Devon Bird Sightings: Bird News from 15th–21st December 2016

Request 2021 records requiring further information

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

Wednesday 21st December 2016

Otterton STW / Chiselbury Bay

Two female  Long-tailed Ducks on the sea this afternoon as well as the regular flock of 380+ Common Scoter, 3 RT Divers, 60+ Auks (mostly Guillemot, some Razorbill) and 1 GC Grebe.

Posted December 21st, 2016 at 9:03 pm by Chris Townend in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

The following birds were seen in and a pool at Exminster Marshes: 1 Pintail, 5 Shoveler, 100+ Wigeon, 50+ Lapwing, 30+ Canada Geese, 30+ Teal, 1 Snip, 1 Golden Plover, 2 Mute Swan and 30+ Dunlin.

Posted December 21st, 2016 at 8:45 pm by Samuel Gray in Bird News


2 yellow browed warblers again in Beaumont Park, Plymouth - 1 calling from tree top in centre of park, seen snaffling a large bluebottle fly and having a preen while a second bird heard calling near the lodge.

Female eider off Turnchapel busily diving and being investigated by passing gulls, distant views across the water from Plymouth Hoe.

Posted December 21st, 2016 at 4:11 pm by Stuart Green in Bird News

Broadsands, 21.12.16, c.09:00 - 13:30

Churston Head, 09:10 - 11:30: 3 Gt N Divers (09:20, Elberry Cove; 2 staying together + 1; by 11:30 2 + 1 off Shell Cove/Salltern Cove); 8 Velvet Scoter (09:40, off Shell Cove, then moving further out); 1 Eider (09:30, Mussel Beds). 1 Brent Goose (10:15, off Saltern Cove/Goodrington); 6 Lssr B-b Gulls (09:10, Broadsands Bay.

Car Park, 11:30 - 12:50: 4 Cirls (2m, 2f) 1 Chiffchaff (collybita) + Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Chaffinch & Bullfinch; 1 Sparrowhawk; 1 Jay; 1 Gt Sp Woodpecker.

Churston Head, 12:50 - 13:30: 2 Gt N Divers (1 relocated Broadsands Bay moving to off the Pt, 1 relocated Shell Cove); 2 Common Scoters (1m, 1f,  flying S past the point then turning & landing far out in Torbay) 1 B-n Grebe (off Pt, then Broadsands Bay); 6 Brent Geese (flew in towards Goodrington).

Posted December 21st, 2016 at 4:02 pm by David Holloway in Bird News


Five Blackcaps simultaneously today in my back garden: three males and two females. Very little aggression so far, except sometimes from one of the males. I saw the males together and later the females about a week ago, but this is the first time I have seen all five at the same time.

Posted December 21st, 2016 at 3:04 pm by Jason Smart in Bird News

Plym Estuary/Blaxton Meadow.

Just popped down for an hour to see what was about and noted the following; On the meadow 126 Redshank, 83 Dunlin, 5 Greenshank, 5 Wigeon, 31 Curlew, 7 Oystercatcher, 2 Kingfisher & 1 Common Sandpiper. 4 Little Grebe on the estuary.

Posted December 21st, 2016 at 3:04 pm by Martin Phillips in Bird News

Tuesday 20th December 2016

Waddeton, Torbay

Two Cattle Egrets were reported from the first field just NW of Waddeton hamlet. in a field with black cattle.

Posted December 20th, 2016 at 9:20 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Wistlandpound Reservoir

The Great White Egret was feeding beside the reservoir at 11.30 am today.

Posted December 20th, 2016 at 7:43 pm by Margaret Phillips in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

Marsh Harrier (Female) seen on the Flyover side of the Marsh late morning

Posted December 20th, 2016 at 6:17 pm by Ian Teague in Bird News

Chivenor & Pottington

Our enchanting Xmas Robin at Chivenor was showing well this aft & celebrating the coming of the festive season with a good amount of vocalising almost as if it was auditioning for the Military Wives Choir!

I was surprised to see the Long tailed Duck was still at Pottington. Apologies for the slightly out of focus photo but the light was diminishing fast.

Posted December 20th, 2016 at 5:56 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

East to West Soar

Highlight was a Merlin over the airfield. Also: 10 Gannet, 260 Skylark, 140 Linnet, 14 Yellowhammer & 12 Cirl Bunting.

Posted December 20th, 2016 at 2:35 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Great Grey Shrike, Soussons Wood, Dartmoor

I saw one great grey shrike sitting on a very prominent perch.

Posted December 20th, 2016 at 1:20 pm by Samuel Gray in Bird News

Stoke Gabriel

One sinensis ' Continental' Cormorant with 5 carbo Great Cormorants on the Mill pond this morning - the usual returning adult.

Yesterday the Yellow-browed Warbler was still around the 2nd weir at Clennon Lakes.

Posted December 20th, 2016 at 11:51 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Monday 19th December 2016

Stover - Water Rail - Pochard - Blue Tit

At the feeder - every type of Tit, Bullfinches male & Female - Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch & plenty of Squirrels. By the hide a Female Pochard Duck and 1 water Rail showed well in front of the hide


Posted December 19th, 2016 at 7:42 pm by Greg Bradbury in Bird News

Cattle Egrets - Teigngrace

Cattle Egret - Little Egret - and a Magpie with the cow thrown in

Posted December 19th, 2016 at 7:33 pm by Greg Bradbury in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh Wigeon

Here a picture from Andy Swash of the hybrid. Any other suggestions?

Putative Eurasian X Chiloe Wigeon
Putative Eurasian X Chiloe Wigeon

Posted December 19th, 2016 at 6:49 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News

Around the Axe

Three Velvet Scoters flying around off Seaton this morning with four Common Scoters. Last seen flying off west. Also today Ian Mc had a Dartford Warbler from the Seaton Marshes hide, possibly the bird reported along the sea front a couple of weeks ago?

Posted December 19th, 2016 at 6:44 pm by Steve Waite in Bird News

Topsham area

At Bowling Green Marsh today on falling tide: 10 Greylags, 2 Pintail and a putative hybrid Eurasian X Chiloe Wigeon (black barring on chest, orangey flanks and large white patch on sides of head), but no sign of American Wigeon.

Impressive wader numbers were visible from the Clyst viewpoint and the Goat Walk, including 780 Golden Plover roosting on mud towards Turf (possibly the most I've ever seen on the Exe and surely the most for some years). There were also over 500 Lapwings, c25 Knot and perhaps 500 Avocets and 1000 Black-tailed Godwits, with good numbers of Redshanks and a Greenshank. A Water Rail was along the reed fringe across the estuary.

A Cetti's Warbler gave good views by the viewing platform and 2 Redwings in one of the seeded fields near the Goat Walk included an obvious very dark, heavily-streaked Icelandic bird (coburni). A Spotted Redshank called near Goosemoor, where there was a Greenshank and another Water Rail.

Posted December 19th, 2016 at 6:43 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News

Chillington WTW.

SIBERIAN Chiffchaff Ph.c.'tristis'.(fulvescens plumage type)  ringed this morning. Also on site 20+ collybita 5 Goldcrests and 1 Firecrest.

Siberian Chiffchaff
Siberian Chiffchaff

Posted December 19th, 2016 at 1:16 pm by Alan K Searle in Bird News

DWT, Emsworthy, Dartmoor

Great Grey Shrike at Emsworthy this morning.

Posted December 19th, 2016 at 12:06 pm by david cawthraw in Bird News

Great Northen Diver Teignmouth

Great Northen Diver just off the pier on Sunday afternoon. Diving over the bar until chased off by jet skis.

Unidentified scoters further out in the mist.

Posted December 19th, 2016 at 7:56 am by Patrick case in Bird News

Sunday 18th December 2016


A Yellow-browed Warbler in Beaumont Park this afternoon with 2 Goldcrests, 2 Jays and a Nuthatch.

Posted December 18th, 2016 at 8:14 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Start Bay / Slapton Ley

Cracking day, great vis for looking at the sea. Present was the Black-necked Grebe just off the Memorial Car Park. Farther out 2 Great Northern Divers, Red-throated Diver and 2  Velvet Scoters. 13 Common Scoters flew south with a male Shoveler tagging along. Lots of wildfowl etc on the ley including Long-tailed Duck and redhead Goosander from the Stokeley Hide. Good to see a couple female Pochards. Other selected counts from the ley included 120 Gadwalls, 47 Wigeons, 5 Shovelers, 160 Tufted Ducks, 2 Pochards , 3 Goldeneyes and 9 Little Grebes. Would estimate 4-500 Coots. Had a look from the bridge last light where there was a Kingfisher and several calling Water Rails.


Posted December 18th, 2016 at 5:41 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Torbay boat trip

A few photos from this morning's boat trip. Notable mainly for the 6 velvet scoter off Broadsands-Goodrington, and common gulls seen in several places.

1st winter Great Northern Diver in the fog. 5 of the Velvet Scoters Common Gull north of Berry Head
1st winter Great Northern Diver in the fog.        5 of the Velvet Scoters                 Common Gull north of Berry Head

Posted December 18th, 2016 at 4:22 pm by Chris Proctor in Bird News


At least 3 Cattle Egrets in the field with the cattle and solar panels this afternoon.

Posted December 18th, 2016 at 4:19 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Thurlestone Bay

After a foggy start, the sun warmed our bones as we stood on Leas Foot Beach. We quickly located the Desert Wheatear, who posed for his selfie (again) followed by the flighty Black Redstart. A trundle round South Huish Marsh didn't produce anything out of the ordinary, but I did manage to creep up on a lovely sunbathing buzzard.

Black Redstart The famous Desert Wheatear Buzzard
Black Redstart                                The famous Desert Wheatear                                       Buzzard

Posted December 18th, 2016 at 3:55 pm by stephanie murphy in Bird News

Torbay Boat Trip

Just adding to Simon's report the large numbers of Guillemots on the cliffs of the colony at Berry Head, 800+. 5 Common Gull and 20 + Fulmar in Torbay. very atmospheric with the mist in the bay but a good trip. 

Next trip Sunday 8th Jan 2017. if interested call 07866202576.

Posted December 18th, 2016 at 3:32 pm by Nigel Smallbones in Bird News

Weare Giffard

2 Cattle Egret early afternoon in field by entrance to Barton Farm

Posted December 18th, 2016 at 3:20 pm by Roger Doble in Bird News

Torbay boat trip

Had a great trip out with Nigel around Torbay, saw some great birds the best being 6 Velvet Scoters and 6 Great Northern Divers, 11 Dark-Bellied Brent Geese, 1 Eider and 8 sightings of Harbour Porpoise that came close to the boat.

Great Northern Diver  Velvet Scoter
Great Northern Diver                                                                           Velvet Scoter

Posted December 18th, 2016 at 3:19 pm by Simon Thurgood in Bird News

Velator and Wrafton

On Wrafton Pond this morning a male Pochard and a pair of Gadwall.

In the reserve, a Kingfisher flew around the pond and landed briefly on a reed stem. 2 Water Rails (one seen) Chiffchaff, Goldcrest and the usual FInches and Tits. Outside the reserve a pair of Stonechats and a few more Meadow Pipits today and with them, a Water Pipit.

On the  scrape both Redshank and Black-tailed Godwit.

Posted December 18th, 2016 at 1:37 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Barnacle Geese Exminster Marshes

This is a correction to an old post.  On 24 November 2016 I posted that 24 Barnacle Geese landed on Exminster Marshes.  I am at last checking and processing all my photos from that 'flood week' on Exminster and I can now see it was actually 25.  I will submit this on the Devon Record Sheet to correct.

25 Barnacle Geese 24.11.16 Exminster Marshes
25 Barnacle Geese 24.11.16 Exminster Marshes

Posted December 18th, 2016 at 11:51 am by Jo King in Bird News

Occombe Farm

Early morning walk around Occombe proved quite fruitful. Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Green Woodpecker, 3 Goldcrest, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, a Chiffchaff, several Wren, 5 Robins, good numbers of Blue Tit & Great Tit. Jackdaws, Rooks & Carrion Crow all feeding in one field, a Song Thrush and a Jay.

Posted December 18th, 2016 at 10:49 am by Stephen Huggins in Bird News

Saturday 17th December 2016


This morning the Siberian Chiffchaff was again in the marsh at the back of the 1st car park with 2-3 collybita Chiffchaffs. 

On the sea: 1 Black-throated Diver, 1 Red-throated Diver, 5 Great Northern Divers, 6 Velvet Scoter, 10 Brent Geese, 1 Eider, 2 Black-necked Grebes, 5 Great Crested Grebes, 80+ auks out in the middle of the bay.  Two flocks of Common Scoter flew in and out of the bay (8 & 15).

This evening the Gull Roost contain 4 Mediterranean Gulls (1 ad w, 1 sw and 2 fw), 73 Common Gulls in three smallish flocks.  

Posted December 17th, 2016 at 8:45 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News


The Surf Scoter was again off Crabrock Point Mansands this afternoon with 206 Common Scoter, 1 Velvet Scoter had been with the flock earlier. 5-6 Chiffchaffs also feeding in Reedbed at Mansands.

Should be good viewing conditions again tomorrow afternoon.

Posted December 17th, 2016 at 8:32 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Mansands Scoters

Mansands ~ Crabrock point gave a distant view of initially 160 Scoter duck, brief view of the Surf and one Velvet a further 22 flew in giving a total of 182 birds, a Guillemot close to the flock and 2 two Fulmar,

22 Meadow Pipit by the cottages, 4 Stonechat and 2 Pied Wagtails.


A Kestrel perched alongside the track near the car park, duck on the marsh included Mallard, Teal and Gadwall, four Moorhen.

And a very unseasonal sighting of a Red Admiral butterfly.

Posted December 17th, 2016 at 8:31 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

On the pool at high tide this morning - c95 Redshanks, 6 Dunlins, 29+ Curlews, 18 Shelducks & 5 Wigeon. Nearby, 2 Ring-necked Parakeets (1 blue morph) and at least one heard in a different part of the park. Also Snipe, 5 Goldcrests and Nuthatch. 

Posted December 17th, 2016 at 2:52 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Yellow Browed Warblers, Beaumont Park, Plymouth

2 very active and mobile YBWarblers in Beaumont Park this morning. 1 keeping mostly to the tree tops in the trees near the north gate entrance, 1 mostly in the tree tops in the trees in the centre of the park, but both occasionally moving down to the lower branches. Vocal at times and at one point seen chasing each other and calling noisily.

I did manage to get a rubbish record shot of 1 of them.

Also seen:- a female type black redstart, a jay (a first for the park for me), a coal tit, 4+goldcrest, goldfinch, a nuthatch and B,G and LTTits.

Yellow Browed Warbler
Yellow Browed Warbler

Posted December 17th, 2016 at 12:54 pm by Stuart Green in Bird News

Friday 16th December 2016


Noting mention of singing Song Thrushes, one has been singing here in a neighbour's garden for about a week now. 

Posted December 16th, 2016 at 10:33 pm by Jason Smart in Bird News

Cattle Egret, Teigngrace

5 Cattle Egrets sighted in the cow field next to the solar farm.

Posted December 16th, 2016 at 9:45 pm by Samuel Gray in Bird News

Man Sands and Torbay

Crabrock Point, Man Sands: early afternoon the imm Surf Scoter was still present, however, the Velvet Scoters present in the morning had gone, although the Common Scoter numbers had increased to 276 in two flocks (214 and 62). Also flyby Black-throated Diver heading south.

Broadsands: late afternoon. Now 12 Velvet Scoter (11 inline with Goodrington, presumably the 8 have been joined by the 3 Man Sands birds, but also another single feeding off the mussel farm). Also Red-necked Grebe, 2 Black-necked Grebes, Slavonian Grebe, 8 Great Crested Grebes, Red-throated and 3 Great Northern Divers.

Stayed on for the gull roost which included: 4 Mediterranean Gulls (1 ad, 1 2w & 2 1w), the hybrid Mediterranean x Black-headed Gull, 59 Common Culls and c1100 Black-headed Gulls.


Posted December 16th, 2016 at 5:34 pm by Mark Darlaston in Bird News


Ringing in  the reserve this morning was slow going, but rewarded with one retrap and 2 new Chiffchaffs.

When I returned home I was moving some firewood when the beautiful sound of a singing Song Thrush put a spring in my stride!

Posted December 16th, 2016 at 3:44 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Teigngrace cattle egrets

All seven birds present today in solar panel field

Posted December 16th, 2016 at 2:41 pm by Ken Dainton in Bird News


At last, caught up with the Surf Scoter this morning, seen not far off Crabrock (still needed scope) with 3 Velvets and 200+ Common Scoters, slowly moving towards Scabbacombe head. Also 12 Common Gulls feeding off the Southdown side of the beach. Later while looking out of the hide with David Pakes, we saw a hang glider drift over the marsh and spook over 45+ Snipe, which flew around and up and down the valley, but alas not Jacks with them.

Posted December 16th, 2016 at 2:34 pm by Paul Albrechtsen in Bird News

Dunsdon DWT

A quick look in a Dunsdon feeders, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Great / 4 Blue / 3 Coal Tit, 1 Buzzard, 6 Fieldfare, 1 Willow and 2 Marsh Tit, 2 Robin.

Posted December 16th, 2016 at 2:30 pm by Rod Mudge in Bird News

Lower Tamar Lake

Sightings for this morning, 35 Goosander 17m 18f, 23 Tufted Duck, 28 Mallard, 14 Coot, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Mute Swan, 1 Willow and 1 Marsh Tit, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Goldcrest,

Posted December 16th, 2016 at 2:27 pm by Rod Mudge in Bird News

Thursday 15th December 2016

pied wagtail roost

 Was in town tonight in Exeter & noticed a huge winter roost of pied wagtails, maybe over 500 +  in 4 trees alongside Next in the High St 

Posted December 15th, 2016 at 9:25 pm by Martin Cox in Bird News

Otterton STW / Chiselbury Bay & Budleigh

The Common Scoter flock at Chiselbury Bay was the largest I have seen with 380+ birds this morning.
Also 1 RT Diver , but sadly no Velvet or rarer Scoters though. A check of the River Otter Egret roost this evening resulted in 17 Little Egrets, but no Cattle Egrets - Keep trying!

Posted December 15th, 2016 at 6:43 pm by Chris Townend in Bird News


The Scoter flock still off Mansands this morning. At least 6 Velvels and the Surf amongst them. The main flock flew in from Sharkham way at 12:30 to join a smaller raft off the point that had stayed. A flock of Gannets were also active in the area.

Posted December 15th, 2016 at 6:38 pm by Timothy Clyburn in Bird News


One Yellow-browed Warbler still ranging around Beaumont Park at midday today, calling infrequently.

Posted December 15th, 2016 at 6:30 pm by Laurie Allnatt in Bird News

Fremington Pill

Quick visit this pm 106 black tailed godwits,47redshank and one greenshank,no sign of the ibis.

Posted December 15th, 2016 at 6:23 pm in Bird News


All Cattle Egrets and Little Egret in field at Blatchfords Farm. Disappeared over farm to bottom fields at 10.30

Posted December 15th, 2016 at 2:51 pm by Colin Scott in Bird News

Exmouth – Black Redstart

At 10:00 this morning sighting of a female Black Redstart around Shelley apartments in Exmouth

Posted December 15th, 2016 at 1:53 pm by Tom Jurd in Bird News

Wednesday at Fremington Pill

I forgot to post this yesterday . Glossy Ibis showing well at Fremington Pill.

Posted December 15th, 2016 at 11:49 am by David Paterson in Bird News

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