Devon Bird Sightings from 15th–21st January 2017

Devon Birds Records Committee

After serving as a member of the Committee for five years, Chris Townend will be standing down at the end of June 2018. Chris, who leads wildlife watching holidays through his own company 'Wise Birding', has been an active member of the Committee, and his consistently pragmatic approach to assessing records has proved invaluable. The Society would like to thank him for his contribution over the past five years and wish him well in the future.

A formal application to fill the vacancy has been received from Andrew Smith, from Buckfastleigh, which is supported by members of the Committee. Andy has been birding for over forty years and moving to Devon in 2015, Andy has since explored the County, regularly visiting Soar and South Huish during migration, whilst more locally he spends his time and surveying at Hembury and Holne Woods.

Over the last 20 years Andy has led over 130 bird and natural history tours, mainly for Naturetrek. His experience and knowledge from birdwatching in over 50 countries including much of the Western Palearctic will be especially useful to Devon Birds and the Records Committee.

Unless the County Recorder receives any other applications before 15th April 2018, Andy will be formally elected to fill the vacancy for a five year period.

For more information and/or an application form please contact: Kevin Rylands, County Recorder. Email:

Posted February 21st at 11:01 am by Mike Daniels in General Birding


If you follow our Blog but are not currently a member of Devon Birds please consider joining Devon Birds to help us 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 by George & Julia Harris in General Birding

Sightings Page Changes

Acting on comments to Devon Birds some changes have been made to this page. To the right of this header post you'll see there are now several subjects for you to choose to read and post on. Just click your chosen subject and use as previously.

Please be careful not to post under the wrong subject. If you do, you can still easily go back to edit and change the subject yourself so it appears on the right page.

Please try and keep posts short, particularly in the Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts page. Photographs are still very welcome.  

For help with ID email photos to

Posted June 30th, 2016 at 9:24 pm by George & Julia Harris in General Birding

Saturday 21st January 2017

Matford Pond

American Wigeon male still present with 220 Wigeon, 32 Teal and 6 Shoveler.

Posted January 21st, 2017 at 9:30 pm by Steve Cox in General Birding

New Bridge Barnstaple

Loads of Curlew, Oystercatcher, Black-tailed Godwit, Herring Gull and Black -headed Gulls. as well as 30 Cormorants, 30 Dunlin, 12 Sanderling, 6 Grey Plover, 14 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 5 greater Black-backed Gulls, 3 Common Gulls.

Posted January 21st, 2017 at 9:18 pm by Benjamin Rousseau in General Birding


Yellow-browed warbler still at the Rec, also 1 Goldeneye, 9 Ringed plovers and a possible argentatus Herring gull. 4 Goldeneye from the viewing platform.

Posted January 21st, 2017 at 7:34 pm by Martin Elcoate in General Birding

Plym Estuary

A Jack Snipe and a count of 127 Dunlins were today's highlights. Also: Ringed Plover 2, Greenshank 4, Wigeon 5, Little Grebe 4, Kingfisher, Oystercatcher 5, Curlew 37, Shelduck 28, Goldcrest 4, Snipe 4, and Green Woodpecker.

Posted January 21st, 2017 at 5:09 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

purple sandpipers

pity about the light today as 7 purple sandpipers showing really well at maer rocks exmouth

Posted January 21st, 2017 at 4:48 pm by gray clements in General Birding

Waxwings at Heathfield

This afternoon around 2:30pm there were still 13 Waxwings across dual carriageway from BCT showing well, best viewed from footpath BCT side of dual carriageway

Posted January 21st, 2017 at 4:23 pm by Mike Goss in General Birding

Lower Tamar Lake

Sightings for Lower Tamar Lake  this morning
2 Willow Tits together on the car park feeders also a Marsh Tit and 1 Willow Tit at the Hide, 1 Little Egret, 19 Tufted Duck, 25 Goosander, 2 Grey Heron, 2 Nuthatch, 2 Snipe, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 10 Coot.

Posted January 21st, 2017 at 1:51 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

Torbay Scoters

Two flocks of Common Scoters off of Torbay this morning as viewed from Sharkham Point, Brixham one flock of a counted 87 a long way off and closer to Berry Head in company with a solitary Guillemot.

Five Gannet, one Fulmar in St Marys bay

Between Sharkham Point and Mansands a flock of a counted 167 Common Scoter given the rise and fall of the sea unable to be 100% sure if the reported Surf Scoter was in with the larger flock.

Early yesterday morning a Yellow Browed Warbler with a handful of Goldcrest on the Island at South Brent.


Posted January 21st, 2017 at 1:12 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding


Another week chalked up for the Yellow-browed warbler, still cavorting at the sewage works in the company of 2 chiffchaffs and a goldcrest.

Posted January 21st, 2017 at 11:42 am by Henry Trollope in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Friday 20th January 2017

Ludwell Valley Park, Exeter

A lunchtime walk produced single Dipper, Grey wagtail, Kingfisher and Siskin.

Posted January 20th, 2017 at 10:56 pm by Martin Elcoate in General Birding


0ne of 18 crossbills today at holdon forest today

Posted January 20th, 2017 at 10:42 pm by gray clements in General Birding

Crossbills at Sousssons 20 January 2017

At least 3 male and 4 female Common Crossbills at Soussons this afternoon. No sign of Great Grey Shrike. 

Male and female Common CrossbillMale and female Common Crossbills
Male and female Common Crossbills

Posted January 20th, 2017 at 7:58 pm by Bob Telford in General Birding

Plym Estuary / Saltram

Visited today in a cold but sunny climate.

On the Estuary: 1 Greenshank, 40 ish Redshank, 6 Oystercatchers, 10 Curlew, Gulls various, 20 Canadas and about a dozen Shelduck. Highlight was a pair (m & f) of Shovellers and a Kingfisher.

River Plym: Heron, 2 Sandpipers and a Little Egret

Longbridge Road (River Plym): M & F Kingfisher, 1 Goldcrest.

Posted January 20th, 2017 at 7:17 pm by Michael Spencer in General Birding

Matford Lake

9am Friday 20th January

Male American Wigeon with Wigeon flock. Mallard, Gadwall and Teal also present and 30+ Black tailed Godwit

Posted January 20th, 2017 at 4:00 pm by Adam Davison in General Birding

Male Scaup at Mudbank Exmouth

The Male Scaup which has been seen off Mudbank came ashore on the high tide this lunch time. Great views with the full sun on its back. 10 Pairs of Pintail several Widgeon, and plenty of other waders along the shoreline.

Scaup showed well at Mudbank  Pintail  widgeon
Scaup showed well at Mudbank                                  Pintail                                          wigeon

Posted January 20th, 2017 at 2:45 pm by Derek Carter in General Birding

Teigngrace - Waxwings

Still 11 Waxwings this morning alongside the A38 opposite BCT

Posted January 20th, 2017 at 12:09 pm by Mark Bailey in General Birding

Sharkham Point Brixham

The imm drake Surf Scoter again failrly close, just south of headland view able from benches at top of head. with approx 300 Common Scoter. It's moulting quite quickly see below:

Scoter flock Sharkham   imm drake Surf Scoter Sharkham 20 Jan 2017 ML

Posted January 20th, 2017 at 10:42 am by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


Yesterday afternoon (19th) while driving from Bude, I spotted a dozen or so waxwings flying high from tree to tree in gardens just outside Holsworthy.  Leapt out of the car and snapped a couple shots – not pin sharp, but should do for the record, anyway.   Hilary Vivian


Posted January 20th, 2017 at 10:33 am by George & Julia Harris in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Thursday 19th January 2017

Red Kite

Seen circling over forestry in the company of 2 buzzards, Woolsery area, North Devon

Posted January 19th, 2017 at 9:20 pm by Mike Luckson in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Chiselbury Bay, Otterton

7 Eider including a drake close in-shore this afternoon.
The Common Scoter flock still present with 200+ birds and at least 2 RT Divers.

Posted January 19th, 2017 at 7:51 pm by Chris Townend in General Birding

Morte Point

3 R T Diver (my 100th species for this site), 2 Gannet, 1 Guillemot, 1 Fulmar, 2 Raven and 22 other species on a crisp but beautiful morning. First outing here 2017.

Posted January 19th, 2017 at 7:50 pm by Derek Stacey in General Birding


At least 5 seen 3.30 pm side of A38 opposite candy tile factory 

Posted January 19th, 2017 at 4:37 pm by l.goonesekera in General Birding

Exminster Marshes

A short walk in glorious sunshine this afternoon. In Station Road there were 3+ goldcrests and one chiffchaff. On the canal bank 2 bullfinch and at least 3 Cettis warblers with a further two heard elsewhere on the marsh. The marsh harrier put in a brief appearance disturbing the waterfowl that included 14 barnacle geese and more teal than of late. I also saw one water rail. Waders included lapwing, golden plover, curlew, snipe and a few black-tailed godwits - low numbers as the tide was low.

Posted January 19th, 2017 at 4:20 pm by John Waldon in General Birding

Waxwings A38

A small flock of at least 8 opposite Heathfield this morning.

Posted January 19th, 2017 at 9:12 am by JDA in General Birding

Wednesday 18th January 2017


All the usual waders, including Grey Plover, Dunlin, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Bar Tailed Godwits. Also, Pintail, Wigeon, Shelduck, Eider ducks and  Brent Geese. 

There were more Curlew feeding on the golf course, also Stonechats, Starlings and Pied Wagtails. 


Posted January 18th, 2017 at 9:05 pm by Chris Marshall in General Birding


Goosemoor ~ Spotted Redshank, Greenshank and three Snipe.

Topsham rec ~ Yellow Browed Warbler, Kingfisher, Common Gull,1st winter Mediterranean Gull, three Golden Eye.


Cockwood ~ Pair of Red Breasted Merganser, flock of Dunlin.

Between Cockwood and Kenford five Red Legged Partridge.

On the way home flock of 13 Waxwings seen near Chudleigh Knighton.


Posted January 18th, 2017 at 5:52 pm by Steve Hopper in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


Great Grey Shrike in felled area by Golden Dagger tin mine. Also in area: Kestrel, 5 Green Woodpecker, 2 Bullfinch, 4 Siskin, 2 Reed Bunting. No sign of any Crossbills.

Nearby: 200 Fieldfare at Langworthy Farm.

Posted January 18th, 2017 at 5:02 pm by Rob Macklin in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Aylesbeare Common

Small bright birds today

Dartford Warbler Goldcrest Coal Tit

Dartford Warbler                                 Goldcrest                                               Coal Tit

Posted January 18th, 2017 at 4:44 pm by Colin Scott in General Birding


30+ Waxwings sighted this morning, 18/1/17, at 9am on a Cherry Tree in Peter Tavy.

Posted January 18th, 2017 at 3:16 pm by Robin Stanbridge in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Baggy Point

Several Fulmar at the point and 2 or possibly 3 Red-throated Divers off the point.

Posted January 18th, 2017 at 1:06 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Taw nr. Pottington Ind. Est.

Long-tailed Duck was present around 9am on Taw  in line with the Stagecoach depot. Diving on the high tide and quite close in.

Posted January 18th, 2017 at 12:23 pm by Lowell Mills in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Grey Wagtail

Tuesday 17th January at 11.30 am.

Grey Wagtail spotted on rocks at edge of stream near Pure Camping in Nethercott,  Braunton.

Posted January 18th, 2017 at 9:10 am by Martin Waters in General Birding

Tuesday 17th January 2017

Morte Point

All around Morte Stone, 16 Great Northern Divers inc a few Black throated, all feeding well on large Launce sandeel.  A flock of 12 Eider in the bay & 1 Great Skua. 

Posted January 17th, 2017 at 11:14 pm by Martin Thorne in General Birding

Long Tailed Duck and Goldeneye at Topsham Rec

Great couple of hours spent with DB at Topsham today produced the normal suspects at Bowling Green Marsh with good numbers of Avocets BT Godwits but the main action was off both the viewing platform and Topsham Rec. Off the viewing platform a Grey Seal catching a fish in front of us then losing it! 3 x Great Crested Grebe, Mergansers, a Male Goldeneye 300+ Brent, good numbers of Pintail and the highlight a Slovenian Grebe showed well. At the Rec the Yellow Browed Warbler was showing well, 3 Goldeneye and the Long Tailed Duck were on view in the river with 2 Water Rail and Reed Buntings in the reed beds. Plenty of Redwings feasting on berries in a private garden nearby, but no Waxwings for us!

LTD LTD Goldeneye
LTD                                                     LTD                                                      Goldeneye

Posted January 17th, 2017 at 8:10 pm by Derek Carter in General Birding


Yellow-browed Warbler again plus a Firecrest at the Water Treatment Works, late afternoon.

Posted January 17th, 2017 at 7:09 pm by Andy Smith in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Sharkam Point, Brixham

The 1st w male Surf Scoter was busy feeding just south of Sharkham Point with 335 Common Scoter and 9 Velvet Scoter (separate from the main group of Scoter). It's just 5 minute walk south of the Sharkham car park and best viewed for the benches that look south from the highest part of the point. Assuming it stays here (wintering scoter flocks have done so in the past) this new location negates the hard hike to Crabrock Point, Man Sands for those wishing to see the Surf Scoter. 

Posted January 17th, 2017 at 6:33 pm by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Brixham & Broadsands

Brixham Breakwater: 7 Purple Sandpipers (4 roosting on rusty pipes under old jetty; 3 feeding halfway along outside wall); 1 Turnstone (roosting with 4 purple sands); 5 Common Scoter (flew in towards Goodrington c. 10:00).

Broadsands: very quiet, both m & f Eiders right up on rocks near small groin on beach c.12:00; 4 Cirls + 2 Reed Buntings (on seed, back of overflow car pk).

Posted January 17th, 2017 at 6:06 pm by David Holloway in General Birding

Lower Tamar Lake

This morning at Lower Tamar lake:

1 Willow Tit, 1 Little Egret, 1 Grey Heron, 11+ Goosanders, 6 Tufted Duck and 4 Coal Titst  plus the 'usual' birds'.

Harvey Kendall

Posted January 17th, 2017 at 2:38 pm by Harvey Kendall in General Birding

Bolt Tail

1st winter Glaucous Gull very close in and headed into Thurlestone Bay. Also 10 Common Scoter & 16 Gannet.

Posted January 17th, 2017 at 1:58 pm by Rob Macklin in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Hackney Marsh Tues 17th Jan

Birds very active today even though it's very grey and cold. Kingfisher on reeds. Three female Reed Bunting. Little Egret. Redshank. Two Goldcrest. Song Thrushes. All the usuals. A stunning Dunnock singing. 

Posted January 17th, 2017 at 1:16 pm by Paul Cowie in General Birding

Darts Farm

7 Waxwings at ten this morning, high up in a tree at the back of the lorry car park, not a stone's throw from the RSPB shop!!

Posted January 17th, 2017 at 10:41 am by Paul Hepple in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Monday 16th January 2017

Slapton Ley

Offshore both Great Northern Diver & Black-throated Diver close in. Also 10 Razorbill,  Guillemot, Kittiwake & 3 Harbour Porpoise. On the ley 24 Great Crested Grebe (3 more offshore), 183 Gadwall, 8 Shoveler, 17 Pochard & 9 Goldeneye. No sign of any Scaup.

Posted January 16th, 2017 at 6:40 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Cockwood Steps - Exe Estuary

On arrival at 3.50pm - the adult Bonapartes Gull seen straight away showing well in flight feeding at the edge of the water , briefly touched down on mud before flying up Shutterton Creek at c4pm until lost from view. The 2 Slav Grebes still present also .  

No sign of the Topsham Waxwing flock near the Bridge Inn at 1.30pm or 3.30pm

 c75 Fieldfare and 11 Red-legged Partridge near Kenton 

Posted January 16th, 2017 at 5:40 pm by Mark Bailey in General Birding

Blackhole Marsh- Colyford Common, East Devon

17 members of DB attended the fieldtrip to the wetlands and led by Bob Olliver listed 47 species for the morning.

4 Gt Spotted Woodpecker were chasing around the car park and one drummed on a power pole.  Water levels were high at Blackhole and c300 Lapwing were present on the islands although few ducks were evident. A Water Rail was seen from the Field Studies Centre and numbers of Wigeon and Curlew were at a distance from Colyford Common hide, plus a single Fieldfare.  The Tower hide produced a selection of Gulls on the estuary(Common, Gt Bl-backed, Black headed and Herring) and a few waders (Redshank and Dunlin), plus 2 Little Grebe.  The meeting ended at 1pm.

Posted January 16th, 2017 at 4:13 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding

Brixham Breakwater.

 Brixham  breakwater this morning 9 Purple Sandpiper, 1 Turnstone and 3 Rock Pipit. All on the old fuel bunkering jetty. Also one small gull on the fishing gear, very difficult to ID.

Posted January 16th, 2017 at 3:57 pm by Nigel Smallbones in General Birding

Braunton Marshes

Great to see 1 Barnacle Goose in amongst a flock of Canada Geese early yesterday morning & this morning - Digiscoped.

Posted January 16th, 2017 at 12:29 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Sunday 15th January 2017

Waxwing and Firecrest

A first light visit to Alphington gave the reported nine Waxwings frequenting Sainsbury’s, unfortunately the light simply did not improve but the birds were so confiding all the gathering birders had good close up views, a pity that some bird photographers had to encroach closer than any societies guide lines would find reasonable or even acceptable.


On to Exmouth later in the morning, a mixed flock of duck just off one of the shore cars parks made up of 14 Wigeon, 4 Mallard and 35+ Pintails, further out and all along the coastal area Brent Geese, Shellduck, Curlew, Oyster Catcher, Turnstone, Dunlin, small number of Godwit and numerous numbers of Cormorant.

As described in a post earlier in the week both Firecrest located in the deep cover behind the cricket ground, in view for some time but rarely showing clearly, in the same area a mixed tit flock including Long Tails, Great, Blue and Coal, one wren and a Song Thrush.

Posted January 15th, 2017 at 6:07 pm by Steve Hopper in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Dawlish/Langstone Rock

3 Common Scoter reasonably close off the east side of Langstone rock (viewed from the railway footbridge) with a larger flock further out. One or two Gannets past. From the west side of the rock looking out towards Torbay, a close flock of around 60 Great-crested Grebes, with more nearer Dawlish, where there was also at least one Porpoise.

Posted January 15th, 2017 at 5:53 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding


One of the 9 Waxwings at Sainsbury's this morning. Can we please follow the photographers guidelines and give these birds some space. Witnessed some bad behaviour by fellow photographers this morning, depressing!!

Posted January 15th, 2017 at 5:44 pm by Simon Thurgood in General Birding

Waxwings, Topsham

Nine Waxwings picking off the last of the hawthorn berries, between Fishers Mill/Clyst Bridge and Dart's Farm c.4pm. Presumably the Sainsbury's nine? Good call from (now top birder) wife Carolyn, who just happened to be passing.


Posted January 15th, 2017 at 4:34 pm by Tim Worfolk in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Slapton Ley

am. Lovely conditions. Selected counts: c35 Great-crested Grebes, c15 Little Grebes, c150 Gadwall, 7 Shovelor, 16 Pochard, c300 Tufted Duck, 3 Greater Scaup (1ad. male, 1imm. male and 1 ad.female - this one not a Lesser Scaup), c10 Goldeneye, c300 Coot. Plus offshore: 1 Black-necked Grebe, 3 Great-Northern Divers, 1 Red-throated Diver, 15+ Razorbills, 1 Guillemot and, in the distance off Start Point, a feeding flock of 250+ Gannets.

Posted January 15th, 2017 at 4:04 pm by Andy Smith in General Birding

Kingsbridge Estuary

Charleton Marsh-Geese Quarries, falling tide 09:15-13:00

128 Brent Geese, 27 Pintail, 7 Great Crested Grebes, 12 Little Grebes, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, Kingfisher, Rock Pipit and 11 Chiffchaffs ( Sewage works ).

Posted January 15th, 2017 at 3:25 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Glaucous Gull

First Year gull. Seen at water's edge feeding on carrion at Roadford Reservoir WeBs count .

Posted January 15th, 2017 at 1:08 pm by Ian Gasper in General Birding


Yellow browed warbler still at WTW early morning.

7 Goosander (2m, 5 redhead) about 1/4 mile downstream of Staverton Bridge.

Posted January 15th, 2017 at 11:57 am by Douglas Stannard in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Matford Pond & Exeter Waxwings

Matford Pond this morning. 150+ Wigeon, 42 Teal, 2 Gadwall, 5 Shoveler, American Wigeon & 3 Chiffchaff. 

Sainsbury's at Alphington 9 Waxwings this morning too. 

Posted January 15th, 2017 at 11:46 am by Steve Cox in General Birding

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