Devon Bird Sightings: Bird News from 22nd–28th February 2018

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If you were fortunate enough to see any of the birds below please can you submit a description to the County Recorder to ensure they are included in the 2021 Devon Bird Report.

Black Kite


07 Jun



09 Oct

Caspian Gull


01 Dec



13 Oct


Noss Mayo

09 Feb

Little Bunting

Huxton Cross

18 Oct


Chudleigh Knighton

24 Sep

Long-tailed Skua


12 May

Common Rosefinch


10 Jun

Ortolan Bunting


17 Jun

Corn Bunting [2]


22 Jun

Pectoral Sandpiper

Bowling Green

27 Oct

Cory's Shearwater


07 Sep

Purple Heron

Slapton Ley

17 Apr

Glossy Ibis


21 Dec

RC Starling


01 Jul

Glossy Ibis

Otter Estuary

28 Dec

RC Starling

South Huish

09 Sep

Golden Oriole

Combe Valley

09 Jun

Ruddy Duck

Exe Estuary

04 Apr



26 May



21 Aug



30 May

Tree Sparrow


22 Jan

Hooded Crow


03 Jun

Tree Sparrow


14 Nov

Posted June 30th at 11:34 pm by Kevin Rylands in Bird News


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

Wednesday 28th February 2018

Ludwell Valley Park, Exeter

1 Hawfinch, 3 Green sandpipers, 7 Grey wagtails and 4 Chiffchaffs this lunchtime.

Posted February 28th, 2018 at 11:04 pm by Martin Elcoate in Bird News

Golden Plover, Middle Soar

Part of a flock of some 200 Golden Plover feeding on winter wheat in fields     near Middle Soar 'farmhouse'.


Posted February 28th, 2018 at 8:57 pm by Michael Woodman Smith in Bird News

Taw estuary

A binocular-less bike commute along to Barnstaple from Yelland.

A ragged female-type Marsh Harrier (prob same as reported yday on north side of Taw) was hunting over the near reedbed of SaltPill Duck Pond (E end of Home Farm Marsh). On opposite side of Tarka Trail here, the warm manure piles in the field had attracted scores of pipits, wagtail, finches and Starling; and closest to the footpath through this field, a Chiffchaff! Incidentally the site on either side of this footpath to Fremington is excellent, managed for pheasant hunting I think but also top notch for passerines, woodpeckers, hawks and Barn/Tawny Owl.

At Fremington Pill mouth, one of the Spoonbill and a Greenshank.

Another Water Rail encounter in ditch by Tarka Trail.

250-300 Dunlin around Anchorwood Bank area, plus a dozen or so Sanderling.

Fieldfare dotted along the route.

Posted February 28th, 2018 at 8:35 pm by Lowell Mills in Bird News

Velator reserve

Took a call this morning from a birder from Exeter wanting to look round the reserve, and regrettably I put them off due to lack of birds at the moment. I have to apologise then for flushing a Tawny Owl and then seeing a very active Chiffchaff!

I've been spending quite a lot of time recently having bonfires to burn off the tree-top brash which accumulates over the year. Wanted to get most of this done before the snow tomorrow. As I was finishing off at about 5p.m. I took a look at the scrape and surrounding field. The scrape had been frozen earlier with nothing to see. Some of it had thawed and several Teal were taking advantage of the open water. In the field a flock of several score of Curlew and some Golden Plover and closer in several Snipe. Lapwing were by the scrape and out in the field. Biggest surprise though were 6 Dunlin by the scrape. My first record here. A Kingfisher darted away downstream as I crossed the river to get to the reserve.

Posted February 28th, 2018 at 7:57 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Plym Estuary

First signs of cold weather influx with 15 Golden Plovers (over Dell Walk and appeared to drop in the fields), 14 Lapwings (11 over and 3 on the pool). Also Jack Snipe, 3+ Snipe, 8 Goosanders (2 drakes), Common Sandpiper & Fox.

Posted February 28th, 2018 at 7:48 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Plymouth Beacon park

Had a meadow pipit in the front garden today in the middle of the mid morning blizzard certainly unusual 

Posted February 28th, 2018 at 7:30 pm by Mike williams in Bird News

Exe Estuary cruise

The Stuart Line birdwatching cruise today saw the immature drake Eider in the estuary at Dawlish Warren and a Great Northern Diver off Cockwood, where the Slavonian Grebe had retreated eastwards, presumably to get out of the strongly easterly wind. No doubt for the same reason, many waders hugged the eastern side of the estuary, including most of the Black-tailed Godwits between Lympstone and Topsham. At least 300 Pintail were around the mouth of the Clyst, the most I've ever seen on the Exe. A single Greenshank was at Powderham, a dozen or more Sanderlings on the central sandbank, 5 Goldeneye (1 drake) at Topsham and the 2 Snow Geese were visible with Canadas over the sea wall north of Powderham (in a snow flurry, of course!).

Posted February 28th, 2018 at 5:14 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News

Hawfinch at Yennadon Down, near Yelverton

A surprise female HAWFINCH on Yennadon Down today at 1530. It was low in the hawthorns, keeping out of the wind, about 100m along the stone wall up the hill from the car park at Yennadon Down. This was my first ever in West Devon and, added to the one in Topsham Cemetery on Saturday, gave me my second sighting in 5 days...I've never managed that before! Also, a female BRAMBLING in my Dousland garden today.

Posted February 28th, 2018 at 4:54 pm by Howard Ackford in Bird News

Fremington Pill

Glossy Ibis seen at 10.30 feeding near the sluice on the Pill. 

Posted February 28th, 2018 at 11:18 am by Paul Bearman in Bird News


3 Mediterranean Gulls (2 ad + 1 fw) this morning. Yesterday 41 Cirl Buntings on seed in 2nd car park and 4 Reed Bunting.

Posted February 28th, 2018 at 8:41 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Tuesday 27th February 2018

Lower Tamar Lake

A very cold lake this morning saw, 1f Goldeneye, 13 Wigeon, 7 Tufted Duck, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Little Egret, 2 Willow Tit, 2 Marsh Tit, 1 Song Thrush. No Goosander.

Posted February 27th, 2018 at 7:38 pm by Rod Mudge in Bird News

Otter Estuary Budleigh Salterton

1 adult Winter Mediterranean Gull. 1 Little Grebe, 18 Brent Geese, 4 Ringed Plover and 1 Tawny Owl. 

More details on my blog

Posted February 27th, 2018 at 6:55 pm in Bird News

M5 Tiverton Junction

1 Red kite feeding over stubble field on west side of the M5 about 2 miles south of the N Devon link road junction at 3.15pm

Posted February 27th, 2018 at 6:07 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Velator Quay

Female Marsh Harrier seen near to the RMB boundary at 10am, ragged appearance but flying buoyantly in the very cold wind.

Posted February 27th, 2018 at 2:05 pm by Alan Denzey in Bird News

RSPB Exminster & Matford

The American Wigeon still present at Matford and Pink-footed Goose at Exminster Marshes.

Pink-footed Goose  American Wigeon
Pink-footed Goose                                   American Wigeon

Posted February 27th, 2018 at 12:43 pm by david cawthraw in Bird News

Heathfield Starlings

Further to my previous post, I have visited the site twice more (24th & 26th Feb) when I estimated 15-20,000.  There were certainly fewer than the 20-25,000 (and possibly more) on my first visit (21st) and an observer on 24th suggested numbers had declined by some 50% from a fortnight earlier.  This suggests that many birds were aware of the severe weather (high pressure) coming out of Siberia and Russia, now resulting in freezing temperatures and the snow being experienced in eastern UK, and moved ahead of it to more clement climes in Cornwall, maritime France or even Iberia although the forecast suggests a lot of snow moving north from Iberia later this week.  It will be interesting to see if this roost declines further over the next week as temperatures plummet further and the ground becomes too frozen to feed.   Presumably their return to breeding grounds in N Europe/Russia, The Baltic and Scandinavia will be delayed bearing in mind the severe weather currently being experienced across their breeding range.

Also, it seemed that birds are probably not just coming to the roost from the Dartmoor direction.  Estimates of flocks joining the throng from that direction were insufficient to make up the total flock circling over the roost area for at least half an hour before entering the roost.

Posted February 27th, 2018 at 10:12 am by Dennis Elphick in Bird News

Nutwell Court, Lympstone

A first-winter Iceland Gull flew off the Exe estuary at 0700hrs and headed NE over the Exe Trail and Nutwell Court. 

Posted February 27th, 2018 at 7:47 am by Terry Smith in Bird News

Monday 26th February 2018


I did not realise how rare Great White Egrets were in the UK (N. Devon). I first spotted it Feb 2017 and several times throughout the year. It has been seen hanging out with the local herons up in the canopy.  First spotted this year at the end of January (2018).  Not a particularly good photo, taken from a long distance with a compact with long range zoom. You can see all the identifying features even its eye colour.

Colin West

GW EGRET Arlington N Devon Colin West

Posted February 26th, 2018 at 11:50 pm by Rapids Jonson in Bird News


At Isley Marsh, two of the Spoonbills flew in around 16.00. Also Turnstone, Dunlin, Grey Plover, breeding plumage GCGrebe. Back along the Tarka Trail came the highlight: classic cold snap encounter with a Water Rail feeding in ditch by play. Unfazed by presence of people and feeding well.

Posted February 26th, 2018 at 9:11 pm by Lowell Mills in Bird News

Pink Footed Goose

Forgot video link for Pink Footed Goose

Posted February 26th, 2018 at 7:12 pm by Martin Rooney in Bird News

Around the Exe

Firstly to Exminster Marsh where the Pink Footed Goose showed well (as below approx SX961869). Also further down towards the cycle bridge The Snow Goose pair showed well, if distant, best viewed from the towpath as they are on the far side of the railway(view from approx SX966854 looking west). Nothing else of note but good numbers of Dunlin, Curlew and Redshank at Turf Lock on a rising tide. Parts of the western shore of the estuary well iced and Grey Plover seen there.

Then across to Topsham cemetery (despite the burst water main on Topsham Road)  a female Hawfinch and various Greenfinch were visible.

Because Topsham Road was closed, on my return, I finished by walking up along the Northbrook and, as ever, saw Dipper and 3 or 4 Green Sandpiper.

Pink Footed Goose Snow Goose
Pink Footed Goose                  Snow Goose

Posted February 26th, 2018 at 6:37 pm by Martin Rooney in Bird News

South Huish marsh 26th Feb. 12.30 pm

4- Black tailed godwits.

2- Ringed Plover

3- Jack Snipe

1- Cattle Egret

5-Little egrets

Posted February 26th, 2018 at 6:34 pm by Nick Reevell in Bird News

Plym Estuary

In a bitter wind - Jack Snipe, 3 Snipe, winter peak of 228 Dunlins (210 on pool), Teal, 6 Oystercatchers, 32 Turnstones, Ringed Plover, 4 Goosanders & Green Woodpecker.

Posted February 26th, 2018 at 6:15 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

The Pink-footed Goose was with a Canada Goose flock, fairly close in to the path along the canal by the viewing platform this lunchtime.

Posted February 26th, 2018 at 4:08 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

Nutwell Court, Lympstone

Firecrest and a Chiffchaff seen from the Exe Trail boardwalk in evergreens just north of the lake at 1335hrs. On the lake itself were 8 Teal and a Black Swan.    

Posted February 26th, 2018 at 2:22 pm by Terry Smith in Bird News

Red Kite

08:25 this morning a single Red Kite, receiving attention from a Crow, over the A38 at the Splattford Split at Kennford

Posted February 26th, 2018 at 9:22 am by Chris Marcol in Bird News

Sunday 25th February 2018

Exminster Marshes

The Pink-footed goose was with Canada Geese near the Lions Reat estate, north of the access road after 5pm today. A lot lot closer than yesterday’s view at Powderham.

Posted February 25th, 2018 at 8:44 pm by Martin Elcoate in Bird News

Beesands Ley


The male Ring-necked Duck present amongst several Tufted Duck on the far side of the Ley.  A cracking male Scaup in front of the hide too.

2 Little Grebes, Shoveler and Teal also seen.

At nearby Slapton Ley, a male Goldeneye viewable off the pond dipping platforms.  A large flock of Wigeon, several Gadwall, Common Gulls, Little Grebes and Great Crested Grebes also on the water.

Earlier, at 10.15 and closer to home, at least 40 Redwings and a large flock of Goldfinches in the grounds close to the main entrance of Torquay Boys' Grammar School.   


Posted February 25th, 2018 at 8:32 pm by Paul Darlington in Bird News

Blaxton Meadow scuffle

Two male Shelduck fighting over a female at Saltram , Plymouth , this afternoon.

Posted February 25th, 2018 at 4:56 pm by Peter Castle in Bird News

Cattle Egrets at Powderham

In the stubble field just up from Powderham Church where they were last year, there was 5 Cattle Egret that I could see this afternoon, the field dips away from the hedge so couldn't see the far side. Sat and watched for a while, they kept flying over towards Powderham castle and back again, are they the same birds or is there more around the Deer and Castle Grounds?

Cattle Egret
Little Egret with muddy bill and legs


Posted February 25th, 2018 at 3:45 pm by Simon Thurgood in Bird News


Initially fairly quiet, as to be expected in such a cold easterly wind, but saw 4 Greenfinches and a Kestrel. In the woodland plenty to see including Goldcrest, Redwings, female Bullfinch, plenty of Great & Blue Tits, a Coal tit, 2 Jay, 3 Wrens and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Additionally enjoyed seeing a Roebuck & deer together.

Posted February 25th, 2018 at 12:52 pm in Bird News

Hawfinch yesterday

Yesterday (24th) my wife and I were attending a birthday function at Gypsy Hill Hotel at Pinhoe near Exeter and a Hawfinch flew over the car park and appeared to go into a large conifer near the reception entrance. Not seen again. This was approx.1230. Do look like attractive grounds for Hawfinch in fact.

Posted February 25th, 2018 at 10:53 am by Perry J Smale in Bird News

Saturday 24th February 2018

Teign Grace

Two Cattle Egrets (and 1 Little Egret) seen from the cycle track at Teigngrace today by Ian Butt.

Cattle Egrets and 1 Little Teigngrace 240218 I Butt

Posted February 24th, 2018 at 9:51 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Bratton Fleming

Red Kite low over fields at 14.30 where road from BF meets A399.

Posted February 24th, 2018 at 8:17 pm by Emzi Frater & Lowell Mills in Bird News

Pink-footed Goose at Powderham

The Pink-footed Goose was still viewable distantly from the Powderham Footbridge this afternoon.

Pink-footed Goose
Pink-footed Goose

Posted February 24th, 2018 at 6:56 pm by Samuel Gray in Bird News

Beesands Ley

Ring-necked Duck still present this morning.

Posted February 24th, 2018 at 6:53 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News



The Iceland Gull showed incredibly well on the seaward side of The Point. It spent long periods in the surf close to the beach. 

At least 3 Common Gulls in the same vicinity and an obliging GND on the sea off the nearby car park. 

Posted February 24th, 2018 at 6:28 pm by Paul Darlington in Bird News

Bowling green marsh


170+ Pintail, 4 Tufted duck, 1 Pochard, 1 Little grebe, 1 Greylag goose. On the viewing platform: plenty of Godwits, Avocet, Dunlin, 100+ Grey plover, 3 Red breasted merganser (2m 1f) did a swim past while diving for fish. 48 species seen.

No sign of the Hawfinch at Topsham cemetery, but a juvenile Peregrine perched on the water tower was a nice alternative.

Posted February 24th, 2018 at 5:06 pm by Alan Livsey in Bird News

Plymbridge Wood , Lower Meadow.

Kingfisher , Dipper , Grey Wagtail , male and female Mandarin Duck and in a tree over the river a Nuthatch calling.


Posted February 24th, 2018 at 4:45 pm by Peter castle in Bird News


Firecrest (male) alongside old railway track in Parke, Bovey Tracey

Posted February 24th, 2018 at 4:20 pm by John Walton in Bird News

Plym Estuary

A look just after high tide produced: 139 Redshanks, 86 Dunlins on Blaxton Pool with 29 Curlews, 9 Goosanders, Common Sandpiper, Kingfisher, 6 Oystercatchers, 3 Greenshanks, 3 Jack Snipe, Snipe, 3 Stonechats, 4 Little Grebes & 2 Nuthatches.

Posted February 24th, 2018 at 4:18 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Teignmouth and Powderham

The adult Bonaparte’s Gull showed very well at Teignmouth off the Point car park flying up and down the beach from 940am-1005am at least - Also an imm Iceland Gull present close inshore around the mouth of the river. 

Yesterdays Pink-Footed Goose relocated by MKn north of Powderham Footbridge distantly with Canada Geese and still present late morning. Also 2 Snow Geese still there and 2 Greylag Geese.

Posted February 24th, 2018 at 12:11 pm by Mark Bailey in Bird News

Friday 23rd February 2018

Red Kite

Red Kite, flew south over Underdown, Haldon Forest at 8am.

Posted February 23rd, 2018 at 11:06 pm by John Gale in Bird News

River Exe - Exton

At least 20 Turnstone on the river opposite the Royal Marine Camp at 2.00 pm.

Posted February 23rd, 2018 at 4:23 pm by Richard Jordan in Bird News

23-02-17 Hawfinch @ Totsham Cemetery

The Hawfinch still hanging around at Totsham Cemetery today, managed to get a clear shot before it disappeared again.


Posted February 23rd, 2018 at 3:58 pm by Greg Bradbury in Bird News

Sherpa / Wrafton scrape + Braunton Marshes & Great field

2 Water Pipits searching for food around the frozen scrape this morning.

Circular route on the bike around Braunton Marshes & Great field revealed a large flock of 300 Chaffinch + a further 50 further on.

1 male Kestrel feeding on a prey item on the ground & 65 Redwing also searching for food on the ground (no berries left on the hawthorn bushes) in one field.

Posted February 23rd, 2018 at 11:49 am by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Thursday 22nd February 2018

South Brent ~ Bramblings

Three Brambling around the garden feed station today, initially a male followed by two females this afternoon.

Other species included, Pied Wagtail, GSWP, Nuthatch, 6 Greenfinch, 30+ Chaffinch, 10+ Goldfinch, pair of Bullfinch, male Siskin,Song Thrush, Rook and 3 Dunnock.

Several Buzzards up soaring and displaying despite the cold conditions.




Posted February 22nd, 2018 at 6:43 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

Following on from an earlier post there were 184 Pintail, although there could of been many more out of view. Also on bowling green there was a large flock of dunlin and a Kingfisher. Out at the Viewing platform there were large flocks of avocet, dunlin and black and bar-tailed godwits as well as several red-breasted mergansers.

Posted February 22nd, 2018 at 6:40 pm by Benjamin Rousseau in Bird News

Dartington update

An early morning run to the spot listed at Dartington netted a single Hawfinch high I the trees and quite skittish. This was amongst a large flock of Chaffinch and Bramblings. There were Goldfinches and Green finches also present on site along with Jay, Crow and Magpies. A single sighting of a Greater spotted woodpecker and lots of Redwings made a pleasant hour.

Now for the real reason for posting, the previous post noted that the school was on half term. They are NOT and when I spoke to one of the teachers there this morning she was quite supportive of people actively watching the birds but in her words”not in school time please” I thought I would convey this to the group in case of confusion.

Please respect the fact that this is around a junior school so please avoid school times.

Posted February 22nd, 2018 at 3:53 pm by John wilkes in Bird News


Started at BGM 9.20 - 11am (hide very busy by then) lots of Pintail of note, more than I've seen before on the marsh. Good sized Dunlin and Redshank flocks. Approx 20 Bar Tailed Godwits (fewer Blackwits came in but did not stay likewise Avocet - 6 stayed on the marsh). 2 male Gadwall, pair of Pochard, Stock Dove, 3 Snipe. Among the usual suspects.

Goosemoor - Greenshank

Topsham Cemetery - 1 Hawfinch,Greenfinch, Goldcrest, and G.S.W. and a small Redwing flock in the field with the ponies.

Topsham Rec 3 Goldeneye (2m 1f) and Common Sandpiper,

Common Sandpiper Goldeneye Hawfinch
Common Sandpiper            Goldeneye                         Hawfinch

Posted February 22nd, 2018 at 3:24 pm by Martin Rooney in Bird News

Siskins in my garden , Estover , Plymouth , this morning

Good to see 3 Siskin back on the feeders after not seeing them for about a week.


Posted February 22nd, 2018 at 10:52 am by Peter Castle in Bird News

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