General Birding

2019 Descriptions still outstanding

Many thanks to all observers that submitted their records for 2019. However there are still a number of records that require descriptions before they can appear in the Bird Report.

If you were fortunate enough to find (or see) any of these birds below please could you submit a description to the County Recorder Many thanks, stay safe.

Alpine Swift, Dawlish 11 Jun  Hooded Crow, Baggy Point 10 May
Barred Warbler, Thurlestone 30 Aug Long-tailed Skua, Dawlish Warren 11 Oct
Caspian Gull, Thurlestone, 08 Feb Purple Heron, Slapton Ley 07 May
Caspian Gull, Topsham 02 Aug Sabine's Gull, Thurlestone 14 Aug
Cory's Shearwater, Berry Head 19 Jul Serin (2), Harrowbeer 19 Apr
Glossy Ibis, Otter Est 11-13 Mar Tree Sparrow (2), Berry Head 20 Mar


Posted May 2nd at 3:27 pm by Kevin Rylands in General Birding

Coronavirus update - Daily exercise and Bird Hides

Please be aware that in line with Government guidelines on non-essential travel and social distancing, the Devon Birds hides at Beesands, Fernworthy and Roadford, in addition to hides elsewhere in the County including Bowling Green Marsh, Dawlish Warren and Seaton Wetlands are closed until further notice. Whilst some people may be fortunate enough to be within walking/cycling distance of these sites, others should not be making special journeys to visit these areas at this time. Thank you for your co-operation and stay safe.

Please follow NHS guidelines:

Posted April 16th at 12:04 pm by Mike Daniels in General Birding

Sightings page guidelines & rare breeding bird posting restrictions

We welcome contributions from Devon Birds members and the general public. Please follow the guidelines on this page if you have something to post on the blog, remembering to use the relevant subject.

Please post responsibly, never post details of rare breeding, or winter roosts of vulnerable, species. If you are unsure of what to - or not - to post, there are guidelines on the restrictions  here.

Please note:-

1. That Wood Warbler in probable breeding areas should also not now be published

2.  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all. Editors do this job on a voluntary basis and cannot commit to editing out rare breeding bird information in posts which which include wider sightings. Please help us to avoid the need to delete or not admit posts. Thanks.

For help with ID email photos to

Posted January 8th at 9:12 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding


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 General Birding

Sunday 7th January 2018

South Milton Reserve - Reed Cut

Many thanks to all who turned out today to help with the reed cut at South Milton. In all we had around 30 volunteers from Devon Birds, the National Trust and South Milton parish. Rory Sanders drove the reed cutter and with such a good turnout we kept pace with him this year. It was exhausting work as usual but we manged to clear a decent area by noon when we called it a day.

We will be down at the Reserve for another session on 21 January and hope to have an equally good turnout – see Society News webpage for details. We will again be working the area near the boardwalk.

Nick Townsend

South Milton volunteers working hard
South Milton volunteers working hard

Posted January 7th, 2018 at 6:40 pm by Nick Townsend in General Birding

Bellever Plantation

5 Common Crossbills at Bellever early this afternoon.

Posted January 7th, 2018 at 6:40 pm by Andy Smith in General Birding


On the Ley at least 12 little grebes a nice black necked grebe showing well. Also a couple of peregrines, mistle thrushes and a goldcrest

Black necked grebe Goldcrest Mistle Thrush
Black necked grebe                                 Goldcrest                                       Mistle Thrush

Posted January 7th, 2018 at 5:49 pm by Richard Moore in General Birding

Ford Park Cemetery, Plymouth

Redwings and lots of ringneck parakeets in the cemetery this afternoon. One of the parakeets had a pale blue plumage.

Posted January 7th, 2018 at 5:40 pm by Martin Lavelle in General Birding

Dawlish Countryside Park

3 Cirl Buntings (1m, 2f ),  30-40 Linnets in flock feeding on ground.   

Posted January 7th, 2018 at 5:39 pm by Neil Graham in General Birding

Plym estuary/Saltram

0945-1320  high tide roost:

12 Grey heron, c150 Dunlin, c120 Redshank, 5 Greenshank, 5 Little egret, 4 Little grebe. On Blaxton meadow- 13 Wigeon, 53 Curlew, 1 Common gull, and a black headed gull already in breeding plumage.

Saltram- 5 Stock dove, 2 Buzzard, 1 Great spotted woodpecker.

Posted January 7th, 2018 at 5:37 pm by Alan Livsey in General Birding

North Plympton

Male blackcap feeding in the garden on Saturday and Sunday. On Sunday visited the fat balls and bird cake feeders at least a dozen times.

Posted January 7th, 2018 at 4:21 pm by Chris E in General Birding

Saturday 6th January 2018

Labrador Bay

Large flock of Common Scoters and a GN Diver are the highlights of a seawatch this afternoon.

Posted January 6th, 2018 at 9:25 pm by Samuel Gray in General Birding

Lower Tamar Lake

Sightings for today at the Lower Lake

24 Goosander 13m 11f, 3 Little Egret, 1 Mute Swan, 15 Tufted Duck, 6 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Great Black-backed Gull.

Posted January 6th, 2018 at 8:03 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

Matford marsh RSPB - 06/01/18

Drake American wigeon showing well this afternoon (16.00) on main pool, grazing by the path... Also 75 Wigeon, 32 Teal, 6 Shoveler...

Posted January 6th, 2018 at 7:39 pm by Nick Patel in General Birding

Suburban garden in Plympton

Yesterday visited by two male Bullfinch who were very confiding when feeding on an ornamental shrub in my back garden. This was eclipsed today by four males who were also making light work of the berries on the shrub. 

Posted January 6th, 2018 at 7:24 pm by John Lloyd in General Birding

Holdstone down exmoor

An early 8.30 start didn't provide any wildlife at all until about 10 am. Then 3 bullfinch of which 2 males, Reed bunting in its usual haunt, 1 snipe that flew out under foot a frightened the living daylights out of me and 6 approx stonechat male and female. 

Male bullfinch Female stonechat
Male bullfinch                            Female stonechat

Posted January 6th, 2018 at 6:02 pm by Philip worth in General Birding

Fieldfare, Crediton

At (SX 82602 99745): 11 fieldfare feeding at edge of field along with 6 blackbirds and 2 redwings in 'Cradle Fields', West of QECC school (lower school), Crediton. Lots of blue tits and great tits along Tinpot Lane and down by River Yeo. Singing from Songthrush and robin heard along footpath by river through to Fordton.

Posted January 6th, 2018 at 5:53 pm by Andrew Head in General Birding


Marine Parade, Preston, Paignton, 28 Turnstone including the Dutch ringed bird (Z010032) that has over wintered at that location for at least the last four years

Brixham break water, cold with strong on shore winds making for a very rough sea, Gannets passing low overhead and diving close to the sea wall, Turnstone, Purple Sandpiper and Rock Pipit.

Razorbill and Guillemot in close to the breakwater along with Cormorant and Shag, six Seals hauled up on a pontoon in the harbour and Kittiwake in reasonable numbers.

Posted January 6th, 2018 at 5:16 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding


The adult Bonaparte's Gull off Shelly Beach this afternoon. Also 3 Eider still off Maer Rocks this morning. Photos and more info on

Posted January 6th, 2018 at 5:01 pm by Matt Knott in General Birding

Bowling Green

When I first saw this duck at Bowling green at a distance I thought it was the White Cheeked Pintail but on closer inspection it looks like some sort of Widgeon X. But Iam some expert out there will put me straight!

Eds: this bird was present last winter too, I believe the consensus was just abnormal wigeon plumage?

Posted January 6th, 2018 at 4:46 pm by Simon Thurgood in General Birding


Very quiet along the seafront today but the adult argentatus Herring Gull appeared again on the Plym Estuary this afternoon; also there, Kingfisher, Common Sandpiper, 2 redhead Goosanders and 13 Wigeon 

Posted January 6th, 2018 at 4:36 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Matford Marsh

A cold start to the day here and very glad to have seen the American Wigeon (a lifer for me) showing well on the main pool amongst the Wigeon. There was a flock of 14 Redwing in trees near to the viewing platform, two Chiffchaff close by and a Kingfisher briefly in the hedge to the side of the path leading up towards Makro. Once at the bend in path by Makro, a Merlin flew quite low across the water heading towards the main pool.

Posted January 6th, 2018 at 4:10 pm by Paul Beard in General Birding

Exwick Cemetery Exeter

5+ Hawfinch at Exwick Cemetery this lunch time. At the top of Cemetery on Cherries. 

Posted January 6th, 2018 at 2:25 pm by Steve Cox in General Birding

Red Kite - Barnstaple

A red kite over the A361 near Riverton yesterday (Friday) approx 9:10am.

Posted January 6th, 2018 at 11:14 am by alan craddock in General Birding

Friday 5th January 2018

Penhill salt- marsh

About 3pm, one Spoonbill feeding in River Taw, approx 60 Brent Geese and 30 Canada Geese feeding on the salt marsh.

Posted January 5th, 2018 at 10:06 pm by Paul Bearman in General Birding

South Milton Reserve - Reed Cut

The reed cut at South Milton Reserve will be going ahead as planned on Sunday (see Society News for details).  The weather is forecast to be favourable on the day and the area we plan to cut has remained dry(ish) despite the recent miserable weather.  We are meeting by the treatment plant at 10am and will be working about 400m downstream of the plant by the boardwalk.

If you need more details please call me on 07989717383

Posted January 5th, 2018 at 6:51 pm by Nick Townsend in General Birding

Exmouth - Maer Rocks

A very brief sea-watch at first light for 30 minutes. 10 Common Scoter one of which could have been a Velvet as sure I had a flash of white on one but the choppy sea and distance made if difficult to get a positive ID. 3 Common Eider, too many Kittiwakes and Gannets to count. Several each of Razorbill and Guillemot (or should we be calling these Common Murres now that we are on IOC taxonomy?) heading west. Disappointingly, no Divers that I could see.

Posted January 5th, 2018 at 6:47 pm by Spencer Dicks in General Birding

East Budleigh

At least three Hawfinch this morning in East Budleigh Churchyard. The birds seem to be disappearing into private gardens quite regularly so patience is required. These birds were first seen on New Year's Eve by local resident Dave W and have most likely been around for some time following the odd flyover by those waiting for the Italian type Sparrow.  More pics on


Posted January 5th, 2018 at 5:47 pm by Chris Townend in General Birding

Broadsands pm

Plenty of birds still in the bay between the squalls. Red-necked grebe distant in Elbery Cove, along with a couple of GN Divers, and others too distant for sure ID. Pale immature Arctic Skua on the sea where plenty of gannets diving. Two grey seals in very close, along with a razorbill, and at least 20 common dolphins spread across the bay.

Eds: Suspect the pale Skua was the Pomarine that has been around for several days - Arctic are much rarer in winter and probably worthy of a description!

Posted January 5th, 2018 at 5:39 pm by Simon Cost in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

A long walk this morning produced: Firecrest, 6 Goldcrests, 3 Siskins, Green Woodpecker, 2 Stonechats, 2 Jack Snipe, 4 Snipe, Kingfisher, 2 Grey Wagtails, 2 sinensis Cormorants and the 14 Wigeon still about.

Posted January 5th, 2018 at 4:53 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Instow Quay

Black Redstart this afternoon on boulders to the south of Quay. Exactly the same date and spot as I first saw the wintering bird last year!

Posted January 5th, 2018 at 3:21 pm by Mike Glover in General Birding

Broadsands, Paignton

Broadsands ~ as mentioned in previous posts over the last few days the “bay” is alive with bird life unfortunately during today’s visit everything was well out into the bay and even with a spotting scope identifying some of the birds that were little more than dark and white dots was a challenge.

That said 15 plus Kittiwake, 80 plus Gannet many diving from height, an Arctic Skua sat on the sea where they were fishing and at least two Common Dolphins moving through the same area, lots of Razor Bill and Guillemot, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Shag and several Great Northern Divers present.

Close to the beach a Seal.

In the back car park three Cirl Bunting (2M ~ 1F) three female Reed Bunting and a Greenfinch.


Posted January 5th, 2018 at 3:16 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Southdown Farm, Bolberry & South Efford Marsh

Southdown Farm: 6 Snipe, 430 Skylark, 30 Meadow Pipit, 12 Song Thrush, 60 Linnet, 17 Yellowhammer.

South Efford: 2 Water Pipit, Green Sandpiper, 4 Common Sandpiper, Greenshank, 15 Curlew.

Posted January 5th, 2018 at 3:00 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Thursday 4th January 2018


Still very lively this afternoon with the Red-necked Grebe showing beautifully in Elberry Cove, the Slavonian and at least one Black-necked Grebe present, at least two Black-throated Divers, lots of Great Northerns scattered around, Gannets everywhere and two Bonxies and the (presumed same) Pom still terrorizing the Kittiwakes. Great birding!

Posted January 4th, 2018 at 8:31 pm by Andy Smith in General Birding

Black Redstart, Plymouth

1 male black redstart again feeding in palm trees outside Costa coffee opposite Drake Circus shopping mall entrance this lunchtime

Posted January 4th, 2018 at 6:50 pm by Stuart Green in General Birding

Wrafton Pond & Bassett's Ridge

1 female Tufted Duck on the pond + Lapwing resting on a tongue of the Ridge.


Posted January 4th, 2018 at 6:16 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Hollicombe and Preston, Torbay

Early afternoon, 5 great crested grebes and flock of gannets feeding off Hollicombe beach, plus a raft of 15-20 common scoter well offshore. At the north end of Preston, 24 turnstone, 2 oystercatchers and a little egret.

Posted January 4th, 2018 at 6:08 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding


Hawfinch 1, Male Brambling 1, Five different thrushes plus lots of small stuff.

Fred Yorke and I saw the Hawfinch behind the row of cottages, it then flew into the top of the trees in front of cottages. We couldn't locate it again. Would think it was still there, the male Brambling was coming to the feeders

Posted January 4th, 2018 at 5:09 pm by Barry Rankine in General Birding

River Otter , Budleigh Salterton

A pair of Mandarin Ducks on the River Otter south of White Bridge this morning, found By Ray Hamilton.
Only my second sighting on the local patch, with the last birds during 2012.

Posted January 4th, 2018 at 4:26 pm by Chris Townend in General Birding

Topsham Cemetery

A couple of fairly brief views of 1 Hawfinch by the water tower at the back of the cemetery in Topsham this lunchtime.

Posted January 4th, 2018 at 2:17 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding

Plym Estuary

14 Wigeon still around plus Kingfisher, sinensis Cormorant (ad), 2 Shags & 5 Little Grebes.

Posted January 4th, 2018 at 1:03 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding


A seawatch mid morning from the raised beach huts above Maer Rocks produced 4 Red-throated and one Great Northern Divers (all southwest), 2 Eider and 9 Common Scoter on the sea (plus one C Scoter SW) and many Guillemots, Razorbills, Gannets and Kittiwakes past.

Posted January 4th, 2018 at 11:43 am by Terry Smith in General Birding

Wednesday 3rd January 2018

Hembury Woods

Early am:  1 Woodcock and 1 Green Woodpecker.

Posted January 3rd, 2018 at 11:12 pm by Andy Smith in General Birding


Further to Mark's and Dave's earlier posts, by the end of the afternoon (3.30ish) there were 4 Black-thoated Divers present off Broadsands - by this stage they were working in "pairs".

Posted January 3rd, 2018 at 9:42 pm by Andy Smith in General Birding

Penhill salt- marsh

About 3pm, one Spoonbill feeding in River Taw, approx 60 Brent Geese and 30 Canada Geese feeding on the salt marsh.

Posted January 3rd, 2018 at 8:49 pm by Paul Bearman in General Birding

Wednesday 3rd Jan River Yealm Puslinch

Late afternoon Red Kite flying with three Common Buzzards

Posted January 3rd, 2018 at 5:31 pm by Ashley Crawford in General Birding


Following on from Dave’s post below - the Pom Skua still off Broadsands till 3pm at least. Also 2 Bonxies this afternoon often sat on the sea. 3 Black Throated Divers close inshore together off the first bench - Slav Grebe and Red Necked Grebe and a showy Firecrest in the back right hand corner of the first car park late morning. 

Nearby 5 Purple Sands Torquay Harbour below Living Coasts.

Posted January 3rd, 2018 at 5:29 pm by Mark Bailey in General Birding

Plym Estuary

Three Goosanders (drake and 2 redheads), 14 Wigeon (a good count for here) and an adult argentatus Herring Gull at the top end of the estuary this afternoon.Also Common Sandpiper, 6 Little Grebes, Kingfisher and Stonechat.

Posted January 3rd, 2018 at 4:50 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding


The Pom Skua (presumably the same on as yesterday) was back in Torbay, chasing Gannets & gulls between Goodrington & the mussel beds(12:05 - 12:40 ish).

Also: 1 B-t Diver; 5-6 Gt N Diver (a conservative estimate); the R-n Grebe showed well, close in in Elberry Cove; also a Common Dolphin patrolled Torbay, also entering the cove at one point.

Posted January 3rd, 2018 at 4:14 pm by Dave Holloway in General Birding

Velator sandpiper

As I'm new to the area, is my sighting of a Common Sandpiper at Velator, Braunton (28th December) unusual at this time of year? I understand that more are perhaps overwintering here these days.


Eds: Small numbers winter on several of our upper estuaries 

Posted January 3rd, 2018 at 11:31 am by Martin Batt in General Birding

Cremyll Street

Lovely sighting of a Kingfisher where you queue up for ferry,Plymouth side.New Year's Day at sunset whilst dog had quick swim

Posted January 3rd, 2018 at 12:33 am by Benita in General Birding

Tuesday 2nd January 2018

Exwick Cemetery Exeter and Colaton Raleigh Common


A flying lunchtime visit produced 3 visible Hawfinch I suspect that there are more there though. Not much else but a Common Pheasant was a surprise!


Arrived a bit too late as it was basically dark but managed a fly over Woodcock.

Posted January 2nd, 2018 at 7:08 pm by Spencer Dicks in General Birding


At least 21 Great Northern Divers in small roosting groups of up to 8 birds off the breakwater and in toward the mussel farm this evening. 1 Firecrest calling and going to roost in the quarry behind the Brixham Yacht Club. 

Posted January 2nd, 2018 at 6:27 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding

Teigngrace / Stover / Haldon / Exminster

A Cattle Egret at Teigngrace mid morning with 4 Little Egrets north of road bridge near to where road is closed 

A male Hawfinch still at Haldon late morning by road under pylons near butterfly walk 

21 Goosander (2m) at Stover showing amazingly well on both the main lake and feeder streams 

The Drake American Wigeon relocated to Exminster Marsh early afternoon viewable from opposite entrance to Lions Rest Estate- Egyptian Goose near Turf 

Posted January 2nd, 2018 at 6:12 pm by Mark Bailey in General Birding

Bickleigh Bridge, Near Roborough

13 Mandarin Ducks. 7m,6f.

Posted January 2nd, 2018 at 4:40 pm by Rob Hubble in General Birding

Kingsbridge Estuary & Beesands

Kingsbridge Est: Highlight was Black-necked grebe; Also: 12 Great-crested Grebe, 90 brent Geese, 120 Wigeon, 8 Pintail, 4 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Grey Plover & Greenshank. superb view Water Rail from hide under the feeders.

Beesands: 79 Mute Swan, 3 Pochard, 39 Tufted

PS: Morning at KE ruined by shooters all over West Charleton Marsh!!

Posted January 2nd, 2018 at 4:27 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Velator Quay

Male Marsh Harrier seen at 11.30 am......suddenly appeared from within the reeds opposite the quay, and then flew over the grassed area next to RMB Chivenor, at a height of about 3 feet in the windy conditions.

Posted January 2nd, 2018 at 12:24 pm by Alan Denzey in General Birding

Monday 1st January 2018


A Firecrest in the woods at Hackney Marshes this afternoon.

Posted January 1st, 2018 at 9:43 pm by Will Salmon in General Birding


2 Chiffchaff, Firecrest, Goldcrest and 2Bullfinches at Northam STW this morning. Just down the track a Kingfisher on the pond at Cedars Cleave, and balackcap in our back garden. 

Posted January 1st, 2018 at 8:35 pm by Roger Doble in General Birding

Cackling Goose

Just past Exeter Quay along with the Graylag cross and Mute Swans.

Cackling Goose
Cackling Goose

Posted January 1st, 2018 at 8:24 pm by Martin Rooney in General Birding

Lower and Upper Tamar Lake

Lower Lake
Goosander 10, Tufted Duck 18 Song Thrush 1, Grey Heron 3, Mute Swan 1, Coot c25, Great Crested Grebe 5, Little Egret 3, King Fisher 1, Mallard C50 , Marsh Tit 3, Willow Tit 2, Bullfinch 2, Rook 7,  Wren1.

Upper Lake
1 Kestrel, 2 Redwing, 3 Grey Heron,  (the guns started on either side of the lake which cleared everything)

Posted January 1st, 2018 at 7:51 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding


Lunchtime visit before the wind got really silly. Viewing conditions still quite challenging but Black-necked Grebe, 3 Great Northern Divers and, best of all, a Black-throated Diver quite close in keeping company with one of the GNDs providing a nice comparison of the two. No sign of the Firecrest in the car park but 2 Chiffchaffs and c15 Cirl Buntings were in the fields behind.

Posted January 1st, 2018 at 5:50 pm by Simon Tonge in General Birding


Finally caught up with the Lesser Whitethroat (blythi or curruca) in West Hoe Park today. Also female / imm Black Redstart there. 

Posted January 1st, 2018 at 5:43 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

River Tamar / Ernesettle creek

Year list off to a good start with 38 species, including:-

44 Black tailed Godwit, 34 Snipe, 40+ Oystercatcher, 40+ Redshank, 3 Greenshank, 3 Little egret, 7 Redwing feeding on berries, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Blackcap.

Happy new year everyone!

Posted January 1st, 2018 at 5:15 pm by Alan Livsey in General Birding

Great northern divers, Plymouth Sound

1 near Turnchapel, 1 just off Sutton Harbour this afternoon. Record shot of the Turnchapel bird..

Posted January 1st, 2018 at 4:42 pm by Richard Archer in General Birding

Around Exeter

The last bird of 2017 for me was a Tawny owl calling in the garden just before midnight and despite the New Year’s Eve fireworks it continued to call into 2018.

A mornings birding mainly around the Exeter area gave a total of 66 species the reported Exwick cemetery Hawfinch’s were not overly visible but three sightings of single birds, also at the venue both Green and Greater Spotted Woodpeckers, Goldcrest and a reasonable number of Greenfinch.

Matford in the pouring rain gave several Snipe.

Exminster marsh gave flocks of Golden Plover, Lapwing, Curlew, Black Tailed Godwit, Brent and Canada geese.

Cockwood provided views of the Slavonian Grebe and a Great Northern Diver.

In the lanes towards Kenn and the A38 a hunting female Kestrel, female Reed Bunting and two Mistle Thrush.

At Stover country park no less than 36 Goosander, the most I have ever seen in one place, four Pochard (3 being drakes) around the feed station a surprise in the form of a solitary Stock Dove below the feeder with the squirrels, two male Bullfinch, Nuthatch and Marsh Tit on the feeder.

Posted January 1st, 2018 at 4:30 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Ford Park Cemetery 1/1/18

Nice views of Pheasant (m), Mistle Thrush, House Sparrows (m & f) and Magpies with Crows, Various Tits and the odd Squirrel in support. Sunny day but biting cold windsnot much on the small birds spotted.

Posted January 1st, 2018 at 3:35 pm by Michael Spencer in General Birding

Exwick Cemetery

Usual 4 Hawfinch present at lunch time at top of the Cemetery 

Posted January 1st, 2018 at 1:54 pm by Steve Cox in General Birding


Ring-necked Parakeet flew south over Pound Lane / Scott Drive area of Exmouth at 10:20am.

Posted January 1st, 2018 at 10:39 am by Spencer Dicks in General Birding

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