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

2020 Records request

If you saw any of the records below please submit a description to the County Recorder to ensure they make the official record. Many thanks.

·         Bee-eater 03-Aug Wistlandpound Res

·         Caspian Gull 15-Apr Fremington Pill

·         Caspian Gull 14- Sep Powderham

·         Crane [3] 22-Mar Milton Abbot

·         Crane [2] 24-Jun nr Ottery

·         Glossy Ibis 20-Jun South Efford Marsh

·         Glossy Ibis  02-Nov Seaton Marshes

·         Golden Oriole 07-Apr Fremington Pill

·         Golden Oriole 28-May Weston Mill

·         Golden Oriole [2] 23-Jun Bolt Head

·         Greenland WF Goose 20-Dec Roadford




·         Green-winged Teal Nov/Dec Exe Estuary

·         Grey Partridge 13-May Bishops Tawton

·         Grey Partridge 12-Nov Exminster Marshes

·         Leach's Petrel 30- Sep Labrador Bay

·          Leach's Petrel 31-Oct Sidmouth

·        Long-tailed Skua 04-Jul Dawlish Warren

·         Montagu's Harrier 17-May West Dart River

·         Ring-necked Duck Jan/Feb Meeth

·         Spotted Crake 09-Apr East Down

·        Stone-curlew [2] 22-Sep South Huish



Posted June 18th at 11:40 pm by Kevin Rylands in Bird News


In the light of the continuing Covid19 restrictions on the number of people gathering together, and the need for social distancing, it has been agreed that there will be no Devon Birds meetings or events organised until 19th July 2021, when Government restrictions are planned to be lifted. If there is any Government announcement that necessitates a change to this date an update will be posted.

Posted April 16th at 11:17 am by Mike Daniels in Bird News

Think before you post...!


Please think very carefully before posting any information on scarce or rare breeding species both here and elsewhere online.

A list of ‘at risk’ species in the county can be found here. Please note that Wood Warbler should now also be treated as on the list. All species included need to be protected - many receive full legal protection under Schedule 1 and/or are rare in the county and may be vulnerable to persecution/disturbance. It is an offence to intentionally disturb any of the Schedule 1 species during the breeding season without a valid licence. This also applies to anyone taking photographs of these species at or near the nest or whilst feeding dependant young.

Some species may be found breeding at numerous locations however please keep information on these species limited to well-known sites (e.g. Labrador Bay for Cirl Bunting, Aylesbeare Common for Dartford Warbler). Others may be found as obvious migrants and as such can also be posted eg coastal Ring Ouzel and passage waders, or raptors eg Little Ringed PloverRed Kite or Marsh Harrier.

If you have any doubts and think there is a chance there may be breeding, either because of the habitat or behaviour of the bird(s) then do not post, but please submit your records to the County Recorder and the RSPB.

Please be aware that egg collecting and other forms of persecution remain very real hazards for some of Devon’s birds.

Posts which breach these guidelines are likely to be not admitted / removed althogether, rather than edited.  


Posted March 15th at 11:56 am by Mike Langman 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

Saturday 7th December 2019

Slapton Ley

Little Grebe, Black-necked Grebe, 2 Wigeons, Ring-necked Duck, Scaup, 212 Tufted Ducks, 12 Pochards, 2 Goldeneyes, 245 Coots, 2 Mediterranean Gulls, 108 Common Gulls, 280 Black-headed Gulls, 2 Chiffchaffs and a Firecrest. Plenty of Water Rails calling. In the bay Red-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver and a Common Scoter flying north. Lots of Auks sp distant flying south early morning.


Posted December 7th, 2019 at 5:47 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News


From the reserve this morning a male Marsh Harrier over Sherpa Marsh, and a flock of 20 or so Fieldfares heading west. 2 water Rails calling.

Posted December 7th, 2019 at 3:38 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Lower Tamar Lake

Lower Tamar Lake this morning.

16 Goosander 9m 7f, 6 Tufted Duck 3m 3f, 11 Willow Tit, 2 Nuthatch, 15 Coal Tit, 16 Blue Tit, 7 Chaffinch, 2 Magpie, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Wren, 28 Mallard, 1m Gadwall, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Bullfinch, 1 Cormorant, 3 Moorhen, 2 Coot, 4 Marsh Tit, 1 Grey Heron, 3 Robin, 6 Long-tailed Tit.

Posted December 7th, 2019 at 2:33 pm by Rod Mudge in Bird News


Two Bearded Tits (male and female) at Riverside Valley Park from the first viewing screen by the cycle path north of the Countess Weir canal bridge.

Posted December 7th, 2019 at 1:42 pm by Will Salmon in Bird News

Ernesettle creek/Mountbatten, Plymouth.

This mornings low tide at Ernesettle creek:-

128 Snipe, 1 Jack Snipe.

Later at Mountbatten:-

4 Rock pipit, 1 Kestrel, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kingfisher, 2 Raven feeding on carrion.

Posted December 7th, 2019 at 1:29 pm by Alan Livsey in Bird News


Two Black necked Grebes,singles of Black throated and Red Throated Divers,four G.N.Divers and the Velvet Scoter was with a group of at least eight Common Scoter all females.

Posted December 7th, 2019 at 1:19 pm by Rob Gaze in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

Bittern seen wading in the far reedbed at 10am, to the right of the wooden gate. Also male Pochard

Posted December 7th, 2019 at 12:08 pm by Tim Smith in Bird News

East Soar

Target bird found this morning, 2 Jack Snipe in Starehole Valley.

Posted December 7th, 2019 at 11:52 am by Rob Macklin in Bird News

saltrum house plymouth

3 ringneck parakeet and 1 blue one

Posted December 7th, 2019 at 10:40 am by barry insull in Bird News

Friday 6th December 2019

Exminster Marshes

Late afternoon - 3 Barnacle Geese amongst large flock of Canadas seen from the railway footpath at the last gate of 'Agricultural Access'.   Marsh Harrier active, putting up large flocks of Wigeon and Lapwing

Posted December 6th, 2019 at 6:22 pm by Rupert Ormerod in Bird News

South Brent

A series of Goosander counts at a small private fishing lake near South Brent started with seven seen by Mike Goss on 1 Dec. This morning at 08:00 there were 14 (5 m) busily fishing, but only three on the previous two days. Birds have been seen coming in at dawn and leaving at dusk, and are presumed to be some of the Avon Dam roosters. Departure times have varied from 16:12 to 16:55.

Posted December 6th, 2019 at 10:52 am by Peter Reay in Bird News

Red Kite at Burrator Reservoir on December 4th

I had a Red Kite overhead at 1600 on Wednesday December 4th, flying over Burrator Reservoir towards Sheepstor. This is the first I’ve ever seen here on my local patch. Judging from its direction of travel, it probably had flown over my house and would have been a garden tick....had I been at home!

Posted December 6th, 2019 at 12:07 am by Howard Ackford 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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