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

2020 Records request

If you saw any of the records below please submit a description to the County Recorder to ensure they make the official record. Many thanks.

·        Bee-eater 03-Aug Wistlandpound Res

·        Caspian Gull 15-Apr Fremington Pill

·        Crane [3] 22-Mar Milton Abbot

·         Glossy Ibis 20-Jun South Efford Marsh

·         Glossy Ibis  02-Nov Seaton Marshes

·         Golden Oriole 07-Apr Fremington Pill

·         Golden Oriole 28-May Weston Mill

·         Golden Oriole [2] 23-Jun Bolt Head

          Grey Partridge 12-Nov Exminster Marshes

·         Leach's Petrel 30- Sep Labrador Bay

·         Leach's Petrel 31-Oct Sidmouth

·         Long-tailed Skua 04-Jul Dawlish Warren

·         Montagu's Harrier 17-May West Dart River

·         Ring-necked Duck Jan/Feb Meeth

·         Spotted Crake 09-Apr East Down

·        Stone-curlew [2] 22-Sep South Huish

Posted June 18th at 11:40 pm by Kevin Rylands in Bird News


At a recent Council Meeting it was agreed that Field Trips (Guided Walks) and Indoor Meetings could restart as soon as Branches were happy to proceed, with all necessary Covid safe precautions in place. 

Full details are now on the website.

Taw & Torridge Branch will not be re-starting Indoor or Outdoor Meetings before January 2022.

Posted April 16th at 11:17 am by Mike Daniels in Bird News


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

Sunday 21st August 2016

Bowling Green Marsh

Viewed 1800-2100 Hrs on the lead-up to the evening high-tide.

From the viewing platform 3-Common Sandpipers, 16-Ringed Plovers, Knot, 4-Black Swans and Common Seal.

From the hide Wood Sandpiper, 2-Common Sandpipers, 2-Little Ringed Plovers, 2-Spotted Redshank, 19-Greenshank, 20-Whimbrel, 16, Bar-tailed Godwits, male Gadwall, Pintail, Barnacle Goose with large numbers Black-tailed Godwits, Curlew and Dunlin. Constant flow of Black-headed Gulls moving out towards the estuary with several hundred hirundines dropping down onto Goosemoor reedbeds for night roost and Pipistrelle Bats along the hedgerows..

Wood Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper

Posted August 21st, 2016 at 10:20 pm by David Boult in Bird News

Ilfracombe Pier

Several Storm Petrels were feeding 100m off Combe pier with more further out. A Dark Arctic Skua & a Peregrine chased off up channel. 2 large Mola Mola & 6 Porpoise.

Posted August 21st, 2016 at 10:16 pm by Martin Thorne in Bird News


4 individual European Storm Petrels flying (strongly) W close in-shore 18.00-18.45; the fortunate survivors of what seems to have been quite significant number swept up the Bristol Channel by yesterday's storm.

Posted August 21st, 2016 at 9:35 pm by Tim Jones in Bird News

Wrafton Scrape & Horsey Island

Quick visit t 1900hrs to Wrafton Scrape revealed 1 x Wood Sandpiper, 1 x Common Sand and a Kingfisher. Moving on to Horsey Island, a mixed group of c25 Greenshank, 1 Curlew Sand, 1 Little Stint, 12 Redshank, 12 Dunlin and 5 Curlew were put up by a juv Marsh Harrier. Also, Kingfisher here as well.

Posted August 21st, 2016 at 8:58 pm by Greg Potter in Bird News

Curlew Sand, Efford Marsh

21st Aug 2016 Curlew Sandpiper in line with front of hide at 0900hrs, with Dunlin and Common Sand

 Eds - please note this site is South Efford Marsh (Averton Gifford) not Efford Marsh which is in Plymouth.

Posted August 21st, 2016 at 7:22 pm by Barry Rankine in Bird News

Bowling green marsh

Watched from 09:00 till 15:00

A good day with my first Goosander a female on the marsh, tried for over 4 hours to try and relocate the wryneck but despite searching it managed to elude me.

A good spread of waders with a wood sandpiper, 3 common sandpipers, 2 little ringed plovers and 1 ringed plover , 1 knot , 220+ dunlin, 2 spotted redshank, 3 greenshanks, 150+ redshank, good numbers of black tailed godwits with lots of juvenile amongst them , 20+ whimbrel, 1 yellow wagtail over, 12+ chiffchaffs.

whilst at the viewing platform a second wood sandpiper flew in from the east and headed towards exminster marsh.

Posted August 21st, 2016 at 6:46 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Exeter Quay

A Swift over canal south of Exeter Quay this morning. 

Posted August 21st, 2016 at 6:28 pm by Steve Cox in Bird News


Osprey flying NW passed West Sanford at 7.15 this morning

Posted August 21st, 2016 at 5:39 pm by Steve Colombe in Bird News


One Swift (presumed Common) hawking with House Martins over Hardwick Wood and Copse Road this afternoon.

Posted August 21st, 2016 at 4:12 pm by Jason Smart in Bird News

R.Caen > Horsey Island

06.30 > 09.30 - During the WeBS Core Count this morning a good number of waders were to be found on the partially flooded Horsey Island. Highlights were 32 Greenshank, 15 Knot, 2 Grey Plover (1 in summer plumage), 26 Black tailed Godwits, 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Little Stint, 3 Ruff, 2 Yellow Wagtail & 4 Widgeon.

Also a Sparrowhawk by the White House.

Posted August 21st, 2016 at 3:07 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Heanton to Wrafton via Caen mouth (Taw Est) WeBS sector

Among an eclectic mix were: single juv Black Tern & Common Tern off Heanton/Chivenor 06.45, 1 Garganey (Sherpa Marsh), 8 Knot (feeding off Heanton), 17 Black-tailed Godwits (ditto), 2 Wood Sandpipers (Wrafton scrape), 3 Wigeon (my first of the "winter"...). Also 2 Kingfishers, 1 Wheatear.

Posted August 21st, 2016 at 2:19 pm by Tim Jones in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

Visiting Bowling Green Marsh this morning with the RSPB Exeter local group, we were surpised to see a Wryneck.  It was perched on the side of a bush seen through one of the gaps in the hedge (first spotted by Dave Turrell).  Unfortunately it flew off (back towards the railway embankment) before everyone had had a good look.

Also on the marsh, there was a Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper and Little Ringed Plover.  Before heading off to look for the Wryneck, Keith Birchall has alerted is to a Goosander, which we eventally found in amongst the Canada Geese. Also of note were a few Bar-tailed Godwit and Whimbrel with the Curlew flock, and good numbers of Greenshank at Goosemoor.

Posted August 21st, 2016 at 2:03 pm by Richard Swinbank in Bird News

Horsey Island, etc.

I expect Rob will post later with his WEBs totals, suffice to say a good selection of Waders on the flood east of the White House. A Whimbrel and a Common Sandpiper out on/over the estuary.

Looking around over the river my attention was drawn to another large bird which on closer inspection was an Osprey carrying a fish, unfortunately, it flew high , then higher and off inland towards Codden Hill, at one point a Peregrine flew near it.

On the Pill near the Toll house a few Mediterranean Gulls in the Gull roost, and 2 more Common Sandpipers.

The two Wood Sandpipers and the Green Sandpiper on the scrape by the Tarka Trail.

Posted August 21st, 2016 at 1:18 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Northam Burrows

An adult pale-phase Pomarine Skua off Northam Burrows at 18.45 (on Saturday 20th) was reported on Twitter last night by Steve McAusland and is presumably the one seen by Rob Marshall at the Skern this morning. Steve sent me a "back of the camera" shot; a nice bird with intact, if a bit tatty, spoons (unsurprising given the time of year and the stormy conditions).

Ad Pomarine Skua, Northam Burrows, 21 Aug 2016, Steve McAusland


Posted August 21st, 2016 at 12:57 pm by Tim Jones in Bird News


Ad pale phase Pomarine skua for 5 mins at 07:20.About to film when it took off in direction of w.ho!.Also juvs little stint,curlew sand,3 sanderling,2 each of common/sandwhich terns,2 black tailed godwits,4 meds 2 ads,2 juv/fw,52 ringed plover,36 dunlin and an ad peregrine.30 min seawatch from w.ho! pier house at 06:15 gave 1 storm petrel,150+ manx shearwaters,6 ganne,distant dark phase skua?.

Posted August 21st, 2016 at 9:42 am by Robert Marshall in Bird News

Wood Sandpiper BGM 20.08.16

youtube vid -

Wood Sandpiper Bowling Green Marsh, also a cheeky Common Sandpiper. In lessening evening light. Little else of note leading up to the high tide but was getting too dark to wait until the actual high tide (birded 7pm - 8.30 pm).

Wood Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper

Posted August 21st, 2016 at 1:14 am by Martin Rooney in Bird News

Saturday 20th August 2016

Berry Head

Seawatch 11.40 - 15.15: Balearic  Shearwater 36, Manx Shearwater c100, Common Tern 11, "Commic" Tern 3, Sandwich Tern, Arctic Skua (pale phase), Black-tailed Godwit 13, Harbour Porpoise 5+ and Grey Seal 1 or 2.

Missed all the goodies reported on Birdguides by 15.45, so look forward to hearing details.

Posted August 20th, 2016 at 9:02 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Hartland Point

08.00-15.00: Gannet 250, Fulmar 35, Manx Shearwater 160, Balearic Shearwater 3, European Storm Petrel 1, Bonxie 2, Kittiwake 4, Lesser Black-backed Gull 35, Commic Tern 120 (in 3 distant flocks). Massive seas, but conditions blown out if anything. Surprisingly low Manx and Kittiwake numbers and few Manx after first hour. Only Gannets continued moving all day. Pretty much everything moving W into the teeth of the gale.

Posted August 20th, 2016 at 6:43 pm by Tim Jones in Bird News

Green Woodpecker

A young juvenile green woodpecker was on the front lawn. Photos taken from inside porch.  Flew off when two people came into the close.  Bad luck because in was getting nearer: we only get a few people pass by in the close.


Posted August 20th, 2016 at 6:15 pm by Rob Jerrard in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

Viewed over the morning high-tide.

Wood Sandpiper, 2-Green Sandpipers, 2-Common Sandpipers, 2-Little Ringed Plovers (juv + ad), Ringed Plover, 2-Spotted Redshanks, Knot, 19-Greenshank, 19-Whimbrel, Yellow Wagtail, Sparrowhawk, adult Mediterranean Gull, adult Common Gull, Pintail amongst the large numbers of usual waders.

Some video footage of all 3 sandpipers in left water channel.

Wood Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper

Green Sandpiper
Green Sandpiper

Little Ringed Plover
Little Ringed Plover

Posted August 20th, 2016 at 4:48 pm by David Boult in Bird News

Sherpa scrape - Wrafton

Managed to find a narrow window in the weather system this aft to digiscope the 2 Wood Sandpipers & 1 Green Sandpiper on the freshwater scrape.

Posted August 20th, 2016 at 4:46 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Wrafton scrape

10 minute jaunt in the rain to see a long awaited Wood Sandpiper and both plus a Green Sandpiper are still present and showing well on the scrape. Also Juv Marsh Harrier over Chivenor/Sherpa.

Posted August 20th, 2016 at 2:02 pm by Rob Barnes in Bird News


Delighted to report that here are indeed 2 Wood Sandpipers, and a Green Sandpiper on the scrape this morning.

Posted August 20th, 2016 at 12:09 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Torbay coastal

At first light this morning a male Siskin on the garden feeders.

Driving through Berry Pomeroy gave views of a Kestrel hunting over the stubble fields. Large flock of Herring Gulls on the wing near Marldon.

On the grass above the cliffs at Ilsham, Torquay no less than 108 Greater Black Backed Gulls and numerous juvenile Herring Gulls.

Meadfoot gave three Rock Pipits.

Marine Parade at Paignton was well worth a visit with at least 11 Sandwich Tern and one Comic Tern feeding just off of the sea wall, 14 Turnstone including the regular Dutch rung bird that over winters at this location and one juvenile bird.











The Terns were being chased almost constantly by Black Headed Gulls that were trying to rob them of the fish they were catching.

Posted August 20th, 2016 at 11:48 am by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Friday 19th August 2016

Bowling Green Marsh

Viewed over the evening high-tide.

Distant views of Wood Sandpiper seen together with 2-Green Sandpipers, 2-Little Ringed Plovers, 2-Spotted Redshanks, 18-Greenshank, Peregrine put up the large numbers of other waders and group of Sandwich Terns flew in and back out again.

Some video footage taken in poor light of the Wood Sandpiper:

Little Ringed Plover
Little Ringed Plover

Wood Sandpiper
Wood Sandpiper

Posted August 19th, 2016 at 11:54 pm by David Boult in Bird News

Kingfisher Exminster

Kingfisher on the slipway at the Exminster - Topsham Ferry, a very welcome  sighting on our evening dog walk .

Posted August 19th, 2016 at 10:23 pm by Tony Dudley-Clarke in Bird News


From main hide early morning one peregrine falcon,one kestrel,one grey heron ,two little egrets and one spoonbill,at least four hundred swallows and house martins with just a few sand martins mainly heading west.A nice view of a knot on the beach before it flew towards Isley.

Posted August 19th, 2016 at 8:29 pm in Bird News


16.30 >

2 Wood Sandpipers on R.Caen in very blustery squally conditions.

Also 213 BH Gull, 10 Med Gull, 1 Black tailed Godwit & 3 Common Sandpipers.

Posted August 19th, 2016 at 8:14 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Prawle Point Seawatch

Seawatch from 7.05am till 11.50 in 4-5 going 6 , wind direction S/SSE/S to SW with rain, heavy at times, the highlight being a Black-Browed Albatross seen very close gliding majestically east at 8.15am.!(No signal from the Point so was unable to alert other seawatchers till returned to the village at 12.30)

Also 2 Cory's ,1 Sooty,16 Balearic Shearwaters. And 2 Arctic Skuas and 1 Bonxie. 3 Whimbrel, 27 Kittiwakes ,2 Common Scoter and 6 Fulmars made up the rest of the cast.

Posted August 19th, 2016 at 7:35 pm in Bird News


Sue Bruce called earlier to say there were 2 Wood Sandpipers on the scrape by the Tarka Trail. I went down and there they were, but I then looked at them again from in the reserve and I think it is one Wood and one Green Sandpiper. Will try to get down later with the scope.

Posted August 19th, 2016 at 5:26 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Berry Head

Seawatch 0630-1545. Cory's Shearwater (0855), 3 Sooty Shearwaters, 62 Balearic Shearwaters, c1300 Manx Shearwaters, Long-tailed Skua, 13 Arctic Skuas, 4 Bonxie, c600 'Commic' Terns (close birds Common), 40+ Sandwich Terns, 2 Mediterranean Gulls (juvs), Little Gull, Common Gull juv, 11 Common Scoter, 3 Swift, 10+ Harbour Porpoise, 2 Grey Seal.

Posted August 19th, 2016 at 5:15 pm by Mark Darlaston in Bird News

Mt Batten, Plymouth 19th Aug

Quiet at Mt Batten after the fireworks. 1 ad wp Med gull, 1 wp turnstone, plus Jersey tiger and painted lady.

Posted August 19th, 2016 at 3:16 pm by Richard Archer in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

The Wood Sandpiper was showing well from the hide this lunchtime. Also 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Little Ringed Plover and 1 Ruff.

Posted August 19th, 2016 at 2:06 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

Horsey Island

18.00 >19.00. Also 1 Little Stint with the Dunlin to add to Tim's post.

Photo - Curlew Sandpiper

Posted August 19th, 2016 at 9:28 am by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Bowling Green

0630 - 1 Wood Sandpiper, 3+ Common Sand, 2 Spotted Redshank, 2 Little Ringed Plover, 7+ Whimbrel, 2 Greenshank, c50+ Dunlin, 2 Greenshank, 3 Lapwing, 2+ Bar-tailed Godwit and 2 Knot among the usual other waders. Also Water Rail and Kingfisher.

Yesterday in Exmouth - Marsh Harrier, 2 Whinchat, 5 Wigeon and juv Yellow-legged Gull.

Posted August 19th, 2016 at 8:55 am by Matt Knott in Bird News

Thursday 18th August 2016

Plym Estuary & Saltram

On the high tide this evening - 104 Redshanks, 26 Curlews, Greenshank, 18 Little Egrets and a Mediterranean Gull (adult winter). Also 2 Wheatears. 

Posted August 18th, 2016 at 10:25 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

R Caen/Horsey Island, Taw Estuary

Superb birding on high tide tonight. Highlights: 12 wader spp on Horsey Island, including 3 Ruff, 3 Knot, 2 Curlew Sandpiper, 2 Turnstone, 20 Greenshank, 19 Black-tailed Godwits. With them 45 Little Egrets, 9 Grey Herons, Teal & Kingfisher. At least 10 Med Gulls overhead, incl. c.6 juvs/1st-w feeding on flying ants, 1500+ Black-headed Gulls on main channel of Taw. Gathering of 300 Swaliows, a few Sand Martins and 1 Swift over Braunton/Sherpa marshes and fock of 100+ Goldfinches.

Posted August 18th, 2016 at 10:10 pm by Tim Jones in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

Viewed over the evening high-tide.

Spotted Redshank, Little Ringed Plover, 3-Common Sandpipers, Knot, Avocet, 13-Greenshank, c500-Redshank, 5-Bar-tailed Godwits, c650-Black-tailed Godwits,  20-Whimbrel, c500-Curlew, c200-Dunlin, 3-Lapwing and 10-Little Egrets. Large group of Swallows moving west over the marsh.

Avocet amongst the waders
Avocet amongst the waders


Posted August 18th, 2016 at 9:39 pm by David Boult in Bird News

Avon Estuary & South Efford Marsh

Yesterday from the tidal road, I noted several small waders at distance down the Avon Estuary below South Efford Marsh, where I noted one little ringed plover,3 dunlin, a couple of common sandpipers and a green sandpiper, but no spotted sandpiper from the hide. So today I walked down the estuary from the tidal road, where amongst several curlew and little egrets, I counted 17 ringed plover. 1 snipe and 15 dunlin.

Posted August 18th, 2016 at 6:44 pm by David Pakes in Bird News

River Otter

At Budleigh late afternoon: a nicely marked juv Yellow -legged Gull in the gull flock on the dried out scrape. A female Goosander on the river. On Otter Head:: 5 Wheatears and a White Wagtail.

Posted August 18th, 2016 at 6:11 pm by David Cope in Bird News

Mansands & Scabbacombe Head

Two Green Sandpipers flying around the marsh and very vocal. Also afew Reed Warblers, Whitethroats and Blackcaps. Later at Scabbacombe, Wood Warbler in small tree and Hobby after Hirundines.

Posted August 18th, 2016 at 3:09 pm by Paul Albrechtsen in Bird News

Wednesday 17th August 2016

Bowling Green Marsh

Lunchtime visit to the hide. Low tide so fairly quiet. 1 Little Ringed Plover and 1 Common Sandpiper. 1 male Gadwall was amongst the Mallards.

Posted August 17th, 2016 at 2:16 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

Tuesday 16th August 2016

Roborough Down, Plymouth

Pleased to say that this image of a Female Stonechat has been chosen to published in the iPlymouth 2017 calendar

Posted August 16th, 2016 at 9:23 pm by Greg Bradbury in Bird News

GWE at Velator

GWE was sighted at Velator at 1930hrs 16/8. Came out from phragmites onto grass to south of the 'pool' for 10 mins then went back into reedbed.

Posted August 16th, 2016 at 8:05 pm by Greg Potter in Bird News

Roborough Down, 16/8/2016

Three Wheatears spotted.

Posted August 16th, 2016 at 7:55 pm by Michael Spencer in Bird News

South Huish - Scrape Reinstatement

The scrapes at South Huish were inspected with the contractor today, 16 August. The contractor confirmed that the ground is sufficiently dry to bring in his plant next week, with work scheduled to start on 23 August.  He expects to take about a week to clear the vegetation from around the scrapes.  If all goes to plan, we will divert water back into the scrapes at the end of August.  The scrapes will take at least a few days to refill, depending on the weather.

Posted August 16th, 2016 at 6:48 pm by Nick Townsend in Bird News

Beesands Hide - Refurbishment Work Complete

Refurbishment of the Beesands hide has been completed and the hide will be open again from Wednesday 17 August.

Posted August 16th, 2016 at 6:37 pm by Nick Townsend in Bird News

Mobbing a Kingfisher at Filham Lake

An unusual sight of a Kingfisher being chased in circles low over the water by a mob of feeding housemartins

Posted August 16th, 2016 at 6:23 pm by Richard in Bird News

Morte Point

GBBG with captured Auk.

Posted August 16th, 2016 at 4:19 pm by Derek Stacey in Bird News

Jennycliffe Bay, Plymouth Sound

On a small rock below Jennycliff, amongst several other cormorants, there was a cormorant with dark back and wings and a completely white underside, which seemed to extend up to its throat and possibly chin. Too distant for a good view or photo, but it was striking, looking at first like a penguin! Stayed sitting upright facing me on a rock for about 30 minutes, occasionally turning its head.

Also yesterday evening there was a juvenile turnstone on the rocks around the Mount Batten Breakwater (where they are letting off the fireworks tonight!).


Eds - Juvenile Cormorants have white underparts as described here; they gradually lose this plumage during the two years it takes them to reach maturity.

Posted August 16th, 2016 at 3:52 pm by Doug Herdson in Bird News

Mount Batten Mon eve

First turnstones of the autumn, incl 4 still in sp. Don't think they're going to enjoy the British fireworks competition this week.

Posted August 16th, 2016 at 10:24 am by Richard Archer in Bird News


No sign of Great White Egret in a brief walk around the marsh this morning.

Posted August 16th, 2016 at 8:16 am by Jon Turner in Bird News

Monday 15th August 2016

River Caen/Taw Estuary

18.30-21.00: 1 Great White Egret on Sherpa Marsh main scrape (18.45), seen from N bank of R Caen, but flew just around corner of reed-fringed channel and out of sight after only a minute or two. Also 1 Green Sandpiper, 16 Greenshank, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 1 Med Gull (ad), 19 Sand Martins, 1 Wheatear, 2 Yellow Wags, 20 Meadow Pipits. And the 2 escaped Chiloe Wigeon still present...

Posted August 15th, 2016 at 9:49 pm by Tim Jones in Bird News

15-08-16 Powderham Estate, Exeter.


Posted August 15th, 2016 at 8:45 pm by Greg Bradbury in Bird News

Berry Head

Seawatch 14:00-15:30 sunny with an easterly force 3-4. 2 Balearic Shearwater (so far this is looking like a very poor year for them), 25 Manx Shearwaters, 4 Mediterranean Gull ( 2 ads, 2 juv/1w), 3+ Harbour Porpoise.

Posted August 15th, 2016 at 5:26 pm by Mark Darlaston in Bird News

Lower Tamar Lake

Warm and bright at the lake this morning, but with enough wind to ruffle the water surface.

38 Mallard, 3 Tufted Ducks, 1 Grey Heron, 1 Kingfisher, 6 Coot,3 Great Crested  Grebe plus 1 juvenile, 1 Little Grebe, 12+ Swallows, 3 House Martins at least 10 Chaffinches., 1 Jay plus Jackdaws and Carrion Crows, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker 2 Nuthatches, Blue, Great and Coal Tits, c.10 Black headed Gulls, 3 Herring Gulls, 1 Cormorant.

Good numbers of butterflies on the wing - mostly whites and a few Speckled Woods.

Harvey Kendall & Rod Mudge..

Posted August 15th, 2016 at 3:01 pm by Harvey Kendall in Bird News

late swifts

Saturday 17th August, South Molton 20.05 17 swifts

Posted August 15th, 2016 at 9:13 am by arthur symons in Bird News

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