General Birding

Missing Devon rarity records 2018

Unfortunately no descriptions have been submitted for the following records of ‘A’ species reported in 2018. This means, 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.

If anyone saw 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.

Chough Northam 17-18 July  

Corn Bunting Beer Head 25 August

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 Shearwater (2) Berry Head 20 September

Great White Egret (2) Bridge Marsh, Axe Estuary 13 January

Great White Egret Black Hole Marsh, Axe Estuary 22 August

Great White Egret Exminster Marshes 30 March

Great White Egret Exmouth 06 May

Great White Egret Stover 01 October

Honey-buzzard Dartmoor 21-22 May

Little Bunting Slapton 21 October

Montagu’s Harrier Dartmoor 19 Aug

Pectoral Sandpiper Upper Tamar Lake 13 August

Ring-necked Duck Lee Moor 14 October

Rose-coloured Starling Beesands 27-28 August

Serin South Hallsands 24 April

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


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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

Wednesday 21st November 2012

Baggy point

The Auk is a Common Guillemot.

Wrafton Pond has 9 Wigeon and 2 Shoveler.

Posted November 21st, 2012 at 4:06 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

River Caen/River Taw.

1200-1415hrs The 4 Whooper swans and 6 Mute swans were on the marsh opposite vellator quay,but were put to flight by half wits with guns and dogs (sorry hunters) 20 Snipe were also flushed.At the mouth of the caen on the salt marsh were 400+ Golden plover 200+ Lapwing and 500+ Starling.

Posted November 21st, 2012 at 3:19 pm by John Hunt in General Birding


Dave Paull found a Great Northern Diver on the estuary off the Skern during his web count on Sunday, and it was still there this afternoon. Otherwise very quiet apart from a Merlin chasing down and catching a Meadow Pipit. It then flew off with its prey towards Braunton Burrows.

Posted November 21st, 2012 at 3:15 pm by Roger Doble in General Birding

Common Scoter & Grey Auk

The Common Scoters have moved from Downend to Baggy & the numbers have increased to 103 (2 males & the remainder females).  In the flock of scoters there was an interesting auk, grey plumage & a similar shape & size to a Guillemot. I phoned John Turner & he is kindly on his way to check this bird out.

Don't panic everybody - will keep you posted!

Posted November 21st, 2012 at 2:14 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Tuesday 20th November 2012

Brixham, Breakwater Beach

Terry Lakeman found this 1st winter Black Guillemot feeding just off Breakwater Beach, Brixham this morning at about 10.30am

Black Guillemot Brixham 20 Nov 2012 TL

 Unfortunately it had gone when I checked later in the afternoon.


Posted November 20th, 2012 at 7:53 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding

Lundy Chough

As blog watchers may have read elsewhere, a Chough has been seen on Lundy on several occasions since first being photographed at Shutter Point (the extreme SW corner of the island) on 30 Oct. The most recent report was by James Leonard on 16 Nov. The bird is unringed and it has been suggested that this individual, as well as other recent unringed singletons in Scilly and Cornwall, could have originated in Ireland, though a wandering bird from the Welsh population also seems highly likely. Choughs bred on Lundy until the second half of the 19th century and it would be nice to think that this might be the vanguard of a future recolonisation...

Posted November 20th, 2012 at 7:43 pm by Tim Jones in General Birding

Berry Head part 2

In the end quality but not quantity. Around 13:00 the wind and rain began to ease. In this clearance a further 44 Little Gulls including one flock of 26, but the best bird came through at 13:38 in the form of a juv/1w Long-tailed Skua - a very striking bird where the normally (barred) pale rump looked white with little barring. Perhaps Devon's latest record for this species?

Final totals 09:30-15:30: Long-tailed Skua, 2 Bonxies, 51 Little Gulls (35 ad, 4 2w, 12 1w), Red-throated Diver, Red-breasted Merganser, 15 Common Scoter, 2-3 Harbour Porpoise

Yesterday 19th, 08;30-10:30: Pomarine Skua, Bonxie, Great Northern Diver, 572 Gannets, c600 Kittiwakes, 755 Auks, 24 Common Scoter, 4+ Common Dolphins, 3 Harbour Porpoise 

Posted November 20th, 2012 at 5:42 pm by Mark Darlaston in General Birding

Upottery Airfield, Smeatharpe

A late afternoon visit just before dusk once the rain had stopped found 58 Fieldfare, 2 Stonechat and 10 Golden Plover. However the best sighting was of a large bat hunting around the sillage mounds - from size, shape, lack of long ears and habit of deep dives etc, i took it to be a noctule.

Posted November 20th, 2012 at 5:38 pm by Douglas Stannard in General Birding

Berry Head

This morning  seawatching was hard work in heavy rain and gales, with just a few Gannets and Kittiwakes moving most of the morning. Best birds between 930-1300 were a group of 7 Little Gull (ads, juv and 2nd yrs) south at 1130 and a single Bonxie, Red-breasted Merganser and a diving duck probably Tufted.

Posted November 20th, 2012 at 2:20 pm in General Birding

Monday 19th November 2012

Devils Point, Plymouth

Very windy here today, rain on and off affecting visibility.

Four Brent Geese flew across The Sound this morning, heading towards The Cattewater. My second record of this species at D.P. but the first were on the wrong side of the Tamar. So not a D.P. tick but a very welcome Plymouth tick.

Later in the day a Great Northern Diver was seen off Drakes Island as well as two fly-by Common Sands. Otherwise quiet apart from an adult Med. Gull.

Posted November 19th, 2012 at 7:45 pm by Roy McCarthy in General Birding

East Prawle

Working in the field by the water tower today and surprised when an Egyptian Goose flew over. Also 12 Golden Plover.

Posted November 19th, 2012 at 6:48 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Shoalstone Brixham

Watching from the car park  1130-1230, a steady trickle of Gannets and Kittiwakes  moving south past the bay, w9ith more auks moving towards midday as visibiity improved. Around 1200 a Little Auk flew in across the bay and rapidly onward southwest towards Berry Head.

Posted November 19th, 2012 at 4:48 pm in General Birding

Exminster Marshes

Before the rain arrived I managed a walk around the reserve. A female merlin just north of the s bend in the lane may have been the bird I saw hunting yesterday to the west of the village. The high tide roost comprised of curlew (74), golden plover (4 + 12 on another field) and a few dunlin. About 60 lapwing were well spread out over the fields as were snipe with several flocks of c10 flying around. On the pools and in the ditches there were c500 wigeon, c100 teal, c50 shoveller and 6 pintail and on the lagoon at least 6 gadwall. Over 200 brent geese flew onto the fields near Turf. I could only see 8 juveniles/first winter birds within the flock. Elsewhere 15 fieldfares, 2 redwings and  a couple of chiffchaffs on the canal bank.

Posted November 19th, 2012 at 3:27 pm by John Waldon in General Birding


11 Wigeon 1 Gadwall and lots of displaying Mallard on the pond. Goldcrest and Teal in the reserve.

Climbed up to the Tawny Owl box the other day to see if anyone had taken up residence. Pesky Squirrel had built a nest in there! I evicted it.

Posted November 19th, 2012 at 12:34 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding


Had a good walk around Berry Head, very quiet but over 800 Guillemots on seabird colony.

Moved on to the Brakewater and had 7 Purple Sandpipers by the old fuel bunkering platform and in the distance by mussel farm a very large group of Scoter, to far to count. Lets hope weather will be good for Sundays boat trip in the bay!!

Posted November 19th, 2012 at 8:30 am by Nigel Smallbones in General Birding

Sunday 18th November 2012


4.10pm 200 or more starlings flying over Okehampton Railway Station towards the Army Camp. There have been large roosts there in previous years.

Posted November 18th, 2012 at 7:23 pm by Vince Bedford in General Birding

Taw & Torridge Estuary / Braunton Burrows

During this morning's WeBS count we were surprised to see a late (Northern) Wheatear on the tide line near the White House. Later on it was running around on the car park. Also a  Great Northern Diver feeding actively not far offshore between Crow Point and Airy Point. Superb views in the pin-sharp light.

Posted November 18th, 2012 at 6:18 pm by Tim Jones in General Birding


The Plym Estuary welcomed me back, in glorious conditions, after a sustained period of neglect! Little Egrets are up to 12 but Curlews disappointing at just 36. Also 112 Redshanks, 2 Dunlins, 2 Common Sandpipers, 1 female Teal, 2 Little Grebes, 3 Goldcrests.

Later (midday / early afternoon) on the falling tide, the Lesser Yellowlegs showed at Ernesettle Creek on both sides of the river though always quite distant (best viewed from the patch of grass which gives access to the estuary-side below the football pitch). Also a couple of Greenshanks and c12 Teal there.

Posted November 18th, 2012 at 5:51 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Bowling green marsh

watched from the hide 09:10 till 11:25

Avocet numbers have increased to 303+, 4 knot, 60+ bar tailed godwits, 45+ lapwing, 6+ snipe, good numbers of black tailed godwits but lots of movement so hard to do a count, same with dunlin probably 100+ , 4 pintail(2m,2f), 6 pochard and 4+ tufted duck, 250+ wigeon, 2 Cetti's warblers,  2 little grebes, a group of 200+ Brent geese over 

11:30 till 12:30 viewing platform 

whilst scanning the field on the left of the path to the viewing platform came across a Water pipit among 5+ meadow pipits showing well at times a nice find, a kingfisher showed briefly, and a group of 5 red breasted mergansers was of exton 

12:40 till 14:10 along goat walk 

had news that the female long tailed duck had been seen of the quay in topsham finally refound it of goat walk at 13:12 and managed to watch it well for next 45 minutes , also another kingfisher flew over from exminster marsh. 

A good mornings birding 

Posted November 18th, 2012 at 5:20 pm by Keith Birchall in General Birding

Upottery Airfield, Smeatharpe

A glorious morning and some better birding than of late. The Little Owl showed well in its usual place being kept company by 2-3 Stock Doves. 22 Golden Plover, around 30 Skylarks, a single Stonechat, 4 Buzzards, 8 Fieldfare and 35 Lapwings heading North West.

Posted November 18th, 2012 at 5:08 pm by Douglas Stannard in General Birding

Budleigh Salterton

A short eared owl seen from the coastal path just to the East of Budleigh Salteron this afternoon. It was being mobbed by about six crows and had climbed to a considerable height. It eventually departed to the North.

Posted November 18th, 2012 at 4:55 pm by John Crabb in General Birding

Velator reserve

Ringing this morning produced a fine range of species including two Chiffchaffs amongst 46 birds ringed. No sign of any of the large flock of Goldfinches seen yesterday....

James Leonard reports 6 Wigeon and 4 Shoveler on Wrafton Pond. He also saw a Chough on Lundy last week.

Posted November 18th, 2012 at 4:50 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

West Dartmoor

1st winter snow bunting on track to bleak house, Amicombe Hill on both 13 and 15 November.  Close view possible, but lengthy walk from Fox & Hounds pub.

Posted November 18th, 2012 at 3:21 pm by pete Stevens in General Birding


A sweep of the Torbay beaches (Preston, Goodrington and Broadsands) today produced: 11 Black-necked Grebes, 7 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Great Northern Divers, 41 Common Scoter, 1 Wigeon.

At Broadsands at least 6 Cirl Buntings, 1 Firecrest, 1 'eastern' chiffchaff, 2 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 3 Goldcrest, 1 Water Rail, the possible Scandinavian Rock Pipit back again today on the grassy pool behind the beachuts with another similar looking bird, 2 Pied Wagtails and a Meadow Pipit the only petrosus Rock Pipits were on the beach.

Photos: Firecrest showing well at back of 2nd car park.

FirecrestBrdsnds181112ML FirecrestBrdsnds181112ML2


Posted November 18th, 2012 at 1:33 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding


Another depressing WeBS count for the ley.....just 2 Mute Swans, 11 Mallard and 3 Moorhen. 3 or 4 Water Rails calling. Offshore single Great Crested Grebe and Great northern Diver in Start Bay.

Posted November 18th, 2012 at 1:29 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Saturday 17th November 2012

Bowling green marsh

Watched from 08:30 till 12:15

on the walk down to the hide a female hen harrier put all the waders up before dropping down to the reeds by the clyst ( also seen by George wall from the hide). Avocet numbers now 267+, 90+ bar tailed godwits, 750+ black tailed godwits, 6+ knot , 5 turnstone, 110+ dunlin, 7 greenshank, 12+ snipe, 6 pochard,8+ tufted     duck, 4 pintail(3f,1m), 15+ shoveler, 41+ lapwing, c100+ wigeon, 10+ jay, sparrowhawk, kestrel, 2 buzzard, good numbers of redwing and a few Fieldfare, by viewing platform 25+ long tailed tit and 3 goldcrests 

did not get chance to post last night but a quick look at exminster marsh on Friday afternoon produced a Firecrest in bushes before the swans nest pub at 14:35 and the whooper swan was still by the bridge over the railway line 

also received news today that 2 scaup were on bowling green marsh on Friday 1 female and 1 juv ( thanks Chris ) 

Posted November 17th, 2012 at 5:28 pm by Keith Birchall in General Birding

Clennon Valley & Broadsands

Clennon Valley: 8 Chiffchaff, 1 eastern type Chiffchaff (perhaps tristis!) not calling. 7 Goldcrest, 4 Water Rail, 1 Brambling, 2 Siskin.

Broadsands: checked the gull roost this evening after looking over the marsh: 3 Cirl Buntings on seed in 2nd car park, in marsh area; 1 Water Rail, 1 Chiffchaff, 2 Goldcrest and 3 Firecrest along road heading west from the carpark entrance where the extensive marsh starts. On the sea, 4 Black-necked Grebes, 1 Slavonian Grebe (off Saltern Cove), 5 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Great Northern Divers, 41 Common Scoter and 1 ad w Mediterranean Gull with 1500+ Blackheaded Gulls and 40+ Common Gulls.

Must have just missed Jake!

Posted November 17th, 2012 at 5:04 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding


Broadsands 14:45-15:30

4 Black Necked Grebes close to the shore, 2 Great Creasted Grebes, 50+ Common Scoter and a Great Northern Diver right out beyond the buoys.

I didn't check for the tristis chiffchaff as there were lots of people racing remote control cars around the pools.

Posted November 17th, 2012 at 3:56 pm by Jacob Wood in General Birding


10 Wigeon, only 1 Gadwall visible and 4 Shoveler now.

In the reserve, a Chiffchaff, LOTS of Finches, and a Woodcock!

Posted November 17th, 2012 at 3:04 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

skern 07:45-08:30

3 pale bellied brent,164 brent,2f shoveller(uncommon record),2 bar tails,11 grey plover,fw med

Posted November 17th, 2012 at 10:36 am by Robert Marshall in General Birding

Friday 16th November 2012


Ford Park Cemetary very quiet this morning so Russ and I nipped over to Wembury to see what we could poach there.

At least one Firecrest around the Pines, plus a Woodcock kicked out of the undergrowth. Five adult Med Gulls were on the beach and a female R.B.Merg was on the sea. Not a bad couple of hours.

Posted November 16th, 2012 at 6:59 pm by Roy McCarthy in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh

At lunchtime a peregrine had a wigeon

Posted November 16th, 2012 at 3:00 pm by Phil Holyday in General Birding

Kingsbridge Estuary - North

On a falling tide:

7 great-crested grebe, 8 brent geese, 40 shelduck, 135 wigeon, 5 pintail, female goldeneye, 11 red-breasted merganser, 83 oystercatcher, 2 grey plover, 52 golden plover, 3 black-tailed godwit on scrape, 5 bar-tailed godwit, 8 snipe, 135 curlew, 42 redshank, greenshank and singing cirl bunting.

Stacks of blackbirds around West Charleton marsh.

Posted November 16th, 2012 at 2:06 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Plover heanton Court

Large flock or Golden Plover? at heanton Court at 1200 today.

Not 100% sure if Golden Plover only had my small bins with me and the light is very gloomy today. 500 or 600 i would estimate.

Posted November 16th, 2012 at 1:33 pm by Andy Leat in General Birding

Berry Hd and Broadsands

Much quieter at Berry Hd this morning but still some overhead movement of thrushes and finches: 184 Redwing, 11 Fieldfare, 10 Brambling, 167 Chaffinches, 1 Golden Plover, 1 Little Egret, 22 Goldfinch, 8 Skylark, 6 Meadow Pipits and 34 Starling.

Around the headland: 12 Goldcrest, 3 Chiffchaff and 1 Blackcap.

Broadsands: 1 possibly 2 tristis Chiffchaffs one calling, 1 Chiffchaff, 4 Siskins and 1500 Wood Pigeons in the stubble fields.

A rather pale 'eastern' possibly tristis Chiffchaff non calling - but responding to tristis song playback well with wing quivering. Note less warm buffy tones though around face, chest and flanks and extensive pale base to lower mandible.

EChiffBrdsnds161112ML EChiffBrdsnds161112ML2

Below: The calling - with a flat 'piii' call - tristis Chiffchaff (with the above bird), buffier around face and sides of chest and flanks, really black legs and very little pale base to lower mandible. Again reacted well with wing quivering and 'chip - chip' call to tristis song.  

TristisChiffBrdsnds161112ML TristisChiffBrdsnds161112ML2

Posted November 16th, 2012 at 12:21 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding

Swallows Flying The Wrong Way

At Exmouth seafront 0930hrs saw 2 swallows fly in from the sea heading North.

Brief visit to Ide/Longdown area this morning looking for Hawfinch.

Weather was very misty and unable to view tops of trees.None seen or heard but will re visit on Sunday morning when forecast is better.

Roy Adams

Hungarian Bird Tours


Posted November 16th, 2012 at 10:55 am by Roy Adams in General Birding

Waxwings Exeter

Mike Salter watched a small flock of 7 or 8 Waxwings flying around calling near the Exeter University campus, just across the road from The Imperial (New North Road) early afternoon on Wednesday 14th. He suspects they were feeding somewhere in the valley that runs parallel to Prince of Wales Road (Duryard Valley?).

Posted November 16th, 2012 at 9:02 am by Steve Waite in General Birding

Ford Park Cemetery - Plymouth

No sign of the Lesser Whitethroat yesterday, but Barry Rankine saw and photographed this Woodcock in the north west corner at 08:30.



Posted November 16th, 2012 at 8:55 am by Steve Waite in General Birding

Thursday 15th November 2012

Axe Estuary

Highlights on the Estuary - Two Green Sandpiper showed well at the Blackhole Marsh and again at Colyford Common. 200+ Lapwing dotted across the floodplain below Axe Road Bridge and hide with a nice group of 15+ Curlew in the scape at the common. Kingfisher showing well on the Estuary from Tower Hide and another at Colyford Common. Plenty of Gulls, duck and usual residents on view with no Meds seen.

An eight Snipe flypast at Blackhole as we arrived with a Sparrohawk over the cemetry late morning. 

A good few hours with plenty to see on a falling tide.

Posted November 15th, 2012 at 9:13 pm by Derek Carter in General Birding


Now 11 Wigeon on the pond with the 2 drake Gadwall and 3 female Shoveler.

Posted November 15th, 2012 at 5:10 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding


The female Ring-necked Duck still present near the bridge this morning, also a single late Swallow over the village. Otherwise fairly quiet.

Posted November 15th, 2012 at 4:17 pm by David Cope in General Birding

Exminster Marshes

A female Hen Harrier was hunting just north of the fisherman’s carpark at about 8 o’clock this morning, then flew over the canal to the reeds and not seen again. A good number of Fieldfares and Redwings were in the fields opposite the Turf Hotel and on passage north east over the marsh. Also the Whooper Swan still with Mute Swans seen from the railway bridge.

Posted November 15th, 2012 at 2:04 pm by Paul Albrechtsen in General Birding

Berry Hd

An incredible passage of Redwing at Berry Head this morning it started at about 0730hrs in small groups heading NW, then picked up to flocks of a 1000 or more being joined by smaller flocks of Fieldfare, amongst the Chaffinches were good numbers of Brambling and even a flock of 10 or more heading low NE. most of the passage had died out by 0930hrs overhead migration counts as follows: Redwing 4600+, Fieldfare 270+, Chaffinch 237, Brambling 78 (and probably more!), Wood Pigeon 220, Stock Dove 3, Song Thrush 6, Meadow Pipit 17, Starling 48, Greenfinch 9, Goldfinch 12, Pied Wagtail 7.

Part of a Fieldfare flock                                                       Part of a Redwing  Flock


Around the headland 21 Goldcrest, 1 Chiffchaff, several Brambling feeding around the still leaved sycamore trees with Chaffinches and 2 redhead Goosander > south off the Head at 0815hrs.



Posted November 15th, 2012 at 12:26 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding

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