Devon Bird Sightings: Bird News from 22nd–31st March 2015

Coronavirus - Devon Birds bird hides

During the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak the use of Devon Birds bird hides should be in line with Government guidelines to individuals on how to protect themselves.

Please follow NHS guidelines:

Thank you for your co-operation and stay safe.

Posted August 25th at 9:58 am by Mike Daniels in Bird News

Changes to Devon Bird Sightings

This page was initially set up to give a concise news summary of birds of interest seen in Devon. Anyone noting interesting species, passage and counts could post the details to inform other birders what was going on around the county. Photos could also be added for interest and to enliven the posts. It was accepted that because other wildlife was of interest, this would also appear especially when included in a birding post.

However, in the last year, more posts have been appearing purely on subjects other than birds. Whilst of interest to some observers, this is detracting from the aim of the pages, i.e. principally bird sightings.

Devon Birds has therefore taken the decision to require contributors of other wildlife to post this in the Other Wildlife subject. However it’s accepted that occasional, exceptional, other wildlife seen during a birding outing justifies inclusion in the bird sightings post. This should, however, be a minor part of the post.

Photos are often appearing as a gallery, or even acting as a personal photo blog, rather than of county-wide sightings of interest. Devon Birds has a Gallery which members and other birders are welcome to submit their often stunning photos to, for others to see. Many of these photos need not then appear on this page. From now on, only two photos per post will be accepted to help keep posts more concise.

Devon Birds very much welcomes posts that already meet these criteria and those that will continue to do so. It would also be great to widen the input from keen birders who currently don’t contribute, including some old friends who have dropped out. Hopefully the changes will encourage wider participation, so if you look at the site but don’t post, please consider doing so.

Our aim is to provide a concise daily news summary of bird sightings around Devon, and these changes should fulfil this goal.

Below is a summary of the changes:

  • Bird News (bird sightings of interest, with added occasional other wildlife) will be the default subject when visitors arrive at this page.
  • Other Wildlife posts therefore won’t initially be shown unless visitors click Other Wildlife under Subjects on the right-hand side.
  • Only two photos can now be submitted per post.
  • General bird photos should be posted in our Gallery please.
  • Co-authors should now only use the Submit a Blog Post form, to ensure a more consistent format for posts.

Posted August 21st at 3:53 pm in Bird News

2019 Descriptions - last call

The deadline for the 2019 Bird Report is rapidly approaching. If you found (or saw) any of these birds please could you submit a description to to ensure your records are published. Many thanks. 

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, Thurlestone, 08 Feb Sabine's Gull, Thurlestone 14 Aug
Caspian Gull, Topsham 02 Aug Serin (2), Harrowbeer 19 Apr
Cory's Shearwater, Berry Head 19 Jul Tree Sparrow (2), Berry Head 20 Mar
Hooded Crow, Baggy Point 10 May  


Posted May 2nd at 3:27 pm by Kevin Rylands 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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