Keith and I in South Devon for a few days birdwatching and today we are out with local Naturalist and artist Mike Langman. Our first stop is Yarner Woods on the edge of Dartmoor in search of Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.

We see a number of different woodland species before we hear one drumming. Heading towards the sound we eventually locate the area and see the bird as it flies away. It is so small it looks like a pair of wings with no body!

Lesser Spotted Woodpecker.
Photo by Sergey Yeliseev (

Moving on we locate another drumming male and locate it high on a tree. We get some brief views before it too flies off. We hear another drumming but are unable to locate it.

From here we move onto the side of a valley to look for Goshawks. Mike gets a brief view but Keith and I cannot get onto it before it disappears. That proves to be our only sighting and we move onto crossing the River Exe to Aylesbeare Common in search of Dartford Warbler. We are very fortunate and before very long we locate an area where 3-4 Dartford Warblers are disputing territories and chasing each other around.

Dartford Warbler.
Photo by Tom Lee (

We also have good views of Stonechat and 3 Ravens which flew over the common.

Stonechat (m)
Stonechat (f)

Our next stop is Powderham where a Yellow-Browed Warbler has been over-wintering but no sign. There were a number of YBW over-wintering in Devon, but a brief cold spell a couple of weeks ago seems to have moved them on (as it has for the two I saw in Dorset in January). A brief stop at Starcross follows and we quickly locate the wintering Slavonian (Horned) Grebe which has been wintering in the area. Our final stop of the day is the RSPB reserve at Bowling Green Marsh on the edge of the River Exe. There were a large number of Pintail (around 100) and Wigeon (c50) as well as other ducks. Leaving the Marsh we continued to the riverside and on the mud were Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Grey Plover and Curlew. Also present were 3 Goldeneye.


An excellent day’s birdwatching.

Greylag Goose [sp] (Anser anser)
Common Shelduck (Tadorna tadorna)
Mandarin Duck (Aix galericulata)
Northern Shoveler (Spatula clypeata)
Eurasian Wigeon (Mareca penelope)
Mallard [sp] (Anas platyrhynchos)
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta)
Eurasian Teal (Anas crecca)
Tufted Duck (Aythya fuligula)
Common Goldeneye [sp] (Bucephala clangula)
Red-breasted Merganser (Mergus serrator)
Common Pheasant [sp] (Phasianus colchicus)
Horned Grebe [sp] (Podiceps auritus)
Grey Heron [sp] (Ardea cinerea)
Little Egret [sp] (Egretta garzetta)
Great Cormorant [sp] (Phalacrocorax carbo)
Common Buzzard [sp] (Buteo buteo)
Common Moorhen [sp] (Gallinula chloropus)
Eurasian Coot [sp] (Fulica atra)
Pied Avocet (Recurvirostra avosetta)
Grey Plover [sp] (Pluvialis squatarola)
Eurasian Curlew [sp] (Numenius arquata)
Black-tailed Godwit [sp] (Limosa limosa)
Ruff (Calidris pugnax)
Dunlin [sp] (Calidris alpina)
Common Snipe [sp] (Gallinago gallinago)
Common Redshank [sp] (Tringa totanus)
Common Greenshank (Tringa nebularia)
Black-headed Gull (Chroicocephalus ridibundus)
European Herring Gull [sp] (Larus argentatus)
Stock Dove [sp] (Columba oenas)
Common Wood Pigeon [sp] (Columba palumbus)
Tawny Owl [sp] (Strix aluco)
Lesser Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dryobates minor)
Great Spotted Woodpecker [sp] (Dendrocopos major)
European Green Woodpecker [sp] (Picus viridis)
Eurasian Magpie [sp] (Pica pica)
Western Jackdaw [sp] (Coloeus monedula)
Rook [sp] (Corvus frugilegus)
Carrion Crow [sp] (Corvus corone)
Northern Raven [sp] (Corvus corax)
Coal Tit [sp] (Periparus ater)
Marsh Tit [sp] (Poecile palustris)
Eurasian Blue Tit [sp] (Cyanistes caeruleus)
Great Tit [sp] (Parus major)
Eurasian Skylark [sp] (Alauda arvensis)
Long-tailed Tit [sp] (Aegithalos caudatus)
Common Chiffchaff [sp] (Phylloscopus collybita)
Eurasian Blackcap [sp] (Sylvia atricapilla)
Dartford Warbler [sp] (Sylvia undata)
Eurasian Nuthatch [sp] (Sitta europaea)
Common Blackbird [sp] (Turdus merula)
Redwing [sp] (Turdus iliacus)
Song Thrush [sp] (Turdus philomelos)
Mistle Thrush [sp] (Turdus viscivorus)
European Robin [sp] (Erithacus rubecula)
European Stonechat [sp] (Saxicola rubicola)
House Sparrow [sp] (Passer domesticus)
Dunnock [sp] (Prunella modularis)
Grey Wagtail [sp] (Motacilla cinerea)
Common Chaffinch [sp] (Fringilla coelebs)
European Greenfinch [sp] (Chloris chloris)
Common Redpoll [sp] (Acanthis flammea)
European Goldfinch [sp] (Carduelis carduelis)
Eurasian Siskin (Spinus spinus)
Yellowhammer [sp] (Emberiza citrinella)

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