Devon Bird Sightings from 8th–14th October 2017

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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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 October 2017

Berry Head

While leading a birding day for TCCT during a short seawatch late morning and then lunchtime watch clocked up 2 Great and 3 Arctic Skuas

Posted October 14th, 2017 at 6:19 pm by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Dawlish Warren - 14/10/17

12.00... 113 brents, 3 sandwich tern, 7 stonechat, drake common scoter (close in), (common seal)

Posted October 14th, 2017 at 3:58 pm by nick patel in General Birding

Berry Head

Very quiet sea watching (winds dropped), the only "action" being: 1 Manxie (08:30); 1 Bonxie ((08:35); 1 adult Med Gull (0850); 1 Balearic Shearwater (10:00), all > S, + 24 Common Scoter landed off Torbay (09:15); a Hirundine flock, c.20 > W, mainly Swallow, some House Martin. A Firecrest in the woods brightened up a dull day.

Posted October 14th, 2017 at 3:19 pm by Dave Holloway in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Start Point

Vis mig from 07:15-09:00 included Woodlark, 170 Meadow Pipits, 38 alba Wagtails, 136 Swallows, 7 House Martins, 19 Chaffinches, 710 Linnets, 640 Goldfinches, 43 Siskins, Lesser Redpoll and 3 Reed Buntings. Nothing around the farm except a couple Goldcrests.

Posted October 14th, 2017 at 12:49 pm by Perry Sanders in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Friday 13th October 2017

Ford Park Cemetery

2 Firecrests this afternoon and also - in Central Park - 5 Goldcrests and a Chiffchaff.

Posted October 13th, 2017 at 6:27 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Start Point / Hallsands

Windy and foggy at Start but sheltered and clear down at the light where there were 21 Blackcaps, 6 Goldcrests  and a Wheatear. Also a Usain Bolt type Sooty Shearwater south which made it from Berry Head in a record breaking 25 mins ( thanks for the call Mike ).Had a walk around Hallsands seeing Kingfisher, 2 Grey Wagtails, 4 Chiffchaffs and a handful of Swallows.

Posted October 13th, 2017 at 3:01 pm by Perry Sanders in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Berry Head

A bit too windy for migrants on top of head, so concentrated on a short seawatch 0800-0930hrs: 1 Sooty Shearwater 3 Balearic Shearwater, (0900) 9 Great Skua,6 Arctic Skua. Only passerines of note were a Yellow Wagtail and Siskin over, 

Posted October 13th, 2017 at 11:07 am by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Thursday 12th October 2017

exminster marshes - 12/10/17

16.00pm from turf path.... fem merlin, juv marsh harrier, peregrine, 2 stonechat, 2 raven, 6 siskin (over)

Posted October 12th, 2017 at 9:39 pm by nick patel in General Birding


 Leeden Tor. 100 + Golden Plover, Snipe also Skylark.

Posted October 12th, 2017 at 6:30 pm by Mave Goddard in General Birding


Migrants in short supply, but - Lesser Whitethroat, Ring Ouzel, 4+ Siskins, 13 Goldcrests & 8 Swallows.

Posted October 12th, 2017 at 6:05 pm by Pete Aley in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


I was in the reserve when the shooting started. Unfortunately for them, the Canada Geese started flying out of the Great Field and over the Marshes, reserve and Wrafton Pond. I couldn't see but the shooting certainly reached a frenzy as they went over Sherpa.

Did see Peregrine and later this afternoon a Sparrowhawk over the reserve. 3 Ravens were around this morning too.

Posted October 12th, 2017 at 5:39 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Sherpa / Wrafton scrape

12 Ruff present this morning with the Black tailed Godwits until the shooters turned up blasting there way through Sherpa Marshes disturbing everything including the non target species. People walking down the trail thought World War 3 had started!

Posted October 12th, 2017 at 4:35 pm by Rob Jutsum in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Seaton Wetlands Thursday 12th

Four ruff at Colyton Common.  Also heard but not seen - two cettis warblers - two water rail.

Posted October 12th, 2017 at 3:51 pm by Patrick Case in General Birding

Southdown Farm & Soar Mill Valley

Amazingly quiet in these warm conditions. Highlights just 2 Sparrowhawk, 2 Peregrine, Great Spotted Woodpecker moving west, Skylark 150 - most grounded but some moving west, 70 Meadow Pipit, Swallow, 14 White Wagtail, 2 Goldcrest & 85 Linnet.

Posted October 12th, 2017 at 3:12 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh 11th Oct

Early morning yesterday on rising tide. On Clyst, Bar-tailed Godwit 5, Grey Plover 3, Knot 1, Redshank 160. On Bowling Green Teal 480, Wigeon 105, Pintail 80 & Shoveler 15. Also 2 Ruff with in coming Blackwits. Finally on Goosemoor 31 Greenshank, 25 Dunlin & juv Curlew Sandpiper. A few Chiffchaff & Goldcrest around marsh and 70+ Goldfinch.

Posted October 12th, 2017 at 7:22 am by Steve Cox in General Birding

Wednesday 11th October 2017

Sherpa / Wrafton scrape

The 17 Ruff (9m + 8fm) were present again this morning searching for food amongst 148 Black tailed Godwits. Also 37 Teal & 1 Cettis calling from the scrub by the side of the trail. So far have not been able to get all 17 Ruff together posing for a photo but will keep trying when time allows!


Posted October 11th, 2017 at 12:33 pm by Rob Jutsum in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Tuesday 10th October 2017


1over main road between winkleigh and Beaford north Devon close to Stafford moor fishing lake junction at 17:30

Posted October 10th, 2017 at 9:50 pm by Robert Marshall in General Birding

Crossbills Near Kennick Reservoir

Large numbers of crossbills in pine woods near Kennick Reservoir.

Posted October 10th, 2017 at 8:25 pm by Samuel Gray in General Birding

Plym Estuary

in addition to Pete's sightings 2 Jay 141 Redshank 1 Grey Wagtail 11 Heron 2 Med Gulls 1 Kingfisher

Posted October 10th, 2017 at 7:09 pm by Roger Backway in General Birding

Sherpa / Wrafton scrape

Called in at the scrape on my way down to R.Caen & Horsey Island around 16.10 > 16.30

As soon as I arrived I noticed a flock of 17 Ruff on the edge of the scrape.

By the time I got the camera mounted on the scope they had dispersed  around the edges of the scrape & promptly joined the Black tailed Godwits searching for food in the damp rough grass & rushes.

On the way back called in again hoping to obtain a few photos of the whole flock together but  they had gone!

Posted October 10th, 2017 at 6:04 pm by Rob Jutsum in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Shipley Bridge tot he Avon dam ~ South Brent

Afternoon walk from Shipley Bridge to the Avon dam early this afternoon once the worst of the misty wet weather had passed.

21 species identified ~ including Mistle Thrush, Buzzard 3, Kestrel, Dipper 2, Warbler sp, Mallard on the reservoir, Meadow Pipits 15+, Green Woodpecker 2, Stonechats, Goldcrest, Long Tailed Tit 10+.

High light was the briefest view of a Ring Ouzel.

Posted October 10th, 2017 at 4:41 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Glossy Ibis

Glossy Ibis spotted yesterday whilst driving down to Fremington Quay feeding near the bridge that you drive over in the river that joins the estuary.

Posted October 10th, 2017 at 4:33 pm by Simon in General Birding

Berry Head

Despite off-shore winds there was a sizeable collection of gulls and Gannets feeding about 1/2 mile out from headland, checking through them produced: 5 Arctic, 1 Pomarine and 4 Great Skuas but no sign of any Shrearwaters.around the headland 2 Firecrest, 19 Goldcrest, 6 Chiffchaff, 4 Blackcap and 1 Wheatear.

Posted October 10th, 2017 at 3:51 pm by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Two Green Woodpeckers, Stonechat, 2 Ring-necked Parakeets, Chiffchaff, Kingfisher, 27 Turnstones, 24+ Curlews, 2 Ringed Plovers, Little Grebe, Mandarin Duck and 3 Roe Deer.

Posted October 10th, 2017 at 3:42 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding


136 skittish Black-tailed Godwits and 4 Ruff out on the scrape this morning. And where exactly were all the Goldfinches (about 50) that I saw in the reserve this morning, when we were ringing there on Sunday?

As the sun peeped out one Red Admiral, 1 Peacock and 2 Speckled Wood butterflies on the wing.

Also of note and they've been out for a few days now: Primroses!

Posted October 10th, 2017 at 1:36 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Monday 9th October 2017

Bowling green marsh

Watched from 07:30 till 12:30

Firecrest still with goldcrests and let nag tailed tit group on the hill going down to the hide 

At the hide 111+ pintail , 800+ teal, 600+ wigeon, 1 peregrine,  3 ruff , waders were starting to build up when just after 08:30 the waders and ducks all went up just as the demolition of a house behind the marsh started soon the marsh was empty , the demolition machinery had caused panic among the birds apparently the new build will be over the next 18 months so lots of disturbance expected unless something can be done to stop the disturbance over the high tides.

around the viewing platform 1 kingfisher, 1 Cetti's warbler showed well , 8+ goldcrests, 3 chiffchaffs, 1 blackcap 


Posted October 9th, 2017 at 8:58 pm by Keith Birchall in General Birding

Ivybridge 2 Moors Way gate to Piles Copse

Walked along field wall boundary to Piles Copse. 4 Fieldfare; 3 with a few Redwings, another Fieldfare nearer the Copse. Several Mistle Thrush.  A Green Woodpecker with 20+ Chaffinch. 1 Grey Wagtail at a brook, Linnets and Stonechats in fields. Near the Copse a Wheatear with Meadow Pipits. At the Copse a Dipper and a few Tits but quiet except for Ravens and a Buzzard above the Copse.

Posted October 9th, 2017 at 7:28 pm by richard teague in General Birding

Dawlish Warren

12 members of DB (East Devon Branch) attended the fieldtrip led by Colin Randall.  40 + species were counted during the morning with a high tide turning as we reached the hide.  Earlier a Sparrow Hawk was chased over the car park by a number of small birds, a pair of Bullfinch and a Gt-s-Woodpecker found in the entrance trees.  Several Stonechat were present along the dunes and a Blackcap and Whitethroat seen by some. A flock of c100 Goldfinch were feeding in low vegetation and a single Wheatear seen on the golf course. 234 Brent Geese were counted on The Bight with both Light and Dark Bellied together.  18 Grey Plover were resting on the island plus a few Wigeon, a number of Oystercatcher, 2 Dunlin and a Snipe. (Did someone say a Knot was also present briefly?).  At a distance 2 Sandwich Tern were seen on the estuary, 6 Turnstone were resting on a boat, the Slavonian Grebe was off Cockwood together with high numbers of Wigeon and Curlew below the railway line and numbers of Great Black-backed Gulls and more Oystercatcher at the far side of The Bight.

Posted October 9th, 2017 at 4:14 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding

East Soar

Not much going on this morning - Red-legged Partridge, 60 Skylark, 2 Swallow, 14 Meadow Pipit, 29 Robin, Wheatear, 6 Song Thrush, Blackcap, 7 Chiffchaff, 12 Goldcrest, 3 Long-tailed Tit, 52 Goldfinch & 22 Yellowhammer. No sign of any easterlies!

Posted October 9th, 2017 at 3:56 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Start Point etc

Vis mig from 07:05-08:15........60 Meadow Pipits, 24 Alba Wagtails, 31 Swallows, 4 Starlings ( first of autumn ), 220 Goldfinches, 340 Linnets, 12 Chaffinches, 6 Lesser Redpolls ( first vm birds of autumn ) and a Bullfinch ( first of autumn ). Elsewhere 20 Goldcrests, 5 Chiffchaffs ( a single bird the only migrant at the light ), 2 Blackcaps and 2 House Martins. First Merlin of the autumn flew past the lighthouse. No sign of yesterdays Yellow-browed Warbler in the farm.

Down at Beesands Ley a good count of 70 Swallows in one flock heading north, wrong way guys ! On the ley 48+ Mute Swans, 65 Gadwalls ( including a mating pair , he looked more interested than she ), Shoveler, 3 Tufted Ducks and a couple of Water Rails calling. Had a quick look at Start Bay from the Memorial Car Park along Torcross Line and there is still a flock of 21 Common Scoters offshore.

Posted October 9th, 2017 at 3:37 pm by Perry Sanders in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

More Skern/ring-reading

Richard's Curlew is one from the mid-Wales Ringing Group project, I am glad someone's nailed this individual as I see multiple birds from this project at the Skern but only ever get a successful read of one of them (different 2 letter code).

Anyone who sees a Curlew (or Whimbrel) marked in the way depicted, email sightings/photos to Tony Cross at avcross[at]

Mike your Curlew sounds interesting if it is indeed entirely different to Richard's. Ring reading at Skern is most rewarding at high tide viewing from the car, best of luck!

Posted October 9th, 2017 at 12:00 pm by Lowell Mills in General Birding


In response to Mike Luckson's Sunday post.. I took these photos on the 5/10/2017 at Skern.

Curlew Curlew
Curlew                                                                  Curlew

Posted October 9th, 2017 at 10:14 am by richard yeats in General Birding


Dropped the first seed of the autumn for the Cirl Buntings followed by a scan of the sea: 1 Great Crested Grebe only bird of note and then the marsh: 2 Firecrest, 3 Goldcrest and 2 Chiffchaff.

Firecrest Broadsands 09 Oct 2017 ML  firecrest Broadsands 09 Oct 2017 ML

Photos of one of the Firecrests

Posted October 9th, 2017 at 9:17 am by Mike Langman in General Birding


Ring-Necked Parakeet in Maer Valley of unknown origin. Visible on top of dead tree from the first gate up from lifeboat station end of Maer Lane. Please respect parking and residents

Posted October 9th, 2017 at 8:14 am by Spencer Dicks in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Sunday 8th October 2017

Skern 7/10/17

Spent 1hr at Skern on a very low spring tide, spotted a ringed Curlew, a very long way off, looks to have a red over blue maybe pale green ring, has anyone any idea on where it may have been ringed

Posted October 8th, 2017 at 8:23 pm by Mike Luckson in General Birding


Ringing in the reserve this morning we were able to keep an eye on the movement of Black-tailed Godwits on the scrape. About 136 with at least 3 Ruff and a Little Egret.

Ringing was rewarding too: 1 each of Cetti's Warbler, Wood Pigeon, Song Thrush, Kingfisher, Grey Wagtail, Coal Tit, Goldfinch, 2 each of Wren,  Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Dunnock, 3 Goldcrests and Great-spotted Woodpeckers, 5 Blackbirds, 8 Long-tailed Tits and 10 Blue Tits. 26 retraps too including another Woodpecker.

Posted October 8th, 2017 at 6:28 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Plym estuary / Saltram

1015 - 1245  On the falling tide: 

10 Little grebe, 5 Grey heron, c130 Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 3 Common sandpiper, 3 Little grebe, 20 Curlew, 1 Red crested pochard (female) probably the one from Weighbridge Cottage.

Posted October 8th, 2017 at 3:00 pm by Alan Livsey in General Birding

East and Middle Soar

am. Quiet overall. Highlights: 2 Ring Ouzels (1female and1 juv), 1 Woodlark (heard overhead), 1 Whinchat, 1 Wheatear, several Chiffchaffs and Goldcrests, dozens of Swallows, a few House Martins and ca10 Siskins (overhead).

Posted October 8th, 2017 at 2:15 pm by Andy Smith in General Birding

Skern (ring reading)

After high tide, British-ringed Black-headed Gull (yellow ring with black code starting '2') and Dutch-ringed Oystercatcher (green ring above knee, coded colour ring on each tarsus!) successfully read today and details sent off. 15 Brent Geese and as below a good mix of ages of Med Gull the other highlights. 

Posted October 8th, 2017 at 1:52 pm by Lowell Mills in General Birding


Late post from yesterday at least 45 med gulls amongst a large flock of bhg"s{750+},31 ad,4 2w,10 fw.18.30.On this mornings tide a mass feeding over fish in estuary.Only a very small fraction came to roost which included 30 meds,17 ad,3 2w,10 fw.08:15-09:20.Several thousand gulls followed fish out with the tide so likely to have been more meds.

Posted October 8th, 2017 at 1:31 pm by Robert Marshall in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Start Point

Vis mig 07:00-08:20 quiet, 3 Skylarks Grey Wagtail, 7 Alba Wagtails, 10 Swallows, 11 Meadow Pipits, Chaffinch, 40 Linnets, 80 Goldfinches and 10 Siskin. Around the farm an elusive Yellow-browed Warbler just heard calling, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Wheatears, 5 Chiffchaffs, 5 Goldcrests, Treecreeper ( not sure I have actually seen one here before ), Coal Tit ( British ) and 2 Lesser Redpolls flew over.

Frustratingly a brief glimpse of a pale dragonfly in the fenced off set aside area up the road from the farm. Wondered about Vagrant Emperor and I see there is one at Dawlish this morning. Waited for 30 minutes but not seen again. I am not great with Dragonflies so may easily have been fooled by something commoner and in all honesty may have forgotten about it if not for the Dawlish sighting.

Posted October 8th, 2017 at 1:14 pm by Perry Sanders in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Berry Head

Fine, still, clear and sunny morning around Headland: 1 Firecrest in Quarry, 12 Goldcrest, 17 Chiffchaffs, 14 Blackcap, 1 Coal Tit, 4 Stonechat, 18 Blackbirds. First returning Guillemots (just 4) back on cliff face this morning

Overhead: 31 Meadow Pipits, 22 'alba' Wagtails, 57 Skylark, 13 Siskin, 4 Song Thrush, 55 Goldfinch, 15 Chaffinch, 10 Linnet,4 Swallow. 

Posted October 8th, 2017 at 11:32 am by Mike Langman in General Birding


Further to Lowell Mills observation on Ruff there have been up to 17 at this spot since 1st  October. This is an unusual place to see Ruff and this is the first time I have seen them here in the 11 years I have lived in Instow.

Posted October 8th, 2017 at 10:03 am by Mike Glover in General Birding

Dawlish Warren Country Park

October 8th. 1 Firecrest - corner of Little Commons Field  (hedgrow near the wind turbine). Also 2 Goldcrest, 4 Skylarks over, Cirl Bunting and the regular flock of around 200 Linnets.

Posted October 8th, 2017 at 8:43 am by Peter Leigh in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

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