Monday 8 January 2018

Ye Olde Devon List Update

Elegant Tern - copy of field notes.

Thanks to the BOU adding Elegant Tern to the British list, I can finally add this species to my Devon list, and so can all the Devon birders who haven't done so already! I twitched the Dawlish Warren bird on May 18th 2002. It becomes my 340th Devon species, which is respectable I suppose, but well below the boys at the top, that must be nudging 370 species (please correct me if I'm wrong Mark).
I thought I'd lost Common Redpoll but the IOC has kept it on, so the bird I found in Topsham in February 2001 still stands.
As of January 1st 2018 I've been able to count Eastern Yellow Wagtail (thank you Phil Abbot) but my Fea's/Zino's Petrel (Prawle August 1999) has presumably become Fea's/Deserta's/Zino's, or do I have to lose it altogether? Thoughts welcome! Actually stuff that - I'm keeping it on.
I've only seen one Devon 'Isabelline' Shrike - the 1987 Wembury bird, which I suspect was Isabelline (Daurian) rather than Red-tailed (Turkestan) Shrike, but I'd appreciate clarification on that if anyone knows otherwise. I'm keeping it on my list as Isabelline/Red-tailed Shrike for the time being. I'm annoyed at myself for not twitching the subsequent Devon birds and will be making the effort to go and see the next one!
Finally there's a chance I'll be able to add Taiga Bean Goose soon. Two birds present on Exminster Marshes, back in January 1997, showed pro-Taiga features but Dave Land's video footage will need to be analysed by the Devon Birds rarities committee to be sure. The results are eagerly-awaited.
For anyone interested, my Devon list can be viewed by clicking on the tab on the menu bar at the top of this page.

Common (Mealy) Redpoll - Topsham Rec Feb 2001 - photo Pete and Carol Leigh

Eastern Yellow Wagtail field sketches - Colyford 12/12/10
Eastern Yellow Wagtail - Colyford 12/12/10
Likely 'Daurian' or Isabelline Shrike - Wembury 14/11/87. I did these field sketches when I was a kid but will have to count it as either Daurian or Turkestan Shrike on my Devon list.
Field sketches of 2 Bean Geese (possibly Taigas?) - Exminster Marshes 4/1/97 - this pair was present with 33 Mute Swan, 1 Whooper Swan and 6 Bewick's Swan! Nice.


  1. Great post and nice to see more of your sketches. Newer birdwatchers could learn so much more about the birds they are looking at by taking time to write and sketch something. I still think its the quickest way to improve your birding observational skills even if your drawings are not of 'artistic' value! Throw away the cameras (actually keep them by your side just in case) and buy a notepad and pencil.
    If powers above choose to spit or lump, it doesn't matter to me either - if I've seen one or other sp. it still counts on my list and I know really did see it!

  2. Thanks Mike - totally agree. Younger birders with expensive lenses can ID stuff close-up, off the back of a camera (and with instant online help), but probably struggle to ID stuff in the field. Much less studying the bird and note-taking means less is learned. Having said that, I'm much less inclined to take notes than I used to be because I'm usually pushed for time. It's why I haven't improved much at it since I was a kid!
    Good to hear from you. All the best. Matt

  3. Great post Matt. Lovely to see some of the history behind the list, and for newer birders like me lots of food for thought.
    Note to self - repack that notebook and pencil in my bag!

  4. Hi Nick - many thanks - plenty of Devon birding history to talk about. I'm gonna try and do more field note taking this year too. See you soon. Matt

  5. No one will delete Soft plumaged Petrel...well, I wont anyway!