Devon Bird Sightings: Bird News from 22nd–31st January 2016


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

Thursday 28th January 2016

Devon Bird Atlas Launch Friday 29th

Brilliant launch of the Devon Bird Atlas at Stover Country Park Friday 29th January.  Excellent take up of the Atlas, very well attended with ITV SW there and shown on Sunday ITV Westcountry evening bulletin.  Also several articles in Saturday's Western Morning news and other local papers. See Society News for more info.

Atlas & Birds of Devon available to purchase (cheque or cash) at branch meetings or buy on-line and collect from meetings. 

Posted January 28th, 2016 at 8:57 pm in Bird News

River Plym

Black necked grebe showing well with 4 little grebes at low tide from Laira Bridge this afternoon.

Upriver were 2 male and 3 female red breasted mergansers and a great crested grebe.

Single greenshank and 5 little egrets also seen along with the usual redshank, curlew, oystercatcher, shelduck, carrion crow and gulls.

Posted January 28th, 2016 at 6:29 pm by Stuart Green in Bird News

Exminster marshes SEO

Short eared owl seen quartering over the Exminster marshes this evening - I saw it looking north from the high point on the canal path where the Topsham ferry stops, so on the meadows north of the reserve itself. It dropped down into the grass when some crows began mobbing.


Posted January 28th, 2016 at 5:48 pm by Helen Whitall in Bird News

Around the Teign Estuary - Lunchtime

Highlights: A single Great Northern Diver off the seafront with numerous Shags. Also a single dolphin. 35+ Curlew just east of Flow Point with a male Red Breasted Merganser in the estuary close by.

Posted January 28th, 2016 at 5:44 pm by Simon Bates in Bird News

Soussons & Venford Reservoir,Dartmoor

Soussons: Just 2 Crossbill found in the plantation - very scarce this year and poor cone crop. Also Woodcock, Kestrel, 2 Green Woodpecker, 3 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 6 Raven.

Venford: Woodcock at south end of reservoir outside fence.

Posted January 28th, 2016 at 4:27 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

The Black Brant was in with a large flock of Brent Geese this lunchtime, close to the main lagoon. However, they flew off towards the estuary when a Peregrine put everything on the marsh up at about 2 o'clock.

Posted January 28th, 2016 at 2:48 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

R.Taw off Pottington and Penhill Marsh. 1145 - 1245.

Shelduck 73; Goosander 3(2m,1f); Dark-bellied Brent 368 (& then I stopped counting); Sanderling 27; Dunlin c250; Lapwing c2000; Golden Plover c2500 and 1 adult Mediterranean Gull.

Posted January 28th, 2016 at 1:33 pm by Maurice Clements in Bird News

Stover Lake

A cool but dry sunny morning at Stover Lake, Several Common Snipe sunbathing in the northern marsh. A single Kingfisher and 2 Water Rail squealing. Other wildfowl included 6 Tufted Duck, 2 male Goosander, Male and female Mandarin, 1 Great crested Grebe, 1 Little Grebe, 6 Cormorants. In the woodland plenty of of Coal , Blue and Great tits on the feeder . A pair of Ravens displaying overhead and Mistle Thrush, Song thrush, Blackbird and Marsh Tits all singing.

Don't forget the launch of the Devon Bird Atlas at Stover Country Park tomorrow. The official launch will be at 10.30am but the book will be available for purchase or collection between 10am - 4pm.

Posted January 28th, 2016 at 12:14 pm by JDA in Bird News

Wednesday 27th January 2016


Short eared owl hunting over field parrelel to river at 3pm.Viewed from customers house while working,well kind of.

Posted January 27th, 2016 at 9:01 pm by Robert Marshall in Bird News

Broadsands and Brixham

A sweep of the southern part of Torbay today produced the following:

Broadsands: 1 Red-necked Grebe, 36 Great Northern Divers, 21 Great Crested Grebes, 9 Common Scoter. Also 1 Firecrest.

Brixham: 12 Great Northern Divers.

Posted January 27th, 2016 at 3:54 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Cattle Egret Exminster Marshes

Cattle Egret mobile in fields either (northern) side of railway bridge. Showing well. Cackling Goose in usual place Matford Marsh.

Cattle Egret
Cattle Egret

Posted January 27th, 2016 at 3:17 pm by Martin Rooney in Bird News

Black Redstart Sighting

Black Redstart photgraphed around my car parked in Chillington, South Devon today 26th January 2015. Male. 

Posted January 27th, 2016 at 12:06 pm by Paul Newberry in Bird News

Budleigh Salterton

A female-type Black Redstart seen this morning on the roof of our 4-storery flats 30 metres from the coast-path.  One has been reported on the sea-front by Pebbles B&B occasionally this winter, and having looked there several times a week for it, it turns up a couple of hundred metres away on my roof!

Posted January 27th, 2016 at 11:48 am by Colin Randall in Bird News

Monday 25th January 2016


6 Goosanders On Stover Today,4 Male 2 Female, Also 2 Male Pochard, 9 Tufted Ducks 8 Males 1 Female & 1 Great Crested Grebe. The Kingfisher Flew In Front Of The Hide Twice A Nice Visit!!!!!!

Posted January 25th, 2016 at 8:51 pm by Simon Wakely in Bird News

Topsham Goldeneye

Drake Goldeneye off Topsham Rec 12.10 on the dropping tide. Quite close in but very windy.

Also approx 20 R B Merganser in a group fishing by Topsham Ferry.

Posted January 25th, 2016 at 8:08 pm by Martin Rooney in Bird News

Around the Exe

Exminster Marsh (Lions Rest corner) good numbers of Lapwing, Golden Plover, Brent and Canadian Geese, the three smaller species were very flighty and kept taking to the sky giving some stunning views.

Large numbers of Wigeon, other duck species included Pintail, Shoveller, Teal and Shellduck, Little Egret, Cormorant, Pheasant, Kestrel, Snipe, smaller bird species included Pied Wagtail and Bullfinch.

On the approach to Powerham a hen Sparrow hawk put up a large mixed flock of Mistle Thrush and Fieldfare, the Fieldfare swept down the valley while the Mistle Thrushes landed in nearby trees and began calling loudly as the hawk quartered the field.

Arriving by Powderham Church a female Peregrine flew inland away from the river.

Walking along the Exe to a point just beyond the footbridge gave over 20 species including Little Egret, Curlew, Buzzard, Shellduck, Red Breasted Merganser, Oyster Catcher, Redshank, Common Gull (5), Greater Black Backed Gull, Grey Plover and Dunlin in flocks of up to 30 birds, smaller bird species included Goldfinch in large flocks, Meadow Pipit, Song Thrush and Pied Wagtails.

The fields on the right of the main road from Powderham to Starcross gave Canadian and Brent Geese, Curlew, Oyster Catchers, Teal, several Heron, Redshank, Lapwings, Shellduck, a female Stonechat, Song Thrush and a Green Woodpecker.

Cockwood ~ a Greenshank, Brent Geese, Oyster Catchers, Redshank, Curlew, Red Breasted Merganser, Bar TailedGodwit and Cormorant.

Haldon Forest Park well in excess of 55 Chaffinch around the feeders, not as many Siskin as seen recently, Pied Wagtail, Coal Tit, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, a single Song Thrush by this time the wind had built up and the birds were seeking out deeper more sheltered cover.

Home bird count gave 25 species for the day which included Buzzard, Raven and Cormorant, Redwing and Starling overhead, around the feeders Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Siskins, Long Tailed Tits and a male Bullfinch.

Posted January 25th, 2016 at 6:24 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Sunday Black Stork

Tim Davis reports:  I was driving down the A30 towards Exeter yesterday, 24th January, and about a kilometre or less before the Fingle Glen turn off I saw in front of me what at first I thought was a grey heron flying across the carriageway and drifting up towards some woodland.  As I got closer, I was astounded to see that it was actually a stork, and a Black Stork at that. 

Posted January 25th, 2016 at 12:11 pm in Bird News

Sunday 24th January 2016

Plym Estuary & Saltram

The Black-necked Grebe still present this afternoon on the west side just north of the Laira Bridge, on the rising tide. On the pool, 140 Redshanks, 5 Greenshanks, 6 Oystercatchers and 58 Curlews. Also, Wigeon (female), 28 Shelducks, 5 Little Grebes, Common Sandpiper, 3 Goldcrests and a Kingfisher giving excellent prolonged views fishing by the flooded wood. 


Posted January 24th, 2016 at 10:07 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Dartington Estate

1 Firecrest and at least 3 Goldcrests in Dartington Gardens.  8 Fieldfare and 2 Redwing in adjacent field.

Posted January 24th, 2016 at 9:51 pm by George and Les Carr in Bird News

Venford Reservoir

Venford Reservoir and surroundings, late am/earlypm, of note: 1 fem. Merlin, 1 Woodcock and 35 Fieldfares.

Posted January 24th, 2016 at 9:14 pm by Andy Smith in Bird News

Barnstaple to Ashford

A change of scenery for myself today.My wife and daughter wanted to shop, I didn't so took myself along the tarka trail from Barnstaple civic centre to Ashford, and full of bird life it was.Canada geese, red shank, oystercatchers,lapwing,cormorants gulls of various types, curlew, shelduck and to top it off a pair of merganzers just beyond the water works.

Posted January 24th, 2016 at 9:04 pm by philip worth in Bird News

Exe Estuary cruise

A great cruise this afternoon, with spectacular concentrations of waders, gulls and Brent Geese on the mudflats between Lympstone and Topsham. Highlights were 2 Slavonian Grebes near Cockwood, Great Northern Diver, 50+ Shags, the regular Spotted Redshank at Powderham plus a second at Topsham, about 500 Avocets, 1000 Black- and 100+ Bar-tailed Godwits, 300+ Golden Plover, about 500 Lapwings, 3 Goldeneye (Topsham).


Almost the final bird was the semi-resident Bonaparte's Gull feeding in mid-river between Exmouth and Cockwood.


Posted January 24th, 2016 at 8:09 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News

Wrafton Pond

16.45 > 17.15

A quick look around the pond & greeted by a flurry of avian panic & activity as soon as I arrived. A Sparrowhawk flying through the Willows disturbing everything in sight including 84 Collar Doves which then settled on the cables. Never knew that we had such a high number of this species in Braunton!

Posted January 24th, 2016 at 6:50 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News


Ilsham, Torquay, in a friend’s garden four Dunnock, one Goldcrest and on the way out perched in a tree overlooking the coastal cliffs a female Kestrel being kept company by a flock of Goldfinch.

Cliff Road, Paignton around the Burma Star garden a pair of Blackcap, showing well if a little flighty.

Clennon Valley Lakes, very wet and muddy underfoot, Tufted Duck 12+, a single Shoveller drake, Heron, Moorhen, Coots, Little Grebe, Chiffchaff, Grey Wagtail, Wren, Dunnock, Long Tailed Tit, lots of small bird song but light levels made observation difficult, Robins singing from prominant perches almost every 60 yards or so.

Broadsands, Very busy with public, dogs and general disturbance, one Goldcrest and very little else.

Posted January 24th, 2016 at 4:44 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News


A great attendance with 41 people! A good mixture of birds during South Devon Branch field Meeting including on sea: 1 ad Mediterranean Gull, 10+ Great Northern Divers, 1 Red-throated Diver, 9 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Slavonian Grebe, 6 Common Scoter and 2 Bottle-nosed Dolphins and 1 Grey Seal.

Around the carparks: 2 Firecrest, 1 Goldcrest, 2 Cirl Bunting, 3 Reed Bunting, 1 Kingfisher.


Posted January 24th, 2016 at 4:10 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Chapel Wood

It seemed like spring was in the air this morning with a balmy 14 degrees! Great Spotted Woodpecker pair displaying and mating , Treecreepers/Nuthatch displaying and Ravens doing the same. The wood seemed full of birds with Goldcest, Blue, Great, Coal and Long Tailed Tits, Song Thrush, Fieldfare overhead, hundreds of Jackdaw, Buzzard. Pheasants also displaying. Green, Gold, Bull and Chaffinch in attendence with Wrens, Sparrows, Robins, Blackbird all singing and lively. Green Woodpecker heard but not seen.

Posted January 24th, 2016 at 3:53 pm by Rob Barnes in Bird News

Bodmin Road Whitleigh

Two Ring-necked parakeets sat in tree flow of North.

Posted January 24th, 2016 at 3:30 pm by Chris Buckland in Bird News


Did the walk around the patch male Bullfinch,20+ Siskins feeding on alder seeds in whith the flock was a male Radpole second one that i have had from here.Female Sparrowhawk sat in tree top was flushed by Magpies.

Posted January 24th, 2016 at 3:28 pm by Chris Buckland in Bird News

Millbay, Plymouth

At least 3 Black Redstarts on waste ground opposite West Hoe pub.

Posted January 24th, 2016 at 2:19 pm by Tor Elm in Bird News

Slapton Ley

Imm.Marsh Harrier over north ley mid-morning.

Posted January 24th, 2016 at 12:34 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

23-01-16 Slapton ley Red-crested Pochard

23-01-16 Two Red-crested Pochards on Slapton Ley on the Torcross end showing very well into the area where the kids feed the ducks & gulls, many male & female Goldeneye and Tuffted to be seen.

Posted January 24th, 2016 at 10:25 am by Greg Bradbury in Bird News

Postbridge Area

Lots of coal tits 20 pluss in the plantation no Redwings or Fieldfare seen this outing very quiet just three fat Mistle Thrush looked st 8 Buzzards all common one very dark bird seen.Had one Goldcrest in bush at Powder millls and a Raven with a small flock of Starlings.

Posted January 24th, 2016 at 10:01 am by Chris Buckland in Bird News

Saturday 23rd January 2016

West Charleton Marsh and Wareham Point

West Charleton Marsh and Wareham Point, early pm, of note: 2 Great Northern Divers, 12 Great Crested Grebes, 200+ Brent Geese, 4 Pintail, 20 Red-breasted Mergansers, 3 Jack Snipe, 30 Common Snipe, 1 Greenshank and 75 Skylarks.

Posted January 23rd, 2016 at 10:57 pm by Andy Smith in Bird News

South Efford Marsh

South Efford Marsh, mid-am: 1 fem. Pintail, 1 Greenshank, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Water Rail and 2 Kingfishers.

Posted January 23rd, 2016 at 10:49 pm by Andy Smith in Bird News

Postbridge Buzzard

The images of the Postbridge Buzzard are those of a Common Buzzard. It is a pale juvenile / first year bird (Pale eyes). If it was Rough-legged Buzzard the tarsi would be feathered.

Posted January 23rd, 2016 at 7:36 pm by Richard Tyler in Bird News

Slapton Ley

2 male red crested pochard at Torcross with the strange looking male tufted duck/red crested pochard hybrid and 2 pairs of pochard amongst the tufted duck and coot.

Mid Ley and 4 female, 2 male and an immature male goldeneye.

In Ireland Bay distant views of 2 black necked grebes amongst the tufted duck, gadwall and coot.

From the Bridge a ringed chiffchaff with 2 Cettis warblers and a water rail heard.

Rain stopped play at around 2pm!

Red Crested Pochard
Red Crested Pochard

Tufted Duck/ RC Pochard hybrid
Tufted Duck/ RC Pochard hybrid

Posted January 23rd, 2016 at 6:35 pm by Stuart Green in Bird News

ashford nr barnstaple

88 fieldfare,36 redwing,5 stock dove nr upcott cross

Posted January 23rd, 2016 at 6:05 pm by Robert Marshall in Bird News


Nice family walk around Stover, 3 Goldcrests by the visitor centre, Blue, Great and Coal Tits in abundance, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Nuthatch and Goldfinch on the feeders with a male G.S Woodpecker, 3 Goosanders, 4 Tufties and usual Mallards and B.H Gulls on the lake, 2 Ravens overhead and finally a Kingfisher flypast.  Not a bad walk

Posted January 23rd, 2016 at 5:50 pm by Ben Rowland in Bird News

Exe Estuary cruise

Highlight of today's Stuart Lines cruise was a distant view of the adult Bonaparte's Gull flying towards Exmouth from mid-estuary at around 1pm. Over 30 Sanderlings on a mid-estuary sandbank, Spotted Redshank with Greenshanks at Powderham and c180 Golden Plover roosting between Topsham and Turf. At least 2 Goldeneye near Topsham.

Posted January 23rd, 2016 at 4:30 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News

Around topsham

A quick look around topsham this morning from 08:45 till 11:00

A Firecrest was in the grounds of the church of saint margarret with a group of goldcrests , from the goatwalk a group of 14 turnstone showed well.

Between the goatwalk and riversmeet house surprised to find another Firecrest in with a group of long tailed tits and goldcrests showed well before being lost as entered the grounds of riversmeet house. A female stonechat along the path to the viewing platform.

From the hide at bowling green marsh an impressive count of 1800+ wigeon , 40+ lapwing, 8 tufted duck and 7+ pochards, 9+ snipe good numbers of teal and shoveler.

Posted January 23rd, 2016 at 4:05 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

horsey island

. Back to braunton and found a Spotted Redshank on Horsey Island.

Posted January 23rd, 2016 at 3:40 pm by Rob Barnes in Bird News

Maidencombe Bay

Sea watch of Maidencombe Beach mid morning produced,72 Great Crested Grebes, 6 Common Scoter, 2Gannet, at least 5 Great Northern Divers,some very close in eating crabs,and 2 Red Throated Divers and 1Black Throated Diver.

Not bad for an hour or so!

Posted January 23rd, 2016 at 3:32 pm by Keith Benyon-Tinker in Bird News

River Exe Cruise Friday 22nd January 2016

Great trip with Stuart Line, good views of Great Northern Diver off Exmouth Beach, lots of Red Breasted Merganser, Pintail, Godwits, Avocets etc on the river and a lovely fly past by a Goldeneye    


Red Breasted Merganser
Red Breasted Merganser

Posted January 23rd, 2016 at 2:12 pm by Richard Allen in Bird News


Down to Broadsands early to play with my swanky new 'scope. No sign of the Red-necked Grebe despite intensive searching, but did find a Slavonian Grebe in Elberry Cove, and 27 Great-crested Grebes in Broadsands bay. 8+ Great Northern Divers, mostly further out, 2 Red-throated Divers and a Black-throated diver first thing which flew out to sea a few minutes later. 

Around the car parks a Firecrest, 3 Goldcrests, Chiffchaff and 4 Cirl Buntings.

Posted January 23rd, 2016 at 10:45 am by Simon Tonge in Bird News

Friday 22nd January 2016

Red-throated Diver & Red-breasted Mergansers Saltram Estuary

A Red-throated Diver & 2 Red-breasted Mergansers on Saltram Estuary 22-01-16. The Red-breasted Mergansers were some distance away so not a brilliant shot, the Red-throated Diver came very close to shore, others noted were Redshanks, Greenshanks, Curlew, Oystercatchers, Shelducks also a couple of Kingfishers were showing well

Posted January 22nd, 2016 at 9:54 pm by Greg Bradbury in Bird News


To add to Steve's post, female Marsh Harrier quartering the Higher Ley reedbed between 1.10 and 1.15 p.m.

Back home in dartington, 2 Lesser Redpolls on the feeders for the 7th consecutive day. Female Blackcap daily, Firecrest again last Saturday (16th)

Posted January 22nd, 2016 at 8:24 pm in Bird News

RE: Postbridge Buzzard

Regarding the posts about the possible Rough-legged Buzzard i watched what could be the same bird for over 15 minutes from the A30 near Meldon on Tuesday afternoon. Quite a striking bird and not easily missed.

Posted January 22nd, 2016 at 8:00 pm by Brian Davies in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

From the viewing platform mid-afternoon on the rising tide drake Goldeneye still showing south of riversmeet house and Spotted Redshank with large numbers of Avocet, Redshank, Grey Plover,Dunlin,12+ Turnstones and Peregrine putting all the waders up. A Lesser Redpole was reported seen by 2 birders along the road between the hide and platform gates but gone when i got there. On Bowling Green Marsh the usual high numbers of waders and ducks including 5 Pochard and 6 Pintail. Goosemoor showed the Spotted Redshank seen earlier from the platform with 5 Greenshank and 30+ Redshank.

Close up video of Spotted Redshank in front the platform.

Spotted Redshank
Spotted Redshank



Posted January 22nd, 2016 at 7:53 pm by David Boult in Bird News

South Brent ~ Slapton (with Otters!!)

A very pleasant and enjoyable days birding after a night of torrential rain, a garden bird watch gave a total of 25 species which included Buzzard, Jay, Wren, Siskin (3) Mistle Thrush, Redwing, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Long Tailed Tit, Rook and two flocks of Starling initially a flock of around 30 and 13 late this afternoon.

A visit to Slapton Ley gave three possibly four Golden Eye, one very settled bird and the others constantly flying up and down the ley, plenty of Tufted Duck including the “Red headed” hybrid and a single drake Scaup, Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe and three Black Necked Grebe but as good as the birding was the high light was watching four Otters swim across the Ley, incredible to watch them “porpoise” through the water coming up to the reeds just below the tank memorial and then they simply vanished.

Non water birds included Song Thrush and a single Chiffchaff.

Small number of Gannets fishing of shore in the distance.

Posted January 22nd, 2016 at 7:30 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

Spectacular Black-tailed godwit displays thanks to a Sparrowhawk

Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit

Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit

Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit

Posted January 22nd, 2016 at 6:01 pm by Colin Scott in Bird News

South Huish Marsh.

Highlight was adult Mediterranean Gull which flew in late pm. Also: 26 Oystercatcher, 27 Lapwing, 7 Snipe, Common Gull & Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Posted January 22nd, 2016 at 4:46 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News


After the rain cleared this morning: 

3 Stonechat, 11 Cirl bunting, 1 Yellowhammer, 1 Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrel. On the beach : 2 Lesser black back gulls, 1 Shag, 26 Oystercatcher. Rock pipits and Pied wagtails catching flies amongst the seaweed.

Posted January 22nd, 2016 at 4:19 pm by Alan Livsey in Bird News

Isley Marsh

6 spoonbills on the marsh this afternoon. two of them have coloured leg rings (see attached pic)

Spoonbills on Isley
Spoonbills on Isley

Spoonbills showing coloured rings
Spoonbills showing coloured rings

Posted January 22nd, 2016 at 4:12 pm by Roy Churchill in Bird News


On the sea: 1 Red-necked Grebe, 1 Black-throated Diver, 4 Red-throated Divers, 44 Great Northern Divers(!) and 35 Great Crested Grebes.

Red-necked Grebe Broadsands 22 Jan 2016 ML

Around the car parks: 5 Cirl Bunting, 1 Reed bunting, 1 Firecrest, 4 Goldcrest, 1 Chiffchaff, 10+ Siskin. 

Posted January 22nd, 2016 at 3:39 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News


Trevor Leaman took these pictures of a 'buzzard' at Postbridge on Sunday..


Posted January 22nd, 2016 at 3:22 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Plym Estuary

Red throated Diver seen just off shore by the folly. Also 6 Red breasted Merganser.

Posted January 22nd, 2016 at 1:46 pm by Philip Martin Phillips in Bird News

poss Rough-Legged Buzzard nr Postbridge Thursday

Steve Madge, Chairman of Cornwall Birds saw a possible "classic 1st winter Rough-legged buzzard" fly across the B3212 yesterday on the northern edge of Postbridge near the last house into a big open field.


Posted January 22nd, 2016 at 10:58 am in Bird News

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