Devon Bird Sightings from 8th–14th January 2020


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

Tuesday 14th January 2020

Plymouth Cattewater

In the hope that storm Brendon may have turned up the odd 'wreck' I twice biked along Plymouth Hoe in gale force winds.  The only birds of note however were two Gannets only yards offshore off the Citadel, yesterday and today.

Posted January 14th, 2020 at 10:39 pm by Chris Marcol in Bird News

Tiverton garden

This green woodpecker has been visiting the front garden the last couple of days.


Posted January 14th, 2020 at 2:31 pm by Richard Gowen in Bird News

Devon Goosander count

A minimum of 146, but no more than 154 Goosanders were found in Devon at dawn on 11 Jan. Highest site count was a record 66 roosting at Meeth, but there were only 47 definite roosters on Dartmoor reservoirs (max 20 at Avon Dam). Others were at Tamar Lakes (17), Clovelly Lakes (6), Plym Est (6), Lower Dart (at least 4). There were zero counts at Portworthy and Stover (though two flew through). At Wimbleball (Somerset, but close to county boundary) 64 flew out over the dam, and at least some of these were probably heading to Devon rivers to feed. Thanks to all who took part.

Posted January 14th, 2020 at 10:21 am by Peter Reay in Bird News

Hen harrier

Late post for Sunday afternoon.Male hen harrier between Challacombe and Widdecombe .

Posted January 14th, 2020 at 9:14 am by Ian samuel in Bird News

Red throated diver

1 red throated diver off the pontoon at Newton ferrers at lunch time for a couple of hours.

Posted January 14th, 2020 at 6:44 am by Andy Quest in Bird News

Monday 13th January 2020

Cattle Egret at Freminton Pill roost

We estimated 12 Egret flew from the roost near the head of Fremington Pill today around 11 am leaving two behind which were Cattle Egret. They also flew soon afterwards & headed south. The image is a record shot, heavily cropped, of one of them. 

Cattle Egret
Cattle Egret

Posted January 13th, 2020 at 7:08 pm by Phil & Sue Naylor in Bird News


 FYI  Very unusual plumage on this garden visitor this week not seen again since 


Posted January 13th, 2020 at 4:43 pm by Rob Cleversley in Bird News

Seaton Wetlands

In spite of the bad weather forecast 18 members of DB attended this mornings fieldtrip to Blackhole Marsh and Colyford Common.  Water levels were high but did not prevent us from reaching the hide at Colyford Common.  A good number of Lapwing (c900) were at Blackhole plus three Little Grebe close to the Tower Hide and a single Ringed Plover seen from the Island hide.  A Kingfisher was seen from the Study Centre.  The main interest came at Colyford Common with several Med. and Common Gulls on the scrape, plus others.  A distant and fleeting sighting of a possible Bearded Tit by the river was called but not confirmed.   A Grey Phalarope posted earlier was not found and the report unconfirmed.

IMPORTANT East Devon Branch NoticePlease note that due to unforeseen circumstances East Devon Branch Committee is currently not able to communicate with its members via email.  Members may only read of changes or cancellations to its Programme here on this website. Prior to any fieldtrip please check here for any notice 24 hours before the event.  We are sorry for any inconvenience caused and hope to rectify the situation.  Thank you.

Posted January 13th, 2020 at 3:16 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in Bird News

Aveton Gifford

White Wagtail at treatment works plus 7 Chiffchaff.

Posted January 13th, 2020 at 3:14 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Highlight was a Treecreeper, my first here for some months. Also, Chiffchaff, Green Woodpecker, Stock Dove, Grey Wagtail, 4 Nuthatches, 2 Great Northern Divers, 3 Goosanders (1 drake), 12 Wigeon (7 drakes), Red-crested Pochard (female), 15 Mandarin Ducks (9 drakes), 2 Common Sandpipers, 3 Shags,a leucistic Black-headed Gull (adult) & 6 Roe Deer. 

Posted January 13th, 2020 at 2:13 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News


A very windy, but dry (in that there was no rain!) reserve this morning had a pair of Gadwall on the pond, 2 Little  Egrets nearby, and a Tawny Owl calling late morning. Best was a female Merlin exiting the reserve southwards towards the marsh.

Posted January 13th, 2020 at 2:09 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Sunday 12th January 2020


pm. 1 female Merlin, lots of Crossbill activity (with max of 12 together at one stage), 2 Bramblings in with a Chaffinch flock and nice views of a Green Woodpecker.

Posted January 12th, 2020 at 9:05 pm by Andy Smith in Bird News


A single Great White Egret was in a field just north of the Goosemoor Reserve, while a flock of 17 Cattle Egret were in a field on the north side of the M5 bridge over the River Exe. 

Posted January 12th, 2020 at 9:02 pm by Drew Lyness in Bird News


Alongside the usual small group of Cirl Bunting in the car park this evening, the bay at broadsands held at least 10 Great Northern Diver and a 2 pale-morph Arctic Skua (which were enjoying harassing the gulls fairly close in). The latter feels like a decent record for January.

Eds: suspect the two skuas were Pomarine Skuas, Arctic really will be in the southern oceans at this time of year -  there have been several records of Pomarine Skuas (much more likely - including pale phase adults or near adult birds) over the last month. Pomarine Skuas with broken tails or shredded tails can show pointed central tail feathers. 

Posted January 12th, 2020 at 8:56 pm by Drew Lyness in Bird News

Ringed plovers

6 Ringed Plovers seen well from the car park in Budliegh Salterton by the river otter this afternoon. The birds were feeding on the mud flats on the tidal section when the tide was out. 

Posted January 12th, 2020 at 8:10 pm by John Wilkes in Bird News


Several Great Northern Divers this afternoon, along with at least 3 Red-throated Divers. A group of 30+ Common Scoters flew in too.

Posted January 12th, 2020 at 7:51 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

exmouth ringneck parakeet

douglas avenue 4pm 9 ringneck parakeet pre roost

Posted January 12th, 2020 at 7:16 pm by barry insull in Bird News

5 barrows near Challacombe

According to the met office there was supposed to be a break in the weather, so I took myself up to 5 barrows near Challacombe this morning .

The weather was nothing like it was supposed to be, torrential rain and gale force winds.  Still,  there were large flocks of fieldfare of which I hadn't seen any this year until this morning ,  smaller murms of starlings,  golden plover,and mostly male stonechat and quite a few chaffinch. 

Posted January 12th, 2020 at 6:04 pm by Philip worth in Bird News

Baggy Point

The very tight Common Scoter flock was not far off the point when I arrived late morning. I counted over 60 but less than 70! Including 4 males, one of which was very black. Two brief views of an active Red-throated Diver, and a close-in dark morph Fulmar. All the Gulls and Jackdaws worked themselves into a frenzy but all I saw to disturb them was a male Sparrowhawk!

Posted January 12th, 2020 at 4:57 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News



The Blue-winged Teal eventually showed from deep within the rushes/reeds at about 12.45.  It was best viewed from the hillside on the way up Southdown Cliff.  Thanks to the visiting Exeter birder for finding that - very easy to miss!  Also round and about the marsh and hide were 2 Chiffchaffs, Snipe, Cetti's Warbler, Goldcrest, Meadow Pipits and a pair of Bullfinches.  Decent mixed tit flock at the feeders and a large brown rat beneath them! 

On the sea a cracking Black-throated Diver - big thanks to the visiting Hampshire birder for picking that out!

A single female Black Redstart around the Cottages. 



Posted January 12th, 2020 at 4:47 pm by Paul Darlington in Bird News


0850-1250 :

7 Cirl Bunting (4m,3f) 15+ Meadow pipit, 10+ Rock pipit, 5 Skylark, 3 Stonechat, 3 Bullfinch, 1 Linnet.

Posted January 12th, 2020 at 2:30 pm by Alan Livsey in Bird News

Saturday 11th January 2020

Wrafton Pond

Going through my photos today of my recent visit to WP and came across this Male Shoveler in flight over the pond.

Male Shoveler
Male Shoveler

Posted January 11th, 2020 at 8:31 pm by Martin Bennett in Bird News

Exe Estuary cruise

This afternoon's Stuart Lines birdwatching cruise was excellent, with a Great Northern Diver and a feeding group of 30 Shags at Exmouth, the Slavonian Grebe and the first of about a dozen Great Crested Grebes off Cockwood, a Peregrine over the boat off Powderham and big flocks of Golden Plover and Black-tailed Godwits (>1000 of each) around Turf, where there were c140 Knot and a few Ringed Plovers and Sanderlings.  Pride of place, however, went to the Long-billed Dowitcher, on its own on the river channel between Topsham and Turf (bit of a fluke actually finding it!).  Less exciting were 2 Black Swans at Topsham and a Snow Goose in fields with Canadas near Turf. There were only small numbers of Mergansers and Pintail, maybe around 30 of each, but relatively good numbers of Grey Plovers and Bar-tailed Godwits. Gull numbers were very impressive in late afternoon - hundreds of Common and Great Black-backs, though only half-a-dozen Lessers.

Posted January 11th, 2020 at 7:35 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News

Lower Tamar Lake

The monthly Goosander count on the Lower Lake saw 6m 10f (on the Upper Lake 1m 1f), 4 Ring-necked Duck 3m 1f, 7 Tufted Duck , 4 Cormorant, 4 Long-tailed Tie, 2 Willow Tit, 3 Marsh Tit, 1 Nuthatch, c150 Black-headed- Herring-Lesser Black-backed and Black-backed Gull, 1 Green Sandpiper, 6 Great Crested Grebe.

Posted January 11th, 2020 at 7:02 pm by Rod Mudge in Bird News

South Brent Sparrow sp

It took until the mid afternoon to show up but the Sparrow species subject to previous days posts came back into the garden feeders, poor light and rain did not help when it came to watching it.


Last evening a flypast from a Tawny owl and shorty after that a Barn owl calling on and off until 10pm.

Mid morning good numbers of Redwing flying between hillside and the Forder valley, one flock of 100 plus birds and numerous smaller flocks, a flock of 30 plus Goldfinch over the garden.

At least six Greenfinch on the garden feeders one being a BTO ringed female, GSWP, Nuthatch, male Bullfinch, nine Long Tailed Tit which got very agitated when a Sparrowhawk went over.


Posted January 11th, 2020 at 4:33 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

A39 - Kilkhampton to Woolsery

A day late (Friday) - a raptor filled day in the sun. A hunting Barn Owl and a Woodcock on the way to the Kilk co-op first thing. c200 Golden Plover in the field below Urqhuart ltd near Eastcott - then fantastic afternoon views of a male kestrel, a male Hen Harrier quartering along a hedgerow and a female merlin resting on a culm grass mound.

Posted January 11th, 2020 at 3:52 pm by Steve Wheale in Bird News


2 Firecrest at Lea Mount, Dawlish

Posted January 11th, 2020 at 3:06 pm by paul barker in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

A pre-dawn start as part of the Goosander roosting count (6 birds including 2 drakes present first thing). Also: 12 Mandarin Ducks (7 drakes), 11 Wigeon (7 drakes), 217 Dunlins, Snipe, 9+ Little Grebes, Red-crested Pochard (female), Grey Wagtail, 3 Bullfinches & 2 Great Spotted & a Green Woodpecker.

Posted January 11th, 2020 at 11:58 am by Pete Aley in Bird News

Ringed Avocet on the Tamar

Apologies for the rather soft image - the Avocet was a long way off! Can anyone identify the rings? There were a lot of Avocets but I did'nt see any other with rings.

Ringed Avocet
Ringed Avocet

Posted January 11th, 2020 at 10:50 am by Tony Hooper in Bird News

Wrafton Pond

Other birds at Wrafton pond.

Female GoldeneyeMute Swan splashing around in the pond.
Female Goldeneye                            Mute Swan splashing around in the pond.

Posted January 11th, 2020 at 12:48 am by Martin Bennett in Bird News

Wrafton Pond

It was a good day for me on Friday 10 January at the pond. Lots of gulls, seven Shoveler M/F some in flight, female Goldeneye showing well and the usual Swans, coots, Mallards and Moorhens. 

Female Shoveler
Female Shoveler

Male Shoveler
Male Shoveler

Shovelers in flight
Shovelers in flight

Posted January 11th, 2020 at 12:45 am by Martin Bennett in Bird News

Friday 10th January 2020

Start Point area

I am hoping to get some help identifying the redstart I photographed at Lannacombe beach today. is it a female black redstart? Eds - yes a female / immature Black Redstart

I also attach a picture of the ring necked duck at Beesands this afternoon.

Female black redstart?
Female black redstart?


Ring necked duck
Ring necked duck

Posted January 10th, 2020 at 11:19 pm by Pete Saunders in Bird News

Baggy Point

66 Common Scoter at Baggy early am & 1 Red throated Diver.

Posted January 10th, 2020 at 10:07 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Dartmoor -10.01.2019

Lovely day on Dartmoor. Mixed flock of Fieldfare outnumbering Redwing on the Wallabrook. 2 Siskin in the top of pines. Both Grey and Pied Wagtail. Nearby at least one Brambling in with a flock of 60+ Chaffinch. Only raptors seen, 3 Buzzard and one hovering Kestrel. A healthy looking fox near Soussons. More good weather please!

Fieldfare and Redwing -Wallabrook - 10/1/2020
Fieldfare and Redwing -Wallabrook - 10/1/2020

Pied Wagtail- Wallabrook- 10/1/2020
Pied Wagtail- Wallabrook- 10/1/2020

Posted January 10th, 2020 at 8:47 pm by Dave Pakes in Bird News

South Brent ~ Sparrow Sp

The Sparrow sp subject of yesterday's post was back around the garden feeders several times today, allowing me to take numerous new photographs, despite the images being better than yesterdays I am just as confused as to its identity, I am tempted to suggest a Tree Sparrow X House Sparrow hybrid, there is plenty of scientific evidence to be found on the internet to support such a hybrid but none of the studies that I have read have quality supporting images.


The bird has the white collar and a pale buffy under belly as in a Tree Sparrow, in other respects it matches the description given in Collins for the Italian Sparrow, the distinct white cheek patch and collar I feel negates it being a colour morph House Sparrow but who knows for sure?

Eds: see the link here of a very similar bird.. 

UPDATE ~ Following above Eds comment ~ I have read both the documents contained in the above link ~ viewing the images the bird appears identical to the bird subject of those documents other than the beak my bird has a coloured yellow and grey beak while the Budleigh bird has a black beak, this may simply be down to breeding condition.

Posted January 10th, 2020 at 6:08 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Brixham Area & Stove CP

Bit of a rush round today in great viewing conditions:

Mansands: Blue-winged Teal showing well - lifer for me!  Water Rail, 2 Bullfinch, Cetti's Warbler.

Berry Head: Black Redstart, 2 Med Gull, 400+ Guillemot; 4 Razorbill, 15+ Fulmar.

Brixham Breakwater: 5 Great Northern Diver, 12 Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone.

Stover CP: male Mandarin, 3 Goosander, 2 Pochard, 2 Marsh Tit, 5 Nuthatch, 2 Treecreeper, 23 Long-tailed Tit,1 Lesser Redpoll.

Posted January 10th, 2020 at 5:05 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Friday 9th January - Brixham Harbour

Enjoyable walk in glorious winter afternoon sunshine around Brixham harbour and the breakwater. Besides the usual gulls and shags there were 11 swans and 2 mallard ducks in the inner harbour. 2 great northern divers, a black headed gull and an oyster catcher at the end of the breakwater.

Posted January 10th, 2020 at 4:52 pm by David Roper in Bird News

exminster marsh

Three barnacle geese and a snow goose seen in the fields by the lionsrest,. At turflocks in the field after the pub two Egyptian geese 

seenby the fir tree.

Posted January 10th, 2020 at 1:37 pm by roger jewell& mike Gibson in Bird News


On 9th January my wife and I saw a Redstart in the hedgerows near Blackawton in South Devon

Posted January 10th, 2020 at 9:36 am by Marcus Childs in Bird News

Thursday 9th January 2020

Sparrow Sp ~ South Brent

Seen around the feeders in my South Brent garden this afternoon ~ open to thoughts on what species or morph of Sparrow it may be.. have discounted it being a Tree Sparrow as it does not have the diagnostic black cheek patch.

Posted January 9th, 2020 at 9:37 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

In addition to Steve Cox's report, in the afternoon the Black-tailed Godwits increased to an estimated 800 to 1000 birds.  A single male Scaup and a female/juv type Marsh Harrier also put in appearances.

Posted January 9th, 2020 at 8:46 pm by Chris Marcol in Bird News

Ludwell Valley Park, Exeter

On the 'Panny' Brook from Woodwater Lane bridge a group of six Green Sandpipers, (a couple may have been Common Sandpiper), at least 3 Grey Wagtails, 2 Chiffchaffs and a Raven.

Posted January 9th, 2020 at 8:34 pm by Chris Marcol in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

A lunch time visit today. Teal 130, Wigeon 230, Shoveler 32, Pintail 8, Tufted 3, Pochard 4. Black-tailed Godwit 130+, Lapwing 10, Greenshank 4, Ruff 1 & Long-billed Dowitcher 1st wint.

Posted January 9th, 2020 at 5:52 pm by Steve Cox in Bird News


Smart looking male Blackcap on my fat feeder in the garden this afternoon. Also a Great Spotted Woodpecker on the peanuts, and several Long-tailed Tits.

Posted January 9th, 2020 at 3:52 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Burrator Reservoir

At least 3 Bramblings in with a flock of 100+ chaffinch flitting about in the beech trees near the main dam this lunchtime before the rain arrived and a Tawny Owl also heard calling. 

Posted January 9th, 2020 at 3:40 pm by Stuart Green in Bird News

Stover Lake

1 female type Goosander this morning, although it flew off high at around 11.00. Also a male Wigeon which is fairly unusual for Stover. 1 Pochard, 2 Mandarins, 1 Kingfisher.

Posted January 9th, 2020 at 1:31 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

Wednesday 8th January 2020

Plym Estuary

A relatively short look, late afternoon produced: 6+ Goosanders (3 drakes & 3+ redheads), Great Northern Diver, 3 Shags, 6 Mandarin Ducks (3 pairs), 12 Wigeon (7 drakes), 6 Greenshanks, 234 Dunlins, 132 Redshanks, Stock Dove & Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Posted January 8th, 2020 at 9:35 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News


Tawny Owl seen in the reserve this afternoon. 2 Stonechats and 2 Kestrels just outside.

Posted January 8th, 2020 at 8:51 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Upper and Lower Tamar Lake

The Lower Lake this morning,

8 Willow Tit, 1 Nuthatch, 4 Long-tailed Tit, 1m Great Spotted Woodpecker, 5 Great Crested Grebe, 8 Goosander.

Upper Lake.

2 Willow Tit (at a new feeding station), 4 Ring-necked Duck 3m 1f, 2 Greylag Geese, c50 Great and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 4 Cormorant, 9 Tufted Duck,

1 Grey Heron.

Posted January 8th, 2020 at 7:40 pm by Rod Mudge in Bird News

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