Devon Bird Sightings

Breeding birds

It's the breeding season again, please do not publish news or photographs of scarce or rare birds that may be breeding - you could be putting them at risk.

If in doubt refer to the following: 

Any post not following the guidelines will be removed

Posted April 1st at 3:13 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding


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Posted October 10th, 2016 at 9:14 am by George & Julia Harris in General Birding

Sightings Page Changes

Acting on comments to Devon Birds some changes have been made to this page. To the right of this header post you'll see there are now several subjects for you to choose to read and post on. Just click your chosen subject and use as previously.

Please be careful not to post under the wrong subject. If you do, you can still easily go back to edit and change the subject yourself so it appears on the right page.

Please try and keep posts short, particularly in the Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts page. Photographs are still very welcome.  

For help with ID email photos to

Posted June 30th, 2016 at 9:24 pm by George & Julia Harris in General Birding

Sunday 20th August 2017

Taw Estuary

Good views from the Tarka trail of this bird fishing on the Taw Estuary this am.

Posted 2:55 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Lyme Bay boat trip

This mornings boat trip out into Lyme Bay from Brixham started well with 2 Grey Seals by Brixham Marina, 1 Purple Sandpiper by the Breakwater old jetty, 3 Rock Pipits, all this before we had left the harbour. Before Berry Head a group of 4/5 Common Dolphin. Traveling out into Lyme Bay 3 more groups of Common Dolphin seen, the last group was very large. Once we reached our chumming area the following birds sighted 10+ Manx Shearwater, 2 Balearic Shearwater, 3 Storm Petrel, 2 Artic Skua and 1 Pomarine Skua, 20+ Kittiwake, 12+ Guillemot, 2 Razorbill, 10 Common Tern, 8 Fulmar, Gannets and the usual assortment of Gulls. Sea was not as rough as thought so an enjoyable trip.

Posted 2:10 pm by Nigel Smallbones in General Birding


The Hoopoe still present by Maer Farm, in field by plastic bales and showing well- flew over the road briefly but soon returned. Nearby, the juvenile White-Winged Black Tern still on and around Cockle Sands viewable from the Imperial Recreation Ground.

Posted 10:27 am by Mark Bailey in General Birding

Start Point / Slapton Ley

Fairly quiet around Start Farm, Spotted Flycatcher, 3 Chiffchaffs and 3 Whitethroats. Also Sand Martin and 2 Swifts. Called in to Slapton Ley and good numbers of hirundines at Torcross ie c 100 Swallows, c 200 House Martins and c 400 Sand Martins, also a Swift. 15 Sandwich Terns on the beach. Common Scoter off the Memorial Car Park and a Yellow Wagtail overhead.

Posted 10:06 am by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Saturday 19th August 2017


8 Swifts over garden this evening with 20+ House Martin. 

Posted yesterday at 9:04 pm by Steve Cox in General Birding

Bowling green marsh

Watched from 15:30 till 19:20

Just after 16:45 found a nice moulting adult Curlew sandpiper in among 110+ dunlin( mostly juveniles) it showed on and off over the next couple of hours , the adult spotted redshank showed well at times , 5 ringed plover, 2 green sandpipers excellent numbers of juvenile Black tailed godwits, 1 bar tailed godwits, 8+ whimbrel 

earlier on goosemoor 20+ greenshanks

Posted yesterday at 9:00 pm by Keith Birchall in General Birding


On the incoming tide at Skern there were 9 Mediterranean Gulls (5 adults and 4 juveniles) One of the juveniles was ringed on the left leg below the 'knee'. No colour bands so was unable to get any more details! Also 1 juvenile Little Tern fishing in the bay.

Later there were 30 Little Egret roosting on the marsh below Torridge Bridge.

Posted yesterday at 6:29 pm by Martin Unwin in General Birding

Plym Estuary

Two sinensis (ad + imm) amongst the 8 Cormorants, my first Ringed Plover of the autumn (juv), 11 Turnstones (some in nice breeding plumage), Black-tailed Godwit, Common Sandpiper, 30 Curlews, 10 Grey Herons, 11+ Little Egrets, 10 Oystercatchers, 82 Redshanks, 2 Greenshanks, Pergerine, Swift and Wheatear.


Posted yesterday at 6:19 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding


Hoopoe seen at Orcombe Point / Foxholes area at 10:20 this morning. I was viewing from the second gate on the right hand side just north east of Maer Farm. It had been seen from this location late yesterday afternoon distantly in the furthest field (in front of the houses). As I was scanning that field a flock of Starling came up over the hedge of the next field (that has hay bags in it and also a gate to view in to the field) and I noticed a larger bird in amongst them. Got the bins on it and it was the Hoopoe. I tracked it heading towards Orcombe Point where it then veered back towards the houses at Foxholes. If only I had picked the other gate to look from!!

Posted yesterday at 5:57 pm by Spencer Dicks in General Birding

Avon Estuary - Black Swans

4 Black Swans amongst the many mute swans, on the Avon Estuary, viewable from the tidal road, this morning until 12.30hrs when disturbed by paddle boarders. First seen at this location by Mike Passman and Rodney Bone yesterday morning. Have not been seen here many times before. The birds are not bearing rings and have the characteristic smaller size and red bill of the species, however when they flew off they showed a degree of white in the wings. Their origin is unknown, but to me, do not look like the same birds present on Slapton Ley last year. 2 ringed plover ,1 dunlin, 2 Common Sandpiper and a few curlew also present.

4 Black Swan -Avon Estuary - 19.8.2017
4 Black Swan -Avon Estuary - 19.8.2017

Black Swan taking off showing white in wing - Avon-19.8.2017
Black Swan taking off showing white in wing - Avon-19.8.2017

Common Sandpiper - Avon Estuary
Common Sandpiper - Avon Estuary

Ed. White primaries and outer secondaries is normal for Black Swan.

Posted yesterday at 2:48 pm by David Pakes in General Birding

Juv (Black?) Redstart in Teignmouth Garden

Seems obviously a Redstart, but is it a Black Redstart?

Juv (Black?) Redstart in Teignmouth Garden
Juv (Black?) Redstart in Teignmouth Garden

Ed. it's a Redstart (juv > 1W male); orange-red on breast not shown by Black Redsart.

Posted yesterday at 12:37 pm by Alan Ford in General Birding

Maer Lane, Exmouth

Hoopoe at 7.30am in small scrubby field, south side, near bottom  of Maer Lane, Exmouth

Posted yesterday at 12:14 pm by Dave McKeown in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Kingsbridge Estuary

Charleton Marsh / Bay ( 07:20-08:40, falling tide )

15 Black-tailed Godwits, 77 Dunlins, 76 Ringed Plovers, Common Sandpiper, 3 Mediterranean Gulls ( one adult with darvic rings, too far off to read ).


Posted yesterday at 9:29 am by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Friday 18th August 2017

Bowling Green Marsh and Goosemoor

Today we went to Bowling Green Marsh. The hide was the area of main interest for us today so we stayed there for quite a long time. Here is a list of the species that we saw there today: green sandpiper, canada goose, lapwing, black-headed gull, wood pigeon, black-tailed godwit, magpie, buzzard, pied wagtail, little egret, jackdaw, mallard, grey heron, goldfinch, great black-backed gull, redshank, starling, cormorant, wheatear, swallow and dunlin. Before we went to Goosemoor we had a quick look from the viewing platform. The tide appeared to be coming in so there was not much birdlife to be seen, in fact all there was to be seen was a large group of curlew and a few black-tailed godwits mixed in with them on the opposite side!

Walking from the viewing platform to Goosemoor a subspecies of the canada goose was pointed out to us in the marsh.


Posted August 18th at 8:29 pm by Samuel Gray in General Birding

Tiger on the Window!

A more unusual view this time.

Jersey TigerJersey Tiger

Jersey Tiger

Posted August 18th at 6:26 pm by Dave Holloway in Other Wildlife

BBG v Cormorant

Watched a BBG pinch a fish (Bass?) from a Cormorant yesterday at Yelland. The struggle went on for several minutes before the Gull made off with the catch. Is this common behavior? .  Poor pics as I was a long way away.


Posted August 18th at 5:34 pm by Roy Churchill in General Birding


15.30 - 1 Osprey flew over the R.Caen in a force 7 to 8 westerly gale,mid aft, caught a fish, flew high with the catch heading several miles east over Chivenor until lost from view.

Posted August 18th at 4:54 pm by Rob Jutsum in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

HOBBY (Saga) South Brent

THE HOBBY IS BACK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am over the moon to continue the Saga of the young Hobby I hand reared and released on the 2nd September 2014.

She has been back each year since arriving back in September, this year I had hoped to see her back in the spring as a fully mature breeding bird but that did not happen and in truth I thought that she had fallen to natures circle of life and that was that.

A short while ago I was sorting some of my birds when I looked up and there she was sat on a post 10 yards away watching me, not a care in the world.

She flew down to a post in the middle of the field but soon came in for some food, incredible feeling to have her back once again.

Posted August 18th at 3:02 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding


The Hoopoe is still present on Foxholes. It's in a private garden and adjoining private field. The hawthorns bordering the back garden and the adjoining field can be viewed, albeit distantly, from Gore Lane but please park sensibly and don't obstruct any gateways. The gateway just right of the track that leads down to the Bristol Schools camp is the best viewing position. Also the juvenile White-winged Black Tern was off the Imperial @0740.

Posted August 18th at 11:52 am by Matt Knott in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Thursday 17th August 2017

White Stork

My son Clive told me a co-worker of his(postman) had a white stork flying over Higher Clovelly near Hartland and landed in a field near Seckington farm Tuesday

Posted August 17th at 9:57 pm by David & Gillian Churchill in General Birding

Exmouth - Hoopoe

A Hoopoe photographed on Foxholes, Orcombe Point by Marie Wilson this morning. Not seen since.

Posted August 17th at 8:17 pm by Matt Knott in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Kingsbridge Estuary

2 Hobby, huge female Peregrine, 6+ Med Gulls but no sign of Osprey.

Posted August 17th at 5:10 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Exminster marshes

2 Yellow wagtail, Exminster marshes nature reserve, 17/08/17

Posted August 17th at 4:31 pm by Nick Patel in General Birding

Fremington Pill

128 Redshank 1 glossy Ibis 1 Greenshank 2 common sandpipers 2 Curlew and 2 Kingfishers plus a Single Turnstone on the beach.Marsh Harrier over Home Farm Marsh

Posted August 17th at 4:01 pm by Geoff Taylor in General Birding


The juvenile White-winged Black Tern was feeding with 2 juvenile Black Terns off the seafront @ 0650 this morning. Viewed from the clock tower.

Posted August 17th at 8:50 am by Matt Knott in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Wednesday 16th August 2017

Incidental Birding

Tesco car park, Newton Abbot, lunchtime, Raven over high. Teign Street, Teignmouth, early afternoon, two immature Peregrines flying low in close proximity. Our Teignmouth garden, mid afternoon 11+ House Martin, 5 Swallow (all juveniles), one Swift up high, most of these flying due South.

Posted August 16th at 9:18 pm by Simon Bates in General Birding

Isley Marsh/Home Farm Marsh/Horsey Island

A 50+ Flock of Goldfinch and 55 Canada geese where at Home farm Marsh and just after 12:00 the Osprey was seen from the flower bank hunting the Taw off of Chivenor...A Marsh Harrier appeared over Isley Marsh  in the afternoon and whilst watching 4 Eider drifting past the fisherman's huts from yelland power station site the Osprey was relocated on the shore just up from the huts feeding on a catch..

Posted August 16th at 5:37 pm by Ken Ebsworthy in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

A juv Yellow-legged Gull at the bottom end of the estuary before flying up river, female Red-crested Pochard, ad Mediterranean Gull, 16 Mandarin Ducks, 2 Kingfishers, Swift, 27 Curlews, 10 Oystercatchers, 3 Common Sandpipers, 12 Little Egrets and Tawny Owl heard.

Posted August 16th at 5:24 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding


Starcross old harbour wall - c210 Turnstones having their summer moult;   several still showing good summer plumage

Posted August 16th at 3:49 pm by Rupert Ormerod in General Birding

Goosanders - R. Otter Estuary - 15th Aug

Pleasant walk up the estuary - good veiws of a group of 6 Goosanders diving for small fish just below the road bridge




Posted August 16th at 3:17 pm by Chris Bollen in General Birding

Tuesday 15th August 2017

Prewley Moor

A nice surprise this morning at the entrance to Prewley Moor (WSW of Okehampton): a Willow Tit heard and seen by the old railway cycleway. I've seen them here before, when visiting to survey dragonflies. Surprised to see a few Southern Damselflies still flying!

Willow Tit Southern Damselfly
Willow Tit                                   Southern Damselfly

Posted August 15th at 8:31 pm by Dave Smallshire in General Birding

Yarner Wood

To start with we went to the pond hide and saw: blue, great and coal tits, a nuthatch, 2 or more chaffinches, a great spotted woodpecker calling, 2 or more siskins, a robin, a grey wagtail and 1 or 2 buzzards calling. After the pond hide we moved on to the heath but there wasn't much about. This is what there was: a possible tree pipit, 2 buzzards and stonechats. Walking back down through the woods to the car park we heard 2 great spotted woodpeckers and I had a definite view of one and a possible view of the other, both were fleeting glimpses.

Posted August 15th at 6:46 pm by Samuel Gray in General Birding

Re: Melodious Warbler

Nice one  Dave. In answer to your question I found one at Dawlish Warren on this day 15th August 1980 !. Also seen by the warden at the time. They have become scarcer in recent years and sightings out-number Icterines, mid- August to mid-September the best time. Good to get one before Portland.

Posted August 15th at 6:12 pm by David Cope in General Birding

Mullacott Cross Ilfracombe...Crane

Here is the Crane picture referred to earlier



Ed. not a Crane, this is a White Stork

Posted August 15th at 5:50 pm by Alan Denzey in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Soar and South Efford Marsh

Not a great deal of evidence of migration at Soar but 3 Wheatears, 15+ Swifts (a number of which appeared to be heading out to sea), 6+ Willow Warblers and 100+ Swallows. Also Sedge Warbler, Blackcap, 10+ Whitethroats and a flock of c200 Linnets.

South Efford Marsh produced 5+ Common Sandpipers, 3 each of Ringed Plovers and Greenshanks and a Curlew. 

Posted August 15th at 5:32 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Melodious Warbler

Found this morning at 9.30 on the far path at Bowling Green Marsh ' it showrd again to around half a dozen birders and it responded to a call ' the 1st Exe Estuary record I think ??

Posted August 15th at 5:12 pm by Dave Stone in General Birding

Wembury, 15th August

Very Autumnal feel today on a walk along the coast path from Wembury beach to Wembury Point and back.

Highlight was a juvenile yellow legged gull amongst the herring, black headed and great black gulls feeding on the seaweed mass by the sewage pipe.

1 redshank, 1 dunlin, 1 whimbrel and 1 common sandpiper also feeding on the seaweed mass with 15 eclipse male and 2 female mallard. 

On the rocks below the Point at high tide 6 curlew, 48 oystercatcher, 7 little egret and another 2 whimbrel.

2 swifts, swallows and house martins over, chiffchaffs, blackcaps and whitethroats in the bushes and 2 juvenile wheatears in the horse fields.

Posted August 15th at 3:55 pm by Stuart Green in General Birding

Mullacott Cross, ILfracombe, Crane

2pm today, Tuesday....have just seen and photographed a Crane circling above the West Down turning. Will post picture as soon as possible.

Posted August 15th at 2:36 pm by Alan Denzey in General Birding

Frogmore Creek - Osprey

1 Osprey on Frogmore Creek, 08:10, just upstream from Geese Quarries opposite "The Secret Garden" for those in the know, sitting on a channel marker post at SX758416. At 08:30 took off to hunt rising tide, passed over Ham Point and into Fleet Head Bay, known by others as Northpool Bay. Seen to dive but lost behind the point and not seen again. Lack of telescope and angle of sun made searching the head of the bay difficult. Virtually 52 years to the day of my first ever on the R. Yealm upstream of Steer Point in 1965!

Posted August 15th at 10:56 am by Barrie Whitehall in General Birding

Monday 14th August 2017

South Efford Marsh

Fairly quiet this afternoon in the rain, 2 Greenshanks, Redshank, 4 Common Sandpipers and a couple obliging Kingfishers.

Posted August 14th at 8:18 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

My first Spotted Flycatcher of the year here, Also 11 Oystercatchers, 29 Curlews, 13 Little Egrets, Kingfisher, 2 Stonechats, c10 Swifts and 3 Kestrels.

Posted August 14th at 5:58 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Yelland/Isley Marsh/Horsey Island Osprey


90+ Oystercatcher where laid up beside yelland jetty and 17 Little Egret, 2 Spoonbill 80+ Curlew where on Isley Marsh...Just after 1p.m.the Osprey was fishing the Taw just off of the floodbank between Crow Whitehouse and the fisherman's huts...It hit the water 4 times and on the last time made a catch and carried it low over the flood bank onto Horsey and out of sight.

Posted August 14th at 4:29 pm by Ken Ebsworthy in General Birding

Seaton Wetlands- Colyford Common

24 Members of DB (East Devon Branch) met for the fieldtrip led by Bob Olliver this morning, with several smaller splinter groups quickly forming.  The walk took in the Tower Hide, Island Hide and Colyford Common Hide.  The main interest came from waders with Common Sandpiper (2), numbers of Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Ringed Plover (8), Curlew, and singles of Snipe, Green Sandpiper, Greenshank and Whimbrel.  A juvenile Water Rail with an adult were seen together from the Colyford Common hide and Kingfisher and Sparrow Hawk added to the interest. 

Dave Murray, one of our most respected and well known birders, was remembered.  Dave was a founding member of the East Devon Branch and passed away in hospital recently following a six month illness.  A private funeral attended by Carol and family members was held on Wed 9 August.

Posted August 14th at 3:32 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding

Budleigh Salterton

One fem/juv type Wheatear seen in the rain on shingle bank at mouth of R. Otter this morning.

Posted August 14th at 11:04 am by Colin Randall in General Birding

Eddystone Kayak trip pics from yesterday

I thought this storm petrel looked a bit different to the others. It seemed slightly bigger and less 'attached' to the surface, flying about ten feet above the sea despite calm conditions.

(Appalling) pics seem to show feet sticking out well beyond tip of tail. Could this be a Wilson's?

Seen about 2 miles northeast of Eddystone Lighthouse

European Storm/Wilson's Petrel European Storm/ Wilson's Petrel
European Storm/Wilson's Petrel

Eds: Yes it's a Wilsons Petrel and the first genuine Devon record - however in Devon records are counted for the county within 5 miles of the land this was probably considerably further!!

Posted August 14th at 9:59 am by Rupert Kirkwood in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Eddystoene kayak trip pics

Balearic Shearwater from yesterday.

Balearic Shearwater Manx and Balearic Balearic Shearwater
Balearic Shearwater             Manx and Balearic                Balearic Shearwater

Posted August 14th at 8:24 am by Rupert Kirkwood in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Sunday 13th August 2017

Lyme Bay boat trip from Brixham

A few more photos from this morning's trip.

Common terns Fulmar Pomarine skua, 2nd S.
Common terns                                 Fulmar                                        Pomarine skua, 2nd S.

Posted August 13th at 9:04 pm by Chris Proctor in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Lyme Bay boat trip from Brixham

Common terns from the boat this morning (adults + 1 juv), and one Arctic tern among the first flock of 7 birds.

Common tern, adult  Common tern, juvenile Arctic tern, adult
Common tern, adult                     Common tern, juvenile                         Arctic tern, adult

Posted August 13th at 8:08 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

Exeter House

23 Swifts almost all heading south, with House Martin's & Swallows this afternoon. Over Exeter House just east of A30, probably following the higher ground. 

Posted August 13th at 8:08 pm by Steve Cox in General Birding

Lyme Bay boat trip from Brixham

Apart from the bonxie, todays skuas presented some interesting id/ageing puzzles.  All three were immatures, the first an arctic skua followed by 2 pomarine skuas, the first of which had spoons. Sadly the pomarine with spoons had something (plastic?) caught on its leg.

Bird 1; Arctic Skua, 2nd S. Bird 2; Pomarine skua, 2nd S. Bird 3; Pomarine skua, 1st or 2nd S.
Bird 1; Arctic Skua, 2nd S.         Bird 2; Pomarine skua, 2nd S.           Bird 3; Pomarine skua, 1st or 2nd S.

Eds -  great photos Chris and captions, the last bird is a 2nd Summer - a 1st summer would be in active wing moult and more like a juv in body plumage.

Posted August 13th at 6:06 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding


Kayak trip from Plymouth Sound out around Eddystone lighthouse. 0600-1500.

13 Storm Petrel

8 Balearic Shearwaters

3 Sooty Shearwaters (4, 8 and 9 miles offshore)

1 probable arctic skua

1 possible Great Shearwater- I heard it 'flick' as it passed a few feet behind my kayak but couldn't be bothered to turn round because I had just cricked my neck a few minutes before looking at a Manx. When I saw it it was too far off to be sure.

Plus 8 Common Dolphin

2+1 Harbour Porpoise

a few photos to follow

regards Rupert

Posted August 13th at 5:49 pm by Rupert Kirkwood in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Lyme Bay Boat Trip

This mornings Lyme Bay boat trip out of Brixham was once again rewarding with the following birds seen. 1 Great Skua, 2 Pomarine Skua, I Skua sp which was possible another Pom, 2 Storm Petrel, 16 Common Tern, 8 Manx Shearwater, 4 Balearic Shearwater, 1 Razorbill, Guillemot, Fulmar and the usual Gulls . Sea was calm and hardly any wind. On the way in 2 harbor Porpoise and many Compass Jellyfish. I hope some good pictures will be added to this posting.

Posted August 13th at 2:32 pm by Nigel Smallbones in General Birding


Juvenile White-winged Black Tern off Exmouth beach again this morning, at 0605.

Posted August 13th at 9:08 am by Matt Knott in General Birding

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