Devon Bird Sightings: Bird News from 8th–14th March 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: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/social-distancing/what-you-need-to-do/

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

Membership

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 14th March 2020

Torbay coastal

Marine Parade, Paignton ~ A count of 42 Turnstone including the Dutch ringed bird.

Broadsands ~ Beach Marsh ~ Chiffchaff 2, Greenfinch, Cirl Bunting, Skylark, displaying Wrens, a Coot and Dunnock, on the back car park a Song Thrush, several Cirl Bunting, on the sea two Canada geese one with some unusual white head & neck colouration and was possibly a hybrid of some kind.

Berry Head ~ Small passage of Meadow Pipits coming in off of the sea, the Guillemot colony is in full swing, several Fulmar, LBB & GB Gulls, a handful of Shag feeding below the headland, a couple of Gannets and little else other than some Harbour Porpoise.

Back home at South Brent an early start had given GS and Green Woodpeckers, Heron, Jay, Mistle Thrush and three Redwing, the afternoon gave a female Reed Bunting, male Siskin and the would be "Italian Sparrow" around the garden feed station.

 

Posted March 14th at 9:00 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

09:22 - 10:55

5 Avocet amongst all the usuals. 

Posted March 14th at 7:21 pm by Paul Bray in Bird News

Lower Tamar Lake

Lower lake this morning,

5 Sand Martin, 12 Goosander 2m 10f, 2 Marsh Tit, 1 Wren, 3mTufted Duck, 4 Fieldfare, 12 Coal Tit,18 Chaffinch, 2 Nuthatch, 2 Willow Tit, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Jay, 2 Reed Bunting 1m 1f, 

Posted March 14th at 7:12 pm by Rod Mudge in Bird News

Plym estuary / Saltram

This morning, high tide:-

162 Redshank, 6 Greenshank, 32 Shelduck, 12 Common gull, 2 Goosander (m,f) 2 Red breasted merganser (m,f) 2 Mandarin (m,f) 2 Little grebe in breeding plumage, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Ross's gull down towards Laira bridge (among Black headed's), a flock of 15 Magpie, and 1 Treecreeper around Saltram estate.

Treecreeper. Saltram estate.
Treecreeper. Saltram estate.

Posted March 14th at 6:55 pm by Alan Livsey in Bird News

Labrador bay

A photo of the Surf and Velvet Scoters with the Long-tailed Duck.

Posted March 14th at 6:27 pm by Laurie Allnatt in Bird News

Tamar Lakes

Two Sand Martin over and eight Goosander on Lower Tamar Lake.

Four Ring Necked Ducks still on Upper Tamar Lake.

Posted March 14th at 6:01 pm by Chris E in Bird News

Upper Tamar Lake

Friday 13th

A courting pair of Great Crested Grebes. 3 other Great Crested Grebes.

A pair of Tufted Ducks.

Willow Tit sighting at the far end of the lake by the bridge and call confirmed as it answered my recording.

A pair of Goldcrests in holly tree near the car park

About 50 Lesser Black_Black Gulls on field.

Black Tailed Godwit grazing in field near a flock of Canada Geese.

Posted March 14th at 5:49 pm by Richard Hannington in Bird News

Dawlish Warren, Cockwood and Exminster

From the sea wall, a Great Northern Diver was close in by Langstone Rock, a few Great Crested Grebes were dotted around, and 20+ Kittiwakes could be seen around Straight Point. A Cirl Bunting sang from the edge of the golf course.

From Cockwood, the Slavonian Grebe was distantly visible to the South, and several Mergansers were still present. In the valley behind, at least 20 Cattle Egrets were again with the dairy herd.

Exminster Marshes were very quiet, the only notable sighting being 5 Sandwich Terns resting in one of the flooded areas South of the bend in Swans Nest Road.

Posted March 14th at 5:12 pm by James Camden in Bird News

Ply Laira bridge

Firecrest showing well in scrub area near bridge along foot path this morning.

Posted March 14th at 3:01 pm by CHRIS BUCKLAND in Bird News

Labrador Bay

Drake Surf Scoter , Velvet Scoter and drake long Tailed Duck by buoys offshore mid afternoon - found by Paul M. 

Posted March 14th at 2:23 pm by Mark Bailey in Bird News

Fernworthy Reservoir

Paid a visit this morning in the drizzle. Long-tailed Duck still showing well, thou a bit distant. Seen from the Devonbirds hide on the opposite side of the reservoir with alone male Tufted Duck. Also Crossbill in the area.

if you’re going to visit, just be aware of the state of the roads. Large potholes filled with water!

Posted March 14th at 10:19 am by Martin Phillips in Bird News

Friday 13th March 2020

Exeter Little Ringed Plover(s)

While taking the rubbish out to the bins twenty minutes ago, heard one or more LRPs heading North up the Exe. Over the years, Oystercatcher, Curlew and Whimbrel have been regular nocturnal users of the valley as a migration route, but this is a new one for the "garden" list.

Posted March 13th at 7:27 pm by James Camden in Bird News

Otter on River Plym 13th Mar 2020

Side tracked while looking for Ross's gull, a mother Otter and her cub fishing the Plym at the Yacht Haven Quay pontoons this morning.

Posted March 13th at 4:37 pm by Barry Rankine in Bird News

Wrafton Pond

4 Sand Martins over the pond at lunchtime.

Posted March 13th at 3:30 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Female brambling in Tiverton garden

A female brambling has been visiting the bird feeder in the garden over the last few days.

Posted March 13th at 3:12 pm by Richard Gowen in Bird News

Mansands

Blue-winged Teal showing well again early this morning. Also a Reed Bunting has started to visit the bird feeder by the hide.

   

Posted March 13th at 2:33 pm by Paul Albrechtsen in Bird News

Baggy - N.Devon

My first male Wheatear of early spring 2020 but it did not stay around for more than a few seconds, just enough time to take 2 photos from approx. 250 metres away.

Also Black Redstart which was also very mobile while searching for food.

 

Posted March 13th at 1:42 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

East Soar

Migrant Firecrest in Starehyole Valley. Not much else!

Posted March 13th at 12:28 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Exminister & Powderham Marsh Thursday 12th

7 Sand Martins feeding along canal at about 9am but moved on as a rain shower arrived. 265 Curlew and Imm Peregrine being the best of the rest at Exminister Marsh. Duck numbers low with less than 100 Wigeon. Best at Powderham was a Peacock butterfly. 

Posted March 13th at 8:43 am by Steve Cox in Bird News

Ross’s Gull

Just flew down the Estuary towards Cattewater 

Posted March 13th at 8:33 am by Martin Phillips in Bird News

Slapton Ley

yesterday evening sorry for the late post .Male Scaup in Ireland bay, male Goldeneye halfway down ley. a pair of great crested grebes gazing into each others eyes and head turning enthusiastically in the reeds opposite the tank car par hide.

Posted March 13th at 8:15 am by Jeff Hacon in Bird News

Thursday 12th March 2020

Fernworthy Res. Dartmoor

Long-tailed Duck still on Fernworthy Res. Dartmoor. Out from small Devonbirds hide. Crossbills near by in tops of firs above car parking area. At end of road many Brambling with Chaffs and Coal tits flock feeding in wood. Hen Harrier flew over large hide.

Posted March 12th at 4:49 pm by Barry Rankine in Bird News

Wrafton scrape

Hooray! In a cold westerly two Sand Martins were over the scrape about 10a.m. this morning. They must be wondering what they're doing here....

Posted March 12th at 1:26 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Ross's Gull ~ Plymouth

The Ross's Gull was on the Plym this morning initially found at Blaxton Meadow, Saltram and then relocated off of Oreston Quay, the bird is mobile and staying in company with the Black Headed Gulls.

Posted March 12th at 11:29 am by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Otterton Ledge

Wednesday pm - 16 Common Scoter.   Also at least 11 Fulmar with 2 pairs displaying and returning to holes on the cliff face

Posted March 12th at 9:41 am by Rupert Ormerod in Bird News

Chiffchaff-East Charleton

East Charleton, 1 singing male Chiffchaff back on a territory held in previous years. This is the earliest arrival date in the four years I've been closely monitoring this species in the parish. The previous dates for 1st arrival have been 13/03/17, 16/03/18 and 18/03/19. Back in the early 1960's as a teenager watching Wembury the 1st arrivals used to be expected in the last ten days of March.

Posted March 12th at 9:37 am by Barrie Whitehall in Bird News

Ross’s Gull

Last seen flying down the Plym Estuary towards Cattewater/Sutton Harbour.

Posted March 12th at 8:56 am by Martin Phillips in Bird News

Ross’s Gull

Ross, Gull on Blaxton meadow this morning.. still present ar0745hrs

Posted March 12th at 7:44 am by Martin Phillips in Bird News

Hope cove at lunch then half an hour at S. Huish marsh

Sat on the bench at Hope cove, Kestrel flew past, a few ravens, 3 buzzards, a couple of lesser-black backed gulls with the herring gulls, a fulmar and a distant kittiwake. Called in at South Huish marsh on the way home, 2 curlews, a peregrine flew over, 8 oystercatchers and a couple of Stonechats.

Buzzard  Oystercatchers
Buzzard                            Oystercatchers



Posted March 12th at 5:25 am by Richie Moore in Bird News

Wednesday 11th March 2020

Mamhead, Cockwood, Exminster & Exeter

In the plantations around Mamhead were several groups of Crossbills, maybe 30 in total, including two singing males, one, most unusually, in a Beech tree, and the other incorporating a Great Tit-like tea-cher phrase which I have not heard before, plus many Siskins, but alas, for the second Winter running, no Redpolls.

In the farmland below a small flock of thrushes, maybe 10 Fieldfare and 20 Redwing, were perhaps the last of the Winter.

At Cockwood, the Slavonian Grebe was very close inshore, feeding in the outflow from the harbour. Inland were a minimum of 21 Cattle Egrets, half in the valley bottom and half with the cattle in the fields on the North side of the valley.

At Exminster, the bonus bird of the day was the Marsh Harrier, seen from the railway bridge flying high South.

Back in Exeter, the rookery in Southernhay now has at least 18 nests, the most yet I think. I have not noticed if they have joined the gulls in feeding on chips etc. from the pavement or opening rubbish bags. On Trews Weir, three pairs of graellssii LBB Gulls have arrived for the Summer (a pair of intermedius used to spend the Winter here, but not for five years or so), plus two pairs of GBB Gulls. If the latter start scavenging on the streets, Spotlight and the E & E will have an easy "seagull" story.  

Posted March 11th at 10:39 pm by James Camden in Bird News

Common Scoter - single male

Single male Common Scoter off the sea wall (approx. 100-200metres) at Dawlish Warren, in line with the Lifeguard hut, generally diving around the Yellow/Black buoy. Very clearly seen, all black with pinkish beak. Diving frequently, occasionally surfacing with what looks to be mussels. Bright sunny day 11th March 2020 between 1515 and 1600. Unfortunately unable to get a decent photo through my telescope, but have attached what I have.

Posted March 11th at 10:32 pm by Bob Potter in Bird News

Wrafton Pond

Male Red-crested Pochard, Male Pochard still hanging around.

On my home with a  short break at Heanton Court I got a quick shot of a Robin.

Male Red-crested PochardMale PochardRobin
Male Red-crested Pochard                             Male Pochard                                                      Robin

Posted March 11th at 6:44 pm by Martin Bennett in Bird News

Plymouth Estuary & Saltram.

A very high tide this morning meant that Blaxton Meadow was totally flooded with only 24 Curlew and 2 Goosander (f) being of note. On the estuary were 6 Greenshank, 144 Redshank, 6 Dunlin, 2 Red-breasted Merganser (m 7 f) and 5 Goosander (3m & 2). 

Around Saltram a Firecrest was the star bird. Also seen, GSW, 2 Green Woodpeckers, Kestrel, 9 Stock Dove, 2 Blackcap, Chiffchaff and there was still c10 Redwing.

Posted March 11th at 6:43 pm by Martin Phillips in Bird News

Wrafton Pond

Red-Crested Pochard at the pond this morning.

             

Posted March 11th at 4:35 pm by David Paterson in Bird News

Tips for self-isolation (from common cold/flu)

In my small backyard in Tavistock in the last few days I have seen and heard a singing male Blackcap, Firecrest , Goldcrest, Song Thrush , Green Woodpecker and male Bullfinch, as well as usual common garden birds. Today a male Sparrowhawk and Common Buzzard flew overhead, and my first sightings of 2 x Brimstone and a Peacock Butterfly in a flourish of sunshine.

Posted March 11th at 12:14 pm in Bird News

Bolt Tail

Singing Chiffchaff this morning, prob.migrant & not wintering bird.

Posted March 11th at 11:40 am by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Tuesday 10th March 2020

Wrafton Pond

Red-crested and Common Pochard still present this morning.

At home, an adult male Sparrowhawk in my apple tree waiting with intent near the bird feeders!

Posted March 10th at 2:12 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Fernworthy Res. Dartmoor

Female Long-tailed Duck still present at 07.30 hrs.

Posted March 10th at 8:55 am by Rick Lockwood in Bird News

Monday 9th March 2020

Yarner Wood and Parke

Woodpeckers were in evidence this morning, showing well. Also drumming and calling. Nothing on the reservoir other than a grey wagtail. Lots of blue tits, Great tits, a song thrush and Goldcrest, coal tits and long tailed tits about as well. Along the river at Parke, pair of Dipper, nest building, at the moment high above the waterline , hope this continues . Lovely to see.

Posted March 9th at 11:22 pm by Kay and Gary Deare in Bird News

South Huish marsh Ross's gull

A cracking Ross's gull on South Huish marsh   found by Mike Passman

Ross's Gull  Ross's Gull
Ross's Gull

Posted March 9th at 4:15 pm by Richie Moore in Bird News

New Park, Bovey Tracey

7 Goosander, 1 male/6 female, on the lake.

Posted March 9th at 2:38 pm by John Walton in Bird News

Info request +

There is a report on Birdforum of a Ross's Gull in Devon this morning - anyone prepared to tell us locals where it is?

Red-crested Pochard still on Wrafton Pond this morning.

Posted March 9th at 2:26 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Fernworthy Res

Female Long-tailed Duck

Posted March 9th at 11:16 am by Barry Bryne in Bird News

Underwood, Plympton

The Black Redstart still present in the garden today.

Posted March 9th at 9:53 am by Jason Smart in Bird News

Sunday 8th March 2020

Wrafton Pond

Male Red-crested Pochard brightening up Wrafton Pond today.


Posted March 8th at 8:18 pm by Martin Bond in Bird News

South Brent / Stover / Dartmoor

A good day for birds of prey, overnight at home at South Brent a Barn owl calling, a female Sparrow hawk this afternoon and a Tawny owl in its usual Holly tree roost later in the day, on Dartmoor three Buzzards.

An early morning walk around Stover produced very little, the water levels are very high and the water very discoloured, a drake Mandarin, a small number of Tufted duck, a single Lesser Black Backed Gull, three Jays, a couple of  Nuthatch and a fly over Raven were the only birds of note.

Around the garden feeders and home a Green Woodpecker calling on and off for most of the day, Wren, Pied Wagtail, Bullfinch, Greenfinch, Siskin, Nuthatch, Long Tailed Tit, female Reed Bunting and the “Italian” look alike cock Sparrow a regular over the afternoon, flyover Raven, Buzzard and two Great Black Backed Gulls.

Posted March 8th at 6:53 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Stuartline Birding Cruise 8th March 2020

The last of the bird watching cruises for this winter went exceptionally well with plenty of birds on view for the visitors to see. The dependable Slavonian Grebe was on show off Starcross accompanied by Great Crested Grebe. 10+ Shag with 20+ Cormorant in breeding plumage with what looked like 2 Continental Cormorants in amongst them. Good numbers of Turnstone showing well around the Warren Wildlife Refuge area seen going upstream and again on the return trip. 6+ Greenshank, Several Little Egret and good numbers of Redshank seen around the River Kenn confluence with a 10+ Widgeon off Exton. 150+ Bar-tailed Godwits 300+ Black-tailed Godwits around the Clyst Confluence and Turf Lock area. Our first Avocet was seen near the Starcross Sailing Club with 12 Avocets seen in total, with most now departed, These few birds were a real treat for many who had never seen an Avocet before. 150+ Redshank, 8+ Ringed Plover, 25+ Sanderling, 15+ Grey Plover 100+ Knot, 300+ Golden Plover, 200+ Dunlin, all very flighty around Turf towards Topsham but no Bird of Prey seen. A total of 20 Merganser seen and great to see 2 drake Goldeneye with a flypast by both at the Topsham end of the estuary. Plenty of Gulls about with good views of Great Black-backed Gull and Common Gull in good numbers. It was also pleasing to see plenty of DB Brent Geese, and hearing and seeing good numbers of Curlew across the estuary. At least 200+ Oystercatcher seen on the return trip back to Exmouth. All and all a great dry afternoon was had by all on the Tudor Rose. The dates are now available for next seasons Guided Bird Cruises so book early to reserve your place for this great winter spectacle. 

Posted March 8th at 6:32 pm by Derek Carter in Bird News

Exeter Garden

Thursday, 5 March - apologies for the late report. 

Very surprised to see a pair of Siskin in my garden (EX4). I wanted to watch them rather than worry about photography so the picture is a dodgy one through double glazing.

Female and Male Siskin - Exeter garden.
Female and Male Siskin - Exeter garden.

Posted March 8th at 6:16 pm by Paul Bray in Bird News

Wrafton Pond

Confiding Red-crested Pochard today. 

Posted March 8th at 5:13 pm by Martin Bond in Bird News

West Charleton Marsh

6 Cattle Egrets on the marsh this afternoon. Also a female Red-breasted Merganser , first I've seen here away from the estuary. Seemed healthy.

Posted March 8th at 4:57 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Fernworthy Res

A trip to Fernworthy Res around midday today and found a very busy Male Smew. Good views from the hide but no camera unfortunately.

Posted March 8th at 3:07 pm by Anna and Gary Easton in Bird News

The Daymark, Kingswear.

 A Quick walk before some heavy showers this morning I was rewarded with 5 Skylarks singing over the fields and 4 Swallows flying very low, my first this year. Heavy rain so went to Broadsands. Water Rail and Grey Wagtail on the marsh and a Goldcrest, Greenfinch, Blue and Great Tit in the Alder trees. Also Cirl Bunting in the hedgerow. Nice to hear so much birdsong.

Posted March 8th at 2:46 pm by Nigel Smallbones in Bird News

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