Saturday, 18 December 2010

Kingsbridge Estuary

Charleton Marsh / Bay (14:15-16:30, high tide ).

Only 2 Chiffchaffs seen in the sewage works with the usual Grey Wagtail but also a Coal Tit, 3 or 4 Goldcrests and a noticeable increase in Blackbird numbers.
Out in the bay were 2 Shoveler, 7 Tufted Ducks, 9 Goldeneye, 26 Red-breasted Mergansers and the wintering Whimbrel. A small male Peregrine did a rapier lap of the marsh and bay catching nothing.
On the marsh were c 200 Teal, 58 Wigeon, Pintail, Shoveler and 40+ Snipe, the latter from where they were obviously recent cold weather arrivals. The wildfowl emptied out of the marsh as it started getting late, no obvious disturbance but they may have been psycich. All manic twitchers, over-eager photographers, space invaders and crooked politicians welcomed here in preference to the five shooters who turned up, marched straight to the scrapes to put the dogs around the reed fringes, maybe for snipe. I am not anti-shooting but i thought this was out of order given the present weather.
Otter Estuary

A walk around the Otter today produced the following highlights:

39 Curlew, 5 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Grey Plover, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit, 8+ Redshank, 3+ Ringed Plover, 28 Oysercatcher & 3 Turnstone (on the beach), 1 Shoveler, 2 Tufted duck, 1 Eider (on the sea), 1 ad Med. Gull and 2 Cetti's Warbler. No sign of the Glossy Ibis after a brief look in its favoured field.

Haldon Forest etc.

Red Kite flew north west over Underdown, Haldon Forrest at midday, 30 Bramblings feeding in garden last 2 weeks

This evening I counted at least 34 wrens going to roost in our house martin nest outside our bathroom window. Another 15 or so appeared not to be able to fit in and went to next doors house martins nest. Some of these birds looked faily weak and one or two fluttered to the ground on not being able to get into the nest, they did fly back up okay. I'll have to turn the central heating up tonight!

[from John Gale]


A look on the Plym late afternoon turned up a female Goldeneye, probably last weeks bird, and a female R.B. Merganser. Six Teal are a good count here and the pair of Gadwall are still in residence. Not much else around apart from ten Little Grebes, five Greenshank, one Snipe and a couple of Common Sands.
At home twenty or so Redwing passed over the house with a couple coming into the garden.


Flock of 800-1000 Skylark in field behind beach with more smaller flocks passing over. 8+Reed Bunting and 17+Cirl Buntings. On beach 1 Shelduck and 1 Redshank (both not normal here). Lots of Redwing passing over and in gardens on the walk to the beach.

Powderham Marshes

Nothing spectacular but just some of the large flocks working hard for a living!

Exeter City

Not a bad bit of birding around the city.

Waxwing - 2 On Exe bridges by the weeping willows feeding on fallen berries under the rowan trees where the ground as free of snow with about 40 redwing. An ambulance with sirens blaring spooked everything soI lost them as they crossed the river.

Catherdral Green - 2 peregrine hammering a common buzzard to the point that i thought they were going to take it out!

The overspill on the wier - Green sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, 6 dunlin, 2 Snipe, 3 redshank and a Black Redstart and 20 Skylark over. Redwing all over the place throughout the city area.

Marsh Barton (outside Lexus Garage) - Waxwing -3 feeding on Rowan giving great views of berries being passed between two birds (I seem to remember seeing this during the last invasion) and drinking melting ice and eating small chunks of ice. Lapwing - 55 heading West.

Exmouth Waxwings

Daily checks of the Rowans outside the Leisure Centre paid off today with 26+ waxwings.


The snow has pushed a lot more birds into the gardens. Putting out sunflower seed pulled in this cracking Brambling as well as 2 Siskin and 10 Goldfinch.

Axe Valley

A walk in the snow, from Black Hole Marsh to Colyford...

1 Ruff among Lapwings on the river
The Eastern Yellow Wagtail candidate still on Colyton WTW
1 Lapland Bunting and 5 Woodlarks in the field across the road from the WTW. The Lapland Bunting was with a small group of Skylarks, so has presumably moved on because...

...massive movement of Skylarks heading west. A conservative count between 08:30 and 11:00 came to 11,250!!



1 Waxwing over my house at 09:05 (first ever), plus 375 Skylarks between SE and SW during the morning. Sounds like the Skylarks may have been moving to the coast and then heading W?

Friday, 17 December 2010

Exminster Marshes

Bittern seen going to roost this afternoon, by the Topsham Ferry slipway.

[from Martin Cox]


On the Tamar estuary from Ernesettle the Teal count has risen to one hundred and sixty. Surprisingly few Wigeon though, barely twenty.
Fifteen Black tailed Godwits were counted including one ringed bird (no details yet).
I havn't seen any Avocet here this year, hopfully they're tucked away on the Cornwall side at Landulph.
Around the sewage works around thirty Redwing and a few Blackbirds were seen.

Elsewhere quiet, no sign of the GND at Devils Point, but the Brambling re-appeared in my garden.

Saunton Down

Velvet Scoter off Saunton Down with 2 Common Scoter.

[from Jon Turner]


Late morning, a Black Redstart briefly in my back garden at Cedar Close, and a female Blackcap. The redstart flew towards Maple Drive.
5 Red-throated Diver off the seafront, from the clocktower early afternoon.
Mudbank Lane produced 3 Scaup (one drake), 26 Teal, a Greenshank and 3 Common Snipe amongst the usual good numbers of Wigeon, Pintail, Brent Geese, Redshank and other common waders.

Thurlestone Bay

Appear to be some gremlins in my system,it posted before I had written anything,

Only cold weather movement this am were75 Skylark flying in 2 flocks north west.

Although we missed most of the snow the Marsh was 60% frozen at 8.30. on the marsh were 8 Shoveler , 18 Wigeon , 10 Teal 30 + Snipe.

On the rocks at Warren Pt were 4 Purple Sandpiper ,3 Ringed Plover on the beach.. Put the scope up to look at a Kittiwake in the Bay , a Nice surprise to find a Black-necked Grebe surface. Became elusive ,however located later off the car park to give better views in the bright light. This is a site tick for me ,must be afew years since the last record. Whilst looking for the Grebe a Red T Diver came close inshore

Re. Devon Bird Report

A note from Pete Reay...

Many thanks for the kind words on the blog and elsewhere about DBR 2009 - as usual a DBWPS team effort involving many contributors, not least the observers who submit the records on which the report depends. The blog now does a fantastic job in keeping everyone up to date with what's around, but please remember also to submit your records in the usual way, to Steve and Julia on recorder [at] No errors reported yet, but some are bound to be lurking. Please let me know asap if you find any. Thanks - peter.p.j.reay [at]

Lopwell Dam 15/12/10 - Bittern

Some nice photos of a Bittern in the reeds above the dam on Wednesday - taken by Shane Willson

Northern Lapwing

A cold weather movement of 103 heading northwest over Barnstaple at 11:30 this morning.

Whooper Swan River Torridge

There was an adult Whooper Swan with two Mute Swans at Weare Giffard seen during the afternoon of 12/12/10.

[from Philip Gibbons via post]

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Thurlestone Bay

Whilst the Marshes were free of ice only small numbers of Duck observed:-

Thurlestone Marsh - 1m 3 f Shoveler, 20 Teal, 12 Wigeon, 1 Water Pipit

South Huish Marsh- 20 Teal , 2m 2jvm Shoveler.

Thurlestone Bay- 22 Mallard on sea , 1 Great N Diver flew into the Bay decided better weather to the west and flew off.

Devils Point, Plymouth

Not much here this p.m. but a Great Northern Diver was showing well close inshore. Otherwise just an adult Med Gull and three Common Gulls.
Nearby at Devonport park twelve Redwings were feeding on berries and a Fieldfare, three Mistle Thrush and a Redwing were feeding in an apple tree.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Powderham & Exminster marshes

Several hundred brambling still present on Powderham marshes today - mobile around field with sunflower crop, accompanied by chaffinches and a few yellowhammers.

Good numbers of gadwall on canal with a few tufted duck, 3 pochard and many coot, on ice-free stretch north of canal-side car park.

Around the Exe Area

A few photographs from Tom Wallis . Brambling at Powderham on 15th . Snow Bunting and Water Rail at TurfLock, and Waxwing at Alphington all on 12th.

2009 Bird Report

As a previous post congratulated those involved in the bird report, may I just say this is largely due to the efforts of Pete Reay. This was Pete's 11th as editor and he is now quite rightly standing down after such a huge stint. It will also be my last after 16 years or so doing various bits. So I'm sure there will be a great opportunity for others to get involved and keep up the good work!

Thurlestone Bay

5 Purple Sandpiper (highest since Jan 2006 )1 Turnstone, 11 Ringed Plover, 7 Dunlin.

Thurlestone marsh this am - still 60% frozen - 6 Gadwall, 5 Shoveler, 10 Teal 10 Wigeon, 15 Snipe. 2 Water Pipit feeding on the fringe of the Marsh at 13.30

Congratulations to everyone connected with the 2009 report. a great read.

Passage House - Coombe Cellars

Lots of 'fours' today with 4 Gadwall (2 drake), 4 Avocet, 4 Black-tailed Godwit and 4 Bar-tailed Godwit. There were also 9 Dunlin, a Common Snipe and a Grey Plover along with the usual waders. Other wildfowl consisted of 1 Goldeneye, 9 Wigeon, 2 Teal, 7 Mallard, 6 Shelduck and 14 Little Grebe.

I also saw an Otter swim up to the ski Jump ramp at Coombe Cellars

Bittern - Roadford

Just heard that a Bittern was spotted yesterday at Roadford Reservoir around 10:30 am "on the opposite side of the dam to the public entrance".

Velator to Crossbanks, Braunton Marsh

09:55 - 12:10

Greenshank 3; Redshank 39; Snipe 53; Little Grebe 10; Meadow Pipit 6; Teal 36; Lapwing c300;
Moorhen 29; Coot 1; Shoveler 1 female; Dunlin 36; flock of c50-60 Chaffinch; Mute Swan 3.
Also Kestrel 1 female; Buzzard 1; Grey Heron 1; Kingfisher 1; Ringed Plover 1; Grey Plover 1 and BITTERN .

Bittern, Braunton Marsh.

It was reported that a Bittern was seen to land in the small reedbed adjacent to the Toll Road, Braunton Marsh, just past the Toll House, during the morning of Tuesday 14th December. A Bittern was also reported on Birdguides on 4th December having been seen nearby on Sherpa Marsh. The bird was seen again in the afternoon of the 14th, adjacent to the Toll Rd but nearer to the Great Sluice. It was disturbed by wildfowlers shooting on Horsey Island and was seen to fly over the bank by Crossbanks towards Chivenor.
After a 2hr search of the area from 10:00 to 12:02 today, I saw the bird fly into the same small reedbed next to the Toll Road from the direction of Sherpa. Although the reed bed is only small and within yards of the Toll Road, it was impossible to see it once it got in among the reeds.


Red Kite being hassled by Corvids 11:30 this morning near Princetown. Thanks Rob & Maureen Harrison.

Also 16 Bramblings feeding regularly in Princetown garden (Jan & Mike Daniels).

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Piscivorous Dunnock!

Not exactly gripping news, but I was intrigued to see one of several Dunnocks living inside the Living Coasts aviary in Torquay eating from fish put out for the Inca Terns there!


Near Sainsbury's supermarket Barnstaple 12:30

After years of walking the country side I have never managed a decent perched Buzzard shot. Today I decided to have a walk around a residential area and industrial estate at Roundswell looking for winter thrushes. This guy turned up on a lamp post right outside of the local Sainsbury's supermarket -managed to grab a few shots before it was off. Funny game this birding!

Otterton Sewage Works

At least 14 Red Throated Divers offshore in Chiselbury Bay at around 12noon Tuesday, together with the usual Cormorants, Shags and a very large mixed flock of (mainly) Guillemots and Razorbills.

Seaton Marshes

Snipe feeding on the marsh after the frost had melted

Powderham & Exminster Marshes

Above is a view of the Exminster Canal just north of the canalside car park. This small area is still ice free and holding at least 88 Gadwall, 3 Pochard, 17 Tufted Ducks and one Little Grebe. A redhead Goosander flew south overhead.
The finch flock on RSPB's land on Powderham Marshes still includes over 500 Brambling. The numbers of Chaffinchs and Linnets appeared to have reduced but it was hard to count the birds as they had fragmented into smaller flocks probably due to the constant attention from sparrowhawks. There was a single flock of 80 Skylarks and although I heard a probable Lapland Bunting within this flock I failed to locate the bird.


5 .waxwings at 8am.They flew off towards the north west

Dartmoor and Torbay (Sun 12/12)

A couple of photos from Martin Cox, taken Sunday 12th December

4 of 12 Goosanders on Venford Reservoir

A Torbay Waxwing

Monday, 13 December 2010

Bursdon Moor 15:15 - 16:15

Stopped off on my way home from work this afternoon:

3 Hen Harrier (male & two ringtails)
1 Peregrine
1 Buzzard

Staverton Bridge

9 Goosanders (1 male) [from Terry Lakeman]

Thurlestone Bay

Waders prominent this am - around high tide -3 Purple Sandpiper ( first this winter ) 9 Turnstone, 12 Ringed Plover, 11 Dunlin, 9 Lapwing east.

South Huish Marsh - 11 Wigeon, 15 Teal, 2 Shoveler. 1 db Brent Goose ( feeding with 210 Canada Goose )

Thurlestone Marsh - 6 Shoveler, 11 Wigeon, 5 Teal, 15 Snipe

Teign: Passage House - Teignmouth

2 female Eider and a Great Northern Diver offshore from Teignmouth.

The hgh tide roost at Passage House held 49 Redshank, 12 Oystercatcher, 30 Curlew, 41 Lapwing, 4 Avocet, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 8 Dunlin, 1 Grey Plover, 13 Wigeon, 2 Teal and 2 Shelduck. Also 2 Brambling & 27+ Redwing over.

At Flow Point there were 286 Oystercatcher, 40 Curlew, 30 Dunlin, 10 Ringed Plover, 24 Redshank, 6 Bar-tailed Godwit, 1 Grey Plover, 10 Grey Heron, 3 Little Egret, 15 Red-breasted Merganser & 2 Kingfisher. A Large (for the Teign) flock of 96 Teal flew around before disappearing up river.

Torbay Waxwings

The five Waxwings still in the Main Car Park Torbay Hospital this morning 8am onwards

Sunday, 12 December 2010


The female Eider is still present - but not from Laira bridge, rather from Oreston Quay-looking left between slipway ,where Cormorants roost, and the moored boats.

[from Tony Marchese]

Ide & Alphington

Photos from Barry Rankine today: Hawfinch at Ide; Waxwing at Alphington

One Hawfinch 100yds down lane from West End Farm, Ide, showing once every half hour

Plymouth Area

Finally got my computer working again.
This morning on the Plym; no sign of the recent Goldeneye but the pair of Gadwall are still there, joined by a pair of Shoveler. Two Snipe, four Greenshank and a Common Sandpiper were also here.

A Great Northern Diver was on the Cattewater below Laira Bridge but I couldn't find the female Eider.

A male Brambling has been in my garden for the fifth day today.

Yesterday on the Tamar estuary from Ernesettle I had a good count of one hundred and eleven Teal, plus sixty five Wigeon, thirty three Black tailed Godwit and a Kingfisher. The most unexpected birds here were flock of six Coot.
Finally a Black Redstart was in Ford Park Cemetary. (Graham Bools).

River Taw Barnstaple

Anchor Wood Bank - Penhill Marsh 11:30 - 13:00

Anchor Wood Bank : c600+ Dunlin, 8 Sanderling as well as Redshank, Curlew, Shelduck, Oystercatcher and Little Egret. Lots of Redwing on the Woods side of the Tarka Trail.

Penhill Marsh: c500 Widgeon, 12 Brent Geese.

Waxwing, Paignton

3 Waxing feeding on berries in private garden at Horseshoe Bend, Goodrington, Paignton late morning.

Thurlestone Marsh

Ducks back on the Marsh this am - 95 Wigeon , 30 Teal, 5m 1f Shoveler 2 Lapwing, 15 Snipe.
Chiffchaff in my garden.

12.00 @ Upton Cross ( near South Milton ) a ringtail Hen Harrier quartering the fields, 250+ Skylark, 100 + Linnet, 30 + Stock Dove

Darts Farm & Alphington

At Darts Farm:
2 Red-breasted Geese in a flock of approx. 200 Brent Geese

The single Waxwing was still showing this morning on Chantry Meadow, Alphington

[from Ed Shephard]

Bideford Waxwing

Some lovely Waxwing photos from Shaun Barnes

Torbay Waxwings

The 5 Waxwings were back at Torbay hospital by 1 PM.......please broadcast though that Hospital security do NOT like cameras, and will ask you to put them away.......(I most courteously obliged.....) They are however tolerant of bins and scopes.

[from Trevor Leaman]


Put up 2 Red Grouse near top of Ryders hill, also 2 Golden Plover.

Isley Marsh and Foreshore to The Black Ground, Instow.

08:30 Tarka Trail.

Bullfinch 3 on the trail and c250 Lapwing in field next to fuel tanks.

08:50 Foreshore btwn main jetty and the Black Ground.

3 Great Crested Grebe; 93 Wigeon; 36 Oystercatcher; 17 Bar-tailed Godwit; 15 Redshank; 46 Grey Plover;
1 female Eider; 3 Little Grebe; 1 Little Egret; 1 Black-tailed Godwit; 22 Turnstone; 1 Snipe; 23 Ringed Plover;
5 Dark-bellied Brent and 5 Sanderling. Water rail screeching in overflow pond.

10:40 Isley Marsh.

9 Spoonbill ( 2 certainly ringed/marked with a possible 3rd ringed bird); 4 Little Egret; 5 Greenshank; 3 Grey Plover; u/k amount of Wigeon and Teal.

Walking back along Tarka Trail from Isley to the level crossing, a Water Rail ran across the path.

Exe Estuary area

Starcross to Dawlish Warren golf course
An early morning WeBS count in beautiful conditions produced (amongst others) 1 Great Crested and 2 Little Grebes (but no sign of the Slav), 8 Shag, 213 Brents, 216 Canadas with 2 Bar-headed Geese, 57 Shelduck, 400 Wigeon (I hate it when it looks like and estimate!), 506 Teal (that's better!), 2 Shoveler, 4 Goldeneye, 23 Mergansers, 530 Oystercatchers, 17 Ringed Plover (roosting on the railway embankment at Cockwood), 1 Golden and 1 Grey Plover, 25 Lapwings, 2 Knot, 75 Dunlin, 56 Black-tailed and 14 Bar-tailed Godwits, 1 Whimbrel (the usual winterer in the Warren saltmarsh), 101 Curlew, 60 Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 18 Turnstones (17 in Cockwood Harbour), 1 Kingfisher and 3 Rock Pipits. A standard walk through part of the saltmarsh produced only 2 Snipe - usually there are more, plus the odd Jacks.

Powderham Marshes RSPB
The finch flock reported recently has grown - to about 1,000! Most of these (700+) were Bramblings, a fantastic sight. The rest were mainly Chaffiches, plus c80 Linnets, c40 Skylarks and a few Reed Buntings and Yellowhammers. These were in two fields of bird seed crop (Linseed, Barley, Quinoa etc.) planted by RSPB. As a Sparrowhawk came in and failed to grab lunch, it put everything up - including a Lapland Bunting! The latter flew around calling for a couple of minutes giving very reasonable flight views. Another Sparrowhawk was seen later, plus Kestrel and a Peregrine which sat on a pylon deciding whether to have Wigeon or Curlew for lunch!

Matford Pools
258 Wigeon, 67 Teal, 2 Gadwall, 9 Shoveler, 52 Canada Geese, 34 Black-tailed Godwits, 5 Snipe and 2 Stock Doves.


A single Waxwing at 1145hrs this morning in trees at bottom of Rivermead Dip, A376, by the speed camera. Regrettably had to pop in to Exeter so haven't had time to look again for it.

A male Blackcap in my back garden in Cedar Close at 0910hrs was the first of this winter.

Torbay Hospital

Now 5 Waxwing this morning in the main car park, but they flew off north at c11am, so may have gone

Beesands Ley


45 Canada Geese, 9 Gadwall, Shoveler, 2 Teal, 52 Pochard, 7 Tufted Duck, 2 Goosander, 10 Cormorants, 14 Coot and a Water Rail.
On the way home 138 Lapwings in the fields by Lee Lane End ( Beesands turn off )