so that might have contributed. Did manage a nice Female Sparrowhawk roosting in one of the trees though which made up for it.

Later moved to Central Park and witnessed a Corvid feeding frenzy after a dog walker deposited a lot of food for them. While watching this managed to get some shots of a Raven attacking a Magpie (for pinching the seeds he wanted). The Raven got his come-upance later when a large Carrion Crow attacked it. Apart from a Robin, Wren, Blackbird, Blue Tit and Great Tit nothing much else around.

Posted March 13th, 2015 at 4:22 pm by Michael Spencer in Bird News

Bowling green marsh

watched from 09:00 till 12:00

in addition to my earlire post the highlight was 3 red breasted mergansers(2f,1m) dropped in for 10mins, 150+ black tailed godwits, 1 avocet, 1 greenshank, 1 green sandpiper, 5 pochard, 4+ tufted duck 6+ pintail, usual wigeon and teal, 1 water rail, 6+ chiffchaff, 1 jay , 2 bullfinch, 4+ reed buntings, 1 buzzard, 1 sparrowhawk.

Posted March 13th, 2015 at 2:22 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

East to Middle Soar

9 Wheatears ( 7m 2f )  on south-facing cliffs & grassland between Bolt Head and Goat Rock, 3 Chiffchaffs at farm & wetland, 26 Pied Wagtails & one White Wagtail at farm, stacks of Rock Pipit territories (23 birds) & 37 Golden Plovers.

Posted March 13th, 2015 at 2:19 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News


While watching some Chiffchaffs in the reeds by the beach, heard some Gulls going mad above and this Red Kite flew past quite high (patch tick) at about 9am and flew towards Sharkham Point and Berry Head. Then later saw a Kingfisher sitting on some rushes by the marsh. 

Posted March 13th, 2015 at 12:44 pm by Paul Albrechtsen in Bird News

Bowling green marsh

09:30 till 10:15 

from the hide 25+ sand martins 

Posted March 13th, 2015 at 10:23 am by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Thursday 12th March 2015

Around Topsham

1000-1400 hrs.

High-tide at Bowling Green Marsh were 2 Avocets; c65 Redshank; c450 Black-Tailed Godwits; 10 Bar-Tailed Godwits; 5 Pintail; 4 Pochard; 3 Tufted Ducks; Little Grebe; 7 Little Egrets; c70 Black-Headed Gulls; 2 Lesser Black-Backed Gulls; Stonechat and good numbers of Shoveler, Teal and Wigeon. At the Viewing Platform 4 Red-Breasted Mergansers.

Goosemoor 5 Snipe; 4 Greenshank; c25 Redshank; c40 Black-Tailed Godwits; Buzzard being mobbed by a Raven and usual numbers of Teal and Wigeon.

Darts Farm the Penduline Tits showing well again and still there when i left at 1400hrs.

Links to videos of Snipe and Penduline Tits.

Posted March 12th, 2015 at 9:04 pm by David Boult in Bird News

Plymouth group Field Meeting

A successful visit to Torcross/Slapton Ley took place.  Inspite of poor visibility good views of a variety of birds were seen.  Winter visiters including 3 golden eye showed well and there were plenty of tufted duck,  coot and pochard to be seen. A few gadwall were also near the bridge.

 Plenty of great crested grebe in their beautiful plumage were on both the sea and on the ley, one pair displaying.

Patient scanning of the sea by Doug and Martin finally found a great northern diver at Torcross and one was also found from the memorial car park were there was also a red throated diver.  A sandwich tern made a brief appearance and 6 scoter were seen a couple of times.  Summer visiters are beginning to return and 3 chiffchaff were seen and heard singing near the bridge and also a possible willow warbler was found by Mandy. Good sightings of cetti's warbers rounded off the day before the rain arrived. 

The Ley is always worth a visit but do take care walking along the line as it is easy to trip over hidden rocks.

Posted March 12th, 2015 at 8:39 pm by l goonesekera in Bird News

Prawle Point and Slapton Ley

My first seawatch of the new season ( ESE force 4 ,misty conditions) and my first Manx Shearwater of the year , east at 9.45am. From 7.40 till 10.30 a steady passage of auks (predominantly if not all Guillemots in breeding and winter plumage) : 693 in 2 hours; 65 Kittiwakes (25% 1st years) and 87 Gannets east. 2 Common Gulls and 2 Harbour Porpoises of interest. Elsewhere at Prawle most of the common residents in glorious spring song, butg no Wheatears !

Offshore at Slapton ,from Torcross , 1 x Great Northern Diver and 6 Common Scoter.Lovely to see the Great Crested Grebes courting but no sign of the other Grebe species.

Posted March 12th, 2015 at 8:12 pm in Bird News

West Charleton Marsh

Several Reed Buntings showing well at West Charleton Marsh this morning. However the arrival of this juvenile Sparrow Hawk put them into hiding for a while!

Reed Bunting -West Charleton Marsh - 12.3.15
Reed Bunting -West Charleton Marsh - 12.3.15

Sparrowhawk -West Charleton Marsh - 12.3.15
Sparrowhawk -West Charleton Marsh - 12.3.15

Posted March 12th, 2015 at 6:15 pm by David Pakes in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

To begin with I will admit that I failed to relocate the wheatear and water pipit seen by James Diamond on the marshes this morning. In fact the afternoon felt like winter with a strong cold southerly breeze and low cloud.

The wigeon and teal numbers continue to fall but over 60 shelduck was an increase and a sign of change. I also counted over 60 shoveller, 15 pintail and 8+ tufted duck. The flock of c600 brent geese contained the black brant, they all flew out on to the estuary mid afternoon. Apart from c30 curlew there were no other waders on the marshes although c90 golden plover flew over onto the estuary in small groups of c20 birds.

At 3.00pm just ahead of a light shower at least 9 sand martins appeared flying low over the pools. There may have been more but 9 was the most I could see at one time. Also on the way back I heard or saw more than 4 chiffchaffs, maybe these were also new arrivals.




Posted March 12th, 2015 at 4:15 pm by John Waldon in Bird News

Clennon Lakes

Small influx of Chiffchaff with 6 collybita present today and several singing. Still  2 Siberian Chiffchaffs (at least - could be 3) with one calling and occasionally singing its less orderly  'we - chu - chu' song. 2 Water Rail, 1 Kingfisher,1 Shoveler, 1 Little Egret, 3 Snipe.  

Posted March 12th, 2015 at 2:35 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Orcombe Point

Pair of Wheatears at Orcombe early afternoon, at west end of the ’Stone Curlew' field adjacent to Gore Lane.

Posted March 12th, 2015 at 2:28 pm by Terry Smith in Bird News

East to Middle Soar

Low cloud, mist and south-easterlies - surely worth a look!!

Migration really getting underway with black redstart on ploughed land by the airfield, cracking male wheatear on north side of Bolt Head then pristine female on the head itself, 3 chiffchaffs at the Starehole Wetland and 31 pied wagtails & 2 white wagtails at East Soar Farm.

Also: 80 golden plover circling Middle Soar, first meadow pipit in song display flight and several yellowhammers on territory - a month earlier than 2014!

Posted March 12th, 2015 at 2:22 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

The Spotted Redshank was in its usual spot to the right of the viewing platform this lunchtime (until about 1.40 at least) along with a Greenshank.

Shelduck numbers have been high on the marsh this week - I counted at least 54 from the hide today. Also a male Reed Bunting on the feeders by the hide.

Posted March 12th, 2015 at 2:16 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

Ford Park Cemetery, Plymouth

At least 3 Wheatear arrived overnight

Posted March 12th, 2015 at 12:23 pm by Tor Elm in Bird News

Penduline Tits

Thanks to posters on this blog generously sharing information, I drove from north of London to take some pictures of the Penduline Tits and I was so pleased with them that I hope you don't mind me posting them. They were feeding on the seed heads, but also flitting in and around the Willow tree giving some really nice shots. If you look at the first image, you can see that it has a small grub in its mouth. I didn't realise until told by the very pleasant RSPB staff that they were eating mites, spiders and grubs rather than the seeds. Fantastic day out!


Note grub in needle like bill
Note grub in needle like bill

Calling penduline Tit
Calling penduline Tit

Flowering Willow(?) gives nice context
Flowering Willow(?) gives nice context

Posted March 12th, 2015 at 12:01 am by Michael Nott in Bird News

Wednesday 11th March 2015

Buzzard eating Frog at Stover CP

I need to thank the bird photographer who told me ( as a visitor to the area) that  he was waiting for the "Frog eating Buzzard" and. as we aited, it turned up. First it perchedd in a tree near a pool, listening for the frogs which could be heard calling,. After a few minutes it flew down to the side of the pool before it went to the side and pulled out three frogs in turn devouring them on the bank side. I was told this was a regular annual activity. Three images attached.

Buzzard perching on arrival
Buzzard perching on arrival

In transit to pool side
In transit to pool side

Obviously a buzzard with French tastes!
Obviously a buzzard with French tastes!

Posted March 11th, 2015 at 11:51 pm by Michael Nott in Bird News

Taw merganser

1 female with 2 displaying male RB merganser. Beautiful. Just down from Fremington. In the pill, 3 greenshank and good numbers of shellduck and redshank. 

Posted March 11th, 2015 at 11:13 pm by Tom Williams in Bird News

Barn Owl, Bowling Green

A sad sight along the Goosemoor cyclepath, (just before the covered viewpoint), opposite just inside the BGM fence lies a dead Barn Owl, that may have had a collision with a train?

Posted March 11th, 2015 at 5:00 pm by Gary Clayden in Bird News

Yesterday -Teign Valley

A cracking day out with Mid Devon Branch yesterday starting from Steps Bridge.  3 Lesser Spotted Woodpeckers seen at one time, very active and displaying wing flickering (also seen in flight).  Both Gt Spotted and Green also present. Several Dippers, Grey Wagtails and a pair of Goosander were other highlights.  Thanks to Tim Channon for leading.  

Posted March 11th, 2015 at 10:41 am by Jonathan Ruscoe in Bird News

Tuesday 10th March 2015

Teign Estuary - this morning

By the lay-by look out on the estuary road, 27+ Red Breasted Merganser, drifting and fishing as a group going NE. Largest group I have seen on the estuary, and these just surface birds, not diving.

Posted March 10th, 2015 at 10:35 pm by Simon Bates in Bird News

Around Topsham

Viewed 1000-1600hrs,

At Bowling Green Marsh 6 Pintail (3-pair) + 1 Avocet + c400 Black Tailed Godwit + 9 Bar Tailed Godwit + c45 Redshank + 7 Curlew + 3 Pochard + 2 Tufted Ducks and good numbers of usual Shoveler, Teal and Wigeon. The 2 Foxes were running fast along the hedgerow before stopping in front the hide, turned around and ran back over to the right far-side of the field.

From the Viewing Platform 2 Kingfishers sat on Rivermeet House wall + Greenshank right of the platform and Red Breasted Merganser in channel + Common Gull + c150 Black Headed Gulls. No Avocets seen from the platforn or the Goatwalk on the outgoing tide.

Walking back along the road a Snipe was was close-by the gates between the 2 fields.

At Goosemoor 4 Greenshank + 25 Redshank + c60 Black Tailed Godwits and usual numbers of Teal and Wigeon.

Darts Farm the 2 Penduline Tits (female) continue to show well all afternoon around the reed-beds and in the trees near the hide.

Penduline Tit at Darts Farm 10-3-2015
Penduline Tit at Darts Farm 10-3-2015

Snipe at Bowling Green Marsh  10-3-2015
Snipe at Bowling Green Marsh 10-3-2015

Kingfisher at BGM Viewing Platform  10-3-2015
Kingfisher at BGM Viewing Platform 10-3-2015

Posted March 10th, 2015 at 7:24 pm by David Boult in Bird News

East to Middle Soar

No real luck for migrants but did get 19 migrant Pied Wagtails at East Soar Farm, several singing Cirl Buntings and 143 Golden Plovers on maize stubble.

Posted March 10th, 2015 at 4:00 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News


Arrived at the reserve this morning at about 06.20 for a ringing session. 2 SPOONBILLS again by the Tarka Trail (flew off at 08.15). One retrap Chiffchaff and another seen without a ring. SIgns of early migration were two Goldcrest ringed and at least one other seen later without a ring. Reed Bunting singing, Cetti's Warbler, Little Grebe and Water Rail calling.

Posted March 10th, 2015 at 3:41 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Baggy Point

Earlier this morning, my first spring migrant of the year right on the point in front of the Hebridean sheep, a cracking male Wheatear. It did not hang around for long & not long enough to digiscope it, so sorry folks no photo this time.

Posted March 10th, 2015 at 12:45 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News


One Sandwich Tern off the seafront at 1130hrs.

Posted March 10th, 2015 at 12:35 pm by Terry Smith in Bird News

Clennon Lakes

No sign of the drake Scaup this morning (it was still present yesterday) it may have moved to Young's Park Goodrington or up to Paignton Zoo) as the Tufted Ducks regularly commute between the sites. 2 Siberian Chiffchaffs present this morning with 4-5 collybita Chiffchaffs, 2 Water Rail, 1 Kingfisher, 2 Little Egrets, 1 Little Grebe and best of all a singing Reed bunting by the middle lake they are surprisingly rare on site. 

Siberian Chiffchaff Clennon Lakes 10 March 2015 ML

Photo: Siberian Chiffchaff

Posted March 10th, 2015 at 11:57 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Monday 9th March 2015

Recent Lundy news

After a quiet winter on the bird news front, recent sightings have included Red-throated Diver (4th) and two Great Northern Divers, Stock Dove (4th), passage Meadow Pipits (160 on 5th), Black Redstart (female on 2nd) and the first Sand Martin of the spring yesterday (8th).

Posted March 9th, 2015 at 8:29 pm by Tim Jones in Bird News


2 Spoonbills by the Tarka trail this morning - one with colour rings on.

Posted March 9th, 2015 at 1:09 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Sunday 8th March 2015

Upottery Airfield, Smeatharpe

The Snipe remain with numbers around the mid-70's (counts of 75, 77 etc). The good weather has prompted the Stonechats to move on with just 2 on Friday, none yesterday and 3 today. For the first time this year the Little Owl showed this afternoon.

Posted March 8th, 2015 at 6:37 pm in Bird News

Garden - Braunton

A pair of Blackbirds in our garden are feeding young as from yesterday 07/03/2015.

Posted March 8th, 2015 at 6:24 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Dawlish Warren

Good mornings birding at the Warren, a nice group of 24 Sanderling was a nice sight on a dull grey day. A total of 41 species seen.

Posted March 8th, 2015 at 4:56 pm by simon thurgood in Bird News

Clennon Lakes

My first record of Scaup on the lakes and a fine drake too..1 Siberian Chiffchaff still present (photo and youtube link below) and 3 collybita (one singing) Chiffchaffs.

 Siberian Chiffchaff Drake Clennon Lakes 8 March 2015 ML   Scaup Drake Clennon Lakes 8 March 2015 ML

Siberian Chiffchaff video - click this YouTube link:

Posted March 8th, 2015 at 4:54 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

There were three Water Rails to the left of the track to the viewing platform this morning. From the platform, the Spotted Redshank was showing well with a Greenshank.

From the hide, 2 Gadwall, 4 Pintail, c12 Shoveler, half a dozen each of Tufted and Pochard and a couple of Avocets (a few were also seen towards Turf viewed from the Goat Walk, but numbers are well down from over 200 last weekend).

Good numbers of Wigeon, Teal, Black-tailed Godwits and Redshanks were using Goosemoor, plus 1 Greenshank; 1 Kingfisher along the river.

Posted March 8th, 2015 at 2:18 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News


Off Preston Seafront: 2 Black-necked Grebes (one sum plum the other moulting from out of winter plum).

Broadsands / Elberry Cove: 2 sum plum Black-necked Grebes, 1 winter plum Slavonian Grebe and 3 Great Crested Grebes.

Posted March 8th, 2015 at 10:33 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

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