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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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 14th October 2016

Bowling green marsh

Watched from 15:05 till 17:40

Arrived just before the rain and watched from the hide.

218+ pintail was my second highest count for the marsh, 2 curlew sandpipers among 646+ dunlin( included some very large individuals probabley of the alpina sub species) , 3 knot, 1 ringed plover, 1 grey plover, 17+ avocet, 25+ lapwing, 36+ bar tailed godwits, 426+ curlew, 1 whimbrel, 600+ black tailed godwits, 300+ redshank, 420+ teal, 45+ shoveler, 80+ wigeon, 2 little egrets, 3 grey heron, 10+ greenshank, 18+ moorhen , mixed group of 30+ swallow and house Martin over heading east.

Posted October 14th, 2016 at 7:55 pm by Keith Birchall in General Birding

R.Caen > Crow Point

Late aft

1 late - ish  Curlew Sandpiper on the R.Caen + 2 Eider mid-channel Taw Estuary approaching Crow Point drifting SW towards Appledore.


Posted October 14th, 2016 at 6:33 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Possible Ringed Ouzel

Ring Ouzel today at Avon Dam area,

Eds: yes indeed it is a Ring Ouzel.

Posted October 14th, 2016 at 6:32 pm by Greg Bradbury in General Birding


Just off the breakwater this morning five female scoters diving too far away to tell which ones.

Posted October 14th, 2016 at 6:00 pm by philip l. fairclough in General Birding


Black Redstart seen today at 8.30am on neighbour's roof. My first this year.

Posted October 14th, 2016 at 9:02 am by T.Goddard in General Birding

Thursday 13th October 2016

Knots (or not)

Knots (or not).  An hour at the Otter Creek and I spotted 8 of these little birds, are they Knots?  I have not seen these on the Otter before.

Rob Jerrard

    Knots (or not)
Knots (or not)

Eds: they are Dunlin the long, thin and  slightly down curved bill together with black legs rule out Knot.

Posted October 13th, 2016 at 8:33 pm by Rob Jerrard in General Birding

A day of misidentified birds!!

After failing to ID a Common Gull this morning I made another mistake this afternoon when a Merlin dropped out of no where while I was flying one of my falcons, it was a bit distant and flew past the sun which did make identification difficult, but the images I managed to take show that it was a Merlin and not a female Kestrel as I had first thought. (so no need for the Collins Bird Guide)

The day had started well with a high flying flock of 80 plus Wood pigeons headed west over South Brent and two Ravens.

A visit to the estuary below Kingsbridge quay, gave good views of good numbers of Redshank a single Greenshank, Oyster Catcher, Curlew, Jay and several Little Egrets.


Frogmore Creek gave another Greenshank and a couple of Little Egrets all of which were spooked along with lots of Gulls when a low flying Buzzard passed over the creek.

Three House Martins over home late in the afternoon just after the Merlin sighting and a large flock of Long Tailed Tits working the field hedgerows.


Posted October 13th, 2016 at 7:42 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Bowling green marsh

Watched from 15:15 till 17:40

A good afternoon with a new juv / fem Garganey showing well , impressive number of waders included 796+ dunlin, 4 juv curlew sandpiper, 2 knot, 40+ bar tailed godwits, 50+ grey plover was reduced by 1 when the local lesser black backed gull killed one it was too big to eat and even a heron decided it couldn't eat it so the local buzzard flew in and took it Away this made other counts impossible , good numbers of curlew and black tailed godwits, 38+ lapwing, 14 avocet, 15+ greenshank, 45+ pintail good numbers of teal and a few wigeon, 2 little egrets, 4 grey heron, 2 Cetti's warblers, 1 white wagtail. 

Posted October 13th, 2016 at 7:09 pm by Keith Birchall in General Birding

Unidentified Gull species Slapton

From the memorial car park at Slapton this morning I caught sight of a gull headed east up the coast just off of the beach, slightly smaller than a Herring Gull, seemingly shorter in the body with distinctly longer narrow wings, darker grey than a Herring Gull but lighter than a Lesser Black Back, the head was a pale buffish grey with a distinctly darker band at the nape/hind neck, the wings had a distinctive white trailing edge to the secondary flight feathers, the bill appears to be dark and more slender than the usual larger gulls.

There appeared to be a white pattern running back from the base of the bill to the eye, the eye being very dark

The bird was in view for several minutes as it battled against the strong on shore winds, I cannot find anything remotely like it in my birding books of UK and European birds.


Eds - this is a Common Gull

Posted October 13th, 2016 at 1:57 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding


Yesterday and the last two times I have been to Bicton over a period of 14 days there have been two diving ducks on the small lake (artificial Pond).  One is clearly a little grebe and the two keep near each other diving and feeding together.   From photos the larger one does not look like a little Grebe, but is it?  Can anyone clear this up for me?  I have never seen a Little Grebe on this smaller pond, they usually and very shy and when seen on the large lake disappear fast.

Rob Jerrard 


Eds: yes the left hand photo is of Little Grebe (moulting  juv) the right hand photo  is a  juv/1st winter Tufted Duck

Posted October 13th, 2016 at 8:48 am by Rob Jerrard in General Birding

Wednesday 12th October 2016

Dunstone nr. Chillington

Flock of 19 Redwings present here this morning

Posted October 12th, 2016 at 10:54 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding


2 Ring Ouzel, 2 Fieldfare, 12 Redwing seen in Burrator area.

Posted October 12th, 2016 at 9:54 pm by George and Les Carr in General Birding


Sighted today Brambling (m), in with a mixed flock of Goldfinches & Chaffinches at car park for Higher Cherrybrook Bridge Postbridge area, also Redwings (10) & Treecreepers (2) at Postbridge area.

Posted October 12th, 2016 at 8:03 pm by Colin & Joyce Hannaford in General Birding

Around Yelland power station- High Tide

Good flocks of goldfinches. 3 spoonbills on Isley Marsh and a few redshank along the shore. [Fieldfare] in the field opposite powerstation.

Goldfinch Redshank
Goldfinch                                                                                        Redshank


Eds. The bird labelled as a Fieldfare is actually a Mistle Thrush!

Posted October 12th, 2016 at 6:22 pm by Richard Yeats in General Birding

Tuesday 11th October 2016


Watched  from 14:40 till 16:40

from the viewing platform at bowling green marsh, 3 juv curlew sandpiper among 350+ dunlin, 6+ sanderling , 80+ grey plover, 6+ ringed plover ,  40+ bar tailed godwit, 1 kingfisher, 2 Cetti's warblers.

from the goatwalk looking over towards turf , another 40+ grey plover , 1 juv curlew sandpiper, 27 avocet plus good numbers of dunlin , black tailed godwits and curlew.

Posted October 11th, 2016 at 6:14 pm by Keith Birchall in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh - viewing platform

Good numbers of waders from the platform this lunchtime. In amongst the Dunlin were 2+ Sanderling (there were 5 yesterday) and at least 1 Curlew Sandpiper.

Posted October 11th, 2016 at 3:37 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding

Lost - Blue Parrot - Paignton

Blue Amazon Parrot has been lost in Paignton, answers to Anna can be hand fed.

any information please contact Nicki on 01803 400668

Posted October 11th, 2016 at 1:03 pm in General Birding

Avon Dam Ring Ouzels & Hen Harrier

An early visit to the quarry below the Avon Dam this morning, Blackbird, Redwing and Song Thrush all feeding in good numbers, the Ring Ouzels did not show until the sun was rising, with four birds flying high heading down the valley from the direction of the dam followed by another two.


Three over a period of time dropped into the quarry but were lost from view in the cover, they were sitting very tight and not showing, eventually and mature adult sat just inside the rowan cover feeding and giving good views.

Green Woodpecker, two Raven, Kestrel and Stonechats all showing.


The high light on leaving was a female Hen Harrier that drifted all along the ridge of Zeal Plains towards the dam.

On the river a Dipper showed well and on arriving home a count of twelve Redwing and four Robins chasing and squabbling from the kitchen window.


Posted October 11th, 2016 at 10:12 am by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Monday 10th October 2016

Osprey sighting

The River Teign Osprey is still around and flew over my car at 14:20 today 10th October as I drove from Newton Abbot on the Teignmouth Road

Posted October 10th, 2016 at 11:13 pm by Jeanne Silvestri in General Birding

South Hams

South Brent this morning 23 Redwing flying over the village and a little later some 50 plus Wood pigeons headed west possibly the first signs that I have seen of this year’s autumn pigeon migration getting under way.

From the tidal road at Aveton Gifford, Little Egret 8, Redshank 2, Greenshank 3, Common Sandpiper 2, other species included Oyster Catcher, Curlew and Grey Wagtail.

Soar ~ Yellow Hammer, Cirl Bunting, Blackcap, Wren, Yellow Browed Warbler, Chiffchaff, Dunnock, Song Thrush 2, Redwing 2, Swallow, Buzzard 4 and Pied Wagtail 4.


Around the old Bolt Head airfield flocks of Meadow Pipit, Linnet and Skylark 23, Stonechat, Wheatear 3, Kestrel 2, Goldfinch and Raven.


Posted October 10th, 2016 at 8:35 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding


Orcombe Point - Tawny Pipit and Yellow-browed Warbler late this afternoon. Pipit is in flat grass field at top of Gore Lane (the one with a pile of dung in it). Please view only from the gate. The YBW is in the copse on the left at the start of the footpath to the Geoneedle from Foxholes (present for its third day). Photos and more details at

Posted October 10th, 2016 at 7:01 pm by Matt Knott in General Birding

Trewsweir Exeter

Dipper feeding on the face of the weir at 17:30 today.

Posted October 10th, 2016 at 5:59 pm by Mike Booth in General Birding

Shiphay, Torquay


4 Redwings in flight over Cadewell Park, Torquay calling as they headed north.

Posted October 10th, 2016 at 4:52 pm by Paul Darlington in General Birding

Lower Tamar Lake

Sightings for today at Lower Tamar Lake.

1 Willow Tit, 1 Water Rail, 2 Snipe, 6 Tufted Duck, 1 Mute Swan, 3 Cormorants, 9 Coot, 2 Grey Heron, 1 Kingfisher, 3 (f) Wigeon, 2 Long-tail Tits, 8 Goldfinch.

Posted October 10th, 2016 at 4:17 pm by ROD MUDGE in General Birding

Shipley Bridge to Avon Dam

Walk up to the dam 10.00 am. Numerous thrushes including12 Ring Ouzel, Fieldfare and Mistle Thrush. Also Greater Spotted and Green woodpeckers, 2 Reed Bunting 2 Goldcrest, 2 Goldfinch, Bullfinch,Meadow pipits, Dipper, Great,Blue and Coal tits, 2 Buzzard, Kestrel. 

Posted October 10th, 2016 at 3:13 pm by Jeremy Spooner in General Birding

Isley Marsh Spoonbills

A check of the estuary on morning dog walk finally gave (3rd time lucky) opportunity to read the juvenile Spoonbill's rings for first time, partly visible in Richard Yeats' photographs from 3rd Oct (haven't seen this bird discussed anywhere, apologies if I've missed any previous posts). The ring combination is Black (flag) over Red over Pale-blue on right tibia; Metal over Black over Black on left tibia; black flag actually being the new flag colour for Netherlands-scheme spoonbills (like the other older spoonbill on the estuary with yellow flag), born from 2015 onwards. I've emailed to request the details on the bird.

Posted October 10th, 2016 at 11:00 am by Lowell Mills in General Birding

Sunday 9th October 2016

Harford Moor

Whilst checking the cows, saw a small flock of 20 or so Golden Plover - they seem to like the short grass, also put up a couple of snipe from the wetter areas around Hangershell.

Posted October 9th, 2016 at 9:10 pm by Matthew Willcocks in General Birding

Leucistic Buzzard at Braunton

Whilst en route to Horsey Island today I spotted this buzzard sat on a fence in a field on the dual carriageway between Barnstaple and Braunton. We quickly did a U turn and I ran across the dual carriageway with my camera, flushing the bird as I ran. I managed to get a couple of shots anyway. It was almost pure white on the chest and head. An interesting leucistic colouring. Didn't get to see either the Caspian Tern or the Wryneck at Horsey Island but did spot the Dalmation Pelican in the distance. On the marsh by the white house I spotted the Glossy Ibis and a Spotted Redshank, hanging out with four Greenshank.

Posted October 9th, 2016 at 8:01 pm by Steph Murphy in General Birding

Kingswear yesterday.

Expected to see a bit of life on the bird front at Kingswear but only ended up with one GBBGull, 6 Black-headed Gulls and a single juv and single immature Herring Gulls and a Jackdaw. One solitary Buzzard over but very high.

Posted October 9th, 2016 at 5:13 pm by Michael Spencer in General Birding

Roborough Down today. 09/10/2016

Very quiet on the Down today. Stonechats (m&f), Robins, Meadow Pipits, Kestrel, a couple of Crows and a few Magpie. Very little on the insect side either. Where is everything?. Not even any sheep, cows or ponies.

Posted October 9th, 2016 at 5:10 pm by Michael Spencer in General Birding

Ring Ouzels - Shipley Bridge to Avon Dam, South Brent

Highlight of a morning walk from Shipley Bridge to Avon Dam was the sighting of at least 9 Ring Ouzels. I saw 5 fly off together down the river valley from the quarry with at least 4 still remaining feeding in the quarry itself. I hid up in the undergrowth to photograph these, which included the male in the photo below. I was joined at the location by Steve Hopper, who has reported other birds seen above. As we walked back we saw 4 ouzels flying in the area below the pumping station towards the mid point bridge, possibly 4 of the 5 I had seen earlier.

Posted October 9th, 2016 at 4:00 pm by David Pakes in General Birding

Ring Ouzels ~ South Brent

An early afternoon walk up to the Avon Dam above South Brent gave Great Tit, Robin, Grey Wagtail, Buzzard, Raven, Jay 3, and several Stonechats.

On reaching the old quarry below the dam I got a wave from Dakes Pakes who was tucked away in the undergrowth watching Ring Ouzels feeding on Rowan berries. In total I had 7 sightings while Dave had 9. 


Also present in the area were Green and Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Blackbirds and three Redwings that flew out from the quarry.

On the way home a Kestrel hovering near Harbourne Cross.

Posted October 9th, 2016 at 3:15 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Bowling green marsh

Watched from 08:00 till  13:00 

A look around the hedges to start with showed a big increase robins around the marsh and chiffchaffs every where with probabley double yesterday's total , 4 blackcaps, and 12+ goldcrests, 4 Cetti's warblers, plenty of skylarks over heading north.

1 spotted redshank from the hide, 1 juv female peregrine.

from the viewing platform 

with a low high tide most waders stayed on the mud on the far side totals from the morning were 85+ knot a good count for this end of the estuary , 8+ curlew sandpiper, 6 sanderling, 70+ grey plover, 20 avocet, 30+ bar tailed godwits, 2 golden plover, 2 ringed plover, 1 osprey again down of mudbank.

as usual these days plenty of disturbance over the morning from kayakers , speedboats, and dogs, made counts hard  and for a very frustrating morning around the marsh

Posted October 9th, 2016 at 3:04 pm by Keith Birchall in General Birding


A first light visit to Broadsands a solitary wader on the beach that I believe was a Knot (but could be wrong) Oyster Catchers 4, the usual mix of gulls, Pied Wagtails and several Carrion Crow.


Eds: The wader at Broadsands is a Dunlin

 Around the car parks Bullfinch 2, small flocks of Goldfinch, Dunnock, Robin, Wren 3, Jay, Buzzard, Blue Tit, Chaffinch and a suspected Firecrest calling but not showing.

Over night at home at least two Tawny owls calling.

Posted October 9th, 2016 at 10:14 am by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Saturday 8th October 2016

Budleigh Salterton

This morning a Ring Ouzel just below Budleigh Beacon. The Yellow-browed Warbler showed again this evening on the footpath just below the golf course parking area, but again pretty elusive and not very vocal and lots of cover! Also firecrest in the same area and a Whinchat on the top fields east of the Otter.

Yellow-browed Warbler by Chris Townend

Ring Ouzel by Chris Townend

Posted October 8th, 2016 at 7:52 pm by Chris Townend in General Birding

Pizwell Farm

Two Crossbills (M + F) flew from moor into trees near farm late afternoon.

Posted October 8th, 2016 at 7:12 pm by Rob Hubble & Stella Tracey in General Birding


Watched from 07:30 till 13:45

Started by doing the hedges around bowling green and turned out not to bad with a garden warbler up near the viewing platform , 27+ chiffchaffs , 2 willow warblers, 2 blackcap, 21+ goldcrests, 3 song thrush plus the usual groups of long tailed tits, blue tits, great tits, 4+ coal tits, 3 nuthatch, 1 treecreeper, green woodpecker, 2 great spotted woodpeckers, 5+ jay, 2 Raven , 24+ skylarks over, 12+ meadow pipits.

from the hide on bowling green marsh , 5 juv curlew sandpipers came in from the river clyst( seen from viewing platform earlier) 1 spotted redshank, 21+ greenshank, 150+ redshank, 1 juv ringed plover, 2 water rail, 2 grey wagtail, 1 white wagtail, 6 pied wagtails, 550+ black tailed godwits, 1 whimbrel, 15+ bar tailed godwits, 30+ lapwing, 35+ pintail among good numbers of teal and wigeon , 5+ dunlin, 60+ curlew, 2 Mediterranean gulls( 1 adult, 1 1st winter)

from the viewing platform from 12:00 15+ avocet, 74+ grey plover, 30+ bar tailed godwits, 500+ dunlin, surprisingly another 3 juv curlew sands ( the waders on bowling green had not come out yet so now the day total was 8+ ) , 1 osprey was  fishing down of mudbank putting all the wigeon and Brent geese up a spectacular sight.

a quick look from the goatwalk produced another 4 curlew sandpipers and 12 golden plover among more curlew lapwing and another 40+ grey plover.

no rarities but a good morning around the marsh 

Posted October 8th, 2016 at 6:53 pm by Keith Birchall in General Birding

Scabbacombe Head

2 Red Kites seen by Andy Studd and family between Scabbacombe Head and Coleton Fishacre this afternoon.

Posted October 8th, 2016 at 5:51 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Soar to Southdown Farm am

7 Wheatears on airfield and one near the cove.  2 Ring Ouzels at top of Soar Valley,  House Martins + Swallows+ 18 Stonechat, 22 Chiffchaff, 5 Blackcap.

Posted October 8th, 2016 at 1:52 pm by Roger White in General Birding

Caspian Tern

9:20 flying past white house and on down estuary caught a fish and landed in a field hidden from view on the chivenor side of the river caen.  Field next to a long pontoon that spans out over the river

Posted October 8th, 2016 at 10:37 am by john overfield in General Birding

Ashridge, Sandford

Small mixed flock approx 20  Blackbird and Redwing passed through this morning 10.00. Also there are Goldcrest everywere.

Posted October 8th, 2016 at 10:14 am by Richard Burston in General Birding

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