Devon Bird Sightings from 15th–21st May 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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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

Sunday 21st May 2017

Juvenile Starlings at Exwick

We have a small colony of Starlings living nearby and they seem all to have fledged at the same time - I counted 36 on the feeders this afternoon!

Posted May 21st, 2017 at 10:11 pm by Martin Overy in General Birding

Haldon Forest Butterflies

After a disappointing two days of dipping Golden Orioles and the Woodchat Shrike I felt like I needed some therapy. That came in the form of a walk in Haldon Forest with BC Devon Branch.

Small Pearl Bordered Fritilary Mating Pearl Bordered Fritilary plus intruding male Small Pearl Bordered Fritilary

There was an abundance of Pearl Bordered Fritilary, but not so many SPB Fritilaries. It was great to see a mating pair being buzzed by a hopeful male, who was completely ignored. Other species of note were Brimstone, Dingy and Grizzled Skipper, Speckled Yellow moths, Green Veined White and a Painted Lady. It was well worth the visit.

Green Veined White Pearl Bordered Dingy Skipper

Posted May 21st, 2017 at 5:57 pm by Steph Murphy in Other Wildlife

Bennett's Cross to Challacombe Farm

We had a very good walk from Bennett's Cross to Challacombe Farm, and back again via Headland Warren, today with the Exeter RSPB group. We had good views of the Great Grey Shrike, which this morning was in the valley before we reached Sousson's plantation. Some members of the group also had brief views of a Hobby and later, four Crossbills. At Challacombe Farm, the Swallows and House Martins were busy both feeding and collecting mud from the pond.  There were also at least a couple of Spotted Flycatchers, Redstart, Nuthatch and a Treecreeper carrying material to its nest.  We saw several Whinchats in both valleys, but only one Wheatear (near Headland Warren).

Posted May 21st, 2017 at 5:45 pm by Richard Swinbank in General Birding

Grass Snake Stover Country Park 21-05-17

A wonderful sighting of a Grass Snake at Stover today, even posed for one of the picture. A Great-spotted Woodpecker (Female) feeding a single male chick



Posted May 21st, 2017 at 5:23 pm by Greg Bradbury in Other Wildlife

Saturday 20th May 2017

central park parrots

15 pluss ringneck parakeets central park

Posted May 20th, 2017 at 8:52 pm by barry in General Birding

Bennett's Cross to Challacombe Farm


Further to the earlier post, the Great Grey Shrike showing well on the clearfell close to Golden Dagger Mine on the edge of Soussons.  Although mobile, the bird was perching prominently and showing well.

Also between Bennett's Cross and Challacombe Farm (and in spite of the cold, windy and showery weather):

Meadow Pipit, Tree Pipit, Stonechat, Whinchat, Green Woodpecker, Kestrel, Raven, Grey Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Spotted Flycatcher, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Redpoll, Mistle Thrush, Goldcrest, Redstart.  2 Garden Warbler calling. Cuckoo calling in the distance towards Warren House.

Posted May 20th, 2017 at 7:53 pm by Paul Darlington in General Birding

Cuckoo Ball, Dartmoor

No sign of the woodchat shrike this morning in less than ideal conditions - cold, breezy and misty although it did brighten up over the morning.

However some stunning scenery, prehistoric ruins, the pleasant company of fellow birders and a good range of Moor birds - wheatears, yellowhammers, linnets, skylarks, stonechats, meadow pipits, 2 kestrel, 2 raven, 3 swift, swallows, house martins, a male reed bunting and a cuckoo with willow warbler, blackcap, chiffchaff and great spotted woodpecker heard - gave a very enjoyable morning.


Posted May 20th, 2017 at 7:19 pm by Stuart Green in General Birding

great grey Shrike

Still near Challacombe farm. Also 3 cuckoos, whinchat, green woodpecker, jay and spotted flycatcher

Posted May 20th, 2017 at 5:58 pm by Jeff Hacon in General Birding

Friday 19th May 2017


Bellever Plantation, evening: 2 Cuckoos, 2m and 1f Nightjar, 2 Green Woodpeckers and 1 Tawny Owl.

Posted May 19th, 2017 at 10:51 pm by Andy Smith in General Birding


2 today at 13:00 over umberleigh north devon briefly heading n seen from private garden chittlehamholt

Posted May 19th, 2017 at 10:03 pm by Robert Marshall in General Birding

Woodchat Shrike

Woodchat Shrike still showing well at Cuckoo Ball it has moved location it is nearer the entrance to the moor from the lane by the old factory building in the gorse bushes.

Plenty of Yellowhammers Linnets Wheatears Skylarks and Cuckoos.

Woodchat Shrike Woodchat Shrike Yellowhammer
Woodchat Shrike                        Woodchat Shrike                                         Yellowhammer

Posted May 19th, 2017 at 9:49 pm by Roger Backway in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

fremington quay and home farm marsh.

Whitethroat 12, sedge warbler 5, cettis,reed warbler andreed bunting,both in pairs,common sandpiper, larks,bullfinch,chiffchaff, willow warbler,numerous swifts swallows and martins,.Butterflies,small copper,small blue and I believe a four spot broad chaser dark brown and the first large chaser we have seen, appologies to the Gaia trust warden if I got this wrong.

Posted May 19th, 2017 at 5:50 pm by john elvin in General Birding

Soar and South Huish

A male Serin this morning (08.30) feeding for several minutes near East Soar Farm before disappearing. Then seen again briefly half an hour later flying and perched, but not since. Also a Turtle Dove in the area all morning, and nearby, Spotted Flycatcher, Sparrowhawk and Sedge Warbler.

Later at South Huish: White Wagtail, Sand Martin, Whimbrel and 6 adult Dunlins. 

Posted May 19th, 2017 at 5:47 pm by Pete Aley in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Morte Point

2 Juvenile Ravens with adult pair this morning.  1 Lesser Whitethroat calling near the Cemetery and 1 Whimbrel on the Point.

Eds: all three of these are juveniles - dull body with glossy wings and small pale gape.

Posted May 19th, 2017 at 2:22 pm by Derek Stacey in General Birding

East Soar

Turtle Dove flew into Ash Tree above the farm allowing excellent views before speeding off along the hedge- patch tick! Also male Sparrowhawk, singing Reed Warbler.

Roe Deer male, female Broad-bodied Chaser, 2 Green Hairstreak, 3 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary.

Posted May 19th, 2017 at 12:25 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Thursday 18th May 2017

Woodchat Shrike

The female Woodchat Shrike still this morning at Cuckoo Ball on the east side of Western Beacon,  on the moor at the top of the valley, 200 yards west of the burial chamber. Also 2 Cuckoo. Closest access from the Bittaford to Ivybridge road, turn right by old machinery farm and park at the end of the lane by the gate to the moor.

Posted May 18th, 2017 at 11:23 pm by Mark Bailey in General Birding

Preston Seafront

A brief walk along Marine Parade this morning, before start of a working day, produced: 2 Oystercatchers, plenty of Herring Gulls, Shag, Goldfinches, Starlings, House Sparrows, my 1st sight of House Martins of the year - 4, Wren and star of the day was a female Mallard with 8 ducklings.

Posted May 18th, 2017 at 9:49 pm by Stephen Huggins in General Birding


First this year Hummingbird Hawk Moth on Rhododendrons next to shop.

Posted May 18th, 2017 at 8:32 pm by John Elvin in General Birding


Great-spotted woodpecker taking nectar from the red hot poker in the garden this afternoon.

Posted May 18th, 2017 at 8:07 pm by Margaret Phillips in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Little on the water bird front this morning, but a pair of Nuthatches feeding 2 young, 2 Whitethroats and a Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Posted May 18th, 2017 at 7:42 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Dartmoor Challacombe Down

On a walk today from Headland Warren around Challacombe Down thro' Golden Dagger Tin Mine. Whinchats 8(m), 2(f), Spotted Flycatchers 3, Common Redstarts 3, Garden Warblers (h), Lesser Redpolls, Cuckoos 3, Bullfinch. Best of all Great Grey Shrike still around position SX 682 805. Plus many of the commoner species.

Posted May 18th, 2017 at 7:41 pm by Colin & Joyce Hannaford in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Arlington to the Loxhore Gate.

1Pied flycatcher 2pairs spotted flycatcher 4 Gs woodpecker,siskin ,bullfinch,black cap,kingfisher,chiffchaff,swallows,martins and 4 swift,willow warbler and good numbers of woodland birds especially blackbirds and thrush. Cover all really thick so spotting gets harder,lovely day though.

Posted May 18th, 2017 at 6:55 pm by John Elvin in General Birding

Clearbrook today

One pair of Cuckoo seen flying low over the golf course,numbers of Willow Warblers,1 f Redstart,4 Greenfinches,2 Garden Warblers,8 Pairs of Stonechates,3 Meadow Pipits,1 Skylark,1 m Kestrel,2 Common Buzzards,8 Linnets,1 m Redpoll,1m Yellowhammer,Corvoids,3 Swallows,the odd Chiffchaff calling.

Posted May 18th, 2017 at 5:04 pm by chris buckland in General Birding


3 Lesser Whitethroat near Cemetery this morning

Posted May 18th, 2017 at 3:11 pm by Derek Stacey in General Birding

Woodchat Shrike - Cuckoo Ball, Bittaford

(Late Post for yesterday) After the rain and thick mist cleared late yesterday evening I went up to Cuckoo Ball, Bittaford to see if Mike Daniel's Woodchat shrike was still there. Passing a posing yellowhammer in gorse on the side of Western Beacon the Shrike's past location came into view and on a dead tree about 600m distant I saw what could have been the profile of a shrike. Subsequent examination of distant photos shows that it was indeed the shrike. It had moved on as I got closer and started to walk up Cuckoo Ball towards the burial chamber. Plenty of meadow pipits, skylarks and two wheatear present. I was joined by Patrick Hawkins, who had walked up through the field containing the trees on which the shrike normally perches without seeing or moving it. However on my way down I again saw the shrike firstly on a barbed wire fence and then on the same dead tree where I had seen it earlier. It gave Patrick and I a quick good, distant view, before moving off as we approached. A cuckoo was seen and heard nearby on the slopes of Western Beacon.

Distant Woodchat Shrike - Cuckoo Ball - 17/5/17 Yellowhammer - Cuckoo Ball - 17/5/17 Skylark - Cuckoo Ball - 17/5/17
 Woodchat Shrike                                       Yellowhammer                                                  Skylark 

Posted May 18th, 2017 at 8:37 am by David Pakes in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Swifts over Newton Abbot

25+ swifts buzzing around over the St Leonards Road area of Newton Abbot this morning.

Posted May 18th, 2017 at 12:02 am by Kevin Johns in General Birding

Wednesday 17th May 2017

Lundy on Tuesday 16th

A male Golden Oriole was reported in Millcombe yesterday afternoon. Click here for further info.

Please note that the "possible Bonelli's Warbler species" seen during the Devon Birds day-trip on Sunday has now been identified, from a series of very good photos, as a Garden Warbler.

Posted May 17th, 2017 at 2:34 pm by Tim Jones in General Birding


Good numbers of Swifts over house North Plymouth first of the year from here,

Posted May 17th, 2017 at 2:24 pm by chris buckland in General Birding

Plym Estuary

On the pool at high tide, 5 Little Egrets and 3 Lesser Black-backed Gulls (2 ads and a 3rd-s) but little else apart from plenty of rain! 

Posted May 17th, 2017 at 1:28 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Yesterday 16 May Prawle Point

Seawatch from 6.40 until 11.20am in SSW 4-5, overcast,some mist and showers, perfect conditions yet no skuas!

Totals seen : 2 Balearic Shearwaters, Storm Petrels, 1027 Manx Shearwaters ( with feeding parties of 100 plus groups seen as leaving) , 9 Puffins, 5 Great Northern Divers and 104 Kittiwakes all west. Oddities being a female Mallard that came in off the sea and a Swift tracking westwards.

Of interest still 4 Cattle Egrets at Chivelstone Cross.

Posted May 17th, 2017 at 12:20 pm by Tony Marchese in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Tuesday 16th May 2017


Photo of juvenile long-tailed tits.

Posted May 16th, 2017 at 10:40 pm by Margaret Phillips in General Birding


Apologies for the terrible photo taken in the rain this evening but 9 or 10 juvenile long -tailed tits being fed by the adults in the garden.. A spotted flycatcher still  present also.

Posted May 16th, 2017 at 8:13 pm by Margaret Phillips in General Birding

Berry Head

Seawatch between 0600-0900: 3 Pomarine Skuas (2x ads and a 3cy), 1 Arctic Skua, 1 Storm Petrel, 30 Puffin, 293 Manx Shearwaters, 1 Great Northern Diver, 2 Whimbrel, 2 Sandwich Terns, 4 'commic' Tern, 14 Common Scoter.

Posted May 16th, 2017 at 1:40 pm by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Berry Head

Hobby quartering the Northern slopes at dusk last night

Posted May 16th, 2017 at 11:12 am by Timothy Clyburn in General Birding

Monday 15th May 2017


Two spotted flycatchers here in the garden late this afternoon and early evening.

Posted May 15th, 2017 at 7:36 pm by Margaret Phillips in General Birding

Eastern Subalpine Warbler-Dawlish Warren NNR

Sorry for late post from yesterday evening's male Eastern Subalpine Warbler seen around the trees from the back path between main pond and golf course at Dawlish Warren Nature Reserve but not seen today.

Also 4K video where it can be heard singing and best watched in the higher resolution.

Eastern Subalpine WarblerEastern Subalpine WarblerEastern Subalpine Warbler
Eastern Subalpine Warbler

Posted May 15th, 2017 at 7:02 pm by David Boult in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Berry Head

Seawatching with MD 0600-1445hrs final totals: 2 Sooty Shearwaters south at 1020 & 1405hrs (good for May!), 3 Balearic Shearwaters, 1854 Manx Shearwaters, 2 Arctic Skuas, 2 Bonxies, 5 Great Northern Divers >s  & 2 > north, 37 Puffins, 20 Common Scoter, 1 Common Gull, 100+ Kittiwakes, 13 Black-headed Gulls, 13 Sandwich Terns, 1 Whimbrel,  10+ Common Dolphins, & 3 Harbour Porpoise. 

link to some close views of some of the Common Dolphins moving South: 

Posted May 15th, 2017 at 11:57 am by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Lundy Island

A few more pictures from the Lundy Trip

Guillemot Grey Seal  Fulmar
Guillemot                                    Grey Seal                                                              Fulmar

Posted May 15th, 2017 at 11:27 am by Duncan Leitch in General Birding

Lundy Island

A great day at the fantastically organised Lundy trip yesterday. Very lucky with the beauitful weather. Lots of birds to see, even if a little bit distant to get some really good photos. As expected lots of Guillemot, Puffin, Razorbill, Fulmer, Kittiwake, Manx Shearwater, Pipits, Wheatear. Glimpse sightings of a possible Bonelli's Warbler and Red Rumped Swallow. Also a couple of Spotted Flycatcher. Plenty of Grey/Atlantic Seals and Sika Deer.

Manx Shearwater  Puffins   Kittiwake
Manx Shearwater                                         Puffins                                               Kittiwake

Posted May 15th, 2017 at 11:25 am by Duncan Leitch in General Birding

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