General Birding

Missing Devon rarity records 2018

Unfortunately no descriptions have been submitted for the following records of ‘A’ species reported in 2018. This means, as things stand, they will not make the official record as part of the 2018 Devon Bird Report. It would be a great shame to lose these records.

If anyone saw these birds (you don’t have to be the finder) please can you submit a description and/or photos asap to Kev Rylands: Thank you.

Chough Northam 17-18 July  

Corn Bunting Beer Head 25 August

Cory’s Shearwater (2) Ilfracombe 28 July

Cory’s Shearwater Thurlestone 26 August

Glossy Ibis Exe Estuary 21-27 October

Golden Oriole Blaxton Meadow 18 April

Great Shearwater (2) Berry Head 20 September

Great White Egret (2) Bridge Marsh, Axe Estuary 13 January

Great White Egret Black Hole Marsh, Axe Estuary 22 August

Great White Egret Exminster Marshes 30 March

Great White Egret Exmouth 06 May

Great White Egret Stover 01 October

Honey-buzzard Dartmoor 21-22 May

Little Bunting Slapton 21 October

Montagu’s Harrier Dartmoor 19 Aug

Pectoral Sandpiper Upper Tamar Lake 13 August

Ring-necked Duck Lee Moor 14 October

Rose-coloured Starling Beesands 27-28 August

Serin South Hallsands 24 April

Tree Sparrow Haldon 20 May

Posted September 24th at 8:44 am by Pete Aley in General Birding

Dawlish Warren

Please take extra care when visiting Dawlish Warren. We have been informed that due to the recent bad weather there has been significant erosion from Groyne 10 eastwards. This means that access along the site, to and from Warren Point (and the bird hide) will be via the beach only, with a risk of being cut off for a period either side of high water! Signs have been put up to alert people to the hazards, but people need to be aware that access routes that they have become used to may not be available and they need to exercise extreme caution,  with the possibility of being cut off by the tide, and people are strongly urged not to try climbing the sand cliffs. Further information is available on the Teignbridge District Council website.

Posted November 9th, 2018 at 11:08 am by Mike Daniels in General Birding


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Posted October 10th, 2016 at 9:14 am by George & Julia Harris in General Birding

Sightings Page Changes

Acting on comments to Devon Birds some changes have been made to this page. To the right of this header post you'll see there are now several subjects for you to choose to read and post on. Just click your chosen subject and use as previously.

Please be careful not to post under the wrong subject. If you do, you can still easily go back to edit and change the subject yourself so it appears on the right page.

Please try and keep posts short, particularly in the Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts page. Photographs are still very welcome.  

For help with ID email photos to

Posted June 30th, 2016 at 9:24 pm by George & Julia Harris in General Birding

Sunday 31st December 2017

Dawlish Warren

3 Great Northern Divers near the mouth of the Estuary at Dawlish Warren today.

Posted December 31st, 2017 at 8:22 pm by Samuel Gray in General Birding


Some of the 19 Goosanders at Stover, there might have been more hiding away but sadly too many loose dogs in and out of the water sending the birds flying!


Posted December 31st, 2017 at 6:23 pm by Simon Thurgood in General Birding

Exwick Cemetery Exeter

A short lunch time visit, resulted in 4+ Hawfinch. I suspected there were more as they seemed to be everywhere but I only saw 4 together. However I noted there were 10 recorded on Birdguides just after I left. Otherwise 30+ finches in same area. Goldfinch, Greenfinch & Chaffinch. 

Posted December 31st, 2017 at 5:55 pm by Steve Cox in General Birding

Filham lake Ivybridge

Male Goosander on lake this morning

Posted December 31st, 2017 at 5:14 pm by Ian Stone in General Birding

West Charleton Marsh and Wareham Point

Late am/early pm. Nice range and number of birds. Selected counts/highlights: 4 Great-crested Grebes, 7 Little Grebes, 65 Brent Geese, 10 Shelduck, 4 Pintail, 9 Red-breasted Mergansers, 1 Peregrine, 4 Greenshank, 25 Redshank, 70 Curlew, 2 Bar-tailed Godwits, 25 Snipe, 1 Common Sandpiper etc.

Posted December 31st, 2017 at 3:46 pm by Andy Smith in General Birding


early/mid-am, 2 Black-necked Grebes (at the Torcross end of the Ley), 3 Goldeneye (2m), 1 drake Goosander, 75+ Tufted Duck, 150+ Coot and a Firecrest.

Posted December 31st, 2017 at 3:39 pm by Andy Smith in General Birding

River Otter - Honiton

Went in search of the 5 Cattle Egret previously reported but only found 10 Little Egret at same location in fields with cattle. (Nice nevertheless).  Also seen:  Peregrine resting on river bank and in meadows a flock of 36 Pied Wagtail, 110 Herring Gull, 2 Cormorant, 4 Mallard and small number of Canada Geese. Unfortunately the river is not accessible to public here (but maybe because its closed to public the birds congregate here).  There are a few minor roads which cross the River Otter and the one from Clapper Lane, Honiton is safest to stop and park.  

Happy New Year everyone.

Posted December 31st, 2017 at 1:04 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding

Southdown Farm, Bolberry

Highlight in the gloom was a male Merlin hunting over the stubbles. Also 9 Stock Dove, 460 Skylark, 12 Song Thrush & 25 Meadow Pipit.

Non-avian:  Female & yearling Sika Deer; 3 Roe Deer.

Posted December 31st, 2017 at 12:12 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding


Plenty of Carrion Crow activity this morning, particularly towards the lower end. Approx 50 Redwing, a murmuration of about 200 Starlings, later viewed up more closely 40 Starlings around the barns. Great deal of Great & Blue Tit activity, plus 5+ Long-tailed Tits, a Goldcrest, 4 Jays, a pair of Chaffinches, 2 Ravens, Pheasant, Green Woodpecker, 3 Stock Dove, at least one Buzzard, Sparrowhawk, 3 Robins, 6 Blackbirds and a Roe Deer.

Posted December 31st, 2017 at 10:45 am by Stephen Huggins in General Birding

Saturday 30th December 2017


Firecrest today  in woodland behind path at Longmarsh, Totnes.

Posted December 30th, 2017 at 8:58 pm by Bruce Stewart in General Birding

Isley Marsh

As per yesterdays post - 6 Spoonbills on Isley marsh around 2pm (report from local birder of 9 earlier).

Spoonbill Spoonbill Spoonbill


Posted December 30th, 2017 at 7:44 pm by Martin Rooney in General Birding

Efford marsh Plymouth

This afternoon around the marsh were Chiffchaff, Blackcap and Firecrest.

Posted December 30th, 2017 at 4:08 pm by Martin Phillips in General Birding


A female Black Redstart and adult sinensis Cormorant at West Hoe this morning, and later, the Cattewater produced 3 Common Sandpipers together and 2 Great Northern Divers including a juv showing very well.

Posted December 30th, 2017 at 2:21 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Redwings in Paignton garden

I was fortunate enough to see and photograph at very close range, all be it through double glazing, several Redwings visiting a garden in Shorton Valley, Paignton yesterday afternoon. They appeared to be feeding on the seeds from the palms in several gardens. I did eventually count 8 birds hanging around  as the light began to fade. Whilst there I was also given a very close view of a Goldcrest, male Blackcap, and Thrush. 

Posted December 30th, 2017 at 10:16 am by John Wilkes in General Birding

Friday 29th December 2017

Isley Marsh

5 spoonbills roosting at high tide just after 2pm. 

Posted December 29th, 2017 at 8:11 pm by Paul Bearman in General Birding


Last ringing session of the year yesterday. 24 birds ringed including a battalion of Blue Tits (well 8), 3 Great Tits, 2 Chaffinch, a Blackbird, a Chiffchaff (probable Tristis), a Blackcap, 2 Redwings, and an adult male Sparrowhawk. A good year except for Reed and Sedge Warblers and Greenfinch, which all their worst year. Here's to 2018.

2 or 3 Black-tailed Godwits on the scrape again today, along with one (or possibly 2) Water Pipits.

Posted December 29th, 2017 at 7:58 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Cattle Egrets

North of Honiton among cattle by the river Otter near Combe Raleigh 5 Cattle Egret.

Posted December 29th, 2017 at 7:49 pm by Edric in General Birding

Paignton coastal

Marine Parade ~ A very confiding Dunlin was a surprise in amongst the 24 plus flock of Turnstone gathered on the top of the sea wall, good numbers of Oyster Catcher, Cormorant and Shag showing all the way along the coast, a brief view of a Seal while watching small numbers of Gannet.


Young’s Park ~ The reported White-cheeked Pintail suddenly appeared on one of the ponds (and then showed very well) along with a drake Shoveller, several Tufted duck and arguably an unhealthy number of Mallard hybrids and a Call duck.

Broadsands from the sea wall the reported male Red Breasted Merganser showing well, further out a single Great Northern Diver, a Little Egret at the foot of the cliffs, a Peregrine over the stubble field above the car parks.

In the far car park a female Blackcap and a brief glimpse of a Firecrest.

Posted December 29th, 2017 at 4:37 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Exwick Cemetery Exeter

4 Hawfinch feeding at top of Cemetery on Wild Cherry. 

Posted December 29th, 2017 at 3:09 pm by Steve Cox in General Birding


pair of great northern divers yesterday mid morning/midday.

also large groups of cormorants/shag ( one raft of 33 birds) and gulls and 2 little egret at broadsands  excited by fishy activity between shoreline at broadsanda and elberry cove.

Posted December 29th, 2017 at 10:34 am by graham folkerd in General Birding

Thursday 28th December 2017

Upper and Lower Tamar Lake

Sightings for this morning at the lakes,

Upper Lake

2 Redwing, 12 Great Crested Grebe, 3 Cormorants, 10 Snipe, c60 Canada Geese, 3 Grey Heron, 5 Herring Gull, c30 Black-headed Gull, 2 Stonechat, 2 Robin, c25 Mallard 

Lower Lake,

14 Goosander, 3 Snipe, 2 Little Egret, 1 Mute Swan, 3 Tufted Duck, 5 Moorhen, 1 Song Thrush, 8 Wigeon, 4 Marsh Tit, 3 Robin, 7 Coal Tit, 6 Blue Tit, 5 Great Tit, 1 Willow Tit, 4 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Dunnock.

Posted December 28th, 2017 at 8:11 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

My Batten, Plymouth

Great northern diver late pm between quay and Hoe, plus wp Med gull.

Posted December 28th, 2017 at 6:23 pm by Richard Archer in General Birding

Stover Lake

At least 25 Goosanders at Stover Lake this afternoon - most I've ever seen there. Including a very vocal female that showed her sawmill to perfection.

Male Goosander Female Goosander
Male Goosander                               Female Goosander

Posted December 28th, 2017 at 4:10 pm by Paul Treen in General Birding

Brixham Breakwater

In and around the breakwater this morning from  09:30-11:15 1 Razorbill 2 Guillemots 3 Gannets 8 Purple Sandpipers on jetty various pods of Common Dolphin around from Berry Head across bay to Broadsands, Goodrington and towards Preston and Torquay.

Posted December 28th, 2017 at 2:14 pm by Brian Goss in General Birding

(Unseasonal) Ring Ouzel

One feeding on roadside alongside Newton Road Roundabout - where the caravan/horses have been in the run-up to Christmas. (Drove round the roundabout 3 times just to be sure!!)

Posted December 28th, 2017 at 12:43 pm by John Walton in General Birding


26 Cirl Buntings and 2 Reed Bunting on seed in the 2nd car park this morning also 1 Chiffchaff and 2 Firecrest in the marshy ditch between the car parks also 3-4 Goldcrest. on the sea approx 80 -100 Common Dolphin in four pods spread out over the bay.

Part of Cirl Bunting flock Broadsands 28 Dec 2017 ML

Posted December 28th, 2017 at 12:21 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding

Wednesday 27th December 2017

Cator Common and Bellever Plantation

At least 5 Bramblings with a flock of Chaffinches under some beeches by the roadside at the edge of Cator Common, late am and a Woodcock in Bellever Plantation.

Posted December 27th, 2017 at 11:35 pm by Andy Smith in General Birding

Carrion Crow roost at Warleigh Point

Between 4.15 and 4.45 on 27/12/17 I counted about 250 corvids, probably all carrion crows, assembled on the mud between two branches of Tamerton Creek, at the Tamar end. Towards the end of the period groups flew up into the trees in the DWT Warleigh Point reserve. I can't be certain all were crows, though I didn't hear any calls that sounded like anything else.

Posted December 27th, 2017 at 11:22 pm by Joe Higman in General Birding

Plym Estuary

The male Kingfisher showing very well again this morning. Also 6 Little Grebes, 3 Greenshanks, 2 Wigeon, 13 Grey Herons, 7 Oystercatchers and 2 Nuthatches.

Posted December 27th, 2017 at 4:49 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Broadsands & Dawlish Warren 27.12.17

Early visit to Broadsands in search of Firecrest was unsuccessful. However was pleased & surprised to find a male Red-breasted Merganser off the beach - not a common in Torbay I understand. Finally caught up with a Firecrest at Dawlish Warren early afternoon. 

Red-breasted Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser

Posted December 27th, 2017 at 3:58 pm by Paul Treen in General Birding

Dartington estate

Dartington estate ~ the large flock of mixed finch species continues to feed in the wheat and seed crop field alongside the deer park, initially very little on view until a Kestrel came over and a huge number of small birds lifted from the field and took shelter in the surrounding field hedges, 70 plus Wood pigeons feeding in the same field.

Still a good number of Blue and Great Tit feeding on the beech mast.

Six Brambling seen within the large Chaffinch flock, Linnet numbers still good, Wren, Nuthatch, Buzzard and Jay also seen.

Posted December 27th, 2017 at 1:54 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Raindrops keep falling on my head

An accurate description of the weather conditions this morning along the Tarka trail with the incoming tide!

Posted December 27th, 2017 at 12:43 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Tuesday 26th December 2017

White Cheeked Pintail Paignton

A quick run out this morning to Youngs Park in Paignton at the back of Goodrington beach resulted in a no show initially of the White Cheeked Pintail. When some unsuspecting walkers went along the back edge of the main pool the bird was flushed out of the bushes at the back and onto the water. He showed well as the heavens opened and remained there when I left. As Lloyd alluded to in his post the bird fore a grey ring on his leg which might possibly indicate that this is in fact an escaped bird. He seemed to be surviving well amongst the Mallards, Tufted Ducks and single male Shoveler.

White Cheeked Pintail
White Cheeked Pintail

Posted December 26th, 2017 at 2:08 pm by John in General Birding

Matford marsh

American wigeon still present as per post yesterday. Also a female mandarin on the back pond

Posted December 26th, 2017 at 11:14 am by Rob Williams in General Birding

Youngs Park

Pintail showing nicely this morning. We notice it is ringed (not sure if that has been apparent previously)


Eds: It's a White-cheeked Pintail also known as Bahama Pintail/Duck & Galapagos Pintail, an escapee -straight of of someones collection, so not at all surprised it has a ring on it.. 

Posted December 26th, 2017 at 11:05 am by Lloyd Gray in General Birding

Monday 25th December 2017

Radford Lake

Mid morning ramble around the lake saw a number of gulls, cormorants, 2 grey herons,  little egrets, 6 little grebes and two Kingfisher's. The highlight was a Firecrest fliting around scrub along the woodland path.

Posted December 25th, 2017 at 9:09 pm by Val Grehan in General Birding

Xmas walk

My traditional Christmas walk along the canal etc. Poor visibility at times but along the Northbrook Green Sandpiper, Grey Wag, Little Egret, Water Rail, and Dipper. Along the canal and around Exminster Marsh Stonechat pair, Raven, along with the usual suspects. From Topsham Side Lock Cottage, Some RB Merganser (two also on the canal there) and a male Goldeneye. On the far pond at Matford the American Wigeon showed well but distantly.

American Wigeon Red Breasted Merganser
American Wigeon                                        Red Breasted Merganser

Posted December 25th, 2017 at 4:30 pm by Martin Rooney in General Birding


Two spotted redshanks' near the bridge at the entrance,good amounts of Brents,Dunlin,Sanderling,grey plovers,Greenshank and 1common sandpiper,in theriver bend were 2 common Snipe and a King fisher on second bridge,nice Christmas morning.

Posted December 25th, 2017 at 4:20 pm by john elvin in General Birding

Youngs Park 25/12/17

The white cheeked pintail and male shoveler still present on the lake and out at sea several gannets.

Posted December 25th, 2017 at 12:22 pm by PHILIP L. FAIRCLOUGH in General Birding

Notes from Dawlish Warren for 24/12

Overcast here yesterday and occasional light misty rain. No sign of the dolphins, skuas or longtails but good sightings of Gannets from John's Watch, nice drake Red-breasted Merganser in front of the hide (about 100 yards out), Cirl Bunting in shrubbery near hide on edge of golf links and a really sharp pair of Shoveler on the main pond - no sign of the Jack Snipe.

Posted December 25th, 2017 at 11:11 am by Paul Beard in General Birding

Sunday 24th December 2017

Hawfinch at Pines Hill

A single Hawfinch was at Pines Hill Exeter this am. in the boundary trees of the field behind the tennis courts.

Posted December 24th, 2017 at 9:07 pm by Colin Chivers in General Birding


Late news for yesterday: From Velator harbour a couple of Snipe calling which were put up by a very tatty female Marsh Harrier, which flew over the reserve and then off southwards. Moving on to the river entrance to the field by the reserve, a Peregrine caused consternation amongst the Gulls. In the reserve, 5 Reed Buntings, Water Rail and Kingfisher. Only Green Sandpiper on the scrape.

Just moved house across Braunton and I like my new garden - so far had Green Woodpecker, Jay and Firecrest amongst a few common species. Sorry for the late posting, but no internet yet!

Posted December 24th, 2017 at 2:51 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding


At least six Hawfinches by the pylon above the Butterfly Walk this morning, seen feeding on the ground. Very inconspicuous, blending beautifully with the dead leaves and best found by looking for leaves being tossed aside! Further up the road towards Haldon Belvedere, at least one Brambling with Chaffinches and lots(!) of Coal Tits feeding on the ground.

Posted December 24th, 2017 at 12:21 pm by Dave Smallshire in General Birding


No sign of the Bearded Tits but 2 Little Egret, Redshank, Greenshank,a single Curlew, Black Tailed Godwits.

In front of the third viewing platform a Water Rail showing very well at times.

In the evening two Tawny owls heard calling at Marldon.

And over night back home at South Brent at least three Tawny owls calling over night.

Posted December 24th, 2017 at 6:23 am by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Saturday 23rd December 2017

Plym Estuary & Saltram

In the Park, flocks of 35+ Redwings and c15 Greenfinches; also Common Sandpiper, male Kingfisher showing well, 5 Snipe, Peregrine and 2 Greenshanks.

Posted December 23rd, 2017 at 8:48 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding


12 Purple Sandpipers on the breakwater this morning.

Posted December 23rd, 2017 at 4:15 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding


At least 11 Hawfinches this afternoon near the pylon above the Butterfly Walk.

Posted December 23rd, 2017 at 3:02 pm by Dave Smallshire in General Birding


Preston (08:30 - 10:20): R-n Grebe (out towards Living Coasts & Torquay Marina entrance); 3 Gt N Divers; 1 Med Gull (wint ad).

Broadsands (10:40 - 12:30): 1 B-N Grebe; 3-4 Gt N Divers; 1 R-t Diver (off Goodrington); a Bonxie (chasing gulls over mussel beds) + doz or so Common Dolphins (>N, 12:00).

Posted December 23rd, 2017 at 2:25 pm by Dave Holloway in General Birding

Friday 22nd December 2017

Dawlish Warren 0830-1030

A brilliant couple of hours at the Warren this morning on the high tide. Hundreds of gannets and kittiwakes in close and this attracted in the Pomarine skua which has apparently been around for some time. It sat on the sea for five minutes or so before heading back out whence it came. I found one Eider among the 75+ Great-crested Grebes, 5+ Red-throated Divers, Great Northern Diver and many alcids. The 1st winter Glaucous Gull was on Finger Point before heading over to Exmouth and I found my first Sanderlings of the year among the roosting Dunlin, Knot, Turnstone etc out on the point.

Whatever was attracting the birds in also worked for mammals as at least four Bottle-nosed Dolphins put in an appearance for about half an hour, viewed a bit distantly in the 'scope.

My Christmas bonus was then the Jack Snipe which I jammed onto at the main pond.

My luck couldn't last, though, and I dipped the Bearded Tits at Goose Moor.

Happy Christmas to all

Posted December 22nd, 2017 at 4:34 pm by Simon Tonge in General Birding

Goosemoor and Bowling Green Marsh

A single female/immature Bearded Tit at Goosemoor, plus Water Rail feeding out on open mud.

At Bowling Green, 16 Gadwall, 13 Greylag Geese, Pintail and Green Sandpiper. Also of interest were two female Shovelers that dived persistently for about 15 minutes, with one or two Gadwall in association. Gadwall often taken vegetation brought to the surface by diving Coots, but I've never seen them accompanying diving Shovelers before!

Posted December 22nd, 2017 at 2:57 pm by Dave Smallshire in General Birding


A very brief visit to the standing seed field at Dartington, on arrival a Single Snipe flew over, the field is holding a considerable number of seed eating species inducing Chaffinch, Linnet, Cirl Bunting and Yellow Hammer.

At home at South Brent last night two sightings of the visiting Barn owl, Tawny owls calling through the night until 7.20am this morning.


Posted December 22nd, 2017 at 1:50 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Little Egrets

This morning at 08.30, in very thick mist - a flock of 14 Little Egrets feeding on pastureland alongside the B3233 Bideford/Instow road, just outside Tapeley Park.  This is the highest number I've seen in one flock in the six years I've been recording from Bideford.

Posted December 22nd, 2017 at 1:28 pm by Tony Mercer in General Birding

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