General Birding

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


If you follow our Blog but are not currently a member of Devon Birds please consider joining Devon Birds to help us with the upkeep of running the website and this service as well as our valuable conservation work .

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

Friday 20th July 2018

Ilfracombe-Lundy day trip

Wednesday 18 July. At least 100 Manx Shearwater seen passing the harbour around 09.00 and many more seen from the Ferry. Also 1 Med Gull, Guillemots, Razorbills, Kittiwakes, Fulmar and Gannets from the ferry, at least 10 Juvenile Wheatears on the Island and 4+ Puffin seen on the sea to the west of Lundy. At least 10 Dolphin seen on the return at around 17.00.

Posted yesterday at 8:22 pm by Martin Sage in General Birding

Yesterday- Berry Head

16 members of DB (East Devon Branch) attended the fieldtrip to Berry Head where mammals and butterflies were the main interest.  Close up visit by Grey Seal was a treat. Distant sightings of dolphins.  Hummingbird Hawk moth by café and a family of Rock Pipit in quarry.  Otherwise conditions not good for birding but thanks to Geoff and the multiple experts (!) for leading us.

Our fieldtrip programme is now taking a break until September and next trip is to Axmouth Harbour on Wed 5 Sept.


Posted yesterday at 9:46 am by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding

Glossy Ibis Matford marsh

Following a lead on twitter I managed to get some reasonable shots of the Glossy Ibis that was present yesterday around 15.00 on Matford Marsh.

Glossy Ibis
Glossy Ibis

Posted yesterday at 9:41 am by John Wilkes in General Birding

Thursday 19th July 2018

Turf Locks

Osprey with fish flew over West. 8pm

Posted July 19th at 10:08 pm by Gerry Hooper in General Birding

Re Steve Hopper's Mystery Bird at Avon Damn

Willing to be corrected but it looks like a juv. Black Stork.

Posted July 19th at 9:59 pm by Dave Holloway in General Birding

19-07-18 Saltram Blaxton Marsh

On Blaxton Marsh a single Black-tailed Godwit amongst the Kerlews, also seen were several Swallows with their chicks, and a male Kingfisher


Posted July 19th at 8:17 pm by Greg Bradbury in General Birding

Air B'n'B in Paignton!

When my wife started Air B'n'B, some visitors took it literally!

  1. Guests availing themselves of the outside pool
  2.  Al Fresco dining
  3. Hailing a cab

1                                                                             2                                                             3

Posted July 19th at 6:07 pm by Dave Holloway in General Birding

Barnstaple.Taw Bridge to Bradiford Water. 0800-0930

Mediterranean Gull 2A; Greenshank 2 juveniles on Anchorwood Bank; Common Sandpiper 2 juveniles by outfall of Bradiford Water. There was 1 here yesterday.

Ringed Curlew - Red ring, right tibia plus metal I/d ring right tarsus. Yellow ring, left tibia. I believe rings had alpha/numerics but impossible to read.

Ringed Black-headed Gull. Yellow ring, left tarsus. Coded "2H93". Metal I/d ring right tarsus. First seen 09/07/18 at same location. North Thames Gull Ringing Group.

Posted July 19th at 2:39 pm by Maurice Clements in General Birding

East Soar

First returning Willow Warbler, at East Soar farm. Reed Warbler in the willows also prob.migrant. 250 Linnet, most on rape stubble & 85 house Sparrow inc. 60 feeding on access road. 

Non avian: Humming Bird Hawk-Moth, 7 Small Pear-bordered Fritillary, 2 Dark Green Fritillary, 7 Silver-washed Fritillary & 6 Purple Hairstreak.

Posted July 19th at 2:17 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Matford Marsh

The Glossy Ibis still present all morning on the main pool at Matford Marsh - viewable from the cycle path.

Posted July 19th at 12:06 pm by Mark Bailey in General Birding

Wednesday 18th July 2018


2 broods of Sparrows have successfully fledged from our Sparrow box  and joined by a Zebra Finch in the garden today. Sorry the photo isn't great. 

Posted July 18th at 10:04 pm by Chris Godfrey in General Birding

Elephant Hawk Moth Caterpillar

In my garden this afternoon.

That's a 2p coin for scale.
That's a 2p coin for scale.

Posted July 18th at 10:03 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Green Sandpiper ~ BGM

Three Green Sandpiper at RSPB Bowling Green Marsh this evening.

Little Grebe, Tufted duck and a flock of some 80 plus starings added to the evening.

Juvenile Mediterranean gull off of the viewing platform along with a curlew and a Whimbrell. 

Posted July 18th at 9:49 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

N Devon

Birds a bit thin on the ground, so insects instead today.

Garden Tiger Moth adjacent to Sherpa Marsh this evening.
Garden Tiger Moth adjacent to Sherpa Marsh this evening.

Posted July 18th at 9:38 pm by jon turner in General Birding

Breakfast on the Lawn - Paignton, 18.7.18

...But next morning we were surprised when three turned up for breakfast (last year they only had one)!


Posted July 18th at 9:18 pm by Dave Holloway in General Birding

Afternoon Tea on the Lawn - Paignton, 17.7.18

A pair of Herring Gulls that bred on a neighbour's roof are bringing their young down to our front garden to feed. Only polite really, since we do the catering. We thought they had two young (tbc)...


Posted July 18th at 6:54 pm by Dave Holloway in General Birding

Braunton Marsh toll road

Swallow feeding five fledglings, perched on Reedmace. 

Posted July 18th at 6:20 pm by Alan Denzey in General Birding

Matford Pools, Exeter

Record shot of Glossy Ibis taken this morning around 11.30am at main pool.  Best viewed from railway bridge.(Thanks to Martin of Exmouth for finding it for me second time around the pools). Also present were a Green Sandpiper and a Lesser Black-backed Gull.  Sparrow Hawk overhead earlier.  Moorhen with newly fledged young near swing bridge.

Posted July 18th at 12:26 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding


From yesterday a Chough in my garden at Northam about 10:30am.

Posted July 18th at 11:13 am by Rod Mudge in General Birding

Tuesday 17th July 2018


Working on a private house today and watching house Martins checking out potential nest sites.The owners have had artificial one's put up and 1 entered and started singing as much to say this looks ok and I won't have to build one!!!.Then they gave out a warning call shooting into the valley followed by a Hobby which thankfully missed this time.10:20.

Posted July 17th at 9:53 pm by Robert Marshall in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Three Whimbrels, 40 Curlews, 14 Little Egrets, 2 Common Sandpipers, female Red-crested Pochard, 15 Mandarin Ducks, Sparrowhawk (scarce here this year), Great Spotted Woodpecker, Whitethroat, Stock Dove & 30+ House Martins in a tree. Plenty of Gatekeepers still around & 3 Common Blues.

Posted July 17th at 9:16 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding


Green Sandpiper on the far shore this evening. Viewed from the main road. 

Posted July 17th at 6:45 pm by Chris E in General Birding

BGM Spoonbill

Showing well albeit distant all morning. 


Spoonbill  Spoonbill 

Spoonbill                                                   Spoonbill

Posted July 17th at 1:38 pm by Martin Rooney in General Birding

Lyme Bay boat trip from Brixham, Sunday 15th

Mediterranean gulls from Sunday's trip. This time we had 4 birds well offshore, which we have not observed before. 2 adults (different moult state) and a juvenile at the chum 6.5 miles off Berry Head and a 1st summer bird a mile off the headland on the way back in. Another 1 or 2 birds in the bay for a trip total of 5 or 6. Thanks to Mike Langman from comments on photos from this trip.

Mediterranean Gull, juvenile Mediterranean Gull, adult Mediterranean Gull, first summer
Mediterranean Gull, juvenile               Mediterranean Gull, adult              Mediterranean Gull, first summer

Posted July 17th at 12:22 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

Lyme Bay boat trip from Brixham, Sunday 15th

Couple of pics of birds from boat trip last Sunday 15th.

Manx shearwaters Juvenile guillemot
Manx shearwaters                                          Juvenile guillemot

Posted July 17th at 11:24 am by Chris Proctor in General Birding

Matford Marsh

Glossy Ibis flown into marsh in front of main viewing platform at 9am 

Posted July 17th at 9:08 am by Geoff Campbell in General Birding

Monday 16th July 2018

Lower Tamar Lake

The three Great Crested Grebe nests have produced, one with 3 chicks the other with at least 2, the third nest is still occupied but is looking unlikely.

Posted July 16th at 7:50 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh

A juvenile Spoonbill was at Bowling Green Marsh this lunchtime. Also 2 Green Sandpipers.

Posted July 16th at 4:06 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Two Whimbrels with 40 Curlews, an Oystercatcher, 13 Little Egrets and 3 juv Shelducks on Blaxton Meadow. Also 3 Common Sandpipiers, 69 Redshanks, 3 Greenshanks, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers (1 juv), 17 Mandarin Ducks, female Red-crested Pochard, 4 Stock Doves and a Roe Deer doe.

Posted July 16th at 2:08 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Sunday 15th July 2018

Swifts over Exwick

Closely packed group of c.40 Swifts over Exwick Sunday evening, along with c.10 House Martins. Still getting Siskins at the feeders (most days since the beginning of the year), plus 4 Greenfinch.

Posted July 15th at 11:30 pm by Martin Overy in General Birding


This afternoon a Mediterranean Gull briefly landed with 2 Black headed gulls on the boating lake. The wing tagged Great Black Backed Gull still present but was a swine to get a photo of, however the Herring Gull influx continues & luckily I found 2 leg ringed Herring Gulls, one is the first sighting in 9 years & outside of Gloucester.  Also this wknd I've seen the first Harbour Porpoise off Combe in over 2 months.  

Herring Gull with Leg ring Herring Gull Herring Gull
Herring Gull with Leg ring                       Herring Gull                                          Herring Gull

Posted July 15th at 9:17 pm by Martin Thorne in General Birding

Turf Locks

Osprey high over the river at 5:30

Posted July 15th at 7:44 pm by Gerry Hooper in General Birding

Hisley Wood

Morning at Hisley Wood saw only Nuthatches 5 and Treecreeper 1 but we did see17 species of Butterfly.  Silver-washed Fritillary were very numerous but most interesting were about a dozen White Admiral and about the same number of Purple Hairstreak mostly up in the Oaks.

White Admiral pair flyingWhite Admiral in low treePurplehairstreak 

White Admiral pair flying               White Admiral in low tree                        Purple hairstreak

Posted July 15th at 5:45 pm by Bill Coulson in General Birding

Lyme Bay Boat Trip

Some pictures from todays excellent trip

2 calves in middle of 3 protecting adult Common Dolphins                Common Dolphin mum and calf
2 calves in middle of 3 protecting adult Common Dolphins              Common Dolphin mum and calf

Posted July 15th at 5:14 pm by simon thurgood in General Birding

Lyme Bay Boat Trip From Brixham.

This mornings boat trip out into Lyme Bay was fairly productive with the following sighted. 24 Manx Shearwater, 1 sub Shearwater, 4 Fulmar, 3 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 10 Great Black-backed Gull, 200+ Herring Gull on the chum, 4 Med Gulls, 1 Razorbill, 1 Kittiwake, 11 Guillemots and 10 Gannets also 11 Harbour Porpoise. The best was as we approached Berry Head 25 Common Dolphin with 3 young which also jumped with the adults. A fantastic sight.

Posted July 15th at 3:46 pm by Nigel Smallbones in General Birding

East Soar

4 Sand Martins over Bolt Head - migrants. Family parties of wheatears indicate successful breeding season as does 30+ swallows at East Soar farm. Finally proved kestrel breeding.

Posted July 15th at 3:32 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Crowpoint at high tide.

We arrived at high tide with very limited shoreline,  but walked partway along the ridgepath and then shoreline rocks to the fisherman's huts. We saw a few black headed gull,  and many gulls on a tiny island within the horsey lagoon. Oystercatcher and 1 small dunlin with many sparrows on the ridgepath. 


Posted July 15th at 1:43 pm by Philip worth in General Birding


A few Black-headed Gulls chasing flying ants (?) over the reserve this morning, and in amongst them an adult Mediterranean Gull.

A couple of Sand Martins and a Swallow over the scrape.

Posted July 15th at 1:32 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Dawlish Warren NR

On the sea off of Dawlish Warren NR this morning one female Eider duck and not less than six Sandwich Terns.

Four Dunlin flew over the hide, Male Linnet with three fledged young, several juvenile Pied Wagtails, family group of Whitethroat near the car park.

In front of the hide not less than 28 Sandwich Terns.


Posted July 15th at 1:23 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Plymouth Boat Trip July 14th

The afternoon trip out of Plymouth saw lumpier seas after a flat calm morning trip but an adult Mediterranean gull sat on a post as we waited to pass through the Sutton Harbour lock gates was a good start.

Fulmars seen on The Mewstone at Wembury as we passed by and offshore gannets and Manx shearwaters noted.

Back in Sutton Harbour a very friendly grey seal enjoyed the last of our mackerel.

Thanks to Liz and the Plymouth Devon Birds branch for organising the day and to skipper Aaron on Happy Days for making the trip good fun. 

Mediterranean Gull Grey Seal Manx Shearwater from the morning trip
Mediterranean Gull                       Grey Seal                           Manx Shearwater from the morning trip

Posted July 15th at 8:48 am by Stuart Green in General Birding

Saturday 14th Plymouth Boat Trip

This morning 10 members of Plymouth Branch set off from Sutton Harbour on our inaugural 'mini pelagic' aboard 'Happy Days'  Fish oil and rubby-dubby were used to temp the birds in with an almost instant reaction from the Herring Gulls, but closely followed by a raft of 38 Manx Shearwaters. Juvenile Gannets came to look but weren't tempted. A family party of Guillemots came very close in. Back in The Sound we found at least 9 Mediterranean Gulls (5 ad spl, 1 2nd year and 3 juvs) in a party of B-H Gulls of all ages. In all 26 species were counted. A second trip in the afternoon may even have turned up a few more. 

Guillemot FamilyMediterranean & Common Gulls
Guillemot Family                              Mediterranean & Common Gulls

Eds: the 'Common' Gulls in the photo with the Mediterranean Gulls are actually Herring Gulls, note the size difference. 

Posted July 15th at 12:33 am by Chris Marcol in General Birding

Saturday 14th July 2018


25 med gulls this evening.11 ads,6 2s,6 fs 2 juv. 18:45

Posted July 14th at 7:52 pm by Robert Marshall in General Birding

West Charleton Bird Hide

Please be advised that the West Charleton Bird Hide is closed until Thursday 19th July for repairs to the steps and boardwalk

Posted July 14th at 6:29 pm by Mike Daniels in General Birding

A life on the ocean wave

Sorry for this late post. Fishing in a boat off Berry Head yesterday (Friday 13th) two pods of porpoise also fishing and leaping clear of the water, causing other fish to also leap. Beautiful day flat calm and little breeze. Tried to take photos but too far away and porpoise and boat going up and down too much!  Not much in the way of birdlefe except for some oystercatchers on Cod Rock.

Posted July 14th at 5:12 pm by Philip L. Fairclough in General Birding

Friday 13th July 2018


The influx of Gulls due to the ongoing heatwave continues. Lesser BBgu numbers up to 30.                     The last week I've noticed a Great Black Backed Gull that is a bit aberrant on its black plumage. On closer inspection it looks like it has both wings tagged with white tags and possibly a geo locatator. 

Posted July 13th at 9:09 pm by Martin Thorne in General Birding

Marsh Green, East Devon

Female Sparrow Hawk takes young Sparrow from my garden.  Nature can be so cruel.

Posted July 13th at 6:10 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding

Velator reserve

27 birds ringed this morning:

1 Wren

1 Dunnock

3 Chiffchaff

1 Willow Warbler

1 Whitethroat

2 Reed Warbler

10 Blackcap

1 Song Thrush

3 Blackbird

1 Greenfinch

1 House Sparrow

1 Great Spotted Woodpecker

1 Kingfisher (worth raking out all the duck-weed then!)

Of interest 4 Teal were flying about when I arrived and landed on the pond. They flew off and spent the morning out on the scrape.

Posted July 13th at 4:30 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Blaxton Meadow

On this mornings high tide the following were seen . Little Egret 10, Curlew 38, Whimbrel 2, Greenshank 3, Common Sandpiper 6, Redshank 74 and 2 Shelduck with 2 young.

Posted July 13th at 10:51 am by Martin Phillips in General Birding


8 swifts flying around the roof tops of exmouth town center.

Posted July 13th at 6:20 am by eric in General Birding

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