Devon Bird Sightings from 15th–21st August 2014

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  Long-tailed Skua, Dawlish Warren 11 Oct
Barred Warbler, Thurlestone 30 Aug 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
Hooded Crow, Baggy Point 10 May  


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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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 22nd August 2014

Dawlish Warren

Viewed over the high-tide 1545-1830hrs.

Good numbers of Sandwich + Common Terns + juv-Little Tern + Oystercatchers + Great Black-Backed Gulls + Ringed Plover + Dunlin + sp-Knot + 6 Wimbrel + 5 Little Egrets.

15 Sanderling viewed from the beach-side on way back to car-park.

juv-Little + Common Terns
Juv Little (top) & Common Terns

Ringed Plover + Sanderling
Ringed Plover + Sanderling

sp-Knot + Oystercatchers
sp-Knot + Oystercatchers

Posted August 22nd, 2014 at 12:20 am by David Boult in General Birding

Thursday 21st August 2014

Axe Estuary / Colyford Common

A Great White Egret was still showing well on Colyford Common this evening; it flew over to the upper estuary at 19:30.

Lots of pics on my blog.

Posted August 21st, 2014 at 11:15 pm by Tim White in General Birding

Axe Valley & Beer

A quick look around near the Beer Cemetery revealed 2 Redstarts, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 5 Yellow Wagtails (Around the Cows) a Whitethroat & 4 Blackcaps.

Blackhole Marsh this evening produced a good number & variety of waders inclunding 30+ Dunlin, Ringed Plovers, Black Tailed Godwits, 1 Greenshank, 1 Ruff, Snipe, Green & Common Sandpipers, also 4 Yellow Wagtails, the Great White Egret was still at Colyford Common from the hide when i left at 19.15 & although i never saw it the Osprey has been seen throughout the day.

Posted August 21st, 2014 at 9:44 pm by Kevin Hale in General Birding


Good numbers of gulls again - plenty of Lesser black-backed but no Yellow-legged tonight, 2 juv/1st winter Mediterranean Gulls, 1 Ringed Plover, 1 Little egret, and a Redshank that was pursued by a a pair of peregrines which it managed to outfly!  

Posted August 21st, 2014 at 8:37 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding

Caen river, Sherpa and Velator reserve

Decided it was high time for an Osprey, so headed out on the east bank of the Caen to see if one had arrived. Past Velator harbour (work on new 'quay' nearing completion) a couple of Little Egrets. As I went past Sherpa Marsh a couple of Little Grebes, and a few Hirundines. The Black-tailed Godwit was just south of the Toll House (on the east side) and probably 100/150 small Gulls in a roost on the toll road side, which I thought I'd look through on my way back. A Swift was by Chivenor and a female Sparrowhawk which preceded me down the embankment to the main river. Only Cormorants on the regular 'Osprey' posts in the river, so I turned back north wondering where Rob's small waders had got to... Well not far up the river a small wader called and landed at the water's edge, but it didn't look right for Ringed Plover... then a small group of waders landed nearby - all Ringed Plover and Dunlin (about 6 of each) Looking back at the single Plover, it didn't join the main flock and then headed back north. Dark (almost black) bill, so I've put it down as Little Ringed Plover. The Gull flock was mainly Black-Headed, but with half a dozen Mediterranean mixed in. The Knot also put in an appearance. I looked in on Sherpa Marsh on my way back - Common Sandpiper, Tufted Duck, the Black-tailed Godwit and a Greenshank, and flying with the other Hirundines, 3 Swifts. In the reserve, a brief burst of Chiffchaff song. Good walk, shame about the lack of Osprey!

Posted August 21st, 2014 at 5:33 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Great White Egret at Colyford Common, Seaton

Photo of the GWE present at Colyford Common today. Thanks to Ian Waite for updates of it's location.

Great White Egret
Great White Egret

Posted August 21st, 2014 at 5:00 pm by Dave Helliar in General Birding

East Soar

Slow trickle of migrants inc.swift, 30 house martin, 12 alba wagtail, 8 wheatear,sedge warbler, 2 blackcap, 11 whitethroat, 6 willow warbler. Also 150 linnet in one flock and my first purple hairstreak for the site (now at 30 species). 

Posted August 21st, 2014 at 11:53 am by Rob Macklin in General Birding


Tony Taylor & Richard Taylor, currently on the island to ring shearwater chicks, report a juvenile Rose-coloured Starling around the farmyard.

Posted August 21st, 2014 at 10:40 am by Tim Jones in General Birding

Upottery Airfield, Smeatharpe

Very much as you were this morning. 2 Whinchat still, 14 Wheatear, 3 Whitethroat, 1 male Blackcap and a Chiffchaff. The female Kestrel still, 3 meadow Pipits and an increase in Pied wagtails to c35.

Posted August 21st, 2014 at 10:31 am by Douglas Stannard in General Birding

Wednesday 20th August 2014


Evening gull roost: 1 juv Yellow-legged Gull & 1 juv Mediterranean Gull were the highlights. Also of interest 3 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plovers and 2 Redshank.

Posted August 20th, 2014 at 8:32 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding

Black Hole Marsh

Great variety of waders . Good numbers lapwing, black tailed godwit and redshank. 1 greenshank 3common sand, 2 green and 1 wood . 1 greenshank, a ruff , 2 snipe 1 little ringed plover and several ringed plover.

Posted August 20th, 2014 at 7:37 pm by Tim Cox in General Birding


 1 Black tailed Godwit, 7 Dunlin & 1 Knot on the R.Caen.

2 GreyHeron, 2 Little Egrets, 131 Black headed Gulls &

14 Med Gulls.

Posted August 20th, 2014 at 5:40 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Rock Park, Barnstaple

Forgot to post yesterday so this is for the 19th.

09:30 - 11:30

There were quite a few waders which included 17 Redshank, 5 Common Sand and 1 Spotted Redshank wich was visibly larger compared to the redshanks also it had brighter legs, was paler and very little red on beak unlike the half and half of the redshanks. Coming to gulls there were 117 BH, 124 Herring,  5 Great Black-backed and 2 adult Meds. Also there were 6 cormorants and 15+ Mallard Ducks.

Posted August 20th, 2014 at 5:13 pm by Benjamin Rousseau in General Birding

Upottery Airfield, Smeatharpe

Wheatear movement seems to be picking up a pace - 15 today. 2 Whinchat still, 2 Chiffchaff and the female Kestrel again. Around 40 Swallows and 5 House martins heading SW. 3 Clouded yellows and few Common Blues despite the strong NW wind.

Posted August 20th, 2014 at 4:00 pm by Douglas Stannard in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh

Visit to the marsh today until about 2.45. On the marsh were 3 Knot (1 in summer plumage), 3 Snipe, 1 Green Sandpiper and 1 Common Sandpiper.

Posted August 20th, 2014 at 3:08 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding

Beer Cemetery Fields & Beer Head.

Some enjoyable birding this morning with 5 Redstarts, 2 Garden warblers, 1 Lesser whitethroat, 6 Whitethroat, 1 Spotted Flycatcher at Beer Cemetery Fields, & 5 Wheatear, 3 Whitethroat, & a Garden Warbler at Beer Head (SW had 2), also good numbers of Willow Warblers at Beer Head & numerous Blackcaps at both sites.

Posted August 20th, 2014 at 2:23 pm by Kevin Hale in General Birding

Kingsbridge Estuary

Charleton Marsh - Curlew Drive, 07:00-09:45, low tide

Peregrine, 3 Whimbrel, 3 Black-tailed Godwit, Sanderling, 63 Dunlin, 68 Ringed Plover, Common Sandpiper, adult Mediterranean Gull.



Posted August 20th, 2014 at 12:54 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Tuesday 19th August 2014

River Caen, Taw Estuary & Braunton Marsh

Pleasant stroll but with a chilly N wind this evening with Tom Williams and Lucy produced great views of two Kingfishers fishing & chasing each other along the channel. 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Kestrel, 1 Hobby flying over, heading south, 30+ Canada Geese, 15+ Curlew, 5 Dunlin, I Bar-tailed Godwit, 10+ Ringed Plover, 10+ Greenshank, 5 Redshank, 3 female Wheatear, 3 Oyster Catchers, 3 Grey Heron, 7 Little Egrets, and 50+ Swallows where also seen along our route.

Posted August 19th, 2014 at 10:27 pm by Derek Carter in General Birding

Sherpa marsh

Hadn't been for a while so this evening in a cool breeze had a stroll around. 3/4 Little Egrets, 2 Canada Geese, 17 Swans, 2 Little Grebes, 3 Snipe, a smattering of Swallows and a few Sand Martins along with 3 late Swifts. Later a juvenile type Marsh Harrier.

Posted August 19th, 2014 at 7:41 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Beer Cemetery Fields.

A visit yesterday morning (18/8/14) turned up 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 7 Blackcaps, 2 whitethroats & a few Willow Warblers, this morning a stroll round produced 4 Redstarts & 2 Garden Warblers but liitle else.

Posted August 19th, 2014 at 4:14 pm by Kevin Hale in General Birding

Kingsbridge Estuary

 Curlew Drive - Charleton Marsh, 09:14-11:30, rising tide.

18 Dunlin and 7 Ringed Plover below Gerston House. 100 + Curlew with the Oystercatchers and Redshank across the water around Rowden Point. Mediterranean Gull moulting into first winter plumage in Charleton Bay. 

Signatures still urgently needed for the online petition  ( link below ) opposing plans to Water Ski this area, please help if you can.




Posted August 19th, 2014 at 1:29 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Upottery Airfield, Smeatharpe

A much better morning on the migrant front with the first 2 Whinchats of the autumn. 10 Wheatears, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 White wagtail, c20 Pied wagtails, 2 Meadow Pipit, 20+ Swallows through SW. Also a Siskin over, a Kestrel hunting and 3 LBBGulls.

Posted August 19th, 2014 at 9:46 am by Douglas Stannard in General Birding

Monday 18th August 2014

Cockwood/River Kenn

The Slav Grebe still north of Cockwood Steps this afternoon and 15-20 Greenshank on the River Exe at the mouth of the River Kenn. 

Posted August 18th, 2014 at 7:46 pm by Mark Bailey in General Birding

R.Taw - off Asford Sewage Works 15:15 - 16:15

2 adult Mediterranean Gulls. 1 bird had green ring on left tarsus with white alpha/numerics 5U8. Metal i/d ring on right tibia. Probably French or Belgian project.

Posted August 18th, 2014 at 7:36 pm by Maurice Clements in General Birding

Upottery Airfield, Smeatharpe

If Rob had a trickle of migrants at Soar, i had just a single drop on the Blackdowns! Just 3 Wheatear and a single Chiffchaff. 70+ herring Gulls, 1 LBBGull and 1 cy GBBGull. 3 Clouded yellows were the pick of the butterflies.


Posted August 18th, 2014 at 6:19 pm by Douglas Stannard in General Birding

East Soar

A trickle on migrants included 22 willow warblers, 10 whitethroats, a spotted flycatcher and 3 clouded yellows. Also 44 linnets,.

Posted August 18th, 2014 at 2:10 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Topsham Recreation Ground

Been fairly quiet of late with usually nothing of note but a handful of Common Sandpipers and one or two Med Gulls - although surprisingly none to be seen this a.m. Always a satisfying find, this smart 1cy Yellow-legged Gull made my morning.

Yellow-legged Gull 1cy Topsham Rec 18/8/2014
Yellow-legged Gull 1cy Topsham Rec 18/8/2014

Yellow-legged Gull 1cy Topsham Rec 18/8/2014
Yellow-legged Gull 1cy Topsham Rec 18/8/2014

Posted August 18th, 2014 at 10:57 am by Tim Worfolk in General Birding

Sunday 17th August 2014

Venford resvr.

Unusualy large flock of lesser redpolls, est. 45 to 50 feeding on birches on west bank. Not seen a flock this size in years! Also a juv. redstart, 4 willow warblers, 2 chiff chaff and nearby moorland gave yellowhammer several linnets and stonechats. On the reservoir were 7 red head Goosanders, c. 30 house martins and a pair of grey wagtail.

Posted August 17th, 2014 at 7:10 pm by John Lusher in General Birding


Osprey on the river from 1pm for a good hour.

Posted August 17th, 2014 at 4:38 pm by Gerry Hooper in General Birding

Kingsbridge Estuary

Firstly apologies for no bird news with this post but personally i feel it is probably the most important news i have posted here regarding this popular and productive birding area. There is currently a slick and very well organised campaign to allow Waterskiing to take place right in the heart of  the Kingsbridge Estuary centred on Widegates. Run by the Salcombe & Kingsbridge Estuary Waterskiing Association ( SKEWA ), one of their biggest hopes could be that complacency and inaction by anyone opposed to the plans could help them through. Could anyone who has enjoyed birdwatching here click on the link, ,read it through and sign the petition if you feel thats right. Please also inform any anglers ( area especially popular for flounderfishing in the winter ), kayakers, sailors, walkers etc who may be unaware of these plans. Anyone with access to facebook check out the page Salcombe, Politics, Questions and Rhetoric ( S.P.Q.R.) and you will get both sides of the argument. Thanks for reading and hopefully signing. Sorry not strictly bird news, if anyone with the capability wishes to move this to another part of the site please do.


Posted August 17th, 2014 at 2:14 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Exe estuary near Turf

Wader numbers beginning to improve, c20 black-tailed godwits, 21 oystercatcher, 12 curlew and 2 common sandpiper on the shore south of Turf until the rising tide drove them off. 

The main excitement was provided by first a hobby (adult) flying low, ahead of a rain squall, that passed very close and was then mobbed by a peregrine. Shortly after another hobby, probably a juvenile, flew slowly into the wind carrying prey - a swift. It also was mobbed by the peregrine, at which point it released the swift. The swift (the only one I saw all morning) fluttered weakly towards the ground and flew onto the sea wall. 

There were 2 dunlin on the edge of the lagoon on the Exminster marshes. 

Posted August 17th, 2014 at 12:44 pm by John Waldon in General Birding

Saturday 16th August 2014

Teign Estuary

Waders this morning included 386 Oystercatchers, 105 Curlew, 6 Whimbrel, 5 Greenshanks, 7 Dunlin, 6 Ringed Plovers, 4 Common Sandpipers and a Black-tailed Godwit.

Posted August 16th, 2014 at 10:18 pm by Will Salmon in General Birding


Midday on the high tide, c145 TURNSTONES on the old inner harbour wall.    They are in various stages of moult with many still showing yellow colouring of summer plumage.   Best viewed from the walkway of the landing stage as many are concealed in clumps of grass

Posted August 16th, 2014 at 6:07 pm by Rupert Ormerod in General Birding


My opener of the Soar season with Paul & Roy produced reasonable warbler numbers, and a good gathering of hirudines mainly over the car park.

Willow Warbler 12+, Chiffchaff 25+, Blackcap 4, Whitethroat c25, Sedge Warbler 2, Tree Pipit 2, Swallow c75, House Martin c30, and Pergerine 2.

Good numbers of butterflys included c10 Clouded Yellows. 

Posted August 16th, 2014 at 6:03 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Dawlish Warren

20 members of DB (East Devon Branch) attended a fieldtrip to the Warren and found some good birds including above group of 15 Sanderling on the beach (in flock including 3 Turnstone and 9 Ringed Plover). Of surprise was a Great Northern Diver in the estuary towards the railway line where the 'resident' Slavonian Grebe was also present.  (Thanks to Lee for pointing the former bird out to us). Other species of note where 3 Common Terns, Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, Stonechat, Wheatear, 1 Knot, Skylark, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Blackcap.  Of amusement was a Weasel which tried to catch passing Pied Wagtail and Stonechat.

(Readers should be aware that Teignbridge DC are proposing to re-site the Dawlish Warren hide to a location on the sand dunes!  Devon Birds has no financial or management involvement in the hide but has been asked to give backing to the scheme.  I understand that this will be opposed and all using the hide may like to write to Teignbridge DC to express their views as to the proposal before it reaches the planning stage).  

Posted August 16th, 2014 at 6:01 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding

Bowling green marsh

Watched from 09:30 till 11:50

4 spotted redshanks(3 adult and the first juvenile of the year ) , 1 juvenile female ruff, 2 snipe, 1 sp grey plover, 550+ black tailed godwits with 30+ juvenile 28+ whimbrel among 250+ curlew , 3 bar tailed godwits, 11+ greenshanks, 350+ redshank , 7 lapwing, 6+ dunlin. 

Posted August 16th, 2014 at 12:28 pm by Keith Birchall in General Birding

R.Taw. Pottington to Ashford Sewage Works 09:00 - 10:00

Off Pottington :- 7 Little Egret; 6 Redshank.

Bradiford Reserve :- 1 Kingfisher.

Off Ashford S.W :- 1A Mediterranean Gull.

Off Penhill Marsh :- 22 Grey Heron; 8 Little Egret and 1 Peregrine (female from it`s size and colour) on a sandbar.

Posted August 16th, 2014 at 10:34 am by Maurice Clements in General Birding

Around the Axe

There's been incredible numbers of Whitebait and Mackerel off Seaton for most of the past week, with large shouls of both even making their way up the Axe Estuary. Locals are catching Mackerel with nothing more than a landing net, and the Whitebait can be seen jumping out of the water onto the beach!

Obviously the gulls have been loving it, with often between 1500-2000 large gulls in the area. I've not managed anything better than a single juv Yellow-legged Gull though.  300 Gannets were also in the bay a couple mornings ago, and for the past few days an Osprey has been taking advantage of this food supply - it can be seen fishing offshore a couple of times a day.

On Beer Head yesterday morning, although the bushes seemed quite quiet, in a few hours two nets caught 18 Willow Warbler, 4 Chiffchaff, 6 Blackcap and a Swallow amongst the more local species. Over head singles of Green Sand, Ringed Plover and Yellow Wag flew over.

Still a few wading birds about in the valley, with two Ruff from Thursday evening being the latest additions. 

Posted August 16th, 2014 at 9:14 am by Steve Waite in General Birding

Friday 15th August 2014

Braunton Marsh, River Caen and Taw Estuary

Taking advantage of a dry spell another walk this afternoon and evening produced 3 Kingfishers, 6+Rringed Plover, 12+ Greenshank, 4 Dunlin, 2 Ravens, 2 Kestrels, 10+ Little Egret, 6 Common Sandpiper, 4 Redshank, 3 Swifts over 30+ Golfinch, 40+ Swallows, 6 Grey Herons, 2 Buzzards, 8 Meadow Pipits.

Highlight of this evenings walk was a great view of an Otter.   



Posted August 15th, 2014 at 11:16 pm by derek Carter in General Birding


On a walk from Wembury beach to Wembury Point and back the highlights today were 8 ringed plover roosting on the beach at high tide, 4 little egrets together flying east, distant views of 3 small shearwater sp. flying west, 3 juvenile wheatears in the fields above the riding stables and a green woodpecker heard yaffling.

There were plenty of whitethroats flitting about at the Point with a male blackcap and a few chiffchaffs also seen. Stonechats were very noticeable including a pair with 3 young feeding from the top of wheat stalks in the wheat field and another young bird was seen unsuccessfully chasing after a flyby Jersey tiger moth.

Also seen were an oak bush cricket and a knot grass caterpillar to round off a very pleasent walk.

Posted August 15th, 2014 at 9:06 pm by Stuart Green in General Birding

Axe Estuary Wetlands - 15 August 2014

A friend & I visited Black Hole Marsh and Colyford Common LNR today for the 1st time - both well worth a visit & splendid visitor facilities! At Black Hole Marsh we saw, from the Island Hide & Tower Hide: 3 dabchicks, 1 kingfisher, 3 little egrets, I water rail, 3 common sandpipers, c10 shelduck, 8 ringed plover, c20 black tailed godwit, 4 oystercatchers, plus curlew, coot & moorhen. At Colyford Common, from the hide facing the tramway, we saw 45+ curlew, c10 lapwings, c50 canada geese, 3 little egrets and 3 grey heron.

Posted August 15th, 2014 at 8:58 pm by Richard Gillingham in General Birding

Berry Head

15:00-18:30. Clear but still a few birds milling around. Balearic Shearwater, 6 Common Tern, 3 juv Mediterranean Gulls, c140 Manx Shearwaters and 10+ Harbour Porpoise scattered over a wide area.

Posted August 15th, 2014 at 8:40 pm by Mark Darlaston in General Birding

R.Taw - Pottington to Ashford Sewage Farm. 1500 - 1600

Very little to report other than a Green Sandpiper in the usual ditch beside the sewage works (1530-1600),

3 Redshank, 22 juvenile Shelduck and just 2 Little Egrets off Pottington Ind Est.

Large number(100+) of Canada Geese on Bradiford Reserve.

Posted August 15th, 2014 at 5:45 pm by Maurice Clements in General Birding

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