Devon Bird Sightings from 8th–14th January 2018

Recent Winter Weather

I should like to include a piece on the effects on birds of the recent severe cold snap (26 February to 3 March) in the next 'Devon Birds'. Please send any accounts, observations and anecdotes to me ( and I will try and compile a single account (with of course, full acknowledgement of all contributors). Please include some weather notes - for instance, here in East Devon it was the glazed frost on the morning of 2 March that did the most damage, covering everything with a layer of ice and forming an icy crust on the lying snow. Many thanks.

Mike Lock

Posted March 9th at 11:52 am by Mike Daniels in General Birding

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

Sunday 14th January 2018

Start point and Ashprington

Black redstart amongst the stonechats in field walking down to Mattiscombe. Flyover of great skua a nice surprise, pod of porpoise bring followed by feeding gannets. Separately their is currently a great starting murmaration in Ashprington, viewable from the church. My approx figure is about 2000 birds

Posted January 14th at 10:22 pm by Henry Trollope in General Birding

West Charleton Marsh and Wareham Point etc

Great morning; low tide, pleasant weather and lots of birds. Highlights included: 2 GN Divers, 2 Slavonian Grebes, 2 Black-necked Grebes, 22 Little Grebes, 47 Pintail, 40 Snipe, 2 Jack Snipe, 150 Golden Plover, 2 Peregrines and a male Sparrowhawk (chasing a Snipe).

Posted January 14th at 9:16 pm by Andy Smith in General Birding

Torbay Boat Trip

Some pics from the Torbay boat trip.

Some of the 16 Grey Seals in Brixham Harbour Great Northern Diver
Some of the 16 Grey Seals in Brixham Harbour                              Great Northern Diver

Posted January 14th at 7:37 pm by Simon Thurgood in General Birding

Bideford - Boode (Braunton).

Travelling between the two places early this afternoon in bright sunshine, two noteworthy sightings: A Short-eared Owl perched on a sapling beside the A39 just east of Bideford, and a Red Kite "cruising" the seaward side of the road between the Braunton Business park and the village.

Posted January 14th at 7:37 pm by Tony Mercer in General Birding

Bideford - Boode (Braunton).

Travelling between the two places early this afternoon in bright sunshine, two noteworthy sightings: A Short-eared Owl perched on a sapling beside the A39 just east of Bideford, and a Red Kite "cruising" the seaward side of the road between the Braunton Business park and the village.

Posted January 14th at 7:35 pm by Tony Mercer in General Birding

Southcott valley , Bideford.

8 Shoveler , 60+ Teal , 70+ Wigeon , 150+ Lapwing , 133 Black tailed Godwits  on Southcott valley flood meadows with 4 Snipe on nearby

Northgate pond.

Posted January 14th at 7:14 pm by Malcolm Shakespeare in General Birding

Broadsands & Brixham

A great day out started with a stop at Bickleigh Bridge, on the R.Plym, where 30 Mandarin Duck.  A dead lamb on the edge of the moor being scavenged by a Robin!

At Broadsands a Firecrest and a Goldcrest in the car park. In the bay several Great Northern Diver with at least two Black-throated Diver (no reds), Great Crested Grebes, a Slavonian Grebe and several Black-necked Grebe.  At Elberry Cove a Red-necked Grebe catching pipefish. But best of all a Grey Phalarope flew into my scope view and landed in the water at the mouth of the cove.  It only stayed long enough for a couple of ooh-aahs, but not long enough for a photo alas.

At Brixham Breakwater, only four Purple Sandpiper, but lots more divers, two Porpoise and six Grey Seal and a juvenile/1st winter Iceland Gull to finish the day.

Posted January 14th at 6:52 pm by Chris Marcol in General Birding

Exe estuary

A good days birding mainly around the Exe today, initially Dart Bridge at Buckfasleigh 8 Mandarin duck on the river, on the A38 opposite Trago a Barn owl laying dead alongside the Exeter bound carriageway.

West Point a huge flock of Linnet with the odd Goldfinch and Siskin mixed in as well.

Darts Farm, on arrival a large flocks of Brent Geese and Godwits took to the air and headed off towards BGM, leaving behind a mix of Teal and Wigeon, approx 40 Curlew, several Redshank and one Greenshank.

Fieldfare, Mistle Thrush and Redwing with a flock of Staring, a female Sparrow hawk came through carrying what appeared to be a Starling. On the arable field good numbers of Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch and Pied Wagtails which were all put up by a hunting Merlin that came across the crop field at incredible speed fractionally above the height of the various crops.

Greenshank and Greylag Geese at Bowling Green marsh.

From the Goat Walk the Exe estuary on a low tide was simply alive with various species of Wader inc lots of Avocet, Curlew, Godwit a large number of Dunlin, a 500 plus sized flock of Golden Plover, Lapwing and Brent Geese.

Posted January 14th at 5:58 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding


Four Purple Sandpipers on Brixham breakwater. Broadsands - Minimum of ten G.N.Divers, two Black throated divers,Black necked Grebe and the Red necked  Grebe was in Elberry Cove.

Posted January 14th at 5:56 pm by Robert Gaze in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Jack Snipe, Snipe, 5 Goosanders, Red-breasted Merganser, 15 Wigeon, 8 Oystercatchers, Common Sandpiper, 2 Kingfishers together, Shag, Firecrest. No count today but still lots of Dunlins and quite a few Redshanks roosting on the pool. So still pretty good!

Posted January 14th at 5:04 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Haldon Pier, Torquay Harbour


2 Purple Sandpipers, 12 Turnstones, 2 Shags, Rock Pipit, Guillemot and Gannet. 

Posted January 14th at 4:18 pm by Paul Darlington in General Birding

Hawfinches Longdown

65  Hawfinches at Longdown this morning. Numbers may be less than the November counts last year but the estate is very large and we cannot discount gatherings elsewhere. Still incredible numbers and important on a national scale. 

Posted January 14th at 2:50 pm by Roy Adams Hungarian Bird Tours in General Birding

Southdown Farm, Bolberry

On the stubbles: 400 Skylark, 53 Yellowhammer, 40 Cirl Bunting & 3 Red-legged Partridge.

Non-avian: 6 Roe Deer

Posted January 14th at 2:32 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Torbay Boat Trip.

First boat trip in Torbay for 2018. Sea state was very lumpy so only covered the Brixham,  Paignton side of the Bay. The day started well for me, as I walked around Brixham Harbour, a flash of blue revealed a Kingfisher landing on  the rails of the Golden Hind and then in the mud of the harbor our resident Redshank. Many different birds in Torbay sheltering from not very good sea conditions. 16 Grey Seals by Brixham Marina, 3 Purple Sandpiper by the Breakwater and now numbers sighted in our trip. Many Guillemots, 7 Grey Heron, 300 + Cormorants,  750 + gulls on rocky roosts and on the sea, 1 Common Gull, 4 Kittiwake, 12 Fulmar, many Shag, Small Grebe sp, 20 + Great Crested Grebe, 1 Black-throated Diver, 12 Great Northern Diver, 3 Brent Geese and a Common Scoter flying by. The Gull roosts would probably given us some different species but best looked at from the shore with a scope. A good trip but sea state did not help!!!!


Still have places for the next 3 Sundays, if interested email 

Posted January 14th at 1:50 pm by Nigel Smallbones in General Birding

Topsham cemetery

1 Hawfinch this morning.

Posted January 14th at 12:12 pm by Martin Elcoate in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Saturday 13th January 2018

Heathfield ~Starling murmaration

Just after 4pm a huge huge Starling murmaration over Heathfiled with an estimated 3000 to 4000 birds low over the industrial estate with a female Sparrow hawk menacing the back of the flock at one point.

Eventually the birds dropped into roost in a group of pine trees behind Sparkworld by that time the numbers had risen to an estimated 6000 birds, a Buzzard swooped in attacking birds perched in the top of one of the pines.

The trees are alongside Canon Road and standing there the noise from the calls and wing beats was incredible as the birds were landing and roosting within 10/15 yards from the boundary fence with most of the birds passing low over head as they flew in.

Posted January 13th at 5:16 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Slapton Ley

7 Little grebes in Ireland bay and another 2 in the small pond by the bridge. 1 water rail on the cut reeds to the right of the bridge looking north.

Posted January 13th at 4:52 pm by Jeff Hacon in General Birding


Pottering about the reserve this afternoon topping up the feeders and took a look out over the scrape to find a Redshank and a selection of web-footed denizens. Later on - 2.45 - took another look just before leaving and there was a Spoonbill. First there this year as far as I'm aware. Drove out and stopped to shut the gate by the bridge when my attention was drawn to a tiny bird chasing gnats at the ivy flowers - bronzy shoulders was all I got before it buzzed off. So probable Firecrest... I can see the scrape from the bridge so glanced over there too - a second Spoonbill had turned up (now 3p.m.) It's now 4.30 ish and I wonder how many might be there now.

Posted January 13th at 4:26 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

West Hill

Flock of 10 Bramblings in West Hill at14:15. Left hand fork on track to Cuckoo Down Farm.

Posted January 13th at 3:51 pm by Martin Littlemore in General Birding

Hawfinches Topsham cemetery

2 Hawfinch between the 2nd chapel and water tower this morning 

Posted January 13th at 2:07 pm by Roy Adams Hungarian Bird Tours in General Birding

3 Firecrests, Millin Way, Dawlish Warren

 3 Firecrests, with a Goldcrest and a Chiff Chaff currently in my garden.

Posted January 13th at 12:56 pm by Carole Leigh in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Friday 12th January 2018

Exe Area

Matford Marsh: American Wigeon showing well.

Topsham Cemetery: 2 Hawfinch & 30 Greenfinch.

Exminster Marshes: 50 Golden Plover.

Darts Farm: 17 Fieldfare, Chiffchaff, 400 Blackwits.

Bowling Green Marsh: 5 Greenshank, Barwit, 140 Avocet, 40 Redwing., 

Posted January 12th at 10:18 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Matford Pools & Ludwell Valley, Exeter

The American Wigeon still on the main pond with 70+ Wigeon. At Ludwell Valley three Green Sandpipers, six Grey Wagtail, a Little Egret and 2 Chiffchaff. The Chiffchaff were skimming low over the water picking off midges, looking a lot like feeding swallows!

Posted January 12th at 9:35 pm by Chris Marcol in General Birding

Ludwell Valley

Had a walk along the Northbrook in Ludwell Valley this lunchtime. 4 Green Sandpipers, 1 Dipper (up at the Topsham Road end), Grey Wagtails, 3 Siskins and 1 Chiff-chaff.

Posted January 12th at 9:12 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding

Greendale Farm

If any Exeter/Exe birders have a spare hour or two, there's a huge amount of birds in the first field west of Greendale Farm Shop (EX5 2JU) along the A3052. I was there this afternoon on a quick shopping trip and was staggered to see a flock of 900+ Linnet! They must be worth a good look through, who knows what else could be lurking there...


Posted January 12th at 7:06 pm by Steve Waite in General Birding

Late post

Slapton otter from Wednesday

Posted January 12th at 6:16 pm by Mave Goddard in General Birding


At Radford Park, ad-w Mediterranean Gull, 7 Little Grebes and a Blackcap.

Quite lively again at the Plym Estuary & Saltram, with 8 Goosanders, 3 Red-breasted Mergansers, 14 Wigeon, 2 Great Northern Divers, 5 Little Grebes, Shag, 4 Jack Snipe, Green Woodpecker, Common Sandpiper, 181 Dunlins, 3 Bullfinches and Siskin.

Posted January 12th at 5:38 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Exmouth Marina - 12/01/18

Walked around the marina lunch time today - rewarded wih sight of female Black Redstart on the verandas of the flats, a Kingfisher & a solitary Guillemot diving alongside the boats at the marina entrance.

Posted January 12th at 3:44 pm by ChrisBollen in General Birding

Westward Ho!

Purple Sandpiper have been elusive at thei traditional winter site this year so it was good to find 3 feeding on rocks just east of Nassau Court this afternoon

Posted January 12th at 3:04 pm by Roger Doble in General Birding


2Water Rail,by the hide showing well for over an hour,goldcrest,GS Woodpecker,marsh Tit coal tit,long tailed tit,bullfinch,nuthatch,treecreeper good numbers of each and wintering well,2Dipper further downstream,song thrush,mistle thrush and large flock of Redwing over Blackmoor Gate. Lovely to see snowdrops.

Posted January 12th at 2:55 pm by john elvin in General Birding

Taw mouth

Late news from Tuesday 9th of a probable Slavonian Grebe (very distant) off the mouth of the Taw Estuary viewed from the head of Northam Burrows. Diving/preening, black and white only visible tones (no browns), black-capped appearance, definitely not Guillemot or GCGrebe, bill not prominent and profile was unlike Diver sp.

Posted January 12th at 12:49 pm by Lowell Mills in General Birding

Wrafton Pond and Braunton

Shoveler, Gadwall, Wigeon and a Pintail on the pond with nothing on the Scrape opposite but some Redwing in the grass. Good attendance of birds on the feeders in the garden at home including the regular Greenfinches.

Posted January 12th at 11:57 am by R Barnes in General Birding

Mute Swans @ Kingsbridge Estuary

3 recent photographs of Mute Swans on Kingsbridge Estuary.  

The first photo shows a Cob drinking what is assumed to be a thin layer of fresh water from a stream which forms a stratified layer lying above the salt water of the estuary in the absence of any wave or wind generated turbulence.

In the second photo (one of a landing sequence) the cob has rounded out within a few centimetres of the surface of the estuary, about to touch down 0.1 seconds later.

In the third photograph, the two pens are taking off ahead of the cob.  The left wing of the lead bird is just clipping the surface, although she was probably the first to get airborne.  The two swans behind her are flying in her slip stream, gaining aerodynamic benefit from her tip vortices.  The cob appears to have gained most height.  By flying low, all 3 birds gain advantage from the 'ground' effect.

Cob drinking from surface freshwater stratified layer Cob greasing his landing on the sea Cob follows 2 Pens taking off 
Cob drinking from surface freshwater stratified layer  Cob greasing his landing on the sea

Cob follows 2 Pens taking off

Posted January 12th at 11:19 am by Michael Woodman Smith in General Birding


Nice flat sea to check over Torbay today: 11 Great Northern Divers, 1 Black-throated Diver, 3 Red-throated Divers, 1 Black-necked Grebe, 35 Great Crested Grebes, 35 Common Scoter, 63 Shag, 19 Cormorant and still plenty of Razorbill and Guillemots.

25 Cirl Buntings and 2 Reed Bunting on seed in 2nd car park and a Firecrest in willows by the small pool between the car parks.


Posted January 12th at 10:16 am by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Slavonian Grebe Kingsbridge Estuary 7 January

Three photos of a Slavonian Grebe showing how its jizz changes depending on whether the bird is fluffing up its wings between dives or appearing to lie lower and more sleekly in the water immediately before diving.  The bill was often held slightly open.

The grebe was observed at a fairly close range (a first time for this observer) and for about 5 minutes.

Slavonian Grebe swimming between dives Slavonian grebe diving Slavonian Grebe prior to next dive
Slavonian Grebe swimming between dives     Slavonian grebe diving     Slavonian Grebe prior to next dive

Posted January 12th at 9:23 am by Michael Woodman Smith in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Goldeneyes Kingsbridge Estuary 7 January

Possibly sheltering from the stiff cold northerly wind on the morning of 7 January, two female Goldeneye appeared briefly right in front of the hide. before flying off inland.  Although the headshapes would appear to more closely resemble islandica, the bills indicate that both birds were in fact clangula.

Female Goldeneye Female Goldeneye Two female Goldeneyes
Female Goldeneye                               Female Goldeneye             Two female Goldeneyes

Posted January 12th at 8:08 am by Michael Woodman Smith in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Thursday 11th January 2018

Musbury Hawfinches

Two Hawfinches in Musbury late this afternoon. One calling and showing from the small car park near the Church at the top of Church Hill (looking south west). The second flew NE over me halfway along the footpath between here and Higher Bruckland Farm. Also 250+ Redwing and 4 Yellowhammer.

Posted January 11th at 8:50 pm by Steve Waite in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Black Hole Marsh trip - E D Branch

On what turned out to be a clear sunny day 17 members were ably led round the reserve by Bob Olliver.  On Colyford Common we had close and good views of about 6 Water Pipit.  A Reed Bunting was seen nearby.  We viewed a small flock of Golden Plover from the hide on Colyford Marsh along with good numbers of Lapwing, a few Black-tailed Godwit and single  Greenshank.  A large flock of Fieldfare were present here.  The sight of the day was around 72 Snipe, which were seen north of Tower Hide on the edge of the reed beds east side of the river.  Total of 50 species seen.  

Posted January 11th at 8:00 pm by Geoff Green in General Birding

Kingsbridge Estuary 06 December

Now back in Clifton, some photographs from previous visits to the Kingsbridge Estuary on 18 December and 7 January.  Birds of particular interest for me included 1 No male Red-breasted Merganser, 2 No female Goldeneye, 2 male and 3 female Shoveler  and 1 No Slavonian Grebe, a species which I have not seen since the late 50's on the Solent.

Teal taking off Male Shovelers taking off Slavonian Grebe fishing
Teal taking off           Male Shovelers taking off                 Slavonian Grebe fishing

Posted January 11th at 7:52 pm by Michael Woodman Smith in General Birding


Finally got my internet back in operation so will be back with the info on the reserve up here. It's been very windy all year until yesterday so got some nets open today and ringed the first 32 birds of the year there. Mix much as before with yet more Blue Tits - 9 - where do they keep coming from! 7 each of Green and Chaffinch, 2 Goldfinch, Song Thrush Great Spotted Woodpecker, 4 Reed Buntings and a fine male Firecrest.

Also present Water Rail Tawny Owl, a few Redwing, Chiffchaff, Goldcrest. Buzzard. Out on the scrape Redshank, Greenshank, and 2 Water Pipits.

Posted January 11th at 7:16 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

South Hams

East Soar:  Firecrest

Bowcombe Bridge, Kingsbridge; 7 Red-breasted Merganser

Slapton Ley: 5 Goldeneye. Superb view of Water Rail from beidge.

Posted January 11th at 5:30 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding


One Male Ring Ouzel with a small flock of Mistle Thrush and Blackbirds in Deancombe Valley between Deancombe Farm ruins and Down Tor, at lunchtime today

Posted January 11th at 4:56 pm by John F Jones in General Birding

Ludwell Valley Park, Exeter

One Hawfinch in the boundary hedge between the field behind the tennis courts and the annual flower meadow (same corner I saw one in December).  Also one Dipper along the brook.

Posted January 11th at 4:36 pm by Martin Elcoate in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Mountbatten, Plymouth

Very calm and quiet, but a Great Northern Diver around the bows of a moored tanker in the Cattewater and an adult Mediterranean Gull on the rocks in Batten Bay.

Posted January 11th at 4:12 pm by Jason Smart in General Birding

Burrator Reservoir

Beautiful morning to walk around the reservoir  - lots of redwings, coal tits and siskins around, 1 male and 4 redhead goosanders on the water, a pair of crossbills flying over and the highlight a female red crested pochard with the mallards

Posted January 11th at 3:37 pm by Stuart Green in General Birding

Teigngrace cattle egrets

3 birds present this afternoon in solar panel field following sheep

Posted January 11th at 2:49 pm by Ken Dainton in General Birding


Great Northern Diver off Mudbank Lane this lunchtime at 1240hrs on the rising tide.

Posted January 11th at 2:32 pm by Terry Smith in General Birding

Hawfinches Longdown

67 counted leaving roosting area on private estate between 0800 and 0840 this morning. 

Posted January 11th at 9:47 am by Roy Adams Hungarian Bird Tours in General Birding

Wednesday 10th January 2018

Braunton Marshes

A sunny day on the marshes after some very wet and windy weather.  Many birds showing well including large flocks of Curlew and Lapwing, numerous Little Grebe, Redshank, Meadow Pipits and Song Thrushes, plus a fine kingfisher on a drainage channel. A roosting Marsh Harrier at 4.15pm was a bonus.

Curlew   Lapwing Marsh Harrier (in fading light - for the record only)
Curlew                                                        Lapwing                                       Mash Harrier (in fading light)

Posted January 10th at 8:07 pm by Martin Batt in General Birding

Newton Abbot

Just needed to escape the office for a couple of hours but not go too far today. Started at the Town Quay, where there were five Greylag Geese, a Grey Heron under the railway bridge and a line-up of Black-headed Gulls  including two birds with almost all brown heads; two Grey Wagtails were flitting over the water here too. Then I wandered round to Hackney Marsh and saw the resident Kingfisher, several Fieldfare beside the race course, Redwing in the trees, a lovely pair of Bullfinches and dozens of Robins and Dunnocks. Goldfinches, Chaffinches and Blackbirds plentiful as well. Later, once back on the Town Quay, I walked beside the River Lemon as far as the footbridge - here by the far bank a Cettis Warbler announced his presence very vocally and I had great views as he flitted down to the water's edge for a drink.

I finished my outing with a walk down the footpath to Aller Brook. Lots of finches and tits here included three Greenfinches - the first I have seen this year. I scanned the river from the bridge over the brook and noted a Little Grebe downstream towards the A380 and a few minutes later three Red-breasted Mergansers slowly swam past - two drakes and a red head. On my way back to the car I looked across the water treatment works and was pleasantly surprised to see a Buzzard perched on top of a water pipe.

Posted January 10th at 6:51 pm by Paul Beard in General Birding


Adding to Rob's post: The Red-necked Grebe was in the Great Crested Grebe roost (best viewed from 3 beaches headland) and the Black-necked Grebe off Goodrington Beach. Bob Bailey also saw 3 more Great Northern Divers a Red-throated Diver and a Black-necked grebe off Preston seafront so a grand total of  30 Great Northern Divers in Torbay!

Posted January 10th at 6:42 pm by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Exwick and the River Exe

3+ Hawfinch at the top end of Exwick Cemetery this morning, wary and mobile but some good views at times.

1 Slavonian Grebe on the River Exe at Cockwood, seen from the train.

1 Long Tailed Duck and 3 Great Northern Diver offshore at the mouth of the Exe from Dawlish Warren, 2 Snipe and a female Shoveler on the main pond and a Red Throated Diver off the lifeguard hut.

Posted January 10th at 5:41 pm by Stuart Green in General Birding

Broadsands,Brixham, Stover

Broadsands: 20+ Great Northern Diver, 2 Black-throated Diver, I Red-throated Diver (Thanks Mike), Slavonan Grebe, 33 Great Crested Grebe, Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Fulmar. In car park: 4 Siskin, 6 Bullfinch, 2 Greenfinch, 11 Cirl Bunting & 2 Reed Bunting.

Brixham Harbour: 4 Great Northern Diver, 11 Purple Sandpiper, I Turnstone. 11 Grey Seals hauled out.

Berry Head: 10 Fulmar, 3 Great Northern Diver S, Kittiwake, stacks of Gannets, Guillemots and some Razorbills. 50+ Common Dolphin.

Stover Lake: 30 Goosander inc.5 males, Pochard, Peregrine overhead, Kingfisher, Nuthatch, Marsh Tit.

Posted January 10th at 5:00 pm by Rob Macklin in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


Lovely blue sky all day.First bird of the day at  Slapton a sky lark, chiffchaff,little grebe, great crested grebe, stone chat, gadwall, pochard, and to round the birds off wonderful view of a water rail, and if that wasn't enough I came face to face with an otter, at 11.20, seaward side of the Lay.

Posted January 10th at 4:44 pm by Mave Goddard in General Birding


1 Black Redstart seen early this afternoon on the tall four storey building opposite Lydl's carpark in Ilfracombe.

Posted January 10th at 4:06 pm by Margaret Phillips in General Birding

Hartland Point

60 Red-throated Divers this morning.

Posted January 10th at 2:58 pm by Barry Bryne in General Birding

Teigngrace cattle egret

One bird in solar panel field this afternoon

Posted January 10th at 2:26 pm by Ken Dainton in General Birding


The Great Northern Diver was again off Exton station this lunchtime on the high tide. Still present at 1345hrs at least.

Posted January 10th at 2:03 pm by Terry Smith in General Birding

Tuesday 9th January 2018

Around the Axe

Lots going on around the Axe Estuary at the moment. This afternoon an adult European White-fronted Goose and first-winter Caspian Gull were new in, as well as the long-staying Glossy Ibis (often just south of A3052 at Colyford where road crosses the Axe) and up to ten Water Pipit showing well (sometimes VERY well) on Colyford Common.

European White-fronted Goose
European White-fronted Goose

Glossy Ibis Water Pipits

Glossy Ibis                                      Water Pipits

Posted January 9th at 9:47 pm by Steve Waite in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


From 15.00: strolling around Newcombes Meadow (town park), Saw 1 bullfinch in tree by St. Boniface statue, ground-feeding blackbirds by bandstand and 3 goldfinches in trees between the Bowling Green and rear of Methodist Church. Couldn't find redwings I'd seen earlier in winter. In Woodland between top of Deep Lane and top of George Hill there were several singing robins and several blue tit alarm calls, crows at edge of woodland and a woodpecker was heard drumming. Walked down Alexandra Road where I saw a song thrush singing from gardens by Alexandra Close. More robins by the hospital. Walked through Cromwell's Cutting and saw 2 fieldfare along footpath to Moorlake where I also heard a male tawny owl. Didn't see many winter visitors today, but lots of songbirds are singing now.

Posted January 9th at 8:57 pm by Andrew Head in General Birding

Cackling goose again

Seems to be following me - today at noon-ish off Topsham Rec also with RB merganser but never together for scale (hence shot with buoy!).

Cackling Goose Red Breasted Merganser Greenshank
Cackling Goose                    Red Breasted Merganser                       Greenshank

Posted January 9th at 8:26 pm by Martin Rooney in General Birding

Torbay - Young's Park

To add to Steve Hopper's post re Firecrests, there was 1 Firecrest  in Young's Park, Goodrington at 1.20pm.  

Posted January 9th at 8:23 pm by Rupert Ormerod in General Birding

Contrasts in the bay

With the waves pounding in on Marine Parade, two shag were fishing close inshore, the usual turnstones avoiding human feet along the sea wall. At Broadsands, a flat calm sea revealed one great northern diver, one seal and several oystercatchers

Posted January 9th at 5:40 pm by p.l.fairclough in General Birding


Great Northern Diver off West Hoe and another 2 in the Cattewater with a Common Sandpiper.

Black-tailed Godwit new on the Plym Estuary, where Goosanders up to 5 (1 drake) and the 13 Wigeon & 5 Red-breasted Mergansers still about. 

Posted January 9th at 2:29 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Totnes and Paignton

Totnes ~ Bowden 10 Little Egrets in the cattle fodder field 5 Pied Wagtails and a Stonechat.

Broadsands ~ Elberry ~ Male Bullfinch, Cirl Bunting by the gates, on the sea Black Throated Diver, Great Crested Grebe, Black Necked Grebe, Great Northern Diver, Shag, numerous Cormorants and one Seal.

Clennon lakes four Firecrest, numerous Goldcrest, Chiffchaff  certainly two but possibly more, several flocks of Long Tailed Tit one of 15 birds, Heron, Little Egret, Teal, Tufted Duck and a Jay.

Posted January 9th at 2:22 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Broadsands to Goodrington

Checking the bay for wintering seabirds this morning produced: 2 Black-throated Divers, 17 Great Northern Divers, 34 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Black-necked Grebe and 2 Teal. Still plenty of Razorbills and Guillemots out in the bay.

At Broadsand 9 Cirl Buntings on seed in the 2nd car park and 1 Firecrest again in the marsh between the carparks.

Posted January 9th at 10:05 am by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

A surprise in Torquay town centre

Apologies for the tardiness but better late than never. Yesterday morning, on the slipway in Torquay inner harbour, shag resting and watching the traffic, five adults and one juvenile.

Posted January 9th at 5:28 am by P.L. Fairclough in General Birding

Monday 8th January 2018

Out and about

Ludwell Valley
No Dipper seen but 4 Green Sandpiper and 2 Grey Wagtail

Stover County Park
20+ Goodander, 2 Mandarin (M & F), 4 Pochard (2M & 2F). On the feeder was 2 Bullfinch (M & F), a Siskin and 3 Nuthatch.

Exminster Marsh
100’s of Wigeon but could not locate the American. However I did spot the Marsh Harrier on leaving.

Cracking views of Slavonian Grebe and a Great Northern Diver. Also bagged a group of C20 Grey Plover and a single Great Crested Grebe.

Exmouth cricket club
Awesome views of a Firecrest on the path at the rear of the ground.

Road to Hayes pig farm
Went to the farm to see if there were any Partridges in the fields but no joy. It was dusk when I left and was stopped in my tracks when in my headlights I came across a Woodcock feeding on the verge. Managed to stop at close range and watch it for a while before it finally twigged it was being watched and it quickly disappeared into the scrub. Best views I’ve ever had as I normally just see flyovers.

Posted January 8th at 11:36 pm by Spencer Dicks in General Birding


Two Black necked Grebes, with a Great Crested Grebe on the sea, close into the beach today around midday. Then back home in Galmpton this afternoon, a lovely Firecrest right by the back door.

Posted January 8th at 11:19 pm by Kay and Gary Deare in General Birding

Topsham Hawfinches

Following Martin's post yesterday I visited Topsham cemetery for the first time at lunchtime.  One or possibly two Hawfinch very briefly in the yew tree nearest the water tower.  Also there 4 Greenfinch and a Buzzard.

Posted January 8th at 9:35 pm by Chris Marcol in General Birding

Plym Estuary

Duck numbers increasing with: 10 Teal, pair of Shoveler, Tufted Duck, 4 Goosanders (drake + 3 redheads), 5 Red-breasted Merganders (3 drakes + 2 redheads), 13 Wigeon & 40 Shelducks. Also - 2 Great Northern Divers, 178 Dunlins, 20 Common Gulls, Kingfisher, 4 Greenshanks & 5 Little Grebes. 

Posted January 8th at 6:05 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Totnes & Dartington

Totnes ~ Bowden area no sign of the reported cattle Egrets but 7 Little Egrets in the cattle fodder field also a female Stonechat and several Pied Wagtails a flock of 16 Mallard flew over the lower end of the field.

In the cattle fodder field near Lower Bowden a large flock of Chaffinch and a small number of Greenfinch and using the overhead wires for perching some 20 or so Linnet.

Dartington Estate ~ On the road to the deer park a good sized Chaffinch flock which also contained a male and female Brambling, also at the location a male Bullfinch, a Treecreeper, Jay a partly white plumaged Carrion Crow, a flock of 100 plus Redwing, three Buzzards and still a good sized flock of Wood pigeons.

Back at home at South Brent a Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Song Thrush, Redwing, double figures of Chaffinch and House Sparrow. Green Woodpecker, Jay, Buzzard and 3 Greenfinch, numerous Starlings and Goldfinch coming back onto the feeders now that I am using sunflower hearts again.

Posted January 8th at 3:50 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding


Great Northern Diver off the station at Exton this lunchtime, until 1340hrs at least. Later in the day at 1610hrs it had moved down the estuary on the dropping tide so it was viewable from the Exe Trail by Nutwell Court, just north of Lympstone.

Posted January 8th at 2:21 pm by Terry Smith in General Birding

Black Redstart

Black Redstart in amongst the boats between the Shelley Road flats and the shoreline at hightide today (about 12.30), Exmouth 

Posted January 8th at 2:02 pm by RICHARD ALLEN in General Birding

South Huish Marsh

Early this morning 7 Cattle Egret, MF Shoveler, 25 Oystercatcher, 8 Ringed Plover, 8 Turnstone, 8 Black-tailed Godwit, 41 Lapwing.

Posted January 8th at 11:58 am by Rob Macklin in General Birding

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