Devon Bird Sightings from 15th–21st May 2016


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

Sunday 22nd May 2016

Prawle Point

Saturday: Seawatch in SSW going SW force 4-5 mainly rain and mist with some dry patches.6am to 2.30pm (TM and PM)

5 Bonxies,5 Great Northern Divers,16 Puffins, 2 Storm Petrels,2 Sandwich Terns, c 30 Sanderling, c 2200 Manx Shearwaters, 31 Kittiwakes  - all west.

In car park, on leaving 2 Spotted Flycatchers.


Posted May 22nd, 2016 at 12:04 am in Bird News

Saturday 21st May 2016

Beesands - spotted flycatcher

Beesands in poor weather this morning. As well as the larger Canada Geese, Swans with broods, 4 Gadwall and several Tufted, there were quite a few small birds showing. Highlight was a Spotted Flycatcher to the NW of the hide. Also recorded a pair of Blackcap, a Cetti's Warbler, 3 Reedwarbler and a Whitethroat. My brother walked to Hallsands and back, adding 2 Green Woodpecker , a pair of Cirl Bunting and several Stonechats to his list

Posted May 21st, 2016 at 11:22 pm by David Pakes in Bird News

Smew N Devon nr Crow Point

JonTurner reported a smart looking male Smew yesterday at Velator managed to show it to Sue ?.  Went home for camera and when he returned it had gone!

However tonight I received a call from Les Scarlett to say much to his surprise he found a male Smew at Crow Point in the ditch near the toll booth and managed to get a photo despite the poor weather.

Smew (male)

Posted May 21st, 2016 at 10:16 pm in Bird News

Bearded vulture

Apologies for the late posting. Yesterday 11.05 - 11.30 hrs, whilst undertaking some fieldwork, I recorded a / the bearded vulture soaring over Cookworthy Plantation, NW Devon. It was mobbed by two different buzzards before it finally went into a long, long glide due west towards Holsworthy.

Posted May 21st, 2016 at 7:35 pm in Bird News

South Huish Marsh. Pomarine Skua

There again today,viewed from the car park at 2.45pm

Posted May 21st, 2016 at 4:12 pm by Terry Goddard in Bird News

Berry Head seawatch

Berry Hd seawatch 05:40-12:40. SSW5 light rain with the occasional clearance. 31 Puffins, 2 Bonxies, 4 Arctic Terns, 9 Common Terns, 4 'commic' Terns, 2 Sandwich Terns, 3 Great Northern Divers, 952 Manx Shearwaters, 3 Whimbrel, 75 Kittiwakes, 4 Common Scoter, Sanderling, 8 Dunlin, 20+ Dunlin / Sanderling, 10+ Common Dolphins, 5+ Harbour Porpoise and Grey Seal. A few Swallows / House Martins and 3 Swifts coming in off sea (includes Mike Langman's totals).

Posted May 21st, 2016 at 3:35 pm by Mark Darlaston in Bird News

Friday 20th May 2016

20-05-16 Warren house Inn - Goldendagger Mine area

Wheatears, Whinchats and a lone Reed Warbler were seen and photographed in the valley, other birds were Skylarks & Meadow Pipits, Willow Warblers, Chiffchaffs, two Cuckoos were heard 1 either side of the valley, but not seen, also a Green Woodpecker heard but not seen.


Reed Bunting
Reed Bunting


Posted May 20th, 2016 at 9:40 pm by Greg Bradbury in Bird News

Hoopoe etc Berry Head

Hoopoe in quarry at Berry Head today noon-ish. See youtube link -;

Also Fulmar in same area and Sparrowhawk. Usual Guillemot , Kittiwake and Gannet in view.

Gannet youtube link -;

Later went to Clennon Valley but nothing new seen there.




Posted May 20th, 2016 at 6:42 pm by Martin Rooney in Bird News

Hisley Woods- Bovey Valley

Wood Warbler and Grey Wagtail (male). Taken with bridge camera. 

Posted May 20th, 2016 at 5:38 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in Bird News


Midday daily inspection: didn't expect much, Canada Geese all present and correct, ditto Little Grebes, hello what's that at the far end of the pond? Drake Smew, ..... what?! Did I have my camera? Had several looks and kicked myself a few times, but clearly no illegal substances involved.

Fortunately, as I drove out, there on the bridge was Sue Bruce, so we went back to confirm, and it was hauled out on the island preening, no apparent rings. Slightly off-white breast plumage, but otherwise a real cracker.

Went up to Exmoor (above North Molton) saw Tree Pipit and Redstart, but no Whinchat or Cuckoo. Returned to the reserve with camera, and no sign of Smew.... 

Looks like tomorrow will be Dartmoor again, could be a crowd!

Posted May 20th, 2016 at 5:21 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Hisley Woods Nature Reserve (Bovey Valley- East Dartmoor).

Reconnoitred this area in advance of fieldtrip planned for Fri 10 June (East Devon Branch Programme).

Treecreeper, Pied Flycatcher, Spotted Flycatcher, Mistle Thrush, Grey Wagtail, Wood Warbler, Redstart, Marsh Tit, Gt Spotted Woodpecker, Siskin and Blackcap all present.  Buzzard, 3 Swift and a Whitethroat on Trendlebere Down.  A nice alternative to Yarner Wood.  Just hope the birds are still there in June!

Posted May 20th, 2016 at 5:02 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in Bird News

BBS results for Finlake area

I did my second Breeding Bird Survey transect for the year this morning in 'my' square, which covers part of Finlake, near Chudleigh Knighton. Looking back over the results since BBS began in 1994 is very revealing, although the main value of course comes when the data are combined with those from the other 3,700+ transects in the UK.

I've found 75 species in total over the years, so it's proved to be quite an interesting area for birds. These have included Mandarin, Hobby, Peregrine, Cuckoo (but not since 2000), Kingfisher, Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Wheatear, Grasshopper Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Wood Warbler and Lesser Redpoll. Though often only single records, these show what patch working can turn up, even if it is only two visits a year. I record an average of 44.5 species per year (range 40-48), but slightly fewer in recent years than in the early years. However, I don't think I can put that down to any loss of hearing, as I'm still finding similar numbers of Goldcrest and Treecreeper! That's important, as most of the birds are located initially on song or call.

Of the more numerous birds, Woodpigeon continues a run of lean years, possibly due to the disappearance of arable land in the square, which no doubt explains why I've only seen single Skylarks in the last two years, compared with 4-10 previously. I used to have 1-2 pairs of Woodlarks breeding, but haven't seen these since 2008 (also principally down to the loss of arable). There's been a big increase in 'horsiculture', which has mostly accounted for the conversion of arable to grass as odd fields have been sold off. On the plus side, there's been an increase in Yellowhammers, notably near stables (a connection I've noticed elsewhere locally).

2016 is the best year for Robin, and among the best for Wren and Blue Tit. Chiffchaff and Blackcap are both more numerous than in the 1990s, continuing a trend which I reckon started in the 1980s (over which period Willow Warblers became much scarcer away from the uplands. A nice surprise was 2 Spotted Flycatchers, which I've only seen twice before, but no Whitethroats for the second year.

Sorry this is longer than other posts, but I just wanted to show enjoyable it is doing a BBS transect, building a picture of bird populations locally, and importantly helping to produce national trends. I would encourage anyone to join in the fun!

Posted May 20th, 2016 at 3:33 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News

Thursday 19th May 2016

Chapel Wood, N Devon round up

Four or Five evening dog walks this week around Chapel Wood gave Swallows, Swifts, Song Thrush, GSWP, Green WP, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Chiff Chaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Blue, Great, Coal and Long Tailed, Gold and Chaffinch, Buzzard, Kestrel, Raven and all Corvids inc Jay, Male Redstart, Spotted Fly, Tawny Owl heard, Woodies and Collared Doves, lots of Pheasants and all the other regulars. A herd of 6 Red Deer, a single Roe Deer, rabbits, two large Hares, Squirrels, evidence of Fox and activity around the Badger set. A group of 3 Red Deer apparently sunbathing at the top of an opposite field and two sheep carcass in the stream with bones missing - but no Lammergeier!

Posted May 19th, 2016 at 5:34 pm by Rob Barnes in Bird News

Berry Head

Hoopoe still there in bottom quarry this morning at 11

Posted May 19th, 2016 at 3:26 pm by Lloyd Gray in Bird News

Wednesday 18th May 2016

Noss Mayo - Hoopoe

We took an evening stroll along Revelstoke Carriage Drive in the vain hope of finding the Hoopoe that was reported this morning. No luck there and definitely no luck for the Vole that flew past us in the talons of a hunting Barn Owl. Also there, three Red-legged Partridges.

Posted May 18th, 2016 at 10:38 pm by Chris Marcol in Bird News


One Red kite over the fields on the west side of Exmister at 19:45 (viewed from Topsham).

Posted May 18th, 2016 at 10:09 pm by Martin Elcoate in Bird News

Pomarine skua - spotted flycatcher

South Huish Marsh 1630 -1830 today, Pomerine Skua , reported by Terry Goddard earlier, still present amongst assorted gulls at back of marsh. Mostly on ground but occasionally forced into the air by moving Canada Geese. Distant photo taken by my brother..On way home, a spotted flycatcher seen in the middle of South Milton village.

Pomerine Skua - South Huish Marsh - 18.5.2016
Pomerine Skua - South Huish Marsh - 18.5.2016

Spotted Flycatcher _ South Milton - 18.5.2016
Spotted Flycatcher _ South Milton - 18.5.2016

Posted May 18th, 2016 at 9:58 pm by David Pakes in Bird News


Dartmoor this afternoon strong cold winds and a far cry from early summer, birders all over the moors on hopeful Lammergeier watch.

At the little bridge over the stream below Dury farm, Bellever, two Cuckoo, two Chiffchaff singing, Swallow and House Martin beyond any accurate count, a pair of Pied Wagtails feeding a single recently fledged chick.

Cuckoo by Keith Male

Cuckoo image by Keith Male

Pair of Redstart with the male chasing the hen around, a Mallard flew up the stream, 58 Herring Gull passing over (later in a nearby field a count of 125), Rook, Dunnock, male Stonechat and three Buzzard.

Just past the Warren House Inn a Kestrel and several Buzzard one of which was almost pure white.

Headland Warren down to Challacombe, nine Wheatear, Meadow Pipits, another three Buzzards, a gent that we met on the road reported a Spotted Flycatcher and Garden Warbler near Challcombe farm.

Back home at South Brent, three Siskin and male Reed Bunting on the feeders and at 6.33pm a surprise with two Hobby’s one behind the other flying over one of my field hedges towards the moors.


Posted May 18th, 2016 at 7:07 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Red Kite Braunton, North Devon

Single Red Kite seen over Braunton around 11.00am being mobbed by several rooks and starlings before moving off eastwards.

Posted May 18th, 2016 at 6:25 pm by David Worthington in Bird News

Berry Head

Hoopoe seen on the south side of headland at 11:15. Intermittant flying and feeding until scared off by dog. About an hour later relocated by ML with myself and Bob Bailey present, this time on the N. fort gun wall.Not seen since.

Posted May 18th, 2016 at 2:07 pm by John Lusher in Bird News

South Huish Marsh

Pomarine Skua sitting amongst gulls at back of marsh (adult) still there at 11.30am when I left. Also 1 Blacktailed godwit

Posted May 18th, 2016 at 1:21 pm by Terry Goddard in Bird News

Tuesday 17th May 2016

Lammergeier Dip

Stuck on the Exe Estuary most of the day, managed a lone Whimbrel and a lovely summer plumaged Grey Plover. Eyes skyward all the time in the hope it would drift over! And all the usual stuff for a low tide.

Posted May 17th, 2016 at 6:56 pm by Simon Bates in Bird News

Black Guillemot Ilfracombe Pier

This afternoon a Black Guillemot was on the water, 300m off the Pier. Also a Red Kite up high, headed west over Cairn. 

Posted May 17th, 2016 at 6:54 pm by Martin Thorne in Bird News

Lammergeier dip

Spent from 09:00-15:30 at various points on S Dartmoor looking for yesterdays mega without succsess, Only highlight a Red Kite south of Bennetts Cross at 12:20.

Posted May 17th, 2016 at 6:23 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Bere Alston - Red Kite

Single bird soaring and hovering over fields today reported by Steph Mason

Posted May 17th, 2016 at 6:17 pm in Bird News

Red kite

Drifting across Portmore golf corrse, Barnstaple 11.15 today

Posted May 17th, 2016 at 4:46 pm by Peter squire in Bird News

Hoopoe - Brixham

Hoopoe in our back garden today catching worms  it was there for quite a while, movement didn't seem to affect him but sudden noise did.


Posted May 17th, 2016 at 2:09 pm by Michael Linsdell in Bird News

Monday 16th May 2016

Bird of Prey - Rippon Tor -in hindsight probable lammergeier

About 0930 - 0945 saw a large bird of prey fly from Rippon Tor towards Cold East Cross / Ruddycleave Valley. The bird was thought to be a buzzard at first but with binoculars it seemed its flight was very slow and more kite like,,,,,watched it at  a distance for 6 - 7 minutes but clearly no forked tail. On circling anticlockwise it showed very long dark wings and tail but a noticeable small head in proportion to e.g. Honey Buzzard - the bird then drifted south towards Ruddycleave / Poundsgate.. As it flew -it's silouette showed arched wings similar to an osprey but the primaries were distinctly pointed upwards, Had another look nearer Cold East cross but resulted in no further sighting  and the bird was no longer visible in the skyline,. Later at home -  a review of birds of prey in the bird guides remained inconclusive , however given the later sighting of a lammergeier to the south of this area - could well be the same bird,

Posted May 16th, 2016 at 11:58 pm by JDA in Bird News

Warren House Inn - Lammergeier loss now found!

Adam Davidson was one of the birders by the Warren House Inn this evening (Monday) looking for the bird.  Sadly he left his Scope and tripod beside the road when he drove off.  Several birders were still present. The Inn says it was not handed in.  If anyone has any news or has taken it to hand in to the police please would they contact Adam  mob 07985 729750 

Adam now reunited with his equipment passes on his thanks to Andy from Portsmouth

Posted May 16th, 2016 at 11:25 pm in Bird News

Challacombe Farm- Warren House Inn and LAMMERGEIER.

18 members of DB attended the fieldtrip to Challacombe Farm organised by East Devon Branch and spent the morning around the farm and valley towards Headland Warren.  Target species found in small numbers including Gt. Spotted Woodpecker, several Willow Warbler, Spotted Flycatcher 1, Garden Warbler 1, Wheatear 1pr, Tree Pipit 1, Winchat 1f, Treecreeper 1, Stock Dove 1 and a Cuckoo (towards Headland Warren). 

The group later headed by cars to Warren House Inn area for lunch before concentrating on the Soussons plantation and valley where Gt- Spotted Woodpecker and a Green Woodpecker were found together with Whinchat and 3(?) Cuckoo.  

Dave Murray who had led for the day stayed on until late afternoon and received news about the Lammergeier  reported in S. Dartmoor.  He informed me this evening that this bird was seen by him and a party from Axe Valley Conservation Group lead by Ian Waite at around 5pm on the hillside towards Headland Warren. Can't believe I went home earlier!

Ed - later reports from those present say sighting was not of the bird.

Posted May 16th, 2016 at 8:39 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in Bird News

White Stork

Spotted Monday 9th May at 8.15am walking around in my field in Broadhempston, Nr Totnes, Devon.

Posted May 16th, 2016 at 6:43 pm by Jan Hutton in Bird News

Red Kite Plympton

Just received a message from Mark Rosser who  was driving along the A38 from Plympton to Ivybridge  at 13:30hrs and had a Red Kite over.

Posted May 16th, 2016 at 6:17 pm in Bird News

Clarification of location of sighting of immature Lammageier

I'm not on twitter but I see the tweets are misleading. The bird was seen at SX670634 circling out over the Bala Brook and then the old Shipley Tramway north west of what is called on the OS the Avon Filtration Station. The sewage works is somewhere different, it slowly drifted north east over Zeal Hill and Brent Moor on a track likely to take it over the road up to the Avon Dam. It was circling low scanning the ground and there are plenty of carcasses out there if it should chance to find one.

Posted May 16th, 2016 at 3:56 pm by Barrie Whitehall in Bird News

Slapton - 15th May

A great Saturday morning walk with the Warden. 40 species seen / heard. Firsts for me were Cetti's Warbler and Reed Warbler. Also Garden Warbler, Chiff Chaff and some lovely Gannets close to shore. 

Posted May 16th, 2016 at 2:52 pm by Paul Cowie in Bird News

Yarnor Wood - 8th may

A great afternoon as there were lots of Pied Flycatchers (10+ that I saw) and also two Cuckoo at the very top end of the wood. Two heard, one seen. Any then a stunning Redstart on the way back down - I never realised how lovely these are close up! 

Posted May 16th, 2016 at 2:48 pm by Paul Cowie in Bird News

South Huish Marsh - Gt White Egret

Great White Egret found this morning at 10.20am by Graham Daw and Arthur Livett and still present at 12 o'clock.


Posted May 16th, 2016 at 1:32 pm in Bird News

Immature Lammergeier

11:35 16th May 2016, just north of Avon Water Treatment Works circling at low altitude, slowly drifting off north east and possible passing close to the Avon Dam, seemed in no hurry to move on, one immature Lammergeier, last ones seen by me in Himalayas in 1979, about 100 in a morning

Posted May 16th, 2016 at 12:29 pm by Barrie Whitehall in Bird News

South Devon Railway yesterday

Totnes: Robin, Mute Swan and  a Mallard with young on the River, Jackdaws, House Sparrows, Blackbirds.

Buckfastleigh: Robins, House Sparrows, Blackbirds and House Martins (setting up home in the eaves of the Station Building). Orange Tips, Green-veined Whites and Beautiful Demoiselles on the River Walk along with a pair of Muscovey, Mallards and a flypast by a Kingfisher.

Staverton: Swallows, Robin, Mistle Thrush & Blackbird. Buzzard overhead. Orange Tips and Green-veined White on River Walk.

Posted May 16th, 2016 at 9:13 am by Michael Spencer in Bird News

Sunday 15th May 2016

Cuckoo's Meldon Reservoir

Not one but two Cuckoo's were seen at Meldon Reservoir today 15-05-16,seemed to be a pair, as they flew off together. Managed to get photo's but these were well in the distance and did not come out well

Posted May 15th, 2016 at 8:50 pm by Greg Bradburyg in Bird News

Loxhore, N Devon

Spotted Flycatcher and Willow Tit (seen and heard) at the Loxhore side of Arlington on Saturday.

Posted May 15th, 2016 at 8:38 pm by Lowell Mills in Bird News


Osprey spotted today at midday near Lee Moor. Had a very good clear view. 

Posted May 15th, 2016 at 8:27 pm by Mark in Bird News

Marsh Harrier ~ South Brent

Dartmoor above Dockwell Farm, South Brent early this morning surprisingly cold with the winds, two Cuckoo calling some distance away, Yellow Hammers showing well, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and Linnets.

At the farm Swallows and two young Wagtails which have been confirmed as Pied and not as White as I reported yesterday

At home around 1pm a hen Marsh Harrier was a huge surprise (apologies for the awful record shot but it was a good distance away)

Posted May 15th, 2016 at 7:12 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Slapton - Woodchat Shrike

Woodchat Shrike at Slapton this morning in fields adjacent to Higher Ley - sadly it didn't go near the ringing nets!

Nik Ward

Posted May 15th, 2016 at 6:29 pm in Bird News

Wood Sandpiper River Caen Estuary North Devon

12:30 as the tide was rising a Wood Sandpiper seen on the estuary along with 6 Whimbrel and 4 Dunlin in full Summer plumage. Plenty of Swifts Swallows and House Martins seen over the Braunton Marshes. Cetti's and Reed Warblers heard throughout the marsh's waterways. Skylarks singing overhead during a very pleasant walk.

Posted May 15th, 2016 at 2:19 pm by Derek Carter in Bird News

Exminster Wood Sandpiper

Still showing well from viewing screen along railway path 10.30

Posted May 15th, 2016 at 12:03 pm by Martin Rooney in Bird News

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