Devon Bird Sightings from 22nd–31st March 2015

Lockdown relaxations

Devon Birds would like to thank the many members and other birdwatchers who complied with the restrictions during the recent Lockdown and stayed in their local area (village, town or part of city) to birdwatch while exercising (and later) taking recreation. We hope that, despite the obvious frustrations, you found some respite in watching wildlife in your local area and perhaps discovered some birds close to home, that you might otherwise not have seen! As always, please submit sightings to the County recorder and / or BirdTrack. 
Please continue to follow the Covid related requirements (currently "rule of six outside, social distancing etc) while enjoying the new freedoms to extend your birdwatching. Some hides will remain closed for the time being and where you find one open, please follow Government guidelines on keeping yourself & others safe:
Thank you from
Devon Birds News site editors & members of the Records Committee

Posted April 2nd at 4:28 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Think before you post...!


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. Please note that Wood Warbler should now also be treated as on the list. All species included need to be protected - many 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.

Some species may be found breeding at numerous locations however please keep information on these species limited to well-known sites (e.g. Labrador Bay for Cirl Bunting, 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 the RSPB.

Please be aware that egg collecting and other forms of persecution remain very real hazards for some of Devon’s birds.

Posts which breach these guidelines are likely to be not admitted / removed althogether, rather than edited.  


Posted March 15th at 11:56 am by Mike Langman in Bird News


As noted in the minutes of the Oct 2020 DBRC meeting, Tim Jones is standing down after serving as a member of the Committee for an extended sixth year. Tim has been an active member of the Committee, and his consistently pragmatic approach to assessing records has proved invaluable. The Society would like to thank him for his contribution over the past six years and wish him well in the future.

In the hope of maintaining a geographic spread across the Committee, DBRC approached Dean Jones to fill the vacancy. Dean grew up birding and ringing in Antrim and Lothian, before a tour of various European islands, including Lundy where he has been the Warden now for the past four years.

His experience and knowledge from ringing and birdwatching around Europe will be especially useful to Devon Birds and the Records Committee.

Unless the County Recorder receives any other applications before 15th April 2021, Dean will be formally elected to fill the vacancy for a five year period.

For more information and/or an application form please contact:

Kevin Rylands, County Recorder.   Email: 

Posted March 4th at 10:45 am by Mike Daniels in Bird News


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 Bird News

Tuesday 31st March 2015


8 Chiffchaffs at Axe Valley wetlands, hard work in the wind finding any birds today with only 25 species found, go to to find out more.

Posted March 31st, 2015 at 7:34 pm by simon thurgood in Bird News

Velator & Wrafton Pond

Not much about at Velator as very windy this morning one Common Sandpiper, 5+ Redshank, 2 Little Grebe 2 Little Egrets.

Sheltered Wrafton Pond produced 2 Little Grebe, 2 Tufted Duck, 4 Chiffchaff, 20+ Sand Martins and 2 House Martins feeding over the pond which was my first sightings this Spring. 

Sand Martin over Wrafton pond

Sand Martin over Wrafton pond

Posted March 31st, 2015 at 10:18 am by Derek Carter in Bird News

Monday 30th March 2015

Saturday - Salcombe

A Kumlien's Gull put in a very brief appearance in a field in Salcombe around 18:30 Saturday evening just giving time for a couple of lucky shots by Alan Doidge.

Kumlein's Gull Alan Doidge Salcombe 28.3.15

Kumlien's Gull Salcombe 28.3.15 Alan Doidge

Posted March 30th, 2015 at 8:01 pm in Bird News

Ring-billed Gull Axe

Some dreadful pictures of the distant second-winter/summer Ring-billed Gull on the Axe Estuary this afternoon. Present 14:55 - 15:10, but hopefully it is still around somewhere. Also c100 Common Gull and second-summer Med Gull. Earlier summer plumaged Slav Grebe stilll off Seaton Hole.

Second-winter Ring-billed Gull
Second-year Ring-billed Gull

Second-winter Ring-billed Gull in flight
Second-year Ring-billed Gull in flight

Posted March 30th, 2015 at 4:10 pm by Steve Waite in Bird News

Northam Burrows Sunday 29th

Amidst the howling gale were c214 Golden Plover, many approaching summer plumage, c8 Grey Plover, 6 Dunlin, 12 Shell Duck, 2 Redshank and a Sparrowhawk.

Posted March 30th, 2015 at 1:58 pm by Mike Jeffrey in Bird News

Tamar Lakes- 30th March

Cool but pleasant conditions at Tamar Lakes this morning

.8 Goosander, 2 Mallard, 12+ Sand Martins, 2 Swallows, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Treecreeper, 4 Great Crested Grebes, 2 Moorhens, 1 Coot.   14 active Rooks nests at the rookery near the Lower Lake.

Upper Lake   7 Cormorants together on landing stage.

Also 1 ringtail Hen Harrier reported by a very reliable observer making two passes near the Lower Lake hide on Thursday 26th March.

Harvey Kendall

Posted March 30th, 2015 at 1:47 pm by Harvey Kendall in Bird News

Sunday 29th March 2015


A quick look around topsham 14:00 till 15:50

Good movement of sand martins with at least 150+ in various groups, 6 pintail from the hide at bowling green marsh.

from the viewing platform 1 spotted redshank

from the goatwalk a few red breasted mergansers and the female ruff was on the mud towards turf


Posted March 29th, 2015 at 5:01 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Torbay Hospital

Saturday 12.30

Unusual sighting of a Grey Wagtail close to the main entrance (Lowes Bridge) of Torbay Hospital.  Flew off in the direction of McDonalds!

Posted March 29th, 2015 at 9:43 am by Paul Darlington in Bird News

Saturday 28th March 2015

Bowling green marsh

watched from 09:00 till 11:30

1 spotted redshank from the viewing platform and my first swallow of the spring 

from the hide 4 pintail, 4 tufted duck, 3 sand Martin , 2 Cetti's warblers, 1 blackcap, 4 chiffchaff, 5 reed buntings, 1 bullfinch, 5 black tailed godwits, 2 little grebe, 1 sparrowhawk, 4 buzzards, 2 raven, 100+ wigeon, 3 little egrets.

Posted March 28th, 2015 at 10:30 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Darts farm

As the Penduline tits are showing again today thought I would post a pic from Thursday

Penduline Tit
Penduline Tit

Reed Bunting
Reed Bunting

Posted March 28th, 2015 at 1:32 pm by Steve Hatch in Bird News

Friday 27th March 2015

Berry Head

Seawatch 14:30-17:00, front arriving with rain 16;00. 7 Manx Shearwaters which was nice to see, also 2 Common Gulls in with numerous gulls as the day trawlers came back in. At least 5 Harbour Porpoise, but the highlight was a White-beaked Dolphin that breached around 10 times before moving off south (only my third sighting from BHd).

Posted March 27th, 2015 at 6:41 pm by Mark Darlaston in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh and Darts Farm

Bowling Green Marsh and Darts Farm

Water Rail towards the platform
Water Rail towards the platform

Penduline Tit in the Spring Blossom
Penduline Tit in the Spring Blossom

Reed Bunting destroying another reed head
Reed Bunting destroying another reed head

Posted March 27th, 2015 at 4:39 pm by Colin Scott in Bird News


Lesser Whitethroat still in private gardens. Also Blackcaps, Greenfinch and Goldfinch on feeders.

Posted March 27th, 2015 at 10:47 am by richard teague in Bird News

Berry Hd & Torbay

Very little in the way of migrants on the headland this morning just 3 Chiffchaffs. However an ad Iceland Gull (see photos below) put in a brief appearance on the sea with some Herring gulls before flying off toward Brixham Harbour (I tried but could not relocate it).

Iceland Gull Berry Hd 27 March 2015 ML Iceland Gull Berry Hd 27 March 2015 ML2

Paignton Beach: 4 Common Scoter and 2 Sandwich Terns

Posted March 27th, 2015 at 9:51 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Is this a Snow Goose?

Seen today in the field adjacent to Wrafton Pond was this goose which was in company with about 20 Canada geese. Can anyone confirm Snow Goose in eclipse plumage? There was a flock of about 20 sand martins over the pond too!

With Canada goose for size comparison
With Canada goose for size comparison

(Eds: This is one surviving (originally three in 2009) presumed hybrid Ross's x Barnacle Geese that spent most of their time in N Devon but have ventured as far south as Exminster Mashes)


Posted March 27th, 2015 at 7:44 am by Philip Naylor in Bird News

Thursday 26th March 2015

Sparrowhawk with it's lunch

Late post - spotted this bird yesterday, (25th), whilst out with my grandchildren in Westward Ho. Managed to get a couple of photos with mobile phone of it devouring a Blackbird (eds Starling) on someones lawn

Posted March 26th, 2015 at 9:26 pm by Chris & Sally Bollen in Bird News

Upottery Airfield, Smeatharpe

Winter thrushes still moving through - 3 separate flocks of Fieldfare this morning (total of 57 birds) plus a single Redwing. However the cold strong North West wind has put paid to any other migration at the moment. At least 3 snipe hanging on in the ploughed pig field. 

Posted March 26th, 2015 at 7:36 pm in Bird News

Wrafton Pond

A first for me while visiting Wrafton Pond late aft.

At the side of the Tarka trail a Wren clearly visible mimicking the first phrase of a Chiffchaff's song at the start of its usual song & repeating this several times.

Also 2 Crows predating a Magpies nest.

Posted March 26th, 2015 at 6:39 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News


Red Kite flew east over Cockwood at midday.

Posted March 26th, 2015 at 4:12 pm by Gerry Hooper in Bird News

red kite

Red Kite flying north over main lagoon exminster marsh at 12:05 being mobbed by crows

Posted March 26th, 2015 at 2:56 pm by Tom Jurd in Bird News

Caspian Gull Axe Estuary

Very poor pictures of a very lovely first-summer Caspain Gull on the Axe Estuary this morning.  It was briefly on the Estuary before flying to Seaton Marshes where it landed with a gull flock just north of Seaton skate park.  The whole flock were flushed at 09:40 and I had to leave.

First-summer Caspian Gull
First-summer Caspian Gull; right hand bird of the upper three gulls

First-summer Caspian Gull
First-summer Caspian Gull; snow white axillaries

First-summer Caspian Gull
First-summer Caspian Gull; the only bird with its head up

Posted March 26th, 2015 at 11:13 am by Steve Waite in Bird News

Wednesday 25th March 2015

Bowling Green Marsh, Topsham

Bowling Green Marsh this morning.

Two Foxes in field RH side of hide
Two Foxes in field RH side of hide

Snipe also in both fields towards platform
Snipe also in both fields towards platform

Heron having a snack
Heron having a snack

Posted March 25th, 2015 at 5:41 pm by Colin Scott in Bird News


1 cracking male Black Redstart at Baggy this morning.

Highly mobile & very difficult to digiscope but managed 2  frames before it flew out of site.Normal behaviour for a Black Redstart!

Posted March 25th, 2015 at 3:08 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

American Wigeon - River Taw

The American Wigeon was still there today around midday. It was with other wigeon in the difficult viewing area between the 'worst sited hide in the world' and the railway bridge. Not easily distinguished through bins I needed my scope to confidently pick it out but with good light I could see the beautiful speckled wolf-grey head and white forehead. Also showing a pair of Goosander.

Posted March 25th, 2015 at 2:19 pm by alan craddock in Bird News

Tuesday 24th March 2015

Ashford Strand - Taw Estuary

Yes indeed, I also enjoyed the American Wigeon this morning from 10:10 to 10:30 with 16 Wigeon from the Tarka Trail north side of the Taw, moving out with the tide. Sorry about the photo quality. 

Also 6 snipe and the hybrid (Snow?) goose with Canada Geese at Bradiford reserve.

Posted March 24th, 2015 at 4:10 pm by Martin James Bond in Bird News

Ashford Strand - Taw Estuary

1 cracking male American Wigeon with 28 Wigeon this morning on the north side of the Taw Estuary. Good views from the Tarka trail.

Posted March 24th, 2015 at 2:25 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News


On the sea: 12 Great Crested Grebes, one Black-necked Grebe in full summer plumage and, 2 male Common Scoter.

Posted March 24th, 2015 at 8:47 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Monday 23rd March 2015

Shaugh Prior

Surprised to see a male Brambling on the garden nijer feeder today - I haven't seen one for two months. Maybe we shouldn't bank on Spring just yet!

Posted March 23rd, 2015 at 6:22 pm by Rob Hubble and Stella Tracey in Bird News

Around Topsham

Mostly usual suspects around Topsham but two Red Kite over the Rec at 13.05.

Spotted Redshank showing well from platform.

Posted March 23rd, 2015 at 4:17 pm by Martin Rooney in Bird News

East Soar & Starehole Valley

Two Firecests in Starehole, one at the ponds and one at the very bottom of the valley. Not much else!

Posted March 23rd, 2015 at 3:58 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Emsworthy Gate & Vitifer, Dartmoor.

Large flock of Golden Plovers in the vicinity of Emsworthy (nr. Haytor), probably 250 birds some now moulting into breeding plumage.

At Vitifer the Great Grey Shrike was distantly seen and was quite mobile flying from Vitifer over to Soussons plantation. Plently of Siskins in the plantation as well as Goldcrests.

Golden Plovers
Golden Plovers

Great Grey Shrike
Great Grey Shrike

Posted March 23rd, 2015 at 3:43 pm by david cawthraw in Bird News


Scanning from the beaches produced: 14 Common Scoter, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Shelduck and 1 Mediterranean Gull. 

Posted March 23rd, 2015 at 9:48 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Sunday 22nd March 2015

Northam Burrows

Attention seeking behavior and then the sulk.

Posted March 22nd, 2015 at 9:12 pm by Richard Yeats in Bird News

Water Pipit

I found this bird which looks like its nearly in summer plumage in a ditch just down from Turf by the cycle track.

Did a walk from Powderham Church to Exminster Marshes and back and found 37 species of birds, if you are very bored you can follow the link to find out what they are

Posted March 22nd, 2015 at 7:31 pm by simon thurgood in Bird News

Velator marsh and Braunton Burrows

Velator / river Caen - 8 x Redshank, 4 x Dunlin, 1 x Greenshank, 2 x Little Egret, 1 x Great White Egret, 4 x Shelduck, 1 x Reed Bunting, 1 x Stonechat, 10 x Whooper swan, 4 x Mute Swan,4 x Widgeon 1 x Greenfinch

Braunton Burrows - 2 x Bullfinch, 10 x Linnet, 1 x Greater spotted woodpecker, 2 x coot, 2 x Canada Geese, 1 x coal tit, 2 x chiffchaff

Posted March 22nd, 2015 at 5:49 pm by Mark Webber in Bird News

Slapton ley

Fairly quiet this morning, 32 species seen, including:

5 Sand Martin, c30 Tufted Duck, 7 Great Crested Grebe, 9 Pochard, c30 Common Gull, several singing Chiffchaff, and a pair of Bullfinch (m+f) around Ireland bay. Cetti's warblers heard In the reeds.

Posted March 22nd, 2015 at 4:44 pm by Alan Livsey in Bird News

Woodbury Area

Ray Hamilton reported a Red Kite 9.00am this morning seen over the Pebblebed vineyards, Woodbury.

Posted March 22nd, 2015 at 10:47 am in Bird News

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