Devon Bird Sightings from 1st–7th August 2016

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

Sunday 7th August 2016


A quiet day in the garden today, a couple of goldfinches, pair of Robins adult and juvenile, female blackcap and a sparrowhawk flying over.

Sparrow hawk Looking for teaSparrow hawk seeing tea


Posted August 7th, 2016 at 7:50 pm by philip worth in Bird News

Lyme Bay boat trip - common dolphins

A pic of this morning's dolphins from the Brixham boat. See Nigel's post for better trip tally, I was mainly trying to take pictures in bouncy conditions!

Common dolphins
Common dolphins

Posted August 7th, 2016 at 6:09 pm by Chris Proctor in Other Wildlife

Lyme Bay boat trip

A good range of species seen from the boat trip out into Lyme Bay from Brixham this morning; 20+ Manx shearwater, 1+ Balearic shearwater, 2 storm petrel, 1 arctic skua, 1 bonxie, among the gannets, fulmars, guillemots & commoner gulls. 2 porpoises off the end of Berry Head and a pod of 18+ Common dolphins further out to sea provided some mammal interest.

Balearic shearwater
Balearic shearwater


Storm petrel
Storm petrel

Posted August 7th, 2016 at 6:04 pm by Chris Proctor in Bird News

Brixham Lyme Bay boat trip

A good trip out this morning but a little bit rough!! A good cross section of species seen on the trip.

Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring gull, 60 Manx Shearwater, 3 Balearic Shearwater, Artic Skua, Great Skua, 2 Storm Petrel, Fulmar, 2 Razorbill and 40+ Guillemots in small rafts. A good seabird trip and also had 20+ Common Dolphin with young and 3 Porpoise. 

Posted August 7th, 2016 at 6:00 pm by Nigel Smallbones in Bird News

Wood White at Meeth Quarry

After an impromptu visit to Meeth Quarry following a family get together I decided that it pays to always take my camera with me. It was scorchingly hot at Meeth, but that always guarantees insects. We spotted 4 Wood White's, with their dainty flight pattern, one posing obligingly for me. Couldn't believe my luck! Plenty of SW Fritillaries, Red Admirals, Gatekeepers and Meadow Browns, looking decidedly ragged. Also heard and spotted a few Warblers, mostly chiffys but a couple of Willow Warblers. A Green Woodpecker was flitting about above us too. So, as a friend of mine told me yesterday, ALWAYS take your camera. Glad I listened. A longer visit will be required next time.

Wood White

               Silver Washed Fritillary
                                       Wood White                                                            Silver Washed Fritillary

Black Tailed Skimmer
Black Tailed Skimmer

Posted August 7th, 2016 at 4:39 pm by Steph Murphy in Other Wildlife

Plym Estuary

A look just after high tide; a few birds now beginning to gather.

4 Sandwich Terns briefly on the pool before getting flushed by a dog; also there - Oystercatcher, 16 Little Egrets and 28 Curlews. On the estuary: 5 Common Sandpipers, 2 Greenshanks, 91 Redshanks, and 10 Grey Herons. Swift heard.


Posted August 7th, 2016 at 1:37 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Saturday 6th August 2016

Bowling Green Marsh

Just to add some photos and video to Keith's earlier post of the Spotted Flycatchers along the footpath to the viewing platform.

Spotted Flycatcher
Spotted Flycatcher

Spotted Flycatcher
Spotted Flycatcher

Posted August 6th, 2016 at 10:59 pm by David Boult in Bird News

Not a Grass Snake

On the road down to Berry Head quarry met a young fisherman juggling with a snake.  What are you doing I said?  I'm trying to move this grass snake off the road he replied.  Do you know its an adder and a very angry one and quite poisonous I told him. Oh no he replied its perfectly OK and not dangerous. Although it did bite me just now.  He held up a bleeding thumb.

I advised him to seek medical attention so he googled "adder bites" and went white and as he went up the road I heard him say "my thumb hurts".



Fisherman's feet next to adderAngry adder

 Adder close to a fisherman's foot                                                                      Angry Adder

Beating a retreat

Beating a retreat

Posted August 6th, 2016 at 9:09 pm by Bill Coulson in Other Wildlife


Wildlife watching kayak trip from Plymouth sound to Eddystone.

22 Storm petrels including 8 in feeding group with 50 plunging gannets, half a dozen common dolphins and a porpoise. No shearwaters involved.

5 arctic terns, adult pair and adult pair plus wingeing juvenile.

2 Common terns, adult pair.

plus 1+6+6 common dolphins

Approx 12 harbour porpoises

All peterels between half way reef and eddystone lighthouse

Storm Petrel
Storm Petrel

Storm Petrel
Storm Petrel

Posted August 6th, 2016 at 6:05 pm by Rupert Kirkwood in Bird News

Do these Pics show two different Least Sandpipers

Least Sand pic taken at 0930 hrs showed a split in its supercilium, also a very marked breast streaking as opposed to the pics taken at 1030 hrs in the same place. This birds supercilium reaches the bill base and the breast streaking appears fainter. Is the first bird a Juv and the second a first winter !!!!!!!!!!!

0930 hrs pic showing a split supercilium
0930 hrs pic showing a split supercilium

1030 hrs pic showing fainter breast streaks
1030 hrs pic showing fainter breast streaks

1030 hrs pic showing supercilium reaching bill base
1030 hrs pic showing supercilium reaching bill base

Posted August 6th, 2016 at 5:34 pm by Barry Rankine in Bird News

Bowling green marsh

Watched from 08:00 till 14:30

A good morning with an unexpected fall of 5+ spotted flycatchers around the path to the viewing platform this amongst s fall of willow warblers with 20+ around the marsh, and smaller numbers  of chiffchaffs.

waders over the high tide included 200+ dunlin, 1 spotted redshank, 420+ redshank, 40+ whimbrel, 8 bar tailed godwits, 450+ black tailed godwits included at least 6 juv's, 3 common sandpipers, 6 lapwing, 6 greenshanks, 4 oystercatchers, 300+ curlew.

from the viewing platform, 1 kingfisher , one group of dunlin of 141+ included 90+ juveniles looks like dunlin have had a good breeding season.

Posted August 6th, 2016 at 5:14 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Codden Hill, North Devon.

Perched on the top of a tree near the reservoir on Codden Hill, sorry about the quality of the photo.


Posted August 6th, 2016 at 4:10 pm by Richard Yeats in Bird News

South Pool Creek, Kingsbridge Estuary

10 Greenshank - from the kayak!

Posted August 6th, 2016 at 4:01 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

GBB Legring

Snapped this Great black-backed gull also at Seaton Marsh, out on the River Axe. Turns out it was ringed in Looe or Falmouth.  White with Red Alpha numeric markings L:BB6  (Apologies for rubbish picture)

Posted August 6th, 2016 at 3:56 pm by steph murphy in Bird News

Thurlestone (South Huish Marsh)

A mid morning stroll round the marsh produced 1 Spotted Flycatcher, a family group of 2 juvenile and 2 adult Heron, 12 Ringed Plovers, stationery on the drained area, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Buzzard being bombed by Swallows and 1 female Wheatear. It was too busy with holidaymakers to stay much longer than an hour or so.

Posted August 6th, 2016 at 3:15 pm by steph murphy in Bird News

Southern Hawker

Whilst out twitching the Least Sandpiper at Blackhole Marsh, I snapped this lovely Southern Hawker on Seaton Marsh, around Borrow Pit.

Posted August 6th, 2016 at 3:09 pm by steph murphy in Other Wildlife


On a mid-tide early morning visit to Broadsands 31 Great Black Backed Gulls of which at least three were ringed. Of the two rings that I could obtain details ~ 6AA8 subject of a recent post at the same location was ringed in Guernsey and appears to be resident at Broadsands the second readable ring bearing O.BE on a very scruffy poor condition individual.


With the gathered Herring Gulls was possibly my first Yellow Legged Gull, a juvenile, slightly but obviously larger than the Herring Gulls that it was with and a visibly larger beak but whether I am right or not is another matter. A single Oyster catcher on the rocks.

Eds: its a juv Herring Gull Steve, an email has been sent to you with reason. Look at notched tertials and rather barred tail and rump - not white and clean as in YLG.

Eight Swifts over the Warberry end of Torquay.
Very little from the Torquay coastal path of note.
Meadfoot gave four Rock Pipits and a ringed Shag.
On the way home a Kestrel hunting near Blagdon, Marldon.

Posted August 6th, 2016 at 1:21 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Good parenting

Another of this pipits massive task on Dartmoor

Cuckoo juv fed by pipit

Posted August 6th, 2016 at 12:02 pm by John Deakins in Bird News


62 med gulls..47 ads,6ss,8fs,juv.Many more birds feeding offshore07:30-08:20

Posted August 6th, 2016 at 11:51 am by Robert Marshall in Bird News

Friday 5th August 2016


12 med gulls 9ads,2 ss,juv,juv black tailed godwit and common gull,3 whimbrel,6 sandwich tern 5ads,juv 200 black headed gulls.19:15-20:30.15 swifts over clovelly rd.

Posted August 5th, 2016 at 10:21 pm by Robert Marshall in Bird News

late swifts

we still have swifts nesting under the eaves today just outside okehampton

Posted August 5th, 2016 at 10:06 pm by laurence smith in Bird News


Still three Swifts over Northam this morning flying down the Torridge towards Bideford.

Also two Mediterranean Gulls on Westward Ho! beach this afternoon feeding in the moats of sandcastles close to the pebble ridge and negotiating their way through the many visitors!

Posted August 5th, 2016 at 9:04 pm by Martin Unwin in Bird News

Beesands Hide - Refurbishment Update

The missing materials for the Beesands hide refurbishment have arrived.  The work will start on Monday 15 August and will be completed the next day.  The hide will not be useable for those two days.

Posted August 5th, 2016 at 7:35 pm by Nick Townsend in Bird News

South Brent

Local farmer cut my fields for hay this afternoon the grass cutting soon attracted four Buzzards that took advantage of an impromptu food supply.

While using binoculars to watch the Buzzards noticed a large movement of House Martins all headed west at great height beyond normal eye sight, as the afternoon went on another flock of House Martins came over the cut fields feeding.

Posted August 5th, 2016 at 7:27 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Braunton Caen River /Horsey Island

A great afternoon for a walk to the fishermens huts with Chiloe Wigeon both still present, Mallard, Redshank, Dunlin, Egrets, Cormorants, Heron, Corvids, Black Headed, Great Black backed, Lesser Black backed, Herring and few Med Gulls. Curlew, Whimbrel, Oystercatchers, Common Sand, Swallows, Meadow Pipits, Stonechat, Buzzards, Sparrowhawk and a female Marsh Harrier over the Chivenor side of the river.

Posted August 5th, 2016 at 6:05 pm by Rob Barnes in Bird News

Soar Mill Valley & Higher Soar

In the valley 5 Wheatear, first returning Redstart, 2 Sedge Warbler, Blackcap, 8 Whitethroat & 17 Willow Warbler. At Higher Soar c.10 Swift,. 200 Swallow & 300 House Martin.

Posted August 5th, 2016 at 2:14 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Exeter, Cathedral Yard

Heard, but did not see Swift yesterday evening around 18:45.

Posted August 5th, 2016 at 1:16 pm by Stephen Huggins in Bird News

late swifts

Thursday 4th August: 4 swifts passed over moving west during day. At 20.15 there were 30 feeding over the western part of South Molton for 5 mins or more.

Friday 5th August: 12.05 13 swift moved west in light drizzle

Posted August 5th, 2016 at 12:12 pm by arthur symons in Bird News

Thursday 4th August 2016

Swift - Kingsteignton

An adult swift was seen entering its nest this evening at 2015hrs. An adult was also seen overhead last evening but the bulk had left on the 1st

Posted August 4th, 2016 at 8:34 pm by JDA in Bird News

Least Sandpiper

Here's a couple more to add to Dave's post, great little bird and worth the trip.

Posted August 4th, 2016 at 7:12 pm by simon thurgood in Bird News

Black Hole Marsh

No doubt there will be many photos of the (original) Least Sandpiper, but here's a couple from today.

Least Sandpiper in worn summer plumage
Least Sandpiper in worn summer plumage

Least Sandpiper in worn summer plumage - note length of central toe
Least Sandpiper in worn summer plumage - note length of central toe

Posted August 4th, 2016 at 6:58 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News

Lower Tamar Lake

Cool and breezy with some brief sun.

2 Coal Tits, 4 Great Tits, 6+ Blue Tits, 1 Marsh Tit,   2 Nuthatches, 1 Willow Warbler, 4 Chaffinches, 1 Greenfinch, 3 House Sparrows, 1 Moorhen, 10+ Swallows, 1 Buzzard, c.10 Mallard, 3 Great Crested Grebes - one still on nest. 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, usual corvids and several Wood Pigeons, .

Harvey Kendall & Rod Mudge.

Posted August 4th, 2016 at 1:15 pm by Harvey Kendall in Bird News

Berry Head

03/08 Early eve seawatch, returning trawlers attracted 2 European Storm-petrels, 3 Bonxie, 3+ Yellow-legged Gulls, 2-3 Balearic Shearwaters with even 2 Manx pulled in behind one which is unusual. Lots of Harbour Porpoise showing well close in.Yellow-legged Gull (juv)

Posted August 4th, 2016 at 9:16 am by Mark Darlaston in Bird News

Wednesday 3rd August 2016

Seaton Marshes

Both the Least and the Wood Sandpiper showing well in front of the hide.

Posted August 3rd, 2016 at 4:30 pm by simon thurgood in Bird News

Beesands Hide - Refurbishment

Beesands Hide - Refurbishment

Please Note: Devon Birds' contractor will be carrying out repairs and refurbishment work on the Beesands hide on Monday and Tuesday next week (8 & 9 August). The hide will not be useable on those days.

Posted August 3rd, 2016 at 4:24 pm in Bird News

Exeter Swifts

There were still 4 Swifts yesterday evening (2 August) over Heavitree Road, Exeter.

Posted August 3rd, 2016 at 4:04 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News

Red Grouse; Gidleigh Common, Dartmoor

3 Red Grouse seen and heard well on Sunday 31st July, at approx. ref 635887.  Your website requests all sightings, so I hope these are of interest.  Dan Lupton

Posted August 3rd, 2016 at 1:02 pm by Dan Lupton in Bird News

East Soar

Reed Warbler, 6 Whitethroat & 6 Willow Warbler. Also second generation of Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary on wing.

Posted August 3rd, 2016 at 12:33 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Prawle Seawatch Tuesday 2nd August

7.30 to 1.35pm in WSW with rain and mist, force 4/5 to 5/6, reducing to 4.

19 Balearic Shearwaters,2 Sooty Shearwaters, 2755  Manx Shearwaters, 1 Bonxie, 1 Puffin,61 Fulmars,221 Gannets ,1 1st year Med Gull, 1 Guillemot, 6 Kittiwakes, I Curlew all west. 1 Common Scoter east.Interesting to compare Start Point's sightings !

Posted August 3rd, 2016 at 11:56 am by Tony Marchese in Bird News

Black Hole Marsh

The Least Sandpiper still at Black Hole Marsh this morning from 6am for its second day, and showing well from the Island Hide. Also Wood Sand, sev LRP's and Common Sands 

Posted August 3rd, 2016 at 10:02 am by Mark Bailey in Bird News

Tuesday 2nd August 2016


One or two 1st year Yellow-legged gulls following the mackerel boat off Exmouth. Good views given I was on the boat.

Posted August 2nd, 2016 at 10:55 pm by Martin Elcoate in Bird News

Bowling green marsh

Watched from 16:55 till 19:50

A good evening with the juv Little Ringed Plover showing well , 2 ringed plover ( 1 adult, 1 juv) , 1 spotted redshank, 498+ redshank, 4 greenshanks, 404+ black tailed godwits, 8 bar tailed godwits, 162+ dunlin included 51+ juv's , 384+ curlew, 40+ whimbrel, 2 oystercatchers, 2 common sandpipers, 2 yellow wagtails, 2 Mediterranean gulls( 1 adult, 1 2nd summer ) among 400+ black headed gulls.

Posted August 2nd, 2016 at 10:05 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Broadsands and Totnes

On a rising tide a visit to Broadsands this afternoon 18 Great Black Backed Gulls, Herring Gulls and a small number of Black Headed Gulls on the beach, very little out to sea just two Cormorants noted.

Ringed Plover Broadsands 02082016 

High light was two Ring Plover one adult and one juvenile, the first of this species that I have seen at this location.

Four Greenfinch and eight House Martins over the car park.

Two Gannet of off Shoalstone, Brixham.

On the site of the lower school at KEVIC’s, Totnes a single Mediterranean Gull along with two Black Headed Gulls on the school field.

Posted August 2nd, 2016 at 6:46 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Berry Head

Four hour watch between 11.00 and 15.00 hours produced a single Sooty Shearwater (11.30) 5 Balearic and 414 Manx Shearwater, 5 Common Scoter and 2 Sandwich Terns. Compared to Porthgwara today it was rather quiet !

Posted August 2nd, 2016 at 4:58 pm by Clive Mason in Bird News

Monday 1st August 2016

Bowling green marsh

Watched from 16:40 till 19:40 

A good evening viewing over the high tide with 108+ dunlin which included 32+ juv's, 1 juv little ringed plover , 2 ringed plover, 4 knot looking very smart still in full summer plumage, 387+ curlew and 20+ whimbrel, 4+ common sandpipers, 1 spotted redshank , 25+ greenshanks , 250+ redshank, 380+ black tailed godwits, 8 bar tailed godwits, 8+ lapwing, 300+ black headed gulls  2 lesser black backed gulls, 6 little egrets, 8 wigeon , 1 sedge warbler  18+ Moorhens, 60+ mallards, 3 shovelers. 

Posted August 1st, 2016 at 10:41 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Berry Head

Seawatching 14:00-19:30. SSW-S increasing 5+ with heavy rain. Very disappointing given the conditions, just one Balearic Shearwater, c950 Manx Shearwaters, 3 Yellow-legged Gulls (all juv), 4 Mediterranean Gulls, 5 European Storm-petrels (behind a trawler), 9 Whimbrel, Sandwich tern and 6+ Harbour Porpoise including one calf.

Posted August 1st, 2016 at 8:44 pm by Mark Darlaston in Bird News


15:45 - 17:45

1 Balearic Shearwater, 305 Manx Shearwater, 4 Med Gulls, 5 Fulmars, 4 Kittiwake, 6 Sandwich Terns and 40+ Gannet.

Posted August 1st, 2016 at 7:24 pm by Laurie Allnatt in Bird News

South Efford Marsh

South Efford Marsh, late am/early pm: 4 Green Sandpipers, 3 Common Sandpipers, 5 Ringed Plover, 2 Black-tailed Godwit, 1 Whimbrel, 1 second-year Mediterranean Gull.

Posted August 1st, 2016 at 3:36 pm by Andy Smith in Bird News

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