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It's the breeding season again, please do not publish news or photographs of scarce or rare birds that may be breeding - you could be putting them at risk.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

Thursday 19th October 2017

Scabbacombe Head

Cloudy and quite foggy this morning. Over 200 G.B.B..Gulls on Scabbacombe beach. A flock of 45+ Goldfinches flying around and 30+ Meadow Pipits. Highlight was the Yellow-browed Warbler in the small woods on the northern side of the Head, also a couple of Firecrest nearby. Lots of Pied Wagtails in the ploughed fields and 2 Wheatears.

Posted 3:30 pm by Paul Albrechtsen in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh

1 Curlew Sandpiper and 4 Ruff from the hide this lunchtime.

Posted 2:23 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding

Southdown Farm to East Soar.

Much quieter than recent days with just 4 Firecrest, 6 Goldcrest, 2 Ring Ouzel, 44 Blackbird, 2 Sparrowhawk, 8 Chiffchaff, 4 Siskin, 47 Goldfinch & Redpoll heard overhead.

Posted 2:09 pm by Rob Macklin in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Berry Head

Some great October migrant weather light SE. wind, overcast and a bit of mizzle in the air: 2 Yellow-browed Warblers along middle path up from the Berry Head Hotel, 1 late Willow Warbler in the quarry, 10 Firecrest around the head, 42 Goldcrest, 13 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap and 1 Wheatear. Overhead nothing spectacular but 1 Merlin, 6 Siskin, 1 Redpoll, 2 Swallows - surprisingly no Redwing

    Willow Warbler Bry Hd 19 Oct 2017 ML  Yellow-Browed WarblerWarbler Bry Hd 19 Oct 2017 ML

Late Willow Warbler                                                                   Yellow-browed Warbler

Posted 12:17 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding

Sidmouth, late news

Late yesterday afternoon, 14 Portuguese man o' war jellyfish stranded along the west end of Sidmouth seafront and just round the headland on Jacobs Ladder beach. According to a local these were washed up a couple of days ago. Also 4 rock pipit and 8 turnstones (on the sea front breakwaters).

Portuguese man o' war jellyfish
Portuguese man o' war jellyfish

Posted 11:31 am by Chris Proctor in Other Wildlife

Wednesday 18th October 2017

Sherpa / Wrafton scrape + Horsey

Called in at the scrape on my way to Horsey & 2 Ruff present.

A further 18 Ruff on Horsey Island so we now have at least 20 Ruff on the Taw & Torridge Estuary.

Also of note 130 + Golden Plover resting on Horsey.

Posted yesterday at 7:19 pm by Rob Jutsum in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Southdown Farm to East Soar plus Prawle Point

RM & R.Thomas: Hawfinch over willows at East Soar, Firecrests at 34, 17 Goldcrest, Snipe, 2 Golden Plover, thrush influx with 4 Ring Ouzel, 72 Blackbird, 23 Song Thrush & 7 Redwing, 3 Grey Wagtail, Robin 41 at Soar Mill Valley, Wheatear, Blackcap 8, Chiffchaff 9, Coal Tit (migrant) & 15 Yellowhammer.

Late pm at Prawle Point: 36 Firecrest in/around car park & reserve, 9 Goldcrest, 8 Chiffchaff.

Later at Harleston, Black Redstart on roof of car port.

Posted yesterday at 7:08 pm by Rob Macklin in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Southdown Farm (Soar)

Lunchtime visit - amongst the Firecrests and Blackcaps 2 Lesser Whitethroats popped up, one halfway down the valley, the other near the lower gate. The second bird was a good candidate for a Siberian/Eastern race - features included pale sandy tertials and the extent and pattern of white on the spread tail looked good! Also Ring Ouzel, Water Rail and 2 Bullfinches. The Yellow-browed Warbler was reported still present near the East Soar Car Park.

Posted yesterday at 6:55 pm by David Cope in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Prawle Point. ( Reserve )

18 FIRECRESTS,this morning ,in and around the reserve and car park. 6 caught and ringed, but far too windy for efficient mist netting. Not much else on site, 6 Goldcrests ( 3 caught and ringed ) 2 Blackcaps and 7 Robins.

1st. Yr. male,taken in better light than yesterday's photo's
1st. Yr. male,taken in better light than yesterday's photo's

Posted yesterday at 5:35 pm by Alan K Searle in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Cadover Bridge-Trowlesworthy Warren area Dartmoor 18-10-2017

Walk past Trowlesworthy Warren house up along the Plym River, produced Snow Buntings 2 ( m,s at around 12:30) grid ref SX 566 651, Ring Ouzles 5(1m + 4f), same area, Ravens 25(in one group), Mistle Thrush 2, Blackbirds,Skylarks 2, Meadow Pipits 10, Stonechats, Goldcrests 3, Kestrel, Buzzards 2, Starlings 50, Green woodpecker, Golden Plover 300(over Gutter Tor area).

Posted yesterday at 5:12 pm by Colin & Joyce Hannaford in General Birding


A Hawfinch around East Soar willows first thing before flying south, 33+ Firecrests, 25 Goldcrests, 3 Ring Ouzels, Whinchat, 12 Chiffchaffs, c80 Golden Plovers, 9 Song Thushes, 2 Redwings and a Redpoll over (presumed Lesser).

Posted yesterday at 3:56 pm by Pete Aley in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Tuesday 17th October 2017

Slapton tonight

Short Eared Owl took off from beach between memorial and Strete Gate and flew off over the higher ley as we were driving past

Posted October 17th at 9:59 pm by Timothy Clyburn in General Birding

Lundy Island.

20+ Guilemotts on outward trip from Ilfracombe.   Two Hawfinch in Millcombe, good views of f.    M.flew across valley into Sycamores.   50+ Siskin, 25Swallows flying south.    Blackcap and several Goldcrests.    Sparrowhawk, f.over Millcombe.     Return journey,   Great N. Diver still in landing bay,  22 Common Scoter in single flock,  45+ Guillemots, single Kittiwake and 3Harbour porpoise.     

Posted October 17th at 8:44 pm by Malcolm Shakespeare in General Birding


Having farmland right behind the garden here in the Wembworthy area we are blessed with good numbers of Goldfinches year round , but today we were invaded by a record count of 64 on the feeders at the same time. A sight to behold .

Posted October 17th at 8:13 pm by Mike Luckson in General Birding

East Soar

Another great day on the patch with Richard & Sarah Thomas: highlight was leaf warbler showing the characteristics of Hume's Warbler but still being considered.Otherwise still stacks of Firecrests with 43 counted (inc.11 in Soar Mill Valley), Merlin, Sparrowhawk, Water Rail, 2 Grey Wagtail, 8 Chiffchaff, Brambling, many Siskin & Redpoll overhead on call and to cap it all a Corn Bunting by the car park seen by Richard early am, great bird for here but he is used to them in Cambridge!!

Tomorrow promises NE overnight followed by SE in the morning!!

Posted October 17th at 7:08 pm by Rob Macklin in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Shipley Bridge to the Avon Dam

This morning I led a Field trip for five members of the mid Devon branch of the DBWPS from Shipley Bridge to the Avon Dam and back, a total of 35 species observed and identified the best return I have ever had for that area.

Several high lights the best for me was my first ever parish Firecrest which showed remarkably well at close quarters just up from the old pump house.


(All images taken & supplied by Tom Wallace)

A flock of 17 Golden Plover passed the Plymouth side of the Dam while we were watching three female Goosander.

A Merlin just as we left the top of the dam possibly put up the Golden Plover we then observed as we came back down several sightings in numbers up to 200 birds.

Treecreeper, Nuthatch, Yellow Hammer, Great Spotted and Green Woodpeckers, Kestrel, Dipper, numerous Goldcrest more than I have seen up there previously.

All in all a very enjoyable and worthwhile visit.

Posted October 17th at 5:09 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Start Point

At least 20 Firecrests around the farm at this mornings ringing session (9 caught and ringed). Presumably,either lingerers from the incredible influx reported by Perry S. on Sunday at Start, and Mike L. and others at Soar; or fresh birds from further East in Dorset,where 150+ (68 ringed) were recorded at Portland. The birds were incredibly active,feeding (many hovering ) on the undersides of sycamore leaves,and ignoring the willows. They did not react well to playback,so I suspect there first interest was food. I am speculating that this influx was part of a South Westerly movement on the French side of the Channel, and that these birds were drifted over to S.W. England by the southerly wind which occurred during Saturday night (classic drift migration ).

1st. Yr.male firecrest 1st.Yr. fem.
1st. Yr.male firecrest                                                                       1st.Yr. fem.

Posted October 17th at 3:41 pm by Alan K. Searle in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Berry Head

Most of the Firecrests seem to have moved on today with 6 still present around the coastguard station and in quarry, also 7 Goldcrest, 3 Chiffchaff, 8 Blackcap, 2 Coal Tit and 12+ Blackbird. Overhead: 6 Redwing, 7 Song Thrush, 2 Reed Bunting, 16 Siskin, 24 alba wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail, 10 House Sparrow (in a single flock), 4 Bullfinch, 19 Chaffinch, 2 Skylark, 16 Meadow Pipit, 25 Goldfinch, 14 Linnet and 4 Greenfinch.


Yesterdays (Monday) seawatching at Berry Head yesterday from Dave Dawe: Berryhead,1 Sooty Shearwater,10 Balearic,15 Bonxie,9 Arctic Skua,1 RT Diver,4 Med Gull.14 Com Scoter and C35 House Martin. There were also a couple of Puffins

My totals from the headland were: 1 Black Redstart, 1 Wheatear, 14 Firecrest, 3 Goldcrest, 5 Chiffchaff.  

Posted October 17th at 2:30 pm by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Bowling Green Marsh 16 October.

Fabulous display by one of the 2 Marsh Harrier seen this afternoon. Also a Peregrine through which landed briefly- pretty sure it was unringed. Also two Ruff, 1 Curlew Sandpiper, 1 Little Stint and 1 Dunlin. 

Curlew and Curlew Sandpiper Marsh Harrier Peregrine
Curlew and Curlew Sandpiper                               Marsh Harrier                                       Peregrine

Posted October 17th at 1:18 am by Bob Telford in General Birding

Monday 16th October 2017

Wembury Bay

5 Firecrests, 2 Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits and Whimbrel.

Posted October 16th at 7:35 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Marsh harrier and Peregrine Falcon BGM

Marsh Harrier video -

Peregrine video -

Marsh Harrier Peregrine
Marsh Harrier                                              Peregrine

Posted October 16th at 7:03 pm by Martin Rooney in General Birding

Start Point

Seawatch 07:20-14:30 with Richard Thomas. Surprisingly sheltered down by the lighthouse, few birds going through and conditions very clear. Highlights included 3 Balearic Shearwaters, 3 Great Skuas, 3 Pomarine Skuas, Arctic Skua, 2 unidentified Skua ( Pomarine / Arctic ), 2 Common Scoter and 2 Mediterranean Gulls. Merlin frequently seen around the headland, Black Redstart, 4 Firecrests and a couple Chiffchaffs in the tamarisks. 4 Swallows seen in the afternoon. Richard picked up the bird of the day, a superb Leach's Petrel heading south close in at 09:33.

Posted October 16th at 4:59 pm by Perry Sanders in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Sunday 15th October 2017


About 25 Firecrests around the lower car park near the Coastguards Prawle at 6 pm this evening

Posted October 15th at 9:30 pm by John Walters in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

30 Curlews and 50 Redshanks on the pool with a Greenshank and 7 Oystercatchers. Also Common Sandpiper, Kingfisher, Ring-necked Parakeet, 12 Little Egrets, 6+ Goldcrests and 2 Roe Deer.

Earlier in Lipson, 2 Firecrests.

Posted October 15th at 8:13 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding


An amazing 60 Firecrests today (49 at East Soar & 11 in & around Lower Soar), 2 Lapland Buntings over, female Merlin, 12 Godcrests, 7 Chiffchaff, 5 Blackcap, Wheatear, 15 Siskin, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker (migrants) 200 Skylark, and 5 Bulfinches. Searched for Dusky Warbler in pm but no sign. Back at Harleston Goshawk over garden heading for Slapton - must be genuine migrant!

Posted October 15th at 7:02 pm by Rob Macklin in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Otter Estuary and Slapton

Otter Estuary this morning brief views of a Yellow-browed Warbler in hedge before the pines on the north side (Phil Bentley). Onto Slapton in the afternoon where good flight views of the Bittern over the higher ley, 3 Firecrests at Strete Gate, 20+ Chiff-Chaff, 10+ Goldcrests and a Wheatear on the beach.

Posted October 15th at 6:43 pm by David Cope in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Bolberry to Overbecks

An amazing influx of Firecrest as noted elsewhere between the above sites I recorded 43 and did not cover areas around Southdown Farm that also looked promising, oddly relatively few Goldcrest with only 11 noted. also noted were 5 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap, 23 Stonechat. Overhead 1 Merlin, 5 Siskin, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 40+ Swallow and plenty of Skylark and Meadow Pipit.

Posted October 15th at 6:21 pm by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Start Point

Vis mig from 07:15-09:00 produced 2 Skylarks, 64 Meadow Pipits, 71 alba Wagtails, 43 Swallows, 2 House Martins, 1 Starling, 32 Chaffinches, 35 Siskins, 1 Lesser Redpoll, 690 Linnets and 650 Goldfinches. After that it was the day of the Firecrests with at least 20 in the lighthouse tamarisks. Birds elsewhere brought the total to at least 33. Also today Merlin during the vis mig watch and in addition to those seen on that watch a further 28 Swallows and 12 Siskins. Other migrants included 2 Great Spottted Woodpeckers, Grey Wagtail, Black Redstart ( lighthouse ), 10 Song Thrushes, 10 Blackcaps, 22 Chiffchaffs and 9 Goldcrests.

Posted October 15th at 4:51 pm by Perry Sanders in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

East Soar

An exciting morning! Brief views of a vocal Dusky Warbler in the low scrub just below the crags at the top of Starehole Valley (by the path sometimes known as the "Goat Track"). Present for just a few minutes at c8.45am then lost and unfortunately not re-located. Loosely part of a wave of Firecrests, Goldcrests and Chiffchaffs that were making their way up the valley. Astonishing numbers of Firecrests with a minimum of 15 during the morning and probably in excess of 20 altogether. Otherwise, 3 late Swallows, 2 Wheatears, a few Chiffchaffs, Goldcrests and Blackcaps and several Siskins.

Posted October 15th at 3:59 pm by Andy Smith in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Golden Plover - Cuckoo Ball, Dartmoor

Approx 1300hrs today a flock of 300+ Golden Plover seen from Cuckoo Ball, Wrangaton flying north from Western Beacon towards Butterdon Hill. Also in area, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Kestrel, 2 Buzzard and a few Meadow Pipits.

Posted October 15th at 3:13 pm by David Pakes in General Birding

East Soar

Latest news this morning: Either Radde's or Dusky Warbler below the willows at 0900. Andy Smith & Richard Thomas (top birder from Cambridge). on site at the moment, I can't get there!! Also at least 10 Firecrests & 2 Lapland  Buntings overhead. Sounds like an an amazing overnight influx!!

Posted October 15th at 10:05 am by Rob Macklin in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Seaton Wetlands

From ~14:00 to ~18:00, 14/10/17. From the Tower Hide, 1 Kingfisher flew past within seconds of entering the hide. 100+ gulls on the river, including at least 2 GBBG, 1 Cormorant fishing, several Oystercatcher and Black-tailed Godwits, and small numbers of distant Widgeon. To the south, 1 cattle egret in amongst the cattle with 1 little egret. On the marsh, 20+ each of Shelduck, Redshank, Lapwing, 1 Common Sandpiper and several Black-tailed Godwits. 3 Little Grebes and several Teal.

From the Island Hide, 1 Green Sandpiper, 1 Snipe, 1 Ruff, 1 Water Rail, 2 Coot, 1 Kestrel. Cetti's heard, not seen. From the Discovery Hut hide, 2 Water Rail.

From the Colyford Common hide, 100s of Canada Geese, Water Rail calling (not seen). Several meadow Pipits. As the light was starting to fade numbers of Starlings on the common were gradually increasing to 60+ (making us hopeful of some pre-roost displays) but were interrupted by a Peregrine.

On way to marsh, 5+ Swallows seen heading towards the coast by Seaton Jurassic centre.

Posted October 15th at 9:50 am by Benjamin Drummond in General Birding

Saturday 14th October 2017

Berry Head

While leading a birding day for TCCT during a short seawatch late morning and then lunchtime watch clocked up 2 Great and 3 Arctic Skuas

Posted October 14th at 6:19 pm by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Dawlish Warren - 14/10/17

12.00... 113 brents, 3 sandwich tern, 7 stonechat, drake common scoter (close in), (common seal)

Posted October 14th at 3:58 pm by nick patel in General Birding

Berry Head

Very quiet sea watching (winds dropped), the only "action" being: 1 Manxie (08:30); 1 Bonxie ((08:35); 1 adult Med Gull (0850); 1 Balearic Shearwater (10:00), all > S, + 24 Common Scoter landed off Torbay (09:15); a Hirundine flock, c.20 > W, mainly Swallow, some House Martin. A Firecrest in the woods brightened up a dull day.

Posted October 14th at 3:19 pm by Dave Holloway in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Start Point

Vis mig from 07:15-09:00 included Woodlark, 170 Meadow Pipits, 38 alba Wagtails, 136 Swallows, 7 House Martins, 19 Chaffinches, 710 Linnets, 640 Goldfinches, 43 Siskins, Lesser Redpoll and 3 Reed Buntings. Nothing around the farm except a couple Goldcrests.

Posted October 14th at 12:49 pm by Perry Sanders in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Friday 13th October 2017

Ford Park Cemetery

2 Firecrests this afternoon and also - in Central Park - 5 Goldcrests and a Chiffchaff.

Posted October 13th at 6:27 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Start Point / Hallsands

Windy and foggy at Start but sheltered and clear down at the light where there were 21 Blackcaps, 6 Goldcrests  and a Wheatear. Also a Usain Bolt type Sooty Shearwater south which made it from Berry Head in a record breaking 25 mins ( thanks for the call Mike ).Had a walk around Hallsands seeing Kingfisher, 2 Grey Wagtails, 4 Chiffchaffs and a handful of Swallows.

Posted October 13th at 3:01 pm by Perry Sanders in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Berry Head

A bit too windy for migrants on top of head, so concentrated on a short seawatch 0800-0930hrs: 1 Sooty Shearwater 3 Balearic Shearwater, (0900) 9 Great Skua,6 Arctic Skua. Only passerines of note were a Yellow Wagtail and Siskin over, 

Posted October 13th at 11:07 am by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Thursday 12th October 2017

exminster marshes - 12/10/17

16.00pm from turf path.... fem merlin, juv marsh harrier, peregrine, 2 stonechat, 2 raven, 6 siskin (over)

Posted October 12th at 9:39 pm by nick patel in General Birding


 Leeden Tor. 100 + Golden Plover, Snipe also Skylark.

Posted October 12th at 6:30 pm by Mave Goddard in General Birding


Migrants in short supply, but - Lesser Whitethroat, Ring Ouzel, 4+ Siskins, 13 Goldcrests & 8 Swallows.

Posted October 12th at 6:05 pm by Pete Aley in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


I was in the reserve when the shooting started. Unfortunately for them, the Canada Geese started flying out of the Great Field and over the Marshes, reserve and Wrafton Pond. I couldn't see but the shooting certainly reached a frenzy as they went over Sherpa.

Did see Peregrine and later this afternoon a Sparrowhawk over the reserve. 3 Ravens were around this morning too.

Posted October 12th at 5:39 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Sherpa / Wrafton scrape

12 Ruff present this morning with the Black tailed Godwits until the shooters turned up blasting there way through Sherpa Marshes disturbing everything including the non target species. People walking down the trail thought World War 3 had started!

Posted October 12th at 4:35 pm by Rob Jutsum in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Seaton Wetlands Thursday 12th

Four ruff at Colyton Common.  Also heard but not seen - two cettis warblers - two water rail.

Posted October 12th at 3:51 pm by Patrick Case in General Birding

Southdown Farm & Soar Mill Valley

Amazingly quiet in these warm conditions. Highlights just 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Peregrine, Great Spotted Woodpecker moving west, Skylark 150 - most grounded but some moving west, 70 Meadow Pipit, Swallow, 14 White Wagtail, 2 Goldcrest & 85 Linnet.

Posted October 12th at 3:12 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh 11th Oct

Early morning yesterday on rising tide. On Clyst, Bar-tailed Godwit 5, Grey Plover 3, Knot 1, Redshank 160. On Bowling Green Teal 480, Wigeon 105, Pintail 80 & Shoveler 15. Also 2 Ruff with in coming Blackwits. Finally on Goosemoor 31 Greenshank, 25 Dunlin & juv Curlew Sandpiper. A few Chiffchaff & Goldcrest around marsh and 70+ Goldfinch.

Posted October 12th at 7:22 am by Steve Cox in General Birding

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