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  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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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

Saturday 31st December 2016


8 Eider off Crow Point near mouth of the Taw ~1300 hrs/low tide. 7 male 1 female, diving for mussels.

Posted December 31st, 2016 at 6:45 pm by Lowell Mills in General Birding


Late this afternoon off West Lodge: fw drake Scaup, fem Goldeneye, 2 Shoveler and a Greenshank of note.

Posted December 31st, 2016 at 5:34 pm by Terry Smith in General Birding

Broadsands, pm, 31.12.16

15 - 16 Cirl Buntings usual spot (though a visiting birder reported c. 35 from there and along the seafront).

Posted December 31st, 2016 at 4:27 pm by David Holloway in General Birding

Slapton Ley/Offshore

1100-1245. 3 Velvet Scoter off middle car park early on - not too far out. On walk towards Torcross, close-in Black-throated Diver, then a Black-necked Grebe very close in, and then a middle distance Gt Northern Diver. On Slapton Ley, midway from middle car park to Torcross, Long-tailed Duck (would say female), and then 1st winter Scaup. There was an interesting looking pipit flock on the beach. MMay off Beesands, raft of 30+ Common Scoter.

Posted December 31st, 2016 at 3:47 pm by Francis Tusa in General Birding

Topsham and Exmouth

YBW at Topsham Rec mobile around play area. Two female Goldeneye off the rec. Black Redstart showing well at Shelley Beach Exmouth. 

see -

Black Redstart
Black Redstart

Posted December 31st, 2016 at 1:40 pm by Martin Rooney in General Birding

River Taw

Great Northern Diver and Longtailed Duck in the Taw by the sewage works 10.00 this morning

Posted December 31st, 2016 at 10:03 am by David Paterson in General Birding

Friday 30th December 2016

Slapton Ley and Start Bay

Highlights on the ley included 11 Little Grebes ( Ireland Bay ) and from the Stokeley Hide male Scaup and Long-tailed Duck still present. Also at least 4 Goldeneye including 2 displaying males.  In Start Bay viewed from the central car park Great Northern Diver, Red-throated Diver and Black-throated Diver. Now 3 distant Velvet Scoters. Finally 3 Harbour Porpoises heading south together.



Posted December 30th, 2016 at 6:03 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Start Bay

Just off Torness at 1530 today, 2 Red-throated Divers.

Posted December 30th, 2016 at 5:05 pm by Francis Tusa in General Birding

Barnstaple to Ashford

An early afternoon walk on the Tarka Trail produced 6 dabchick feeding together just upstream of the new(?) bridge, 4 goosander (1m,3f) off RGB and the long tailed duck by the sewage works plus most of the usual suspects.

Posted December 30th, 2016 at 4:31 pm by alan craddock in General Birding

East Soar-Soar Mill Valley-Southdown Farm

A glorious morning on the heights enlivened by 47 Gannet & 4 Harbour Porpoise fishing off the Ham Stone, 11 Snipe, Lapwing, 218 Skylark, male Black Redstart in the Cove, Firecrest & Chiffchaff in Soar Mill Valley willows, 235 Linnet & 32 Yellowhammer.

Posted December 30th, 2016 at 3:45 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Teigngrace cattle egrets

Two birds still present in solar panel field but with regular commutes to other herds in the vicinity

Posted December 30th, 2016 at 2:24 pm by Ken Dainton in General Birding


In extremely foggy conditions. The 2 Firecrests were along Madeira Walk at the back of the cricket club. Also, the Little Grebe was still in the marina at midday, and nearby the female Black Redstart was on the roof of Leeward Court by Shelly Beach. Later on in the afternoon 3 Goldeneye were off West Lodge.

Posted December 30th, 2016 at 1:16 pm by Terry Smith in General Birding

Exe Estuary, 29 December

The highlights of yesterday afternoon's Stuart Lines cruise were the 2 Slavonian Grebes (off Cockwood and later off Starcross), 13 G C Grebes, at least 130 Pintail on the mud around the mouth of the Clyst, the Long-tailed Duck at Topsham ferry and a large flock (500+?) of Golden Plover roosting on the mud near Turf.

Posted December 30th, 2016 at 10:45 am by Dave Smallshire in General Birding

Teignmouth Seafront

Two female Long Tailed Ducks just south of Yacht Club and 600ish metres out.

Posted December 30th, 2016 at 10:43 am by Simon Bates in General Birding

Thursday 29th December 2016

Yellow Browed Warbler Topsham Rec

Great views of the Yellow Browed Warbler through the freezing fog at Topsham Rec this Lunchtime.

Topsham Rec

great views

on view through the fog

Posted December 29th, 2016 at 9:20 pm by Derek Carter in General Birding

River Plym from Leigham Manor Drive

1405 - 1445 

Female Kingfisher fishing  (2 successful attempts out of 3. 2nd attempt bird never entered water after a hover.)  

2 male and 1 redhead Goosander. 

Small flock of Long Tailed Tits and and Coal Tits foraging through.

Posted December 29th, 2016 at 8:50 pm by Charlie Imms in General Birding

Exminster Marshes


From the track next to the railway line in cold conditions:  

60+ Brent Geese in flight heading towards the estuary mouth, 2 Barnacle Geese, 80+ Canada Geese, 8 Mute Swans, 50+ Teal, 200+ Wigeon, 60+ Lapwing, 7 Snipe, 4 Shoveler, Pintail, 4 Mallard, 100+ Golden Plover, 3 Tufted Duck, 20+ Curlew, 40+ Black Tailed Godwit, Buzzard, female Marsh Harrier, Song Thrush, 20+ Robins, 10 Blackbirds, 3 Jackdaws, 2 Carrion Crows, 2 Ravens, 10 Cormorant, 2 Meadow Pipits, 5 Pied Wagtails, 4 Long Tailed Tits, Blue Tit, Dunnock, Cetti's Warbler, 3 Pheasants, 3 Grey Herons, 6 Woodpigeons and a Linnet.

Back home in Torquay, the male Blackcap still present and visiting the fat balls in my garden. 

Posted December 29th, 2016 at 4:56 pm by Paul Darlington in General Birding

River Plym and Saltram

Pleasant walk in the sunshine this morning - on the river 2 male and 3 female wigeon and on the mudflats a greenshank and 50+dunlin. 2 firecrests, a coo-ing stock dove and a mistle thrush in the trees above the river folly. 2 cattle egret in the fields with cattle along with a sprinkling of redwing, song thrush, blackbird, starling and pied wagtail.

Firecrest Cattle Egret
Firecrest                                                  Cattle Egret

Posted December 29th, 2016 at 3:29 pm by Stuart Green in General Birding

Topsham Recreation Ground

The Yellow-browed Warbler was still at the Topsham recreation ground at around 11am this morning.  There were a surprising number of birds about, including a flock of Long-tailed Tits, quite a few Goldfinches, a couple of Redwings and a lone female Stonechat. On the river there was a Long-tailed Duck and Goldeneye, with a Ringed Plover on the mud with the gulls and Redshanks, and a Kingfisher.

Posted December 29th, 2016 at 1:25 pm by Richard Swinbank in General Birding

Wednesday 28th December 2016

Kingsbridge Estuary

Still a Slavonian Grebe near Charleton Point and c 300 Golden Plover near Rowden Point.

Posted December 28th, 2016 at 8:17 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Preston Torbay

2 Mediterranean Gulls on the rocks this afternoon (ad w and a 2nd w)

Posted December 28th, 2016 at 7:38 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding

Occombe Farm

Late afternoon and not much to report other than 1st sighting of Redwings at Occombe this winter, counted approx 10 in all. Plus a small number of Goldfinches a Buzzard and a Roe Deer. And though it has been a mild December it appears that nature doesn't always see it the same way...

Posted December 28th, 2016 at 4:57 pm by Stephen Huggins in General Birding

Great Grey Shrike at Emsworthy

It took a while to find , but worth the effort!

Posted December 28th, 2016 at 4:57 pm by Simon Thurgood in General Birding

Shiphay, Torquay


The male Blackcap that has been visiting my suburban garden since 22nd December, produced some full (though muted) song for a period this afternoon. 

Despite being very obliging yesterday, it has been much more secretive today, preferring the deep cover of the laurel hedge. 

Posted December 28th, 2016 at 4:47 pm by Paul Darlington in General Birding

Lower Tamar Lake

Today at Lower Tamar Lake.
2 Willow and 1 Marsh Tit, 32 Goosander 14m 18f, 3 Grey Heron, 1 Little Egret, 5 Snipe, 1 Treecreeper, 1 Drake Teal, 2 Cormorants, 1 Song Thrush, 11 Coot, 7 Tufted Duck, 1 Great Crested Grebe.

Posted December 28th, 2016 at 2:48 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

cattle egret at Teigngrace 28/12/2016

Spotted from a distance with hunched look of cattle egret.  In field with cattle.  Flew over head low later when bill and leg colour could be seen well. One other seen at distance not identified.

Posted December 28th, 2016 at 2:27 pm by Pete Stevens in General Birding

Topsham Rec

Yellow-browed Warbler again in the trees near the zip wire at 9.30 this morning

Posted December 28th, 2016 at 9:43 am by Ian Pearson in General Birding

Tuesday 27th December 2016

Ernesettle Creek and Tamar complex Plymouth

1330 - 1445 on a rising tide: 

11 Snipe, 2 Greenshank, c40 Redshank, 1 Curlew,

2 Great Crested Grebe,  c30 Teal, 5 Wigeon, 

2 Shelduck, 1 Grey Heron, 1  Little Egret, 1 Buzzard, 1 Kestrel, 

1 Goldcrest. The Avocet  flock was across the border today!

Posted December 27th, 2016 at 7:15 pm by Charlie Imms in General Birding

Water Rail - Goosemoor

Excellent views of two Water Rail on low tide mud at Goosemoor this afternoon, easily seen from one of the viewing screens on the boardwalk / cycle path.

Posted December 27th, 2016 at 6:29 pm by Cliff Parrott in General Birding

Dawlish Warren update

In addition to previous post,  looking at photos an additional Red Throated Diver just off the lifeguard station.

Red-throated Diver  Great Crested Grebe
Red-throated Diver                                                                 Great Crested Grebe

Posted December 27th, 2016 at 3:44 pm by Paul Treen in General Birding

Dawlish Warren - Higher Ashton

Yesterday. Quick walk around Higher Ashton with my brother produced 1 GSW, 2 Nutchatch, 1 Treecreeper, Great, Blue & LT Tits, Robin, Blackbird and 4 Goldcrests.

This morning Dawlish Warren off sea wall - 15-20 GCGrebes, 2 GND, 2 Guillemots, Rock Pipit and around 10 Gannets plunge diving off of Red Rock.

Posted December 27th, 2016 at 1:31 pm by Paul treen in General Birding

Broadsands and Clennon

A very cold, beautiful but quiet morning at Broadsands and Goodrington. Clennon was a little more fruitful. one male teal, one shoveler, Gadwall, twp pairs of bullfinches and one possible chiffchaff or a warbler, too fast to ID. 

Pretty duck at Clennon

Posted December 27th, 2016 at 11:52 am by PHILIP FAIRCLOUGH in General Birding

Charleton Marsh and Wareham Point

Late post from 26th; adding to Perry's earlier post. Of note: 1 Great Northern Diver, c15 Great-Crested Grebes, 7 Little Grebes, 75+Brent Geese, 7 RB Mergansers, 60 Lapwing (overhead), c20 Snipe (no Jacks), 3 Greenshank etc.

Posted December 27th, 2016 at 10:17 am by Andy Smith in General Birding


50 at loddiswell near industrial estate.

Posted December 27th, 2016 at 10:16 am by John Ballantine in General Birding


Late post from 26th: 1 Black-necked Grebe very close offshore at the memorial car park late afternoon.

Posted December 27th, 2016 at 10:12 am by Andy Smith in General Birding

Monday 26th December 2016

Dartford warbler - Woodbury Common

A lovely Boxing Day treat on a walk on Woodbury Common. A Dartford warbler flew low across a pebble track and into a gorse bush where it allowed a close approach. The first I have ever seen. Delighted.


Posted December 26th, 2016 at 8:29 pm by Pat Gubb in General Birding

Arlington Court Hide

Finally made it to Arlington Court Hide. 

Goldcrest Goldcrest Nuthatch
Goldcrest                                                        Nuthatch                                                          Goldcrest

Posted December 26th, 2016 at 7:11 pm by Andrew Leat in General Birding

West Charleton

Grey Wagtail and 3 Chiffchaffs in the sewage works, 750+ Golden Plovers flying over fields west of Charleton Marsh.

Posted December 26th, 2016 at 5:12 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Ford Park Cemetery, Plymouth. 26/12/2016

Quick trip after lunch produced 4 x Green parakeet and 4 x Pheasant (f) in addition to the usual corvids, sparrows etc.

Eds: The green parakeets are Ring-necked Parakeets.

Posted December 26th, 2016 at 3:54 pm by Michael Spencer in General Birding


Walk along Brixham Breakwater by old fuel bunkering jetty 12 Purple Sandpiper and 3 Turnstone. On marine wave screen 3 Common Gull with some Black headed Gulls. Looking out towards Broadsands 1 great Northern Diver and Gannets diving, on the edge outer edge of mussel farm a group of Scoter. My son text me to say a male and a female Eider just off Goodrington beach. From Brixham breakwater looking towards Berry Head many seabirds seen. To far away to ID.

Boat trip Sunday 8th in Torbay still have places, call 07866202576 if interested. 

Posted December 26th, 2016 at 11:17 am by Nigel Smallbones in General Birding


Goldcrest feeding in the manor gardens Exmouth this morning.

Posted December 26th, 2016 at 10:20 am by eric in General Birding

Sunday 25th December 2016

Otterton & Chistlebury Bay

Since I found myself in Exeter on my own I went birding instead. Saw 400 Common Scotor, Red Throated Diver & 2 GC Grebe on sea, 60 Chaffinch at STW, 40+ Skylark on fields & 2 Dipper at Otterton Mill. Nice day out. Merry Christmas all. 

Posted December 25th, 2016 at 6:08 pm by Steve Cox in General Birding

Saturday 24th December 2016

Long John Sanderling - video

For a video of Long John Sanderling enjoying Christmas Eve on Westward Ho! beach, please follow this link:

Posted December 24th, 2016 at 9:29 pm by Martin Unwin in General Birding

G N Diver Hopes Nose, Torbay

1 Great Norther Diver and 3 Razorbills close to shore on the East ( sheltered ) side of Hopes Nose this afternoon, plus good numbers of Gannets fishing between the point, the Orestone and Thatchers Rock.

Posted December 24th, 2016 at 5:39 pm by Cliff Parrott in General Birding

Long John Sanderling!

Walking on a windswept beach at Westward Ho! this morning my daughters and I saw a one legged Sanderling. It was feeding well but only travelling at half speed! 

Posted December 24th, 2016 at 4:51 pm by Martin Unwin in General Birding

Occombe Farm

Christmas Eve morning walk started quietly but in all saw: a pair of Pied Wagtails, 20- 30 Goldfinches,, a pair of Greenfinches, a Dunnock, a pair of Green Woodpeckers, a Nuthatch, several good flocks of Blue Tits feeding through, 6/7 Great Tits, approx 6 Long Tailed Tits, 5 Goldcrest (2 sets of pairs), 6 Wrens, 8/9 Robins, Blackbirds in various parts of Occombe including 2 with dark coloured bills. Also heard a Bullfinch and viewed 3 Roe Deer.

Posted December 24th, 2016 at 10:59 am by Stephen Huggins in General Birding

Friday 23rd December 2016

Desert Wheatear

Saw the Desert Wheatear at Thurlestone today, even in the wind it was quite active catching any food blown up the beach while the Rock Pipit was working the shoreline

Posted December 23rd, 2016 at 4:40 pm by Simon Thurgood in General Birding

Goosemoor & RSPB Bowling Green Marsh.

The reported Spotted Redshank showing well at Goosemoor from the viewing area, along with six Greenshank, twenty plus Redshank and a Little Egret.


RSPB Bowling Green Marsh alive with waders and ducks, feeding directly in front of the hide at times, hundreds of Black Tailed Godwits with a handful of Bar Tailed mixed in, good numbers of Wigeon and Redshank, two Snipe, five Curlew, thirty plus Shoveller duck, Lapwing, Dunlin, two Grey Plover, two Greylag Geese, thirteen Avocet, Starling and a single Greater Black Backed Gull to mention a few.

Female Bullfinch in the hedge, it was a good day for visiting BGM..

Posted December 23rd, 2016 at 4:20 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Drake Wood duck

Lone drake wood duck in old mill leat near new co-op in centre of Bovey Tracey. 

Posted December 23rd, 2016 at 11:00 am by Steve Ayres in General Birding

Thursday 22nd December 2016


Unusual to see one heading east over the house on Clovelly rd bideford at 09:15

Posted December 22nd, 2016 at 10:57 pm by Robert Marshall in General Birding


A quick scan from Broadsands this afternoon revealed the 8 Velvet Scoters (distant), Eider, Black-necked Grebe, G N Diver, 12+ Fulmars, 20+ Gannets and a scattering of Razorbills.

After further consideration, the 'funny Wigeon' at Bowling Green the other day seems to be just that, not a hybrid!

Posted December 22nd, 2016 at 9:05 pm by Dave Smallshire in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh & Goosemoor

At BGM just after the neap high tide, masses of Godwits as expected, but the Avocets didn't show at all.  The most notable things were a Coot for at least its second day and a Little Grebe, neither of which are common here. Snipe numbers up to at least 13.  On Goosemoor a Spotted Redshank with singles of Redshank and Greenshank in the same view (but not long enough for a picture together).

Posted December 22nd, 2016 at 8:09 pm by Chris Marcol in General Birding

Goosemoor and Bowling Green Marsh

What a difference the sun makes

Curlew  Greenshank  Spotted Redshank+Greenshank
Curlew                                                    Greenshank                                           Spotted Redshank+Greenshank

Posted December 22nd, 2016 at 6:17 pm by Colin Scott in General Birding


27 Common Scoters at Downend this morning - 26 females + 1 male.

Posted December 22nd, 2016 at 6:13 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Stover CP

Lots of Black-headed Gulls and Herring Gulls, also the usual Mallards, Tufted Ducks, Coots, Moorhens. There was a male Kingfisher on the lake and on one of the feeders were three Willow Tit. But most exiting of all were the two Pochards seen from the hide.

Eds The 'willow tits' would almost certainly have been Marsh Tits - they are not always easy to separate! Willow Tits are very rare indeed in S Devon.

Posted December 22nd, 2016 at 5:35 pm by Samuel Gray in General Birding

Lower Tamar Lake.

Sunny and calm at the Lower lake this morning.

50+Snipe flushed from the reedbeds near the hide, 15 Goosanders,  (6 males), 2 Grey Herons. Blue, Great and Coal Tits plus one Willow Tit on the feeders at the car park, 1 Nuthatch, 4 Tufted Duck, 1 Mute Swan, 3 Coot, 5 Moorhens,  6+Robins  an apparent influx of Blackbirds with at least 12 seen between Thurdon and the hide, c.20 Mallard, 14 Black headed Gulls, 5 Chaffinches and 1 Dunnock.

Harvey Kendall.

Posted December 22nd, 2016 at 1:03 pm by Harvey Kendall in General Birding

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