Devon Bird Sightings: Bird News from 22nd–29th February 2020

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

Friday 28th February 2020

Slapton Ley / Beesands Ley

Braved the weather with Richard Green today. 2 Pochards and 6 Goldeneyes at Slapton Ley. Around at Beesands Ley the Ring-necked Duck still present. Also 5 Pochards,  26 Tufted Ducks, 3 Gadwalls and 4 Great Crested Grebes. 2 Shelduck put in a brief appearance.

Posted February 28th at 6:36 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News


 found sheltering in the beech hedge of the garden this morning.  I briefly saw it a couple of days ago by the pond.

Water RailWater Rail
Water Rail


Posted February 28th at 4:44 pm by Margaret Phillips in Bird News


Looked in on Wrafton Pond this morning and saw the two drake Pochard and the female Goldeneye. Also, a bit surprised to see a drake Red-crested Pochard, I looked for the other two, but couldn't find them. In the reserve, a Buzzard again, but no repeat of yesterday's Kingfisher. 17 Teal out on the scrape and 3 Little Egrets nearby.

Posted February 28th at 1:45 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Thursday 27th February 2020

Stover Lake

A couple of hours walking around Stover lake today and I was able to take a few lovely photos.

Male Tufted DuckGreat TitMandarin Duck
Male Tufted Duck                                      Great Tit                                     Mandarin Duck

Posted February 27th at 10:57 pm by Martin Bennett in Bird News

South Huish Marsh

Photo to accompany previous post

Common Snipe _South Huish Marsh - 27.02.2020
Common Snipe _South Huish Marsh - 27.02.2020

Posted February 27th at 7:16 pm by Dave Pakes in Bird News

Braunton North Devon

A quick look around this patch this afternoon proved productive with 2 Male Pochard and 4 Snipe on Wrafton Pond. 250+ Golden Plover on the great field, a hunting Barn Owl over the same area and the highlight was a male Merlin over Braunton marsh. 20+ Redshank on the Caen Estuary and 4 Little Grebe. 

Posted February 27th at 6:58 pm by Derek Carter in Bird News

South Huish Marsh

Amusing, but slightly sad, to see this ill-equipped, Common Snipe trying to land and perch on a fence at South Huish Marsh this afternoon. Local guru Mike P on his informative Thurlestone Bay website has correctly renamed the Marsh as South Huish Lake! It would appear there is a problem with the now submerged outflow, leaving little, if any, reedbed. exposed for the likes of snipe! All the usual birds, as per Mike's website, present including Sparrow Hawk, Kestrel and Buzzard and a nice pair of feeding Stonechat.

Posted February 27th at 6:09 pm by Dave Pakes in Bird News

Lynton and Lynmouth

Dippers interested in nest sights,pair of Grey Wagtails,pair of Chiffchaff.Spring is springing.

          ChiffchaffDipperGrey Wagtail
                      Chiffchaff                  Dipper                                                      Grey Wagtail

Posted February 27th at 4:58 pm by john elvin in Bird News


Singing male Chiffchaff at Turf Locks 13:00 today.

Posted February 27th at 2:18 pm by Martin Overy in Bird News

Velator reserve

The river was running very brown again this morning, and it will probably be the same tomorrow. However it did help to bring the bird of the day into the reserve - A Kingfisher flew across the pond and landed on a perch I had put there by accident recently. It was only when I looked at it later on that I realised it would be perfect for a Kingfisher - this one duly smacked the tiny fish it was carrying a few times before it headed off. Also present: Buzzard, 5 Redwing,1 Song Thrush, most of the usual suspects plus calling Tawny Owl and Cetti's Warbler.

Nearby on Wrafton Pond, 2 drake Pochard.

Posted February 27th at 2:07 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News


28 Cirl Buntings, 5 Yellowhammers & 1 Reed Bunting  on seed in 2nd car park at Broadsands this mornig.

Posted February 27th at 12:55 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Wednesday 26th February 2020

Hope cove.

Sat on a bench for lunch at Hope cove, really windy. Lots of herring gulls, a couple of ravens passed several times, a kestrel and a few stock doves. Grey seals quite close in on most days.

Herring GullJackdawRaven
Herring Gull                                 Jackdaw                                               Raven

Posted February 26th at 7:54 pm by Richie Moore in Bird News

Finches near Cator Court

c25 Brambling among c250 Chaffinch feeding under beech trees just west of Cator Court (at SX676772) at 12.30pm (26 Feb)

Posted February 26th at 4:29 pm by Colin Brooks in Bird News


Two Siberian Chiffchaffs still in the marsh behind the main beach also at least 4 collybita Chiffchaffs, 2 Stonechat, 2 Firecrest and 2 Goldcrest.

16 Cirl Buntings and 3 Yellowhammers on seed in the 2nd car park. Two Great Northern Divers off Elberry Headland.

Siberian Chiffchaff Broadsands 26th Feb 2020 ML

Siberian  tristis Chiffchaff, Broadsands

Posted February 26th at 4:19 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News


No rain this morning - and despite the strong wind a ringed Chiffchaff was finding something along the margins of the pond. a Buzzard flew out from the eastern trees. 7 Canada Geese  and a pair of Gadwall on the pond. A pair of Bullfinches on a peanut feeder. A Little Egret out on the scrape where there were also a few Meadow Pipits, which reminds me - there was a Water Pipit in the field outside the gates yesterday.

Posted February 26th at 1:19 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Tuesday 25th February 2020

exmouth ringneck parakeet

mear valley exmouth 9 ringneck parakeet

Posted February 25th at 9:22 pm by barry insull in Bird News

Taw Estuary

Single Spoonbill foraging on the estuary late afternoon.

The Wigeon are feeding up ready for their departure to their breeding grounds in the spring.


Posted February 25th at 6:42 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Upper and Lower Tamar Lake

The Lower Lake this morning.

36 Goosander 07:15

Upper Lake.

4 Ring-necked Duck 3m 1f, 8 Great Crested Grebe, 56 Canada, 1m Tufted Duck, 11 Mallard, 3 Cormorants, 27 Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Posted February 25th at 1:19 pm by Rod Mudge in Bird News

Underwood, Plympton

The Black Redstart is still making daily visits to our garden and to the south side of the turning circle at the end of Hill Close, but only in the mornings up to c.13:00 hours.

Posted February 25th at 8:57 am by Jason Smart in Bird News

Monday 24th February 2020


On Lundy today. 

1st Winter Glaucous Gull
1st Winter Glaucous Gull

Posted February 24th at 9:57 pm by Martin Thorne in Bird News


A rather sad looking Chiffchaff was hunting insects in the reserve this morning. Heard it call but no song yet - not surprised really.  3 Little Egrets out in the surrounding fields.

Water levels making it easy to produce a slippery mud bath everywhere.

Forgot to mention that a Water Rail was singing in the reserve yesterday - NOT just the squeal!

Posted February 24th at 7:20 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Crossbills and Bramblings at Haldon

20+ bramblings amongst a large mixed flock foraging alongside the Chudleigh (Old Exeter) road from Haldon car-park this afternoon, including a couple of almost full summer plumage males. Also a group of c10 crossbills flew into bare trees generally south of the car park.

Posted February 24th at 3:56 pm by Mark Brandon in Bird News

East Devon Branch AGM

Further to my recent post concerning the East Devon Branch indoor meeting and AGM I must apologise for giving the incorrect information.  The meeting will be held at 19.30 on THURSDAY 5 March and not as I stated 'Monday' 5th!  Thanks.

Posted February 24th at 2:20 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in Bird News

Roadford Lake

Scaup seen from the hide this afternoon. No sign of the snow goose or barnacle goose. Several male and female goldeneye viewed from the road looking north to the end of the reservoir. 

Posted February 24th at 7:35 am by Chris Baines in Bird News

Sunday 23rd February 2020

Wrafton pond

In the short spells between each group of children who came down to the pond to feed  the ducks and gulls I managed to capture some photos of male Pochard, female Goldeneye, Gadwall and some Snipe.

M/F GadwallTwo of the three Male Pochard that were on the pond on SundayTwo of six Snipe
M/F Gadwall                                 Two  Male Pochard                             Two of six Snipe

Posted February 23rd at 11:26 pm by Martin Bennett in Bird News

Willand + Broadhembury

River Culm, Willand: 70 little egret, 3 cattle egret, in large field before Bradfield corner, 4.00-4.15pm.

North Hill, Broadhembury: flock of c.170-200 linnet by gorse patch at edge of Gliding Club field, 5.00pm.  

Posted February 23rd at 10:05 pm by James Morrison in Bird News

stuartline birding Cruise 23rd February 2020

Yet another great Cruise this afternoon with several highlights unfolding as we made our way up towards Topsham. Everyone was invited to find the Slavonian Grebe around the Cockwood area but the bird was found further towards Starcross where it was fishing with a pair of Red Breasted Mergansers a pair of Great Crested Grebe and two female and a male Golden Eye, what a great little sighting. Several Turnstone has also been seen is this area during the last couple of cruises but today the visitors were treated to 120+ Turnstone feeding together a little further north. 6 Greenshank were seen together near the River Kenn. Several Grey Heron were seen at their nesting site on Powderham Estate and the first of the Avocets were seen near the Clyst confluence. Good numbers of Curlew were seen throughout. Another highlight for the visitors, Bar-tailed Godwits were in very good numbers with at least 150+ seen close to the boat in two groups. Great Crested Grebe were seen in both winter and summer plumage. The confirmed Common Seal was on a sandbar near the Clyst confluence and Black-tailed Godwits were first seen in good number with over 300+ and seen all along the channel to Topsham. In the fields at Powderham Marsh 300+ Dark Bellied Brent Geese were seen feeding and on the estuary mud both sides of the channel were good numbers of Dunlin, Knot and Grey Plover. Always fantastic to see the smart little Sanderling, 6+ was seen opposite Turf Lock. On the Exminster side of the channel 300+ Golden Plover were seen roosting. As we entered Topsham waters good numbers of Redshank and again a few Teal were seen on the edge of the river. The final highlight was 100+ Black-tailed Godwit several in their breeding plumage flew very close the boat which is always a privilege to see.

120+ TurnstoneSanderlingBar-tailed Godwit
120+ Turnstone                                   Sanderling                              Bar-tailed Godwit

Posted February 23rd at 7:13 pm by Derek Carter in Bird News

Exe Estuary, Topsham

Along the Exe Estuary at Topsham this afternoon, three Goldeneye (2M&1F) two pairs of Red Breasted Merganser, a pair of Black Swan, numerous Redshank and a few Curlew.

Posted February 23rd at 6:42 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Woodbury fort

A male brambling amongst the skittish mobile chaffinch flock inside the fort.

Posted February 23rd at 6:34 pm by Dave scott in Bird News

Exe Estuary cruise 22 February

The Slavonian Grebe was close to 3 Goldeneye (1 drake) and several Red-breasted Mergansers and Great Crested Grebes off Cockwood. Several Greenshanks and Avocets were around Powderham and 30+ Pintail off Lympstone. Masses of Black-tailed Godwits (some getting breeding plumage) and 15 Ringed Plovers were on the mud at Turf, and c800 Golden Plover roosting nearby. Grey Plovers, Knots and a surprising number of Sanderlings (10-15?) were seen on the way to Topsham, with masses of Dunlin, Redshank and both godwits and a fair scattering of Avocets (100+?) for good measure. A Harbour Seal was hauled out near Lympstone and a Grey Seal likewise off Dawlish Warren.

Posted February 23rd at 11:17 am by Dave Smallshire in Bird News

Saturday 22nd February 2020

Freminton Pill

Today is a first for me, a or the Fremington Glossy Ibis roosting with six Little Egrets in a tree at the head of the Pill. Poor quality photo taken in heavy drizzle. Glossy Ibis in bottom left corner of the photo.

Little Egret and Glossy Ibis
Little Egret and Glossy Ibis

Posted February 22nd at 9:06 pm by Martin Bennett in Bird News

Plymouth Parakeets

From 5.25pm this evening 45 plus Ring Necked Parakeets flew into their roost trees along Saltash Road opposite the station car park-much to the delight of some football fans after the Argyle match today. One blue morph seen plus hybrids.

Posted February 22nd at 7:24 pm by Tony Marchese in Bird News


Arriving at Crow point mid morning there were a number of curlew in the fields,  and a kestral on the hunt. Along the shoreline there were dunlin, oystercatchers, cormorant shelduck and a redshank. As it was low tide in the centre of the estuary were a couple of little egret. 

Curlew                              redshank                                                         Kestrel

Posted February 22nd at 5:42 pm by Philip worth in Bird News


Synchronised Goosander roost count at dawn on 21 Feb at five Dartmoor reservoirs produced a total of 55 (including 22 ad males). This was slightly up on previous totals this winter, but reflects a decline in the number now roosting on Dartmoor reservoirs which peaked at 119 in 2010/11. The 55 comprised 24 at Avon Dam, four at Burrator and Meldon, 11 at Fernworthy and 12 at Venford. All gone by 0730. Earlier in the month, 125 were found roosting on non-Dartmoor sites.

Posted February 22nd at 9:57 am by Peter Reay in Bird News

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