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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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

Saturday 14th January 2017

Plym Estuary

Pretty quiet on the falling tide this pm.

Dunlin 86, Redshank 109, Common Sandpiper 3, Wigeon 5, Greenshank 3, Grey Heron 12 and Ring-necked Parakeet 2.

Posted January 14th, 2017 at 9:30 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Beesands Ley

Female Goosander on the Ley this afternoon. Also 7 Teals and a pair of Tufted Ducks. 70 Mute swans probably a site record.

Posted January 14th, 2017 at 9:10 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Mountbatten Beach Plymouth


Black Redstart (Female Type}, 3 Stonechat, 1 Rock Pipit, 1 Pied Wagtail,  4 Med Gull ( 3 Ad, 1 2w), 1 Common Gull (Ad), 2 Shag.

Posted January 14th, 2017 at 6:58 pm by Charlie Imms in General Birding

Broadsands and Goodrington

No sign of the Velvet Scoters at Broadsands this afternoon or anything else much on the sea there apart from an adult Med Gull offshore. The 2 Eiders were still at Goodrington.

Posted January 14th, 2017 at 6:47 pm by Jason Smart in General Birding

Around the Exe

River Teign above Shaldon bridge 40+ Oyster Catcher

Cockwood overlooking the Exe 2 Slavonian Grebe, 2 Little Grebe, 2 Goldeneye duck, Shag, Little Egret, 2 Red Breasted Merganser, numerous Shell duck and Brent Geese, a single Greenshank, Common Gulls, reasonable numbers of Redshank, Curlew, Oyster Catcher, flocks of Dunlin moving up and down the mud flats.

A good walk around the Eastdon area failed to locate the Waxwings reported in the week despite a good crop of berries at the location.

River Exe above Powderham ~ gale force cold winds (no wonder sheltered Cockwood had such an abundance of birds) large flock of Brent Geese, 12 Red Breasted Merganser, Curlew, Oyster Catcher, 50+ Dunlin, Godwits, 20+ Grey Plover and a single Sanderling.

Buckfastleigh WTW ~ Goldcrest, 3 Siberian Chiffchaff, Meadow Pipit , numerous  Pied Wagtail, 3 Black Headed Gull and one Wren.


Posted January 14th, 2017 at 5:20 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Slapton this morning

I had a look for the scaup between 0900 and 1000 this morning. No sign of the Greater Scaup but what looked like a pretty good candidate for a Lesser Scaup was still there but way too distant for me to get a look at it's bill. Most of the waterfowl seem to have worked out exactly where they should be to have the smallest chance of being properly grilled by birders.............

Posted January 14th, 2017 at 4:59 pm by Simon Tonge in General Birding

East Soar-Soar Mill Valley-Southdown Farm

First spring migrant, pristine male White Wagtail inSoar Mill Cove with 2 Pied Wagtail, 3 Black Redstart & 6 Rock Pipit. Offshore 35 Gannet & one Fulmar. Also: 3 Lapwing, 2 Snipe, 307 Skylark, 140 Linnet & 20 Cirl Bunting.

Posted January 14th, 2017 at 3:56 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Cattle Egrets

2 Cattle Egrets still at Hillhead Farm, Brixham in sheep field viewable from near roundabout.  The Cattle Egret also still  just south of Waddeton on the Galmpton Road showing very well with cows by road- also 1 Little Egret there earlier 

Posted January 14th, 2017 at 12:23 pm by Mark Bailey in General Birding

Friday 13th January 2017

Cockwood, Friday 13 January

Two Slavonian Grebes and 2 male Red Breasted Merganser fishing.

Slavonian Grebe Slavonian Grebe Red-breasted Merganser
Slavonian Grebe                                 Slavonian Grebe                       Red-breasted Merganser

Posted January 13th, 2017 at 10:20 pm by Bob Telford in General Birding

Exminster Marshes, Friday 13 January

A Marsh Harrier harassing the the Teal in the gale. Also a flock of c450 Golden Plover. 

Golden Plover Marsh Harrier and Teal Marsh Harrier
Golden Plover                     Marsh Harrier and Teal                     Marsh Harrier

Posted January 13th, 2017 at 10:17 pm by Bob Telford in General Birding

Tamar Est. from Warleigh Point LNR

1015 -1215

In blustery conditions:  

c150 Dunlin, c30 Black Tailed Godwit, 1 Great Crested Grebe, were the pick in amongst the more common species.

In the woodland:

1 Firecrest (poss 2) in with a roaming flock of Long tailed Tits and Goldcrests

c10 Redwing, 1 Marsh Tit.

Posted January 13th, 2017 at 7:14 pm by Charlie Imms in General Birding

Topsham Recreation Ground

Yellow-browed Warbler, Red-breasted Mergansers, male and female, Goldeneye all showing well

Yellow-browed Warbler Red-breasted Merganser Long-tailed Duck
Yellow-browed Warbler                Red-breasted Merganser                          Long-tailed Duck

Posted January 13th, 2017 at 5:12 pm by Colin Scott in General Birding

Northam Burrows 12th Jan

Visited about 14.30, low tide, very strong gale and rain. Unique distribution of birds, in good numbers, given the lack of dogwalkers but awful conditions. Gulls and Lapwings in particular were unusually close to the tarmac driveway allowing close views from car. On the grassy area NW of the Skern were most of the Oystercatcher, Lapwing, Curlew and Dunlin. Also Starlings, Skylark and Meadow Pipit taking cover wherever possible. Another tight Oystercatcher flock on the rocky headland. Golden Plover flocks were broken up into tens rather than hundreds, scattered around site. Out on intertidal a very nice Wigeon flock and separately a good Shelduck flock (metal ring on one of these but no colour rings). Everything a lot less willing to fly, some nut with a dog off lead went right by the Wigeon flock but only a couple bothered to fly off. On the river mouth a flock of at least 7 Eider but wind and rain had basically written off my binoculars for the day by then. No sign of Snow Buntings in usual place.

Posted January 13th, 2017 at 3:16 pm by Lowell Mills in General Birding

Thursday 12th January 2017

Cattle egret Hillhead Brixham

1 cattle egret still feeding beneath the wind turbine at 4.00 today.

Posted January 12th, 2017 at 7:00 pm by Jeff Hacon in General Birding

South Huish Marsh

11.30am. A flock of 42 Snipe, out in the open, feeding presumably on the worms being brought to the surface in this cold, wet and windy weather. Only other waders, 2 black tailed godwit, 1 dunlin and 6 oystercatchers.

Posted January 12th, 2017 at 1:42 pm by David Pakes in General Birding

Wednesday 11th January 2017

Eiders Ducks Goodrington

2 eider ducks 1 male and I female close to shore off Goodrington at 2.45

Posted January 11th, 2017 at 4:23 pm by Jeff Hacon in General Birding

Buckfastleigh and around the Exe

Buckfastleigh WTW ~ Goldcrest, Siberian Chiffchaff , Meadow Pipit , numerous  Pied Wagtail and one Grey, Black Headed Gull and one Wren.

Matford the American Wigeon found in the Wigeon flock.

Topsham Rec Yellow Browed Warbler showing as previous reports along with large numbers of Goldfinch, two Mistle Thrush and a few Redwings.


On the river four Golden Eye, one drake and three duck, nine Red Breasted Mergansers, double figures of Common Gull, two Greylag geese, Godwits, Redshanks, Dunlin all in all very productive an busy with a variety of bird life.

Bowling Marsh Green just on tick over but worth the visit, two Snipe tucked away in long cover.

From the viewing platform 24 Curlew and two Golden Plover everything else generally very distant.

The Goat Walk provided an avian spectacle with a large flock of Avocet possibly as many as 300 plus birds talking repeatedly to the air along with a large number of Black Tailed Godwits and a smaller number of Bar Tailed and flocks of Dunlin, 45 Curlew, a small number of Grey Plover, looking across towards Exminster marsh huge flocks of Lapwing and Starlings lifting and circling around in clouds.


Posted January 11th, 2017 at 2:34 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Tuesday 10th January 2017

Going, Going, Gone?

Lunchtime visit to Topsham Rec, much more interesting than the Yellow-browed Warbler in the play park, was this Cormorant who bit off more than he could swallow with this enormous flounder.  Despite getting very close it proved just too much to swallow.  I saw exactly the same thing just up river a few years back, but with a Kingfisher and a Flounder just over an inch wide!

Caught Landed Just too much......

Posted January 10th, 2017 at 10:14 pm by Chris Marcol in General Birding

Ilfracombe Pier

This afternoon on Ilfracombe Pier a Northern Herring Gull, darker plumage with a heavily streaked head.  On the 'supermarket' roof unusual to see a single Kittiwake with 6 Common Gulls among 100 Herring gulls.  Also recently @ Morte Point 12+ GND.

Posted January 10th, 2017 at 5:31 pm by Martin Thorne in General Birding

Firecrests in Exmouth

There are still two Firecrests behind the Exmouth Cricket Pavilion feeding in the trees and scrub, great views late this afternoon. Best location to view them is from the top footpath. Both calling so fairly easy to find. Photos a bit grainy due to poor light.

One of two Firecrests. very mobile. always nice to see Firecrests
One of two Firecrests, very mobile, always nice to see Firecrests

Posted January 10th, 2017 at 5:20 pm by Derek Carter in General Birding


A dull day in the garden brightened by this little visitor.

Posted January 10th, 2017 at 4:23 pm by Margaret Phillips in General Birding

Hexworthy, Dartmoor

Two Hen Harriers (adult male + ringtail) flew south near Forest Inn at 8.45 this morning.

Posted January 10th, 2017 at 3:50 pm by John Waldon in General Birding

Dartbridge to Staverton

Dartbridge ~ Kingfisher

Buckfastleigh WTW ~ 5+ Goldcrest, 3 Chiffchaff , 1 Meadow Pipit , 5+ Pied Wagtail, 2 Black Headed Gull and 2 Song Thrush.


Staverton WTW ~ Peregrine overhead, 4 Long Tailed Tit, 2 Goldcrest, 2 Chiffchaff, 3 Pied Wagail.

Broadhempston ~ 2 Mute Swan, 2 Canadian Geese, 2 Moorhen, 12 Mallard on a private pond.


Staverton Bridge ~ 3+ Nuthatch, Siskin flock feeding on alders, 3+ Goldcrest, 3 Long Tailed Tit, 5 Goosander

(2M -3F) Treecreeper, Dipper, Buzzard and Little Grebe.

Posted January 10th, 2017 at 2:28 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Exminster Marshes

The Marsh Harrier was perched up in the middle of the marsh again this lunchtime. Still there at 1.40 at least.

Posted January 10th, 2017 at 2:19 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding

Central Park

6 Ring Necked Parakeets inc a blue one at 930am in Central Park, Plymouth

Posted January 10th, 2017 at 9:58 am by Mark Bailey in General Birding

Monday 9th January 2017


Apologies for late post but over the weekend....

7th Jan: the 2 Cattle Egrets still in Saltram with the cows; also 11 Little Egrets and 93 Dunlins on Blaxton Pool. But no sign of the Plymstock Waxwing mid morning nor early afternoon.

8th Jan: Yellow-browed Warbler still in Beaumont Park, also 2+ Goldcrests and Nuthatch. But again no sign of the Waxwing early morning nor early afternoon.

Posted January 9th, 2017 at 7:48 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Slapton Ley

Highlight was a Bittern seen briefly in the Higher Ley from the bridge at 09:35. Still plenty of waterfowl around, eg 27 Wigeons, 132 Gadwalls, 8 Shovelers , 210 Tufted Ducks, 8 Pochards, 7 Goldeneyes and 12 Little Grebes. Had a good look from the Stokeley hide for last weeks possible Lesser Scaup but could only find a distant adult male Scaup. Good numbers of gulls as well, 500+ Black-headed Gulls in Ireland Bay included at least 4 Mediterranean Gulls. The sea was fairly quiet except for a couple Great Northern Divers just off the memorial car park.

Posted January 9th, 2017 at 2:26 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Gannets, gannets, gannets!

A quiet early morning at Broadsands but a small flock of gannets diving on the anchovy shoals out in the bay were kept busy. The predators beneath were busy too, I could see the splashes of them attacking. quite clearly.

P.L. Fairclough

Posted January 9th, 2017 at 12:36 pm by Philip L. Fairclough in General Birding

Sunday 8th January 2017

Skern Today

Good numbers of Golden & Grey Plover, Oyster Catchers, Dunlin, Lapwing,  Curlew, Redshank & ShelDuck , reduced numbers of Wigeon & Brent Geese,  also saw 1 Kingfisher&  a few Pintail & Teal plus a few Cormorant  & a Little Egret.

Posted January 8th, 2017 at 9:32 pm by Debbie Luckson in General Birding

Saltram Egrets

First chance, after returning from annual Scottish holiday, to look for the two Cattle Egrets at Saltram Park. They were present, but distant, with five Little Egrets and this Mediterranean Gull with lots of Black-heads beside the cows.

Cattle Egret

Med Gull ad.wpl
Cattle egret                                      Med Gull ad.wpl

Posted January 8th, 2017 at 9:12 pm by Chris Marcol in General Birding

Bowcombe Creek, Kingsbridge River

Nine Red Breasted Merganser (5m 4f) feeding just above New Bridge at 15.30 this afternoon.

Posted January 8th, 2017 at 8:42 pm by Joe Higman in General Birding

Otterton STW / Chiselbury Bay

Early afternoon:

250+ Common Scoter
2 LT Duck
1 GN Diver
25+ Common Dolphin offshore

Posted January 8th, 2017 at 8:20 pm by Chris Townend in General Birding

Burrator Reservoir

Very low water levels today, more like September after a hot summer.

On the water - a male goosander, 4 male tufted duck, 3 male and 2 female teal, 4 cormorants (2 juvs and 2 adults, 1 in full summer plumage with white speckled head and white thigh patch), a muscovy duck, a little grebe, mallards and 3 white farmyard geese with a few black headed gulls.

In the woodland a very pale buzzard, a marsh tit (with mixed tit flock in trees at northern car park), 2 nuthatches and a few siskins

Posted January 8th, 2017 at 7:59 pm by Stuart Green in General Birding

Bassett's Ridge + Horsey Island

Flock of approx 2500 Golden Plover on & above Bassett's Ridge on the Taw Estuary this morning. During the aft this flock which had been moved on by the incoming tide was seen by another observer resting on Horsey Island.

Posted January 8th, 2017 at 6:28 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Torbay boat trip

Some pictures from this mornings excellent trip around Torbay

One of the two groups of Velvet Scooters, 8 in this group Guillemots
One of the two groups of Velvet Scooters, 8 in this group                     Guillemots

Posted January 8th, 2017 at 5:15 pm by Simon Thurgood in General Birding


The long tailed duck and goldeneye(s?) are still off Topsham rec - visible from the boat slipways at the north end towards the motorway bridge. I had a water rail fly past too! At Goosemoor the spotted redshank was very close to the viewing screen with redshanks and greenshank for comparison :)

Posted January 8th, 2017 at 5:03 pm by Helen Whitall in General Birding

Broadsands, c.10:00 - 13:30

8 Velvet Scoter (only 7 initially but 8 by 11:00); 1 B-n Grebe (c. 10:55); 33 " scopeable" Razorbill; 1 Shelduck (circling over Broadsands, c.10:00); 1 Med Gull [2nd w, green ring on left tarsal, RNL4] (on roost, c. !0:00).

6-8 Cirl Bunting (1f + 1-2 heard, seafront, 3m, 2f on seed); 1 Reed Bunting + Chaffinches & Greenfinches (on seed).

1 Sib Chiffchaff (Alders between car parks, c.13:00); 2 Chiffchaff (collybita).

Posted January 8th, 2017 at 4:28 pm by David Holloway in General Birding

Bird ringing

Sometimes it is worth opening the nets before it gets light. Today was one of those days!

Posted January 8th, 2017 at 4:18 pm by jon turner in General Birding

Exminster Marshes & Exe Estuary

Much bird activity on the marshes: Peregrine Falcon, Buzzard, Pied Wagtails, Grey Heron, Lapwings, Wigeon, Canada Geese, Greylag, Long Tailed Tits, Starlings, Curlew, Black Tailed Godwits, Shoveller, Song Thrush, Goldfinch & Bullfinch. On the estuary plenty of Avocet, Bar Tailed Godwits, Shelduck, Lapwings, Sanderlings, Redshank & Mallard.

Posted January 8th, 2017 at 3:38 pm by Stephen Huggins in General Birding


Long-tailed Duck still present along with 4 Goosander (1 Male, 3 female). Also other birds of note include 100+ Dunlin and large flocks of Lapwing.

Posted January 8th, 2017 at 3:17 pm by Benjamin Rousseau in General Birding

Torbay Boat trip

This mornings boat trip was a very good .  The bay has large shoals of anchovies hence large numbers of birds feeding. Berry Head colony had 900+ Guillemots on the cliffs. Traveling back into Torbay 50+ Razorbill, 50+ Gannet , Kittiwake, Common Gull 2, Great Black-backed Gull and 1 Harbour Porpoise. Once in the Bay birds ranged from 1 Common Scoter , 8 Velvet Scoter, 3 Velvet Scoter (separate birds from the 8), 1 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Eider, 28 Fulmar, 2 Purple Sandpiper and 1 Black Redstart on Brixham fish quay railings just before we started the trip. 2 grey seals in Brixham harbor.

Next trips are every Sunday in February starting on the 5th. if interested call 07866202576. 

Posted January 8th, 2017 at 3:02 pm by Nigel Smallbones in General Birding


2 Cattle egret still around, showing well, with feeding cattle at 1230. Seen together with 4 Little egret, in the field at the top of the steps.

Posted January 8th, 2017 at 2:45 pm by Alan Livsey in General Birding

Leucistic Robin

Seen in a private garden in the Teign Valley.

Posted January 8th, 2017 at 1:15 pm by Samuel Gray in General Birding

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