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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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

Tuesday 28th February 2017

Exe Estuary cruise

Notables during this afternoon's Stuart Lines cruise were the 2 Slavonian (Cockwood) and 7 Great Crested Grebes, 130+ Pintail (Lympstone Marines camp), 6 Goldeneye (Cockwood), 30+ Mergansers, c10 Ringed Plover, 3-400 Golden Plover, 100+ Grey Plover, 50+ Knot, c15 Sanderling, 2 Greenshank and a few Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Posted February 28th, 2017 at 9:40 pm by Dave Smallshire in General Birding

Exe Estuary

A day on and around the Exe, Topsham Rec gave two Long Tailed Duck and two Goldeneye.

The over wintering Spotted Redshank was seen at Goosemoor along with some Redshank.

Around the quay and shore at Exmouth Rock Pipit, Turnstone, Red Breasted Merganser, Shag, Greater Black Back Gull.  Behind the Bowling club two Goldcrest and at least two Chiffchaff.


The afternoon Stuart Line Cruises bird watching trip gave views of Turnstone, Dunlin (100’s), Great Crested Grebe(5), Slavonian Grebe, Knott, Grey Plover, Golden Plover 250+, Shag, Cormorant, Bar Tailed and Black Tailed Godwit, Curlew, Oyster Catcher, Sanderling 25+ , a good sized Avocet flock just off of the Goat walk.

Duck species included Mallard, Teal, Shell duck and a good sized flock of Pintail. Numerous gulls, Greater Black Back, Lesser Black Back (2), Herring, Black Headed and Common Gulls were plentiful and well represented.

At one point a mixed flock of Herring, Common and Black Head Gulls mobbed a male Red Breasted Merganser that was desperately trying to eat a fish that it had caught.

Posted February 28th, 2017 at 8:41 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Plym Estuary

Four Mandarin Ducks, 5 Greenshanks, 49 Curlews, 4 Little Grebes, 2 Grey Wagtails, 19 Common Gulls, Kingfisher, 1 or 2 Common Sandpipers and the lone Wigeon clinging on.

Mandarin Duck
Mandarin Duck

Posted February 28th, 2017 at 7:26 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding


Still 3 Cattle Egrets with 7 Little Egrets at the entrance field to Blatchford Farm at 8.40am this morning

Posted February 28th, 2017 at 6:36 pm by Mark Bailey in General Birding


white- fronted goose  and  water pipit showing well at south huish,   at slapton , female scaup and female golden eye on the lake as well as tufted duck, gadwall and pochard etc

Posted February 28th, 2017 at 5:29 pm by roger jewell & mike gibson in General Birding

Velator reserve

Having finally caught up with the Chiloe Wigeon the other day, I was delighted to find them on the pond in the reserve this morning! Juvenile  male Sparrowhawk also present and a rather cold looking male Goldcrest. On the scrape a Black-tailed Godwit.

Posted February 28th, 2017 at 1:52 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Monday 27th February 2017

Lower Tamar Lake

2m Yellowhammer, 1 Willow Tit, 3 Reed Bunting, 3 Long-tailed Tit, 10 Goosander 7m 3f, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Great Black-backed Gull, 2 Goldfinch, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 2 Nuthatch,

Posted February 27th, 2017 at 7:15 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

Occombe Farm NR, Torquay

Two redwing were at the hide in addtion to usual residents, displaying before one chased the other off. A walk around the big meadow at the bottom of the reserve produced 3 roe deer, two of them bucks just losing the velvet on their antlers.

Displaying redwing. Roebuck, velvet just starting to fray.
Displaying redwing.                                              Roebuck, velvet just starting to fray.

Posted February 27th, 2017 at 4:50 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

Stunning photos in a suburban garden

Took almost 100 photos and videos of a sparrowhawk taking a Pigeon. It left me to clean up the mess but wouldn't have missed it for the world but did feel sorry for the pigeon. Have had the hawk in the garden twice in the past seven years and during the summer there are three which circle overhead. No idea where they hide out!

  Slaughter in suburbia!

Posted February 27th, 2017 at 4:31 pm by pHILIP l. fAIRCLOUGH in General Birding

River Otter

A walk today from White Bridge down the Otter to the sea-front and back, by the DB's E Devon Branch, saw 16 people brave the forecast heavy showers (in the event, only one materialised), and between them total 50 species.  The species of note included Kingfisher and Water Rail, by White Bridge, and  a Sparrowhawk along the river, which remained perched for some time.  Some sea-watching in very choppy conditions gave 2 Red-throated Divers, 1 or more  Fulmars and 1 Kittiwake, and a Seal - not often seen off the Otter.  Few duck (low numbers of Shelduck, Wigeon and Teal) or waders (Redshank, Curlew), but a varietyof small passerines made up the numbers, including Bullfinch and Reed Bunting.  Surprisingly, no egrets, and certainly no Whales.......

Posted February 27th, 2017 at 3:58 pm by Colin Randall in General Birding


Distant views of Humpback Whale from Slapton beach yesterday morning, also the lovely Black Necked Grebe close inshore. A Firecrest was seen close to the bridge and Ringing hut. A short while later another Firecrest seen with several Chiff Chaffs in the hedgerow next to entrance of West Charleton Marsh sewage works.

Posted February 27th, 2017 at 8:33 am by bob barrow in General Birding

Sunday 26th February 2017

Humback and Birds as a bonus!

Watched distant views of the Humpback whale which briefly showed at 11.05am, then disappeared until lunchtime. Fortunately this gap was filled by regular sightings of Gannets plunge-diving close in and a spectacular Black-necked Grebe in almost full summer plumage, just offshore, moving north, but staying on the surface. The Humpback then reappeared at about 1pm, just when we had nearly given up. Easy to spot, watch for the spray from the blowhole, then the whale surfaces. Massive, spectacular creature, with very good views, in spite of the weather. Pods of porpoises and the occasional dolphin were seen as well.

Posted February 26th, 2017 at 9:42 pm by Nick D'Agorne in General Birding


15 Mandarin Ducks (11m) on the brook in the Millenium Park at dusk.

Posted February 26th, 2017 at 8:38 pm by Andy Smith in General Birding

Cattle Egrets Teigngrace

Five cattle egrets with little egrets in cow field at Teigngrace this afternoon.


Posted February 26th, 2017 at 5:38 pm by M Witherall in General Birding

Heathfield ~ Dawlish Warren ~ Haldon

Heathfield ~ Waxwings ~ A solitary bird found on the housing estate, seen in the morning and later in the afternoon, frequently using rooftop TV ariel’s to perch on.


Kenton A379 ~ A Red Legged Partridge seen in the road.

Cockwood ~ The regular Greenshank, on the Exe hundreds of Dunlin, good numbers of Redshank, Red Breasted Merganser, Oyster Catcher, Curlew, twenty five plus Turnstone, Brent geese, five plus Common Gull and Black Tailed Godwit.

A walk along the length of the beach at Dawlish Warren gave over 200 Brent Geese feeding a few yards off of the beach, twenty five plus Curlew, as the tide was dropping they began to fly to feed in as did the geese.

Haldon Forrest Park ~ Very busy with people and not a great profusion of bird life, only species of note were four Song Thrush feeding in close proximity to each other.


Posted February 26th, 2017 at 5:13 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Slapton Sands, yesterday.

In between watching the various marine mammals on show yesterday (porpoise and grey seal as well as the humpback), this black necked grebe put in a good show on the sea opposite the higher ley. Moult to summmer plumage much more advanced than the Torbay birds.

Black necked grebe, moulting into summer plumage
Black necked grebe, moulting into summer plumage

Posted February 26th, 2017 at 3:50 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

Torbay Boat Trip

Managed to get this morning boat trip in before the weather changed. 6 Harbour Porpoise and many Gannets off Berry Head before we went back into the bay to the Elbery Cove and Broadsands area. 4 Black-necked Grebe, 2 Eider, 2 Raven, 2 Canada Geese, 25 Fulmar and a grey seal. Only 2 Purple Sanpiper on Brixham Breakwater. 700 + Guillemots on BH colony cliffs and many flying in and out.

Further trips Sunday mornings during March. If interested call 07866202576.

Posted February 26th, 2017 at 3:18 pm by Nigel Smallbones in General Birding

Torbay boat trip.

Not as bouncy this morning as the weather forecast had suggested. 2 purple sandpipers Brixham Breakwater jetty; 6 porpoise with gannets feeding nearby off Berry Head; guillemots, fulmar, distant flock of 25 common scoter flying plus another 4 (one of which had a pale belly suggesting another species); 2 grey heron at 7 Quarries; 2 canada geese & a mute swan at Broadsands; 2 eider & a grey seal between Broadsands & 3 beaches; 4 black necked grebe at Goodrington.

Porpoise, 4 of a pod of 6 off Berry Head Gannet Eiders
Porpoise, 4 of a pod of 6 off Berry Head                                   Gannet                                                 Eiders

Posted February 26th, 2017 at 3:17 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

Wrafton Scrape

Birds on the scrape this morning.

Six Spoonbills on the scrape, taken from insiide the reserve.  And nearby, the escaped Chiloe Wigeon by the Tarka Trail.
Six Spoonbills on the scrape                                     Escaped Chiloe Wigeon by the Tarka Trail.

Posted February 26th, 2017 at 1:21 pm by jon turner in General Birding

Exminster Marshes

Could not find the American Wigeon today at Exminster. Other birds seen include: Wigeon, 2 Curlew, 1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Reed Bunting, 4 Pheasant (1M 3F), Gadwall, Pintail, Mute Swan, Cormorants and Canada Geese.

Posted February 26th, 2017 at 12:31 pm by Samuel Gray in General Birding

Start Bay

The Humpback was very distant heading south when I was there earlier this morning but looking at the twitter feed it obviously came back inshore which is great for people who have yet to see it. A beautiful Black-necked Grebe was just off the car park ( been here or nearby all winter ) and an adult Mediterranean Gull with the Black-headed Gulls where the ducks get fed at Torcross.

Posted February 26th, 2017 at 12:20 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Rillage Point & Ilfracombe

First real signs of passerine migration on my Rillage Point patch this spring. c.250 Meadow Pipits headed W along the cliffs into a blustery SW wind, taking advantage of clear slots between the drizzle, in flocks of 5-30 birds. First migrating Pied Wagtail, Greenfinch and Siskins with them. At Ilfracombe, still 4 wintering Purple Sandpipers feeding at Capstone Point.

Posted February 26th, 2017 at 11:01 am by Tim Jones in General Birding

Saturday 25th February 2017

Exeter-Slapton and back

Attempted to find cattle egrets and waxwings on the way to Slapton today; cattle egrets are still on the Totnes-Asprington road as reported earlier, with cows and little egrets. We unfortunately didn't find the waxwings this afternoon by the A38 tile factory.

The whale was visible from Slapton beach though off towards Blackpool Sands this morning, but we got good views of gannets and a black necked grebe close in. There was a med gull on the Ley with other gulls.


Posted February 25th, 2017 at 8:52 pm by Helen Whitall in General Birding

Plym Estuary

Three adult sinensis Cormorants this afternoon (finally pinned after suspecting at least one recently). Also 7 Mandarin Ducks, 2 or 3 Little Grebes, just one Wigeon (1st-w drake) and 7 Oystercatchers.

Posted February 25th, 2017 at 8:01 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Slapton and Totnes

The Humpback Whale still there this morning off Torcross till at least 930am when it went further out into the bay- it had spent all morning upto that point straight out or south of Torcross( earlier also seen off Beesands ) -EDIT-  now being seen off Central car park and north to Blackpool Sands c1130am

The first winter Little Gull on the ley at Torcross at 830am and 845-850am but dissapeared in between and after . Also 3 Scaup (m 2f).

2 Cattle Egrets near Totnes at 740am viewed from gateway by Bowden Pillars south of Gerston Farm but none there at 10.30am- Nearby In the original field opposite Bowden House just 2 Little Egrets at 730am and 4 Little Egrets at 1040am.

Posted February 25th, 2017 at 11:16 am by Mark Bailey in General Birding

Friday 24th February 2017

Not just the whale.....

Away from the superb mammal some decent birds on the Ley; 12 Goldeneye (7m,5f), Scaup (f), Little Gull (Torcross), Black necked grebe, Goosander (f) and plenty of Cettis singing (and the odd one showing).

Near Totnes this morning, the Cattle Egrets had moved slightly from Perrys posting to be close to Gerston farm, SX795592. They seem to be faithful to wherever the Fresian herd is located.

Posted February 24th, 2017 at 7:53 pm by Douglas Stannard in General Birding


9 Waxwings still present opposite the Tile factory on the A38, showing well



Posted February 24th, 2017 at 5:18 pm by Greg Bradbury in General Birding

Thurlestone/S. Huish

The Desert Wheatear was enjoying the sun and singing - but I doubt it will attract a mate. S. Huish had 2 Whitefronts, Water Pipit and 15+ Snipe

Posted February 24th, 2017 at 5:17 pm by Dick Andrews in General Birding

Greenfinch and Marsh Tit - Stover Country Park

At Stover by the feeders today (24-02-17) Greenfinch, Marsh Tit, Longtailed Tits, Bullfinches, Siskins, Buzzard eating a frog meal. On the lake, 9 Gosanders 4 Male 5 Female, Pochards, Tufted ducks, Great crested Grebe, and the usual mallards ect.


Posted February 24th, 2017 at 5:17 pm by Greg Bradbury in General Birding

Velator reserve

The calling Little Grebe that has been in the reserve for a few days has attracted a mate, both seen today.

Posted February 24th, 2017 at 4:37 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Staverton WTW

5+ chiffchaffs visiting the filter bed this afternoon included 1 grey "tristis" type bird. 1 yellow browed warbler briefly on the filter bed, also long tailed tits, blue tit, wren and a pair of grey wagtails.

Posted February 24th, 2017 at 4:31 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding


A pair of Goosanders spotted on the river Erme this morning.

Posted February 24th, 2017 at 3:47 pm by William Devlin in General Birding

Lower Tamar Lake

Birds seen this morning.

1m Yellowhammer, 6 Willow Tit, 1m Reed Bunting, 8 Chaffinch, 5 Blue Tit, 2 Dunnock, 2 Long-tailed Tit, 2 Goldfinch, 1 Grey Heron, 3 Little Egrets, 4 Coot, 7 Tufted Duck, 2 Nuthatch, 3 Coal Tit, 20 Snipe, 2 Greenfinch, 1 Song Thrush, 1f Goosander,

Posted February 24th, 2017 at 2:36 pm by Rod Mudge/Harvey Kendall in General Birding

Stover Lake

One adult Great crested Grebe returned and guarding the usual nest site on the island. 6 pairs of Coot fighting for territories.  14 Tufted Duck, 3 Pochard, 6 Goosander, 2 pairs of Mandarin Duck,1 Kingfisher, Common Snipe and Water rail still in the marsh. Mistle Thrush, Blackbird and Siskins in full song. Plenty of frog spawn in both the marsh and aerial walkway pond

Posted February 24th, 2017 at 12:30 pm by JDA in General Birding

Ilfracombe Capstone 2 Great Skua

In stormy conditions 2 Great Skuas or more. Large numbers of Fulmars at least 200 in view in a minute. 3 Divers 20 Gannets.  20 Lbb gull heading east up channel. 

Posted February 24th, 2017 at 1:58 am by Martin Thorne in General Birding

Thursday 23rd February 2017

Gannets of Slapton Beach, 23 February 2017

The gannets were feeding close in off Slapton beach today.


Posted February 23rd, 2017 at 11:41 pm by Bob Telford in General Birding

Whale sighted off Slapton beach

Called at Slapton to see whether storm Doris had forced any unusual seabirds to take refuge on the Ley. On arrival at the beach car park someone pointed out a whale and the Gannets were feeding close to the shore as well. At first consensus seemed to point to Minke Whale, some people mentioned one had been seen in the are the previous day. However, checking these pictures it would seem to me to be a Humpback Whale, though I am by no means an expert. Also 2 Harbour Porpoises and 1 Seal. With the whale and the Gannets I never made it to the Ley itself.

Humpback Whale? Humpback Whale? Humpback Whale tail fluke?

Humpback Whale?                                                       Humpback Whale tail fluke?

Eds: yes it is a Humpback!

Posted February 23rd, 2017 at 7:03 pm by Bob Telford in General Birding


An adult winter Mediterranean Gull in the Sound this afternoon plus an adult Gannet and c15 Turnstones but apparently little else blown in.

Posted February 23rd, 2017 at 6:46 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Brief sea-watch - Westward Ho!

Spent about 20 minutes by the headland (S end of WH) at around high water.  Visibility was not good because of spray mist and severe windshake!  Spotted a Bonxie about 500 mtrs out from the shore, and a flight of seven probable Little Auks, about 300 mtrs offshore - but wouldn't claim them as a definite record because of above mentioned conditions and also the sighting consisted of a number of brief glimpses between rollers. Shame - would have been a Devon first for me!

Posted February 23rd, 2017 at 4:24 pm by Tony Mercer in General Birding

Wednesday 22nd February 2017

Bowling Green Marsh Wednesday 22nd February

Spotted Redshank off the boardwalk at Bowling Green Marsh this afternoon.


Posted February 22nd, 2017 at 10:16 pm by M Witherall in General Birding

Lower Tamar Lake

Having failed dismally to find any of the reported white winged gulls at Roadford this morning, in fact only seeing a handful of any gulls and little else in very poor conditions, pushed on this afternoon to Lower Tamar Lake. Could barely see across the lake in the mist and rain! In front of the hide 14 Goosander, 4 G.C. Grebe, 1 Little Grebe, 4 Coot, 4 Moorhen and I am glad to say only 3 Canada Geese. Highlights were good views of a Water Rail to the left and many sightings of at least 30 very active and flighty Snipe. At one time 18 were in the air at once when disturbed by a Grey Heron. The feeder area was very busy with 2 Nuthatch, 1 Jay and 1 GS Woodpecker joining the many assorted tits, Robins, Dunnock and Chaffinch. Just before I left at 3.30pm a pair of Reed Bunting arrived. I spent much time closely examining and listening to the Marsh/Willow Tits at this location, on the rare occasions they had the courtesy to call! I think on balance there was probably a 4/2 split in the 6 I recorded, but would not stake my life on it! 29 Species recorded here.

Water Rail - Lower Tamar Lake - 22.2.17Common Snipe - Lower Tamar Lake - 22.2.17Reed Bunting - Lower Tamar Lake - 22.2.17

Posted February 22nd, 2017 at 9:40 pm by David Pakes in General Birding

Plymouth area

Near Tamerton Foliot, at least 11 Cattle Egrets and 8 Littles in a field with cows just west of Allern Lane (at one point there were 22 Egrets in the air but I couldn't be sure of the exact split).

Nearby on the Tavy estuary, 2 Mediterranean Gulls (ad-w and 2nd-w), c60 Lapwings, Marsh Tit, a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers, 6 Avocets and 2 Roe Deer.

Later a brief look at the pool on the Plym Estuary produced 8 Oystercatchers, 4 Wigeon and a Common Sandpiper.

Posted February 22nd, 2017 at 8:31 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Ludwell Valley/Hills

Early evening walk along the Northbrook and up into the hills brought at least 4 grey Wagtails, Green Sandpiper, Dipper, Water Rail, pair Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, Buzzard, pair Raven, pair Mallard as the highlights.

Posted February 22nd, 2017 at 6:51 pm by Martin Rooney in General Birding

Sterridge Valley, Berrynarbor

A single cattle egret in horse field this afternoon

Posted February 22nd, 2017 at 5:11 pm by stewart beer in General Birding

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