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


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

Thursday 7th February 2019

Bowling Green Marsh

A single Ruff was with Black-tailed Godwits in the field next to the viewing platform this lunchtime.

Posted February 7th, 2019 at 11:19 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

Fremington Pill

One Spoonbill feeding off Fremington Quay and at least six Cattle Egret roosting in trees at the top of Fremington Pill.

Posted February 7th, 2019 at 6:16 pm by Martin Unwin and Irene Hahn in Bird News

Haldon Brambling

Finally managed to find a Brambling (a first for me) at Haldon Forest, amongst the Chaffinches under the feeders at the cabin. Never seen so many Coal Tits and Siskins on the feeders at one time. Lots of Great Spotted Woodpeckers around the Gruffalo and plenty of Tree Creepers.

Brambling                                  Brambling                                      Treecreeper

Posted February 7th, 2019 at 9:56 am by Duncan Leitch in Bird News

CANCELLATION of fieldtrip tomorrow

Sorry folks but due to weather forecast for tomorrow Friday 8 Feb, it is necessary to cancel the East Devon Branch fieldtrip to Countess Weir/ Matford Ponds planned for the morning.  Heavy rain and high winds are forecast.  The next fieldtrip is planned for the Otter Estuary on 19 February so we hope to see you then.

Posted February 7th, 2019 at 9:12 am by Jonathan Ruscoe in Bird News

Wednesday 6th February 2019


Saw a lovely abundance of coastal and farmland birds today, more noticeable was a Firecrest ! Exciting .

Posted February 6th, 2019 at 9:00 pm by Beth Woollam in Bird News


On a newly ploughed field. A flock of 50 plus lapwing. My first inland lapwing for many years. Also in excess of 200 golden plover.

Posted February 6th, 2019 at 7:59 pm by Barry albrighton in Bird News


Fine weather today, just out walking along the Kingsbridge Estuary, 3 Green Shank in Bowcombe Creek, then round the corner near the where the slipway is just below the Warren Road, Embankment Road junction, at about 13.00hrs feeding at low tide in the main channel was a Spoonbill. Also Wigeon, Teal, Shelduck, Redshank, Curlew, and Oyster Catcher. We returned about 14.00 hours and it was still there. We went onto Torcross, on the shingle bank at the southern end of The Ley, where the BH Gulls like to rest, in amongst them was a Mediterranean Gull, very close view.

Posted February 6th, 2019 at 5:42 pm by Nick Cotter in Bird News


Black Redstart around Shelly Beach also Shag and Eider off off of same. Not much else to report.


Black Redstart
Black Redstart

Posted February 6th, 2019 at 5:36 pm by Martin Rooney in Bird News

River Plym

Marsh Mills to Plym Bridge - 3 Grey Wagtail, Siskins, 11 Mandarin Ducks (5 males), 1-2 Kingfishers, 1 Common Sandpiper,1 Dipper (from bridge over River Plym at Marsh Mills),

Marsh Mills to Saltram Park - 3 Greenshank, 6 Little Grebe, 60+Dunlin, 7 Wigeon (3 males), 8 Goosander (3 males), 2 ad WP Mediterranean Gulls amongst H,BH,C,GBB and LBB Gulls, 1 Common Sandpiper, 2 Red Breasted Mergansers (1 male), 3 Ring Necked Parakeets (1 blue), 1 Jay, 3 Skylark, 1 Sparrowhawk.

Also Snowdrops in flower and a Birder ignoring the No Entry signs at Blaxton Meadow - the wigeon were out on the estuary while he was stood on the path but returned to the meadow when he left. 

Posted February 6th, 2019 at 4:49 pm by Stuart Green in Bird News

Where have Devons wintering Brambling gone.

On my visit back to Devon over the Xmas period i noticed that Brambling appeared to be in smaller numbers than usual.On my return to Hungary and central Europe numbers appeared to above average and this was confirmed with the discovery of a winter roost in Slovenia containing an incredible 5 million birds ( yes that is correct  5 million !).Hopefully some will visit Devon on their way North in March.

Posted February 6th, 2019 at 3:40 pm by Roy Adams in Bird News

Middle Soar to Southdown Farm

Last bunting count of the first winter period turned up a splendid Corn Bunting plus a record count of 92 Cirl Bunting. Also 67 Yellowhammer & 7 Reed Bunting. Early migration with 3 Stock Dove flying north fast, 84 Woodpigeon (most migrants) and 5 Long-tailed Tits moving along a hedgeline in open fields. Also: Sparrowhawk, Snipe & 19 Blackbird.

Posted February 6th, 2019 at 3:24 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

06-02-19 Ford Park Cemetery

The male Black Redstart is still showing well at FPC, at the usual place East of the Chapels, but still no sign of the Female Black Redstarts

Posted February 6th, 2019 at 3:09 pm by Greg Bradbury in Bird News

Tuesday 5th February 2019

Ilfracombe Park Duck pond

Shoveler duck, think she's been hiding away for months now. 

Shoveler Duck
Shoveler Duck

Posted February 5th, 2019 at 7:21 pm by Martin Thorne in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Jack Snipe, Snipe, 7 Goosanders (2 drakes), 2 Red-breasted Mergansers (redheads), 6 Little Grebes, 22 Common Gulls (1 1s-w), 6 Wigeon (3 drakes), Common Sandpiper, 8 Redwings, Great Spotted & Green Woodpeckers, c65 Meadow Pipits, Stonechat & 9+ Roe Deer.

Posted February 5th, 2019 at 2:38 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Monday 4th February 2019

Axminster area Black-throated Thrush

Received a phone call this afternoon from a woman who lives near Axminster, who saw 2 male Black-throated Thrushes in her garden on Saturday morning, 2nd Feb.  They were feeding on berries on a tree. She says she is no expert, but was absolutely clear that these birds each had a snow-white belly with black throat and head (she saw them from below at first).  She knew they were in the thrush family, roughly the size of fieldfares.  She had consulted her own books with no success, but then talked to her (non-local) daughter who was able to ID them.  Sadly they were unable to photo them. They have not been seen since, so presumably they could be anywhere in the area.  

Posted February 4th, 2019 at 5:09 pm by Colin Randall in Bird News

Exminster Marsh

The Marsh Harrier still this afternoon between Station Road and the lagoon causing havoc to everything on the marsh - seemed to head off towards Powderham Marsh - also a Peregrine on the pylon

Posted February 4th, 2019 at 4:55 pm by Mark Bailey in Bird News

Dawlish Warren to Countesswear

From the seafront, 30+ G-c Grebe, 10+Common Scoter, and several distant feeding Gannets, but without a 'scope, the sea was too rough for me to pick up anything else.

In Powderham Park, the herons were busy courting, squabbling and building.

In the estuary from Powderham Corner to Turf and beyond were the usual R-b Mergansers, Avocets, godwits (both), Lapwings and Golden, Grey and Ringed Plovers, plus my first Knot (4) of the year.

On the marshes, the Snow Goose was S of Turf and W of the railway, so only visible from Powderham footbridge, the 4 Barnacles were close to Swan's Nest Road, 10 Greylags were near the main pond, and a Peregrine was disturbing the Lapwings, ducks and Starlings.

On the river from Topsham Lock, 2 Goldeneye were feeding.

Finally, at Countesswear, from the sewage works access road, a Water Rail was feeding out on the exposed mud at least five yards from cover, with a Common Sandpiper nearby, and a Treecreeper singing from the canal-side Oaks.

Overall, more than 80 spp., including 15 each of waders and Anseriformes.

Posted February 4th, 2019 at 4:54 pm by James Camden in Bird News

Salcombe/Bolt Head

54 Shags on the sea and on rocks north of the Bar - good count for here.

Posted February 4th, 2019 at 4:39 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Estover , Plymouth

Siskins on the table and feeders in my garden this afternoon.

Posted February 4th, 2019 at 2:26 pm by Peter Castle in Bird News

Exminster Marsh Sunday 3rd

Excellent visit to the marsh at midday. Alive with vast numbers of wigeon, lapwings and all the usual.  Highlights were four snipe showing well near Lions Rest, several redwings and fieldfares, four barnacle geese flew in from estuary, kingfisher very active at Turf and on the way back superb views of the marsh harrier causing mayhem to the flocks of waders and geese.  

Posted February 4th, 2019 at 9:01 am by Patrick Case in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

Cattle Egret (1) in the field by the Turf Hotel in amongst the cattle at dusk 

Posted February 4th, 2019 at 7:45 am by Matt Collis in Bird News

Broadsands #3 - Mixed Company

Even more pics from 2nd - 3rd Feb (if you've not had enough!).


 1                                                                2                                                                  3 


  4                                                              5                                                                  6                  

  1. 2 Cirl Buntings (top left & bottom right) with Chaffinches
  2. 2 Reed Buntings (back & left) & 2 Cirl Buntings (front & right)
  3. 2 Yellowhammers (left), Chaffinch (top right) & Greenfinch (bottom right)
  4. Reed Bunting (left) & Cirl Bunting (right)
  5. Dunnock (left) & Cirl Bunting (right)
  6. Yellowhammer (left) Cirl Bunting (right)

Posted February 4th, 2019 at 1:09 am in Bird News

Broadsands Buntings #2 - Cirl Buntings

More pics from 2nd - 3rd Feb.



Posted February 4th, 2019 at 12:19 am in Bird News

Broadsands Buntings #1 - Yellowhammers & Reed Buntings

Some pics from 2nd - 3rd Feb.



Posted February 4th, 2019 at 12:10 am in Bird News

Hembury Fort, Awliscombe

At least two bramblings (both female) with 25+ chaffinch feeding on beech masts, 3.45pm.

Posted February 4th, 2019 at 12:01 am by James Morrison in Bird News

Sunday 3rd February 2019

A361 east of South Molton

Just before 5pm on the way back from a Stuart Line birdwatching trip on the Exe, I was delighted to see 2 red kites over the A361. Then another, and another and several more, finally totalling 9 of them. They were heading towards the coach, so roughly east.

Posted February 3rd, 2019 at 8:07 pm by Ann Kingston in Bird News

Haldon and Exminster Marshes


At Haldon Forest Park, 2 female Bramblings visiting the area around the feeders, despite the disturbance on a busy morning.  Also there were 20+ Chaffinch, GSW, 10+ Siskin, Yellowhammer, Pied Wagtail, 2 Song Thrush, Mixed Tit flock and a Nuthatch.

Later at Exminster Marshes: Large numbers of a variety waders and waterfowl.  Highlights were Water Rail and 2 Ruff. Also, 5 Fieldfare and 15+ Redwings.  Sparrowhawk close to Lion's Rest.

At Cockwood Steps, Slav Grebe and 4 R B Mergansers.  50+ Brent Geese on Starcross Golf Course.

On the way back, good numbers of woodland birds visiting the feeding station at Ideford Common Car Park. 


Posted February 3rd, 2019 at 5:12 pm by Paul Darlington in Bird News

Plymouth Coastal

A walk from the Barbican to the Hoe, six Turnstone, 1 Rock Pipit, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Great Tit, numerous House Sparrows and feral pigeons many of which were pairing up.


Back home at South Brent male Blackcap and a female Reed Bunting around the feed station, twenty one Redwing and a male Bullfinch in the field hedge.

Posted February 3rd, 2019 at 4:26 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Torbay Boat Trip

Guillemots crammed on the ledges by Berry Head, between here and rafts of birds around the bay 700+ birds,


Posted February 3rd, 2019 at 4:03 pm by simon Thurgood in Bird News

Torbay Boat Trip

Some quality birds around the bay today!

Black-necked Grebe
Black-necked Grebe

Red-necked Grebe
Red-necked Grebe

Posted February 3rd, 2019 at 3:56 pm by simon Thurgood in Bird News

Sunday Morning boat trip Torbay.

Beautiful morning for a boat trip from Brixham into Torbay. What a trip!!  100+ Common Dolphin, 22 Grey Seals, 1 Harbour Porpoise, 2 Razorbill, 700+ Guillemots on the colony cliffs Berry Head, 30 Fulmar, 1 Common Gull, 1 Kittiwake, Gannets, 2 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Red-necked Grebe, 15+ Great Crested Grebe and 2 Great Northern Diver. 1 Scoter from a distance and 5 birds flying away from us, possible ID Scoter. A very good trip with many Dolphin around the boat.

Posted February 3rd, 2019 at 2:51 pm by Nigel Smallbones in Bird News

Woodbury Castle, East DEvon

A couple of Brambling still present with c50 Chaffinch flock.  Other birds included Treecreeper, c20 Redwing, Nuthatch  and a Stock Dove calling.  I have scattered bird seed in various places within the castle so hopefully they may settle to feed beyond the weekend when it is less disturbed. 

Posted February 3rd, 2019 at 12:59 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in Bird News

Elbury Farm Survey- Postponed

Those of us who were planning to meet tomorrow- Monday, please be aware that the survey has been put back until Wednesday due to forecast of bad weather.  Thanks.

Posted February 3rd, 2019 at 12:50 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in Bird News

Saturday 2nd February 2019

Haldon and the Exe

Haldon visitor centre ~ still several inches of snow lying around the feed station, lots of Coal and Great Tit, two Nuthatch, at least five GSWP at one point five Robin tolerating each other below a feeder, ten plus Siskin, two Pied Wagtail, Chaffinch numbers well down compared to a recent visit, one Raven, the only real high light were a count of some 180 Lapwing overhead flying west.


Topsham on the river behind the Bridge Inn two Black Swan.

Darts farm not as busy as earlier in the week but a mixed flock of Chaffinch, Linnet and Goldfinch feeding on the arable crop field, Redwing and Fieldfare passing overhead. From the viewing platform at least five Water Pipit, a large flock of Brent geese and fifty plus Curlew.

Bowling Green Marsh on the low tide, female Pochard, Gadwall, plenty of Shoveller and a good number of Redshank.

Looking over the Exe from the Goat walk, a flock of 100 plus Bar Tailed Godwit, 200 plus Avocet, at 500 Dunlin and three Red Breasted Merganser.

The Slavonian Grebe gave good views from Star Cross train station and two Eider duck, numerous Oyster Catcher, Redshank and eight Turnstone were off of Cockwood harbour.

Two Fallow Deer seen feeding in a field alongside the A38 at Chudleigh.

Posted February 2nd, 2019 at 11:12 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Ilfracombe and about !

At Woolacombe, 4 Red-throated Divers were feeding just beyond the surf. Golden Plovers on the farmland above over Spreycombe Down attracted a Merlin and their numbers were getting well up over 2000 along with 100s of Lapwing.  Back in Combe as It got dark the Haggington beach / Rillage Point Gull roost was in full swing c 2500 Herring 25 Common 12 Great BB and one Glaucous Gull, looked like a different bird to the one I saw during the week way off the Pier. 

Glaucous Gull
Glaucous Gull

Glaucous 'just about' top left of center
Glaucous 'just about' top left of center

Posted February 2nd, 2019 at 9:36 pm by Martin Thorne in Bird News

R.Taw, Barnstaple. Pottington to Ashford Strand. 1340-1515.

Black-tailed Godwit 45; Dark-bellied Brent Goose 42; Dunlin c250; Turnstone 5; Grey Plover 9; Sanderling 3; Wigeon 34; Goosander 4 (3F,1M); Golden Plover c100. Plenty of Redshank and Curlew but Lapwing numbers had dropped quite considerably. Teal c60; Moorhen 10 and a single Common Snipe on Bradiford Reserve.

Posted February 2nd, 2019 at 8:45 pm by Maurice Clements in Bird News

Middle Soar to Southdown Farm

Good counts but no discernible influx, apart trom thrushes:  120 Golden Plover, 2 Lapwing, Snipe, 1070 Skylark, 30 Meadow Pipit, 44 Blackbird, 24 Song Thrush, 55 Linnet, 2 Bullfinch, 75 Yellowkhammer.

Posted February 2nd, 2019 at 7:44 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News


Beautiful day at Slapton with some great views of goldcrests and a firecrest, also several chiffchaffs. Quite a few common scoter on the sea difficult to count but there must have been at least 50. A nice flock of golden plover flew over West Charleton marsh



Common Scoter
Common Scoter

Posted February 2nd, 2019 at 7:02 pm by Richie Moore in Bird News

Exe Estuary cruise

A beautiful sunny afternoon, taking the edge off a chilly northerly breeze. A Great Northern Diver was again off Exmouth sea front, as was the ‘resident’ Slavonian Grebe and a Little Grebe off Cockwood. An immature drake Eider was out on Bull Hill and 2 others were out on another sandbank off Starcross. 5 Goldeneye (2 drakes) were in a channel towards Lympstone. At least 16 Great Crested Grebes and maybe 30 Red-breasted Mergansers were scattered up the estuary, and about 230 Pintail were again around the mouth of the Clyst. Large flocks of Black-tailed Godwits were just visible in the fields near Turf. Only small numbers of them were on the mud today at Topsham, where at least 450 Avocets were mostly busy feeding. A flock of Bar-tailed Godwits resting on the mud there contained a couple of dozen Knot.

Eider imm drake Sanderlings Red-breasted Merganser

Eider (immature drake)                     Sanderlings                                 Red-breasted Merganser

Posted February 2nd, 2019 at 7:02 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News


At least 20 Cirl Buntings & 3 Reed Buntings at the feeding station first thing this am but also 3 Yellowhammers (2m, 1f). Hopefully some photos to follow...

Posted February 2nd, 2019 at 5:57 pm in Bird News

Golden plover near South Milton beach

Really enjoyed watching 6 golden plover in glorious sunshine feeding on short turf (recently muck spread) just behind the Beach Hut cafe at South Milton beach

Posted February 2nd, 2019 at 5:39 pm by Tim & Aishlyn Youngs in Bird News


Goosander on the River Walkham this afternoon

Posted February 2nd, 2019 at 3:17 pm by Peter Castle in Bird News


Dipper on the River Walkham this afternoon

Posted February 2nd, 2019 at 3:16 pm by Peter Castle in Bird News

Slapton Ley

Ring-necked Duck, Scaup, 6 Goldeneyes, 7 Pochards, 2 Wigeons and a Black-necked Grebe on the ley north of the Stokeley Hide. Offshore in Start Bay at least 3 Red-throated Divers, Black-necked Grebe and 53 Common Scoters. Also a Harbour Porpoise. Flock of 22 Lapwings flying north just offshore presumably reorienting after the snowy snap. Only evidence of cold weather related bird movement down here last couple days.

Posted February 2nd, 2019 at 1:39 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Baggy Point

Still 11 Common Scoters & 2 Red throated Divers at Baggy this morning.

Posted February 2nd, 2019 at 12:54 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Friday 1st February 2019

South Milton Reserve - Reed Cut, 3 February

The South Milton Reserve reed cut on Sunday 3 February will go ahead as planned.  The reedbed is in similar condition to when we cut it at the end of January and forecast looks ok but chilly.  We will meet at the sewage works at 9:30am on Sunday.  We will be extending the cut we made last time below the boardwalk.

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

Nick Townsend

Posted February 1st, 2019 at 7:47 pm by Nick Townsend in Bird News

Darts Farm

Ruff and Water Rail at Darts Farm

Posted February 1st, 2019 at 6:54 pm by Derek Carter in Bird News

Two's a Couple? - Paignton Garden

I know I'm not the only one to get Woodpeckers on my feeders, but it was a great garden first to get both a male and a female Great Spotted Woodpecker within an hour or so of each other.





Posted February 1st, 2019 at 5:56 pm in Bird News

Haldon Brambling

Usual birds around the feeders in beautiful conditions. Brambling the highlight. Terrible pic! Gruffalo looked cold and definitely Brass Mokeys!



Posted February 1st, 2019 at 5:48 pm by Martin Rooney in Bird News

Exe Estuary cruise

It was a cold journey up the estuary this morning! A Great Northern Diver was off Exmouth sea front, where several flocks of Redwings and Fieldfares passed over from the east. Off Cockwood, the ‘resident’ Slavonian Grebe, 2 immature drake Eiders and the first of maybe 20 Great Crested Grebes. 2 Greenshanks were feeding at the Kenn outlet and at least 200 Pintail were around the mouth of the Clyst. About 30 Knot were asleep, rather than busily feeding as would be usual for them. In contrast to the previous batch of cruises, only a few Lapwings and about 100 Golden Plover were on the mudbanks around Turf-Topsham. About 130 Bar-tails were off the Goat Walk at Topsham and a small group of Greylag Geese were on the mud.

Posted February 1st, 2019 at 5:06 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News

Slapton Ley

Ring-necked Duck and 2 male Scaup on the ley north of Stokeley Hide this morning. Also an Otter in front of the hide. No evidence of any cold weather movement here.

Posted February 1st, 2019 at 4:51 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Woodcock, Stonechat, Jack Snipe, 2 Snipe, 7 Goosanders (3 drakes), 6 Little Grebes, Shag, 7 Wigeon (3 drakes). Kingfisher, Black-tailed Godwit, 52 Curlews, c15 Redwings, 5 Mistle Thrushes, 32 Turnstones & 3 Roe Deer (1 buck). 

Posted February 1st, 2019 at 4:45 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Redwings in garden

Just spotted a large (50?) flock of redwings feeding on our snowy lawn. Presumably migration birds? Excited - never seen before. We are in Seaton, Devon.

Posted February 1st, 2019 at 2:33 pm by celia Iommi in Bird News

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