General Birding

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  Hooded Crow, Baggy Point 10 May
Barred Warbler, Thurlestone 30 Aug Long-tailed Skua, Dawlish Warren 11 Oct
Caspian Gull, Thurlestone, 08 Feb 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


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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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 7th October 2016


@Jon Turner - my wife tells me that my few minutes is in 'man time' and that actually it was about half an hour after you left. Just checked my pic data and it was at 15:39.
Pic attached of its flight path marked in red and our position in blue.

I had taken so many hopeful shots of  'gull sized white birds' that I had given up until my wife called the huge red beak.

Posted October 7th, 2016 at 10:26 pm by HPL in General Birding


Good to see you got the Tern HPL, it was me that found the Ruff for you! Was it really a few mins after I left? I looked over the embankment a couple of times on the way back along the Toll road!!

Posted October 7th, 2016 at 10:08 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Exmouth LNR

The eel grass beds off Exmouth's Imperial Rec. Ground to Mudbank and beyond are now providing their usual autumn spectacle.  

On today's ebbing tide there were 54 Swans, c950 Brent Geese and (on a rough and ready count) around 3,500 to 4,000 duck, mainly Wigeon with Pintail and Mallard.    150 Turnstones counted by Derek Carter a little later at Mudbank.

It's quite a sight.   Approx 1.5 to 2 hours after high tide is best when the Brents come close inshore (less if neap tides)

Posted October 7th, 2016 at 9:27 pm by Rupert Ormerod in General Birding

Update on the Caspian Tern

A couple of posts on Birdguides and Birdforum had me heading down to the fisherman's huts again at about 5.15. After a few scans of everything on the various sandbanks I found it perched with some Black-headed Gulls just off Isley Marsh. At 5.55p.m. it shook it's wings and took off heading west, and I quickly lost it to view.

Down on the flood were 3 of the Spoonbills, at least 22 Little Egrets, and 100 or so Black-tailed Godwits. Bonus birds were 7 Swallows flying along the embankment heading east.

Posted October 7th, 2016 at 7:13 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Fremington Quay

While not seeing the Caspian Tern at the quay( Jon Turners post below explains why) I did manage to relocate the Glossy Ibis close to the road at the landward end of the river.

Posted October 7th, 2016 at 6:21 pm by John Bronze in General Birding

Isley Marsh

Took the dog around south side of Taw after reports of Caspian Tern by mouth of Caen early morning. No sign of that or the pelican but of note at Isley Marsh:

5 Spoonbill, Common Sandpiper, Kingfisher, 3 Great Crested Grebe, 10+ Grey Plover, Pochard, Kestrel, Reed Bunting, 3 Dunlin, 1 Barn Swallow, juv Common Gull, 15+ Greenshank, several Redshank.

Between here and power station, a Whinchat on the fence.

Posted October 7th, 2016 at 4:21 pm by Lowell Mills in General Birding

Horsey Island

After a U-turn in Barnstaple when I discovered the Tern was seen at the Caen river mouth I picked up Sue Bruce and we headed to the fisherman's huts. Pelican viewable up-river opposite Fremington, then, as the tide fell, on the huge sandbank mid river. Along the Caen good numbers of Skylark and at least 2 Wheatears. Drifting downstream as the tide dropped, an Eider. Great Crested Grebe mid river. 5 Spoonbills over on Isley Marsh. We walked most of the way to the White House, but then decided perhaps the Tern would be at the Skern so retraced our steps.

Near the broken sluice we were joined by Mike from Tiverton, when an LBJ flew into the grass at the base of the embankment below us. Skylark I called, but it didn't look right. When it flew again Mike and I both called: WRYNECK! It flew the few yards across the flood and we had good views. However, we decided to head back to the fisherman's huts,  where we just kept scanning. Later we were joined by Stuart from Ashburton, and Andy Lansdell. Still no sign of the Tern. Although Mike picked out two Commic Terns across the Isley side.

Stuart left, and after a while lunch called and we followed him. What happened next was a birding tragedy- Stuart, who was by now heading down the toll road towards Crow Point came back to us to say he had seen the Tern flying up and down the Horsey mere, and had been frantically waving his arms at us to let us know. We didn't see him until too late and the bird had once again moved on..... this was at about 2p.m. So we decided to forgo lunch and head down to the Crow point area, where we scanned and scanned but in vain for a hint of the Tern. Alas it wasn't to be. A couple of Mediterranean Gulls was about the best.

Also seen on the flooded area were several Greenshank and Black-tailed Godwits, a Spotted Redshank, a Ruff, and 2/3 Kingfishers. Finally a Sparrowhawk perched on a roadside post as we drove back up the Toll road.

Posted October 7th, 2016 at 4:10 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Salcombe - Osprey

  Watched from a boat over the high tide. Osprey successfully fishing in Collapit Creek, disturbed flock of Pintail. Tony Tabb.

Posted October 7th, 2016 at 3:21 pm in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh

From the platform this lunchtime, 29 Avocet, 2 Great Crested Grebes and 3 Common Gulls along with the usual waders.

1 Avocet from the hide. 1 Ringed Plover made a brief visit to the marsh before heading off to the estuary.

At Goosemoor, 1 Water Rail calling. Overhead a steady movement of small groups of House Martins.

Posted October 7th, 2016 at 2:08 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding

Berry Head

No sign of the Blyth's Reed Warbler this morning. around the headland were 1 Ring Ouzel, 12 Goldcrest, 2 Firecrest , 9 Chiffchaff and 2 Blackcap.

Overhead of note: 7 Redwing, 2 Song Thrush 60+ Meadow Pipits, 1 Grey Wagtail, 6 Siskin.

Posted October 7th, 2016 at 12:40 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding

Great White Egret

Great White Egret seen in the stream close to the road bridge at Castle Hill Gardens Estate  Filleigh about 11.15am then spooked by a tractor and took off heading North. Lovely bird.

Posted October 7th, 2016 at 12:36 pm by John Clark in General Birding


Report of Caspian Tern at Fremington this morning - I'm on my way!

Posted October 7th, 2016 at 9:15 am by Jon Turner in General Birding

Thursday 6th October 2016

Photographing Dalmation Pelican

To clarify my post yesterday evening my comments were aimed mainly at people using only mobile phones to photograph the Pelican.

So far, all the photos I have taken of this bird have been through my telescope from a good distance away!

Apologies if any offence was taken by Devon Birds members.

Posted October 6th, 2016 at 10:10 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Dalmatian Pelican image

For anyone concerned about my recent image I'd like to reassure them that the apparent close proximity to the bird was achieved because it was taken from the cover of the grassy bank &  using a Nikon P900 which has the 35mm equivalent of a 2000mm telephoto lens (83x optical) & no disturbance took place.

Posted October 6th, 2016 at 7:37 pm by Philip Naylor in General Birding

South Efford Marsh

Cattle Egret in with 3 Little Egret in field by the path near entrance to reserve. 

Posted October 6th, 2016 at 7:25 pm by Roger Backway in General Birding

Exeter matford

A good morning at work at the Devon hotel from 07:00 till 09:30 it all  started as I was getting the first delivery in and heard  a few skylarks going over calling nothing unusual in that at this time of year but it soon became apparrant that there was lots moving over head in a ten minute count 350+ skylark and at least 3 woodlark picked up on call as well as good numbers of meadow pipits, and also a mixture of swallows and house martins all were heading east / south east.

Posted October 6th, 2016 at 6:15 pm by Keith Birchall in General Birding

Re photographing Pelican

As Rob's post re photographing the Pelican was added shortly after my submission, I can assure him that good fortune rather than disturbance enabled the shots. However we should be aware that all birders may not possess, or can afford, the equipment they would like. Nice shot yesterday Rob.

Posted October 6th, 2016 at 1:43 pm by Derek Stacey in General Birding

Dalmatian Pelican

At Crow Point this morning (08.40) viewed from Braunton.

Posted October 6th, 2016 at 8:48 am by Jon Turner in General Birding

Wednesday 5th October 2016

Budleigh Salterton

Three Firecrest around Budleigh Salterton today - 1 above the West Cliffs and 2 off the Knowle Road.

Common Firecrest by Chris Townend

Posted October 5th, 2016 at 10:18 pm by Chris Townend in General Birding

River Plym, Plym Estuary and Saltram 05.10.2016

Went back to try and find the Spotted Redshanks from Monday but no joy however other sightings follow. Little Egret, Canada Geese and Redshanks on the Estuary, Grey Heron, Canada Geese and male Tufted Duck on the River between the bend at Saltram and the Railway Bridge along with four or five Common Sandpipers. From the bridge at Longbridge Road a Kingfisher showed very well and was quite photogenic.

Posted October 5th, 2016 at 8:06 pm by Michael Spencer in General Birding

Bowling green marsh

Watched from 15:15 till 17:40

1 juv / female garganey from the hide among good numbers of teal and wigeon, 11+ avocet.

2 Hobby flew over heading south as I walked down towards the viewing platform and a peregrine over the viewing platform, 20+ chiffchaffs around the marsh.

Posted October 5th, 2016 at 7:08 pm by Keith Birchall in General Birding

Berry Head

Another shot of the Blyth's Reed Warbler on which the emarginations are visible on the primaries. The Eider flock held 22 birds, including several eclipse drakes, and a Pintail.

Blyth's Reed Warbler
Blyth's Reed Warbler

Eider flock with a Pintail
Eider flock with a Pintail

Great Skua passing close
Great Skua passing close

Posted October 5th, 2016 at 6:54 pm by Dave Smallshire in General Birding

South Efford Marsh

An afternoon visit to South Efford Marsh was rewarded with the briefest view of the reported Woodchat Shrike.

Common Sandpiper 5, Little Egret 5+, Black Tailed Godwit 7, Canadian Geese 107+ not counting the domestic type goose with them, Little Grebe, Stonechat 4+.


Pied Wagtails and Little Egrets on the move over the marsh almost constantly with a Sparrow Hawk passing high overhead.

Other birders reported seeing the two Green Sandpipers subject to recent posts.

Posted October 5th, 2016 at 6:31 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Dalmatian Pelican

Take off from Horsey Island this morning.

Posted October 5th, 2016 at 4:43 pm by Derek Stacey in General Birding

Dalmatian Pelican

Still present on the Horsey Island flood this morning.

Posted October 5th, 2016 at 8:54 am by Jon Turner in General Birding

Tuesday 4th October 2016

Redwings ~ South Brent

At 8.30am this morning I saw what I thought was a single Redwing from my bedroom window on going outside with my binoculars had a flock of eight Redwings circle low over me before turning back over Hillside.

A drive out over Dartmoor yesterday to the Warren House Inn area and back via Ashburton gave Raven 4, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush, Jay, Green Woodpecker, Kestrels at Venford and Warren House Inn,  Buzzard 8, a mixed flock of Tits and Warblers the most numerous bird on the higher moors being m#Meadow Pipits.

Posted October 4th, 2016 at 8:45 am by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Monday 3rd October 2016

Saltram & Plym Estuary today

Amongst the redshanks on the estuary today was a Spotted Redshank. Also saw Cormorants, Egrets, Swans, BHGulls, GBBgulls & Herring Gulls. Small birds restricted to Robin and Blackbird. Kingfisher on the River Plym near the Flyover and also on the Plym near the Weighbridge Cottage. Common Sandpiper also spotted.

Posted October 3rd, 2016 at 8:52 pm by Michael Spencer in General Birding


The Pelican came in to roost on the flood near the white house tonight at 6.50pm so for those who missed it, it should be there at dawn. Amazing bird, came in low and banked over the marsh like a WW2 bomber before landing gracefully. Its flight is effortless for such a huge bird. Lucky for me the marsh warden was late shutting the gate at 7pm!

Posted October 3rd, 2016 at 7:57 pm by Rob Barnes in General Birding

Woodchat Shrike - South Efford Marsh

Had the Marsh to myself from 11.45 - 3.15pm! Shortly after entering spotted a shrike atop a small tree to the right of the path about 400m in. A quick look through the scope and a couple of record shots, once I had hastily got the equipment ready, before it flew off! Appears to be a Woodchat Shrike from examination of the photos, possibly the same bird seen by Eric Wotton at this location on 24/9. Not been seen since then. I could not locate it for some time after it flew off. From the hide, highlights, 5 Black-tailed Godwits with a lone Ruff, 2 Greenshank and 3 Common Sandpiper on the estuary. From the hide I eventually saw through the scope the Shrike return to its previous perch at about 3pm. I made my way back up the path taking a couple more record shots as I got closer. Unfortunately the bird was then disturbed by two other birders marching to the hide, who sadly had not seen it! It was not located again! 

Woodchat Shrike - South Efford Marsh - 3.10.2016 Woodchat Shrike - South Efford Marsh - 3.10.2016
Woodchat Shrike - South Efford Marsh - 3.10.2016

Posted October 3rd, 2016 at 7:32 pm by David Pakes in General Birding

Yelland/Isley Marsh

Four spoonbills seen at Isley Marsh and the Pelican on a sandbanh in the middle opposite the huts. 2.30-5-30.

Dalmatian pelican
Dalmatian pelican


Posted October 3rd, 2016 at 7:22 pm by richrad yeats in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh

Viewed over the high-tide.

From the hide 3-Curlew Sandpipers, Knot, 11-Avocets, 23-Greenshank, 14-Lapwing, 27-Bar-tailed Godwits, 2-Whimbrel, c200-Redshank, c700-Black-tailed Godwits, c450-Culew, c250-Dunlin, ad/w Mediterranean Gull, c300-Black-headed Gulls, Grey Wagtail, Meadow Pipit, Buzzard, 4-Pintail, c150-Wigeon and c200-Teal.

From the viewing platform Osprey caught large fish middle of estuary at 12:00hrs on dropping tide before heading towards Powderham, 3-Curlew Sandpipers, 8-Avocets seen earlier, 29-Grey Plover and c60-Oystercatchers.

Grey WagtailMeadow Pipit



Posted October 3rd, 2016 at 4:44 pm by David Boult in General Birding


Sixteen members had a delightful walk up the valley to Avon Dam in sunny weather.  Sighted Sparrowhawk from car park.  Dipper showed well on the river.  Plenty of Tits and Robins in the trees and bushes including one Treecreeper.  Some of the group had a view of a male Ring Ouzel, otherwise several Blackbirds and Mistle Thrush showing well.  One Whinchat seen and a Green Woodpecker.   Constant flow of Swallows down the valley from the dam plus a few House Martins.  Kestrel, Buzzards and Raven sighted plus possible White Wagtail at the dam with several  Goldcrest,       Chiffchaff  and Jays.  Thirty species in total.  Thanks to Jonathan for leading.  

Posted October 3rd, 2016 at 3:41 pm by Geoffrey Green in General Birding

Bursdon Moor, North Devon

6  Whinchats this morning from the lower parking pull-in.

Harvey Kendall & Barry Bryne.

Posted October 3rd, 2016 at 2:51 pm by Harvey Kendall in General Birding


Female marsh Harrier hunting the reed-bed at Sherpa just south of the reserve at 10 this morning.

Also the Pelican is still present (12.40) - I can see it (through the scope obviously!) from my house in Braunton.

Posted October 3rd, 2016 at 12:37 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Dalmatian Pelican

Present again this morning on the flooded field on Horsey Island, near the White House at the end of the Toll Road.

Posted October 3rd, 2016 at 8:58 am by Jon Turner in General Birding

Sunday 2nd October 2016

Taw Estuary - North side

This Dalmation Pelican is an absolute sensation! It brings joy & happiness to the whole of the nation & the world. What an amazing bird.

Posted October 2nd, 2016 at 9:52 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Ring Ouzel, Dartmoor

Bennett's Cross Dartmoor
Female Ring Ouzel at top of valley in first gully with Rowan Trees coming down from Bennett's Cross. Unable to see if it was ringed, Whinchat and Stonechat further down valley

Posted October 2nd, 2016 at 7:21 pm by Barry Rankine in General Birding

Dalmation Pelican

Dalmation Pelican feeding on mullet off Yelland Pier @ 5.45pm

Posted October 2nd, 2016 at 5:46 pm by Martin Thorne in General Birding

Pelican again

Is on the flood at the White House at the end of the Toll Road south of Braunton. 3.50p.m.

Posted October 2nd, 2016 at 3:50 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding


So, after taking 5 trips to Cornwall before I finally saw it, it turns up on my doorstep! Good views of it from the Fisherman's huts firstly on the Chivenor bank and then on the mid-river sandbank. I later met Tim and Tim on the Toll road, who were watching it circle high over Braunton, at one point interacting with the local Buzzards. It was then lost to view heading North East.

Posted October 2nd, 2016 at 1:27 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Start Point

06:30-09:15. Clear night, sunny morning. Moderate westerly weakening all the time.

No vis mig in the sunny conditions. Around the farm and car park were Snipe, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Wheatears, Grey Wagtail, 6 Blackcaps, 12 Chiffchaffs and 3 Goldcrest. Very light southerly movement of Swallows and 3 Siskins through. Good early flock of 25 Golden Plover high up heading southwest. Rise in Stonechat numbers around the top fields.


Posted October 2nd, 2016 at 10:22 am by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Saturday 1st October 2016

Ringed peregrine

Yes definitely a colour ring of the sort commonly used for science as opposed to hoop-like falconers' rings. Peregrine projects using a blue ring with white letters include projects in England, Ireland and Spain. The original uncompressed photo will almost definitely show the code up clearly, and could be reported to the matching project out of these five candidates (blue ring, left leg, white code): (England) (Ireland) (Spain) (Spain) (Poland)

Eds: this is a black on blue ring, part of Ed Drewitt's scheme (node 3071 as above), used in a variety of places in SW & W of England.

Posted October 1st, 2016 at 10:48 pm by Lowell Mills in General Birding

Maristow Quay 30/09/16

Greg - Looking at photo 1 of your juv Peregrine posted yesterday, this bird has a blue colour ring on the left leg?

Posted October 1st, 2016 at 9:53 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Powderham Estate

A short view of an Osprey near Turf but heading down river at 1330. Not able to establish if Juv or Adult. Otherwise 130 Teal on tidal strip in Powderham grounds best of rest. 

Posted October 1st, 2016 at 6:40 pm by Steve Cox in General Birding

Dartmoor - Hen Harrier & Mistle Thrush

At about 12.45 a Hen Harrier observed quartering at low level the Wallabrook between Runnage and Pizwell, flew off in the Bellever direction. A little later counted a flock of 32 Mistle Thrush in one field by Bellever Plantation. Then in a field by Pizwell Bridge two Kestrels repeatedly grounding, presumably on a kill or carrion, being mobbed by crows. Plenty of stonechats around at all the above locations. 

Posted October 1st, 2016 at 5:37 pm by David Pakes in General Birding


Osprey fishing at Galmpton creek at about midday today

Posted October 1st, 2016 at 4:17 pm by Becky Lock in General Birding

Kingsbridge & Slapton Ley

Kingsbridge estuary this morning on a falling tide 50 plus Dunlin feeding with a similar number of Redshank, Curlew, Oyster Catcher, Cormorant, Common Sandpiper, Kingfisher, Little Egret 5, Mallard 34.

Slapton Ley ~ Surprised to see two Sand Martin in with a flock of House Martin and Swallows that were moving and feeding over the ley, a single drake Gadwall, Pochard 2, Tufted duck 3, Greater Black Backed Gull 9, Lesser Black Back 1, Coot 7, Moorhen 2, Great Crested Grebe 2.

Back home at South Brent, two Sparrow Hawks soaring and diving together and a Chiffchaff still around the garden.

Posted October 1st, 2016 at 2:49 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Hobby's @ Maristow Quay 30-09-16

Two hobby's present at Maristow Quay on 30-09-16, showed well for a couple of minutes then flew off over the high woods near Lopwell Dam


Eds: this is a juv Peregrine Falcon. Briefly,  the broad wings relatively short broad tail and Moustache shape rule out Hobby. Also notice the bird is colour ringed, black on blue, part of Ed Drewitt's scheme, used in a variety of places in SW & W of England (but likely from S Devon coast). If you have a higher res photo where the ring letters can be seen please read and submit to Ed,  contact details can be found here


Posted October 1st, 2016 at 1:24 pm by Greg Bradbury in General Birding

Dalmatian Pelican - Taw Estuary

Still present on the flood on Horsey Island till 8.55am then flew to the Taw Estuary where it stood on the first visible sandbar just east of Crow Point. 


Nearby the Glossy Ibis was still showing well in Fremington but no sign of the Lesser Yellowlegs ( low tide)- 2 Greenshank and 2 Common Sand also. 

Posted October 1st, 2016 at 12:53 pm by Mark Bailey in General Birding

Bowling green marsh

Watched from 07:00 till 10:00

A quiet morning but still 4 juv curlew sandpiper from the hide

Posted October 1st, 2016 at 11:09 am by Keith Birchall in General Birding

Start Point

Pre-dawn rain and thunder, fresh westerly. Arrived at 06:30 and walked down to the light, out of the wind but no migrants moving up the Point and nothing in the lighthouse tamarisk. Spectacular view across Lyme Bay with thick black armageddon clouds and occasional distant lightning.

Got back to the car park and the rain stopped and some birds were starting to go through. Did a vis mig watch for an hour from 07:20 before things quietened down. All birds going between S-SW.

3 Golden Plover, 750 Meadow pipits, 7 alba Wagtails, 400 Swallows, 30 House Martins, 5 Greenfinches, 140 Goldfinches, 140 Linnets, 13 Siskins and a Reed Bunting. Just a handfdul of Chiffchaffs in the blown out farm.

Lots missed as birds going through on a broader front than usual, could see many flocks nearer the mast. Hirundines certainly under-recorded with more taking the easier route well below cliff top height.

Posted October 1st, 2016 at 10:49 am by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Binoculars found

I found a pair of binoculars on the Warren at Middle Soar yesterday.

If yours contact me on

Posted October 1st, 2016 at 9:19 am by Rob Macklin in General Birding

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