Devon Bird Sightings: Bird News from 8th–14th May 2015


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

Thursday 14th May 2015

Berry Head

Another Red Kite to add to the growing list, one flew over Berry Head Hotel at 12.35 heading due north across the bay and beyond Babbacombe.

Sea watch from 13.00 hours with Brian Henwood produced 140 Manx Shearwater north with 15 south until 14.45 when movement finished. Also Great Northern Diver south.

Posted May 14th, 2015 at 5:37 pm by Clive Mason in Bird News

13th - Red Kites

To continue the information on the influx of Red Kites we have also received the following info:

One over Umberleigh on 13th (P Churcher)

Three Red Kite in a well separated line all heading south over Moorgate, Glazebrook Valley, Dartmoor last night around 20:15 .  (Leonard Hurrell)

Posted May 14th, 2015 at 3:42 pm in Bird News

Red Kites - South Brent

After another call from a friendly farmer, I went back to his farm above South Brent at around 11am today. Not as many Red Kites as Steve Hopper and I saw last night, but still observed at least 4 flying around the farm.Clearly they had stayed around overnight. Maximum count of buzzards in the air at any one time 5, but more than this were present. A wheatear also seen. The plumage on the kites looked fairly tatty! I could not get a good photograph and the attached record shot was the best I could do.

Posted May 14th, 2015 at 2:54 pm by David Pakes in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

A visit today at lunch time coincided with a brief gap between the heavy showers. On arrival there were hundreds of swifts and house martins with a few swallows and sand martins. After the next shower there were hundreds of swallows and few swifts. On the pools were 2 greenshank, one black-tailed godwit and one avocet. Three curlew flew over. The only grounded migrant I could see was one wheatear.

Posted May 14th, 2015 at 2:45 pm by John Waldon in Bird News

Red Kite

Thurs. 14th.  10.45am. Red Kite over Okehampton. Seemed to be gliding west.Feathers missing on both wings.Heavy rain, low cloud.

Posted May 14th, 2015 at 12:04 pm by Clive & Sue Clark in Bird News

Squacco Heron near South Milton 13th May

I had a shock while driving north up the A381 east of South Milton yesterday at 1335. What I initially took to be a Little Egret flew low across the road from left to right and, all the while losing height, banked and dropped out of sight in the area of Oldaway Farm. The alarm bells were ringing even before I lost sight of the bird as I had seen the dark head, but when it banked I was almost certain that I glimpsed dark coloration on the back as well.                                        Well anyway, try as I might I could not relocate the bird (I drove the minor road marked Oldaway and Woolston unsuccessfully). I was pretty sure with myself I'd seen a Squacco Heron (albeit briefly,  from a moving vehicle) and so rang out the news as "probable". I was pleased to notice that someone saw the bird later in the day though (don't know if this was in the same location though).

Posted May 14th, 2015 at 6:20 am by Perry Jonathan Smale in Bird News

Wednesday 13th May 2015

Buckfastleigh - Kites

Seven Red Kites watched overhead on the moor early evening. (Kevin Cox).



Posted May 13th, 2015 at 10:10 pm in Bird News

South Brent ~ Red Kites

South Brent ~ Red Kites

A brilliant birding day, up at the crack of dawn to visit the WWT at Slimbridge (well worth a visit) the early start saw two juvenile Siskins on the garden feeders.

No sooner than I got back home late evening when the phone rang and Dave Pakes told me to grab my camera as he was picking me up forthwith, a local farmer was reporting 6 Red Kite following his plough along with 29 Buzzards.

On arrival there were Buzzards everywhere you looked including an almost fully white individual, one field side tree was holding good numbers of Buzzard which began to fly off as we approached, two birds then left the tree and were seen to be Red Kites, on entering the field there Red Kites lofted over the boundary hedge towards Brent Hill.

While chatting to the farmer John Luscombe a single Sky Lark flew into the field and a short time afterwards three Red Kite came down across the field in a long drawn out line and were last seen headed out towards South Brent.

Posted May 13th, 2015 at 9:34 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Red Kites over Underdown

3 Red Kites flew over our garden in Underdown, Haldon forest this evening at 5:30.

2 of the 3 Red Kites seen
2 of the 3 Red Kites seen

Posted May 13th, 2015 at 9:25 pm by Tom Gale in Bird News

Exminster village

At about 6.00pm this evening 4 red kites flew over Exminster heading SW. All appeared to be in some stage of moult.

Posted May 13th, 2015 at 6:45 pm by John Waldon in Bird News


Seen yesterday at Soussons basking in the sun on large tree trunk

Posted May 13th, 2015 at 4:47 pm by bob barrow in Bird News

Soussons plantation

2 Cuckoo singing. 1 Grasshopper Warbler reeling. C. 6 Stonechat. 1 Buzzard.

Posted May 13th, 2015 at 11:49 am by James Gale in Bird News

Berry Head

Lesser Whitetroat 400m south of Berry Head Hotel in fenced off area on right of road. 1 Skylark dropped in briefly at the end of the headland also1 Great northern Diver flew high over the top at about 0630hrs..

Posted May 13th, 2015 at 8:23 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Tuesday 12th May 2015

Squacco Heron - Prawle

adult on rocks 800m east of point near Langerstone Point mid-morning today
Squacco Heron Prawle Pat Mayer 12.5.15
Squacco Heron Prawle Pat Mayer 12.5.15
Squacco Heron Prawle Pat Mayer 12.5.15
Later feeding amongst the rock pools
Many thanks to Pat Mayer for photographs

Posted May 12th, 2015 at 10:51 pm in Bird News

Dockwell, South Brent - Cuckoo and others

10.30 - 1430 A walk on the open moor with 2 Cuckoos heard at this location. One photographed in 4 locations before finally flyng close enough to my hiding place to allow a slightly better photograph. Other birds seen included whitethroat, skylark, wren, goldfinch, yellowhammer, linnet, stonechat and meadow pipits. As I was walking off the moor, a too brief fly past from a female hobby.

Posted May 12th, 2015 at 8:21 pm by David Pakes in Bird News

Warren House/Challacombe farm Circuit

Nice walk around the circuit today. Best birds seen - Redstart (male and female) - Cuckoo (two seen in flight - about 4 heard in total) - Whincat (male and female).


Posted May 12th, 2015 at 7:40 pm by Martin Rooney in Bird News

cuckoo sighting

Maristow estate roborough

Posted May 12th, 2015 at 6:47 pm by Gordon gray in Bird News

Black Guillemot

Black Guillemot on cliff on Lundy 10th May

Posted May 12th, 2015 at 5:41 pm by Derek Stacey in Bird News

Combe Martin

 Red Kite circling over the Combe Martin health centre just before midday today and four swifts have returned to the same area where they have bred for many years.

Posted May 12th, 2015 at 1:09 pm by Margaret Phillips in Bird News

Squacco Heron Prawle

Surprised that there has been no mention of the Squacco Heron at Prawle on this blog as yet : a first for this site I believe. First reported on Birdguides on Saturday 9th, I was only able to get down to see it (after a tense hour watching at Maelcombe Beach) yesterday when I saw it between 3 and 4.30pm on rocks east of Langerstone Point ( thanks to 2 women birders who had arrived from Norfolk and were heading for Wales !) Feeding well and in beautiful breeding plumage (poor thing) Also my first Spotted Flycatcher of the year at Bunkers.

Squacco Heron Prawle

Posted May 12th, 2015 at 11:18 am in Bird News

Monday 11th May 2015

Plympton Nightjars

In my first visit since the 29th April when I could only hear one Nightjar, tonight in three separate areas of Cann Wood we managed to hear seven and managed views of two of them just as it was getting dark and overcast.

Posted May 11th, 2015 at 11:55 pm by Chris Marcol in Bird News

Shipley Bridge to the Avon Dam near South Brent (Three Cuckoo's)

Shipley Bridge to the Avon Dam near South Brent today, arriving just as the rain dried up and the sun came out, several highlights included three confirmed Cuckoo sightings, all three birds being heard calling before being seen, one near Black Tor just up from the car park and the other two together just below the dam. The Black Tor bird did a fly past hotly pursued by an irate meadow Pipit as pictured.

Cuckoo Black Tor

Lots of Herring Gulls on the moor with a count of no less than 72, Robins just about everywhere and without doubt the most numerous ground bird, the numbers of both Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler has dropped off but still present in decent numbers, Yellow Hammer heard and male Reed Bunting near the old pump house.

Good numbers of Swallows at long last, six Buzzards, one Kestrel carrying what appeared to be a small lizard, just below the dam a immature coloured Peregrine sat on a rock close to a small tree that a Cuckoo was calling from, a short while later a second Cuckoo flew into the same tree despite the Peregrine being sat close by, the Cuckoo’s were being constantly mobbed by Meadow Pipits. The Peregrine gave good views when it flew off and circled the valley.

Good numbers of Grey Wagtails two obvious pairs with beaks full of insects, one Long Tailed Tit, two Coal Tit’s, Skylarks up towards the dam, a single male Wheatear, Wren, Jay and Goldfinch

Posted May 11th, 2015 at 9:28 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Hound Tor, Dartmoor

Dull misty morning, sun in the afternoon



Meadow Pipit
Meadow Pipit

Posted May 11th, 2015 at 6:38 pm by Colin Scott in Bird News

Lundy additional pix

As requested by one of your guys, here are some pix - Spot Fly; potential Greenland race Wheatear; and Turtle Dove.

Spotted Flycatcher in The Valley.
Spotted Flycatcher in The Valley.

Poss Greenland Wheatear
Poss Greenland Wheatear

Turtle Dove in the Pig Field
Turtle Dove in the Pig Field

Posted May 11th, 2015 at 1:47 pm by Lyn David Loder in Bird News

Cann Woods

Saturday 9th May. 8pm - 10:30pm

A lovely evening walk around Caan Woods. Good numbers of Willow Warblers singing, with 8 individual sightings.  Female Peregrine spotted. 4 Ravens, 3 Buzzards. 2 Treecreepers, one singing. The evening chorus was amazing before all quietened down giving way to the the churring of Nightjars. 3 heard and one seen in flight. Two Tawny Owls calling.

Posted May 11th, 2015 at 1:17 pm by Val Grehan in Bird News

Lundy Island trip

Had a great day on Lundy, a first visit for me. It all kicked of with one of my companions (Karle Burford) Locating Turtle Dove (2) behind the last farm building as we walked from the settlement area. And the day finished on a high with Golden Oriole (f) first seen in the woodland area but then relocated over the brow of the hill, near a Sycamor tree.

Turtle Dove
Turtle Dove

Golden Oriole
Golden Oriole

Posted May 11th, 2015 at 6:48 am by Brian Thompson in Bird News

Sunday 10th May 2015

Berry Head

 started with a seawtch 0630-0830: 3 ad pale Pomarine Skuas, 9 Puffin, 6 Great Northern Divers, 25 Manx Shearwaters,  180+ Auks>S,  2 Shelduck >N.

Also around headland: 1 Yellow Wagtail,1 Lesser Whitethroat, 1 Sedge Warbler, 5 Blackcap, 2 Swift, 6 House Martin, 35 Swallow and a Tawny Owl roosting in the quarry. An odd singing Chiffchaff that initially sounded very like the start of Iberian Chiffchaff song without the final stuttering rattle but it then slipped regularly into Common Chiffchaff song see video below. 

Yellow Wagtail Berry Hd 10 May 2015 ML     

Aboveleft :  Yellow Wagtail.  Above right :  Odd Chiffchaff song click on picture for video

Posted May 10th, 2015 at 7:41 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Start Bay

8 Great Northern Divers from the Memorial Car Park, Slapton this lunchtime. 7 sat on the sea and 1 flying south. 9 Sanderling past and a steady trickle of Swallows in off.

Posted May 10th, 2015 at 7:41 pm in Bird News

Bowling green marsh

watched from 09:15 till 12:30

the 1st summer Bonaparte's gull came in with 220+black headed gulls, 3 1st summer Mediterranean gulls, 4 common gulls, 36+ whimbrel, 23+ bar tailed godwits, 1 dunlin, 1 avocet, 100+ black tailed godwits, 2 oystercatchers, 3 wigeon.

Posted May 10th, 2015 at 7:10 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Yarner Wood

Quick afternoon visit produced 2 redstarts, 5 pied flycatchers, 1 wood warbler sporting red right leg ring and left yellow and blue leg rings (looked it up and it appears to have been ringed in Greece), 3 GS woodpeckers, 5 mandarins, male and female bullfinch, marsh tits, jay versus blackbird fight. A lovely peaceful afternoon out.

Female Redstart
Female Redstart

Wood Warbler with leg rings
Wood Warbler with leg rings

Posted May 10th, 2015 at 5:03 pm by Steph Murphy in Bird News

Roadford Lake

Cormorant sitting on nest in tree.

Drake Pochard escorting brood of Mallard ducklings, together with duck Mallard.. Not sure whether it is real or adopted father. Ducklings look pure Mallard.

Drake Pochard and ducklings
Drake Pochard and ducklings

Posted May 10th, 2015 at 12:38 pm by Rupert Kirkwood in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram - Saturday 9th May

A few bits 'n' pieces with my first Spotted Flycatcher of the year (at the top of Dell Walk - not a regular spot), 4 Whimbrels, still 2 Curlews lingering, a Great Spotted Woodpecker, 3 Wheaters and a Nuthatch at the nest.

Posted May 10th, 2015 at 11:58 am by Pete Aley in Bird News

Hopes Nose

Sea Watching 8.30am-10am

1 Pom Skua south at 9.06am, 8 Puffins, 1 of which was in the very first group of Auks after setting up and 2 very close in at 9.30am, 4 Great Northern Divers at 8.45am, 9.16am, 9.18am and 9.49am (overhead). 46 Manxies in small groups of upto 5. Also c100 Swallows in off. 

Posted May 10th, 2015 at 11:12 am by Mark Bailey in Bird News

Saturday 9th May 2015


At least one Nightjar heard calling and one seen briefly in flight at the usual location. Also a Tawny owl on the walk up being mobbed by a male Blackbird.

Posted May 9th, 2015 at 11:01 pm by Matt Clark in Bird News


Just to let you all know that I had at least 3 Nightjars churring in East Devon this evening (one of which I saw). So there may be birds back at your regular site. Of course, this evening was  wonderfully still and  2 hooting Tawny Owls added to the occasion!

Posted May 9th, 2015 at 10:20 pm by Terry Smith in Bird News

Bowling green marsh

Photo of Bonaparte's gull on Bowling green marsh this morning possibly the bird which was at chesil cove yesterday.

Bowling green marsh
Bowling green marsh

Posted May 9th, 2015 at 9:41 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Powderham and Exminster Marshes

Nice walk up from Powderham Church were 20+ House Martins were collecting mud from the track, other suprises were a lone Avocet on the scrape and a couple of stunning Wheatear just down from Turf. For more info follow the link

Posted May 9th, 2015 at 8:20 pm by simon thurgood in Bird News

Bowling green marsh

watched from 08:30 till 13:30

At 09:55 the quiet was brought to an end when while scanning through the black headed gulls I noticed a bird with a rather grey nape I stopped and tried to get a better view then pink legs came into view eventually managed to see the whole bird and wow another BONAPARTE'S  GULL for the marsh a nice 1st summer bird which continued to show till at least 12:00 a great bird.

the rest of the morning was quiet with 4 1st summer Mediterranean gulls, 5 common gulls, 200+ black headed gulls, 21 bar tailed godwits, 1 dunlin, 4 greenshanks, 7+ whimbrel, 80+ black tailed godwits, 3 wigeon, 1 redshank, 2 oystercatchers.

around the lane , 1 whitethroat, 4 blackcap.


Posted May 9th, 2015 at 5:54 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Savage attack on Mute Swan by Spaniel

Witnessed an unprovoked attack on a Mute Swan this morning by a spaniel between Wrafton Pond & Velator Reserve. The dog was able to get down the bank by the side of the Tarka trail easily & onto the Swan within seconds. It targeted the wing & did not let go until the owner was able to get access into the field which took several minutes. I phoned the N.Devon Animal Ambulance who have always been very quick to respond to make an assessment of the injury & take any necessary action. They arrived promptly as asual.

Please note - This is not the breeding pair on Wrafton Pond which had 7 juv's at the beginning of the week but now only has 3 juv's. What is killing these juveniles?

Posted May 9th, 2015 at 1:59 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Night Heron at Black Hole Marsh, Seaton 8th May 2015

Yesterday's Night Heron at BHM, Seaton. Seen perched in small oak tree near the tower hide.


Posted May 9th, 2015 at 8:31 am by Dave Helliar in Bird News

Friday 8th May 2015


Orcombe Point - 1600 - 1900 - 1 spotted flycatcher, 1 whinchat, 3 wheatear, 1 pomarine skua lingering (1755 - 1900 at least), 2 roseate tern, 1 little tern, 1 common tern, c30+sandwich tern, 34 whimbrel, c70+ dunlin, 6 swift and good nos of hirundine sp among other stuff - more details on blog -

Posted May 8th, 2015 at 8:11 pm by Matt Knott in Bird News

Hopes Nose

Sea watching 18.15-19.15- 4 Puffin south at 18.19, 18.55, 19.00 and 19.02. 2 of which landed on the water off the point. Also just 6 Manxies south and c200 Auk sp( mostly Guillemots). Also 6 Swift, 10 House Martin and a Swallow in off. 

Posted May 8th, 2015 at 7:57 pm by Mark Bailey in Bird News

North coast – Woody Bay to Heddon's Mouth

Another day of superb visible hirundine migration up here on the North Devon coast, with 400 Swallows through in an hour from 11.30 to 12.30 (heading E into SE headwind) and an estimated minimum of 1,000 in total (just those birds actually seen, not extrapolated). Also minima of 75 Swifts (including 60 in that first hour), 400 House Martins and 70 Sand Martins. After the wind veered to SSW, the hirundines gathered in large 'kettles', feeding on abundant insects in the lee of the cliffs. In the Heddon Valley oak woods, presumed territorial Wood Warbler, Redstart, Pied & Spotted Flycatchers, and Garden Warbler.

Posted May 8th, 2015 at 6:29 pm by Tim Jones in Bird News

Shipley Bridge -Avon Dam, South Brent

10-30 - 1430 What turned out to be a wet walk up to the Dam produced good sightings of many common birds, with the highlights being a total of 5 Grey Wagtail and one Dipper. 2 Mallard in the marsh half way up. 2 Kestrel hunting the ridge on Brent Moor. 1 Cuckoo heard over towards Dockwell Ridge and another located further up towards the Dam (record shot). Later saw this cuckoo being chased for a couple of minutes by the two kestrel followed by a lone (brave) meadow pipit! Believed the cuckoo escaped. 

Grey Wagtail - Shipley - 8.5.15
Grey Wagtail - Shipley - 8.5.15

Record shot -Cuckoo - Avon Dam - 8.5.15
Record shot -Cuckoo - Avon Dam - 8.5.15

Posted May 8th, 2015 at 5:35 pm by David Pakes in Bird News

Stover Country Park ~ Great Crested Grebe chicks

Stover Country Park ~ Despite the fact that the rain set in and dampened the visit, it didn’t dampen the results or enjoyment, walking between the car park and lake a Warbler Sp high in the canopy singing well, below a male Blackcap possibly a second long with a pair of Dunnock followed by a Goldcrest.

On arrival at the lake a Mandarin drake in with some Mallard by the first view point, eventually a total of six Lesser Black Backed Gulls including one juvenile. Several Coot nests and one Mute Swan sitting.

A Mallard duck with a large brood of ducklings which were very clearly from three separate broods.

A pair of Great Crested Grebe and one solitary individual, the pair had what appeared to be three very recently hatched chicks riding on the back of one bird presumably the hen while the male went off foraging for food before returning to offer food to the chicks.

While watching a Heron broke cover from behind them and one of the park wardens pointed out a basking Red Eared Terrapin a short while later we spotted another large specimen, a Buzzard flew over the lake scattering the few gulls present.

Having discussed the absence of any Swallows over the lake, one turned up and as it circled two more, then six which in turn were followed by a mixed flock of House Martin and Sand Martin, the birds spent some time drinking from the lake surface before moving off.

The viewing platform was a nonstarter due to a tree being cut up by a chainsaw team working beside it.

Back home at South Brent on the garden feeders a Greater Spotted Woodpecker and a juvenile Siskin. This morning gave three Swifts and a large flock of very high House Martins and a pair of Rooks, one of which has taken to coming into the garden feeders for the last three days.

Posted May 8th, 2015 at 5:13 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Shirwell nr Barnstaple

Swifts are finally back in Shirwell! 2 of them are wheeling around. You forget how amazing they are.

Posted May 8th, 2015 at 5:10 pm by Benjamin Rousseau in Bird News

River Teign- Passage House Hotel

1 first summer Med Gull this morning on the high tide ( for its 2nd day) with 41 Black Headed Gulls. 

Posted May 8th, 2015 at 1:07 pm by Mark Bailey in Bird News

Berry Head

Seawatch 05.45-0745: Great Northern Diver 22 (!), Common Scoter 55, Puffin 4, Auks 703 (mostly Guillemots, approx 30% Razorbills), Manx Shearwaters 6, Whimbrel 3,

Also: Tree Pipit >N and 12 Swallows

GND Berry Head 8th May 2015 ML 

 Great Northern Divers - click on right photo for video clip link

MD just phoned since 0800hrs he has logged 9 Pomarine Skuas, 7 more Puffin and 6 Sandwich Terns. 

Posted May 8th, 2015 at 10:45 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

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