Devon Bird Sightings from 15th–21st January 2019


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

Monday 21st January 2019

Dawlish - Exminster

From the seawall, the Velvet Scoter and c80 Great Crested Grebes.

From Starcross, two Great Northern Divers.

From Turf, many hundreds each of Golden Plover, Lapwing, Black-tailed Godwit and Dunlin, with a sprinkling of Avocet.

On Exminster Marsh, the Snow and four Barnacle Geese.

For the day, c75spp, for the year c115.

Posted January 21st, 2019 at 9:24 pm by James Camden in Bird News

Yellow-browed Warbler and Exe Cruise

Superb views of the Yellow-browed Warbler (in fog!) this morning, feeding at ground level around nettles etc in the roadside ditch near the hide at Bowling Green Marsh. Its right eye was half closed all the time, giving it a squint.

This afternoon's Stuart Line cruise was another good one, with the Slavonian Grebe and 3 Eiders still off Cockwood/Starcross, but we had to wait until near Powderham to see the Great Northern Diver – and then there were two! Again, over 300 Pintail were around the Clyst mouth and the northern mudbanks were covered in large numbers of waders. Around 500 Golden Plovers, 2000 Lapwings, 400 Avocets, 1000 Black-tailed Godwits, 100 Bar-tailed Godwits and the usual hundreds of Curlews, Redshanks and Dunlin, together with large numbers of gulls, including 100+ Common. Among the scarcer waders were about 65 Grey Plover, 30 Knot and 2 Sanderlings. About 500 Brent Geese flew in from the Clyst Valley and about 10 Great Crested Grebes and 30 Mergansers were scattered around the estuary. Finally, after everyone had left the boat, a Great Northern Diver flew out of the estuary to sea. Two Grey Seals were on a 'pontoon' off Dawlish Warren hide.

Great Northern Diver Great Northern Diver Grey Seals

Posted January 21st, 2019 at 6:52 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News

Slapton - Moreleigh Road

Driving home from Slapton towards Moreleigh saw a large flock of Lapwing coming in to land in a grass field at approx. (SX8047). I estimated there were 800 - 1000 birds in the flock. Several smaller >50 flocks of starling in the area.

small part of lapwing flock on Slapton Rd. - 21-01-2019
small part of lapwing flock on Slapton Rd. - 21-01-2019

Posted January 21st, 2019 at 5:28 pm by Dave Pakes in Bird News

Heathfield starlings

1,000+ Starlings performing well yesterday, Sunday 20th, between 4:40 - 5:15pm gradually dropping down in noisy groups from 5pm.

Posted January 21st, 2019 at 4:40 pm by Jeanne Silvestri in Bird News


A Moorhen within about 100 metres of Plymbridge.  I spotted it yesterday but didn't have the camera so went back today on the off chance it would still be around.  I've never seen one there before so not sure if it's a first for Plymbridge.

Posted January 21st, 2019 at 4:30 pm by Peter Castle in Bird News

Middle Soar, Soar Mill Valley & Southdown Farm

Highlight has to be 2 Short-eared Owls together then peak counts of 1040 Skylark, 26 Meadow Pipit, 23 Blackbird, 13 Song Thrush, 17 Blue Tit, Goldcrest, 20 Magpie, 75 Linnet, 3 Bullfinch, 117 Yellowhammer, 54 Cirl Bunting & 4 Reed Bunting.

Posted January 21st, 2019 at 3:13 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Crossbill's at Burrator 20th Jan 2019

Interesting behaviour in that about 24 Crossbill's were taking the cones off one tree and carrying them to the next tand fitting them into a fork in the branch to remove the seeds more efficiently. Shame about the bad lighting conditions, but it was ovely to see them.

Crossbill's removing conesFlew with cone to next tree for seed removalPreening
Crossbill's removing cones       Flew with cone to next tree for seed removal                Preening

Posted January 21st, 2019 at 2:55 pm by Barry Rankine in Bird News

Hartland Point.

Quite hazy and cool at the Point this morning, but the sea was flat..

c.6 Red throated Divers, 2 Stonechats, 9 Fulmars, 2 Great black backed Gulls, 1 Gannet, 1 Raven, 1 Kestrel, c.10 Linnets.

A Stonechat at Bursdon Moor.

Harvey Kendall & Barry Bryne.

Posted January 21st, 2019 at 2:30 pm by Harvey Kendall in Bird News


Yellow-browed Warbler and at least 1 Firecrest in back of 1st car park.

Posted January 21st, 2019 at 1:10 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Sunday 20th January 2019


An afternoon visit. In addition to the Y-b Warbler and Firecrest mentioned earlier by George and Les Carr, 2 Chiffchaffs in the same area. On the sea 3+ Great Northern Divers (2 in Elberry Cove), 2 Black-necked Grebes (1 just off Broadsands beach, the other in Elberry Cove), Red-necked Grebe and 2 Razorbills. Also a Kestrel and a Raven over. Too much disturbance in the second car park, so nothing on the seed except five Dunnocks, the only bunting seen being a Cirl high in a nearby tree.

Posted January 20th, 2019 at 11:00 pm by Jason Smart in Bird News

Exe Estuary cruise

This afternoon's Stuart Line cruise highlights included the Great Northern Diver, Slavonian Grebe and 3 Eiders (immature drakes) off Cockwood, an amazing c320 Pintail around the mouth of the Clyst, c30 Mergansers and 3 Goldeneye. The mudbanks towards Topsham looked spectacular, with many Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits and Dunlin, and about 500 Golden Plovers with large numbers of Lapwings. Also c60 Knot and 2 Sanderlings, and 2 Grey Seals, one of which was hauled out onto a pontoon off Dawlish Warren, the other near Turf .

Posted January 20th, 2019 at 10:11 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News

Slapton Ley

Ring-Necked Duck, Scaup, Black-Necked Grebe and 2 Goldeneye all seen from the Stokeley Bay Hide.  Good numbers of Tufted Duck and Pochard also present. 

Nearby, the Yellow-Browed Warbler dropped in at the usual site close to the Chapel at 13.05.  It was calling, mobile and showed well for 2-3 minutes before flying off back down the road and into gardens towards Torcross.   

At Torcross, 2 Razorbills close in.

Later at 15.00, a showy Firecrest at the Quarry.  A further Goldeneye and 10+ Wigeon and 10+ Gadwall in Ireland Bay.  Calling Song Thrush (and a further skulking individual), mixed tit flock, Goldcrest and GSW also noted.   

Posted January 20th, 2019 at 7:53 pm by Paul Darlington in Bird News


Arrived at the reserve at about 08.45 this morning to find the two Spoonbills asleep out on the scrape - they had gone by 09.30. We ringed a few Finches plus the obligatory Great Tits (2) and Blue Tits (5) Best was a Reed Bunting. Also caught a retrap Chiffchaff from last month, and two smart male Blackbirds which were ringed back in 2010. Kingfisher in the river on my way out.

Should have mentioned we saw 3 Siskins in the reserve, but not in a net!

Posted January 20th, 2019 at 6:13 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News


Y-B warbler and Firecrest seen well at back of carpark. 

Posted January 20th, 2019 at 6:01 pm by George and Les Carr in Bird News

Slapton on Saturday

single guillemot, RT diver and black-necked grebe off Torcross at noon, with small number of gannets diving far out on the Skerries.  Single black-necked grebe close in at Strete Gate mid afternoon.

Posted January 20th, 2019 at 5:03 pm by Pete Exley in Bird News

Plymouth Sound

A pod of c20 Common Dolphins lingering in the Sound this morning. I last saw them just beyond the west end of the Breakwater just after midday. Also Great Northern Diver off West Hoe.

Posted January 20th, 2019 at 4:27 pm by Pete Aley in Other Wildlife

Torbay Boat Trip

Boat trip out from Brixham, the first this winter. Went out to Berry Head, 600+ Guillemots on the cliffs many more on the sea, 5 Common Dolphin, 1 Porpoise, 13 Fulmar on the cliffs of the Quarry, 8 Kittiwake and Gannets. Returned to the inner part of Torbay with 1 Black-Necked Grebe, 15+ Great Crested Grebe, 3 Great Northern Diver, 1 Red-Throated Diver flying out of Bay, 3 Razorbill, small rafts of Guillemots, 15 Fulmar on the cliffs at Roundham Head, 2 Purple Sandpiper and a Grey Seal in Brixham Harbour. So a good trip, still places for 27th, 3rd and 17th Feb.

Posted January 20th, 2019 at 3:04 pm by Nigel Smallbones in Bird News

Black Redstart

A male Black redstart showing well again in Ford Park Cemetery, Plymouth in the usual area above the tow Chapels, another birding photographer got images of a female in the same area.


Posted January 20th, 2019 at 2:10 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Grey Plover

See near Yelland Jetty.

Grey Plover?TurnstoneDunlin and Plover
Grey Plover?                        Turnstone                                          Dunlin and Plover

Eds - yes, the left and right photos show Grey Plover 

Posted January 20th, 2019 at 1:21 pm by Martin Bennett in Bird News

Saturday 19th January 2019

Exe Estuary cruise

Today saw the first Stuart Line birdwatching cruise of 2019 in lovely calm, sunny conditions. Highlights included Great Northern Diver and the usual Slavonian Grebe off Cockwood, c20 Great Crested Grebes, c250 Pintail around the mouth of the Clyst, 3 Eiders (immature drakes) between Exmouth and Cockwood, c30 Mergansers, 2 Sanderlings, c100 Bar-tailed Godwits (many more Black-tailed), 2 Kingfishers and maybe 400 Golden Plovers with large numbers of Lapwings on the mud towards Topsham, maybe 2000 in total.

Posted January 19th, 2019 at 8:43 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News


Yellow-browed Warbler showing well just up from the hide.

Yellow-browed Warbler
Yellow-browed Warbler

Posted January 19th, 2019 at 8:00 pm by simon Thurgood in Bird News


Beautiful day at Slapton, saw at least 2 firecrests in the quarry, 2 mistle thrushes chasing each other about and a chiffchaff. From the bridge caught a glimpse of a  Cettis warbler

Firecrest Chiffchaff Mistle Thrush
Firecrest                                      Chiffchaff                                   Mistle Thrush

Posted January 19th, 2019 at 7:42 pm by Richie Moore in Bird News


3 Black-necked Grebes, 42 Great Crestred Grebes, 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Eider (female), 4 Common Scoter. In car parks, 17 Cirl Buntings, 1 Yellowhammer (male), 4 Reed Bunting, 2 Firecrest, 3 Chiffchaff - no sign of the Yellow-browed Warbler today.  

Posted January 19th, 2019 at 5:09 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Slapton Ley

Ring-necked Duck still present at Torcross but only one of last weeks Scaup remaining. Also 6 Goldeneyes and 11 Pochards. Yellow-browed Warbler showing well at Torcross, usual spot near the Chapel opposite 'Windfalls'. Black-necked Grebe on the ley viewable from the Stokeley hide. Red-necked Grebe off Torcross and 11 Common Scoters off the monument.

Posted January 19th, 2019 at 4:56 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Around the Exe estuary

Exminster marsh not an over abundance of bird life apart from the hundreds of Wigeon and Canada Geese, high light was a Snow Goose in with a flock of Canada Geese, duck species included Pintail, Tufted and Shoveler. A GSWP, a flock of 8 plus Reed Bunting and two Chiffchaff near the canal. Snipe, Curlew, Heron, Little Egret, and Common Gull.

A Fox hunting across the marsh was interesting to watch with most of the birds ignoring it.

Overlooking the Exe estuary from the Powderham side huge numbers of birds on the mud flats, with Raven overhead, Heron 9, Common Gull, Curlew, Redshank, Greenshank, Oystercatcher, 100 plus Pintail duck, Red Breasted Merganser 5+, Great Crested Grebe 2, Great Black Backed Gull, Shellduck, Grey Plover, Golden Plover in their 100's, Dunlin, Sanderling, Lapwing, Avocet and a Seal.


Posted January 19th, 2019 at 4:17 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Highlights this morning were 12 Roe Deer (by far my best ever count here) and a Treecreeper (scarce but a few recent records). Also: Jack Snipe, 2 Snipe, 7 Goosanders (2 drakes), Green Woodpecker, 2 Stock Doves, 8 Redwings & a Shag. 

Posted January 19th, 2019 at 2:36 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

19-01-19 Ford Park Cemetery, Male Black Redstart

At FCP Cemetery this morning a male Black Redstart showing very well and quite friendly, in it's normal place just East of the chapels.

Black Redstart  Black Redstart  Black Redstart
Black Redstart


Posted January 19th, 2019 at 2:23 pm by greg bradbury in Bird News

Venford Reservoir and Bench Tor

19 Goosander on the reservoir at dawn. 3 Crossbills over Bench Tor a little later.

Posted January 19th, 2019 at 11:08 am by Andy Smith in Bird News

Stover at dawn

No Goosanders today for the coordinated count in Devon. However, a new Stover bird for me: a drake Wigeon whistling away in the gloom. Excellent views of Water Rail right in front of the hide, and Cetti's Warbler nearby (called when it roused at 7:40). Also 2 pairs of Mandarins, 8 Tufted, 2 Snipe calling, Stock Dove singing and Tawny Owl hooting near the visitor centre - still going at 7:35!).

Posted January 19th, 2019 at 8:51 am by Dave Smallshire in Bird News

A stranger in Paradise

Yesterday spotted a grey wagtail trotting down Eden Vale Rd in Paignton. Methinks he was lost.

Posted January 19th, 2019 at 7:17 am by Philip L. Fairclough in Bird News

Friday 18th January 2019

South Milton Reserve - Reed Cut, 20 January

I have checked the reserve and can confirm that we will be going ahead with the reed cut on the seaward side of the boardwalk, about halfway down the reserve.  We will be meeting at the sewage works at 9:30 on Sunday morning, please see the Harrier posting on 5 January for details.

If you have any queries, please email me at or call me on 01548 560243 or 07989717383

Nick Townsend

Posted January 18th, 2019 at 6:04 pm by Nick Townsend in Bird News


There was a Little Egret feeding in the river Caen next to Caen Street School this morning. I saw one further downstream near Tesco recently and it or another was in the river by the Car Park last week too. Becoming quite bold!

Posted January 18th, 2019 at 5:30 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

BGM and Teignmouth Seafront

Bowling Green Marsh - AM - usual wildfowl and waders until a Peregrine spooked all the waders including a couple of Barwits. Along the lane two, at least, drab looking but perky Chiff Chaffs, feeding well, and the Yellow Browed Warbler, amazing how the quality of light changes the experience from last week. Teignmouth Sea Front - PM - hundreds of Gannets way out, a group of sevenish (conditions challenging) Common Scoter - could have been more or less, and at least one Great Northern Diver.

Posted January 18th, 2019 at 2:45 pm by Simon Bates in Bird News

Broadsands and Brixham Thursday 17 January

This was the first field meeting for Plymouth branch members and a full report will appear in Society news section forthwith. Highlights of yesterday's meeting included Cirl Bunting, Red Necked Grebe, Great Northern diver, Yellow Browed Warbler a pod of circa 15 Common Dolphin at Broadsands. At Brixham breakwater Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone, Rock Pipit, Great Northern Diver and Kittiwake at sea  plus 5 Grey Seal.

Posted January 18th, 2019 at 12:00 pm by John Lloyd in Bird News

Thursday 17th January 2019

Exminster Marsh 17th Jan 2019

4 Barnacle Geese third field along path which leads out of the RSPB car park at Exminster Marsh .In with hundreds of Canada Geese and a few Greylag Geese, some of the Canada had very dark backs !!!!!!!!!!

Four Barnacle Geese  Gerylag Goose  Long-tailed Tit Dawlish
Four Barnacle Geese                             Gerylag Goose                  Long-tailed Tit Dawlish

Posted January 17th, 2019 at 10:23 pm by Barry Rankine in Bird News

Slapton Ley

Two Firecrests in the Quarry area by Irelands Bay, go to my blog for more info


Posted January 17th, 2019 at 8:12 pm by simon thurgood in Bird News

Up and down the Exe

Of note - 

Red-legged partridge nr Kenton also Bullfinch (fem). Turnstone - Cockwood harbour (no sign of Slav Grebe or reported Eider), GND, RB Merganser. Hundreds of Brents and Oyks all along the estuary. Avocet , Curlew and Dunlin - Turf Lock. Powderham Marsh -  Linnet and Chaffinch Flocks GSW but still work being done on the marsh so significant disturbance.

Red -legged Partridge video -

Avocet and Dunlin video -

Red-legged Partridge - nr KentonAvocet - Turf LockLinnet Powderham Marsh
Red-legged Partridge - nr Kenton                Avocet - Turf Lock               Linnet Powderham Marsh

Eds: the Linnet is actually a female Chaffinch.

Posted January 17th, 2019 at 6:25 pm by Martin Rooney in Bird News


The Yellow-browed Warbler, 1 Firecrest, 2 Blackcaps and 3 Chiffchaffs were again in the back corner of the 1st car park. 23 Cirl and 4 Reed Bunting in the 2nd car park on seed first thing this morning.

Posted January 17th, 2019 at 3:33 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Darts Farm

6 Water Pipits today from the viewing screen at Darts Farm. 5 fairly distant, but one a little closer.

Posted January 17th, 2019 at 2:28 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

Black's Back! (Paignton, 17.1.19)

Just a few novelty shots from my Paignton garden:

Just a single male Blackcap coming to the fat so far this winter. He's been around since Christmas but I have only just managed these dodgy record shots (1 & 2).

Not to be out done one of my resident Robins attempted to match the Blackcap's agility on the feeder but, as you can see, it could not quite compete (3 & 4).


1                                                                                 2


3                                                                                4

Posted January 17th, 2019 at 1:31 pm in Bird News

Sherpa Marsh Braunton

Bittern seen flying low over Sherpa Marsh at 10am. I imagine it was frightened by a party of shooters who were regrettably there. It circled above the reserve a couple of times, gaining height, and flew in a south-easterly direction towards the R Taw.

Posted January 17th, 2019 at 11:14 am by Alan Denzey in Bird News

Wednesday 16th January 2019

Plym Estuary

Another successful event at Blaxton Meadow today with volunteers and a National Trust ranger showing birds to 64 interested visitors. Twenty-three species were recorded on the Meadow including an adult Yellow-legged Gull, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 54 Curlews, 10 Oystercatchers & 7 Wigeon (2 drakes). Thanks, again, to the NT for organising and for the on-going measures to improve the site for birds.

Later around the estuary, 26 Siskins, Common Sandpiper, 5 Greenshanks, 9+ Goosanders (1 drake), Red-breasted Merganser, 24 Common Gulls (1st-w & 23 adults), Shag, 4 Little Grebes & Grey Wagtail. 

Posted January 16th, 2019 at 5:17 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Starlings at Okehampton Camp

Pity the military are scaring the birds off. Regular gun firing sounds as birds returning to roost last night.

Posted January 16th, 2019 at 11:56 am by Nick Atkinson in Bird News

Tuesday 15th January 2019

Ilfracombe Pier

Today off the Pier, the Porpoise, 4 groups of 3 seem to have become a permanent fixture, and a small pod of Common Dolphins were feeding off Capstone.

Seabird wise 3+ Red-throated Divers, a Great Crested Grebe, 2 Purple Sandpipers, 6 Common Gulls and a Kingfisher. On Lantern Hill, still 2 Black Redstarts and a Mistle Thrush. 


Posted January 15th, 2019 at 8:06 pm by Martin Thorne in Bird News

Torquay Haldon Pier

Seven Purple Sandpiper on end of pier this lunchtime 

Posted January 15th, 2019 at 6:51 pm by Steve Cox in Bird News

South Hams

Aveton Gifford tidal road only species of note were three Greenshank and Black Tailed Godwit

South Huish Marsh / South Milton ~ good numbers of both Rock and Meadow Pipit, Common gull with a flock of Black Headed Gull, Black Swan at the back of the marsh, Turnstone on the beach.

Southdown Farm, Marlborough ~ well worth a visit huge numbers of Skylark and Meadow Pipit, roving mixed flocks of Cirl Bunting, Reed Bunting and Yellow Hammer, a solitary Stock Dove, two Red Legged Partridge, four Roe deer, a buck with three does. Near one of the buildings a moulted out Barn owl wing feather.


Posted January 15th, 2019 at 4:41 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News


Preston: 1 Black-necked Grebe

Goodrington: 1 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Great Northern Diver, 8 Great Crested Grebes

Broadsands: 2 Black-necked Grebes, 1 Red-necked Grebe (around Mussel Farm buoys), 3 Great Crested Grebes, 3 Great Northern Divers, 2 Common Scoter (drakes) and 10+ Common Dolphins. Also the Yellow-browed Warbler, 1 Firecrest and 1 Chiffchaff in the back corner of the 1st car park, 10+ Cirl and 1 Reed Bunting on seed in 2nd car car park. 

Posted January 15th, 2019 at 1:31 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

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