General Birding

Your 2019 sightings

Happy New Year

Many thanks to all observers that have already submitted their records for 2019, both through Birdtrack and Devon Birds. This is much appreciated.

For other records please could observers submit their sightings by 31st January.

Guidelines and links to recording forms can be found here

Please send your records to Karen Sims and any descriptions to Kevin Rylands

Best wishes and good birding for 2020

Posted January 10th at 10:53 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Sightings Page Guidelines

We welcome contributions from Devon Birds members and the general public. Please follow the guidelines on this page if you have something you would like to post on the blog, remembering to use the relevant subject.


For help with ID email photos to

Posted January 8th at 9:12 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Dawlish Warren

Continued erosion at Dawlish Warren means visitors are reminded to take extra care when visiting. Access along the site, to and from the bird hide and Warren Point, is via the beach only, with a risk of being cut off for a period either side of high water! Further information is available on the Teignbridge District Council website:

Posted November 9th, 2018 at 11:08 am by Mike Daniels 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

Thursday 23rd January 2020

South Brent ~ Sparrow sp

After an absence of three days the "Italian" type Sparrow sp has spent most of the day in and out of the garden feeding on fats balls at my feed station.

Also around the garden today nice to have a Song Thrush in and my first Treecreeper of the year.

Posted 5:42 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Exe Estuart cruise

A dull, but at least clear, Stuart Lines cruise this afternoon. Pride of place has to go to the Long-billed Dowitcher feeding with Black-tailed Godwits at Topsham and 30 Cattle Egrets (counts varied from 28 to 32, but I reckoned 30!) on a sandbank just north of Starcross at about 2.30pm. There were at least 22 Great Crested Grebes, plus the usual Slavonian at Cockwood and a Little Grebe and 2 Black Swans at Topsham. 3 Pintail were on Pole Sands (off the tip of Dawlish Warren) plus c130 of Lympstone Marines camp, where there were 12 Greylag Geese on the mud (distant, but I think that's what they were!); 50 Teal at Topsham and c30 Mergansers. A Peregrine was on Exmouth church tower. Waders were well scattered, especially between Turf and Lympstone, with 300+ Avocets (30+ at Powderham), several hundred Golden Plover, c100 Bar-tailed and several large flocks of Black-tailed Godwits (must have been well over 1000). 4 Greenshank scattered between DW and Powderham. A Grey Seal was hauled out onto a buoy at DW and another seal was seen briefly between Turf and Topsham.

Posted 4:54 pm by Dave Smallshire in General Birding

Ludwell Valley Park murmuration

There has been a decent sized starling murmuration over the playing fields in Ludwell Valley Park, Exeter recently - I am pretty bad at counting but I reckon it's of the order about 1000 birds and they have been performing really well this week, so worth going out at dusk to see if you're in the area :)

Posted 4:53 pm by Helen Whitall in General Birding

Exminster - Exeter

This morning on the marsh, one each of Marsh Harrier, Peregrine, Kestrel and Buzzard were spooking the Lapwings and ducks, and a Spotted Redshank was on the new scrape. In the estuary, the Golden Plover flock seemed to be bigger than ever (1000 plus?) and continued its mournful calling.

At Matford, a Sparrowhawk made it a five-raptor day, and my first local Gadwall of the Winter were on the main pond.

Along the canal, lots of singing Song Thrushes (plus the first Primrose).

Finally, in the crematorium grounds, Dipper and Treecreeper took the year list to 118.

Posted 3:35 pm by James Camden in General Birding

Laira, Plymouth

Firecrest in the garden this morning. Moving along Darwin Crescent.

Posted 10:10 am by Martin Phillips in General Birding

Tiverton Canal

One of three kingfishers busy on the canal last weekend.

Posted 9:57 am by Geoff Mitchell in General Birding

Wednesday 22nd January 2020

Stuartline Cruise 22 January 2020

What a difference a day makes! With challenging conditions at the start once in the Estuary the visibility improved and the visitors started to see plenty of birds on show. Curlews were in good numbers across the Estuary and the distinctive evocative calls were drifting around the estuary on a light breeze. Several Turnstones were seen on the mussel vessel off Dawlish Warren and on the shoreline at Starcross. The Slavonian Grebe was spotted with a Little Grebe in the normal place off Cockwood. Dark Bellied Brent Geese were in good numbers in this area with several flying near the boat. Cormorants and Shags were plentiful along this stretch with comparisons between the two easy to see. Greenshank were seen towards the River Kenn confluence with Common Gull, Black Headed Gull, and Herring Gull bathing in fresh water. First of the 300+ Avocets were seen at this lower location and good numbers were seen close to the boat all the way to Topsham. A few Bar Tailed Godwit and plenty of Dunlin were off Lympstone and were numerous across the mudflats all the way to Topsham.Grey Plover were seen at a distance along with Pintail close to Exton 300+ Black Tailed Godwits were showing well along the waters edge for visitors to see along with Redshank and two small groups of Golden Plover either side of the main channel near Turf Lock. A raft of 20+ Great Crested Grebe were viewed near the River Clyst confluence this sighting was the most seen all together this winter and a real treat for the visitors. Red Breasted Mergansers stole the show today with at least 20+ on show close to the boat. On our return back to Exmouth 200+ Lapwing and 100+ Black Tailed Godwit took to the air from Powderham Marsh and showed well from the boat. As we steamed past Dawlish Warren there were very close encounters of 8+ Sanderling feeding along the waters edge which was a real bonus this finished off a very productive cruise.

Red Breasted MerganserAvocetsSanderling
Red Breasted Merganser                         Avocets                                         Sanderling

Posted yesterday at 6:14 pm by Derek Carter in General Birding

Melbury forest

At least 12 Crossbills,200+ chaffinches,3 brambling,ad male 2female,12:00-13:00

Posted yesterday at 4:19 pm by Robert Marshall in General Birding


Pink-footed Goose and Barnacle Goose this morning from the viaduct among c400 Canada Geese. Also 3 Goldeneye.

Posted yesterday at 2:44 pm by Roger Doble in General Birding

Tuesday 21st January 2020

Fremington Pill

An early morning visit to the Pill at low tide was productive but not one Cattle Egret in the trees or on the Pill (8 seen during recent visit).

The Glossy Ibis & Spotted Redshank showing well foraging in the tidal channel. A Kingfisher flew onto a perch nearby & entertained us for at least 30 minutes. Walking onto Fremington Quay close views of a single Bar tailed Godwit & a Spoonbill foraging, preening & resting.

Posted January 21st at 6:35 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Velator/Toll Road

6 Gadwall flew off from the reserve to Wrafton Pond this morning. This afternoon making full use of the golden globe in the sky, I cycled down the Toll road and at about 3p.m saw a Little Owl on the barn near Cross Banks. Having not seen one at all last year! 33 Redshank on the DWT area. Heaps of Golden Plover  - 2000+? and a few hundred Lapwing in and over the fields. 1 Greenshank on the pill. As I cycled home, just past the Toll House, a Barn Owl flew right across the road in front of me! It was then half-heartedly mobbed by a Black-headed Gull and I lost sight of it near Marstage Farm.

Posted January 21st at 5:16 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Radford Lake 21-01-20

Female Kingfisher showing very well, the male was also seen with the female, also a few Goldcrests showing well


Posted January 21st at 3:02 pm by Greg Bradbury in General Birding

Monday 20th January 2020

Haldon Forest

7 Siskin, female Brambling on butterfly trial, 1 Crossbill over car park, 2 Nuthatch, 2 Great Spotted Woodpecker, Dartford Warbler in thick gorse, Sparrowhawk.

Posted January 20th at 10:17 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Haldon Forest

One female Brambling this morning, close to the pylon, from the cycle track. No sign of any Hawfinches though.

Posted January 20th at 8:51 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding

Lower Tamar Lake

Noted while topping the feeders up,

15 Goosander 7m 8f, 4 Ring-necked Duck 3m 1f, 2 Grey Heron plus Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, 4 Great Crested Grebe, 3 Cormorants.

Posted January 20th at 8:05 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding


This morning around the car parks: 22 Cirl Bunting 7 Yellowhammer (3 f & 4 m), 6 Reed Bunting in 2nd car park on the seed.

In the marsh behind the main beach: 1 Siberian Chiffchaff, 1 collybita Chiffchaff, 2 Firecrest & 1 Goldcrest. 

Didn't check the sea today - a bit choppy this morning.

Posted January 20th at 6:01 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding

Flete Estate bird survey...

A good days birding carrying out a RSPB / Devon Birds joint survey on the Flete Estate, 48 species identified if I include a Kestrel that was seen just off of our survey area, but still on the estate.

Numerous Goldcrest, Robin, Dunnock, Meadow Pipit, Linnet, an abundance of Corvids, 200 plus Rook, a leucistic Jackdaw, Raven, Green Woodpecker, GSWP, Wren, Stock Dove, Bullfinch, Skylark, Jay, Grey Wagtail, Mistle and Song Thrush.

From the SW coast path ~ Stonechat in good numbers, Oyster Catcher, good numbers of Great Black Back Gull, a Little Egret, Shag, Cormorant and numerous Herring Gull.

Highlights included, Firecrest (2), Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Red Legged Partridge.

Posted January 20th at 5:36 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Northam, near Torridge Bridge

A Blackcap was singing in my garden at lunchtime today.

Posted January 20th at 4:25 pm by Martin Unwin in General Birding


Blue winged teal still present this morning showing well at 10.30

Posted January 20th at 4:04 pm by Jeff Hacon in General Birding


On the rocky end of Instow Beach were a good number of Oyster catchers, Wigeon, a few Curlew a Plover and loads of other waders.

Oyster catchersin flightA single Plover (Grey Plover?)
Oystercatchers in flight                     A single Grey Plover

Posted January 20th at 9:21 am by Martin Bennett in General Birding

Sunday 19th January 2020

South Milton Ley

After the reed-cutting, a Firecrest, 6 Chiffchaffs & a Water Rail by the sewage works. Also a Red-throated Diver over the sea at South Huish.

Posted January 19th at 10:01 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Harland Quay & Stoke

Hartland Quay : 1 Red-throated Diver

Stoke: 1 male Black Redstart, 2 Grey Wagtail , 2 Chiffchaff , 1 Firecest in churchyard and surrounding gardens 

Posted January 19th at 10:01 pm by Bob Bosisto Liberty Payne in General Birding

mear valley exmouth

9 ringneck parakeet mear vally making way over douglas avenue 4pm

Posted January 19th at 7:47 pm by barry insull in General Birding

Hope's Nose


A mobile Firecrest showing well around the top part of the site.

Posted January 19th at 5:53 pm by Paul Darlington in General Birding

Chelston, Torquay

Firecrest again present by the grammar schools path at lunchtime, in the bramble thicket behind the Hawkins Avenue shops. Also along the path, goldcrest, wren, great, blue, long tailed and coal tits, song thrush, blackbird.

Posted January 19th at 4:47 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

5 barrows near Challacombe again.

Better weather this weekend,  saw small flocks of golden plover, starlings, numerous buzzards, stonechat, fieldfare and kestral.  No sign of the seo's but did come across a small flock of reed bunting. 

Male reed buntingFemale reed buntingBuzzard
Male reed bunting                 Female reed bunting                      Buzzard

Posted January 19th at 4:36 pm by Philip worth in General Birding


1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Black-necked Grebe and a cracking Firecrest.

Posted January 19th at 4:34 pm by Roger Duggleby in General Birding

Exe Powderham to Turf

WeBS count today a little different - 121 avocets well south of their usual haunts; flock near Powderham Church. About 65 pintail - fewer than last year but accompanied by a male goosander was a surprise. Single ruff on the new scrapes on the RSPB reserve seen on the way home. Heard chiffchaff in Station Lane.

Posted January 19th at 4:08 pm by John Waldon in General Birding

South Dartmoor

Dean Prior ~ Large mixed flock of Starling and Fieldfare, on hillside opposite the old race course.

Dartmoor from above Ashburton to Princetown, Challacombe to Widdicombe very little bird life to be seen on the higher moorland even Corvids were thin on the ground.

Prince Hall a Brambling with a flock of Chaffinch.

Between Bellever and the Warren House Inn a large mixed flock of Redwing, Starling and Fieldfare.

Challacombe ~ a sheep carcass attracting six Raven and two Buzzard.

Posted January 19th at 4:07 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Brixham 19-01-20

Plenty of Turnstones, no signs of the Divers, but a lone Guillemot on the seaward side of the breakwater.

Posted January 19th at 3:40 pm by Greg Bradbury in General Birding

Taw River

Yesterday afternoon (18 January) while walking back to Barnstaple from Wrafton pond, I photographed a number of birds that included: a Song Thrush, a Robin, a couple of Curlew, some Redshank, a Greenshank and a Spotted Redshank.  There were also a good number of Canada geese, a few Lapwings and some ducks of various makes and models. 




Posted January 19th at 1:26 am by Martin Bennett in General Birding

Taw River

Yesterday afternoon (18 January) while walking back to Barnstaple from Wrafton pond, I photographed a number of birds that included: a Song Thrush, a Robin, a couple of Curlew, some Redshank, a Greenshank and a Spotted Redshank.  There were also a good number of Canada geese, a few Lapwings and some ducks of various makes and models. 

Redshank Spotted Redshank
                                        Redshank                              Spotted Redshank -  Eds This is a 'Common' Redshank


Posted January 19th at 1:22 am by Martin Bennett in General Birding

Saturday 18th January 2020

Wrafton Pond

There is a Snipe in this photo, can you see it? There is a close-up of the snipe is another photo.

Can you spot the Snipe?
Can you spot the Snipe?

Here is a close-up of the Snipe
Here is a close-up of the Snipe

Snipe and Moorhen
Snipe and Moorhen

Posted January 18th at 9:14 pm by Martin Bennett in General Birding

Spotted redshank - finally

Having been to Fremington Pill many times lately, and been disappointed, we finally get a proper look at the spotted redshank! We were also lucky enough to get it posing alongside a common redshank. 

Spotted Redshank
Spotted Redshank

Spotted and common redshanks
Spotted and common redshanks

Posted January 18th at 9:04 pm by Colin Dracott in General Birding


Clovelly: 6 Marsh Tit, 1 Mistle Thrush, 1 Fieldfare, 20 Redwing, 1 Grey Wagtail , 2 Black Redstart ( feeding around visitor centre ) , 1 Harbour Porpoise. 

Posted January 18th at 8:23 pm by Bob Bosisto and Liberty Payne in General Birding

Slapton Ley

A glorious day to visit Slapton Ley, as I arrived two Stock Doves overhead and onto the Ley which was not as busy with bird life as had hoped for, virtually nothing to be seen on the sea from the Memorial car park, just two Shag and the odd gull.

On a hillside above the Ley, 33 Great Black Backed Gull in with a flock of Canada Geese.

Small birds included several Stonechat and an obliging Cetti’s Warbler that showed well at times.

On the ley ten plus Great Crested Grebe, one Little Grebe and one possibly two Black Necked Grebe.

At least five drake Pochard and two females, same count with the Golden Eye definitely two females and not less than five drakes.

Frogmore creek two Pied Wagtails and a Common Sandpiper.

Back home at South Brent several visits to the feeders from the male Sparrow of questionable origin.

Posted January 18th at 8:09 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding


Blue-winged Teal showing well for around an hour this morning, feeding and preening before disappearing into the reeds. Also 2 pairs of Gadwall, 3 m + 2f Tufted Duck, Teal and Mallard present, female type Black Redstart and Chiffchaff around the Coastguard Cottages and 3 Great Crested Grebe offshore with a pod of c.10 Common Dolphin.

Posted January 18th at 6:44 pm by Stuart Green in General Birding

Middle Soar to Southdown Farm.

Second farmland bird count of the year turned up a record 1340 Skylark plus 93 Yellowhammer, 41 Cirl Bunting, 11 Meadow Pipit, 23 Magpie & 100 Linnet.

Posted January 18th at 6:29 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding


At last, a lovely warm gentle sunny morning for a walk out to Baggy.

Between the gate by the pond & Baggy Point was a single Black Redstart on a warm south facing cliff face. (Distant record shot heavily cropped)  It did not stay iong in one place but we enjoyed it for 30 seconds or so but did not see it again.

On arriving at Baggy Point we could not find any Common Scoters but after approx 30 minutes a flock flew past heading south towards Hartland Point.

As last visit, a single Red throated Diver was present.

5 Med Gulls with the BH Gulls in Croyde Bay.

Posted January 18th at 6:03 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

fremington pill, isley marsh , lower tamar lake & roadford res.

we started the day at Fremington 9.30, in the first 5 mins we saw 8 cattle egrets flying out from the trees after roosting top end of the pil, then a glossy ibis came out from the same tree, 100 yards further up the road a spotted red shank was feeding in front of us,  after this we went to Isley Marsh , here we were lucky to see three spoonbills, a dog walker came along and walked down onto the shoreline and the dog was running everywhere, which put up all the birds, we spoked to the prerson about it , but it was a waste of time, " my dog is not out of control" was the answer, we left and went to Lower Tamar Lake,  here we saw  4 ringed neck ducks, willow tits, marsh tits and 11 goosesanders 2 great creasted grebe,  after this we went to roadford reservoir,  at the viaduct end , there were 100 plus canada geese, in with them there were 3 golden eye,  2 barnacle geese and a single pinkfoot goose. you could say " a good days birding!"

Posted January 18th at 5:59 pm by roger jewell& mike gibson in General Birding

Wembury Point

A stunning morning walk along the coast between Heybrook Bay and the Langdon Beach outflow pipe. Highlights were 10+ Cirl Bunting (5 singing), 20+ Oystercatcher, 1 Curlew, 1 Little Egret. 

On Langdon Beach, 30+ Meadow/Rock Pipit, 10+ Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Wagtail. 

Highlight of the morning though was a Black Redstart on the mud bank around the outflow pipe. 

Black Redstart
Black Redstart

Male Cirl Bunting
Male Cirl Bunting

Posted January 18th at 3:58 pm by Matt Clark in General Birding

Chelston, Torquay, 15.00

Firecrest by the grammar schools public footpath, feeding in the bramble thicket behind the HawkinsAvenue shops.

Posted January 18th at 3:42 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

River Caen

A busy Grey Wagtail by the river bank this morning.  

Posted January 18th at 11:56 am by Karen Serle in General Birding

Broadsands 0830-1030

Enjoyable couple of hours looking out from the headland between Broadsands and Elberry. Black-necked Grebe at the latter end; at least 10 GND still in the bay although most further out than in recent days; 2 Red-throated divers were towards Torquay and the Black-throated Diver put in a leisurely appearance initially quite close in but slowly drifting out. At least one Pomarine Skua still around harassing the few Kittiwakes at 0900.

Posted January 18th at 11:24 am by Simon Tonge in General Birding

Friday 17th January 2020

Plym Estuary & Saltram

In lovely sunshine between showers: 3 Red-breasted Mergansers (2 drakes), 8 Goosanders (2 drakes), 14 Mandarin Ducks (7 pairs), 12 Wigeon (7 drakes), 3 Jack Snipe, 9 Snipe, 6 Greenshanks, Common Sandpiper, 11 Oystercatchers, 50 Curlews, 2 Great Northern Divers, 3 Shags, Mediterranean Gull (ad), 7 Stock Doves & 8 Roe Deer.

Posted January 17th at 6:37 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Torbay & South Brent

A good mornings birding over at Torbay :~
On the outskirts of Paignton, three soaring and displaying Buzzards.
Broadsands car parks ~ Good numbers of Cirl Bunting, single male Yellow Hammer, at least thirty House Sparrow, female Bullfinch, Goldcrest, two Greenfinch, several Dunnock, good numbers of Goldfinch and Chaffinch.
Overhead Buzzard and two Raven.
Off of the sea wall the bay appeared to be alive with birds, an adult Mediterranean Gull in with the flock of Black Headed Gulls, between Broadsands and Elberry Cove there must have been at least twenty Great Northern Diver in view across the bay, small numbers of Guillemot, Five Common Gull, GBBG, Gannets and pod of five Common Dolphin near the Brixham oyster beds.
Marine Parade, Preston, Paignton ~ Black Necked Grebe at the end of a raft of fifteen Shag, Red Throated Diver, four Great Crested Grebe, nineteen Oyster Catcher, Gannet, Guillemot and Razorbill.
Off of Paignton the reported Black Throated Diver between the pier and the harbour.
Back home at South Brent a Tawny owl tucked up in its Holly tree roost and several visits from the male Sparrow of questionable origin.

Posted January 17th at 4:33 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Fremington Pill

Spotted redshank feeding at the pill (2pm). Red kite over the link road at Barnstaple.

Posted January 17th at 4:32 pm by Richard Gowen in General Birding

Tiverton to South Molton.

On the old Tiverton South Molton road just north of Rackenford 2m and 2f Brambling among a flock of c60 Chaffinches. Feeding on a wide grassy verge under beech trees close to a large white building.

Posted January 17th at 3:54 pm by Roger Doble in General Birding

Woodleigh Wood & South Milton Ley

Woodleigh Wood: Dipper, Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, Bullfinch, 2 Jay.

South Milton Ley: 3 Firecrest, 2 Goldcrest, 8 Chiffchaff, Water Rail, Cetti's Warbler.

Posted January 17th at 3:32 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding


Some reward for keeping the pond clear today - I was treated to a Kingfisher successfully fishing in the pond.

Looking south towards Sherpa Marsh, a bird of prey perched on one of the embankments looked interesting, and when it flew was revealed as a male Marsh Harrier.

Posted January 17th at 1:33 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Thursday 16th January 2020

South Milton Reserve - Reed Cut on 19 January Going Ahead

The South Milton sandbank breached earlier today and by this afternoon the lake covering the Reserve had disappeared.  The reed bed is a rather soggy but the reed cut planned for Sunday will go ahead - please check the Devon Birds Society news for detailed arrangements.

Posted January 16th at 7:26 pm by Nick Townsend in General Birding

Upper/Lower Tamar Lake

Lower Lake Goosander check.

16 Goosander 5m 11f (07:30)

Upper Lake

4 Ring-necked Duck 3m 1f.

Rod Mudge, P Buckley, N Hewitt

Posted January 16th at 6:30 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

Broadsands - pm

 3-435pm After the worst of the rain had passed- 18 G N Divers and 1 BN Grebe(Elberry Cove) but the best were 2 pale phase Pom Skuas out in Torbay 415-420pm chasing Kittiwakes

Posted January 16th at 5:13 pm by Mark Bailey in General Birding


A Black-throated Diver with a couple of Great Northern Divers off Elberry Headland video clip here:  morning 

At least 15 more Great Northern Divers but conditions were far from ideal for a good check. 1 Black-necked Grebe in Broadsands Bay.

Posted January 16th at 12:21 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding

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