Devon Bird Sightings: Bird News from 1st–7th December 2016

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: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/social-distancing/what-you-need-to-do/

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

2019 Descriptions - last call

The deadline for the 2019 Bird Report is rapidly approaching. If you found (or saw) any of these birds please could you submit a description to recorder@devonbirds.org to ensure your records are published. Many thanks. 

Alpine Swift, Dawlish 11 Jun  Long-tailed Skua, Dawlish Warren 11 Oct
Barred Warbler, Thurlestone 30 Aug Purple Heron, Slapton Ley 07 May
Caspian Gull, Thurlestone, 08 Feb Sabine's Gull, Thurlestone 14 Aug
Caspian Gull, Topsham 02 Aug Serin (2), Harrowbeer 19 Apr
Cory's Shearwater, Berry Head 19 Jul Tree Sparrow (2), Berry Head 20 Mar
Hooded Crow, Baggy Point 10 May  

 

Posted May 2nd at 3:27 pm by Kevin Rylands in Bird News

Membership

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

Wednesday 7th December 2016

Mansands - 7.12.2016

The reported 200+ common scoter not off the beach and could only be seen by climbing up to the top of the ridge above the coastguard cottages. For myself and possibly a couple of other experienced birders present, the light, distance involved and the choppy nature of the sea precluded any accurate identification of the surf scoter, reported in better conditions by Mike Langman yesterday. The flock was constantly moving and diving with a few guillemot present just to confuse matters. I even had a kestrel come and perch alongside me to give me the benefit of its outstanding vision! Other notable birds included a male black redstart on the coastguard cottages and on the marsh, a water rail showed.

Some of the Common Scoter flock -Mansands - 7.12.2016  Water Rail - Mansands - 7.12.2016
Some of the Common Scoter flock -Mansands - 7.12.2016                    Water Rail - Mansands - 7.12.2016

Posted December 7th, 2016 at 8:19 pm by David Pakes in Bird News

Goosemoor and Bowling Green Marsh

Lovely bright day for birding

Greenshank

   Kingfisher Spotted Redshank
             Greenshank                                            Kingfisher                                           Spotted Redshank

Posted December 7th, 2016 at 5:34 pm by Colin Scott in Bird News

Northam Skern

A count in the area of the High Water roost this morning revealed a couple of interesting additions to the usual species which I have been recording there in the past couple of months: 2 Spotted Redshank amongst the other redshanks on the pool across the road from the Skern Saltings roost site, and 5 Common Scoter on the sea about 30m from the edge of the tide.  There was also a single Pochard amongst the 220 Wigeon and 52 Pintail, and my highest Golden Plover count of the season at just over 700.  Curlew, Oystercatcher and Shelduck numbers were unchanged, though this was my first ever visit to the Burrows when I didn't see at least one Little Egret!

Posted December 7th, 2016 at 5:28 pm by Tony Mercer in Bird News

Caton, Ashburton

Overflown by a woodcock in the lane behind the office whilst walking the dog.

Posted December 7th, 2016 at 5:23 pm by Barney Donnellan in Bird News

Snipe at The Skern

Snipe at The Skern, Northam Burrows, today

Posted December 7th, 2016 at 4:35 pm by JOHN WARD in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh & Ludwell Valley

Viewed over the morning high-tide.

From Goosemoor the Spotted Redshank, 5 Greenshank and Sparrowhawk showing really well and good area to view on the lower high-tides.

From the hide large numbers of Avocets, Black & Bar-tailed Godwits, Dunlin, Redshank amongst the usual Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler and Snipe.

Ludwell Valley mid-day the Dipper showing well in the Northbrook stream along Topsham Road 

Spotted Redshank

Avocet    DipperSpotted Redshank                                              Avocet                                                                 Dipper

Posted December 7th, 2016 at 3:34 pm by David Boult in Bird News

Velator

Still Chiffchaffs in the reserve this morning (2 ringed yesterday) Cetti's Warbler calling, Water Rail also seen scurrying away. Best sighting was a Peacock butterfly!

Posted December 7th, 2016 at 1:38 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Teigngrace - Cattle Egret

One Cattle Egret present this morning with herd of Charolais cattle mobile between Tewelve Oaks & river. Also peregrine ranging around.  Farm fields are located to north of the Teigngrace road approached from Kingsteignton/ Newton Abbot.  Viewed over hedge near junction with Greycoat Lane.

Posted December 7th, 2016 at 12:26 pm by Ken Dainton in Bird News

Broadsands & Goodrington

The Siberian Chiffchaff was still present in the marsh at the back of the 1st car park with at least 2 collybita Chiffchaffs. 5 Cirl Buntings and a Reed Bunting on seed in the 2nd car park.

On the sea: 1 Black-necked Grebe, 2 Eider, 5 Red-throated Divers, 2 Great Crested Grebes, 16 Guillemot, 1 Razorbill & 4 Brent Geese

Goodrington: 19 Great Crested Grebes, 8 Velvet Scoter, 8 Common Scoter, 

Posted December 7th, 2016 at 10:39 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Tuesday 6th December 2016

Skern

Plenty of Waders on the high tide, good numbers of Dunlin, Knot, Golden Plover, Redshank, Oystercatchers. Also, some Grey Plover and Bar-tailed Godwits.  Brent Geese were plentiful and I noticed a Barnacle Goose in amongst them.  Good number of ducks---mainly Widgeon and Shelducks. A few Teal also. 

Posted December 6th, 2016 at 9:02 pm by Chris Marshall in Bird News

Teignmouth seafront 4pm

10 scoter progressing left to right. According to the Coastwatch personnel they had been going up and down all afternoon - about 150yds out.

Also flock of about 4 dozen starlings around the pier

Posted December 6th, 2016 at 6:16 pm by Barney Donnellan in Bird News

Mansands

1st winter Surf Scoter with 202 Common Scoter best views from ridge dropping down to Crabrock point.

Also off beach 5 Red-throated Divers & 1 Great Crested Grebe. 

Posted December 6th, 2016 at 4:16 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Totnes

Black Redstart  -   Seen from first slope of Sharpham cycle path,on new build roof tops.13:00 today.  Denis Doy

Posted December 6th, 2016 at 3:56 pm in Bird News

Broadsands

1220-1320, viewing from Broadsands. Very similar counts to Mike below. However in addition a Black-necked Grebe off Broadsands and a Slavonian Grebe near mouth of Brixham Harbour. Scotor and Geese numbers the same though one looked a Pale-bellied. 3+ Red-throated Divers and the Eider. 

Posted December 6th, 2016 at 3:32 pm by Steve Cox in Bird News

Goodrington & Broadsands

The 8 Velvet Scoters were viewable from the beach also 9 Common Scoter, 25 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Red-throated Diver & 4 Shelduck.

Broadsands: 11 Brent Geese, 1 Eider, 2 Red-throated Divers, 1 Great Northern Diver.

In the marsh: 1 Siberian Chiffchaff and 2 collybita Chiffchaffs plus 4-5 Goldcrest.

Posted December 6th, 2016 at 11:51 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Monday 5th December 2016

Slapton Beach

Seawatching off Slapton Beach this afternoon gave 11 Common Scoter, 1 Velvet Scoter, 1 Red Throated Diver, 1 Guillemot, 1 Shag and c 25 Gannet fishing.

Red-throated Diver  Common Scoter Velvet Scoter
Red-throated Diver                                    Common Scoter                                       Velvet Scoter

 

Posted December 5th, 2016 at 11:41 pm by Bob Telford in Bird News

Staverton Bridge

Seen from Staverton Bridge between 11:00 and 11:40am- 1 male Goosander with 3 female, 2 Little Grebe, 1 Dipper, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Wren and 1 Grey Heron. With the current clear water it was possible to watch a female Goosander swimming underwater.

Female Goosander           Little GrebeMale Goosander

 

Male Goosander              Female Goosander                                                  Little Grebe

Posted December 5th, 2016 at 9:39 pm by Bob Telford in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

The water rail was showing out in the open this morning in 'the usual spot' by the hedge viewed from the gate on the left as you walk down towards the viewing platform - I hope it starts showing regularly there again!

Avocets, mergansers and a kingfisher from the viewing platform.

Posted December 5th, 2016 at 7:15 pm by Helen Whitall in Bird News

River Dart, Staverton

8 Goosander (2m, 6 redhead) at 4 p.m. today. 

Posted December 5th, 2016 at 6:37 pm in Bird News

Clennon Lakes

The Yellow-browed Warbler was present today back in sallows around the middle weir. Also at least  5 Chiffchaff and 6 Goldcrest around the lakes. 

Posted December 5th, 2016 at 6:28 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Berry Head

Right at the head, between cliff edge and lighthouse: Black Redstart (m), c.10:30.

Posted December 5th, 2016 at 2:20 pm by David Holloway in Bird News

Lower Tamar Lake

17 Goosanders on the lake plus 4 Tufted Duck , 1 Mute Swan, Blue, Great and Coal Tits, 2 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Nuthatch and 1 Snipe.

Harvey Kendfall

Posted December 5th, 2016 at 1:46 pm by Harvey Kendall in Bird News

Broadsands

During a Torbay Coast and Countryside walk yesterday we picked out one possibly  two pale-bellied Brent Geese in Elbery Cove with the flock of Dark-bellied Brent Geese.

Posted December 5th, 2016 at 9:48 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Sunday 4th December 2016

Hembury Woods

Late post for Saturday 3rd: A male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker moving through the canopy with a mixed flock, mid-am.

Posted December 4th, 2016 at 10:09 pm by Andy Smith in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

A visit during the middle part of the day on the falling tide. 52 Dunlins (a good count for here), 3 Greenshanks, Common Sandpiper, 8 Little Grebes, 3 Kingfishers, 2 Ringed Plovers, Wigeon, Goldcrest, Stonechat and 3 Jack Snipes.  

Posted December 4th, 2016 at 9:40 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Slapton

In a very blustery Ireland Bay a Snipe and three Black-necked Grebes stood out from the crowd but the best sight was a very tight raft of about 20 ducks that included Shoveler, Mallard, Gadwall, Tufted and Wigeon, with right in the middle of it an even tighter group of 10 Little Grebe. Also there a 'scaup-type' female Tufted Duck but no sign of last week's Goldeneye and in the woodland three Goldcrest and a Firecrest.

Posted December 4th, 2016 at 9:07 pm by Chris Marcol in Bird News

Broadsands - Elberry cove

20 brent geese in elberry cove, 13.00 hrs. 

Posted December 4th, 2016 at 5:28 pm by graham folkerd in Bird News

Kingsbridge Estuary

Curlew Drive-Charleton Marsh ( 11:20-14:20, falling tide ).

73 Brent Geese, 290 Wigeons, 4 Pintails, 5 Red-breasted Mergansers, 4 Great Crested Grebes, 4 Little Grebes, 2 Slavonian Grebes, Bar-tailed Godwit and 200 Golden Plovers.

Posted December 4th, 2016 at 3:13 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Starling roosts - murmurations

After my request for starling roost gatherings I have had several replies to date.  As follows:

Topsham - good displays

Teignmouth Pier - regular smaller gathering but often lively.

Slapton Ley - large gatherings - could be good if raptors around

and in the North a large gathering at Woolley Wood nr Bursdon - many pausing at the Solar Farm nearby before going into roost 750,000 to one million believed present.

If you know of other roosts in Devon please let me know.

Julia – Data Manager

Posted December 4th, 2016 at 2:29 pm in Bird News

Velator

Kingfisher seen from Tarka Trail 

Kingfisher
Kingfisher

Posted December 4th, 2016 at 1:37 pm by Alan Denzey in Bird News

Exmouth

A Yellow-browed Warbler, Siberian Chiffchaff, Firecrest, at least 3 Chiffchaffs and 2 Bullfinches in large sallow clump at the very end of Exmouth seafront, below Foxholes from 8am this morning. View from road - west end of the clump is best. Offshore at least 1 Great Northern Diver and c40+ Common Scoters. Yesterday 2 Velvet Scoters were off the seafront with c100+ Common Scoters and the Bonaparte's Gull was off Shelly Beach late afternoon. A Scaup was off Mudbank until 30/11 at least. More details and some dreadful photos on www.gobirdingexmouth.blogspot.co.uk later.

Posted December 4th, 2016 at 9:50 am by Matt Knott in Bird News

Saturday 3rd December 2016

Exminster Marshes

On a grey Blustery day there was plenty to see at the Marshes, a lot has already been mentioned except for 20+ Fieldfare and 100+ Redwings working their way through the berry bushes, don't think there will be much left for the Waxwings if they ever arrive!!

Redwing
Redwing

Posted December 3rd, 2016 at 7:55 pm by simon thurgood in Bird News

Mouth of Taw & Torridge Estuary

 19 Eider this morning diving for food on the outgoing tide at the mouth of the Taw & Torridge Estuary. Not all together in one tight flock.

Posted December 3rd, 2016 at 6:00 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh 09:00 - 11:15

700+ Black Tailed Godwit, 500+ Avocet, 30+ Dunlin, Snipe, 20+ Bar Tailed Godwit, 3 Common Gull, Pintail and a Peregrine over.

Posted December 3rd, 2016 at 4:47 pm by Simon Bates in Bird News

Red Kite

A Red Kite quartering the Sports Field across the road from Braunton Academy at 14.00hrs today. Only about 10m. above ground level  and looking intently downwards.  I couldn't stop because of traffic, but the bird wasn't bothered by several people moving about beneath it.  Shades of the urban Kites we had  in Newbury, Berkshire!

Posted December 3rd, 2016 at 4:45 pm by Tony Mercer in Bird News

Velator reserve

Couple of Chiffchaffs and at least 12 Bullfinches! Late on I was clearing some brambles and gave up at about 4  - too cold! Looked out and saw what looked  like a House Martin flying along the western edge of the reserve. However closer inspection revealed a Swallow with a slightly truncated tail. As I got back to the river it had followed me and hawked up and down under both bridges for a while. I see it was seen earlier too! First time I've seen a Swallow in December.

Posted December 3rd, 2016 at 4:41 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Labrador Bay ~ Dawlish Warren ~ Exminster Marsh

Labrador Bends ~ Eight Cirl Buntings all in and on the hedge below the entrance area of the car park.

Dawlish Warren Reserve ~ Seven Long Tailed Tit, male Sparrow hawk,eight Wren, nine Gannet, two Slavonian Grebe on the sea, Shellduck, Wigen, Teal, Oyster Catcher in large numbers, Turnstone, fifteen Skylark in a tight flock, five Stonechat, Curlew, Redshank, Dunlin I would estimate well in excess of 1000, 150 plus Brent Geese, Common Gull, Shell duck, Grey Plover, three Shoveller duck and the high light a female Marsh Harrier that flew round the back of the pond and reeds in the area behind the reserve building.

 

On the golf course at Starcross ~ 100 plus Brent Geese, Lapwing 6+, Oyster Catcher 6+, Curlew, Teal 4 +, Canadian Geese 6+, a female Sparrow Hawk passed over the gathered flocks at head height and other than a large flock of Herring Gulls that ignored it everything else lifted in one huge cloud of birds.

Exminster marsh six Barnacle geese seen from the viewing platform in with the gathered Canadian geese which were in small numbers compared to recent weeks. A flock of approx 60 Starlings dropped in amongst the simply hundreds of gathered Wigeon.

Posted December 3rd, 2016 at 4:11 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Velator

Watched a very unexpected solitary Swallow for a few minutes from the Tarka Trail, and a nice view of a Snipe probing for food.

Posted December 3rd, 2016 at 3:03 pm by Alan Denzey in Bird News

Thurlestone / Kingsbridge Estuary

Desert Wheatear showing well on Leasfoot Beach despite the cold drizzle, also a Black Redstart. One Great Northern Diver in the bay. On the way home stopped of at the Embankment Road Pumping Station in Kingsbridge and saw a distant adult pale -bellied Brent Goose off Gerston Pt with 23 Brent Geese.

Posted December 3rd, 2016 at 2:01 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Topsham Rec

Long-tailed duck & 2 Goldeneye this morning.

Posted December 3rd, 2016 at 11:44 am by Martin Elcoate in Bird News

Broadsands

The Siberian Chiffchaff still in the back of the marsh behind the 1st car park with two collybita Chiffchaffs. A brief look at the sea in rough conditions produced 1 Eider, 16-17 Brent Geese in three parties and a single ad Mediterranean Gull.

Posted December 3rd, 2016 at 10:05 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Friday 2nd December 2016

Exminster Marsh

2 White Fronted Goose,not together, Marsh Harrier,Pergrine,but no sign of any Barnacle Goose on Exminster Marsh this afternoon

Posted December 2nd, 2016 at 5:06 pm by Andy Bond in Bird News

Torbay Coastal

A coastal sea watch around Torbay today from the Esplanade at Paignton to Elberry Cove.

The Esplanade gave fourteen Turnstone, three Oyster Catcher and one Common Scoter.

Broadsands on a low tide gave 13 Greater Black Backed Gulls, an unidentified Grebe sp (not a Great Crested) one Little Egret.

 

Broadsands to Elberry Cove ~ hovering male Kestrel, two Herons, one Fulmar, One Oyster Catcher, up to eight Scoters mixed flock of Common and Velvet, one Eider, one Shag, six pale bellied Brent Geese flew up the coast and landed in Elberry Cove and one rock Pipit.

The coastal path at Oyster Bend above Keywest gave a much closer view of the Scoters and a total of fifteen birds in a loose flock were watched for over 30 minutes, several showing clear white wing sections when they flapped their wings and white “dot” facial markings.

Posted December 2nd, 2016 at 4:53 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Goodrington

While checking the Gull roost tonight I counted 8 Velvet Scoter and 8 Common Scoter in the bay also 2 Shoveler, 6 Brent Geese and a Black-necked Grebe. Disappointing numbers of small gulls - just 32 Common Gull their numbers have really dropped off in recent years in Torbay.

Posted December 2nd, 2016 at 4:45 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Chiselbury Bay, Otterton

A Velvet Scoter in with the 200+ Common Scoter flock this afternoon. Two were present a couple of days ago per Doug Cullen. Some video on blog http://creamteabirding.blogspot.co.uk/2016/12/velvet-scoter.html
If you do visit the site, please take great care at the cliff edge as there have been a number of landslides in recent days!

Posted December 2nd, 2016 at 3:29 pm by Chris Townend in Bird News

Mansands

Chilly morning at Mansands. 2 Firecrests with Long-tailed Tits while walking down the track, also 3 Chiffchaffs and the Cetti's Warbler. Off Crabrock Point, saw 100+ Common Scoters pictured.

Posted December 2nd, 2016 at 2:11 pm by Paul Albrechtsen in Bird News

Bolt Tail

Offshore: 2 Great Northern Divers flying west; 45 Gannet, 2 Razorbill.

23 Blackbirds in woodland here. Also: 2 Harbour Porpoise.

Posted December 2nd, 2016 at 1:49 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Wrafton

In amongst the Gulls and Ducks stood about on the ice at Wrafton Pond this morning was a lone, slightly out of place Redshank. In the reserve at least 3 unringed Chiffchaffs.

Posted December 2nd, 2016 at 1:37 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Broadsands today at 8.30

Another quiet day in the bay. Only five Brent on the sea. Though cold and bright still a nice day to be out.

Posted December 2nd, 2016 at 10:51 am by PHILIP L. FAIRCLOUGH in Bird News

Thursday 1st December 2016

Purple Sandpiper Maer Rocks Exmouth

Had great views of 5 Purple Sandpipers today at Low tide. Weather was perfect

Purple Sandpiper in the sun

5 Purple Sandpiper

Great views

Posted December 1st, 2016 at 11:04 pm by Derek Carter in Bird News

Colaton Raleigh Common

The Great Grey Shrike was seen on Colaton Raleigh Common this morning - information passed to me by a reliable dog walking friend

Posted December 1st, 2016 at 8:23 pm by Rupert Ormerod in Bird News

Broadsands

A Siberian Chiffchaff was present in the back of the 1st car park today with at least 2 collybita type chiffchaffs.

On the sea: 4 Velvet Scoter, 8 Common Scoter, 14 Brent Geese, 1 Eider, 1 Red-necked Grebe, 3 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Black-necked Grebe, 12 Red-throated Divers, 2 Great Northern Divers.

 Sibe Chiff Brdsnds 011216 ML 2 Sibe Chiff Brdsnds 011216 ML 

Siberian Chiffchaff 'tristis' Broadsands 1 Dec 2016

Posted December 1st, 2016 at 1:52 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Exminister Marsh

An early morning look as the mist rose from frozen ground. 10 Barnacle Geese still, 250 Brent Geese, 1000+ Wigeon, 150 Curlew, 50 Lapwing, male Tufted in one of the dykes, Kingfisher and best of all a Merlin flew through. 

Posted December 1st, 2016 at 12:44 pm by Steve Cox in Bird News

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