General Birding

Breeding Birds

Please think very carefully before posting any information on scarce or rare breeding species both here and elsewhere online.

A list of ‘at risk’ species in the county can be found here. Many of these receive full legal protection under Schedule 1 and/or are rare in the county and may be vulnerable to persecution/disturbance. It is an offence to intentionally disturb any of the Schedule 1 species during the breeding season without a valid licence. This also applies to anyone taking photographs of these species at or near the nest or whilst feeding dependant young. 

You should also apply these principles to vulnerable species without the wider legal protection. 

Although some species may be found breeding at numerous locations, please keep information about them limited to well-known sites (e.g. Labrador Bay for Cirl Bunting and Aylesbeare Common for Dartford Warbler). Others may be found as obvious migrants and as such can also be posted eg coastal Ring Ouzel and passage waders, or raptors eg Little Ringed PloverRed Kite or Marsh Harrier.

If you have any doubts and think there is a chance there may be breeding, either because of the habitat or behaviour of the bird(s) then do not post, but please submit your records to the County Recorder and, as appropriate, the RSPB

Please be aware that egg collecting and other forms of disturbance and persecution remain very real hazards for some of Devon’s birds. Unfortuately this can involve people wanting to photograph or obtain close views of the  birds, as well as eg egg collectors. 

Every year editors on this site have to remove or edit posts which breach the code outlined here. Please play your part in making this unnecessary. 

Thank you.

Posted March 20th at 3:43 pm 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 21st March 2014

Wrafton/Velator, nr Braunton

Evening walk today produced first Sand Martin of the year (x6). A brief song resembling that of an Acrocephalus sp. warbler was heard in the picnic area by Wrafton Pond in the fading light.

Late news from Monday of the female/juv Marsh Harrier, seen east from the raised path by Velator Quay.

Posted March 21st, 2014 at 11:42 pm by Lowell Mills (and Emzi) in General Birding

Tarka trail adjacent to Wrafton Pond

Early morning. No Spoonbills at Wrafton this morning but one immature Mute Swan sitting down & unable to move on the side of the Tarka trail.Possible collision with overhead cables or booted out by adult pair who have started nesting again on the pond.

I would like to thank Diana Lewis & Barry (N.Devon Animal Rescue Ambulance) for responding so promptly to my phone call. They had to drive from N.Molton, capture the bird & take it all the way to West Hatch in Somerset.

My role was to protect the bird from dog walkers, joggers cyclists etc until they arrived & I would like to thank everybody using the trail for cooperating fully with my requests & redirections!

Posted March 21st, 2014 at 8:30 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh

Very quiet at Bowling Green Marsh this lunchtime until about 1.50, with just 18 Brent Geese of any note, but a quick look through the screens at Goosemoor revealed a single Ruff feeding close by with a small group of Redshanks, Black-tailed Godwits and 1 Greenshank.

Posted March 21st, 2014 at 2:08 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding

Trewsweir Exeter

Pair of Great Crested Grebes on the river at Trewsweir 0630 to 0700 today, then moved upstream. Feeding and avoiding occasional unwelcome attention from imm. Mute Swans. Also report of same/similar pair seen yesterday mid-afternoon on river between Exe Bridges and the Quay, adjacent to the Harvester Pub. (Sorry about photo quality, iPhone through scope!)

Posted March 21st, 2014 at 7:37 am by Mike & Sue Booth in General Birding

Shirwell, Barnstaple EX31 4JU

Sighted a yellowhammer in my garden it was a male. Had a very pretty voice and was very bright yellow.

Posted March 21st, 2014 at 7:07 am by Benjamin Rousseau in General Birding

Thursday 20th March 2014

Wrafton and Braunton Marsh 07:40 - 09:30

With Spoonbills leaving other sites in the country and returning to their breeding areas, we still had 3 in the flooded field at Wrafton today, next to the Tarka Trail. The 3 included the new ringed bird and although details of the rings were submitted to BTO back in January this year by myself and Rob Jutson, neither of us have had any info back. Details have been submitted yet again for the more recent sightings.

5 Sand Martins seen over Wrafton Pond and at least 6 Little Grebes were squabbling over territories on the pond. The Mute Swans have built their nest on the far side of the pond from the viewing area and one bird was sitting. Cetti`s were heard and just 1 Chiff Chaff seen.

On Braunton Marsh by the big linney were 3 Buzzards on the ground and 1 Kestrel flying around. I counted 13 Stock Doves on the linney roof and 14 Mute Swans were in the area.

Posted March 20th, 2014 at 9:10 pm by Maurice Clements in General Birding


Yesterday [19th]  Large, and late? Flock of between 50 to 60

Fieldfares  in the Erme vally opposite Piles copse.

Posted March 20th, 2014 at 7:31 pm by John Lusher in General Birding

Prawle Point Seawatch and Slapton Ley

Seawatch from 6.15am (Pat) and myself from 7.25am till 1.25pm, in SW wind 5 going 6 ,produced :        24 Manx Shearwaters, 6 Red Throated Divers ( 3 w,3 e) ;1 Black-Throated Diver (w)  1 Great Northern Diver (w) and 1 Diver sp (w), 12 Common Scoter (e) and 2 (w) ; 1074 Auks (w) 135 Gannets (w) and 52 (e), 12 Fulmars (w) and 11 Common Gulls .Also 1 Harbour Porpoise and 1 Grey Seal with fish in its mouth.

At Torcross , flying over the Ley ,there were at least 20 Sand Martins full of the joys of spring whilst the murk came in , plus the 4 Black-Necked Grebes ( 2 in full, smart summer plumage) and the Scaup pair.

Posted March 20th, 2014 at 6:05 pm by Tony Marchese in General Birding

Rackerhays- Newton Abbot

30+ Sand Martins and a Swallow late afternoon over the main pond.

Posted March 20th, 2014 at 5:50 pm by Mark Bailey in General Birding

Brambling Raymonds Hill

First and only brambling of the winter/spring on garden feeders this morning, a nice male coming into full breeding plumage. Usually have a small flock for most of the winter, but not this year.

Posted March 20th, 2014 at 4:53 pm by Jim Tirrell in General Birding

Berry Head

Seawatch 07:00-13:00. SW building. Heading S, 6 Red-throated Divers (2 on the sea), 3 Great Northern Divers, 1 Black-throated Diver, Great Crested Grebe and a few Common Gulls still around (mostly 1w). Also steady passage of auks mostly Razorbills and 2 Puffins, one which sat on the sea (still in winter plumage!). Highlight was a male Marsh Harrier at 11:20 heading in from along way out, keeping close to the sea (battling against the southwesterly wind), took 20 minutes to get to Torbay and then followed the coastline in on Hope's Nose side of bay. Also 3 Harbour Porpoise and a Grey Seal off the headland. (PAL,MD,AR)

Posted March 20th, 2014 at 3:43 pm by Mark Darlaston in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh

Around 10 Sand Martins struggling in a strong wind this lunchtime until about 1.50. Also 13 Brent Geese and a Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Posted March 20th, 2014 at 2:12 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding

Whooper Swans on the Torridge

Halspill, River Torridge - 2 Whooper swans with one Mute, Canada Geese and Shelducks.

Posted March 20th, 2014 at 1:54 pm by Malcolm Shakespeare in General Birding

Wednesday 19th March 2014

Holne ~ Red Kite

Unconfirmed reprot of a Red Kite being seen at Holne Nr Ashburton yesterday 18th March

Posted March 19th, 2014 at 9:38 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding


A run across Dartmoor with Keith Male today out to Warren House Inn and back via Dartmeet, main birds on the moors were Sky Larks and Meadow Pipits and a few Stonechats, couple of Yellowhammers, a few Mistle Thrush about, several sightings of Buzzard displaying, good numbers of Raven, Carrion Crow sat on a nest at the Warren House, lots of bee's of various types and several butterflies about, strangest sight was a drake Mallard flying low over the high moor in the middle of nowhere. Will have to do a species count later but more species than I have seen on a moors run before.

Posted March 19th, 2014 at 8:55 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Wheatear Aymer Cove Near Challaborough

From South west coastal path 2 male wheatear seen in sheltered valley up from Aymer Cove in view of and west of Burgh Island

Posted March 19th, 2014 at 7:14 pm by Liz Harris in General Birding

Powderham marsh

A quick look from 14:30 till 16:00 

87+ golden plover, 2 kestrels, 7 reed buntings, 1 water rail, 1 sparrowhawk, 3 little egrets, 3 chiffchaffs.

Posted March 19th, 2014 at 6:48 pm by Keith Birchall in General Birding


Still one Siberian Chiffchaff (see photo) present around Marsh with 3 singing collybita Chiffchaffs.

Siberain Chiffchaff Broadsands 19 Mar 2014 ML

Posted March 19th, 2014 at 4:38 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding

Exminster Marshes

Fairly quite on the marshes with wildfowl numbers greatly reduced. Brent Geese counted at c80, Wigeon <10, and c30 Teal. 2 Pochard and 7 Tufted ducks on the lagoon. Several Cettis and Chiffchaffs calling. Highlight was a male Merlin feeding seen at the end of the track by the middle car park.

Posted March 19th, 2014 at 2:56 pm by david cawthraw in General Birding

Tuesday 18th March 2014

Great Crested Grebe's

A pair of Great Crested Grebe's Displaying by The Royal Oak pub next to the river Exe in Exeter. At 1530

Posted March 18th, 2014 at 4:36 pm by Paul Stone in General Birding

Avon Valley,South Devon

Highlights 2 water pipits, black-tailed godwit & 45 alba wagtails least 2 whites. Also: 5 redshanks, 4 greenshanks, 4 common sandpipesr, 18 little egrets & 9 lesser black-backed gulls.

Posted March 18th, 2014 at 4:32 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Lundy Island

Just checked my Facebook page. Island resident Jonny Aird has reported there are now two Hoopoes on the island.

Posted March 18th, 2014 at 12:18 pm by Mike Jones in General Birding

Stover Great Crested Grebes mating 17/03/2014

A visit to Stover on the17th the high light was seeing the pair of Great Crested Grebe displaying and then mating on the nest site. On the lake Lesser Black Backed Gulls, Pochard and Tufted Duck a pair of each, Moorhen, Coot, 2 female Goosander, Cormorant. Round the lake Wren, Bullfinch, Long Tailed, Great, Blue and Marsh Tit, Jay, single Greenfinch, Chaffinch and Blackbirds in good numbers only the one Nuthatch seen Woodpeckers drumming but not seen.

Posted March 18th, 2014 at 6:28 am by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Monday 17th March 2014

Off westward ho! 17 th.March

Eiders off Rock nose 3fs.and imm. M.just off shore .

Great northern diver 300metres out to sea.

Posted March 17th, 2014 at 6:24 pm by Malcolm Shakespeare in General Birding

Wrafton Pond & Sharpa Marshes

21 Sand Martins on Wrafton Pond.

2 female Marsh Harriers on Sharpa Marshes + 40

Canada Geese + 1 hybrid Ross's goose.

Posted March 17th, 2014 at 6:22 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Berry Head

Still very quiet. 1 Wheatear on the old fort cliffs ,2 raven and 1 sand martin over the beacon this morning and  cracking pair of Stonechat on the thicket by the lighthouse were the "highlights"

Posted March 17th, 2014 at 5:50 pm by Tim Clyburn in General Birding

Hope's Nose

Spent a few hours at Hope's Nose this morning: 7 Great Northern Divers (some quite close in), 1 Black-throated Diver. Good numbers of Guillemots including c70 on the rock ledges on the Orestone; c20 Razorbills and the female Eider is still there although further out near the Orestone this time. 1 passing Fulmar. Chiffchaff and Wheatear.

Great Northern Diver
Great Northern Diver

Posted March 17th, 2014 at 4:46 pm by david cawthraw in General Birding


Two more male Wheatears seen together today on north Dartmoor above Belstone. The male first seen last Monday is also still in his territory about 200 metres from the new arrivals, so that makes three males so far but no females yet.

Posted March 17th, 2014 at 4:43 pm by Mike Jones in General Birding

Bolberry Down area

Quiet except for an unexpected 29 Golden Plover hunkered down in spring cereals by Southdown Farm.

Posted March 17th, 2014 at 3:58 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

River Caen/River Taw


Female Marsh harrier in flight over Horsey island, 2 Sparrow hawk(both male), 2 Buzzard over Sherpa marsh both calling,2 Little owl and 3 Greenshank.

Posted March 17th, 2014 at 3:53 pm by John Hunt in General Birding

Trewsweir Exeter

Pair of Great Crested Grebes on the river at Trewsweir this morning.  

Posted March 17th, 2014 at 10:01 am by Mike Booth in General Birding

Bishops Taunton

On the 16th I saw a male and female Red-breasted Merganser down by the estuary at Bishops Taunton. They where flying upstream so are unlickely to still be there.

Posted March 17th, 2014 at 7:36 am by Benjamin Rousseau in General Birding

Sunday 16th March 2014

Lower Tamar Lake

Lower Tamar Lake.


C6 Swallows, 1 G.S. Woodpecker, Mistle Thrush, 1 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron.

Posted March 16th, 2014 at 8:57 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram and Dartmoor

An early morning visit to the Plym Estuary and Saltram produced the first Chiffchaffs of the spring (2 singing), Jack snipe, 2 Snipes, 2 Little Grebes and 15+ Skylarks. Tide was not suitable to get accurate wader counts.

In the afternoon, prolonged views of the Great Grey Shrike at Soussons Down; also 6 Siskins, a Green Woodpecker and a Lesser Redpoll. 

A bit better than the complete blank drawn at Soar and South Huish yesterday!

Great Grey Shrike, Soussons
Great Grey Shrike, Soussons

Great Grey Shrike, Soussons
Great Grey Shrike, Soussons

Posted March 16th, 2014 at 6:52 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Berry head and Broadsands

Early morning wander around Berry Head was quieter than expected. Only notable increases from last weekend were more singing Chiffchaff (5) and Chaffinch numbers seemed well up with birds noted in most suitable cover (c40) 

A family trip to Broadsands beach this evening produced a single Little Egret (also present yesterday) and a winter plumaged Dunlin by the stream outfall.

Posted March 16th, 2014 at 6:25 pm by Andy Plumb in General Birding


Check of the beaches this morning: 2 Black-throated Divers (Broadsands), 2 Black-necked Grebes (Preston), 4 Great Northern Divers, 33+ Common Scoter 4 Great Crested Grebes, 11 Razorbills, 6 Guillemots.

Posted March 16th, 2014 at 5:21 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding

Plymouth sound

A walk along the south west coast path from mount batten to bovisand produced a stonechat, many singing dunnocks, two chiffchaffs, kestral, ravens, fulmars, shags and two great northern divers - one close to shore and another flying further out in the sound.

Posted March 16th, 2014 at 3:52 pm by Elliot Dowding & John Thorogood in General Birding

Velator - Braunton

A scene of peace & tranquillity after the storms & high rainfall totals of this winter.

This ringed Spoonbill was first seen early winter 2013 at RSPB Isley Marsh Reserve.

We are so lucky to have these spectacular birds overwintering in N.Devon.


Posted March 16th, 2014 at 3:44 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Saturday 15th March 2014

Lundy Island

Lundy Warden Beccy MacDonald reports that the Hoopoe first seen on Lundy on 10th March is still there today.

Posted March 15th, 2014 at 10:45 pm by Mike Jones in General Birding

Sharpa Marshes

2 Sand Martins late afternoon over the scrape.

Seen Wheatears again this year before Sand Martins.

Interesting size comparison between a GBB Gull & Cormorant

Posted March 15th, 2014 at 6:27 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

plym woods

Buzzards, Marsh tits, pair of mandarins, dippers, kingfisher, siskin, raven, grey wagtail, coal tits, no sign of the goosanders.

Posted March 15th, 2014 at 6:19 pm by Elliot Dowding in General Birding


A pleasnt walk along the Torridge produced good views of Kingfisher Grey wagtails, Dippers and two Mandarin ducks, the female was very pale in colouring as you can see from this rather distant shot wihich certainly wouldnt make my top 1000 shots!

Also good views of the ruthless predator the mink

Distant view of a very pale female Mandarin with the male
Distant view of a very pale female Mandarin with the male


Posted March 15th, 2014 at 4:11 pm by steve hatch in General Birding

Exminster marsh and powderham marsh

Started with a quick look along station road from 07:15 till 08:40

very quiet with 6+ sand Martin through the 2 Siberian chiffchaff showed by the fishermans car park and 7+ chiffchaff.

then walked out to powderham marsh , 9+ chiffchaffs , 4 reed bunting , 3 buzzard, 59+ golden plover was a good count , 1 sparrowhawk, 8+ sand Martin. 

Posted March 15th, 2014 at 11:54 am by Keith Birchall in General Birding

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