Friday, 10 August 2012


DBN has finally moved to its new home on the excellent new Devon Birdwatching and Preservation Society website.

All the news posts will remain archived on this blog for as long as Blogger allows, but this site is otherwise now closed. All that remains is for me to thank the many contributors and readers who made DBN the success that it is, and I hope you continue to support the latest incarnation. My special thanks go to the small band of Devon birders who helped me both start and run DBN by offering their time, expertise and constructive advice. The good reputation that I think DBN enjoys is largely down to them. They know who they are...


New Devon Bird News site

A gentle reminder that contributors should be using the new site:

on the DBWPS website (you don't have to be a member to do it - but it would be great if you were!) for sightings and news,  please sign up as a co-author and you will not have to wait for your posting to be approved before it appears on the website.

Anyone not registered as a co-author can still send in a post very easily, but it will then have to be approved before it gets published. 

Thurlestone Bay

Bob B had an AQUATIC WARBLER close to the net  at S.Milton LEY at 08.45 - nice arrival with the E winds . This continues the remarkable  annual  records of this rare visitor to this site. Also ringed 13 SEDGE , 3 REED , 1 Whitethroat . A Lesser Whitethroat also on the patch.

AT07.15 this am Thurlestone Marsh - 2 juv Shoveler , 1 F Wigeon , 3 Teal..

Waders in the Bay - 1 Greenshank, 3 Whimbrel, 5 Sanderling.

Offshore 7 Common Scoter, 37 Manx Shearwater.

A Grey Wagtail and 2 juv Wheatear moving through

Thursday, 9 August 2012


Ringing this morning was slow: No Tits or Finches at all (not even retraps).

2 Goldcrests
2 Chiffs
2 Treecreepers
5 Reed Warblers
2 Sedge Warblers
3 Blackcaps
1 Cetti's Warbler
Sadly, the Collared Dove got out of the net before I got to it! The Tawny Owls were both present early.
Both adult Little Grebes feeding the new young, and keeping away from the Grass-snake swimming across the pond.

Barnstaple today.

10:45 Taw Bridge:-  2 Common Sandpiper.

11:30 7 Bretheren Bank (opp Rock Park) :-  25 Juv Redshank; 3 adult Med Gulls
and 1 Common Sandpiper.

14:00 R.Taw (opp Pottington Ind Est) :-  1 adult Med Gull.

14:10 Demoiselle Damsel Fly flopping about over the brackish ditch next to Ashford sewage works. I thought these were only ever seen over very pure, freshwater streams?
Also, more Cinnabar moths than I`ve seen in a long time. Probably due to the vast ammount of Ragwort that`s about.

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Venn, Aveton Gifford

Whilst enjoying a well-earned, early evening drink in the garden, in sunshine, an adult hobby caught a swallow overhead. First garden record!


Early dense fog so hopefully a few migrants grounded!

No such luck, just 4 wheatears, 6 whitethroats, 3 blackcaps & 2 willow warblers.

A golden-ringed dragonfly caught and munched a red-tailed bumble bee Bombus lapidarius.

Berry Head

A short watch from 915-1015 to check if the large feeding accumulations of seabirds were still around.  Calm conditions, bright periods. Up to 100 Manx Shearwaters in rafts on the sea at times, but nothing on yesterday's scale. 224 Manx flew south , together with  2 Balearic Shearwaters.

Tuesday, 7 August 2012


It is roughly 9:30pm on Tuesday, August 7th, and tomorrow DBN will be moving to the brand new DBWPS website.

However...although the top banner confidently states that 'Devon Bird News will be moving on August 8th' I need to add a caveat: the new DBWPS website will be going through the domain transfer process to move it from its design/testing address to its live address, and will not be accessible during that time. In a nutshell, DBN may be moving, but it's possible that the keys might not be available for a few days! That being the case, this blog will stay open until that time. So Mike, that might not quite be your last post here!

Berry Hd

Seawatch 0915-17.15hrs (ST,DMN,ML) totals:
Great Skua2, Arctic Skua 6, Common Tern 253, Sandwich Tern 3, Puffin 1, Common Scoter 4, Sooty Shearwater 1, Balearic Shearwater 13, Manx Shearwaters - incredible(!!) - Simon had a few birds in the morning then Dave noticed two or three feeding frenzies building about 1 mile NE of the head at about 1.30pm, after I arrived, the groups started to move S in a continuous movement for 1.5hrs a tally of 5,875 before birds started to recirculate and there was still at least two sizable flocks sat on the water that I hadn't counted! Oh to be on that yacht below...
Update... MD went to Start Point during the afternoon  for several hours and didn't pick up on any real Manx passage at at all (about 260 birds in total) so there must be some huge flocks remaining to feed further north in Lyme Bay.

Bottle-nosed Dolphin (DMN and ML estimated 4 moved S at 2pm - but going through my photos there was at least 6 different dorsal fins! 2 Harbour porpoises.

Probably my last blog on the old DBN before it changes over - it's been great and a shame it didn't reach 1,000,000 hits (close thing 923,917 in two years) before changing over. It's success was down to all the contributor's so - well done to everyone that has been involved - but especially Gavin Haig for getting it started. Lets hope as many birders as possible get involved in the new even better site with its public launch tomorrow- it's looking really good!

Sharkham Point

I was aware that a large number of Manx Shearwater were present off Berry Head so eventually got down to the point at 1630hrs. Massive amount of Manx moving both North and South which made counting pointless.
At around 1700hrs a huge feeding frenzy began moving south into my field of view from Berry Head. I would estimate it at 1000+. Joining in with the flock which moved south the whole time were 20+ 'commic' Terns, At least 2 Balearic Sheawater (probably more tucked away), Adult Pomarine Skua with full tail, and a sub-adult Pom. Another 2 Skua sp. (Arctic/Pom) moved with the frenzy also. Very enjoyable watching the action until I had to leave at 1800hrs

Exminster Marshes

The highlight of a mid after-noon visit were 5 wood sandpipers. Four appeared on a pool in the middle of the marsh and were soon joined by the fifth that landed close by. One bird called.

Elsewhere 39 coots on the lagoon must be the start of the autumn/winter flock. Also there 2 little grebes, c20 mallard and 4 gadwall. On the path closest to the railway were 2 ravens, an immature sparrowhawk and 2 blackcaps. There were several chiffchaffs in the trees close to the canal. Overhead c20 swifts, c30 swallows, 3 sand martins and c20 house martins all mostly moving south.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Thurlestone Bay

Brisk W4 wind this morning , little cloud and v good viz

Seawatch from Warren Pt 09.15- 12.30. Less passage than Sunday-  200 Gannet, 6 Fulmar, 12 Manx Shearwater, 2 Balearic Shearwater, 1 Sandwich Tern, 1 Bonxie ( east at 10.15 ).

Movement of Gulls - 60 G BB Gull -west, 1 juv Common Gull and patch year tick a juv Little Gull flew west only 10 yds off at 09.15.

5 Common Scoter west and a male close inshore at times less than 10 yds off - looked to have a damaged left wing.

Waders on the beaches - 6 Whimbrel, 15 Ringed Plover, 6 Dunlin, 4 Sanderling.
3juv Wheatear and 2 ad + 4 juv Spotted Fly by the marshes.

Bob B caught 8 Sedge warbler ( 6 juv ) and 1 Willow Wblr

Strange 'garden list tick'

Had a very odd sighting in my Brixham garden last week, on a wall next to an ornamental conifer. The attached (about 4-5 ins long) is apparently a Prickly Stick Insect from New Zealand-thanks to Mike L. for the ID, apparently  they also occur (escapees of course) in Paignton  but not sure how widespread they are. A new occurrence for me anyway although of course they are ideally suited to escape detection in conifers.

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Bowling green marsh

Watched from the hide from 09:00 till 14:00

Heavy rain and thunder made viewing hard at times but still a good morning the adult spotted redshanks  was on the far side, black tailed godwit numbers have increased to 400+, 8 bar tailed godwits, 8 greenshank, 370+ curlew, 12+ whimbrel, 1 green sandpiper, 22+ Dunlin, 2 ringed plover
12 little egrets, 12 shoveler, 7+ little grebe, 1 juv water rail, 1 snipe

Berry Head

Berry head sea watch 06:30 - 09:00; 130 Kittiwakes joined by 6 Pomarine Skuas at 07:40. Steady passage of Manx Shearwaters 320 in 2 1/2 hours. [Roy Williams]

Upottery Airfield, Smeatharpe

4 ringed plover were an unexpected surprise this evening. Pied wagtail numbers slowly increasing ( although 6 is not very many) but no other migrants. 7 stock doves also present.


Sea watch from 9.00 - 9.50 from the Beer shelter, 14 Manx Shearwater (E), & 1 Balearic Shearwater (W), but not the Corys i was hoping for, that flew west past Abbotsbury earlier in the morning, i should have got up earlier!

A afternoon look around the Beer Cemetery fields, wasn,t to bad with 2 Whinchat, 1 Redstart (M), Hobby ( straight through south ) 2 Willow Warblers & a gathering of 120+ Swifts.

Thurlestone Bay

Just a few showers this morning otherwise sunny periods, some passage of birds -

600+ Manx Shearwater, 200+ Gannet,  5 Common Scoter,  12 Sandwich Tern, 1 Common Tern ,1 Arctic Tern, 2 Ringed Plover, 5 Dunlin , 5 Sanderling, 2 Whimbrel, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Green sandpiper, 1ad Med Gull, 6 Swift, 1 Water Rail on the marsh

Exminster Marshes

Brief visit mid-afternoon after the rain. It's rained here since early morning. The scrapes look ideal but held few birds - 3 black-tailed godwits, a few mallard, c10 pied wagtails and one black-headed gull. I heard a greenshank. Most of the wildfowl were disturbed when a stream train went pass. I was unable to identify all the ducks but estimate c30 mallard, 4 greylags and two small teal sized birds.

The most interesting sight was a young cormorant trying to get close to a pair of swans. The swans were not impressed and tried to drive the cormorant away but it kept coming back and tried to nestle between them.
A couple of snaps below.

Berry Hd

Seawatching 10.30-12.30hrs after the worst rain showers had passed, so I was sat in bright sunshine and 15miles + vis, not what you would want for a seawatch but it was pretty good!:

Manx Shearwater 1591 (first 1/2 hr saw 707 >S) and most surprisingly close given the conditions, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 4 Balearic Shearwaters, 1 Puffin (ad), 1 Pom Skua (full spooned pale bird), 3 Arctic Skuas, 2 Common Tern, 7 Sandwich Tern, 13 Fulmar, 93 Kittiwake (9 juvs), 155 Gannet, 20+Common Scoter(one tight flock), 7 Ringed Plover, 13 Dunlin and 8 Harbour porpoises!

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Start Point

Seawatch 07:30-14:00: Great Shearwater (through 09:58-10:06, close enough to see cap, dirty vent etc, must be the Berry Head bird moving rather slowly), 4 Sooty Shearwaters, 14 Balearic Shearwaters, 3 Pomarine Skuas,  2 Arctic Skuas, 2 Puffins, 15 Common Scoter, juv/1w Yellow-legged Gull (attending crabber), 23 Common Terns, 5 Sandwich Terns, 1716 Manx Shearwaters.


Seawatch today (05.45 - 13.45 - and again 16.45 - 17.45);  (all west unless stated), Cory's Shearwater at 10.40, 5 Sooty Shearwaters, 18 Balearics, 1670+ Manx, (110 east), 785 Gannets (155 east), 43 Fulmar, Storm Petrel (east), 9 Common Scoter, Great Skua, 3 Pomarine Skuas, Arctic Skua, 20+ Lesser Black-backed Gulls, Yellow-legged Gull (juv), 2 Sandwich Terns, 3 Guillemots, Puffin. (Also Sunfish).   Wonder where all the Common Terns went between Berry Head and Prawle ??

(with JL, IL, TM, KR and FS)

Thurlestone Bay

On Thurlestone Marsh at 07.00 a Teal and 3 Green Sandpiper.

Seawatching from Beacon Pt from 08.30 - 10.30-  250 Gannet, 6 Sandwich Tern , 9 Common Scoter, 4 Fulmar, 1 first s Pomarine Skua.  ( the Great S 'water didnot make it into the Bay )

Best of the day was a flock of over 500 Manx Shearwater feeding all morning about 300 yds offshore, Bob B and I managed to pick out at least 12 Balearic in the flock .

Fri 21.00 the Swallow roost reached a paltry 250 . at least 1 Hobby trying to cause mayhem.

Berry Hd

Seawatching 05.45-0910hrs:
1 Great Shearwater 08.50-09.00 >S slowly (then pressumably same bird >SW Start Pt just after 10am - MD,AR), 1 Large Shearwater Sp. (possible Cory's) at long range at 06.30 but way to far out to clinch id, 2 Sooty Shearwaters, 5 Balearic Shearwaters, 772 Manx, 46 Fulmar, 3 Pom Skuas, 2 Bonxies, 2 Juv Y-l Gulls, 61 Common Tern, 8 Sandwich Tern, 1 Puffin (juv), 290 Gannets, 1 Turnstone, 68 Kittiwake (only 3 juvs). Also of interest 4 Harbour Porpoise off Hd and a Humming Bird Hawkmoth on road up from Quarry.

Southcott Valley, East the Water.


1 Wood Sandpiper with 3 Green Sandpipers.

09:15 Then joined Rob Marshall at Instow for the 75 Mediterranean Gulls. (inc 1 Polish bird PAL4  and 1 Belgian bird 33L9  -- ringed 26.05.05. Also 1 green ringed bird (French or Belgian?)



2 Mediterranean Gulls (1A, 1 2nd S); 4 Dunlin; 5 Ringed Plover; 2 Wheatear and 1 Peregrine.


75 med  gulls.38 adults,5 ss,28 fs,4 juvs.
07:00-10:00.With Maurice Clements.

Friday, 3 August 2012


Orcombe Point - 1630 - 2020 - 132+ manx shearwater, 5+ common scoter, 3+ arctic skua, 1+ pomarine skua, 1 great shearwater ( SW @ 1725), 4 fulmar, 6 whimbrel, 2 balearic shearwater and 1 common tern plus several gannets, kittiwakes and sandwich terns.


29 med gulls.20 adult,2 ss,6fs,juv on cicket ground and water.One adult had red ring on left leg PAL couldnt read last digit.50+ gulls flew off in different direction so could have contained more meds as numbers building.07:30

Thursday, 2 August 2012


Adult med gull PAJ7 again.A female common scoter was an nice and unusual surprise.My first record i believe for the site.Also 28 pied wagtails.

Thurlestone Bay

Late news for WED 1/8- Managed to get an hours seawatching from Warren Pt from 07.50 - 160 gannet, 60 Manx Shearwater, 4 Balearic Shearwater, 10 Common Tern, 1 Bonxie.

Heavy squalls this morning which produced some of the best passge - SW4/5 wind with a good swell, again all the best birds flying east.

most of the action took place between 09.30-11.00- First were 2 Sooty Shearwater  at 09.35 wioth another at 09.56. Quickly followed at 09.56 by an ad Sabines Gull only 125 yds offshore. Also - 265 Gannet, 47 Manx Shearwater, 1 Balearic Shearwater, 13 Fulmar, 6 Kittiwake, 2 Sandwich Tern, 2 Common Scoter, 1 dp Arctic Skua.

At South Milton Ley - a Groppa , 3 Sedge Warbler 1 Willow Warbler. The Spotted Flycatcher is still around


Now 2 Green Sandpipers from the 5-bar gate, and a juv Grey Heron.

Out on the river an adult Mediterranean Gull by Ashford Sewage works.

In the Velator reserve this morning, one of the older (juv) Little Grebes was attacking the new (tiny) ones.

Clennon Valley

3 Crossbills > W over my garden lunchtime today. Also of interest my first Jersey Tiger Moths of the year (first yesterday 1/08/12) and another today see photo.

Late posting - Med Gull Teignmouth

One day last week I was watching Black heads and Herring gulls excitedly catching flying ants low over my house off Woodway Road, Teignmouth. I picked out this Med Gull on call and managed a photo or two. A new Garden List species.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Seaton Area

45 minutes seawatching from 06:00 produced 1 Balearic Shearwater, 3 Manxies, 13 Common Scoter and a Sandwich Tern.

A juv Wood Sandpiper at Black Hole Marsh this evening.


5med gulls,4adult  inc.polish birds PAH4 and PEL5 +juv.Very quiet after yesterday

Berry Head

Seawatch 07:00-17:00. First reasonable movement of Balearic Shearwaters with 24 south, supporting cast: Sooty Shearwater, 653 Manx Shearwaters (also 100+ N), 2 European Storm-petrels, Pomarine Skua, 3 Bonxie, Arctic Skua, 33 Common Terns, 3 Sandwich Terns, 56 Common Scoter, 8 Puffins, 342 Gannets, 123 Kittiwakes (incl. 7 juvs, first of the year), 3 Black-headed Gulls, 4+ juv/1w Yellow-legged Gulls, Grey Seal and 3 Harbour Porpoise.


They're back! 130+ Canada Geese back at Wrafton this morning. The adult male Mute Swan was busy chasing them off Wrafton pond. I finally managed to read his (the Swan's) ring number yesterday, so will submit it to BTO and find out where it was ringed.

2 Pochard still.

Meanwhile in the reserve, the Little Grebes are now feeding another brood! Their first four juvs still present.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Bowling green marsh

Watched from the hide 15:25 till 18:00

The adult spotted redshank again showed on the far side  in with 270+ black tailed godwits, 16+ greenshank, 340+ curlew , the whimbrel numbers had increase today to 22+, 8 bar tailed godwits, a juv water rail put in a brief appearance, 3 green sandpipers , 45+ little egrets was a good count, 1 wigeon, 7+ little grebe , 12+ shoveler, 5 lapwing , 3 Dunlin, 150+ redshank


23 med gulls.12 adult,4fs,2s,5  juvs.4 common tern,3ad,juv.6  whimbrel 17:30-19:00.Wood sand  still at southcott marsh.

East Portlemouth

At least 10 Crossbills feeding in and flying around conifers along Millbay Road, East Portlemouth this morning.

Axe Estuary

3 juv Yellow-legged Gulls this afternoon (GMH and SDW)

Aveton Gifford

On a falling tide:

10 common sandpipers, greenshank, 8 little egrets & kingfisher  -  in spite of dogs hurtling around on the mud!

Berry Head

Seawatch 0810-1010 , moderate SW winds, cloudy. Total of 277 Manx Shearwater south including some looping around feeding early on, and 3 Balearic. Also 1 Bonxie, 1 Whimbrel south ,  and 2-3 Crossbills calling high overhead. Single  Grey Seal and  Harbour Porpoise in the area.

English Channel 25nm S of Start Point

Yesterday 30/07/2012. From an angling boat. Good numbers of gulls, with juvs of both Herring and Lesser Black now appearing out at sea, in with them at least 3 juv/1w Yellow-legged Gulls. Constant chumming only produced 4 European Storm-petrels, a brief visit by a Sooty Shearwater, Common Tern, Bonxie and Fulmars numbers were higher with over 50. Cormorants are not usually seen out this far, but we had two circle the boat then pitch in with the gulls!
One Ocean Sunfish drifted past the boat but conditions were too rough to see any cetaceans.
Although a few Manx were seen further out most were within 6nm of land both when going out and returning.

Monday, 30 July 2012

Bowling green marsh

Watched  from the hide  from 15:15 till 17:45

A good afternoon with the spotted redshank still showing well on the far side among 270+ black tailed godwits, 8 bar tailed godwits, 11+ whimbrel, 305+ curlew, 6 greenshank, 4 green sandpipers, 12+ shoveler, 6 little grebe , 38 little egrets, 2 water rail( 1ad, 1juv), kingfisher, 9 Dunlin, 4 lapwing  including 1 juv

Southcott Marsh

Wood sandpiper,4 green sandpipers on the marsh east water,bideford.16-16.30.


5 med gulls,3ad,fs,juv.Loads of gulls fishing in estuary.15;30.


Mon 30th July

Juv YL Gull, 3 Med Gull the best of the bunch off the Boatyard this lunch time.
fem. Marsh Harrier over (West) at 1845hrs Sunday 29/07

Powderham Marshes 29 July

Little ringed plover, garganey, 3 green sandpiper and a tufted duck brood y'day evening


Mudbank - c0630 - 7 crossbill south plus 1 juv yellow-legged gull and 3+ common tern.
Orcombe Pt - c0700 - 1 green sandpiper over plus 10 swift west and 1 willow warbler.
Mudbank - 29/7 - 25+ whimbrel, 3+ mediterranean gull and 1 hobby. Also 5 ad med gull and 4 ad common gull the previous day.
Orcombe Point - 28/7 - 2+ crossbill west, 1 turnstone and 1 coal tit.
Clearly some crossbill movement happening at the moment. A further 8 birds on Bicton Common yesterday were more expected.

Sunday, 29 July 2012


Nice photo of a juv Kingfisher, taken yesterday on R. Torridge at Bideford by Steve Hatch. Nice to know some didn't get flooded out...

Beer & Blackhole Marsh

A wander around the fields at Beer Cemetery this morning turned up a male Redstart but no other migrants.
This evening at Blackhole Marsh the wader numbers remained pretty much the same with 29 Dunlin, 2 Greenshank, 4 Common Sandpipers, 1 Green Sandpiper & 14 Black Tailed Godwits, also seen was a Hobby that flew south.

Prawle today

A short seawatch this morning from 8 to 9.30am produced a large feeding wraft of Manx Shearwaters with passage east and west. I estimated at least 750 -probably more, plus at least 11 Balearic Shearwaters amonst them. Otherwise a few Gannets, Kittiwakes, and a couple of Fulmars.
Lots of butterlies up to 11.30 am including 2 faded and 1 bright Dark Green Fritillary.
[Tony Marchese]

Otterton/Ladram Bay/Brandy Head

A walk from Otterton to the coastal path and then towards Budleigh and back. Not many birds the best being a lingering dark phase Pom Skua off Brandy Head occasionally getting up to chase the odd gannet. One juv Yellow legged gull on the rocks - apart from that a single whitethroat and a lone swift heading west. Butterflies were much better with 20+ gatekeepers, 10+ meadow browns, 3 red admirals, 3 or 4 each of large and small whites and singles of green veined white, peacock, small heath, ringlet and small tortoiseshell. 2 six spot burnets and a southern hawker added further colour.

Thurlestone Bay

Late news from Sat - 3 Green Sandpiper early am . Swallow roost reached 1000 birds at 21.15- still well below last year ( 5000).

A walk round the Bay this morning - Waders on the beaches - 8 Sanderling, 5 Ringed Plover, 5 Whimbrel,

Offshore 20 + Gannet and a feeding party of in excess of 100 Manx Shearwater. Only 1 juv amonst 40 Black Headed Gulls

Prawle (yesterday)

Saturday 28/7;  Birds on the move included 3 Whimbrel, 4 Ringed Plover, Sanderling, 2 Dunlin, Turnstone, 10 Swift, 3 Wheatears, 4 Sedge Warblers, Garden Warbler and 35+ Willow Warblers.  Previous day (27th) saw 50+ Swifts and a Lapwing.

A summer of intense breeding survey work saw, as to be expected, a rather difficult season for a lot of birds.  I've still to fully analyse the figures, but for example, 38 pairs of Herring Gulls hatched only 14 chicks, 2 pairs of Spotted Flycatchers both failed, Whitethroats appear to be down between 30-40%, while 2 pairs of Wheatears did well to raise 3 young between them.  I watched one of the females take all of 2 minutes on one accasion to get into her nest with food, in the face of stormforce winds and horizontal rain.  Once their only child had fledged, they did the sensible thing and departed !!

Southcottt Marsh

 2 green,1 common sandpipers at the marsh east the water,bideford  12;30.

Saturday, 28 July 2012


One 1st summer Med gull on Exe north of playing fields. Also 2 Black swans, 7 Little egrets, 2 Common sandpipers.

Bowling green marsh

From the hide 12:40 till 15:30 The Spotted redshank showed well on the far side from the hide with 8+ greenshank, 262+ black tailed godwits including 1 juv , 24+ Dunlin soon left but another group of 6 flew in and included a adult curlew sandpiper unfortunately they didn't settle, 1 green sandpiper, 2 common sandpiper, 1 adult med gull flew over and 30+ little egrets, 2 shoveler, 1 gadwall, 1 tufted duck, 2 lapwing, 6+ little grebes,1 whimbrel From the viewing platform after 4 summer plumage knot and 2 grey plover

Barnstaple - Fremington Pill

10:00 - 11:30 Low water
Anchor wood bank:
Mostly Black-headed gulls with 12 shelduck, 6 Curlew, 18 Oystercatcher, and 2 Black-tailed Godwit in summer plumage.
Fremington Pill:
27 Redshank and 1 Little Egret.

Friday, 27 July 2012

Lower Tamar Lake

Looked in at the Lower lake this afternoon, and surprisingly the water level had dropped considerably over the last week or so, and there is now a good muddy fringe. The best bird on view was a juvenile Wood Sandpiper from the hide, and also Redshank and Snipe.


A check over the beach at low tide this morning, before the crowds arrived proved fairly quiet: 1 juv Med Gull, 1 ad Dunlin and a Sedge Warbler in the marsh (passage here) the highlights.

Thursday, 26 July 2012


The Turnstones on  the Breakwater seemed to be up to 20 tonight, but was only able to detect one Purple Sandpiper.


Beach still full this evening with people enjoying the fine weather but managed to find: 1 juv Yellow-legged Gull, 5 Med Gulls (2 Juvs,2fs & 1 Ad) just 28 Black-headed Gulls but lots of juv Herring Gulls now.
24 July: 50+ Common Scoter off-shore from Broadsands.


3 green sandpiper on settling lagoons near Wotter.

Poor for dragonflies here!!

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Aylesbeare- Harpford Commons

Devon Bird News and the DBWPS website are shortly to be updated... I will look forward to them going live on 8 August.  Congratatulations and thanks to all those who have worked on the project.

......meanwhile back on the East Devon Commons of Aylesbeare and Harpford Commons a three hour walk produced a good list.....Linnet (several family groups), Nuthatch (1 pair), Tree Creeper 1, Spotted Flycatcher ( 1 pair),  Juv. Green Woodpecker, Stonechat, (several groups), Yellow Hammer 3, Willow Warbler (singing), Bullfinch 1m, Raven 2, Sparrow Hawk 1, Chiffchaff 1, and Dartford Warbler (2 family groups). 

Brixham Purple Sandpipers etc

Following Matt's post, I had a recent conversation with Debra Shearwater the US seabird trip organiser who has just  been running a tour in Norway and Spitzbergen. She commented on the extensive late snowfalls which seemed to have occurred on the uplands ands suggested that hilltop breeders in particular might have been unable to nest. So we might expect more of these species to show up early down here.  

Tuesday, 24 July 2012


5 juvenile Pochard on the pond this morning. Still 4 juv Little Grebes in the reserve.

At home a Hummingbird Hawkmoth in my garden briefly this afternoon. First for several years.

Brixham Breakwater

About a dozen Turnstone on the jetty towards the end of the breakwater this morning at 8.00am along with the unseasonable sight of 2 Purple Sandpipers basking in the glorious sunshine. Failed breeders?

Bowling Green/Topsham

This am: 34 Little Egrets, Spotted Redshank, Green Sandpiper, Whimbrel, 2 Med Gulls. Also a Grey Plover on the Clyst. [Gordon Youdale]

R.Taw, just off Bradiford Reserve.


21 Mediterranean Gulls (14A, 3 2S, 4 1S.) on sandbar just off the T.Trail, with B.H Gulls.
Black Swan still about.

Monday, 23 July 2012

Bowling Green Marsh/Clyst Estuary

This evening produced:
2 Green Sandpiper on main pool. Plus 2 Wigeon and a Teal. Plus God knows what else lurking behind the high vegetation. (There were a few Dunlin lurking there at least). Also peering through the fronds of brambles directly in front of the hide is no joke either.........
From the viewing platform, the estuary held the Spotted Redshank again, at least 30 Greenshank, well over 100 Redshank, 4 Whimbrel and many Curlew and Black-tailed Godwits. There was also a Common Seal further down the estuary, led out on a sandbank which was rapidly being covered by the tide.


9 med gulls in field by mod building instow.6 adult,2fs 2s.View from tarka trail.19:50-20:30.11 med gulls at skern.10 adult,2s which had white ring left leg black code read vertically four digits.Only able to read last two which were V2.21.30.Also 5 sandwhich tern.

Turtle Dove

A 'purring' male Turtle Dove photographed on an East Devon common on Sat 21/7 by Derek Carter. Had been in the vicinity for at least 4 days up to then.

Start Point

Seawatch Start Point:
10.00 - 11.00
Manx 76 west, 31 east
Balearic 2 west
Fulmar 1 west
Gannet 57 west
Auk sp 3 west
Kittiwkake 1 west
Common Sand 1 west
Grey Plover 1 west
Common Scoter 2 west

[Phil Chantler]

Bradiford reserve

Green Sandpiper on the scrape this afternoon from the five bar gate.


4 crossbills over bideford heading northerly direction from house on clovelly road at 17:45.Whoops forgot to mention hobby over bishops nympton nr south molton 11:40 whilst on scaffold painting.Oh well was worth working.

instow/skern yesterday

8 med gulls instow rocks,6adult 2 fs,20:15.At the skern 12 med gulls,10 adults 2fs.21:30.Possible duplication tho four of the adults were in full bp.

Goosemoor from Darts Farm

Looking over to Goosemoor from the balcony at Darts Farm this morning produced a nice selection of birds. The highlight being a large female Peregrine causing havoc among the waders and gulls. The bird made a couple of attempts on the roosting flock but came away unsuccessful. In between attacks the bird could be seen resting in the large pines by the River Clyst. Other sights were of 33 Little Egrets, 3 Graylag Geese, around 10 Lapwings with one newly fledged bird, plenty of Redshanks with 1 Greenshank.
On the Wetlands in front of the hide another lone Greenshank was feeding along the ditches.

Sharkham Point

Not bird related, but took some photos of this the other day, got a response that it was a volucella zonaria which is a mimic hover fly. I was asked where I saw it as they were meant to be confined to the South East? Would any recorder of this species be interested in the sighting? Very big things in the flesh.

Hi Josh, try this link you'll have to sign in but it's easy to do...

Sunday, 22 July 2012

Around the exe

First stop was exminster marsh this morning 2 groups of little egrets ( 36 & 26) plus 3 others around the marsh gave me a total of 65+ also 3 dunlin and 130+ black tailed godwit, 2 sandwich terns Then of to dawlish warren 09:00 till 12:00 2 roseate terns, 14+ common terns, 14 ringed plover , 24+ Dunlin, 1 sanderling, 2 whimbrel, 3 juv med gulls good numbers of sandwich terns

Thurlestone Bay

Last night 2 Green Sandpiper flew into Thurlestone Marsh and later went off towards Aveton Gifford, 1 showing at 07.45 with another flying through at 12.00, also 1 on South Huish marsh this am

Waders on the beach / rocks - 6 Dunlin, 6 Sanderling, 5 Whimbrel, 3 Ringed Plover, 2 Common Sandpiper  1 Turnstone.

In the Bay 2ad + 1juv Sandwich Tern . Offshore 35 Gannet and 15 Manx Shearwater.

A noticable increase in Warblers 5 Chiffchaff, 2 Whitethroat and 1 Garden warbler .

This morning Bob B had his best ringing returns so far - 12 Chiffchaff, 4 Willow warbler ( 2 ad +2juv )
2 Reed and 2 Sedge warblers, 1 Blackcap and a juv Reed Bunting


James Leonard reports that at least 4 of the juvenile Pochard are on Wrafton Pond with Ma. Successful fledging hoorah!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Exminster marsh

Watched from 18:55 till 21:00 A good evening with 42+ sandwich tern including 3 juv on the scrape by the fishermans car park with good numbers of black headed gulls, also 5 common terns, 5 med gulls (3ad,1st summer and 2nd summer),6 Dunlin, 36+ black tailed godwits, 11+ little egrets,peregrine

A Couple of Photos from Yesterday

In a bid to add a little more July colour to DBN...

Silver-washed Fritillaries (Pete Adey)

Juv Green Woodpecker at Northam (Steve Hatch)

Thurlestone Bay / Kingsbridge Est

A few snippets for Fri / Sat.

Waders opn the beach/ rocks - 7 Whimbrel, 12 Sanderling, 4 Dunlin., today 2 Green Sandpiper on Thurlestone Marsh.
Surprising to watch 4 Lapwing come in off the sea and fly straight up the valley. Earlier Bob  B had a Hobby and a Grey Wagtail . Also on Thurlestone Marsh 2 Green sandpiper.

Last night went down the Kingsbridge on a friends boat - 9 Greenshank in South Pool , 15 Curlew, 3 Sandwich Tern, 2da + 2 1st/s Med Gull and 1ad + 2juv Egyptian Goose.

Bowling green marsh & exminster marsh

Bowling green marsh 09:00 till 10:35 from the hide

The summer plumage spotted redshank showed on and off mostley hidden by the tall grass which is proving to be very frustrating when trying to do any counts, only 2 whimbrel amongst the curlew and black tailed godwits.

Exminster marsh  11:00 till 12:45

Decided to take a quick look over at the scrapes on exminter marsh and was rewarded with good views of 142+ black tailed godwits, 8+ med gulls (6ad, 1 2s, 1 1s), 33+ little egrets and 10 dunlin, good numbers of black headed gulls around the marsh including a couple of juv's, 3 sandwich terns and a common tern

A good morning around the marshes

English Channel 25nm S off Start Point

Again out on a fishing boat chumming pulled in one juv Yellow-legged Gull (only juv gull seen), 40+ Lesser black-backs, 10+ Great black-backs, 5 Herring gulls, 3 Common Terns, 1 Arctic Skua, 35 Fulmars and a scattering of Manx Shearwaters. Paid particular attention to Storm- petrels, but only pulled up 12 European.
At last managed to get some shots with the eye highlighted, the eye is dark on most tubenoses, so with a dark bird it just blends in with the head (see below).

and eye highlighted by sun (below)

Instow Cricket Ground and foreshore.

06:15 - 08:00

With Rob Marshall,
8 adult Mediterranen Gulls; 5 Sandwich Terns; 1 Common Gull; 3 Whimbrel; 1 Turnstone and 1 Redshank.
Kathleen and May came in on the tide and moored near Appledore lifeboat.

Friday, 20 July 2012


6 med gulls,5adult 2s. Calmer conditions have allowed fish to shoal in estuary again so if forecasters are to be believed then should result in larger numbers of gulls being present of which there were 3-400 tonight,19:30-20:30.this morning two gourgeous turnstones(bp)with 3 sanderling,07;30

Barnstaple - Fremington Quay

10:00 - 11:00 The black swan was still with 12 mutes  off Anchor wood bank. I was surprised to see a couple of dozen Redshank in the Pill, seemed to have returned early this year.

Axe Estuary

Adult Osprey fishing this morning 08:45-08:55 when it caught a (very small!) fish and flew north. Also three Med Gulls on Black Hole Marsh.

Thursday, 19 July 2012


4 adult med gulls,20;10. 7-800 jackdaws on roofs above broad lane northam.High proportion of juvs indicating good breeding.

Bowling green marsh

Watched from the hide this evening the adult summer plumage spotted redshank showed well at times also 10 little grebes (7ad and 3 juv ) 12 little egrets, 2+ Dunlin, 2 greenshank, 5+ whimbrel, 2 tufted duck , unable to get a count on the curlew and black tailed godwits due to the height of the grass around the reserve but similar numbers to the last few days

R.Taw - Taw bridge to Ashford Strand.

11:15 - 13:15

c140 LBBGs; 2 Mediterranean Gulls(1A, 1 1st summer); 17 Black-tailed Godwits off Penhill Point ( 1 colour ringed but too far away to decifer) and 1 Peregrine that took a Black-headed Gull.

2 Green Sandpiper in the ditch beside Ashford sewage works.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Common Sandpiper - Teign Estuary

A colour-ringed bird was present at Passage House on 11 & 15 July, one of at least 13 birds present at the time.

Full details below with thanks to Derek Yalden.

O/R-W//M is a male from my R. Ashop population, in the Peak District, originally ringed 28 June 2010, guarding a late chick/fledgling til 5 July at Upperhouse Farm. He was back in the same territory 4 May-6 July 2011. This year, he was back again, 2 May, and I ringed his 4 chicks on 12 June. He was still there, guarding one fledgling (seen) , on 4 July, but had gone by 11 July. Fascinating to find he was already down in Devon.

It's good to know despite the weather not all the waders we are seeing are failed breeders.

English Channel 20nm S of Start Point

17/07/12 . Out on angling boat 20nm S of Start Point. In between fishing constant chumming pulled up 40+ European Storm-petrels (but still no Wilson's!), otherwise nice sub-adult Pom and Arctic Skuas (both presumed third-summer type - see pics). Also 5 Harbour Porpoise that strangely came around the boat (usually far more timid), but always disappeared when camera was to hand!
Size comparison - Lesser Black-backed Gull, Pomarine Skua & Kittiwake

Start Point today 10:20-15:20: similar to Prawle but lesser numbers: 1 Sooty, 702 Manx, 10 Puffins, 1 Arctic Skua, 1  Pomarine (dark phase heading NE), 1 Bonxie, 9 Storm Petrels, 2 Common Terns.

Prawle Point

05:00-17:00, except 2.5hrs c.lunchtime (when DN remained through rain and fog).  F5-6 WSW.

2>W Sooty Shearwater, 1>W Balearic Shearwater, 1516>W & 28>E Manx Shearwater, 2>W Stormie, 693>W & 55>E Gannet, 41 >W Fulmar, 18>W Scoter, 12>W Razorbill, 35 >W Guillemot, 9>W Puffin, 32 >W & 2>E Kittiwake.  Also singles W of Little Egret, Turnstone and Sanderling.  7>S Swift (during brief sunny spell).  Paltry returns from promising conditions.

Thurlestone Bay

Another day that would not have been out of place in Feb. Seawatch from Warren Pt from 08.40-12.30,

viz poor and very poor in rain - at times did not see any birds for 35 mins.

Totals were - 150+ Gannet, 33 Manx Shearwater, 1 Balearic Shearwater., 1 Sooty Shearwater ( first of the year ) 10 Common Scoter, 1 Common Tern. 1 Pomarine Skua West at 10.00

In the bay 2 Whimbrel

Tuesday, 17 July 2012

Bowling green marsh

Watched from 16:45 till 18:30 From viewing platform 224+ black tailed godwits a slight increase from Sunday, 200+ redshank, 4+ bar tailed godwits, the summer plumage spotted redshank is still showing well, 10+ greenshank, common sandpiper From the hide in addition to the above at least 8+ whimbrel in with 202+ curlew, 6 lapwing, 3 oystercatcher, 2 tufted duck, 1 male wigeon, 4 little egrets, 2 little grebe with 3 young, 2 med gulls flew over towards darts farm (ad,2s)

The Late Post

A Red Kite quite close to the lane between Chipshop and Scrub Tor very near to Tamar Trails, on Sunday 15/7 at 14:00 [John Ladlow]

One Immature type male Marsh Harrier first picked up between the two pylons looking out from the RSPB car park then seen flying over the railway line going towards, the Powderham viewing platform at 11.20 (yesterday 16/7). The bird was again seen by another birder at the Turf lock around 12.45.  [Kevin Bainbridge]

Monday, 16 July 2012

Start Point

Seawatch 07:10-17:00. WSW4 building SW6 then WSW6. Cory's Shearwater (one slowly through at 10:22), 4 Sooty Shearwaters, 3 Balearic Shearwater, 3776 Manx Shearwater (strong possibility of some circulation). 3 Pomarine Skuas, 1 Arctic Skua, 20 Storm Petrels, 12 Puffins, 78 Common Scoter, 42 Guillemots, 7 Razorbills, 23 Kittiwakes 56 Fulmars and 3 Harbour Porpoise.

Thurlestone Bay

F6 WSW wind with poor viz nad some heavy showers.

3hr seawatch from Beacon Pt this morning and 1hr this afternoon from the car park- totals were -

100 Gannet, 80 Manx Shearwater, 5 Balearic Shearwater ( these close inshore and all flying east ) 3 Fulmar , 3 Common Scoter, 1 Ringed Plover.

On South Huish marsh 3 s/p Black Tailed Godwit

Berry Head

Seawatch 0745-1015. SW winds strong at times, showers and clear periods. Up to 400 Manx  and 4 Balearic Shearwaters milling about off the headland,  with up to 100 Manx sat  on the sea at times, accompanied by one or two Balearics. Also 1 Storm Petrel south, 2 Pomarine Skuas and 32 Common Scoter.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Bowling green marsh

Watched from viewing platform from 14:30 till 16:30 The fantastic summer plumage spotted redshank was again with 200+ redshank, 10+ greenshank, 211+ black tailed godwits, 3+ bar tailed godwits, 5+ whimbrel, 1 Dunlin, 2 common sandpiper, 17+ little egrets, 2+ med gulls(1st summer, adult)4+ juv black headed gulls, sandwich tern From goat walk 16:35 till 16:55 11+ sandwich terns, 2 med gulls( 1 adult and 2nd summer)

Seaton & Axe area

Noon to c.16:30.  26 Common Sand, 1 Green Sand, 91 Curlew, 2 Black-wit, 14 Redshank, 1 Oyc, 10s each of 3 spp hirundines & Swifts. 1 Hobby.  No Wood Sand.

Briefly dropped into Exminster Marshes - didn't even see a wader. Harsh.  


Hobby over East Soar Farm putting a flock of 160 juv.Starlings to flight - flock indicates good breeding success.

A few Gannets offshore plus 6 male Silver Studded Blues on Bolt Heads. Good nos of Dark Green Fritillaries & Graylings.

Long may the sun last!!

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Mystery Gull

Following gull seen this evening in fading light at Broadsands Beach, Paignton by author and Jake Wood, we are struggling with the I.D, suggestions please!

EDIT @ 23:15 - My enormous fortune would go on 2nd-summer Iceland Gull, Bill    (Gavin)

Thanks Gavin, that's what we thought but in July! We went looking for Med Gull & YLG!! Cheers Bill

Darts Farm & Bowlig green marsh

Watched from 09:15 till 16:30

Darts Farm

2 groups of Black tailed godwits 25+ and 52+ , 9 whimbrel, 8 curlew, 2 med gulls (1ad, 2nd summer ) and 1 juv yellow legged gull flew north east, 2 green sandpipers

Bowling Green Marsh

From the viewing platform a stunning summer plumage Spotted redshank in with 200+ redshank, 128+ black tailed godwits , 25+ bar tailed godwits, 2 dunlin, 3 med gulls(3 adults), 1 hobby, 2 common sandpiper, 1 greenshank, 2 whimbrel

Teign Estuary

3 adult Med Gulls, a Little Ringed Plover and 5+ Common Sandpipers off Passage House mid-afternoon. [Will Salmon]

What have we `ere?

Anyone like to try and guess this one`s parents?
It`s been on the R.Taw for quite sometime now in company with Canada Geese. 
I would imagine one half could be Pink Foot?

Friday, 13 July 2012

Thurlestone Bay

3hr seawatch off Warren Pt this morning produced - 
180 Gannet, 38 Manx Shearwater, 1 Balearic Shearwater, 2 Fulmar , 1dp Arctic Skua 2 Sandwich Tern , 2 Whimbrel, 2 Dunlin.
20 Black Headed Gull in the bay inc 1 juv.

On Thurlestone Marsh now 3 TEAL

Start Point

Seawatch 07:00-11:00: 266 Manx Shearwaters (count abandoned due to birds circulatiing from 09:00ish), 2 Puffins, 2 Arctic Skuas, 3 Sandwich Terns, 25 Guillemots and 8 Razorbills. However at 08:22 a summer plumage Black Guillemot flew past, not going SW with the normal passage, but bizarrely heading NE - making a four auk day in July! Hopefully it should turn up again further up the coast (may be off Berry Head etc).

Berry Head

05:30-11:00 cloudy with afew showers, west winds. Not as many as Mark, but a good number of Manx Shearwaters going past, 484, with only 2 Balearic Shearwaters. Also 2 Arctic Skuas, 2 Puffins, 1 Common Tern, 2 Sandwich Terns, 307 Gannets, 47 Kittiwakes, 14 Fulmars and 2 Harbour Porpoises.

Thursday, 12 July 2012


Mediterranean gulls have maintained a pretty much constant presence on Warren View football pitch, at the back of our house, for the past two or three weeks. At least 3 adult-types (inc a presumed 3rd summer), 5 first summers and a juvenile have been hopping between the pitch and estuary but the above bird is a bit odd. It is a first summer with an adult-type head which, according to Malling Olsen/Larsson, accounts for less than 5% of the population. I must have seen hundreds of first summers over the years but I can't personally recall seeing one like this. Note this bird is also ringed.

Berry Head

Seawatch 10:00-16:00. Fairly large movement of 2077 Manx Shearwaters with groups stopping to feed off the headland, but only 5 Balearic Shearwaters among them. Also a Puffin, 2 Arctic Skuas, 1 Arctic tern, 4 Common Terns, 142 Gannets, 80 Kittiwakes, 19 Fulmars and a Harbour Porpoise.

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

River Clyst

River Clyst - Viewing Platform
On the rising tide this morning there were 4 Ruff, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Greenshank & 4 Redshank amongst more numerous Curlew and Black-tailed Godwits - several in really good breeding plumage.

[Rupert Ormerod]

East Devon - yesterday 10/7

Nightjar photo taken yesterday (10/7) in East Devon, with a reminder that the East Devon branch of Devon birds is having a Nightjar walk this evening on the Pebblebeds Heath at 8.30pm, meeting at Wheathill car park. [Dave Jannaway]

Tuesday, 10 July 2012


4 Green sandpiper on flooded pool next to road 3oo mtrs before slow down sign at landcross near bideford,view from tarka trail through trees near old railway bridge looking back in an sw direction.Acsess onto trail just past landcross bridgeUpstream of railway bridge 5 med gulls,3adult 2 fs.with 200+black headed.19:50-20:30

Exminster Marshes

The usual access routes are all under water. The flood water in the lane is only just below the top of a welly boot. However I managed to have a look around. The fields have tall grass so its difficult to view all the pools but attempts by the farmers to move their cattle to higher ground caused some birds to show themselves. In particular two small groups of ducks flew around before disappearing again, amongst them were: 1 shoveller, 1 garganey, 5 gadwall, 2 wigeon, 1 tufted duck and about 20 mallard.

Near the motorway was a flock of gulls. Most (c300) were black-headed gulls. Almost all were adults but I did count 4 juveniles. Also there were c30 herring gulls (all immatures) and 6 Med gulls - 4 adults including two with pristine black heads and two with hoods in partial moult. The 2 sub-adults included a 2w and 2s. The later bird was flying over the canal. In the flooded fields north of the lane were 5 curlew and one black-tailed godwit.

Elsewhere I was surprised by the amount of bird song, including 2 blackcaps, 4 reed buntings and 3 sedge warblers. Several hundred swifts were feeding over-head.

And yes I did manage to fill my boots with water.

Monday, 9 July 2012

English Channel

From fishing boat  approx 25 nm S of Berry Head. Up to 5 juv Yellow-legged Gulls in with lots of Lesser black-backs, with a few Herring and Great Black-backs, but still the only independent juvs we're seeing at sea. Also 2 Common Terns ( ad with juv), Bonxie, 10+ Storm Petrels.

Thurlestone Bay

Away over the w/end -hoever I did have a Greenshank in the flooded marsh at 06.45 Sat .
Reports rec'd are- Lapwing over on 4/7, 1 Redshank and 2 Whimbrel ( Sat ), 5 Dunlin and 2 Black Tailed Godwit ( sun )
Swallow roost at 21.30 on Sun was 200- this is somewhat down on previous years.

This am 7 Black Headed Gull in the Bay inc our first Juv, also on the rocks 3 Whimbrel.


70 Swifts feeding overhead, soon to be away.
50 Linnets mobbing Sparrowhawk.

Good year for Dark Green Fritillaries at this site, in spite of the lack of sun!
Graylings now out in force & Marbled White in my garden yesterday!

Mediterranean Gulls - Ringing Colours/Codes.

If any of you are keen like me in trying to spot colour ringed Med Gulls, here is a website you might find useful.

Teign Estuary

Juvenile Mediterranean Gull roosting off Passage House late morning. [Will Salmon]
Sunny Sunday with lots of recently fledged wheatears on Dartmoor

Sunday, 8 July 2012


Been a bit slack for photos lately, so here's a nice Cuckoo shot from Steve Hatch, taken on Dartmoor on 23 June...


Adult Med Gull past east yesterday heading for the newly created Yealm wetlands. 150+ Swift over the village last night looked more like early migrants than a feeding flock from Plymouth (absolutely no evidence for either theory!).


08:15-10:00.2 knot,one bp,bar tailed godwit bp,common sandpiper,2 med gulls,adult fs,4 dunlin.So thats where all the gulls are maurice,Thought they had moved up estuary.

R.Taw - Taw Bridge to Ashford sewage works.

07:30 - 09:00

20 Mediterranean Gulls (10 adults; 3 2nd summer; 7 1st summer)  One adult carrying white project ring on left tarsus, probably Dutch or Belgian).
37 LBBG and big increase in B.H Gulls.
69 Shelduck incl 14 ducklings.
19 Grey Heron on Penhill Marsh. 3 Little Egrets.
The Green sandpiper has returned to it`s ditch alongside sewage works.

Saturday, 7 July 2012


...a few bits and pieces from the Plym this afternoon

Common Sandpiper - 9
Greenshank - 2
Med Gull - 1 adult
Marsh Sandpiper - none!!!

[Roy McCarthy]

Darts Farm, Topsham

A surprisingly good walk around the farm at 2pm. Out on the lawn there were plenty of Pied Wagtails and an Oystercatcher taking full advantage of the sodden ground. From the hide a male Reed Bunting was calling and a Whitethroat keeping out of the rain. The muttering call of a Reed Warbler from the reed bed, along with a small flock of Goldfinches which stopped by briefly to the bird table.
Further out on the wetlands a group of about 25 Black-tailed Godwits, a handful in breeding plumage were busy feeding, followed by a smaller bunch of Curlew. On the return leg 9 Swifts floated by fairly low down heading towards the Exe.

Berry Head

Seawatch 0620-0820. Actually arrived on site 30 mins earlier but busy sheltering from the torrential downpour. Quite strong S wind when I arrived but decreased markedly and swung towards SW by the time I left. For much of the time there was virtually no seabird passage past the headland in the continuing rain and low visibility,  total count 220 Gannets and 191 Manx south.


07:45-08:30.3 bar tailed godwits,2 whimbrel,flyover male tufted duck.Waders are trickling back and the weather hasn"t changed since the spring when they were here!!.Pair of wheatears feeding young in nest looking very bedraggled.

Friday, 6 July 2012


A slightly unusual sight at Wembury last night with c. 250 Gannets plunge diving reasonably close in.

One lucky fisherman!

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Thurlestone Bay

News from yesterday - on the beach/rocks - 2 Sanderling  & 2 Turnstone.

This morning ideal conditions for a seawatch  F3/4 SE and good viz - Warren Pt from 09.15- 12.15 & 16.00-17.00 Totals were

Gannet -385 ( mostly east ) Manx S'water- 125 E , Balearic S'water - 2 E. Common Scoter 5E and 40 W ( largest flock for some months.). Med Gull - 1 1st s  E . 1 s/pl Dunlin on the beach.

On Thurlestone Marsh this morning 1 s/pl Black Tailed Godwit and a male Teal

At S M Ley  Bob B had a Water Rail, 2 juv Whitethroat and 2 ad Reed Warbler with 3 juv.

The last juv Spotted Flycatcher did not last the night

Berry Head

06:30-10:00. F3-4 ESE, dry, overcast. Only obs.
97>S & 11>N Manx, 221>S & 33>N Gannet, 20>S Common Scoter, 1>S Curlew, 3>S Pomarine Skua (07:26; two spooned ad with an imm.), 2>S Arctic Skua, v light passage Kittwake, 2>S & 1>N Sandwich Tern, 5>S Common Tern, 1>S Puffin.  Also 3 Bottle-nosed Dolphin and a Grey Seal.


06:45 - 08:00

Common Sandpiper 15; Bar-tailed Godwit 1; Black-tailed Godwit 4; Dunlin 4; Wheatear 3;
Curlew 38; Oystercatcher 43; Black-headed Gull 13; Herring Gull 11 and 7 GBBG.
Still not many gulls. Meds seem to turn up on evening tide only.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

English Channel

Fishing the English Channel south of E Devon, first two juv Yellow-legged Gulls of the year feeding around boat, in with Lesser and Great black-backs and a few Herring Gulls - so no doubt be turning up at coastal sites shortly as in recent summers. Also 20+ Storm Petrels and a Common Tern.


Orcombe Point - 1900 - 2000 - a first summer sabine's gull was a big surprise on a brief and otherwise unremarkable seawatch. It flew into view with a kittiwake at 1920 and suddenly left the kitt to head SSW directly towards Berry Head. Also 2+ arctic skua (one dark phase directly over my head towards Exmouth), 15+ manx shearwater, 1 balearic shearwater and 1 guillemot. Earlier 80+ sandwich tern off the Seafront and a couple juv herring gulls.

Med Gull PAJ7

PAJ7 was ringed in Poland on 10/05/2005. It was first recorded on the Skern on 03/07/2008 and has been reported several times since.


15 med gulls.6 adult,2s,8fs,.One of the adults was polish bird PAJ7 which i believe has been visiting the area for at least 5 yrs.Anyone know correctly.216 black headed.None of these birds present this morning.Must have heard my gripe about lack of.Common sandpiper,greenshank24 curlew.

Off Beer

A Beer fisherman reported a Puffin about 2 miles out this morning [Kevin Hale]

Otter Estuary, E Devon

Just as miserable on the coast this morning as elsewhere with visibility out to sea counted in yards.
A Green Woodpecker present plus 3 Cettis Warbler calling and a single sp Black-tailed Godwit on the scrapes.  A juv.Yellow Wagtail on the cricket pitch together with 14 or so juv. Starling and four juv. Goldfinch.  2 ringed  Shelduck with yellow bands on left leg with initials AT (?) and HF (?) provided some interest.

Sherpa Marsh

Had the first look around the pond at Sherpa this morning for some time, and delighted to find that there are now 6 fully-grown juvenile Pochard with adult female still in attendance. Looking at Mike Tyler's 'Birds of Devon' this may be the first successful breeding (including fledging) of Pochard in Devon.

Also present new family of three juv Little Grebes, a female Teal, and 18 Swans (+ one pile of feathers by the pond - fox?)

Instow Cricket ground and Foreshore.


In response to Rob`s comment of lack of Gulls on the estuary yesterday, there were only 9 Black-headed Gulls and just the odd Herring Gull off the Cricket Ground this morning. That was it and no waders of any description.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012


32 black headed gulls,2 bar tailed godwits,dunlin.Seems to be a dearth of gulls on north coast at mo.Usually loads more around at this time.

Thurlestone Bay

A very miserable day ,almost continuous rain, very poor viz in the Bay.

On Thurlestone Marsh 9sp Black Tailed Godwit spent the day feeding on the back pool. A few Swift and 30 + House Martin over the marsh

Visited the Spotted Flycatcher nest site in South Milton- only 1 fledgeling survives- parent visiting the nest but not carrying food.

A large feeding flock of 250+ Gannet in the Bay with a futher 75 flying through. Also 25 Manx Shearwater and 3 Common Scoter

Berry Head

Seawatching with Dave Norman covering 09:15-14:15 between us. Steady trickle of Manx reaching c400, but no Balearics, 3 Arctic Skua (two went into Torbay), 1 Pomarine Skua (sub-ad type), 1 Bonxie and 2 Puffins.

One Harbour Porpoise off the headland, while fishermen reported a pod of dolphins heading south earlier. For me the highlight was a couple of huge splashes way-out of a breaching animal, on the third time I managed to get on the beast which revealed itself as a really large Thresher Shark coming right out of the water! I did not realise they can be so big - one caught off Cornwall weighed 1,250lb and measured 32ft!

Monday, 2 July 2012

Start Point

Seawatch 07:00-13:00: Great Shearwater (SW at 10:41, my earliest yet off Devon), 3305 Manx Shearwater (but surprisingly no balearics today!), 4 Puffins, 6 European Storm-petrels, 20 Common Scoter. 2 Pomarine Skuas, 2 Arctic Skuas. The usuall group of Bottlenose Dolphins headed SW close inshore at 09:00.

Aveton Gifford

Second calender-year Mediterranean Gull at the start of the tidal road early afternoon.


2fs med gulls,44 black headed,6gbbg,2 bar tailed godwits,2 grey plover,14 dunlin,4 ringed plover,17;10pm

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Budleigh Salterton

A quick seawatch tonight from the seafront 17.00 - 18.00hrs this evening produced 2 Arctic Skua (light and dark phase) and at least 3 Balearic Shearwaters heading West. DC, HB & CT

Exminster Marshes

I very pleasant visit from 08.00 to 09.30, warm sunshine and hundreds of swifts feeding over the pools. Like many today I spent too long trying to scrutinize each bird - all common swifts. Also a few swallows including 3 recently fledged young and about 30 house martins.

On the pools nearest the canal were a few black-headed gulls (c30) and one 2s Med gull. Ducks included 17 mallard, 5 wigeon (1 male in eclipse), 2 teal (pair) and 1 garganey. On the muddy margins to the pools were 16 little egrets, one redshank and 5 black-tailed godwits (3 in sp). Elsewhere singing sedge, reed and Cettis warblers and at least 3 singing blackcaps. About 200 starlings, mostly juveniles suggests they might have had a reasonable breeding season.

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Dawlish warren

Watched from 11:15 till 15:30 7 med gulls (1 adult, 1 2nd summer 5 1st summer), 83+ sandwich tern, 4 common tern, 120+ curlew, 12+ common scote, 1 slavonian grebe

Thurlestone Bay

A sunny breezy day - a short visit to the Bay this morning produced 2 ad + 1 1s Med Gull, the Black Necked Grebe still showing well until 11.30- an increasing number of wind/kite surfers spooked the bird and when I left i could not relocate it.

This aft. a flock of 130 Herring Gull flew into Thurlestone Marsh amongst them were 2ad Yellow Leg Gull. At least 1 Water Rail calling- a returning bird as no proof of breeding.
A Willow Warbler in the garden this morning probably a faied breeder off the moor as none breed locally

Friday, 29 June 2012

Thurlestone Bay

Back on the patch after a 9 day visit to France ( La Brenne / Loire Valley - great birding )

Very quiet morning livened up at 11.35 with 2 Arctic Skua flying east and then finding the partial sp Black Necked  Grebe just off Bob's car park  ( a most unusual summer record - and staying at least a week ).
A group of Gulls  flew down the valley over T'stone marsh at 13.45 - 3 Black Headed and 2 1s Med

Early flowering orchids - Tarka Trail, Ashford sewage works.

On the 17th June while I was down the Tarka Trail I was surprised to find a clump of 42 Early Flowering Orchids flowering behind the seawall just the river side of the wall.
Yesterday afternoon when I was there again, I was dismayed to see that all but about 5 had been mowed down as a result of seawall management.
Enquiries at the Civic Center today revealed that this had been done by the Environment Agency who have a statutory duty to keep the seawall clear of vegatation. The grass cutting is sub-contracted out to people who obviously don`t know the difference between weeds and orchids!
Yes, Early Flowering Orchids may be fairly common but to see a large clump of them was a nice sight.
You would think the E.A. could have waited a week or so for them to have set seed but I`m told cutting has been brought forward this year because of rapid growth of vegatation which has to be cut early. So much for the countryside and the environment. 

Berry Head

05:30-10-30 cloudy and afew showers with strong SW winds. A steady flow of Manx Shearwaters 203, 2 Balearic Shearwaters, 3 Puffins, 3 Common Scoters, 61 Kittiwakes no juvs, 4 Black-headed Gulls, 1 L.B.B.Gull, 227 Gannets all going South. Numerous Guillemots going back and forth. Also 8 Swifts flying south very low over the sea.


Broadsands: 1 - 1s Med Gull with 14 Black-headed Gulls, also 14 Common Scoter offshore but picked out another more distant flock....

Roundham Headland: tight flock of 7 Med Gulls sat on water (no Black-headed Gulls) 5 - 2s, 1 - ad, 1 - 1s and a flock of 19 Common Scoter

Thursday, 28 June 2012

R.Taw at Pottington Ind Est


4 cracking Black-tailed Godwits in breeding plumage and a solitary returning Redshank.

1 Black Swan with 8 Mutes.

Velator reserve

Still 4 juvenle Little Grebes.

Nearby on Wrafton Pond, 6 Juve Little Grebes, and 3 adult Tufted Ducks (2 males).

Berry Head

10:00-12:00, mist / fog clearing with freshening WSW: 60+ Manx Shearwaters (feeding out in Lyme Bay) with at least one Balearic Shearwater, also feeding Gannets and a light passage.  Note although relatively early, there is already a big build up of Balearics on the French side, see marinelife , so perhaps we're in for another good year!

Of interest I spent most of Monday fishing mid-channel close to the area the Black-browed Albatross was last seen, but no luck.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012


Evening: 3 Med Gulls (2, 1s & 1, 2s), just 8 Black-headed Gulls and 15 Sandwich Terns.

Berry Head

13.30-1500hrs watched a couple of smaller day fishing trawlers returning to Brixham but only gulls and Gannets behind them. Passage birds >S; 1 Balearic Shearwater, 1 Great Skua, 12 Manx Shearwaters, 37 Gannets. Also 1 Grey Seal.

Exminster marshes

A brief visit at lunch-time cut short by more rain. On the pools near the canal were c300 black-headed gulls. Mostly adults including the leucistic bird. Incidentally I saw a very similar bird at BGM on the 4 July last year.

Two garganey (probably females) seen briefly amongst reeds, also drake wigeon and 12 mallard. Waders included 3 black-tailed godwits (sp) and 1 curlew. Lots of hirundines predominately sand martins and house martins. Also c50 swifts.

Exminster Marsh - Monday evening

Dropped in around 7.30 to 8.30 p.m. A male (going into eclipse) and two female garganey on the flood by the fishermans car park plus 5 wigeon and a single male teal there. Plenty of hirundines of which house martin was the most numerous with around 250 birds. At least 2 Cettis calling.

Monday, 25 June 2012

South Huish - yesterday 24/6

Partial summer-plumaged Black-necked Grebe just offshore, between the car parks. Apparently has been present a few days.  [Roy McCarthy]


Cuckoo heard calling from coast path by Dartmouth Coastguard Cottages this morning.

Bolberry Down

Not a concerted sea watch but moving west mid-morning:

89 Manx Shearwater & 35 Gannets.

Kestrel taking in food to brood on cliff.

Downend/Saunton Down.


4 Common Scoter a long way out off the point.

23-24 June late news

23 June, Escot Park, East Devon: 15 crossbills around wild boar enclosure 24 June, Exminster Marshes: Eclipse male & female garganey, taken with earlier sightings presumably indicating a failed local breeding attempt. Also 4 Med Gull & 1 green sandpiper.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Prawle Point

06:45-10:15. 4 obs. Counts heading W. 1244 Manx S, 2 Balearic S, 188 Gannet, 40 Scoter, 23 Fulmar,  7 Stormie, 4 Sanderling, 3 Dunlin, 3 Pomarine Skua, 1 Arctic Skua, 20 Kittiwake,,5 Guilemot, 5 Razorbill, 4 Puffin. 1 Sunfish.   

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Bowling green marsh & darts farm

A quick look into bowling green marsh this morning produced a 2nd summer med gull, 15+ bar tailed godwit , 1 whimbrel After took a look over at darts farm and had 15+ med gulls, 1 adult,8 2nd summer, 6+ 1st summer

Exminster Marsh

Matt's Osprey viewable distantly at the south end of the Exe, from the viewing platform at Exminster till 8.35am when appeared to fly west. Also the leucistic Black Headed Gull flew in from the estuary at 8.30 and landed on pool by the end car park.


19 ringed plover,12 dunlin,1 sanderling,15 curlew,07:45.2fs med gulls at southcott marsh east the water,bideford,08:45.


Orcombe Point - 0515 - 1 storm petrel lingering close offshore. Also good numbers of kittiwakes and gannets plus c20+ sandwich tern, 6 common scoter and a fs mediterranean gull.
Mudbank - 0800 - 1 osprey fishing til 0830 at least. Also 1 whimbrel and a very unseasonal male wigeon present.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Exe 'white' Black-headed Gull

The Black-headed Gull referred to in Dave's post below flew over Bowling Green Marsh yesterday evening and carried on down the Exe at 2030hrs. In flight I initially thought that it may be a Med Gull, but when I saw that the mantle and upperwing surfaces were white and not pale grey I concentrated on the other features in the short time I had. As Dave mentions this bird had a red bill, and dark eye, making it in my view leucistic rather than albino. Not sure about the chin shading though - perhaps it's not shaved lately? I saw a similar bird, but not so white as this individual, at Powderham some years ago. Other birders beware.........

Exminster Marshes

Lots of Swifts over the marshes this evening and 8 Teal on the pool near the canal. This almost white Black-headed Gull had a bright red bill and dusky chin patch. Couldn't see the legs and the eye appeared dark, so not albinistic.


great crested grebe,11 ringed plover,9 dunlin,1 sanderling

Berry Head

Did abit of seawatching this morning, 05:15-11:30. Sorry to say, nothing looking like an Albatross past the Head, but 1 Balearic Shearwater, 43 Manx Shearwaters, 6 Sandwich Terns, 48 Kittiwakes and 150+ Gannets.


Might be worth keeping an eye to the sea! The albatross sp. seen 20nm west of Guernsey on 15th May turned up again 20nm northwest of Alderney on 17th June (around an angling boat), where photos taken confirm an immature Black-browed, see Unfortunately this is still a good way off any Devon headland (35+nm), but you never know!

Edit: ....and again 20nm NW of Alderney on 22nd June

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

nr. Buckfastleigh

9 Crossbills flew north over Button Farm this morning, just northeast of Buckfastleigh .

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Some late news...

This Hoopoe was on a front lawn at Westwater (on the River Yarty near Axminster) on 8/6   [per Derek Carter]

Velator reserve

Delighted to see that there are 4 juvenile Little Grebes being fed by both adults on the pond in the reserve this morning. They are about half-size now so much less likely (I hope) to be predated.

Ringing this morning produced the first jvenile Reed Warbler and Blackcap.


Late news from Slapton on Sunday an Osprey flew down the line heading South , coming in over the Lower Ley disappearing towards Torcross.

Friday night one Bealeric and a handful of Manx went by and up to a dozen Sandwich Tern were fishing in close to shore. 500 plus swift and 300 House Martin feeding over the Lower Ley down from Slapton Bridge.

Monday, 18 June 2012

Plymouth Sound - WCO L4

08:00 - 12:30
Not much to report - just singles of Storm Petrel,  Puffin, Arctic Skua and Great Skua, 20 Manx Shearwater, 2 Guillemot, 5 Gannet and small numbers of Herring and GBB gulls (30+).


1 turnstone,19 ringed plover,16 dunlin and 5 black headed gulls.


Very surprised to encounter a hind Sika deer on the edge of the arable.
Also first black-tailed skimmer of the year.

Few birds but stacks of cirl buntings, whitethroats & skylarks.

Clennon Valley

Very little to report around the ponds aside from the usual breeding birds but of concern was not a single Dragon or Damselfly and no butterflies in over 1hr - a symptom of the cold wet weather?

Sunday, 17 June 2012


Having posted news of a reeling Grasshopper warbler from Exminster Marshes, I can now report that the warbler is actually singing from the middle of the largest reedbed island south of the M5 in the Exe reedbeds. I established this by paddling around the creeks this evening. One Water rail also calling and c 20 Pied wagtails coming to roost.

Shelduck Families - R.Taw (off Pottington Ind Est)


The original family/creche of 20 ducklings are still present and correct and are fit and well. They are quite large now and predation less likely.
They have been joined by a new family of 10 ducklings and are very small in size in comparison.

Saturday, 16 June 2012


I had a good early sea watch from Seaton sea front this morning between 05:00-08:30 - all heading west. Most activity over by 07:00.

1 pom skua
1 bonxie
6 arctic skua
150+ Manx shearwater
200+ gannet, mostly young birds, some very close in to the beach.
1 auk sp. to far out to identify

[Roger Harris]


A couple of recent photos from Charlie Fleming, taken on Dartmoor: