Devon Bird Sightings: Bird News from 22nd–28th February 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






·         Green-winged Teal Nov/Dec Exe Estuary

·         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

Sunday 28th February 2021

Braunton Burrows

After my visit to Wrafton Pond I popped out to Braunton Burrows and found the Whooper Swan near the road just past the round barn. A Buzzard landed on the edge of a private road.

Whooper Swan
Whooper Swan
Mute Swans
Mute Swans

Posted February 28th at 11:21 pm by Martin Bennett in Bird News

Wrafton pond

Out for a walk around Wrafton pond where there were four male Pochard, one Little Grebe, a couple of Coots and Moorhen.  On the Scrape was a single Godwit and a few Teal. In the hedge along the path beside the pond was a singing Robin.


Posted February 28th at 11:09 pm by Martin Bennett in Bird News


Seawatching difficult with choppy seas but 42 Turnstones gathered by Hollicombe Head and a White Wagtail feeding amongst the seaweed. Dead Shag washed up on the beach. 

Posted February 28th at 8:02 pm by Matt Collis in Bird News

Wembury point

Up at the point at sunrise,  lots of skylarks singing at the top and displaying. Kestrel actively hunting for hours, Buzzard, at least 11 different Cirl bunting encounters along the path. Glaucous gull did a pass below me on the coast path (i think so from the picture, if someone can confirm), lots of oystercatchers, 5 little egrets, plenty of stonechats, linnets, robins, dunnocks, pippits, ravens, wrens, dunnocks, great tits, blue tits, gs woodpecker, 

Posted February 28th at 7:04 pm by Annabel Sharpe in Bird News


Early morning walk over Boringdon Golf Course to Plymbridge. A Buzzard, a Pied Wagtail and dozens of Skylarks over the course. At Plymbridge 2 female Goosander, a pair of Mandarins, 2 Grey Wagtail, several Song Thrushes,1 Green and 1 G.S. Woodpecker,1 Nuthatch, 2 Jays,7 Magpies, a Wren and a solitary cock Bullfinch.

Pied Wagtail
Pied Wagtail

Posted February 28th at 5:14 pm by Bob Barrow in Bird News

Tamerton Foliot

This morning, 12 Cattle Egret still in a field off Rowborough lane. Also, 2 Greenfinch and 1 Chiffchaff in Cann Woods LNR.

Cattle Egret
Cattle Egret
Cattle Egret
Cattle Egret

Posted February 28th at 3:14 pm by Alan Livsey in Bird News

Scandinavian Rock Pipit

The wintering flock of 14 at Colyford Common have started to change into  breeding plumage before their departure in early March.

Posted February 28th at 12:35 pm by Ian Mclean in Bird News

Cadover Bridge and Wigford Down

A Red Kite over Cadover at 1030 28th Feb, drifted off low to the west over Wigford Down.  At least 2 pairs of Stonechat back on territory. Skylarks singing and Meadsow Pipits with one song flight seen

Two Mistle Thrushes in song, and just as a reminder of winter still about 8 Fieldfare in fields

Posted February 28th at 12:19 pm by roger smaldon in Bird News

Lower Tamar Lake

Late for yesterday.

Early morning Goosander count 4m 7f, 3 Willow Tit, 2 Marsh Tit, 1 Green Sandpiper, 2 Grey Heron, 6 Tufted Duck, 4 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Jay.

Posted February 28th at 8:38 am by Rodney Mudge in Bird News

Saturday 27th February 2021


Early morning walk at Boringdon Golf Course, On the small pond a solitary female Goosander was just finishig a large frog, 2 Buzzards, a Green Woodpecker dozens of Skylarks,10 Goldfinches,2 Song thrushes and a Wren,


Posted February 27th at 10:47 pm by Bob Barrow in Bird News

Long tailed duck

Long tailed duck seen trew weir Exeter Key haven banks feb 26th 2021 female 

Posted February 27th at 9:50 pm by Phillip mann in Bird News

Red kite over Arlington Court

Overhead Arlington Court today at 13:31 Red Kite drifting from west to east at about 300ft!  Cropped image for record purposes because it won't win any awards. 

Red Kite high over Arlington Court
Red Kite high over Arlington Court

Posted February 27th at 6:19 pm by Phil and Sue Naylor in Bird News


My first Chiffchaff of the year, singing loudly from Archers’ Walk footpath in Christow at 7.30am. Lots of other birds active; tits, GSW, wren, Robin, dunnock. 

Posted February 27th at 4:57 pm by Fiona Freshney in Bird News

Glaucous Gull Wembury Point 27th Feb 2021

Glaucous Gull flew from Mew Stone and landed on rocks on Plymouth side of Wembury Point. Appears to have suffered considerable wing damage especially on right wing. This could be reason for it still being around if it is the same bird reported on the 23rd Feb 

Glaucous Gull sat on the rocks in the morning sunshine
Glaucous Gull sat on the rocks in the morning sunshine
Wing damage evident as it flew back to the Mew Stone
Wing damage evident as it flew back to the Mew Stone

Posted February 27th at 4:41 pm by Barry Rankine in Bird News

Hope's Nose

5 Purple Sandpipers this morning close to the point. 

Posted February 27th at 3:51 pm by Paul Darlington in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

On the high tide from dawn, 3 Goosanders (1 drake), 2 Common Sandpipers, 153 Redshanks, 7 Greenshanks, adult Mediterranean Gull, 30 Turnstones & a Sparrowhawk. Also, 9+ Roe Deer.

Posted February 27th at 2:56 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Avon Dam

Few Golden Plover noted in the area this winter, the 50 or so on Dockwell Ridge early this morning being the most I've recorded since October. All still in winter plumage, though a few bellies seem to show a little dark smudging. Earlier, eight roosting Goosanders (two males) departed at 0743. 

Golden Plover
Golden Plover
Golden Plover
Golden Plover

Posted February 27th at 2:16 pm by Peter Reay in Bird News

Lipson, Plymouth Female Black Redstart

Female Black Redstart on the roof tops in Lipson

Posted February 27th at 11:13 am by Greg Bradbury in Bird News

Three Beaches Headland Torbay

Watching over the the Gull roost yesterday evening produced 4 Mediterranean Gulls (2 fw, 1 ad w & 1 ad s), a fw drake Long-tailed Duck was with 7 Common Scoter, the wintering Long-tailed Duck in Torbay has been a female so a new arrival. Diver numbers have dropped right off again after the stormy weather last week now down to 8 Great Northern Divers. 2-3 Common Dolphin and 1 Harbour Porpoise.

 fw drake Long Tailed Duck Torbay 26 Feb 2021 ML

Posted February 27th at 10:52 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Stover Lake

A pre-dawn check for roosting Goosanders revealed just a pair from 06:15 onwards. the highlight, however, was an Otter that swam across the lake at 06:45 to the North Marsh, flushing lots of waterfowl as it went; after working its way eastwards, I lost it in the mist. Well worth the early rise!  Also at least two pairs of Mandarins, Little Grebe, 10 Tufted, noisy Green and G S Woodpeckers.

Posted February 27th at 10:25 am by Dave Smallshire in Bird News


Due to the high volume of traffic and the resulting traffic jam I decided to move on and visit Yelland for a while.  Along the roadside leading to old power station site and opposite the new coffee shop a pair of Carrion Crows grabbed my attention, along the Tarka path I spotted a number of Teal, Six Little Egrets, a Kestrel and high up in the sky were a large number of Golden Plovers (at least a hundred possibly more) couldn't get all in one frame. Also there was a group of a least a couple of dozen  of what appeared to be Curlew roosting in the marsh.

Carrion Crow
Carrion Crow
Golden Plover
Golden Plover

Posted February 27th at 2:32 am by Martin Bennett in Bird News

Freminton Pill

Yesterday, I had an early afternoon walk along Fremington Pill. There was very little in the way of bird life other than the usual.  Managed to get some distance shots of a couple of Shelduck and a Redshank. Saw a few Little Egrets, a pair of Wood pigeon nest building, a couple of Teal and one Pied Wagtail.

Male Shelduck
Male Shelduck

Posted February 27th at 2:13 am by Martin Bennett in Bird News

Friday 26th February 2021

North Exeter

3 Chiffchaff singing in Mincinglake Valley Park and a Redpoll on the garden bird table. At eleven the raptors got aerial, including a Red Kite rising over Upton Pyne. Several drumming Greater Spotted & yaffling Green Woodpeckers. Buzzards tumbling and talon grappling. A  brimstone & red admiral, plus mating frogs completed the springy scene.

Posted February 26th at 8:18 pm by Simon M Bates in Bird News

Braunton area

A Small Tortoiseshell in the garden as I enjoyed lunch outside. Dipper in the river by Caen St School. 2 drake Pochard, some each of Shoveler and Wigeon on Wrafton Pond. Little Grebe trilling in the reserve. Down the Toll road, Little Owl, and the juvenile Whooper Swan right by the road just past the round Linhay.

Little Owl
Little Owl
Juvenile Whooper Swan
Juvenile Whooper Swan

Posted February 26th at 8:12 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Positive signs of spring

Lots of birdsong for this morning's dawn walk. Particularly pleased by the songs and visible ascentsof 2 Skylarks, several Yellowhammers singing and showing well along the hedges and a very early Chiffchaff singing and showing. Plus 2 male and 1 female Bullfinch getting territorial at West Sandford.

Posted February 26th at 7:28 pm by Sarah Blatchford in Bird News

Red Kite near Ottery St Mary

Just walking through our village of Taleford near Ottery St Mary, Devon at dusk and was surprised to see a Red Kite fly over at tree top level.

Posted February 26th at 6:30 pm by Maurice Rapley in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

A good spread of birds on a lovely mild day, including: Treecreeper, Sparrowhawk, Stonechat, 2 Grey Wagtails, Siskin, 3 Goosanders (1 drake), 2 Mediterranean Gulls (adults), 4 Common Sandpipers, 5 Greenshanks, 27 Turnstones & a Mute Swan (the latter my 90th species of the year here).

Also, Small Tortoiseshell & 15 Roe Deer.

Another Small Tortoiseshell & a Sparrowhawk at Tothill Park.

Posted February 26th at 6:21 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Ashclyst Forest

Flock of Fieldfare (c50) on eastern side of forest. Elsewhere good numbers of small birds at feeders near Caddihoe including Marsh Tits with 2 drumming Gt Spotted Woodpeckers.  A  Green Woodpecker heard on western woodlands. 

Posted February 26th at 5:40 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in Bird News

Mountbatten, Plymouth.

The Long Tailed Duck still present but quite distant. Also, 2 Shag and several Cormorant.

Long Tailed Duck (female)
Long Tailed Duck (female)

Posted February 26th at 4:53 pm by Alan Livsey in Bird News

Aylesbeare Common

Plenty of Dartford Warbler.

1 Red Kite over at 11:00.

Posted February 26th at 2:55 pm by Paul Bray in Bird News

Croyde Sands

15 minute cycle ride out to Croyde Sands this morning as part of my daily exercise routine. Hundreds of Gulls on the Sands & scanned every one of them.

Amongst  the BH Gulls, Herring Gulls & Common Gulls were several Med Gulls & 2 Lesser Black backed Gulls. 

Signs of early spring for this loving pair of Carrion Crows!

Posted February 26th at 2:34 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Mountbatten - Long-tailed Duck (F)

The Long-tailed Duck still at Mountbatten, but at distance, no sign of the Northern diver

Female Long-tailed Duck
Female Long-tailed Duck

Posted February 26th at 2:21 pm by Greg Bradbury in Bird News

Thursday 25th February 2021

Crownhill Down

A Sparrowhawk performed a spectacular 700m long dive across the north end of the Down into a tree full of Redwings scattering them wildly.  A single  flock of c.40 Meadow Pipits was notable along with double figures of Stonechat and Skylark.  Four Buzzards, a pair of Ravens and a pair of Yellowhammers also present.

Posted February 25th at 10:58 pm by Chris & Janet Marcol in Bird News

Red-crested Pochard

Female Red-crested Pochard on the River ply today just South of the old sewage discharge pipe station with 6 mallards. 

Posted February 25th at 10:54 pm by John O'Connell-Davidson in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Pretty quiet this afternoon but managed: 3 Common Sandpipers, 2 Goosanders, Sparrowhawk, Kestrel, Stonechat & 10 Roe Deer.

Posted February 25th at 7:44 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Shipley Bridge

1200 24/02/21  pair of Dippers on the Avon above Shipley Bridge. Never seen 2 together before but followed this pair up the river for 200m before they ducked into small cave..

Posted February 25th at 6:15 pm by R Mogridge in Bird News

Northam Burrows and Skern

1 adult winter Little Gull seen for approximately five minutes with the mixed gull roost on the Skern. It then flew across Northam Burrows, dropped in at Sandymere and then appeared to head out to sea. The bird couldn't be relocated. Also at the Skern high tide roost were two adult Mediterranean Gulls approximately 400 Oystercatcher, 100 Dunlin, Knot, Grey Plover and 38 Bar-tailed Godwit.

Posted February 25th at 6:14 pm by Martin Unwin in Bird News

Trews Weir, Exeter

Female long-tailed duck still there above Weir this morning.

Posted February 25th at 3:48 pm by Alan Keatley in Bird News

Wrafton etc

Spring moving right along, but some bits remain the same: 2 Spoonbills out on the scrape this morning, only one Pochard on Wrafton Pond. Shoveler and Wigeon present but the only Gadwall I saw were 2 in the reserve. Also there singing Water Rail and Cetti's Warbler, Goldcrest, and a Collared Dove was notable. As I left a Grey Wagtail in the river and then 2 Kingfishers zoomed off upstream together - a pair?

Posted February 25th at 2:12 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

White-tailed Eagles

Devon Birds has received some information from the Isle of Wight White-tailed Eagle release project, about some birds' visits to Devon.

On 8/2/21, G461 (blue on map) travelled along the Devon coast – at 0901, he was just outside Bridport, Dorset, heading west and by 1001, was 7km north of Sidmouth, moving at 61km/h, 307m above sea-level; a mere speck in the sky! At 1101, he had crossed the Exe and was 763m above sea-level over Exeter Racecourse. By 1202 he was just east of Salcombe and only 59m above sea-level. This incredible journey spanned some 120km in just under 6hrs!

G471 (yellow on map) left the Isle of Wight on 11/10/20, making an incredible flight to Lundy – documented on the Lundy blogspot 

White-tailed Eagle 461 map
White-tailed Eagle 461 map
White-tailed Eagle 471 map
White-tailed Eagle 471 map

Posted February 25th at 10:10 am by Pete Aley in Bird News

Wednesday 24th February 2021

Exminster Marshes

Very large group (hundreds) of Dark-bellied Brent Geese with possibly a stray Pale-bellied amongst them. Can someone confirm this please?

Pale-bellied Brent Goose?
Pale-bellied Brent Goose?

Posted February 24th at 6:22 pm by Peter Newman in Bird News

Hollicombe Head, Preston, Paignton

The Leucistic Blackbird, which has been been reported at the headland a number of times, was showing well this morning.

Leucistic Blackbird
Leucistic Blackbird
Leucistic Blackbird
Leucistic Blackbird

Posted February 24th at 2:19 pm by Steven O'Donoghue in Bird News

Tuesday 23rd February 2021

Taw/Torridge Estuary

Up to twenty Pintail on the Skern as the tide retreated late afternoon. Seen not far from the bridge. Thanks to ?? who gave me the tip off yesterday. 

Posted February 23rd at 11:11 pm by Sue Ambler in Bird News

Budleigh Salterton

Further to yesterday's post went back on beach this morning and took more photos as Mike Langman is sure the bird is an Auk.

Eds - Yes, a Guillemot

Posted February 23rd at 6:21 pm by Nicola Delves in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Four Mediterranean Gulls on this afternoon's high tide (3 ads + 2nd-w); also, 4 Little Grenes, 3 Goosanders (1 drake), 31 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 52 Curlews, 56 Shelducks (including Axe-ringed A06), Shag & 9 Stock Doves.

Posted February 23rd at 5:08 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Exminster and Powderham

Walked from Countesswear to Powderham Park and back this morning. Highlight was the GW-f Goose family close to the canal between Swan's Nest Road and Topsham lock.

Of lesser note were two singing Treecreepers, my first of the year, opposite the sewage works. Also:

- on the storage lagoon, 4 Pochards, a good number nowadays, and 3 Tufteds;

- in the estuary, 800+ Blackwits in a single flock, with 25+ Barwits in smaller groups nearby, 50+ Grey Plovers scattered around and the usual Golden flock huddled together;

- near Turf, a Cirl Bunting in one of their less regular spots;

- West of the railway below Turf, the Snow Goose was still with the Canadas. There is so much dead ground when one looks from the seawall that the Barnacles could still be there too;

- in the Park, 30+ Stock Doves, the most there yet;

- in the Park and around the Kenn outfall, 10+ Greenshanks.

Missing today were Pintail and the Egyptian Geese.

Posted February 23rd at 4:57 pm by James Camden in Bird News


A 1st winter Glaucous Gull resting alone on the rocks along the beach at Wembury this morning before being disturbed by dog walkers and flying off towards Plymouth.

Eds - pale eye, pale bill-tip & generally (appears to have) very pale plumage; so perhaps 2nd or 3rd-winter?

Glaucous Gull
Glaucous Gull

Posted February 23rd at 4:46 pm by Stuart Green in Bird News


Well after a bonanza of birds in the warm calm sunshine yesterday, it was back to earth with a bump today: not much at all in the reserve, but now 2 drake Pochard on Wrafton Pond. Little Egret out on the scrape.

Posted February 23rd at 2:28 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Cattle egrets in Tamerton Foliot

Spotted yesterday (22/2/21). Small number of cattle egrets at the top of the village.

cattle egrets
cattle egrets

Posted February 23rd at 11:51 am by Robert Price in Bird News


A female Brambling joined the Cirl Bunting flock (22 today) on seed in the 2nd car park, also a single male Yellowhammer, its odd they are not more regular at the site although the winter of 2019/20 saw up to 7 coming to the seed here. In the marsh behind the beach 1 Siberian Chiffchaff and a single collybita chiffchaff.

 Yellowhammer Broadsands 23 Feb 2021 ML Yellowhammer Broadsands 23 Feb 2021 ML


Posted February 23rd at 11:38 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Sparrowhawk in Exeter

Doing her bit to control the local Feral Pigeon infestation!

Posted February 23rd at 10:34 am by Martin Overy in Bird News

Monday 22nd February 2021

Plympton, Crownhill Down to Lee Moor

Afternoon mtb ride gave a Dipper and Grey Wagtail on the Tory Brook. On the remnant of Crownhill Down three Yellowhammers, my first this year, with three Meadow Pipit in a hawthorn. Ten Stonechats were notable. A Sparrowhawk. Over Whitehill china clay tip four Buzzards caused a stir among the Skylarks.

Posted February 22nd at 8:59 pm by Chris Marcol in Bird News

Mount batten

In clovelly bay this pm 1GNDiver and  the LT Duck was still present.

Posted February 22nd at 8:42 pm by Vic & Sylvia Tucker in Bird News

South Brent

Six stonechats (three pairs) on Brent Hill, and four (first winter?) loosely together on farmland below, represents an increase on the two-three wintering birds. Perhaps an arrival of migrants en route to breeding areas on the moor or beyond?

Also today, 11 roosting goosanders at the Avon Dam (one pair mated) and six teal including two displaying males.

Stonechat (first winter?)
Stonechat (first winter?)

Posted February 22nd at 8:19 pm by Peter Reay in Bird News


Old churchyard mid-pm, a male Firecrest, crown blazing, chasing a Goldcrest. Inter-specific aggression or courtship?

Posted February 22nd at 7:25 pm by Andy Smith in Bird News


Afternoon walk from Plympton to Hemerdon and Crownhill Down produced my first Wheatear of the year in fact it's the earliest I've ever seen one. Lots of Skylarks Pipits and Stonechats. Several Buzzards, a Kestrel and a Sparrow Hawk .In Furzeacre Wood a GSW 8 Greenfinches, a solitary Fieldfare with a flock of Redwing and a singing Dipper on the Tory Brook.


Posted February 22nd at 7:11 pm by Bob Barrow in Bird News

Great Northern Diver?

Soryy that my first post is of a dead bird on Budleigh Salterton beach tthsi morning. I am almost certain it is a  GND.

Posted February 22nd at 6:42 pm by Nicola Delves in Bird News


Check around the Torbay beaches today: 1 Long-tailed Duck, 1 Black-throated Diver, 1 Red-throated Diver, 14 Great Norther Divers, 46 Great Crested Grebes. 

Posted February 22nd at 5:43 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

In glorious sunshine, a female/imm Tufted Duck on the narrow river, 4 adult Mediterranean Gulls, 5 Goosanders (3 drakes), 2 Red-breasted Mergansers (1 drake), 4 Snipe, 6 Greenshanks, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, Kingfisher, Sparrowhawk, 2 Stonechats, 5+ Stock Doves & 8 Roe Deer, 

Posted February 22nd at 4:56 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Plym Estuary and Saltram

Three adult Mediterranean Gulls (all s/p = one with full black head, two with partial black heads).  Seven Goosanders (3 males), two Bar=tailed Godwits, two Common Sandpipers, one Common Gull.

Posted February 22nd at 3:00 pm by roger smaldon in Bird News

Tarka trail , North Devon.

Saltpill pond , 4 Glossy Ibis , a pair of Shoveler and singing Cetti’s warbler.

2 Spoonbill at Isley and 1 at Fremington quay.    The rough fields across 

the trail from Penhill point towards Anchor Bank held 8 Cattle Egrets.

adult Male Peregrine on Torridge bridge.

Posted February 22nd at 12:12 pm by Malcolm Shakespeare in Bird News

South Molton

Robins displaying

Posted February 22nd at 12:08 pm by art symons in Bird News

South Molton Community woodland

Pair Great Sp Woodecker mating. Nuthatch, Redwings.

Posted February 22nd at 11:22 am by art symons in Bird News

Red kite over Cullompton

Single Red kite flying over Cullompton town centre, heading north-east at 09.37 this morning. 

Posted February 22nd at 10:15 am by Nick Dixon in Bird News

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