Devon Bird Sightings

2019 Descriptions still outstanding

Many thanks to all observers that submitted their records for 2019. However there are still a number of records that require descriptions before they can appear in the Bird Report.

If you were fortunate enough to find (or see) any of these birds below please could you submit a description to the County Recorder Many thanks, stay safe.

Alpine Swift, Dawlish 11 Jun  Hooded Crow, Baggy Point 10 May
Barred Warbler, Thurlestone 30 Aug Long-tailed Skua, Dawlish Warren 11 Oct
Caspian Gull, Thurlestone, 08 Feb Purple Heron, Slapton Ley 07 May
Caspian Gull, Topsham 02 Aug Sabine's Gull, Thurlestone 14 Aug
Cory's Shearwater, Berry Head 19 Jul Serin (2), Harrowbeer 19 Apr
Glossy Ibis, Otter Est 11-13 Mar Tree Sparrow (2), Berry Head 20 Mar


Posted May 2nd at 3:27 pm by Kevin Rylands in General Birding

Coronavirus update - Daily exercise and Bird Hides

Please be aware that in line with Government guidelines on non-essential travel and social distancing, the Devon Birds hides at Beesands, Fernworthy and Roadford, in addition to hides elsewhere in the County including Bowling Green Marsh, Dawlish Warren and Seaton Wetlands are closed until further notice. Whilst some people may be fortunate enough to be within walking/cycling distance of these sites, others should not be making special journeys to visit these areas at this time. Thank you for your co-operation and stay safe.

Please follow NHS guidelines:

Posted April 16th at 12:04 pm by Mike Daniels in General Birding

Sightings page guidelines & rare breeding bird posting restrictions

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

Please post responsibly, never post details of rare breeding, or winter roosts of vulnerable, species. If you are unsure of what to - or not - to post, there are guidelines on the restrictions  here.

Please note:-

1. That Wood Warbler in probable breeding areas should also not now be published

2.  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all. Editors do this job on a voluntary basis and cannot commit to editing out rare breeding bird information in posts which which include wider sightings. Please help us to avoid the need to delete or not admit posts. Thanks.

For help with ID email photos to

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


If you follow our Blog but are not currently a member of Devon Birds please consider joining Devon Birds to help 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 in General Birding

Friday 10th July 2020

Dawlish Warren NNR

09:22 - 12:52

Great Northern Diver out to sea along with Gannet; Dunlin; plenty of Oystercatcher, Med. Gull and Curlew, 12 Sandwich Tern and a distant Slavonian Grebe. 

Posted yesterday at 4:57 pm by Paul Bray in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

A male Stonechat with 3 juvs, a female Great Spotted Woodpecker with a juv, Green Woodpecker, Greenshank, 32 Curlews, 50+ Redshanks, 3 Common Sandpipers, 2nd-s Mediterranean Gull & 2 Roe Deer. 

Posted yesterday at 4:57 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Roborough Down 10-07-20

A good view of a Male Yellowhammer, other wildlife, Graylings are starting to show, and a large Skipper, Roborough Down at present is very quite for any birdlife.



Large Skipper
Large Skipper

Posted yesterday at 3:49 pm by Greg Bradbury in Other Wildlife

Roof-nesting oystercatchers

Re: Dave and Sue's observation, I do wonder how many roof nesting pairs are overlooked in the county as there may be fewer instances than in more urbanised counties to look down onto flat roofs from adjacent taller buildings? A pair of oystercatchers were certainly breeding on an industrial unit roof beside DevonBirds' own Bradiford reserve (Pottington Ind. Est.) when I surveyed there in 2016, adults collecting food from the reserve itself. The fact the chicks are fed this way rather than self feeding is of course what makes roof nesting feasible for the species.

Posted yesterday at 11:57 am by Lowell Mills in General Birding

Thursday 9th July 2020

Prawle Point

In what promised so much, given the conditions ... South west 4-5 winds, with mist to the horizon, a seawatch from 6.45 till 12.45, testing on the eyes, looking for feet projections etc ...

34 Balearic amongst 2467 Manx Shearwaters; and 3 Sooty Shearwaters ( my first this autumn); 579 plus Gannets ( 2/3rds immature)  and 35 Auks ( both Gulllemots and Razorbills) 15 Common Svoter eats and 2 Med. Gulls- a 1st summer and an adult summer. Also of note 140 plus Herring Gulls flying west.

Posted July 9th at 10:56 pm by Tony Marchese in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Oystercatchers breeding in Kingsteignton

Sue saw a pair of noisy Oystercatchers in Kingsteignton today. We returned this evening and found them with a large chick.  One adult (sometimes the pair) was on the far (eastern) end of Bookers' roof in Pottery Road, Kingsteignton Industrial Estate, the other flying out low to collect food on Newton Abbot Racecourse.  The chick, almost fully grown, had an injured leg and remained close to the end of Bookers' building, next to a large (aircon?) unit where there was room for it to hide underneath if necessary.  I suspect there was at least one more chick on Bookers' roof, where I'm guessing they nested during the peace and quiet of the Covid-19 lockdown.  I'm also guessing that the chick has somehow fallen to the ground, maybe injuring its leg in doing so. The roof in question has a very shallow angle and so is not strictly a flat roof.

According to New Scientist (2005): "Oystercatchers nest on flat, gravel-covered roofs in Britain, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Northern Germany and Belgium. ... Aberdeen has about 220 pairs nesting on roofs in the city and a few pairs nesting on the ground in car parks, industrial yards and flowerbeds. They feed the young on earthworms obtained from playing fields and other grassy areas near the buildings... The birds can exploit the roofs because they are one of the few wading birds that carry food to their young. Interestingly, about 24 towns in Scotland have a few pairs nesting on roofs, but only about six towns in England."

This is the first roof-top nesting I'm aware of this part of the world.

Posted July 9th at 9:28 pm by Dave Smallshire in General Birding

Ilfracombe Pier

Flock of maybe 80 Common Scoter heading West off the Pier today, they could turn up at Baggy / Downend.  Lots of Manx Shearwaters to be seen for weeks now with huge numbers headed Up channel on Tues with counts of well over 200 birds passing per min. 16 Ad Med Gulls and the odd Skua sp seen most days during recent rough weather.

I've had a look through the Gulls near Barnstaple Old Bridge last Wk I was surprised how many had been leg ringed, a bit annoying as I couldn't get close enough for any decent photos. 

Common Scoters
Common Scoters

Posted July 9th at 6:12 pm by Martin Thorne in General Birding

Swifts in Drewsteignton

Good numbers of screaming swifts above the village over the last two evenings, max 35 counted.

Malcolm Burgess checked nest boxes on two thatched rows of cottages on either side of the square/churchyard with very positive results. From 22 nest boxes installed under thatch eaves, 17 were occupied by breeding pairs and contained 35 chicks and a late pair incubating eggs. Each year since 2012 most adults are trapped and ringed, and due to high site faithfulness and swifts being long lived, for nearly all of the 24 adults caught this week, we have detailed histories. As the colony has grown (by gradual colonisation of increasing numbers of nest boxes) we find a small number of new breeders fledged from the village or from another similarly monitored colony 3 km due west. This usually occurs many years later, but this year one recruited aged only 2 years. Three breeders caught this week are at least 8 years old and most at least 5 years old.

Posted July 9th at 1:01 pm by nick dixon in General Birding

Med Gulls

At least 18 adult Med Gulls in Otter Estuary from 9.30 today.

Posted July 9th at 10:55 am by Ray Hamilton in General Birding

Marine Parade,Preston,Paignton & Goodrington.

15 Mediterranean Gulls on the rocks this morning, 9 adults, 2 second summer, 2 first summer and 2 juveniles.

7 Sandwich Terns also present, including 1 juvenile and 12 Black-headed Gulls including 2 juveniles.

A female Tufted Duck with 4 ducklings also seen at Youngs Park, Goodrington.

Sandwich Tern(adult) centre & Black-headed Gull(adult) bottom left.
Sandwich Tern(adult) centre & Black-headed Gull(adult) bottom left.

Femaie Tufted Duck and ducklings.
Femaie Tufted Duck and ducklings.

Posted July 9th at 10:31 am by Steven O'Donoghue in General Birding

Berry Head

Seawatch 0620-0820: 1 Pomarine Skua ad pale > N, 2 Mediterranean Gulls (inc 1 juv my first of the summer), 303 Manx Shearwaters, 2 Balearic Shearwaters also 6+ Harbour Porpoise and 20+ Common Dolphin. An ad Peregrine brought in  in an ad tern (I picked up the falcon a long way out but came straight over my head), the close scope views led me to believe it was a Roseate Tern - full black cap, all black bill and pale grey drooping wing with grey wedge, I didn't see any other terns during the mornings watch! A juvenile Tawny Owl was roosting in the quarry again.

Manx Shearwaters Berry Head July 2020  Harbour Porpoise Berry Head July 2020 Juv Tawny Owl Berry Head July 2020

              Manx Shearwaters                                        Harbour Porpoise                       Juv Tawny Owl

Posted July 9th at 10:08 am by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

South Efford Marsh Tuesday 7th July

Juvenile Marsh Harrier seen hunting over the marsh around 6pm. 

Posted July 9th at 8:03 am by Verity Jepson in General Birding

Wednesday 8th July 2020

Steve Madge

Vic and Sylvia Tucker passed on the sad news that Steve Madge passed away on Monday after a long illness. A great birdwatcher, tour leader and author of several books including the Helm guides to Pheasants, Partridges and Grouse also the  Wildfowl identification Guide and The Handbook of bird identification for Europe and the Western Palearctic. Although he lived just the other side of the Tamar in Cornwall many Devon Birders will have know Steve very well. 

Posted July 8th at 7:51 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding

Tamar estuary /Ernesettle

This afternoon on a low tide:

4 Grey heron, 11 Curlew, 2 Common Sandpiper, Chiffchaff, Swallow and 16 Swift under the low cloud. 

Posted July 8th at 6:08 pm by Alan Livsey in General Birding

Tuesday 7th July 2020

Sidmouth seafront

at least 25 ?common scoter in a ragged line offshore Sidmouth seafront this afternoon about 3pm

Posted July 7th at 9:55 pm by Richard Ellison in General Birding


Four Whinchats with two young today at Firth bridge area

Posted July 7th at 8:31 pm by Chris Buckland in General Birding

Thrushes - East Dartmoor

30-40 Mistle Thrushes , inc. many juveniles, feeding in bracken above Moor Farm, Throwleigh. Accompanied by similar number of blackbirds and a family of G-S woodpeckers. Always a good area for Mistles, seems to have been a very successful breeding season.

Posted July 7th at 7:47 pm by Nick Walter in General Birding

Braunton Burrows

Sea Holly, Skylark & Fragrant Orchid.

Posted July 7th at 7:35 pm by Rob Jutsum in Other Wildlife


75 Common Scoter south past Torcross this morning.

Posted July 7th at 5:56 pm by Steve Wadsworth in General Birding

Broadclyst, Nr Exeter

East and Mid Devon members may recall that we jointly commenced a survey of NT farmland earlier this year and that this came to a halt due to the pandemic. The NT staff were mostly furloughed but I have visited the farm twice recently and made some observations of the birdlife so that this season is not lost totally.   I was pleased to find a pair of Spotted Flycatchers and a very vocal Sedge Warbler in the woodland section.  To date we have over 50 species counted.   It is to be hoped that we may be able to restart the survey and others at some time in the future.  The below pictures show the woodland section and the damp meadow where the above birds were present.  Very different pictures to how we found it in the winter.

Posted July 7th at 4:47 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding

Monday 6th July 2020

Slapton Ley

Tufted Duck with 2 x 1/4 juvs, Great-crested Grebe with 3x 3/4 juvs Stokeley Bay, 1 Little Egret, commoner in Yorkshire, 5 Cetti's Warblers.

Posted July 6th at 3:51 pm by Steve Wadsworth in General Birding


Garden wildlife today.

Heron and Great-spotted Woodpecker feeding.
Heron and Great-spotted Woodpecker feeding.

Posted July 6th at 2:48 pm by Margaret Phillips in General Birding

East Soar

Hobby hunting hirundines - unsuccessfully this morning.

Posted July 6th at 11:47 am by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Teign Estuary

Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull at Passage House late morning.

Posted July 6th at 11:34 am by Will Salmon in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Dawlish Warren

Unringed Roseate Tern on the beach at 07:30 this morning with two Sandwich Terns, a Mediterranean Gull and a Black-headed Gull.

From left to right: Sandwich Tern, Mediterranean Gull, Sandwich Tern, Roseate Tern, Black-headed Gull

Posted July 6th at 11:21 am by Will Salmon in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


11 Crossbills flew west at 8.45am

Posted July 6th at 9:58 am by Roger White in General Birding

Sunday 5th July 2020

Lower Tamar Lake

This morning at the lake

1 Kingfisher, 5 Jays looks to be a family, 2 Mute Swan, 1 Grey Wagtail.

Posted July 5th at 7:20 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

A male Stonechat with a juv, Green Woodpecker, 47 Redshanks, 27 Curlews, 7 Little Egrets & 2 Roe Deer.

Posted July 5th at 6:58 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Dawlish Warren

From the hide over the high tide (7am-9.15am)- 4 adult Roseate Terns (3 metal Ringed), Fs Arctic Tern, 10 Common Terns (inc 1 fs), 5 Sandwich Terns and 20+ Med Gulls showing well on the posts on the island. 

Posted July 5th at 11:01 am by Mark Bailey in General Birding

Saturday 4th July 2020

Preston seafront

Another productive walk this afternoon with a juvenile Little Gull being both a surprise and star bird. The Mediterranean Gull was still present along with a Little Egret, 4 Oystercatchers, 3 Shags, a number of Black Headed Gulls, a couple of Great Black Back Gulls and at one point several hundred Herring Gulls. 

Posted July 4th at 5:56 pm by Stephen Huggins in General Birding

Berry Head seawatch

Combined totals with other observers (to 14.30): Balearic Shearwater 222 & Manx Shearwater 380. Also: 52 Common Scoters, 2 Bonxies, Arctic Skua, 5 Mediterranean Gulls, Sandwich Tern & 3 Harbour Porpoises.

Posted July 4th at 5:55 pm by Pete Aley in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Velator/Sherpa Marsh

Persistent  Heron in by the reserve pond must be finding something there! Still a few singing Reed Warblers and the Grebes seem to be peaceful today. Around Sherpa Marsh good numbers of House Martins, several Swifts and a few Sand Martins. No Swallows. 19 Swans plus a female with three very recently hatched cygnets. a lone drake Tufted Duck the only Duck of note.  A lone Black-tailed Godwit just outside the reserve near the scrape. Back home an adult male Sparrowhawk in the garden unsuccessfully chased a Blackbird. Still a Blackcap singing on a daily basis.

Posted July 4th at 3:42 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Friday 3rd July 2020

Cockwood, late news

The Exe estuary resident Slavonian grebe gave good views just off Cockwood harbour bridge early yesterday afternoon. Would have been a lot closer if it hadn't swum out to avoid a dinghy coming into the harbour!

Slavonian grebe
Slavonian grebe

Posted July 3rd at 5:12 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

A low tide visit, so wader numbers lower than Martin's this morning, but in addition - Green Woodpecker, 2nd-summer Mediterranean Gull, & 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers. 

Posted July 3rd at 4:49 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding


Little Grebes. A couple of weeks ago was the last time I saw an adult Little Grebe on the pond in the reserve. The 2 juveniles seem to be doing just fine feeding well and growing into pretty much full size now. Today when I arrived I thought heard a Grebe trilling and then saw 2 Grebes, one of which morphed into an adult when I got a better view. He (presumably) then started giving the juveniles a right run around chasing them everywhere. Does this mean another brood is imminent? Where's he been for 2 weeks? Shouldn't be down the pub - they're all closed!

A few weeks back I put up a long perch nailed to a tree trunk which reaches out about 15 feet over the pond. It's designed for Kingfishers. So a bit frustrating to have a juvenile Heron landing on it! Today, however a Kingfisher did land on it but the resulting photos weren't worth sharing. Will try harder next time.

Posted July 3rd at 2:13 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding


A brief lunchtime visit produced a Great Crested Grebe and 18 Crossbill.

Posted July 3rd at 1:16 pm by Martin Phillips in General Birding

Exmouth - Straight Point

Kittewake colony on Straight Point (Sandy Bay) is thriving.  Difficult to count the birds as they are both flying en masse and visiting the nests, but estimate at least 400+.    Between 180 & 200 nests with one or two fledglings on some and many still incubating.   This is as good as we've seen it over the last 8 years.   

Photos by Derek Carter

Part of the colony
Part of the colony

Posted July 3rd at 1:15 pm by Rupert Ormerod in General Birding

Plym Estuary.

On this mornings high tide wader numbers have increased. 35 Curlew, 51 Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 9 Common Sandpipers and a Kingfisher.

Posted July 3rd at 9:47 am by Martin Phillips in General Birding

Late entry for yesterday

Lower Tamar Lake.

9 Willow Tit, c25 Swifts, c20 House Martin, 4 Swallow, 2 Collared Doves, 2 Mute Swan, 17 Great Tit, 23 Blue Tit, 9 Coal Tit, 20 Chaffinch, 3 Great Crested Grebe.

Posted July 3rd at 8:48 am by Rod Mudge in General Birding

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