Devon Bird Sightings

Breeding birds

Please think very carefully before posting any information on scarce or rare breeding species both here and elsewhere online.

A list of ‘at risk’ species in the county can be found here. Many of these receive full legal protection under Schedule 1 and/or are rare in the county and may be vulnerable to persecution/disturbance. It is an offence to intentionally disturb any of the Schedule 1 species during the breeding season without a valid licence. This also applies to anyone taking photographs of these species at or near the nest or whilst feeding dependant young.

Some species may be found breeding at numerous locations however please keep information on these species limited to well-known sites (e.g. Labrador Bay for Cirl Bunting, Aylesbeare Common for Dartford Warbler). Others may be found as obvious migrants and as such can also be posted eg coastal Ring Ouzel and passage waders, or raptors eg Little Ringed PloverRed Kite or Marsh Harrier.

If you have any doubts and think there is a chance there may be breeding, either because of the habitat or behaviour of the bird(s) then do not post, but please submit your records to the County Recorder and the RSPB.

Please be aware that egg collecting and other forms of persecution remain very real hazards for some of Devon’s birds.

Posted April 10th at 4:50 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

Monday 20th August 2018

Ugbrooke Park

I took the opportunity to visit on one of the few days when it's possible to enter Ugbooke (near Chudleigh) this afternoon. The lake is a typical Capability Brown affair, with almost no aquatic vegetation and - in keeping with the estate's shooting enterprise - brim full of Mallard - at least 800 of them! That's an exceptional total for Devon, but I'm sure most (if not all) of these were reared for shooting and released in advance of the season, which starts on 1 September. With them was a Great Crested Grebe (my first ever in Chudleigh parish) and 2 Coot, but nothing else. There were up to 9 Stock Doves together in the surround old trees - in fact I saw them more often than Wood Pigeon, which doesn't happen very often!

Posted yesterday at 5:28 pm by Dave Smallshire in General Birding


2 Knot on Horsey am.

Posted yesterday at 4:27 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Blaxton Meadow.

A few hours before high tide produced the following. Common Sandpiper 2, Redshank 114, Greenshank 4, Little Grebe 1, Grey Heron 11. On the meadow were Little Egret 18, Curlew 41, Oystercatcher 4, Shelduck 1,  BHG 345 and Black Tailed Godwit 7.

Posted yesterday at 1:07 pm by Martin Phillips in General Birding

Bridleway between Lee Moor and Plympton

One Yellow Wagtail feeding with Meadow Pipits in field before you reach the down. Yellow Wagtail then flew east. At least five Spotted Flycatcher in bushes along the bridleway before you reach Crownhill Down. 

Bridleway is off B3417 between Plympton and Lee Moor.

Posted yesterday at 7:50 am by Chris E in General Birding

Lyme Bay Boat Trip - 19 Aug

As mentioned by Nigel we saw this Herring Gull this morning that only had a stub of a beak.  It seemed to have no problem feeding so its survival doesn't seem to be in doubt, but its ability to preen has to be in question.  Given the condition of its plumage though it doesn't look like a lack of attention but that the bird has had a very serious encounter with fishing gear which it was lucky to survive. 

Herring Gull 
Herring Gull

Posted yesterday at 12:10 am by Chris Marcol in General Birding

Sunday 19th August 2018

South Efford Marsh

Late afternoon. Osprey still present, busy catching fish out in the estuary just downstream of the marsh. Also 2 Green Sandpipers, 3 Greenshank, 14 Black-tailed Godwits and 23 Curlew.

Posted August 19th at 9:12 pm by Andy Smith in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Blue billed duck

Blue billed duck seen between Exe bridges in Exeter is a Fulvous Whistling Duck.

Posted August 19th at 8:31 pm by Ian Muir in General Birding

Exe bridges blue billed duck

Unusual blue billed duck between the two Exe bridges in Exeter. I assume it is an escapee. It has a yellow band on leg.

Posted August 19th at 8:20 pm by Ian Muir in General Birding

Sparrowhawk in Brixham garden

We have a bird feeding station midway between two thick shrubs. Our resident House Sparrow flock numbers about two dozen and they use these shrubs as an emergency refuge. This Sparrowhawk (female?) spent ten minutes trying to winkle one out but with no luck this time.

Sparrowhawk trying for House Sparrow Sparrowhawk
Sparrowhawk trying for House Sparrow              Sparrowhawk

Posted August 19th at 7:52 pm by Bill Coulson in General Birding

Plym Estuary

On the high tide, a nice gathering of waders along the Embankment, included 4 Ringed Plovers (3 juvs & ad), Common Sandpiper, 6 Turnstones and 2 Dunlins.

Also 2+ juv Yellow-legged Gulls & 2 Black-tailed Godwits on Blaxton Meadow with 43 Curlews, 4 Oystercatchers, 19 Little Egrets, Stock Dove, juv Shelduck and a juv Mediterranean Gull.

Posted August 19th at 7:34 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Broadsands "Ringing query"

Broadsands this afternoon, four Mediterranean Gulls all young birds.

Two juvenile Herring Gulls seen, one very tatty around the head, both birds were sporting bright green plastic poultry type tags on their left leg.


All gulls put up by a low flying young Buzzard..


Posted August 19th at 7:27 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Lyme Bay boat trip from Brixham

The large feeding flock of gannets encountered 2.5 km SE of Mansands on the way south was one of the highlights of the trip. Nigel's count of 50+ is a conservative estimate, I counted 30, then we steamed south into a much larger flock. A very smart pale juvenile Mediterranean Gull attended the chum off Scabbacombe Head. It stayed for some time, doing well among among the larger gulls - must have been hungry. Sadly the storm petrel posed well for all of about a second before hopping over a wave crest and vanishing, so no picture.

Gannet flock 2.5 km SE of Mansands Mediterranean Gull, juvenile
Gannet flock 2.5 km SE of Mansands                  Mediterranean Gull, juvenile

Posted August 19th at 6:57 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

Lyme Bay boat trip

Trip out into Lyme bay from Brixham was restricted by the rough seas and strong winds so ended not going out to far. Birds seen also refelect the rough seas. 50+ Gannets, 4 Manx Shearwater in the distance, Many Great black-backed Gulls, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls , Kittiwake, a very nice Med Gull very close to the boat so hope somebody will post picture and a very quick sighting of a Storm Petrel. Also seen a Herring Gull with a stub  of a beak, must find great difficulty in feeding. Lets hope next Sunday is a better day!!!

Posted August 19th at 4:59 pm by Nigel Smallbones in General Birding

Canada Goose

Seeing Rupert's comments re Cackling Canada Goose. I'm no expert, but it is the time of the year when this year's juveniles are out and about and they are smaller than the adults (as his photo shows). So could this just be a juvenile? Anyone with more knowledge on the range of Lesser Canada's prepared to comment?

Posted August 19th at 2:03 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Upper Torridge Estuary

Upper Torridge yesterday 18 Aug

15 Common Sandpipers

1 Barnacle Goose

1 possible Cackling Goose. Smaller than Canadas, stubby bill, yelping call

Barnacle Goose? Cackling GooseCanada and ?Cackling Goose
Barnacle Goose          ? Cackling Goose                Canada and ?Cackling Goose

Eds: looks more like a juv Canada Gosoe not fully grown yet.

Posted August 19th at 9:34 am by Rupert Kirkwood in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


A flock of 7 Cattle Egrets past Orcombe Point @0635, and then towards the Warren, presumably continuing upriver? Also the juvenile Black Tern still off the seafront with c30+ Common Tern. Also 5 Common Scoter and 7 Balearic Shearwater past Orcombe.

Posted August 19th at 8:12 am by Matt Knott in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Saturday 18th August 2018

Steve H’s Ringed Med Gull - Green RLN4

For further information: I saw this gull on Thursday at Broadsands - it is a gull I had seen before in September last year. I sent off my most recent sighting to the French ringing project and heard back promptly.  The gull was ringed as a chick in Jablines, just outside Paris in June 2015. It has been sighted several times in Torbay, summer and winter, since December 2016.  Seems to love the Bay! 

Posted August 18th at 8:02 pm by Alistair King in General Birding

River Dart at Dartington

Sitting hidden on the riverbank below the deer park we watched a pair of Dipper working hard catching  large quantities of Caddisfly larvae. 

A family group of five young Goosander appeared swimming upstream fishing as they went.  They all took off when a group of kayakers came downstream and were followed into the air by an adult female who had been hidden under the trees on the far bank.

Dipper feedingGossander five of six family groupGoosander, one of the family group
Dipper feeding      Gossander five of six family group      Goosander, one of the family group

Posted August 18th at 7:27 pm by Bill Coulson in General Birding

Tawny owl ~ South Brent

Some images of two of the four young Tawny owls released overnight on the 16th August (four of seven that came in as very young chicks) tucked away in the tree's above their release pen, they took all of the food placed out for them last night, not easy to spot but some owl poop on the ground gave them away..


Posted August 18th at 6:20 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Paignton coastal

Marine Parade, Paignton ~ Ten Oyster Catcher, one Little Egret, one juvenile GBBG, one unidentified small wader species lifted from the rocks and flew around the headland one first summer Mediterranean Gull, twenty plus Blacked Headed Gulls.

Broadsands beach not less than eight Mediterranean Gulls two of which were ringed one adult with green ring RLN4 and a metal tag ring which begins FS and ends with 9 3082 and is stamped Musee Paris. A first summer bird with yellow ring 2L14 and a metal tag ring containing the numerals 76712. Later both birds photographed while stood together.

Four GBBG's,two being juveniles, three Mute Swan, two Little Egret, one Oyster Catcher, one Fulmar and a distant Gannet.




Posted August 18th at 2:37 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Blaxton Meadow.

A walk around the estuary a few hours before high tide produced the following. Turnstone 7, Black T Godwit 1, Common Sandpiper 6, Dunlin 3, Ringed Plover 9, Redshank 48 and Grey Heron 11. On the meadow were Curlew 45, Oystercatcher 6, BHG c310, Shelduck 2 imm and 18 Little Egret.

Posted August 18th at 11:43 am by Martin Phillips in General Birding

Coypool Plymouth 17.08.18

Single swift heading south over park and ride at Coypool at 20.05

Posted August 18th at 7:08 am by Graham Devine in General Birding

Friday 17th August 2018

North Devon Gannet

Hi all, I was very happy to see my first Gannet today while surfing at Woolacombe this afternoon. I’ve always loved them but have never seen one in person, it was extra special as I was in the water with it! Great perspective watching it dive into the water only a few metres away! 

Have a good day,


Posted August 17th at 8:34 pm by Ryan Watts in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

One or 2 juv Yellow-legged Gulls on Blaxton Meadow with 43 Curlews, 3 Oystercatchers, 18+ Little Egrets & Stock Dove. Elsewhere, 4 Ringed Plovers, 2 Greenshanks & 2 Common Sandpipers.

Thanks to Ranger Luke Dodimead, et al. for a constructive meeting about wildlife on Blaxton Meadow. 

Posted August 17th at 7:13 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding


1 Sanderling, 1 Turnstone, 3 Dunlin and 2 Common Sandpiper along the beach by the sewage pipe and 2 Whimbrel, 6 Curlew and 47+ Oystercatcher with 4 Little Egrets at Wembury Point this morning.

A gull melee feeding along the high tide surfline, mostly Black Headed Gulls including many juveniles and with Herring Gulls and a few great black backed Gulls, 10+Mediterrranean Gulls (6 Juv/1st Winter, 2 2nd Summer and 2 Adult Winter) and a juvenile Yellow Legged Gull.

On land a Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 10+ Whitethroat, Swallow over

Posted August 17th at 6:47 pm by Stuart Green in General Birding

BGM 17-08-18 - Green Sandpiper

Showing very well close to the hide was a single Green Sandpiper, also noted Dunlins, Curlew, Whimbrel, Bar & Black tailed Godwits, common Sandpiper, knots & Lapwings among others

Posted August 17th at 6:30 pm by greg bradbury in General Birding

Fremington Pill

Glossy Ibis on Fremington Pill at 9.30 this morning. Possibly the same individual as spent last winter in the area. As the tide rose it flew to trees at the top end of the Pill in the company of 2 Little Egrets. Also on the Pill a Greenshank and c150 Redshank. Off the Quay  23 Mediterranean Gulls.

Posted August 17th at 5:16 pm by Roger Doble in General Birding

Staring into the Bottom of a Glass - Paignton, 16.8.18

When disturbed, Jersey Tigers often head for cover under branches, etc. This one headed through my front door, coming to rest halfway up the stairs. Wishing to set it free outside again, I covered it with a glass, getting the chance of these interesting shots.


Once freed, it landed on a window, producing this weird effect against the reflection on the glass.


Posted August 17th at 4:17 pm by Dave Holloway in Other Wildlife

Salcombe/Bolt Head

14 Med Gulls feeding off Fir Wood. Fulmar E.

Posted August 17th at 2:25 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Thursday 16th August 2018

Taw Estuary - Ashford Sewage treatment works

 1 Glossy Ibis photographed through the scope searching for food, preening & washing. Still present when I departed for home at 18.30.

Posted August 16th at 7:36 pm by Rob Jutsum in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Berry Head

About 15 Common Dolphins, including several youngsters, lingering and performing well most of the morning. Four Harbour Porpoises also eventually appeared. Also Hummingbird Hawk-moth and 2 Clouded Yellows.

Quieter bird-wise, but - 3 Balearic & 9 Manx Shearwaters, 3 Common Terns, 2 Arctic Skuas & 10 Mediterranean Gulls.

Posted August 16th at 5:20 pm by Pete Aley in Other Wildlife

R.Taw. Barnstaple. Pottington to Ashford Sewage Works. 1325

Black-tailed Godwit 2; Ruff 1 juvenile male; Med Gull 2.

The Heron count on Penhill Marsh was slightly down at 46.

Posted August 16th at 4:34 pm by Maurice Clements in General Birding

Exmouth seafront

The Black Tern (presumably same bird present around the Exe for its 9th day), still offshore early afternoon , viewable from near lifeboat station, with large flock (c50) of Sandwich and Common Terns

Posted August 16th at 2:23 pm by Mark Bailey in General Birding

Wednesday 15th August 2018

Kingfishers River Plym

Highlight of  walk around Saltram Area was a nice pair of Kingfishers appearing to have a scrap near the Weighbridge Bridge on the River Plym at Marsh Mills

Posted August 15th at 8:07 pm by Michael Spencer in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh

Spoonbill, marsh harrier, green sandpiper, spotted redshank and common sandpiper all showing well this morning on the high tide with whimbrel, lapwing, dunlin, greenshank, curlew, black tailed godwit and redshank. Also a 1st winter Mediterranean gull, a raven, stock doves, partial summer plumaged bar tailed godwit and 4 juvenile tufted ducks along with the odd looking albino gull species that has been seen here and in Torbay and the regular psycho lesser black backed gull spooking the dunlin.

From the viewing platform a flyover peregrine, 3 Mediterranean gulls (2 juv, 1 1st winter), a harbour seal and an osprey fishing off Mudbank at Exmouth before flying off high towards Haldon carrying a fish.

From the train the Slavonian grebe was seen off Cockwood.

Posted August 15th at 7:49 pm by Stuart Green in General Birding

Horsey Island

Cycled down the Toll Road for the first time in many months this evening to see what was on the devastation. As I clambered up the embankment a Curlew and a Greenshank flew from the stream but not much else immediately visible. However on closer inspection there were a lot of smaller waders on the sand bank. Out with the telescope. They were all Dunlin and Ringed Plover in about 40:60 split. Several hundred of each.

As I cycled back up the Toll road a wet area off to the left (landward) side looked promising, and suddenly two Green Sandpipers flew off, calling. First I've seen this year.

Posted August 15th at 7:28 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Anchorwood Bank, R.Taw, Barnstaple. 1330.

Black-tailed Godwit 35.

Common Sandpiper 8

Ringed Black-headed Gull. White ring with black alpha/numerics " 20V5" on left Tarsus. Metal I/d ring on right tarsus. Details submitted to project leader. Awaiting history.


Posted August 15th at 4:46 pm by Maurice Clements in General Birding

Mimic Hover Fly

A Hornet Mimic Hoverfly seen on the Buddleia next to the bench on  Isley Marsh.

Also present were a few Painted Ladies and Small tortoiseshells. Sorry about the quality of the photo taken with my phone.

Hornet Mimic Hoverfly  Hornet Mimic Hoverfly
Hornet Mimic Hoverfly                                       Hornet Mimic Hoverfly

Posted August 15th at 2:42 pm by Richard Yeats in Other Wildlife

Braunton marshes

Distant view of a Marsh Harrier, and a wisp (!) of Snipe

Marsh Harrier Snipe
Marsh Harrier                                                         Snipe

Posted August 15th at 12:58 pm by Alan Denzey in General Birding

Tuesday 14th August 2018

Velator etc.

In the reserve this morning a large flock of Tits including at least 8 Long-tailed and a couple of Coal Tits. A Kestrel hovered briefly over and a Grey Wagtail came in and shortly after- left.

This evening I walked around Sherpa Marsh. 2 Little Egrets on the Caen, along with a loafing flock of mostly Black-headed Gulls on the Saltmarsh. Several of each of Sand and House Martin along with the Swallows. 1 Snipe, 2 Lapwing and 5 Greenshank. At least 7 Swifts hawking insects over the reed-bed. Best however was a bird of prey over by the RMB Chivenor base. A dark female (or juv) Marsh Harrier. It quickly became involved with one of the local Buzzards which although bulkier lost out in manouverability. The Harrier gave as good as it got. Looking back at it a few minutes later I saw there were three birds of prey. 2 Buzzards and then not one, but 2 Marsh Harriers. Both dark with the pale yellow caps. Finally as I passed the reserve a 3rd Little Egret flew over and a flock of approx. 50 Swallows were nearby.

Posted August 14th at 9:11 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Soar & Slapton

Very little sign of migration at Soar - just a Tree Pipit and a handful of Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs.

At Slapton beach, 100+ Mediterranean Gulls (mainly juvs), juv Yellow-legged Gull, c10 Kittiwakes, 13 Sanderlings and a Dunlin.

Posted August 14th at 8:34 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh

Present for morning high tide. 

Spoonbill Juv, Marsh Harrier Juv & Ad Glossy Ibis (which dropped in for half hour) were highlights.

Otherwise 325 Redshank, 21 Greenshank, Spotted Redshank, 250 Curlew, 8 Whimbrel, 12 Lapwing, 45 Dunlin, a Bar-tailed Godwit, Green Sandpiper & Common Sandpiper. Also plenty of Black-tailed Gidwits. 

10 Gadwall, 4 Shoveler & 4 Little Grebe (2 Ads & 2 Juvs)

Posted August 14th at 7:50 pm by Steve Cox in General Birding

Hartland point to Hartland quay

Fulmers, distant Gannets and Manx Shearwaters. Along the coast plenty of Whitethroats, Linnets and Stonechat. 1 Wheatear 1 Rock Pipit and Kestrel.

Posted August 14th at 2:47 pm by A.COLLINGE in General Birding

Anchorwood bank Barnstaple

Nice to see 30 Blackwits feeding on the mudflats on the receding tide this morning 11:30.

Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit

Posted August 14th at 1:15 pm by Roy Churchill in General Birding

Velator Quay

Still a few Swifts flying in the strong breeze, and a possible Merlin hunting over the reed beds near the reserve.

Posted August 14th at 1:12 pm by Alan Denzey in General Birding

Monday 13th August 2018

Bowling Green Marsh

A very good evening at RSPB Bowling Green Marsh, the reported Spoonbill was present and very active at one point flying in close to the hide, two Green Sandpiper one of which was very vocal, at long last caught up with the Spotted Redshank which is now in non breeding plumage.

Five Whimbrel, two Bar Tailed Godwit, a Common Sandpiper, one Tufted Duck.

A growing flock of Starlings was harassed by a Sparrow Hawk (one of two seen)

From the viewing platform 45 plus Dunlin and 64 Curlew, numerous Redshank and Black Tailed Godwit, a Glossy Ibis flew low over the platform towards the Goat walk and the Exe estuary and two Kingfisher chasing each other. Most of the waders lifted as the tide came in and moved onto BGM.


Posted August 13th at 10:12 pm by Steve Hopper in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


A Swift was spotted flying in a westerly direction this evening (19:20), over Preston, Paignton, followed by 2 House Martins.

Posted August 13th at 8:33 pm by Stephen Huggins in General Birding

Upper Tamar Lake

Low water level = mud, and conditions at the top end are ideal for waders. This evening at 7.00 were 1 Pectoral Sandpiper, 2 Wood Sandpiper, 1 Ruff, 13 Dunlin and 3 Ringed Plover. Surprisingly only 2 Common Sandpiper around the perimeter of the lake.

Posted August 13th at 8:14 pm by Roger Doble in General Birding


Single swift seen this afternoon about 3 pm halfway between Appledore and Northam.

Posted August 13th at 5:28 pm by Robert Morgan in General Birding

A successful early morning at Broadsands

A pleasant autumnal morning produced several Mediterranean gulls, plus one solitary dunlin. All in all a good start to the week.

Posted August 13th at 4:48 pm by PHILIP L. FAIRCLOUGH in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

New in, Whinchat & 4 Willow Warblers. Also: Spotted Flycatcher, Stock Dove, Shag, 3 Common Sandpipers, 3 or 4 Greenshanks, 23 Little Egrets & 20 Mandarin Ducks.

Posted August 13th at 2:58 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh

Good number of birds this bright morning. Curlew, Redshank, Spotted Redshank, Dunlin, Spoonbill, Common Sandpiper, Marsh Harrier, etc

Spotted Redshank     Spotted Redshank
Spotted Redshank                                        Spotted Redshank

Posted August 13th at 2:27 pm by Colin Scott in General Birding

East Soar

Relatively quiet this morning: 300 Herring Gull, 3 LBB Gull, Green Woodpecker - migrant, 40 Swallow, 23 Stonechat, 3 Wheatear, 11 Whitethroat, 8 Willow Warbler, 54 Goldfinch.

Posted August 13th at 1:59 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

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