Devon Bird Sightings: Bird News from 8th–14th July 2020


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

Tuesday 14th July 2020

Plym Estuary & Saltram

A Black-tailed Gpwit on Blaxton Meadow, 71 Redshanks, 2 Greenshanks, Common Sandpiper, Grey Wagtail, 2nd-s Mediterranean Gull & 4 juv Shelducks.

Posted July 14th, 2020 at 9:26 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Dawlish Warren

Watched from 11:50 till 16:20 covering the high tide

An exceptional day for Mediterranean Gulls with at least 223+ seen most were in shutterton creek (185+) and 20+ on bull hill birds were still flying in off the sea and heading into the estuary in small groups making up the rest of the total the majority were adults and 2nd summer birds but also at least 35+ juvs an and was amazing few hours 

Also seen were 1 Roseate tern , 5+ common tern , 60+ sandwich tern , small parties of swift moving through with 80+ over the afternoon with at least 35+ swallow on walk back along the beach  a nice party of 7 summer plumage sanderling and 40+ gannet in the bay , 1 common scoter was off the sea wall 

Posted July 14th, 2020 at 8:11 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Uphams Plantation, Woodbury Common.

Never get tired of Spotted Flycatchers.  3 (one pair) this morning in the plantation on the south side nearest to the car park.  Same location I found the species last year.  Also Gt spotted Woodpecker, family of young Goldfinch and others.  Family of 5 Stonechat on the open common.

Posted July 14th, 2020 at 5:21 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in Bird News

Paignton, Hollicombe Beach/Marine Parade.

A very unseasonal, possibly immature, Red-throated Diver off Hollicombe Beach this morning.

Also a sighting yesterday morning, at Marine Parade, of the Colour-ringed adult Med Gull, Green RLN4. The bird's sightings record and previous posters, show that the bird has wintered in the Bay each year from 2016 to 2019. It was ringed as a chick at Jablines in France, east of Paris, in June 2015.

Immature(?) Red-throated Diver.
Immature(?) Red-throated Diver.

Adult Med Gull Green RLN4.
Adult Med Gull Green RLN4.

Posted July 14th, 2020 at 3:05 pm by Steven O'Donoghue in Bird News

Bird of Prey day

Hobby and female Sparrow Hawk seen at Mill Farm, Powderham this morning.

Back home at South Brent, Tawny owls calling during the night and a fly over from a Peregrine late morning.

Tawny owl dead on the Old A38 at Haldon

Female Sparrow Hawk collected from local vets having been picked up at Kingskerswell, bird is in partial moult from immature to adult plumage.

Posted July 14th, 2020 at 2:31 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Derriford hospital

Tawny owl seen flying around bircham car park on the Derriford hospital site last night.

Posted July 14th, 2020 at 6:36 am by David scott in Bird News

Monday 13th July 2020

Dawlish Warren Moths

Two new species for me at the weekend - Herald - a common moth that I cannot believe has taken eight years to get on my list and the less common micro moth Endotricha flammealis.

Herald           Endotricha flammealis
                    Herald                                  Endotricha flammealis

Posted July 13th, 2020 at 9:20 pm by Peter Leigh in Bird News


Evening gull pre-roost count:

Broadsands: 89 Mediterranean Gulls (including 38 juvs), 1 Yellow-legged Gull (juv),74 Black-headed Gulls

Goodrington: 13 Mediterranean Gulls (including 7 juvs)

Preston: 20 Mediterranean Gulls (including 7 juvs)

Posted July 13th, 2020 at 9:19 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Anchor wood to Fremington

Late post.  Magpie seen along the Tarka trail between Anchor Wood and Fremington.


Posted July 13th, 2020 at 8:14 pm by Martin Bennett in Bird News

Plymbridge & Piles Copse

A good morning at Plymbridge, several Grey Wagtails,a solitary Dipper, a very obliging Jay,an overfly of Peregrines and a lovely juvenile Robin.A hen Green Woodpecker seen with a juvenile at Piles Copse yesterday.

Jay, Juvenile Robin, Green Woodpeckers, hen & juvenile

Jay, Juvenile Robin, Green Woodpeckers, hen & juvenile

Posted July 13th, 2020 at 7:49 pm by Bob Barrow in Bird News

Lower Tamar Lake

Lower Tamar Lake this morning.

1 Kingfisher, 5 Willow Tit, 10 Coal Tit, 20 Blue Tit, 12 Chaffinch, 2 Mute Swan, 3m Tufted Duck, c30 Mallard, 4 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker,11 Canada Geese, 2 Marsh Tit, 13 Great Tit.

Posted July 13th, 2020 at 7:29 pm by Rod Mudge in Bird News

Aylesbeare Common

A pair of Nightjar presented well on Aylesbeare Common last evening with first calls and song at 21.35. Further birds churring at a distance and another on Hawkerland.

Posted July 13th, 2020 at 9:21 am by Jonathan Ruscoe in Bird News

Nightjars at Bovey Heathfield 12/7/20

Brief fly-past at 21.54, churring from 21.55-21.57, then bird circled around me, at a distance of 3 metres, before vanishing. Then nothing until I left at 22.45. One bird involved?

Posted July 13th, 2020 at 9:01 am by John Walton in Bird News

Sunday 12th July 2020

Rillage Point to Watermouth

06.30 to 09.30: Perfect still, warm conditions for enjoying some classic July post-breeding dispersal and early migration. It really did feel like the first real day of ornithological autumn. Highlight was a steady eastbound movement of Swifts along the cliff-tops, totalling 93 birds. Whether this was migration proper, or a feeding commute, is hard to say, though the sustained, directional movement suggested the former – perhaps birds of pre-breeding age, or failed breeders. Also 16 Swallow, 7 Sand Martin, 6 House Martin and a flock of 4 Grey Heron. Small groups of Black-headed Gulls (27 in total), 1 Mediterranean Gull and 2 Sandwich Tern heading west – all very much passage migrants at this site. A prominent feature was dispersing juvenile Great Spotted Woodpeckers – at least 5; one on exposed telegraph poles by the coastguards, others looking similarly out of place in coastal scrub, including one in a gorse thicket!

Posted July 12th, 2020 at 10:37 pm by Tim Jones in Bird News

Starcross to Dawlish Warren

The highlight of this morning's WeBS count were 2 Roseate Terns on the mud for a few minutes (apologies for the awful digiscope image - lots of heat haze!) and 22 Mediterranean Gulls.  The Slavonian Grebe was still at Cockwood.  I crudely estimated about 3000 Marsh Helleborine spikes in Greenland Lake - an amazing sight.

Looked around the wheat fields west of Starcross, where Dave Glaves heard a Quail calling yesterday.  'Only' a Cirl Bunting singing while I was there.

 Marsh Helleborine Short-winged Conehead female

Roseate Terns (juv Med Gull on right)      Marsh Helleborine       Short-winged Conehead (female, saltmarsh)

Posted July 12th, 2020 at 9:49 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News

Lundy (by kayak)

Kayak trip to Lundy (and back) from Hartland Quay

15 Puffin, all within five miles of Lundy

plus 15 Common Dolphin, 8 Harbour Porpoise, 2 Sunfish

Puffin                                     Puffin                                 Puffin

Posted July 12th, 2020 at 8:05 pm by Rupert Kirkwood in Bird News

Chelston, Torquay

Flying ants above the houses attracted a flock of around 200 herring gulls late afternoon, with this sparrowhawk briefly soaring among them.

Sparrowhawk and Herring gull
Sparrowhawk and Herring gull

Posted July 12th, 2020 at 7:41 pm by Chris Proctor in Bird News

Dawlish Warren NNR

09:12 - 13:21

Roseate Tern x2, Sandwich Tern x60+, Mediterranean Gull, Yellow Wagtail, Dunlin, Sanderling and a Golden-ringed Dragonfly were the highlights.

Posted July 12th, 2020 at 4:45 pm by Paul Bray in Bird News

Kingsbridge Estuary

9 Greenshanks from the kayak in South Pool Creek this morning.

Posted July 12th, 2020 at 4:08 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Dartmoor: Cadover area

Female Goosander and 3 almost fully grown juvs first thing. 


Posted July 12th, 2020 at 11:34 am by Chris E in Bird News


24 Swifts around Florence Cottages.

A pod of folphins south off the beach being harassed by a large rib, not good.

Posted July 12th, 2020 at 10:59 am by Steve Wadsworth in Bird News

Saturday 11th July 2020

Fly catching gulls Dawlish

Mixed flock of Herring ,Black headed gulls including 1 Juv Yellow legged Gull and 1 Juv Med Gull, over Oakland park and boat cove, Dawlish

Posted July 11th, 2020 at 6:06 pm by paul barker in Bird News

Paignton Beach/Preston.

A single juvenile Dunlin on the beach this morning. 9 Med Gulls of various ages on the rocks at Preston, together with 4 Sandwich Terns, including one juvenile being fed by an adult.

Juvenile Dunlin.
Juvenile Dunlin.

Juvenile Sandwich Tern.
Juvenile Sandwich Tern.

Posted July 11th, 2020 at 11:56 am by Steven O'Donoghue in Bird News

Plym Estuary

11 Common Sandpipers  at the north end of the estuary and a juvenile Med Gull.

Posted July 11th, 2020 at 9:54 am by Martin Phillips in Bird News

Friday 10th July 2020

Dawlish Warren NNR

09:22 - 12:52

Great Northern Diver out to sea along with Gannet; Dunlin; plenty of Oystercatcher, Med. Gull and Curlew, 12 Sandwich Tern and a distant Slavonian Grebe. 

Posted July 10th, 2020 at 4:57 pm by Paul Bray in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

A male Stonechat with 3 juvs, a female Great Spotted Woodpecker with a juv, Green Woodpecker, Greenshank, 32 Curlews, 50+ Redshanks, 3 Common Sandpipers, 2nd-s Mediterranean Gull & 2 Roe Deer. 

Posted July 10th, 2020 at 4:57 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Roof-nesting oystercatchers

Re: Dave and Sue's observation, I do wonder how many roof nesting pairs are overlooked in the county as there may be fewer instances than in more urbanised counties to look down onto flat roofs from adjacent taller buildings? A pair of oystercatchers were certainly breeding on an industrial unit roof beside DevonBirds' own Bradiford reserve (Pottington Ind. Est.) when I surveyed there in 2016, adults collecting food from the reserve itself. The fact the chicks are fed this way rather than self feeding is of course what makes roof nesting feasible for the species.

Posted July 10th, 2020 at 11:57 am by Lowell Mills in Bird News

Thursday 9th July 2020

Prawle Point

In what promised so much, given the conditions ... South west 4-5 winds, with mist to the horizon, a seawatch from 6.45 till 12.45, testing on the eyes, looking for feet projections etc ...

34 Balearic amongst 2467 Manx Shearwaters; and 3 Sooty Shearwaters ( my first this autumn); 579 plus Gannets ( 2/3rds immature)  and 35 Auks ( both Gulllemots and Razorbills) 15 Common Svoter eats and 2 Med. Gulls- a 1st summer and an adult summer. Also of note 140 plus Herring Gulls flying west.

Posted July 9th, 2020 at 10:56 pm in Bird News

Oystercatchers breeding in Kingsteignton

Sue saw a pair of noisy Oystercatchers in Kingsteignton today. We returned this evening and found them with a large chick.  One adult (sometimes the pair) was on the far (eastern) end of Bookers' roof in Pottery Road, Kingsteignton Industrial Estate, the other flying out low to collect food on Newton Abbot Racecourse.  The chick, almost fully grown, had an injured leg and remained close to the end of Bookers' building, next to a large (aircon?) unit where there was room for it to hide underneath if necessary.  I suspect there was at least one more chick on Bookers' roof, where I'm guessing they nested during the peace and quiet of the Covid-19 lockdown.  I'm also guessing that the chick has somehow fallen to the ground, maybe injuring its leg in doing so. The roof in question has a very shallow angle and so is not strictly a flat roof.

According to New Scientist (2005): "Oystercatchers nest on flat, gravel-covered roofs in Britain, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Northern Germany and Belgium. ... Aberdeen has about 220 pairs nesting on roofs in the city and a few pairs nesting on the ground in car parks, industrial yards and flowerbeds. They feed the young on earthworms obtained from playing fields and other grassy areas near the buildings... The birds can exploit the roofs because they are one of the few wading birds that carry food to their young. Interestingly, about 24 towns in Scotland have a few pairs nesting on roofs, but only about six towns in England."

This is the first roof-top nesting I'm aware of this part of the world.

Posted July 9th, 2020 at 9:28 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News

Ilfracombe Pier

Flock of maybe 80 Common Scoter heading West off the Pier today, they could turn up at Baggy / Downend.  Lots of Manx Shearwaters to be seen for weeks now with huge numbers headed Up channel on Tues with counts of well over 200 birds passing per min. 16 Ad Med Gulls and the odd Skua sp seen most days during recent rough weather.

I've had a look through the Gulls near Barnstaple Old Bridge last Wk I was surprised how many had been leg ringed, a bit annoying as I couldn't get close enough for any decent photos. 

Common Scoters
Common Scoters

Posted July 9th, 2020 at 6:12 pm by Martin Thorne in Bird News

Swifts in Drewsteignton

Good numbers of screaming swifts above the village over the last two evenings, max 35 counted.

Malcolm Burgess checked nest boxes on two thatched rows of cottages on either side of the square/churchyard with very positive results. From 22 nest boxes installed under thatch eaves, 17 were occupied by breeding pairs and contained 35 chicks and a late pair incubating eggs. Each year since 2012 most adults are trapped and ringed, and due to high site faithfulness and swifts being long lived, for nearly all of the 24 adults caught this week, we have detailed histories. As the colony has grown (by gradual colonisation of increasing numbers of nest boxes) we find a small number of new breeders fledged from the village or from another similarly monitored colony 3 km due west. This usually occurs many years later, but this year one recruited aged only 2 years. Three breeders caught this week are at least 8 years old and most at least 5 years old.

Posted July 9th, 2020 at 1:01 pm by nick dixon in Bird News

Med Gulls

At least 18 adult Med Gulls in Otter Estuary from 9.30 today.

Posted July 9th, 2020 at 10:55 am by Ray Hamilton in Bird News

Marine Parade,Preston,Paignton & Goodrington.

15 Mediterranean Gulls on the rocks this morning, 9 adults, 2 second summer, 2 first summer and 2 juveniles.

7 Sandwich Terns also present, including 1 juvenile and 12 Black-headed Gulls including 2 juveniles.

A female Tufted Duck with 4 ducklings also seen at Youngs Park, Goodrington.

Sandwich Tern(adult) centre & Black-headed Gull(adult) bottom left.
Sandwich Tern(adult) centre & Black-headed Gull(adult) bottom left.

Femaie Tufted Duck and ducklings.
Femaie Tufted Duck and ducklings.

Posted July 9th, 2020 at 10:31 am by Steven O'Donoghue in Bird News

Berry Head

Seawatch 0620-0820: 1 Pomarine Skua ad pale > N, 2 Mediterranean Gulls (inc 1 juv my first of the summer), 303 Manx Shearwaters, 2 Balearic Shearwaters also 6+ Harbour Porpoise and 20+ Common Dolphin. An ad Peregrine brought in  in an ad tern (I picked up the falcon a long way out but came straight over my head), the close scope views led me to believe it was a Roseate Tern - full black cap, all black bill and pale grey drooping wing with grey wedge, I didn't see any other terns during the mornings watch! A juvenile Tawny Owl was roosting in the quarry again.

Manx Shearwaters Berry Head July 2020  Harbour Porpoise Berry Head July 2020 Juv Tawny Owl Berry Head July 2020

              Manx Shearwaters                                        Harbour Porpoise                       Juv Tawny Owl

Posted July 9th, 2020 at 10:08 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

South Efford Marsh Tuesday 7th July

Juvenile Marsh Harrier seen hunting over the marsh around 6pm. 

Posted July 9th, 2020 at 8:03 am by Verity Jepson in Bird News

Wednesday 8th July 2020

Steve Madge

Vic and Sylvia Tucker passed on the sad news that Steve Madge passed away on Monday after a long illness. A great birdwatcher, tour leader and author of several books including the Helm guides to Pheasants, Partridges and Grouse also the  Wildfowl identification Guide and The Handbook of bird identification for Europe and the Western Palearctic. Although he lived just the other side of the Tamar in Cornwall many Devon Birders will have know Steve very well. 

Posted July 8th, 2020 at 7:51 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Tamar estuary /Ernesettle

This afternoon on a low tide:

4 Grey heron, 11 Curlew, 2 Common Sandpiper, Chiffchaff, Swallow and 16 Swift under the low cloud. 

Posted July 8th, 2020 at 6:08 pm by Alan Livsey in Bird News

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