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!