Devon Bird Sightings: Bird News from 1st–7th December 2019

Coronavirus - Devon Birds bird hides

During the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak the use of Devon Birds bird hides should be in line with Government guidelines to individuals on how to protect themselves.

Please follow NHS guidelines:

Thank you for your co-operation and stay safe.

Posted August 25th at 9:58 am by Mike Daniels in Bird News

Changes to Devon Bird Sightings

This page was initially set up to give a concise news summary of birds of interest seen in Devon. Anyone noting interesting species, passage and counts could post the details to inform other birders what was going on around the county. Photos could also be added for interest and to enliven the posts. It was accepted that because other wildlife was of interest, this would also appear especially when included in a birding post.

However, in the last year, more posts have been appearing purely on subjects other than birds. Whilst of interest to some observers, this is detracting from the aim of the pages, i.e. principally bird sightings.

Devon Birds has therefore taken the decision to require contributors of other wildlife to post this in the Other Wildlife subject. However it’s accepted that occasional, exceptional, other wildlife seen during a birding outing justifies inclusion in the bird sightings post. This should, however, be a minor part of the post.

Photos are often appearing as a gallery, or even acting as a personal photo blog, rather than of county-wide sightings of interest. Devon Birds has a Gallery which members and other birders are welcome to submit their often stunning photos to, for others to see. Many of these photos need not then appear on this page. From now on, only two photos per post will be accepted to help keep posts more concise.

Devon Birds very much welcomes posts that already meet these criteria and those that will continue to do so. It would also be great to widen the input from keen birders who currently don’t contribute, including some old friends who have dropped out. Hopefully the changes will encourage wider participation, so if you look at the site but don’t post, please consider doing so.

Our aim is to provide a concise daily news summary of bird sightings around Devon, and these changes should fulfil this goal.

Below is a summary of the changes:

  • Bird News (bird sightings of interest, with added occasional other wildlife) will be the default subject when visitors arrive at this page.
  • Other Wildlife posts therefore won’t initially be shown unless visitors click Other Wildlife under Subjects on the right-hand side.
  • Only two photos can now be submitted per post.
  • General bird photos should be posted in our Gallery please.
  • Co-authors should now only use the Submit a Blog Post form, to ensure a more consistent format for posts.

Posted August 21st at 3:53 pm in Bird News

2019 Descriptions - last call

The deadline for the 2019 Bird Report is rapidly approaching. If you found (or saw) any of these birds please could you submit a description to to ensure your records are published. Many thanks. 

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


Posted May 2nd at 3:27 pm by Kevin Rylands in Bird News


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 Bird News

Thursday 5th December 2019

Stover Lake

Stover Lake was partially frozen and foggy this morning. Highlights were 1 drake Goosander and 3 Pochard.

Posted December 5th, 2019 at 9:39 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

Lower Tamar Lake

This morning at the lake,

1 Green Sandpiper, 9 Goosander 5m 4f, 3 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Grey Heron, 6 Wigeon, 1 Great Black-backed Gull, 9 Willow Tit, 1 Marsh Tit, 1m Gadwall, 2 Nuthatch, 1m Reed Bunting, 2 Tufted Duck 1m 1f, 1 Little Grebe, 2 Jay.

Posted December 5th, 2019 at 7:34 pm by Rod Mudge in Bird News


In Kiln Lane this morning. 5 Firecrests feeding in Laurels. InVicarage Lane ,8 Goldcrests among the tit flock.

Posted December 5th, 2019 at 5:29 pm by Alan K. Searle . in Bird News


Scanned the bay for 45 minutes this morning in almost perfect conditions as the mist cleared. Results: 3 Great Northern, 1 Black-throated and 6 Red-throated Divers, 1 Black-necked and 4-5 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Guillemot, 1 Velvet and perhaps 10 Common (all female) Scoters. The Velvet spent part of the time apparently displaying to two of the Commons, and a third Common was struggling with what looked like a 3 inch diameter scallop or similar. 

As a bonus, one of the Cirl Buntings was singing near the railway viaduct.

Posted December 5th, 2019 at 3:52 pm by James Camden in Bird News

Velator reserve

A productive visit this morning: 2 Water Rails seen, 30+ Goldfinch mainly feeding on Alder cones, a Treecreeper, and out on the scrape a Black-tailed Godwit briefly, a Lapwing, 2 Pied Wagtails and 3 Redshank. Also a Grey Heron which took a quick look around inside the reserve. A Great Spotted Woodpecker flew off one of the feeders.

Posted December 5th, 2019 at 1:55 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Clennon valley lakes

1 chiffchaff 2 firecrest this morning 

Posted December 5th, 2019 at 10:24 am by Hamish Johnson in Bird News

Wednesday 4th December 2019

Starcross this evening

At the field by the EA Lab, at 1600 a Great White Egret flew SW. at 1628, 24/5 Cattle Egrets flew low over the site, flying N to roost. Also 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers flew in and a Green Woodpecker. 37 Teal on the wet field.

Posted December 4th, 2019 at 6:00 pm by Steve Cox in Bird News

Broadsands - Paignton

Very light breeze and gentle swell.  BLACK-NECKED GREBE, 3 Great Crested Grebes, 3 Red-throated Divers,  3 (possibly up to 6) Great Northern Divers but rather mobile around the bay, VELVET SCOTER, & 7 Common Scoter

Posted December 4th, 2019 at 4:17 pm by Rupert Ormerod in Bird News

Chillington S.T.W.

 4 Firecrests  , 5 Goldcrests , including 2 ' continental' birds and 8 Chiffchaffs this morning, Nearby 15 Redwings in the tops of the Alders.

1st. Yr. m.A particularly smart ' continental' Goldcrest.Note the extent that the pale grey side crown and nape extend on to the mantle. A diagnostic feature of  'continental' birds.
1. 1st. Yr. m.    

2. A particularly smart ' continental' Goldcrest.    

3. Note the extent that the pale grey side crown and nape extend on to the mantle. A diagnostic feature of 'continental' birds.

Posted December 4th, 2019 at 2:38 pm by Alan K. Searle. in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

Among the Canada Geese this morning were 3 Barnacle Geese. Also, 1 Egyptian Goose, 1 Greylag and the Snow Goose is back.

Posted December 4th, 2019 at 1:09 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

Tuesday 3rd December 2019

Upper Tamar Lake

A good sighting of the Ring-necked Ducks 3m (one first winter) 1f.

Posted December 3rd, 2019 at 7:26 pm by Rod Mudge Adam Roberts in Bird News

Colebrook Garden Birds

This woodpecker, one of a pair, is a regular visitor to our back garden feeders.  Yesterday he landed on the bottom pole, which is rusty and he can climb up, but instead he remained absolutely frozen for between 15 and 20 minutes as if there was a predator around. None of the other birds, including this robin, seemed at all concerned.  What was he doing? Not so obliging was a Firecrest that stayed for about 30 seconds and didn't stay for a photo.

Posted December 3rd, 2019 at 7:13 pm by Chris Marcol in Bird News

Wrafton Pond & Baggy Point

No sign of the 5 Scaup on the pond yesterday aft but the Goldeneye still present. 1 Siberian Chiffchaff 'tristis' in the vegetation close to the boardwalk, very close views.

At Baggy Point on Sunday last c90 Common Scoters including 3 males. (not all visible in the photo, several diving)

Also 1 female Black Redstart near the NT car park

The Common Scoters are finding food at Baggy point (blue mussels) which is why they have remained at this location & not Downend so far this winter.

Posted December 3rd, 2019 at 6:31 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Near Two Bridges

Cracking male Hen Harrier flying across the road ahead of me near Two Bridges this afternoon.

Posted December 3rd, 2019 at 6:08 pm by Andy Smith in Bird News

Venford Resservoir

Late post from yesterday. 1 Woodcock and 5 Goosanders.

Posted December 3rd, 2019 at 6:05 pm by Andy Smith in Bird News

Lopwell Dam

Little Egret 1, Kingfisher 1, Common Sandpiper 4, Little Grebe 4, Moorhen 12+, Mallard 19, Mute Swan 4, Canada Goose 9, Buzzard 4, Raven 2, Grey Wagtail 1, Redwing 13, Goldcrest 2. Scores of Pheasants  in the area including one group of 12 at the junction with the driveway to Maristow House.

Posted December 3rd, 2019 at 5:59 pm by Jason Smart in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

2 Jack Snipe, 19 Snipe, 39 Turnstones, Ringed Plover, 199 Dunlins, 2 Common Sandpipers, Dipper, 10 Little Grebes, Great Crested Grebe, 3 Goosanders (1 drake), 7 Wigeon, 2 Kingfishers, 12 Mandarin Ducks, Mediterranean Gull (Polish-ringed adult), 2 Shags, 2 Great Spotted & 1 Green Woodpeckers, 4 Bullfinches, Grey Wagtail & 6 Roe Deer.

Posted December 3rd, 2019 at 5:55 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News


Further to the previous post by Peter, I'm prompted to report the sighting of a single Red Grouse about half a mile south of Ryders hill. Not far from where I flushed five birds some five or six years ago. Also just five Golden Plover.

Posted December 3rd, 2019 at 5:16 pm by John Lusher in Bird News

Velator reserve

2 more Chiffchaffs ringed this morning plus another Cetti's Warbler. Most of the rest were Green, Gold, and Chaffinches.

Out on the scrape a Lapwing and a Redshank, following 2 there a couple of days ago.

Posted December 3rd, 2019 at 5:15 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Brixham Harbour

Four Great Northern Divers around the Harbour this afternoon, three close in off Breakwater Beach and the bird in the pictures that was feeding on crabs close to the wall between the Marina and the Inner-Harbour.

Posted December 3rd, 2019 at 4:57 pm by Steven O'Donoghue in Bird News

Ilfracombe Swallows

An adult pair and a juvenile seen flying around the Tunnel Beaches and then perched for 10 mins on our telephone wire. Looking cold. Light too bad to get a good shot with a compact.

Posted December 3rd, 2019 at 4:29 pm by Nigel Vince in Bird News


Blue winged teal showed at 12.45 and stayed feeding around the reeds for about 1hour before going to sleep on top of a clump of reeds in the sun,. 

Posted December 3rd, 2019 at 3:58 pm by roger jewell & mike gibson in Bird News

Monday 2nd December 2019


A Chiffchaff in a hedge below Brent Hill this morning was not particularly unusual, but it was on Dartmoor, and in December 2018 only one Dartmoor Chiffchaff record was submitted - according to the Dartmoor Bird Report 2018. In the apparent absence of any other announcement, some readers may be interested to know that the report is available on this website, tucked away under Birdwatching/Articles/Dartmoor Bird Reports. Hopefully it will stimulate submission of more Dartmoor records for 2019.

Posted December 2nd, 2019 at 10:11 pm by Peter Reay in Bird News

Firecrests Paignton Zoo

There were 5 Firecrests scattered around the Zoo grounds this afternoon - 3 singles and a duo. One of the photos shows a typically minute prey item gleaned from a Yew twig; it looks like an insect egg of some sort.

Firecrest Paignton Zoo Firecrest Paignton Zoo Firecrest with food item

Firecrest at Paignton Zoo: note the tiny prey item on the right - an insect egg?

Posted December 2nd, 2019 at 7:53 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News

N. Hallsands.

A snipe in one of my mist nets this morning was a suprise. A lovely bird in the hand with its intricate camouflage ,and incredibly docile. No sighn of yesterday's Yellow Browed Warbler , and the Chiffchaffs had also moved on , with only 2 present today. Very few other migrants ; just 5 Goldcrests.


Posted December 2nd, 2019 at 5:57 pm by Alan K. Searle. in Bird News

Upper and Lower Tamar Lake

A very early look at the lakes this morning.

Upper Lake.

5 Ring-necked Duck 3m 2f, 6 Tufted Duck.

Lower Lake.

1 Green Sandpiper on the weir, 1m Shoveler, 7 Goosander 4m 3f.


The Ring_necked were diving with the Tufted which made sexing them very difficult, they all flew south but not the the Lower Lake.

Posted December 2nd, 2019 at 4:23 pm by Rod Mudge in Bird News

Middle Soar to Southdown Farm.

A lively morning in superb conditions brought Black Redstart, a significant influx of thrushes, 58 Blackbird & 27 Song Thrush, an increase in bunting numbers to 71 Yellowhammer, 42 Cirl Bunting & 3 Reed Bunting, 700 Herring Gull, 27 Stock Dove, 370 Woodpigeon, 170 Carrion Crow, 74 Jackdaw, a winter's peak of 1050 Skylark, 125 Starling, 7 Buzzard, 25 Greenfinch - species showing signs of recovery, 90 Canada Goose & 100 Linnet.

Late Red Admiral.

Posted December 2nd, 2019 at 3:32 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

This morning (high tide) produced: 3 Goosanders (2 drakes + redhead), Great Crested Grebe, 5 Little Grebes, 25 Snipe, 6 Greenshanks, 6 Wigeon (3 pairs), 2 Kingfishers & a Great Spotted Woodpecker..

Posted December 2nd, 2019 at 1:00 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News


A lone Whimbrel in amongst a small flock of Oystercatchers and Curlew just off Cockwood steps. No sign of Slavonian Grebe. 

Posted December 2nd, 2019 at 12:18 pm by Matt Collis in Bird News

Sunday 1st December 2019

Snow Bunting

Seen a snow Bunting in the same spot today as I did 2 weeks ago in Woolacombe 

Posted December 1st, 2019 at 9:08 pm by Stephen Adams in Bird News

Great Northern Diver, Dunnock and Curlew

Long distance shot of a Great Northern Diver, Curlew and Dunnock at Instow this morning.

Long distance shot of a Great Northern Diver.
Long distance shot of a Great Northern Diver.

Curlew three of ten.
Curlew three of ten.


Posted December 1st, 2019 at 7:37 pm by Martin Bennett in Bird News

Ringed female Kingfisher

Driving home we saw today this female kingfisher was perched on barbed wire overlooking the dike around the Great Field. Having driven by without disturbance we were able to park up some 20 metres further on & watch and photograph her successfully catch this fish. John Turner please note....she was sporting a ring on her right leg but unable to read the number. One of yours no doubt.

Posted December 1st, 2019 at 7:02 pm by Sue & Phil Naylor in Bird News

Preston Sands, Paignton

Two adult Mediterranean gulls on the rocks at the north end this afternoon. One was colour ringed green RLN4, ringed as a chick in Jablines, Seine-et-Marne, France in 2015. This is now its 3rd winter in Torbay. The other bird was unringed. Well over 20 turnstones, also 1 rock pipit.

French ringed Mediterranean Gull, green RLN4
French ringed Mediterranean Gull, green RLN4

Posted December 1st, 2019 at 5:54 pm by Chris Proctor in Bird News


Solo Female Black Redstart present in Coombe Vale garden all morning...

Posted December 1st, 2019 at 4:53 pm by Neil Graham in Bird News


A YELLOW BROWED warbler this morning  ( not caught ) 11 Chiffchaffs. a big increase on the2/3 of the last week ; 3 Firecrests , 4 Goldcrests , including a ' continental ' bird and a female blackcap.

' continental ' Goldcrest. 1st. Yr.f.
' continental ' Goldcrest. 1st. Yr.f.

Posted December 1st, 2019 at 1:45 pm by Alan K. Searle. in Bird News

01-12-19 Redwings FPC

Plenty of redwings still at FPC, but no signs yet of the Black Redstarts


Posted December 1st, 2019 at 12:37 pm by Greg Bradbury in Bird News

plymouth railway station

Around 70 ringneck parakeet this morning

Posted December 1st, 2019 at 10:13 am by barry insull in Bird News

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