General Birding

Missing Devon rarity records 2018 UPDATE

We have had a good response to the request for missing descriptions for a number of ‘A’ species reported in 2018. Thank you to those who have made the effort to provide these.

However some descriptions remain outstanding meaning, as things stand, they will not make the official record as part of the 2018 Devon Bird Report. It would be a great shame to lose these records but the report deadline is pressing.

If you saw any of these birds (you don’t have to be the finder) please can you submit a description and/or photos asap to Kev Rylands: Thank you.

Cory’s Shearwater (2) Ilfracombe 28 July
Cory’s Shearwater Thurlestone 26 August
Glossy Ibis Exe Estuary 21-27 October
Golden Oriole Blaxton Meadow 18 April
Great White Egret Exminster Marshes 30 March
Great White Egret Exmouth 06 May
Honey-buzzard Dartmoor 21-22 May
Pectoral Sandpiper Upper Tamar Lake 13 August
Rose-coloured Starling Beesands 27-28 August
Tree Sparrow Haldon 20 May

Posted September 24th at 8:44 am by Pete Aley in General Birding

Dawlish Warren

Please take extra care when visiting Dawlish Warren. We have been informed that due to the recent bad weather there has been significant erosion from Groyne 10 eastwards. This means that access along the site, to and from Warren Point (and the bird hide) will be via the beach only, with a risk of being cut off for a period either side of high water! Signs have been put up to alert people to the hazards, but people need to be aware that access routes that they have become used to may not be available and they need to exercise extreme caution,  with the possibility of being cut off by the tide, and people are strongly urged not to try climbing the sand cliffs. 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

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 13th December 2019

Lower Tamar Lake

From the hide this morning, 11 Goosander, 5 Tufted Duck, 1 drake Ring-necked Duck, Nuthatch and Willow Tit.

On the way to the Lake, at the pull-in by the beware of toads sign at Melbury Forest 6 Crossbill, 4 Siskin, and a Great-spotted Woodpecker.

Posted 37 minutes ago by Roger Doble in General Birding

South Devon

Andy Lansdell and I headed south earlyish this morning, and arrived at Mansands about 09.50. The BW Teal had been seen, but it had done it's usual trick of going into hiding, so we walked down the lane and it flew out, showing the wings, then fed, paddled about and went back into hiding. Good start, considering today is Friday 13th! So to Broadsands, where at least 2 (a pair) of Cirl Buntings were taking some seeds, and a Firecrest was also on show. Out on the ocean, 11 ships sheltering from the storms, and at least 5 Great Northern Divers. Mike Langman gave us directions to the Black-necked Grebe off Preston sea front so we hastened there to see that as well. Next stop was a flying visit to Stover for a slightly plastic trio of Mandarins (and a Muscovy Duck). By now it was pushing 2 o'clock so we headed up to Haldon and out into the forest where we found A) Chris Marcol, and he was quickly followed by B) Several Crossbill (thanks for loan of the scope Chris!) And finally C) a Hawfinch on a slightly distant tree, it flew before photos were obtained. So we raced on to Bowling Green Marsh, Chris having told us that the Dowitcher was there this morning. We tried, but alas our only failure of the day. Never mind - 75 plus species and as a special prize, it rained all the way home....

Posted 7:26 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding


In garden today

Female Great Spotted Woodpecker
Female Great Spotted Woodpecker

Posted 7:13 pm by Geoff Mitchell in General Birding

Teignmouth Seafront 14:30

Great Norther Diver off the seafront, just South of the pier.

Posted 3:45 pm by Simon Bates in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

A low tide visit produced: 2 Jack Snipe, 4 Snipe, 4 Goosanders (all redheads), 4 Shags, 4 Little Grebes, a pair of Mandarin Ducks, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Stonechat, Grey Wagtail & 4 Roe Deer. 

Also, Great Northern Diver in the Cattewater.

Posted 3:21 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Thursday 12th December 2019

Skern/Fremington Pill

Tide quite a way out so birds at a premium. Many hundreds of Oystercatcher, Probably 150 Wigeon, amongst which at least 2 Pintail, and a Grey Plover. 2 Great Northern Diver over near Crow and a Red-throated flying off out to sea (Thanks Dave for this info).

At Fremington I drove down the Pill and saw a few Redshank, but not much else, then remembered the roost site up at the start of the Pill. I could plainly see 4 Egrets as I neared the trees, but parking directly opposite I could see quite a few! One of which seemed to have a yellow bill, so did the one next to it and two or three of the others. Closer inspection with the scope revealed only 1 Little Egret, and no less than 9 Cattle Egret. Above them all was the Glossy Ibis. This was at about 3.45p.m.

I haven't seen any recent reports of Cattle Egrets here. Anyone else?

Unfortunately, I had left the camera at home....

Posted yesterday at 4:54 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Lower Tamar Lake

At 10:00 this morning 2 Whooper Swan which finally flew north, but not seen on the Upper Lake, 1 Little Egret which flew south.

Posted yesterday at 3:02 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

Velator/Wrafton Pond

On the tour round the reserve this morning at least a dozen unringed Long-tailed Tits, 3 chiffchaff seen, and a Blackbird alarming drew me to an ivy-clad tree with a Tawny Owl in it, first in tnhe reserve since 25th August.

Wrafton pond had 3 Scaup, 4 Gadwall and 2 Goldeneye - the female having been joined by a smart male!

Distant shot, but when it swam closer it started diving, and then the rain set in again....
Distant shot, but when it swam closer it started diving, and then the rain set in again....

Posted yesterday at 12:38 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Wednesday 11th December 2019

Plym Estuary

A short visit just before dusk on the high tide produced: Lapwing, Great Northern Diver, 63 Curlews, 7 Wigeon (4 drakes) & 5 Greenshanks.

Posted December 11th at 5:12 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

CANCELLATION of Fieldtrip tomorrow (Woodbury Castle).

Sorry folks but the weather forecast for tomorrow THURSDAY 12 Dec predicts heavy rain showers for the morning in East Devon.  Woodbury Castle is particularly exposed and therefore we have cancelled the planned visit. An email to this effect is being sent out to Branch members in addition to this notice.  

May I take this opportunity to wish everyone seasons greetings.  Happy Christmas and good birding.  

Posted December 11th at 9:08 am by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding

Tuesday 10th December 2019

Matford & Riverside Country Park, Exeter Monday 9th

Fair number of Redwings about. Also 20 Shoveler & 40 Teal at Matford Marsh, along with a Red Admiral. Cracking female Kingfisher at Riverside Country Park, sitting in morning sunshine. Also 20 Teal, 2 Male Red-breasted Mergansers and a Water Rail.

Posted December 10th at 9:01 am by Steve Cox in General Birding

Monday 9th December 2019

Plymouth Estuary

On the estuary today, the following were seen.

Great Northern Diver, Great Crested Grebe, Shag,  262 Dunlin (nicely lined up on the wall), 144 Redshank, 6 Greenshank, 10 Oystercatcher, 50 Turnstone, 38 Curlew, Common Sandpiper, 6 Wigeon, 9 Grey Heron and a Kingfisher

Posted December 9th at 8:25 pm by Martin Phillips in General Birding

Hen harrier hunting

Male Hen Harrier seen hunting around the North Walla Brook area on Dartmoor this afternoon. 

Posted December 9th at 7:11 pm by Fiona Freshney in General Birding


In a howling wind, (which was supposed to calm down by mid morning) only able to open one net, but still managed to catch 10 Greenfinch and a Chiffchaff. While eating my lunch a rather dapper visitor in the form of a Kingfisher landed in the trees the other side of the pond, and peered in hoping for a Stickleback.

Once again a Little Egret and a Redshank out on the scrape.

Posted December 9th at 7:05 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Sunday 8th December 2019

Slapton Ley

Good views of a male Scaup near the tank and a nice Black-necked grebe on the way to the Stokeley hide. I counted 19 Pochard and lots of gulls on the ley. I Med gull in amongst the Black-headed gulls a few common gulls and a Kittiwake

Black-necked Grebe Scaup Pochard
Black-necked Grebe                       Scaup                                                     Pochard

Posted December 8th at 5:30 pm by Richie Moore in General Birding

Velator pond

Lunchtime Visit to Velator pond today in between the showers.  could someone kindly identify for me please ?  


Eds: Goldeneye with Scaup in background                                       Eds: dodgy female Mallard!

Posted December 8th at 4:04 pm by Karen Serle in General Birding

Saturday 7th December 2019


From the reserve this morning a male Marsh Harrier over Sherpa Marsh, and a flock of 20 or so Fieldfares heading west. 2 water Rails calling.

Posted December 7th at 3:38 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Lower Tamar Lake

Lower Tamar Lake this morning.

16 Goosander 9m 7f, 6 Tufted Duck 3m 3f, 11 Willow Tit, 2 Nuthatch, 15 Coal Tit, 16 Blue Tit, 7 Chaffinch, 2 Magpie, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Wren, 28 Mallard, 1m Gadwall, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Bullfinch, 1 Cormorant, 3 Moorhen, 2 Coot, 4 Marsh Tit, 1 Grey Heron, 3 Robin, 6 Long-tailed Tit.

Posted December 7th at 2:33 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

Ernesettle creek/Mountbatten, Plymouth.

This mornings low tide at Ernesettle creek:-

128 Snipe, 1 Jack Snipe.

Later at Mountbatten:-

4 Rock pipit, 1 Kestrel, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kingfisher, 2 Raven feeding on carrion.

Posted December 7th at 1:29 pm by Alan Livsey in General Birding


Two Black necked Grebes,singles of Black throated and Red Throated Divers,four G.N.Divers and the Velvet Scoter was with a group of at least eight Common Scoter all females.

Posted December 7th at 1:19 pm by Rob Gaze in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh

Bittern seen wading in the far reedbed at 10am, to the right of the wooden gate. Also male Pochard

Posted December 7th at 12:08 pm by Tim Smith in General Birding

East Soar

Target bird found this morning, 2 Jack Snipe in Starehole Valley.

Posted December 7th at 11:52 am by Rob Macklin in General Birding

saltrum house plymouth

3 ringneck parakeet and 1 blue one

Posted December 7th at 10:40 am by barry insull in General Birding

Friday 6th December 2019

Exminster Marshes

Late afternoon - 3 Barnacle Geese amongst large flock of Canadas seen from the railway footpath at the last gate of 'Agricultural Access'.   Marsh Harrier active, putting up large flocks of Wigeon and Lapwing

Posted December 6th at 6:22 pm by Rupert Ormerod in General Birding

South Brent

A series of Goosander counts at a small private fishing lake near South Brent started with seven seen by Mike Goss on 1 Dec. This morning at 08:00 there were 14 (5 m) busily fishing, but only three on the previous two days. Birds have been seen coming in at dawn and leaving at dusk, and are presumed to be some of the Avon Dam roosters. Departure times have varied from 16:12 to 16:55.

Posted December 6th at 10:52 am by Peter Reay in General Birding

Red Kite at Burrator Reservoir on December 4th

I had a Red Kite overhead at 1600 on Wednesday December 4th, flying over Burrator Reservoir towards Sheepstor. This is the first I’ve ever seen here on my local patch. Judging from its direction of travel, it probably had flown over my house and would have been a garden tick....had I been at home!

Posted December 6th at 12:07 am by Howard Ackford in General Birding

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