Devon Bird Sightings from 15th–21st March 2017

Breeding birds

It's the breeding season again, please do not publish news or photographs of scarce or rare birds that may be breeding - you could be putting them at risk.

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Any post not following the guidelines will be removed

Posted April 1st at 3:13 pm by Mike Langman 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.

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

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

Tuesday 21st March 2017

Slapton Sands

Photos of Terns and Pomarine Skua seen today 

Pomarine Skua
Pomarine Skua

Posted March 21st at 9:18 pm by Henry Kirkwood in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Slapton Sands

Two sub-adult Pomarine Skuas (possibly 3) 

5 Sandwich Terns

Plus 5 harbour porpoises and distant views of the Humpback Whale 

Posted March 21st at 6:19 pm by Rupert and Henry Kirkwood in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Harleston through Start to Slapton Ley

Good day for commoner migrants: 2 Sandwich Tern offshore, 7 Sand Martin over the ley, singing Blackcap & 19 singing Chiffchaff. Also: 7 Little Grebe, 14 Great Crested Grebe, 131 Tufted Duck, 115 Coot, 400 Herring Gull, 40 Robin, 8 singing Cetti's Warbler, Nuthatch 120 Jackdaw & 11 Reed Bunting. In flower already Bluebell & Wood Sorrel. 

Posted March 21st at 6:19 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Cattle Egrets - Totnes

Haven't checked field for 2 weeks but now 8 Cattle Egrets (and 7 Little Egrets) at 4.30pm in fields opposite Bowden House on the Totnes to Ashprington road- initially in original kale field, but then as the Cattle all went to the next grass field, all the Egrets followed . They then returned to the edge of the kale field 

Posted March 21st at 5:12 pm by Mark Bailey in General Birding

Weare Giffard Cattle Egrets.

The Cattle Egrets have increased to seven, viewed this morning from Half-penny bridge , Annery kiln , feeding on the grass banks of the river Torridge just south of the bridge.No Little Egrets present.   

Posted March 21st at 1:28 pm by Malcolm Shakespeare in General Birding

Dawlish, Cockwood & Powderham Marsh.

Still 4 Velvet Scoters and c50 Common Scoters off Dawlish plus 7 GC Grebes.

At Cockwood:  2 Slav. Grebes seen from under the railway bridge in the harbour.

Powderham Marsh: c40 Sand Martins, 1 Wheatear.

Posted March 21st at 1:19 pm by david cawthraw in General Birding

Jack Snipe Dawlish Warren

Present again today on main pond. View from main track, its on island near boats

Posted March 21st at 11:47 am by Steve Ayres in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Wistlandpound Reservoir

Despite heavy hail showers, Chiffchaff calling continuously around the reservoir and the first Willow Warbler of the year for me.

Over the water 30 + Sand Martins

Posted March 21st at 10:09 am by john bronze in General Birding


Exmouth - Osprey viewed from Mudbank - flew into Powderham Park carrying fish @ 0625'ish.

Posted March 21st at 6:41 am by Matt Knott in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Monday 20th March 2017

Cattle Egrets - Powderham

2 Cattle Egrets and 1 Little Egret still mid pm in corner field north west of Powderham Church.


Posted March 20th at 3:51 pm by Mark Bailey in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Bowling Green Marsh

11.30 onwards, Little Gull showing well on water in front of RSPB hide. Also Green sandpiper showing on far left hand side,in the foam.

Posted March 20th at 1:37 pm by Kay and Gary Deare in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Sunday 19th March 2017

Dawlish Warren

Two Common Snipe and a Jack Snipe sleeping at the edge of the main pond this morning, plus 2 each of Little Grebe, Teal and Shoveler. Also two sightings of Sparrowhawk and at least 6 Chiffchaffs. Offshore, a few Great Crested Grebes, 7 Common Scoter and a Sandwich Tern.

Jack Snipe dozing (heavily cropped phonescope)
Jack Snipe dozing (heavily cropped phonescope)

Posted March 19th at 8:25 pm by Dave Smallshire in General Birding


Also 6 Sandwich tern flying towards Teignmouth from Dawlish Railway Station

Posted March 19th at 7:51 pm by Stuart Green in General Birding

Dawlish and Exminster Marsh

From Dawlish Railway Station :- imm male and female eider close in with 4 velvet scoter,  40+ common scoter offshore, 11+ great crested grebes across bay, 3 ad kittiwakes, gannets

Powderham Marsh :-  3 green sandpiper, sand martins, singing chiffchaff

Exminster Marsh :- no sign of any garganey but still good numbers of wigeon and teal, 2 pairs of tufted duck, 4 male and 1 female pintail, good numbers of sand martins, singing chiffchaff with 2 non singing birds seen, 2 curlew

Posted March 19th at 7:49 pm by Stuart Green in General Birding


My first Whitethroat of the year on gorse at Little Dartmouth cliff path

Posted March 19th at 7:08 pm by Tim Clyburn in General Birding

Prawle Point

First seawatch of the year from 7.10 to 11.10am in strong WSW winds force 5-6, dull at first , and misty to the horizon, then later sunny.

1 Balearic Shearwater; 7 Manx Shearwaters; 1 Puffin, all west and  2 Black-Throated Divers east. Also strong passage of Kittiwakes west : I counted 154 but likely more as some faded into the mist. Also 29 Fulmars west and at least 2 Harbour Porpoises, 4 Dolphin sp. (probably Common) , a Grey Seal though no Whales ! Only passerines of note were 2 singing Chiffchaffs.No Wheatears for me yet.

At Slapton I saw a Slow Worm near the Lower Ley.

Posted March 19th at 7:06 pm by Tony Marchese in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Powderham/Exminster Marsh

Dull and overcast day making photographs difficult. 46 species counted including Golden Plover overhead, 3 Green Sandpipers, 3 Bullfinch, 2 Cirl Buntings, 2 mating Kestrels, 2 hunting Peregrines, 1 Barnacle Goose, many Sandmartins, Skylarks and Reed Buntings, 1 Common Sandpiper and entertainment provided from the viewing platform by the displaying Lapwings.

Female Reed Bunting at Powderham
Female Reed Bunting at Powderham

Posted March 19th at 6:31 pm by Steph Murphy in General Birding

Labrador Bay


4 Long-tailed Ducks flew in from the Shaldon direction and were only visible from the cliff tops of the lower coastal path.  Still 100+ Common Scoter.  Also Gannet, Fulmar, LT Tit, Shag, GBB Gull, Chiffchaff, Skylark, Green Woodpecker, GSW, 15+ Linnets  Calling Bullfinch.  Several calling Cirl Buntings and a male showing well. 

Posted March 19th at 4:52 pm by Paul Darlington in General Birding

Lopwell dam

1015-1430 :

9 Shelduck, 2 Common sandpiper, 3 Red legged Partridge on the riverside path, 2 Marsh tit, Chiffchaff singing in the Willows.

Posted March 19th at 3:56 pm by Alan Livsey in General Birding

Around the Exe

Bowling Green Marsh ~ Green Sandpiper, Common Gull, Sand Martin in good numbers with a few House Martins mixed in, duck sp included Pintail, Teal, Wigeon, Shoveler and Mallard, Heron, Little Egret, Curlew, Black Tailed Godwit.

From the viewing platform ~ Wren, 16 Black Tailed Godwit on the mud and another 80+ flying over towards the marsh and upper river, Little Egret 2, Curlew 3+, Shellduck 3+, Redshank and a pair of Red Breasted Merganser.

Goosemoor ~ the Spotted Redshank with 6 Greenshank and a Curlew, 5 Little Egret.

Powderham ~ Cattle Egret along with 5 little Egret.


Posted March 19th at 2:46 pm by Steve Hopper in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

RSPB, Labrador Bay

Still c100 Common Scoter and 3 Long-tailed Ducks in the bay along with 9 Great Crested Grebes.

Long-tailed Duck
Long-tailed Duck

Posted March 19th at 11:05 am by david cawthraw in General Birding

Saturday 18th March 2017

Bowling Green Marsh

This morning at Bowling Green the Green Sandpiper was still there, on the opposite side of the water from the hide.The most impressive bird today by far would be a 1st Winter Little Gull which did not really settle down apart from when it was preening in with the Redshanks.

Other birds include: pintail, grey heron, shoveler, gadwall, little egret, teal, wigeon, coot, curlew, black-headed and herring gulls, pied wagtail, black-tailed godwit, sand martin, tufted duck, shelduck, redshank, canada geese, wood pigeon, robin, blackbird and greenfinch.

Posted March 18th at 3:20 pm by Samuel Gray in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Cattle Egrets at Powderham

2 Cattle Egrets in with the sheep just up from Powderham Church, one flew off into the neighbouring field to be with 7 Little Egrets and was there when I left at midday.

Posted March 18th at 2:56 pm by Simon Thurgood in General Birding


Yellow-browed warbler still at the WTW with singing chiffchaffs

Posted March 18th at 10:43 am by Henry Trollope in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Friday 17th March 2017

Garganey at Slapton

After visiting South Huish Marsh on the hunt for Garganey, we were informed that there were some at Slapton/Strete Gate, so off we went. We located a snoozing pair on the pond at Strete Gate, and managed a couple of record shots from between the reeds. Other birds of note were 1 singing male blackcap, approx 20 sandmartins, 4 little gebes and a peacock butterfly

Record shot through reeds
Record shot through reeds

Posted March 17th at 9:11 pm by Steph Murphy in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Berry Head

Today at Berry Head: Great black-backed and Herring gulls, flumars, cormorants, shags, blackbirds, robins, gillimots, crows and feral pigeons.

Also there were three or more harbour porpoise

Eds. Please read our guidelines and post using your real name please, not a pseudonym. Thanks.

Posted March 17th at 9:03 pm by Berry Head in General Birding

Gibbet Hill

The Golden Plover below could the same flock of at least 200 wheeling above Gibbet Hill, Mary Tavy, yesterday afternoon. Always a harbinger of Spring.

Posted March 17th at 9:03 pm by Simon Martin in General Birding

Golden Plovers & Wheatears

200+ Golden Plovers at Cox Tor this morning. Also saw 4 male Wheatears.

Posted March 17th at 8:09 pm by Robin Stanbridge in General Birding

Stoke Point

6 cattle egret in field by road leading down to Stoke Point caravan park at 11:30 today, difficult to view at times amongst large herd of cows and through hedgerow. 1 in breeding plumage.

On return at 16:30 no sign of any cattle egrets - or cows!

Posted March 17th at 6:33 pm by Stuart Green in General Birding

Siskins, Bulfinches and a scruffy Blue Tit nicknamed Compo

Siskins showing very well @ Yarner wood around the bottom & top hides, along with Bullfinches, male & female @ the upper hide, and the usual array of Tit's 1 we named Compo due it's scruffy appearance.

Posted March 17th at 6:13 pm by Greg Bradbury in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh

Yesterday's Green Sandpiper still in evidence at the back of the marsh.  Overhead and over the water a mixed flock of 100++ Sand Martins and House Martins, yet no swallow.

Posted March 17th at 5:21 pm by Chris Marcol in General Birding

Stover Lake

A single Swallow over the Lake at 4.45pm with a dozen Sand Martins. 8 Goosander, two pairs of Mandarins,  1 Great crested Grebe, 1 Grey Heron and a single Kingfisher. Black headed Gulls numbers have dropped to 12. Plenty of woodland songsters including Siskin, Mistle Thrush, Song Thrush Nuthatch and 3 Chiffchaff. Increased numbers of Greenfinch and Chaffinch also noted

Posted March 17th at 5:11 pm by JDA in General Birding

Powderham Church, Cattle Egrets

Two Cattle Egrets with Little Egrets in field just North West of Powderham Church near where sheep are currently being temporarily grazed.

Cattle Egret in flightCattle Egret 2 FeedingCattle Egret Feeding

Posted March 17th at 4:55 pm by Jo King in General Birding

Tarka trail & Fremington Pill

Cycled along the trail from Braunton > Fremington Pill this morning.

10 Chiffchaff in full song along the way. Carefully looked through 130 Black tailed Godwits with the scope & none seen with colour rings.

6 Cattle Egrets had been seen with the Little Egrets in the trees, but just one in the photo with the Little Egrets & the Glossy Ibis in the Pill. 


Posted March 17th at 2:25 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Berry Head quarry

Wheatear, chiff chaffs & goldcrests showing well

Posted March 17th at 12:48 pm by J.Beevers in General Birding

Baggy Point

At least 5 cold looking Wheatears in the wind this morning.

Posted March 17th at 11:59 am by Jon Turner in General Birding


One in South Molton garden yesterday, Thursday 16th.

Posted March 17th at 8:08 am by Art Symons in Other Wildlife

Thursday 16th March 2017

Bowling Green Marsh

A single Green Sandpiper was the first I've seen this season at BGM.  Also showing was Snipe and the hybrid Chiloe ? x Wigeon caused a few heads to be the hide. 

Posted March 16th at 9:50 pm by Chris Marcol in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

An influx of Redwings with 50+ in the park. Also Jack Snipe, Snipe, 6 Greenshanks, a pair of Mandarin Ducks, 3 Little Grebes, Common Sandpiper, 3 Chiffchaffs, Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers and Tawny Owl heard.

Jack Snipe Jack Snipe Jack Snipe
Jack Snipe

Posted March 16th at 7:08 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Garganey at Exminster Marshes

A distant image of a Drake Garganey seen at Exminster Marshes today by Bob Barrow and John Lloyd.

Posted March 16th at 6:41 pm by Bob Barrow in General Birding

Fremington,thePill and Home Farm.

Water Rail,4 Spoonbills on Wrafton side,3 chiffchaff plus one plain greyish maybe Siberian, 8 cattle egret on the sheep field, Ibis middle of Pill. Similar waders to Wednesday report plus reed warbler,red wing little flocks of finches, larks and pipits and one goldcrest.All these in the home farm area.

Posted March 16th at 6:07 pm by John elvin in General Birding

Teigngrace - Cattle Egrets

Now 7 Cattle Egrets in entrance fields at Blatchford Farm, Teigngrace late pm ( and 9 Little Egrets).  5 Cattle Egrets showing well feeding in sheep field by road, 2 Cattle Egrets with 6 Little Egrets in 2nd field on right with cows. 3 more Little Egrets opposite entrance in muddy field. The last time 7 were reported here was 18 December.

Posted March 16th at 4:56 pm by Mark Bailey in General Birding


Over 100 Black-tailed Godwits on the scrape by the Tarka Trail this morning. Some Sand Martins over too.

Posted March 16th at 4:21 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Wednesday 15th March 2017

South Milton Ley

Migrant female Marsh Harrier over South Milton Ley this morning  (Vic Tucker)

Posted March 15th at 6:35 pm by George & Julia Harris in General Birding


Arrived at the reserve at dawn and by 630 no sign of any Spoonbills. However, at 7 a few Godwits flew over so I went to investigate: they've been off and brought their friends! At least 100 present and feeding well. The early start was for a ringing session and the first Chiffchaff of the year was caught on the first net round. Not much else until very late when another Chiffchaff which had all the hallmarks of an early migrant: gummed up feathers around the bill (see photo). Better was to follow when a Snipe was extracted! Never ringed one here before. A couple more Reed Buntings ringed too.

Migrant Chiffchaff

Adult Snipe trapped in the reserve today.

Migrant Chiffchaff                                 Adult Snipe trapped in the reserve today.

Posted March 15th at 6:27 pm by jon Turner in General Birding


 At Teigngrace at least thirteen Egrets around Blatchford Farm of which at least six were Cattle Egret.


Posted March 15th at 5:55 pm by Steve Hopper in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Soar Mill Valley

White Wagtail in the cove with male Pied and 5 singing Chiffchaffs.

Posted March 15th at 1:54 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Exminster and Powderham

At least one garganey still around near the lower carpark this morning, but mobile. Wheatear on Powderham marsh, and good numbers of chiffchaffs and cetti's warblers in song :)

Posted March 15th at 1:49 pm by Helen Whitall in General Birding

Fremington Pill and river Taw.

Glossy Ibis , 4 Cattle Egrets and1 1 Little Egrets in the Oaks at the top of Fremington pill at 10 a.m. On return ,at 11-50 Ibis feeding in stream at the sluice gate.    58 Black tailed Godwits, 3 Greenshank and 30+ Redshank, Two of the Godwits were coming into summer plumage. On the river Taw, off Saltpill pond a 1st winter/juv  Glaucous Gull flew downstream.While on the pond a Cettis Warbler sang and a male Reed Bunting showed well.

Posted March 15th at 1:24 pm by Malcolm Shakespeare in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Baggy - N.Devon

7 hungry Wheatear (5 male + 2 female) searching for food amongst the maritime turf early this morning.


Posted March 15th at 11:48 am by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Steps Bridge

A walk up river yesterday (Tues 14 March) produced an obliging pair of Goosander, Dipper, Marsh Tit, Grey Wagtail (pr), singing Chiffchaff and drumming Gt Spotted Woodpecker. Hope Mid Devon Branch's fieldtrip next week does better.

Posted March 15th at 8:54 am by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding

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