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

Thursday 21st November 2013


c300 Golden Plover over Ingra Tor, Princetown this morning.

Maureen & Rob Harrison

Posted November 21st, 2013 at 8:27 pm by Rob Harrison in General Birding

Braunton Marshes


1 female Marsh Harrier disturbed by shooting on Sharpa Marshes flying west over R.Caen onto Braunton Marshes and seen searching for prey over reed beds.

Posted November 21st, 2013 at 4:05 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Kingsbridge Estuary

All day out on the estuary produced few surprises but a fine range of species including 10 great crested grebes, 26 cormorants, 47 shags, 35 little egrets, 87 brent geese, 72 shelducks, 440 wigeon, 54 pintail, 10 red-breasted mergansers, female goldeneye, 120 oystercatchers, 150 dunlin, 220 curlews, 19 barwits, 10 greenshanks, 107 redshanks & 1400 black-headed gulls.

Posted November 21st, 2013 at 3:40 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Clennon Valley & Broadsands

Clennon Valley: 1 Yellow-browed Warbler still 200m NW of YMCA in sallows beside stream, 1 tristis  Chiffchaff, 2 collybita Chiffchaffs, 4 Goldcrests, 12 Tufted Ducks, 3 Little Grebe, 1 Little Egret.

Broadsands: Very windy so struggled to find the warblers today, 1 tristis Chiffchaff 1 collybita Chiffchaff, 1 Goldcrest and 1 Water Rail

Posted November 21st, 2013 at 11:54 am by Mike Langman in General Birding

Wednesday 20th November 2013


About 350 Avocets feeding off the Goat Walk around midday. Several flocks of Redwings, with a few Fieldfares, moving NE in the morning.

Charlie's images of the Long-tailed Duck show pink on the bill and pale feathers on the back - both characteristic of a first winter male.

Posted November 20th, 2013 at 11:03 pm by Dave Smallshire in General Birding

Long-tailed Duck

Thought it might be of interest- this is the Long-tailed Duck seen off Boat Cove Dawlish.Obviously a different bird to the one at Topsham

Posted November 20th, 2013 at 9:53 pm by Nick Workman in General Birding

Long-tail Duck Bowling Green Marsh

I decided to sit it in the hide at Bowling Green today until the Long-tailed Duck came in to the channel as it has done previous.  It took a couple of hours but eventually it was around the marker. We then all kept quiet (a novelty in it's self),  and then we held our breath as it got closer and closer, until after just a minute or so it was as near to the hide as it could be. At one point, it cleared a path aggressively amongst the teal, climbed out and fed on the bankside vegetation opposite.

I have more photos on my Blog,  (copy and paste "Wildlife in a Suburban Garden" in to your search).

Posted November 20th, 2013 at 7:20 pm by Charlie Fleming in General Birding


Now 3 Siberian (tristis) Chiffchaffs in the sallows around the small pond just seaward side of the cutting between the two car parks incredibly just one 'western'(collybita) Chiffchaff present also 2 Goldcrests.

 2 x siberian Chiffchaffs Broadsands 20 Nov 2013 ML  siberian Chiffchaffs Broadsands 20 Nov 2013 ML

Photo 2 x Tristis Chiffchaffs and closer shot of one of 3

On the sea: 2 Great Northern Divers and 2 Great Crested Grebes.

Posted November 20th, 2013 at 6:51 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding

Clennon Valley

Single Yellow-browed Warbler still present this afternoon, feeding in sallows and sycamores 200m west of YMCA where Mike originally found it.

Posted November 20th, 2013 at 4:33 pm by Jacob Wood in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh

Lunchtime in the hide until 1.45 today. The female Long-tailed Duck still. Also, 2 pairs of Pintail, 1 drake Gadwall and 1 Snipe along with the usual.

Posted November 20th, 2013 at 3:01 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding

Long-tailed Duck & Firecrest

Long-tailed Duck in Boat Cove Dawlish also Firecrest behind cafe at Coryton Cove.

Posted November 20th, 2013 at 11:13 am by Nick Workman in General Birding

Tuesday 19th November 2013

R.Taw off Pottington Ind. Est. Barnstaple.

162 Dark-bellied Brent just off rear of RGB. Plenty of Redshank, Oystercatcher, Curlew and Lapwings but only 8 Dunlin. C400 - 450 Canada Geese.

Posted November 19th, 2013 at 6:43 pm by Maurice Clements in General Birding

Clennon Valley

1 (possibly even 2) Yellow-browed Warbler(s) one faithful to sallows 200m west of the YMCA in sallows by the stream. (the same?) 10 minutes before one 600m further west in Sycamores this bird seemed to fly even further west towards the ponds when I lost it. Also 1 tristis Chiffchaff (the same as last week now on sallows in middle pond). 5 collybita Chiffchaff, 7 Goldcrests 1 Mandarin Duck, 11 Tufted Duck, 4 Shoveler, 3 Little Grebe, 1 Water Rail.

yellow-browed Warbler Clennon Valley 19 Nov 2013 ML


Posted November 19th, 2013 at 3:56 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding

Darts Farm - Topsham cycleway

From the viewing hide at the carp lakes of Darts Farm c700 Brent Geese were present in the fields with Bl Tailed Godwits, ducks etc and overhead and settling in the taller trees were a flock of c100 Greenfinch

I walked on via Odhams Wharf to the new cyle path which has been opened in the last few days which crosses the River Clyst just north of Bowling Green Marsh.  Was disappointed with the birds present in the wetland area (Goosemoor?) other than a few distant ducks and waders.  This area is now viewable from the cycle path which has several laybys with slots for birdwatching.  The new bridge over the River Clyst is set at an angle to the river and it is difficult to view the river itself due to the panelling and if you stop you are more likely to be run over by cyclists!  The new bridge and raised wooden cyleway is an impressive and expensive structure and can be  accessed from either Bowling Green Marsh or the pathway opposite Darts farm. Still a welcome addition to birdwatching sites.

Posted November 19th, 2013 at 2:46 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding

Powderham Marshes, Exminster

A brief visit this morning to view the stubbles and bird-food crops. The crops look excellent and will surely tempt the finches. Bird numbers yet to build but c110 linnets, c12 goldfinches, 2 green finches, a few reed buntings and one cirl bunting is a start. Also present a sparrow hawk, kestrel and a couple of buzzards. Two green sandpipers were vocal and flying around. In the bushes at least 3 chiffchaffs, 2 goldcrests and a flock of long-tailed tits.

Posted November 19th, 2013 at 11:56 am by John Waldon in General Birding

Monday 18th November 2013

Wintering Blackcaps

This month I have ringed 7 Blackcaps in my garden in Braunton. 5 males and 2 females. Although they may overwinter, two of the males have had very high fat scores (65 and 70) indicating that they are ready to migrate. The male ringed today was also well covered (score 50). I've also no idea where all these birds come from - never had a bird ringed elsewhere, and never had any of mine recovered elsewhere after release. This after nearly 20 years of catching Blackcaps here! Perhaps one of this year's might be appear as a control somewhere else.

Posted November 18th, 2013 at 9:16 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Dartmoor, Sunday 17th

First-winter Common Redpoll trapped yesterday on private land on Dartmoor - some photos for the record, all copyright Judith Read.

Noticeable that when it contact-called on release, the call was somewhat deeper in tone than the Lesser Redpolls it was lurking with.

Common Redpoll
Common Redpoll

Common Redpoll
Common Redpoll

Common Redpoll
Common Redpoll

Posted November 18th, 2013 at 8:37 pm by Jeremy Barker in General Birding

Bird Sightings Blog

Just a notice to invite anyone wishing to discuss/air their opinions on the Dusky Thrush to go to the Devon Birds Forum, where a thread has been started on this topic.

Posted November 18th, 2013 at 6:43 pm by Steve Waite in General Birding


Orcombe Point - a lapland bunting this evening in the stubble field at the top of Gore Lane. Best bet if you want to try for it is to view from the gate and wait for a local sparrowhawk to make one of its regular forays into the field when the finches, buntings and larks will get up and fly around a bit. The white-fronted goose was absent this evening having apparently finally found some company at the south end of the Exe. 

Yesterday - a richards's pipit flew low over the 'goose' field calling @0802 but continued west and was searched for this evening without success. This is my first record for the site but the lapland bunting is the twelfth record, having been almost annual since 2006. Also yesterday the white-fronted goose, 6 snipe and c250+ starling west.

lapland bunting
lapland bunting

Posted November 18th, 2013 at 4:52 pm by Matt Knott in General Birding

Exminster Marshes & R. Exe

The Marshes: Highlights included 22 Golden Plover, 2 snipe, c120 lapwings, 4 pintails, 2 pochard, 25 gadwall, 2 peregrine falcons, 1 greylag goose and 1 barnacle goose in amongst the large flocks of canada geese. Large numbers of Teal and  Wigeon. The River (from Turf Locks): c135 avocets, 11 brents, 11 redshank incl 1 with green flag (unable to read), c150 dunlin and a kingfisher fishing from the boarding steps at the pier on the jetty by the pub.

Posted November 18th, 2013 at 4:48 pm by david cawthraw in General Birding


Broadsands: 9 Great Northern Divers (photo of a close one below), 1 Great Crested Grebe. In the marsh 1 tristis Chiffchaff (photo below).

Great Northern Diver Broadsands 18 Nov 13 ML Tristis Chiffchaff Broadsands 18 Nov 13 ML

Paignton: 1 Velvet Scoter, 7 Common Scoter, 1 Great Northern Diver.

Posted November 18th, 2013 at 2:10 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh

The female Long-tailed Duck still from the hide this lunchtime until about 1.40. Also 1 male Pintail. Otherwise not much to see over a low tide and not much from a quick look through the viewing screens at Goosemoor either.

Posted November 18th, 2013 at 2:07 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding

Sunday 17th November 2013

Bowling Green Marsh

The female Long-tailed Duck again on the main pool early afternoon, in the vicinity of the water height marker post in the mouth of the channel, from the hide.

Posted November 17th, 2013 at 9:07 pm by Terry Smith in General Birding

White Fronted Goose joined up with Brents

Mudbank, Exmouth

Matt's juv. White Fronted Goose fly-past with the Brents on Thursday. Needed confirmation that it was a WFG and not a Greylag.

Just proves you need to look at every bird!....I thought it was just another group of Brents!

Sorry for poor quality cropped photo.

Posted November 17th, 2013 at 8:37 pm by Derek Carter in General Birding

Dusky Thrush, Brixham, 26/10/13 - 02/11/13

A first winter Dusky Thrush (Turdus eunomus) was found in the back garden of a semi-detached house in a small housing estate in Brixham, Devon at lunchtime on the 26th October 2013. According to a resident it may have been present the day before. It was last seen on the 2nd November 2013, and despite searching has not been seen since. During this time it frequented six gardens on the estate and was not seen to go elsewhere.

Dusky Thrush (c) Josh Marshall

Dusky Thrush (c) Josh Marshall

I thought about releasing the news but immediately realised the bird could not be seen from any public area. It favoured the shrubs at the back of the properties, which were only visible from within the houses themselves. The potential impact of perhaps several hundred visitors on the residents’ privacy was also considered. Indeed, a straw poll of some of the home owners was taken as to whether to release the news and the results were all negative. Similar advice was received from the local Police about the potential impact of visitors’ cars on the surrounding highways. Finally, the occurrence of a twitchable Dusky Thrush in Margate Cemetery earlier in the year was taken into account. With all these things in mind, the difficult decision not to release the news was taken.

Dusky Thrush (c) Mike Langman

Dusky Thrush (c) Mike Langman

The bird fed exclusively on the berries of Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster sp.) and Torbay Palms (Cordyline australis). It initially showed well at times, approaching to within a few metres of the houses on more than one occasion. It would however go missing for long periods to sit in cover, presumably to digest its berry-rich diet. It became progressively more nervous during its stay, and by the 2nd November, the last day it was seen, it had become very jumpy, dropping into cover whenever any of the residents went into their gardens.

Click on this link to see a video of the bird:

Eds; Discussion on Devon Birds forum please...

Posted November 17th, 2013 at 7:10 pm by Matt Twiggs in General Birding

Exminster Marshes - Early Afternoon

tristis Chiffchaff calling in the car park and good views. Good numbers of Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Avocet, Curlew and 18 Gadwall along with the more usual.  On the way back from the Turf, a flock of 22 Fieldfare overhead and Redwings on the "haws" in the  hawthorns. Quite a few Goldcrest calling. But then we caught sight of a small swift, falcon towards the M5 flyover, it landed on a telegraph pole about 300m from the road. Stunning male Merlin which we watched for a good time - best views I have ever had of a Merlin. All in all a brilliant birding afternoon!

Posted November 17th, 2013 at 6:47 pm by Simon Bates in General Birding

Taw Estuary

Morning walk around Fremington and Home Farm Marsh; late afternoon along the River Caen/Sherpa Marsh. About 100 Redshanks along Fremington Pill and around the mouth of the Pill, an estimated 2,000–3,000 Golden Plovers roosting on the sand flats off Chivenor, 13 Pintails, 2 Spoonbills, a Merlin, 2 or 3 Marsh Harriers (all females/imms), a late Whinchat (near Salt Pill Duck Pond), a Common Sandpiper (River Caen at Velator - where also Dipper, Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail and 5 Little Grebes) and – most surprisingly of all – two Swallows over Sherpa Marsh at dusk as we watched about 1,000 Starlings murmurating over Wrafton.

Posted November 17th, 2013 at 5:29 pm by Tim Jones in General Birding


Drake Green-winged Teal with 35+ Teal, 3 Wigeon, 2 Tufted Duck and 2000+ Golden Plover overhead towards Lee Moor.

Posted November 17th, 2013 at 4:36 pm by Sara McMahon in General Birding

Exmouth Town Centre

Last of the Summer birds? Two house martins feeding on what insects they could find over Exmouth. Not an exceptionally late record, but a surprise none the less.

Posted November 17th, 2013 at 3:33 pm by Alan Keatley in General Birding


Two Black Redstart on the top of the old Mount Hotel in Ilfracombe this morning.

Posted November 17th, 2013 at 2:48 pm by Margaret Phillips in General Birding

Torbay boat trip

Morning trip round the bay in gloomy conditions. Numbers of wintering birds still quite low but quality nonetheless: 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Velvet Scoter with 14 Common Scoter, 10 Grey Heron, 1 Gannet, 2 Kittiwake, 2 Guillemot, 3 Oystercatcher, 6 Turnstone, 8 Purple Sandpiper and a Grey Seal. The next trip is 9-11am next Sunday (24th), book with Nigel Smallbones on 07866 202576. 

Velvet and common scoters off Paignton
Velvet and common scoters off Paignton

Purple sandpiper, Brixham harbour
Purple sandpiper, Brixham harbour

Grey seal, Brixham harbour
Grey seal, Brixham harbour

Posted November 17th, 2013 at 2:33 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding


A male Black Redstart was around the port this morning. Offshore 44 Common Scoter, 2 Red-throated Diver and a Great Northern Diver.

Posted November 17th, 2013 at 12:11 pm by Will Salmon in General Birding

Orcombe Point

Matt Knott had a Richards Pipit fly west over Orcombe Point at 8.02am this morning. Also the juv White Fronted Goose was in Exmouth by the leisure centre at 8.30am but not there at 9.20am so had presumably returned to Gore Lane.  (Matt is without Internet access at the moment so is unable to post)

Posted November 17th, 2013 at 9:34 am by Mark Bailey in General Birding

Saturday 16th November 2013

South Huish Marsh

a couple of nice pic's from Bruce 'Churchie' church of the 2nd yr Hen Harrier that ENW connected with at South Huish Marsh mid day today (Snipe and what appeared to be vole on the menu)  Also present 1pr Bearded Tit in the reed fringes as reported earlier by RBu and AJL .

Posted November 16th, 2013 at 8:55 pm by Alan Doidge in General Birding

Teign Estuary

c.2,250 Wood Pigeon moving south or SSW between 07:55 and 08:35, viewed from Shaldon golf course.

The drake Scaup was still at Decoy Lake, Newton Abbot this morning along with 33 Tufted Duck and singles of Gadwall, Great Crested Grebe and Kingfisher.

Posted November 16th, 2013 at 7:45 pm by Will Salmon in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

A short visit late afternoon in declining light. Just 46 Curlews, 4 Greenshanks and a sole Oystercatcher on the pool; elsewhere 2 Snipes, a Reed Bunting and a Green Woodpecker. 

Posted November 16th, 2013 at 7:40 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Wembury Beach

Walked down to the beach and went along the right side footpath along Langdon beach a couple of Oystercatcher and Curlew were on the rocks. On the sand there were around 200+Pipits, Some were Rock but most were a slightly larger species ( most likely Meadow.)

Posted November 16th, 2013 at 6:01 pm by Matt Clark in General Birding

Shiphay, Torquay

15:30 Male Blackcap actively foraging for insects in the laurel hedge at the bottom of my garden.  Earlier, 3 Siskins calling in flight over Sainsburys Car Park at The Willows, Torquay and a Sparrowhawk at Cadewell Park.

Posted November 16th, 2013 at 4:01 pm by Paul Darlington in General Birding


Watching out from Saltern Cove at the same time as JW had a few more GCGrebes and a long way out in the bay 3 GNDivers but not sure if same birds as JW. The only thing I can add is 1 Egret in the cove.

Still places on Torbay boat trip Sunday morning, give us a call if interested, sailing at 9am  from Paignton Harbour.

Posted November 16th, 2013 at 1:59 pm by nigel smallbones in General Birding


Two black necked grebes in Torbay viewed from the promenade also one seen early this morning from Babbacombe Downs

Posted November 16th, 2013 at 1:35 pm by Rob Gaze in General Birding


fri 15th

Grey phalerope stillat Roadford in Shop Inlet.

Posted November 16th, 2013 at 12:48 pm by b.albrighton in General Birding

Thurlestone Area

Message from Arthur Livett and Bob Burridge

South Milton Ley  - late Swallow over this morning

South Huish - two Bearded Tits seen and heard this morning.


Posted November 16th, 2013 at 12:38 pm by George & Julia Harris in General Birding


Broadsands 09:30

5 GN Divers, 4 GC Grebes, 1 BN Grebe and 18-19 Common Scoter in flight.

Posted November 16th, 2013 at 11:05 am by Jacob Wood in General Birding

Bursdon Moor, near Hartland

Bursdon Moor - Friday 15th

1 Merlin hunting over the moor and perched in small tree and 1 ringtail Hen Harrier at dusk, eventually going to roost.

Some large flocks of Starlings heading to roost, one flock of over 10.000.

Harvey Kendall & Barry Bryne.

Posted November 16th, 2013 at 9:31 am by Harvey Kendall in General Birding

Friday 15th November 2013

Thurlestone Bay

  Wood Pigeon passage this morning only 850.

At South Milton Ley 4 Water Rail, 2 Little Grebe, 3 Chiffchaff

On South Huish Marsh - 14 Wigeon, 25 Teal, 1 Tufted Duck and a KIngfisher.

In the Bay at least 160 Kittiwake ( sat on the sea -all adult birds )   52 Wigeon , 4 Common Scoter.

09.50 a lone Swallow landed on the wires by the car park .

Posted November 15th, 2013 at 6:17 pm by Mike Passman in General Birding

Snowies on Northam burrows.

Still present today and even came very close, glad I sold my Pentax equipment and upgraded to Nikon, far superior images!

Posted November 15th, 2013 at 5:58 pm by Steve Hatch in General Birding

Slapton Ley

08:15-13:00, Sunny bright day, light north wind strengthening a little through morning.

2 Great Crested Grebe, 12 Little Grebe, 52 Mute Swan, 73 Canada Geese ( single flock which included a pure white domestic type goose and a couple hybrids, maybe Greylag x Canada ), Little Egret ( infrequent visitor here ), 69 Gadwall, 203 Wigeon ( exclusively in Ireland Bay ), 2 Shoveler, 265 Tufted Duck, Scaup ( male, from footpath c200 metres north of Torcross car park ), 54 Pochard, Red-crested Pochard x Tufted Duck hybrid, 549 Coot, 45 Moorhen, Lapwing ( on one of the weed islands in Ireland Bay ), Mediterranean Gull ( first winter ) and 5 Siskin. Possible Redpoll sp. calling over Slapton Bridge and possible Snow Bunting called twice flying north near Memorial. Both times coincided with heavy passing traffic so not 100% sure on either. Very little on the sea but a bright glare did not help. Of note around 500 Kittiwakes feeding towards Blackpool Sands but no accompanying Skuas.

Posted November 15th, 2013 at 5:00 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Long-tailed Duck

Long-tailed Duck of Dawlish sea front close in.

Posted November 15th, 2013 at 4:10 pm by Nick Workman in General Birding

Odd big bird at Churston

Driving close to Churston church this morning, about 9 AM, saw 2 big birds, flying together, first was a Grey Heron, second was very different ....long neck, wings well set back on body.....reminded me of a White Stork......just a heads up in case anyone else has seen similar locally (and keeping in view the GB blogs recently). Both birds headed towards Galmpton village.  

Posted November 15th, 2013 at 1:36 pm by Trevor Leaman in General Birding

Baggy Point

One of each at Baggy this morning

Snow Bunting, female Common Scoter & female Black Redstart.

Photo to illustrate size differences between Cormorant & Shag.

Posted November 15th, 2013 at 1:01 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

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