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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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

Thursday 30th November 2017

Woodbury Castle

Had a lunchtime visit but explored the area west of the Castle (opposite side of the road) and down in the valley (on one of the rather muddy tracks) I was treated to a massive finch feeding session. Rough estimate was 150 Chaffinch and 60 Brambling. Possibly had a fleeting view of a Hawfinch but it was too quick to get a definite ID and with all the other Finches I couldn’t single out a call.

Posted November 30th, 2017 at 11:08 pm by Spencer Dicks in General Birding


A very good day on Dartmoor, doing a field trip reconnaisance for the Exeter RSPB local group with Cilla Ingram. We must have seen literally hundreds of Fieldfare during the day.  One pair of fields near Runnage Farm, Postbridge was covered with both Fieldfares and Redwings.  Another highlight was a fair number of Brambling under some beech trees near the entrance track to Soussons Farm. Moving on to Bellever forest, we had excellent views of about a dozen Crossbills feeding near the top of a fir tree.  There were more Fieldfares at Dunnabridge pound, and a flock of 42 Golden Plover. Dartmeet gave us good sightings of Treecreeper, Nuthatch and Marsh Tit, with Grey Wagtail on the river - the latter also seen in several other places during the day. 

Posted November 30th, 2017 at 8:10 pm by Richard Swinbank in General Birding

South Milton Ley - Cattle Egret

1 Cattle Egret, together with 3 Little Egret, associating closely with cattle in field immediately to the left of the main ditch at the top end of South Milton Ley. Viewed from the path leading down by the STW.

Posted November 30th, 2017 at 4:58 pm by David Pakes in General Birding

Harleston & Soar

Mistle Thrush singing in Harleston hamlet this morning.

Now some good news!! 2017 breeding figures for Bolt Head to Bolt Tail inc.record number of breeding territories for Cirl Bunting (46), Yellowhammer (52), Stonechat (55), Skylark (219) & Whitethroat (191). Amazing what a warm spring can do for residents & trans-saharan migrants alike!

Posted November 30th, 2017 at 4:47 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding


Two firecrest in the garden again this morning. One goldcrest and a male blackcap also visited along with usual tits and finches. 

Posted November 30th, 2017 at 12:46 pm by Chris E in General Birding

Wednesday 29th November 2017

Bench Tor and Venford Reservoir

Late afternoon/dusk: 3 Woodcock and 10 Goosander.

Posted November 29th, 2017 at 9:09 pm by Andy Smith in General Birding

Ernesettle Creek

A sunny albeit a tad chilly walk along Ernesettle Creek an hour after high tide - 2:30pm. 6 swans, 2 shelducks, 8 greenshanks, numerous redshanks, 10 blackwits, 1 snipe, 30 Canada geese and a number of mallards. 

Posted November 29th, 2017 at 9:08 pm by Val Grehan in General Birding

Haldon Forest Ridge

Had half a day visit along the Haldon ridge today with Rupert Ormrod. Hoped to see an odd Hawfinch but  car spaces were hard to come by however the Brambling flocks were well worth seeing (but very skittish) 150+ feeding in mixed flocks under Beech trees from Belvedere to Ideford Common. Nice to see and worth noting a 40+ Reed Bunting flock on Ideford Common to end the day.

Female Brambling - one of many across the ridge Marsh Tit at the Belvedere one of 40+ Reed Bunting at Ideford Common
Female Brambling                             Marsh Tit at the Belvedere            Reed Bunting at Ideford Common

Posted November 29th, 2017 at 8:17 pm by Derek Carter in General Birding


A quick walk around Stover Lake this morning, 7 Goosander (3 Male and 4 Female,) 1 solitary Female Tuffted Duck, 2 Muscovy and a Great Crested Grebe.

Goosander          Goosander
Goosander                                                       Goosander

Posted November 29th, 2017 at 2:29 pm by Duncan Leitch in General Birding

Tuesday 28th November 2017

Fieldfare and Buzzard , Week, Dartington, 28 Nov 2017

Approx 50 Fieldfare in the orchard next door but no Redwing spotted. A Common Buzzard over the garden .

Fieldfare Fieldfare Common Buzzard
Fieldfare                                   Fieldfare                         Common Buzzard

Posted November 28th, 2017 at 11:06 pm by Bob Telford in General Birding

Interesting Herring Gull behaviour at RD&E today

YouTube link

An interesting diversion at my appointment today. Tap dancing for worms.

Posted November 28th, 2017 at 8:14 pm by Ian Muir in General Birding

Clennon Valley, Paignton, 11am-3pm

2 firecrests, goldcrests, bullfinch (F) and a siberian chiffchaff down by the golf driving range around midday. 7 snipe, 5 teal and 2 dabchick on the lower pond, 2 gadwall on the middle pond, and a little egret on the top pond. 5+ collybita chiffchaffs around the ponds, also water rail heard.

Firecrest Firecrest Four of the Snipe
Firecrest                                       Firecrest                                          Four of the Snipe

Posted November 28th, 2017 at 5:39 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

Clennon Valley

Just as an addendum to Mike L's earlier post: 4 Firecrest (2 in the same area as Yellow-browed Warbler; 1 behind the driving range; 1 W end of lakes with the Siberian Chiffchaff).

Posted November 28th, 2017 at 5:00 pm by Dave Holloway in General Birding


Highlight in the reserve today was a Chiffchaff - the first since 3rd November. All four Moorhens present.  However it seems the juvenile Little Grebe has finally departed, perhaps the Sticklebacks hibernate? The large Godwit flock - 160ish, was joined by both Redshank and Greenshank on the scrape today.

Posted November 28th, 2017 at 4:59 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Woodbury Castle and East Devon

The large flock of Chaffinch and Brambling present this morning and preferring the inside of the west side of the iron age fort.  Several hundred in total (maybe even 400) and a good proportion are Brambling.  The new steps up to the enclosure are now open and the birds are best viewed from the top.  Difficult to count numbers as the birds are constantly moving from ground to trees.

I also tried Colaton Raleigh Common as far as the grenade range but little about worth noting other than a few Dartfords, Pipits and Stonechat with a Green Woodpecker heard.

Back home a Sparrow Hawk settled on my feeders... luckily no birds there at the time!

Posted November 28th, 2017 at 3:46 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding


Went to Cockwood for a change this lunchtime, From the steps, the resident Slavonian Grebe was fairly close in as well as a few Red-breasted Merganser.

I was amazed to see a Great Northern Diver in Cockwood Harbour though. It was just a few metres from the road at times (sadly no camera). After a few minutes at about 2 o'clock it swam out of the harbour back in to the river. Also in the harbour 1 Greenshank, Turnstones, Redshanks, Oystercatchers, a Curlew and a Black-tailed Godwit.

Posted November 28th, 2017 at 2:53 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding

Dawlish - 28th Nov 17

Walk from Dawlish down to the warren and back this AM... 

15 great crested grebe (on sea), male kestrel, 27 turnstone, 31 grey plover, 2 kittiwake, 5 gannet, 16 shag, ad bonapartes flew west, 5 red throated diver (close in bay), 2 razorbill, 250+ dark bellied brents, 17 pale bellied brents, 12 rock pipit, 3 (common) chiffchaff, 16 linnet

Posted November 28th, 2017 at 2:42 pm by Nick Patel in General Birding

Middle Soar to Southdown Farm

Highlight was a Firecrest in Soar Mill Valley. Also: 31 Golden Plover, 5 Snipe, 380 Skylark, 38 Meadow Pipit, Mistle Thrush, Bullfinch & 70 Linnet.

Posted November 28th, 2017 at 2:32 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Monday 27th November 2017


Still plenty of Tits and Finches in the reserve today despite the buffeting wind. A Treecreeper was also making it's way around. Out on the scrape still a big flock of Godwits joined today by a Redshank, which I'm sure I heard either yesterday or the day before. Stonechat nearby too. Everything is now drenched and waterlogged....

Posted November 27th, 2017 at 7:29 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Hope's Nose afternoon

1 razorbill off the end, gannets and a kittiwake off shore; also 3 oystercatchers on the rocks at the south tip. At the end of the afternoon 9 common scoters and a great northern diver were in the bay to the north. The seawatch point has now been cleared of rubbish and is fit for use again.

Posted November 27th, 2017 at 6:20 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

Woodbury Castle / Colaton Raleigh Common and Exmouth

Woodbury Castle produced a few Brambling. Not in the numbers Matt saw but it was late in the day. Almost dusk to dark visit to the common. Went to the last car park as if driving to half way house from Exmouth. Went hoping for Woodcock as they can be seen flying over the car park area but none around. However I was pleasantly surprised to see a Female Hen Harrier quartering the area just below the car park. Cracking views and the first one I have seen on the commons for quite a few years. Also 3 Tawny Owls (2 seen and another calling) near my house on Byron Way when I got home.

Posted November 27th, 2017 at 6:12 pm by Spencer Dicks in General Birding

Sunday 26th November 2017

Haldon Forest

No hawfiches found but great views of 12 crossbills in main car park. 

Posted November 26th, 2017 at 10:49 pm by Tim Frayling in General Birding


From the cycle track this morning, a Firecrest and Red Kite, with at least 2 Bramblings in a flock of Greenfinches and Chaffinches in sunflowers just south of Lympstone. Earlier, a pair of Peregrines hunting unsuccessfully at Mudbank Lane.

Posted November 26th, 2017 at 9:36 pm by Dave Smallshire in General Birding

Large Brambling Flock

An estimated 200+ Brambling in Woodbury Fort this afternoon, with similar numbers of Chaffinch. Very difficult to get a proper count so could be considerably more than this. Nearby the Long-tailed Duck still off Mudbank, Eider off Maer Rocks and 2 Great Northern Diver plus Slavonian Grebe off Shelly Beach.

Posted November 26th, 2017 at 3:57 pm by Matt Knott in General Birding

Hawfinches Longdown

89 counted lflying up the valley at Perridge forest this morning between 0715 and 0800.Numbers are still consideted to be approximately 150 .This will be my final count before returning to  Hungary. Hope to be back in January 2018 

Posted November 26th, 2017 at 10:48 am by Roy Adams Hungarian Bird Tours in General Birding


Plenty of activity this morning: House Sparrow, 5 Robins, Green Woodpecker (as usual in the orchard), 3 Bullfinches, 5 Jays, 11 Long-tailed Tits, 14 Blue Tits, 8 Blackbirds, 9 Great Tits, Buzzard, 5 Redwing, 5 Goldcrest, 3 Wrens, Treecreeper, Chaffinch & a Dunnock. And a Roebuck.

Posted November 26th, 2017 at 10:30 am by Stephen Huggins in General Birding

Saturday 25th November 2017


Good to see a Red-breasted Merganser female in Knowl Water, the stream that runs into the River Caen this morning. Watched it diving just upstream from the weir. 

Posted November 25th, 2017 at 8:14 pm by Kelvin Irwin in General Birding

Topsham Rec

Three Cattle egrets flew up river at dusk.

Posted November 25th, 2017 at 8:12 pm by Martin Elcoate in General Birding

Holdstone down

A 9 o clock start around today not very much really,  3 snipe in different places that scared the living daylights out of me as they took off nearly under foot. A very yellowish / green warbler darted out from the gorse before I could focus on it and 3 stonechat male andc2 female.. 

Posted November 25th, 2017 at 5:00 pm by Philip worth in General Birding

Dartmoor - Brambling

Very cold on the Moor this morning, but brambling showing in most of the chaffinch flocks when located feeding on beech mast! In total I must have seen at least 30 amongst several hundred chaffinch. One particular site at SX677772 gave good views of several. Difficult to photograph as they were very mobile and well camouflaged as they searched amongst the leaves. A good variety of thrush species with song, mistle, redwing and fieldfare evident. Pizwell Bridge produced all 4! 

Posted November 25th, 2017 at 4:00 pm by David Pakes in General Birding


Two firecrest in the garden this morning. 

Posted November 25th, 2017 at 9:14 am by Chris E in General Birding

Friday 24th November 2017


Two firecrest in the garden again this morning.

Posted November 24th, 2017 at 7:29 pm by Margaret Phillips in General Birding

Upper and Lower Tamar Lake

Upper Lake.
1 Willow Tit, 4 Grey Heron, 5 Cormorants, 2 Pied Wagtail, 93 Canada Geese, 5 Snipe, 1 Song Thrush, 8 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Wren.

Lower Lake.
11 Goosander,7m 4f, 9 Great Crested Grebe, 5 Tufted Duck, 43 Coot, 18 Moorhen, 21 Mallard, c50 Black-headed Gull 2 Long-tailed Tits, 1 Willow and 1 Marsh Tit.

Posted November 24th, 2017 at 5:41 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

Stover Country Park.

21 members of DB (East Devon Branch) attended this mornings walk around the lake and south towards the meadows behind Stover School.  The absence of water birds on the lake was very noticeable with only 1 Gt- crested Grebe, 2 Tufted Duck, 4 Cormorant, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gull and 2 Coot present. 3 Snipe were on the water fringes and a Kingfisher seen briefly.  The lack of birds may indicate that birds are not moving west because of the mild winter to date.

The bird feeders provided close up views of Marsh Tit, Bullfinch, Nuthatch etc that are found here routinely.  

The meadows were notable for 3 Mistle Thrush, 1 Stonechat, 20+ Redwing, 4 Meadow Pipit, 10+ Siskin, 1 Gt Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Song Thrush and others.  A total of 41 species was counted for the morning.

Posted November 24th, 2017 at 5:37 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding

24-11-17 Dartmoor

Both Male & Female Dartford Warbler showing well, mainly the female. Not many other birds were sighted, Goldfinches, Goldcrests

  Male & Female Dartford Warblers

Male & Female Dartford Warblers

Posted November 24th, 2017 at 5:05 pm by Greg Bradbury in General Birding

24-11-17 Ford Park Cemetery

Male & Female Black Redstarts were showing very well


Posted November 24th, 2017 at 4:57 pm by Greg Bradbury in General Birding

Ford Park Cemetery 24/11/2017

Black Redstart (m & f), Redwings, Meadow Pipits along with usual suspects

Posted November 24th, 2017 at 4:13 pm by Michael Spencer in General Birding

Suspect Snow Geese again

Sorry about yesterdays photos the wrong set was sent in error, here is a cropped set which I hope shows more detail. Any comments would be appreciated as I am undecided.


Eds: Indeed Snow Geese but presumed escapes they were at Maer Lakes from at least August! 

Posted November 24th, 2017 at 4:06 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

Firecrest in Plymouth

A male in the trees around Stoke Surgery on Devonport Road, Stoke again today. Has been around for two weeks.

Posted November 24th, 2017 at 2:14 pm by Howard Ackford in General Birding

Hawfinches Longdown

Count of Hawfinches this morning between 07.30 and 0830 reached a minumum of 109 birds.Many were missed as they were in mixed flocks of Brambling ,Redpoll l,Bullfinch.Siskin  and Redwing. 

Posted November 24th, 2017 at 9:30 am by Roy Adams Hungarian Bird Tours in General Birding

Thursday 23rd November 2017

Suspect Snow Geese

Here are some photos of the suspect Snow Geese seen on Lower Tamar  Lake  31/10/2017, these where shot a Maer Lake toady but they are the same geese, they seem have the correct plumage showing the black primaries. Are they Snow Geese? Sorry about the photos it was very windy and a long range.

Posted November 23rd, 2017 at 5:17 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

Haldon Foirest & Stover Country Park

At Haldon Forest the Hawfinches showing ok, but at the back of the trees, so the only shots I could get were in-between the branches. At Stover, the usual suspects, with one exception, by the feeders a Treecreeper showed itself very well.


Posted November 23rd, 2017 at 5:15 pm by Greg Bradbury in General Birding

Green Woodpeckers Higher Cemetery Exeter

One male, one female today, late evening.

Green Woodpecker Female     Green Woodpecker Male
Green Woodpecker Female                                      Green Woodpecker Male

Posted November 23rd, 2017 at 5:02 pm by Martin Rooney in General Birding

Fremington Pill

15.45 female Goosander swimming in stream with 6 mallard, close to Pill Cottage. 

Posted November 23rd, 2017 at 4:47 pm by Paul Bearman in General Birding

Hawfich ST thomas Church yard Cowick Street

At least 2 Hawfinch flew in with a small flock of Greenfinch into the high tree tops perching briefly before disappearing into the trees at 8:15am. also 16 redwing, 2 Mistle Thrush plus all the usual suspects.

Posted November 23rd, 2017 at 3:47 pm by Nik Ward in General Birding

Wednesday 22nd November 2017

Bowling Green Marsh

From the hide this lunchtime, 1 Ruff, 1 Kingfisher, female Pochard, 9+ Gadwall and 20 Greylag Geese.

Posted November 22nd, 2017 at 9:19 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding

Re:American Wigeon @ Matford Marsh 21/11/2017

These are images that never got uploaded from previous post.

Both images showing the same crown patch on both birds confirming returning bird from last winter.

1/W drake American Wigeon @ BGM 04/01/2017 2/W drake American Wigeon @ Matford  21/11/2017
1/W drake American Wigeon @ BGM 04/01/2017       2/W drake American Wigeon @ Matford 21/11/2017

Posted November 22nd, 2017 at 8:26 pm by David Boult in General Birding


Drake American Wigeon still present on pool today. 

Posted November 22nd, 2017 at 8:07 pm by Mark Bailey in General Birding

Re:American Wigeon @ Matford Marsh 21/11/2017

Further to Matt's observation post from yesterday's adult drake American Wigeon seen at Matford Marsh. They do look to be the same bird that moved between Matford, Exminster and BG Marshes from last winter returning and clearly shows signs of same crown patch he mentions and shown in the attached images extracted from the videos. Thanks and well spotted Matt.

Posted November 22nd, 2017 at 7:29 pm by David Boult in General Birding


First Brambling of the winter in garden today amongst a dozen Chaffinches, plus a partial albinism Blackbird. Not the best of pics taken through window!

Posted November 22nd, 2017 at 4:15 pm by A COLLINGE in General Birding

South Efford Marsh, Aveton Gifford - Spoonbill

With Rodney Bone at South Huish Marsh this morning pleased to finally catch up with the reported Spoonbill,( poor distant photos). Thanks to Eric Wotten for the heads up, following his sighting the previous day, when I was enjoying the hawfinch at Haldon - what a bill they have, some contrast from the spoHonbill! Only the 2nd record for Rod, who does the "webs" count for the area, since his first sighting several decades ago. Also present a cattle egret, with 10 little egret, a kingfisher,1 water pipit, 1 black tailed godwit, a few curlew, just 1 greenshank, 3 redshank and several teal, widgeon and mallard.

Spoonbill - South Efford Marsh - 22.11.17  Hawfinch - Haldon - 21.11.17
Spoonbill - South Efford Marsh - 22.11.17                        Hawfinch - Haldon - 21.11.17

Posted November 22nd, 2017 at 4:09 pm by David Pakes in General Birding


Morning cutting up trees, and trying to count mobile smallish Finch flocks. Good numbers of Gold and Chaffinch, fewer Greenfinch.  A small number of Redwings. Pick of the bunch were a Reed Bunting, and a Siskin. No repeat of the Kingfisher from yesterday.

Out on the scrape, 175 Godwits, Little Egret, Pied Wagtail (uncommon at this time of year) and the Green Sandpiper also reappeared.

Posted November 22nd, 2017 at 3:30 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Haldon Hawfinches

Photos relating to my text of yesterday showing hawfinches at Haldon Hill.


Posted November 22nd, 2017 at 12:00 pm by Bob Barrow in General Birding

Hawfinches Shute East Devon

10 Hawfinches this morning.One group of 3 flying west over Church and a further 7 feeding on yew/field maple in ancient orchard approx 200 metres on lane above the village Church.

Posted November 22nd, 2017 at 10:59 am by Roy Adams Hungarian Bird Tours in General Birding

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