Devon Bird Sightings: Bird News from 8th–14th January 2021

2020 Records request

If you saw any of the records below please submit a description to the County Recorder to ensure they make the official record. Many thanks.

·        Bee-eater 03-Aug Wistlandpound Res

·        Caspian Gull 15-Apr Fremington Pill

·        Crane [3] 22-Mar Milton Abbot

·         Glossy Ibis 20-Jun South Efford Marsh

·         Glossy Ibis  02-Nov Seaton Marshes

·         Golden Oriole 07-Apr Fremington Pill

·         Golden Oriole 28-May Weston Mill

·         Golden Oriole [2] 23-Jun Bolt Head

          Grey Partridge 12-Nov Exminster Marshes

·         Leach's Petrel 30- Sep Labrador Bay

·         Leach's Petrel 31-Oct Sidmouth

·         Long-tailed Skua 04-Jul Dawlish Warren

·         Montagu's Harrier 17-May West Dart River

·         Ring-necked Duck Jan/Feb Meeth

·         Spotted Crake 09-Apr East Down

·        Stone-curlew [2] 22-Sep South Huish

Posted June 18th at 11:40 pm by Kevin Rylands in Bird News


At a recent Council Meeting it was agreed that Field Trips (Guided Walks) and Indoor Meetings could restart as soon as Branches were happy to proceed, with all necessary Covid safe precautions in place. 

Full details are now on the website.

Taw & Torridge Branch will not be re-starting Indoor or Outdoor Meetings before January 2022.

Posted April 16th at 11:17 am by Mike Daniels 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

Thursday 14th January 2021


Driving home through Umberleigh today after working in Exeter area when I spotted the Great White Egrets again.  They were feeding in the same field as they were in yesterday.  As it was late afternoon again, light was poor although sunbeams did manage to break through on a couple of occasions. 

Great White Egret
Great White Egret
Great White Egret
Great White Egret

Posted January 14th at 10:48 pm by Martin Bennett in Bird News


On Blaxton Meadow: Redshank, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Crows, Mallards, Wigeon, Canada Geese, Goosander 2,  6 more in main river, Common Gulls, GBB Gulls, LBB Gulls, Sparrowhawk, Greenshank 6,Curlew, Dunlin, Oystercatcher. In the estate: Buzzard 1, Goldfinches 30+, Chaffinches 2, Nuthatches, R.N. Parakeets, Skylarks, Jays, Magpies, Meadow pipits ,Dunnock, Robins, Coal, Great and Blue Tits.

Common Gull
Common Gull

Posted January 14th at 6:30 pm by Bob Barrow & John Lloyd in Bird News

West Hoe

At mid-day managed to spot at least one of Stuart's Purple Sandpipers from yesterday at Rusty Anchor.  It was standing proud on the rock showing off it's orangey-yellow legs and bill, but as soon as the camera came out it hunkered down, making it near impossible to spot. At Tinside Lido only a single Turnstone and two Great Northern Divers close in in the Sound.

Camouflaged Purple Sandpiper
Camouflaged Purple Sandpiper

Posted January 14th at 5:13 pm by Chris Marcol in Bird News

Braunton Marsh Whooper

I remember someone reported a juvenile Whooper Swan a while back on Braunton Marsh so it was nice to get eyes, and lens,  on it today as I drove the Marsh road on the way to a dentist appointment. Also spotted a female Kingfisher but with poor lighting it wasn't worth risking putting her to flight for a grainy image so left her in peace. 

Juvenile Whooper Swan
Juvenile Whooper Swan

Posted January 14th at 5:08 pm by Philip Naylor in Bird News

Ludwell Valley Park, Exeter

10:29 - 13:24

Highlights were Buzzard, Bullfinch, Chiffchaff, Grey Wagtail, Little Egret, Dipper.

Posted January 14th at 1:58 pm by Paul Bray in Bird News

Westward Ho! and R. Torridge

Late post from Wednesday:

The two Snow Bunting are still at the end of the Pebble Ridge.

Later on the Torridge there were two Goosander (male and female) the first I’ve seen from the house as well as a Great Crested Grebe, 86 Teal and a Kingfisher.

Posted January 14th at 7:15 am by Martin Unwin in Bird News

Wednesday 13th January 2021

Fremington Pill

Daily walk around Fremington, confirmed 4 Glossy Ibis roosting in the trees at the top of the pill along with 15+ Cattle and Little Egrets. 

Posted January 13th at 10:09 pm by Paul Bearman in Bird News


This morning on my way to customers on Dartmoor I noticed two Great White Egrets(GWE)  feeding in a field near Umberleigh.  On my home the two GWEs were still in the same field so as I was able to stop in a gateway I whipped out my camera.  The two GWs along with nine Grey Herons, two Buzzards and a few Fieldfares were congregating about a 100 metres away in the top corner of the field.

Great White Egret
Great White Egret

Posted January 13th at 7:29 pm by Martin Bennett in Bird News

Plymouth Hoe

2 Purple Sandpipers feeding on the rocks with 4 Turnstone below Maritimos coffee hut this afternoon, first I've seen on Plymouth Hoe for a few years now. 

Posted January 13th at 5:10 pm by Stuart Green in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Sightings during a circuit this morning (low tide) included: Mediterranean Gull (ad), 31 Common Gulls, Goosander (drake), 18 Wigeon, Kingfisher, 30+ Redwings, 8+ Siskins, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers & 4 Stock Doves.

Posted January 13th at 1:41 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News


Redshank out on the scrape still (or again) Gadwall, Wigeon, and Shoveler on Wrafton Pond. Arrived at the gate to the reserve to see a Water Rail scuttling about just inside, not sure which way to go to find cover! Heard 3 others there during my walk around. About 15 Redwing flew out as I left.

Posted January 13th at 1:40 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Goosanders at New Park, Bovey Tracey

Eighteen Goosander, 5 drake/13 duck, on the lake at New Park 11.30

Posted January 13th at 12:31 pm by John Walton in Bird News

Female Blackcap Braunton back garden

A visitor not normally seen in our back garden feeders here in Braunton. 

female Blackcap
female Blackcap
13 January 2021
13 January 2021

Posted January 13th at 11:31 am by Karen Serle in Bird News

Tuesday 12th January 2021

south molton community woodlands

2 reed bunting

Posted January 12th at 11:40 pm by art symons in Bird News

South Brent

Home birding can throw up the odd surprise year tick and this morning saw a Lesser Black Back Gull pass over the house.

An immature male Sparrowhawk went through the feed station early this morning without any success on its part, two male Siskin on the feeders and a Goldcrest showed briefly as it foraged along a hedge.

Good numbers of Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch and House Sparrow around the feeders and growing numbers of Pied Wagtails turning up.

This afternoon I collected an injured immature male Goshawk from a vets after it had been found at the roadside on Dartmoor.


Posted January 12th at 7:33 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

During an afternoon’s walk in rather dull conditions: Kingfisher, pair of Stonechats, 14 Wigeon, 14 Oystercatchers, 5 Greenshanks, 2 Shags, Red Admiral & 6 Roe Deer.

In my garden (Mount Gould), a female Blackcap visiting regularly & a male occasionally joining her.

Posted January 12th at 7:29 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Hawfinches at Longdown

Approximately 25 Hawfinches leaving the traditional roost early mornings daily since mid December..

Numbers increased with the recent cold winter. 

Posted January 12th at 5:16 pm by Roy Adams in Bird News

Aveton Gifford

At work driving along the tidal road this morning and the Lesser Yellowlegs still present.

Posted January 12th at 4:54 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Preston, Paignton

Sparrow Hawk took feral pigeon from bird table and onto front path.

Posted January 12th at 4:31 pm by Tony Sherwood in Bird News

River Plym

In addition to Pete Aley’s post, we counted 3 RB Mergansers this afternoon, 2x drake and 1 female on the Plym. 

Posted January 12th at 2:31 pm by G and L Carr in Bird News

Monday 11th January 2021


I managed to drag our dog out for a walk today, she didn't want to go but was eventually persuaded, although I now have claw marks across my patio. Walked from Roundswell to Fremington Pill and the quay, along the Tarka trail towards Barnstaple, up through Anchor Wood and back to my home in Roundswell. It's a nice comfortable distance to cover for my routine daily exercise.  En route there were five Cattle Egrets seen in a field between Bickington and Muddlebridge (just beyond the speed camera). Along Fremington Pill there were just a few Redshank, Teal, Black headed gulls, a Cormorant and a couple of Oystercatchers. Moving on to Penhill Marsh, there were a good number of Canada Geese, Brent Geese, a couple of Little Egrets, 15 - 20 Curlew (in flight) and in the field opposite the marsh - a lone Greenshank. In the river off Anchor wood were five Goosander (3m + 2f). More geese across the river near Pottington, too far away to Id.  Apologies for the poor quality. 

Catle Egrets
Catle Egrets
Cattle Egret
Cattle Egret

Posted January 11th at 7:08 pm by Martin Bennett in Bird News


On the sea: 4 Red-throated Divers, 1 Great Northern Diver and 1 Black-necked Grebe.

In the reedbed marsh behind the beach: 1 Siberian Chiffchaff and 2 collybita Chiffchaffs

Car park: 1 Firecrest, 17 Cirl Buntings

Posted January 11th at 6:55 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News


Not known as a hotbed of birding but in the first ten days of 2021 a total of 50 species noted (around 75-80 is usual for the entire year).

Highlights have included;-   Common Snipe, Jack Snipe (a real rarity), Cattle Egret, Stonechat, Kingfisher, Dipper, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker (very unusual here), Green and Great Spotted Woodpecker, Goldcrest, Raven, plus winter thrushes and the more common birds. Only one raptor however..Buzzard.

Posted January 11th at 5:19 pm by Francis Welland in Bird News

Exmouth - Shelley

Male Black Redstart in the usual area between the Exmouth Sailing Club and the flats

Posted January 11th at 5:05 pm by Rupert Ormerod in Bird News

South Brent ~ Home birding

Sparrowhawk over twice today flushing initially a flock of 30 plus Redwing from a field hedge and later in the day a large mixed flock of Goldfinch and Greenfinch.

Three Mistle Thrush, GSWP, Jay and Raven and three Pied Wagtail around or over the house field.

Around the feeders 20 plus House Sparrow, 13 Blue Tit at one point, Goldfinch and Greenfinch numbers building up again inc a BTO ringed Goldfinch, a Wren and nice to have a pair of Siskin back in the garden.


Posted January 11th at 4:24 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

South Brent "Italian Sparrow sp"

The male Italian Sparrow sp that visited my garden feed station throughout 2020 arrived back this afternoon, I last saw it in early October after it had been absent for several days, it appeared to have been mauled and I suspected that it had run foul of a cat.

I noticed it earlier this afternoon in what can only be described as a pitiful condition, most of its facial and head feathers are missing, and parts of its face and eye ring are swollen, but it's alive and despite its looks it is alert and feeding well, given its appearance and the recent spell of bitterly cold weather I am surprised its survived.

Italian Sparrow sp
Italian Sparrow sp
Italian Sparrow sp
Italian Sparrow sp

Posted January 11th at 4:12 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Wembury Point

Usual suspects seen today although there was a Redshank in amongst a small flock of Oystercatchers which I don't often see in this location. Very vocal squabble of pipits around the pipe, a mix of rocks and meadows. 

Posted January 11th at 3:12 pm by Matt C in Bird News

Chelston, Torquay

Firecrest on steps down from Howard Close to Gilbert Close, 14.25 pm.

Posted January 11th at 2:41 pm by Chris Proctor in Bird News

Ludwell Valley Park, Exeter

09:48 - 11:57

Two Little Egret, one Green Sandpiper, four Redwing bathing in the brook were the highlights of 23 species seen.

Posted January 11th at 12:41 pm by Paul Bray in Bird News

Sunday 10th January 2021

White fronted Goose Braunton Marsh

In company with about 15 Mute Swans in a field today near where Sir Authurs Pill adjoins Boundary Drain was a single White Fronted Goose. We're no experts by any means but my Collins seems to conclude it's a Greenland race, Flaviostris, mainly because of the long orange bill....but I'm happy to be corrected. 

Eds - Although it is somewhat difficult to judge orange / pink bill colour from these pictures, the fact that it looked orange in the field certainly points to Greenland. This is further supported by the narrow white tail tips and somewhat heavy bill.

White Fronted Goose
White Fronted Goose
White Fronted Goose
White Fronted Goose

Posted January 10th at 8:50 pm by Philip and Sue Naylor in Bird News


Great start: as I arrived at the bridge I saw a small bird across the river which turned out to be a Chiffchaff, and then a Redshank flew out from almost under me off up river 50 yards towards Wrafton where there was another one! they chided me from up there for disturbing them. Also there was a Dipper. In the reserve a strident call from a Green Woodpecker, and later 3 Water Rails squealing unseen from deep cover. Wrafton Pond, the scrape and the reserve pond all still frozen.

No sign of the Ring Ouzel later in the afternoon.

Posted January 10th at 6:48 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News


35 species seen on circular walk from home including Green Woodpecker, 5 Bullfinch, Treecreeper, Nuthatch and 2 GS Woodpecker. 

Firecrest along bridleway in Binicliff and Brockhole Woods by Newnham Park.

Marsh Tit in Furzeacre Woods - first for me at this site. 

Grey Wagtail on driveway and 7 Siskin and 1f Blackcap in the garden. 


Posted January 10th at 5:37 pm by Chris E in Bird News

Parke Bovey Tracey

All 5 species of thrush seen in the Parke estate at Bovey Tracey. Large flocks (30 birds+) of redwing and fieldfare seen on the main driveway, car park and orchard. Also of interest a male blackcap seen in the orchard. 

Posted January 10th at 5:30 pm by Jason Parry-Wilson in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Nothing new this afternoon but at least 8 Goosanders (4 drakes) & a drake Red-breasted Merganser still around. Also, 231 Dunlins, 15 Oystercatchers, Common Sandpiper, 5 Little Grebes, 9 Wigeon, 5 Greenshanks & a Green Woodpecker.

Posted January 10th at 4:51 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Newnham reserve plympton

A chilly morning walk once fog lifted, just a quick nip around. Usual Tit suspects in high numbers. Pied and grey wagtail, dunnock, robins, blackbirds, songthrush, goldfinch chaffinch, g.s woodpeckers, jays, at most at one time 5 bullfinch, 4 of which female .

Posted January 10th at 4:39 pm by Annabel Sharpe in Bird News

Elberry Cove

My lockdown walk via the cove this afternoon found the Black-necked Grebe showing close enough to be well seen even without my telescope. Also a single Great Northern Diver visible there. The Coastguard firing flares into Broadsands bay earlier probably put paid to any chance of  anything being seen there........

Posted January 10th at 4:13 pm by Simon Tonge in Bird News

Rv Avon ~ South Brent

A walk along parts of the River Avon at South Brent this morning, numerous Jays, at one point three together, two Dipper, Green Woodpecker good numbers of Redwing, a Mistle Thrush, Long Tailed Tit, Buzzard.

Towards and at the WTW a good sized flock of Goldcrest, M&F Grey Wagtail, three Pied Wagtails, two Wren and a rarity for the village in the form of a Black Headed Gull.

Back at home a female Reed Bunting I think the earliest one I have seen here.

Reed Bunting
Reed Bunting

Posted January 10th at 3:58 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Preston, Paignton

7 Redwings feeding in holly tree this morning.

Posted January 10th at 3:32 pm by Tony Sherwood in Bird News

Dunkeswell Airfield - Golden Plover

Circa 250 Golden Plover on Dunkeswell Airfield this morning.

Posted January 10th at 3:15 pm by Peter Lamb in Bird News

Great Northern Divers in Plymouth

Great Northern Diver has been very obliging for a week, presenting shoreside views each morning. A solitary bird, photographed on 7th, Jan. was joined, today, (10th) by a second bird.

Solitary GND on a sunny morning
Solitary GND on a sunny morning
Two GNDs as the fog was lifting
Two GNDs as the fog was lifting

Posted January 10th at 3:04 pm by Pete Johnson in Bird News

Kingsbridge Estuary

Curlew Drive - Charleton Marsh.

Highlights this morning included 500 Golden Plovers, 6 Bar-tailed Godwits, 7 Knots and a Firecrest in the marsh.

Posted January 10th at 1:59 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Garden Blackcaps

Sunday 10 January Two male and one female blackcap visiting the garden bird feeders in Whitleigh Plymouth today being very aggressive towards the other birds

Posted January 10th at 1:51 pm by Carole Bowden in Bird News

Ilsham valley

Kestrel flew overhead

Posted January 10th at 12:46 pm by Michael Curran in Bird News

Hembury Woods

Late post for yesterday, 8th January: 1 Woodcock at dusk. 

Posted January 10th at 9:34 am by Andy Smith in Bird News

Saturday 9th January 2021

Underwood, Plympton

I have worked out that we have a minimum of four Blackcaps visiting the garden: two males and two females. The Black Redstart is still visiting daily.

Black Redstart
Black Redstart

Posted January 9th at 8:51 pm by Jason Smart in Bird News

Common Sandpiper Totnes

I had 50 mins to spend between dropping mum's live in carer at Totnes station and collecting the next one. I walk up the Dart and I was surprized to find a common sandpiper feeding on the weir along with a grey wagtail

Posted January 9th at 7:00 pm by jeff hacon in Bird News

Kingsbridge Estuary ( Geese Quarries - Charleton Marsh )


Got onto the creekside for first light. At least 500 Jackdaws leaving a distant roost somewhere around North Pool. Elsewhere Great Northern Diver, 77 Brent Geese, 7 Little Grebes, 40 Pintails, 6 Red-breasted Mergansers, 12 Grey Plovers and 75 Common Gulls. Influx of Song Thrushes around the marsh and also Chiffchaffs in the sewage works - 9 seen.

Posted January 9th at 6:37 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

On this afternoon's high tide: 8 Goosanders (4 drakes), 6 Wigeon, just 1 Little Grebe, the presumed escape Barnacle Goose with c200 Canadas, Shag, 14 Oystercatchers, 5 Greenshanks, 2 Common Sandpipers & 236 Dunlins. 

Posted January 9th at 4:21 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Ring Ouzel

Weds 6th Jan walking on Braunton Burrows and saw Ring Ouzel.  Returned again on Friday and got some good pictures.

Ring Ouzel 8.1.2021
Ring Ouzel 8.1.2021

Posted January 9th at 2:29 pm by Kevin Lymer in Bird News

Wellswood Torquay

Blackcap, female, in the garden.

Posted January 9th at 2:11 pm by Mick Curran in Bird News

Lock down Birding ~ South Brent

At home this morning a flock of up to forty Redwing feeding at the end of the garden and into the adjoining field. Raven calling and a Green Woodpecker seen to fly over before landing in a tree. Feed station busy with the usual garden birds.

A walk along the River Avon on the outskirts of the village gave five Long Tailed Tit, a Heron, Dipper and four Goldcrest.

********** Avian Flu ********** Took a call this morning to the effect that six Mute Swan had been recovered from Sutton Harbour, Plymouth, all showing signs of Avian Flue the bodies have been sent for testing. 


Posted January 9th at 2:02 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News


Aroubd the duck pond and car park early this morning. grey and pied wagtails, chaffinch and goldfinch, plenty of nuthatch. 20 curlew in the cow field. Redwings in the carpark, meadow pippits, g.s woodpecker, roe deer spotted in distance. Long tail/ blue/ coal and great tits. Robins. 

walking by the plym to blaxton. Curllew, redshank. 30+ shelduck. Dunlin numbering hundreds. Widgeon, teal, mallard, oyatercatcher, 3 kingfisher, m+f goosanders, sandpiper of some sorts. L.egret. heron. 

Posted January 9th at 1:46 pm by Annabel Sharpe in Bird News

Dart's Farm

The adult Black Brant in with the Brent flock at 1120 and still there when I drove back past around 1230pm. Also at least one Pale-bellied Brent in the flock.

Posted January 9th at 1:14 pm by Matt Knott in Bird News

River Plym

10 Goosanders on the Plym today - 5 drakes and 5 redheads. All in one flock at high tide and seen just downriver from Saltram beach.

Posted January 9th at 12:34 am by G and L Carr in Bird News

Friday 8th January 2021

S Molton Community woodland

Flock of 10 + Siskins on alder cones. 15+ rewind feeding on ground throughout.  Marsh tit, Fieldfare.

Posted January 8th at 8:52 pm by art symons in Bird News

Dart spring

Thursday 2drumming GSW in tall oak-Darlington river bank.

Friday 8th Singing Dipper top of new fish ladder-Totnes Weir-16:20 ie nearly dark!

Posted January 8th at 6:09 pm by Denis Doy in Bird News

Prince Rock, Plymouth

Chiffchaff visiting back yard daily, photo yesterday; a (blurred) female black redstart visiting last Sunday. 

Black Redstart
Black Redstart

Posted January 8th at 6:03 pm by Martin Lavelle in Bird News

Radford Park

Navigating the icey pathways, a visit produced: Firecrest, 2 Blackcaps, Kingfisher, Common Sandpiper, 6 Little Grebes, Sparrowhawk, Grey Wagtail & male Bullfinch.

Also, on Tothill Playing Fields, the Polish-ringed adult Mediterranean Gull "PHAU".

Posted January 8th at 3:20 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Exe Estuary - Lympstone

In a field between Royal Marine Camp and Lympstone, just before first boardwalk, 2 Egyptian Geese.

Posted January 8th at 1:02 pm by Richard Jordan in Bird News


This morning there were still 10+ cattle egrets and a few little egrets in the fields at North Down Farm

Cattle Egrets
Cattle Egrets

Posted January 8th at 1:02 pm by Colin Dracott in Bird News

Black Redstart [male ]

I met ivybridge birder stephen herzig yesterday afternoon, And he told me he had found a male black redstart on a housing estate in ivybridge.

This morning i went looking and after a short wait it appeared on the rooftops of one of the houses,It is very flighty but can be found at lucerne fields estate amongst the houses just past the play area and water run off ponds

Posted January 8th at 11:55 am by patrick hawkins in Bird News

Ansteys Cove

Two green woodpeckers calling 0811hrs

Posted January 8th at 9:44 am by Mick Curran in Bird News

Winkleigh 7th Jan

Local field with 10 Starling, 3 Mistle thrush, 2Redwing as 5 Fieldfares arrived. Blackbird AND Songthrush in adjacent hedges.

Posted January 8th at 7:50 am by Peter Howard in Bird News

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