Devon Bird Sightings from 8th–14th May 2017

Breeding birds

Please think very carefully before posting any information on scarce or rare breeding species both here and elsewhere online.

A list of ‘at risk’ species in the county can be found here. Many of these receive full legal protection under Schedule 1 and/or are rare in the county and may be vulnerable to persecution/disturbance. It is an offence to intentionally disturb any of the Schedule 1 species during the breeding season without a valid licence. This also applies to anyone taking photographs of these species at or near the nest or whilst feeding dependant young. 

Some species may be found breeding at numerous locations however please keep information on these species limited to well-known sites (e.g. Labrador Bay for Cirl Bunting, Aylesbeare Common for Dartford Warbler). Others may be found as obvious migrants and as such can also be posted eg coastal Ring Ouzel and passage waders, or raptors eg Little Ringed PloverRed Kite or Marsh Harrier.

If you have any doubts and think there is a chance there may be breeding, either because of the habitat or behaviour of the bird(s) then do not post, but please submit your records to the County Recorder and the RSPB

Please be aware that egg collecting and other forms of persecution remain very real hazards for some of Devon’s birds.

Posted April 10th at 4:50 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.

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

Thursday 11th May 2017


Several Swifts seen this evening flying around over Okehampton. Earlier this afternoon between Okehampton and Meldon, I also saw a Red Kite circling close to a Buzzzard.

Posted May 11th, 2017 at 8:15 pm by Mike Jones in General Birding

Skern/Northam Burrows 8th May

Sorry this a late post.  Beautiful late afternoon/early evening with large flocks of Dunlin and ringed plover. Mixed in with them were some Knot, 11 whimbrel and dogs. I asked the couple with the four dogs if they would mind stopping their dogs chasing the birds to no avail whilst the owners of the other dog just stared with pride. 

Posted May 11th, 2017 at 7:02 pm by Richard Yeats in General Birding

Braunton Burrows

Cycled from Braunton on a circular route this morning along the Toll Road & American Road to Saunton village.

From the south end of Braunton Burrows to the north end the air was alive with the sound of bird song. Perfect weather conditions with no wind, warm & humid with a few spits & spots of rain from time to time  A great place at this time of year to practise your bird song skills.

The numbers of species counted this morning is only a proportion of the numbers present on the Burrows at the present time, recorded within a distance of 100 metres or so from the road or paths.

28 Common Whitethroat, sadly only 3 Lesser Whitethroat, lower numbers than last year, still 2 on the Tarka trail between Braunton & Barnstaple a few days ago. 33 Willow Wablers, 23 Blackcap, 22 Chiffchaff & a few Sedge Warbler.

Sadly, no Cuckoo heard this morning.

Posted May 11th, 2017 at 2:53 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Berry Head

Seawatch totals 0600-0830hrs: 1 ad Long-tailed Skua, 1 Pomarine Skua, 1 Bonxie, 1 Puffin, 1Great Northern Diver, 11 Manx Shearwaters, 2 Sandwich Tern plus 20+ C Dolphin, 2 H Porpoise.

Also 2 Spotted Flycatchers

video of Pomarine Skua: 

poor footage of the Long-tailed Skua: 

Posted May 11th, 2017 at 11:06 am by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Wednesday 10th May 2017

South Huish

Bob Burridge found an Avocet and Yellow Wagtail at the back of the scrapes this morning.  The Avocet and another Yellow Wagtail were present at 6pm as well as 3 Whimbrel, 4 Ringed Plover and a Dunlin.

Posted May 10th, 2017 at 10:35 pm by Nick Townsend in General Birding

Exminster Marshes 12:30 - 14:30

A saunter along the path to the Turf produced Sedge and Reed Warblers singing, some Common Whitethroats and a Lesser, see Nick Potters post. Good views of a male Kestrel and quite a few Lapwings, also four individual Hobbies, but then two in the same area highish above Lions's Rest Estate. Also one Whimbrel from the middle "car parking area", towards the canal.

Posted May 10th, 2017 at 10:18 pm by Simon Bates in General Birding


Around 100 ringed plover,3 whimbrel 3 grey plover,turnstone.Saved a swallow from a window strike at work today on dartmoor.After half hour resting in a box i took outside and it flew of strongly hopefully joining its friends busily sorting nest sites on the farm.

Posted May 10th, 2017 at 9:58 pm by Robert Marshall in General Birding

Bowling green marsh

Watched from 15:30 till 19:40

Started at the hide 2 male ruff showing well , 1 1st summer Mediterranean gull, 90+ black tailed godwit, 10 tufted duck, 3 gadwall, 10+ wigeon, good numbers of swift, house Martin and swallow moving through with a few sand martins.

With the tide coming in decided to go down to the viewing platform just as I got to the gate on the right of the lane just after 17:00 a group of swallow flew over had the briefest view of a possible Red Rumped swallow the bird had a pale rump but the light was bright and the view too short and despite looking had no more views so one which got away.

from the viewing platform as I got there Dave Boult had a possible stint just before I got there but we couldn't find it again so carried on looking through the waders as the tide came up. About 300+ dunlin, included 15+ sanderling, 4 ringed plover, 3+ knot, 60+ bar tailed godwits, 30+ grey plover, another male ruff, then got on a small wader just after 18:00 after checking the bird between us and with the birds getting more flighty it was clear it was a Little stint a good bird in the spring on the estuary good find by Dave.

A quick look back at the hide produced 2 more 1st summer Mediterranean gulls among 200+ black headed gulls, 25+ oystercatchers dropped in a good number for the marsh.

A good evenings birding 

Posted May 10th, 2017 at 9:28 pm by Keith Birchall in General Birding

Horsey Island

Two visits (morning and early evening) today. Far too much water by the time I got there this morning, but still a few waders hiding on the far side. This evening's list: 50+ Dunlin 34 Ringed Plover, 15 Grey Plover, 2 sum plum Knot, 1 Whimbrel, 4 Oystercatchers, 1 Black-tailed Godwit, and a summer plumage Turnstone, which was also seen last night after I left by Sue Bruce.

I was told there area 6 cygnets from the pair out along the Marsh road.

Event of the evening was seeing part (25) of the local flock of sheep stranded on the last tiny patch of grass on the saltmarsh just beyond the toll house. The tide was still rising, and eventually they took the plunge and all  made it to the embankment.

Posted May 10th, 2017 at 8:16 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Castle Drogo.

Male pied flycatcher,chiffchaff,willow warbler,blackcap,tree creeper,nuthatch,Butterflies,Comma,peacock,green veined white,clouded yellow.

Posted May 10th, 2017 at 7:14 pm by John Elvin in General Birding

Morte Point

2 Lesser Whitethroat calling in shrubbery by the iron gates near the cemetery at 0600. Still there on return at 1045. also 2 Whimbrel on the Point.


Posted May 10th, 2017 at 2:28 pm by Derek Stacey in General Birding

Exminster Marshes

Along the railway line path this lunchtime a Lesser Whitethroat singing frequently but showing infrequently, moving either side of the railway line. I eventually got good views of it before a passing train flushed it from its perch.

Posted May 10th, 2017 at 2:06 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding

Tuesday 9th May 2017

Yarner Wood and Trendlebere Down

A morning visit to a very cold Yarner Wood and Trendlebere Down with Keith Male, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Raven, numerous Goldcrest some of which were very vocal, Redstart 3, Wood Warbler 3 one collecting nesting material, Pied Flycatcher 9, one male having a normal metal BTO type ring and a gold coloured ring on the other leg, staff checking the nest boxes advised that at least one box contained dead chicks. Wren, pair of displaying Blackcap, Raven, Song and Mistle Thrush, Mandarin and Mallard duck.

On Trendlebere down Linnet 4+, at least three families of Stonechat, Tree Pipit 3, a Cuckoo flew over the top of us and flew into the top of Yarner wood some time later a second bird heard calling out on the moors, Yellowhammer 5+ and Willow Warbler 3+.

Sparrowhawk flew over the A38 at Ashburton.

Posted May 9th, 2017 at 9:46 pm by Steve Hopper in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Slapton waders

Seen on Saturday between Strete Gate and Memorial car park. Summer plummage Grey plover and a mixed flock of sanderling and ringed plover. Also present was a winter plumaged small wader with distinct decurved bill, either a dunlin with a more than average curve or curlew sandpiper, hoping someone else also saw it and can enlighten me. 

Posted May 9th, 2017 at 9:10 pm by Henry Trollope in General Birding

Plym Estuary

3 Whimbrels on the high tide tonight.

Posted May 9th, 2017 at 8:43 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Buckland Common yesterday

A few photos from Buckland Common (E. Dartmoor) yesterday afternoon.

Green hairstreak  Emperor moth, male Redpoll
Green hairstreak                      Emperor moth, male                                 Redpoll

Posted May 9th, 2017 at 8:29 pm by Chris Proctor in Other Wildlife

South Huish - Cattle Egrets

Eleven Cattle Egrets sighted at South Huish.  Initially in the field beyond the scrapes and later in a field with the cattle to the right of the scrapes.

Posted May 9th, 2017 at 7:18 pm by Nick Townsend in General Birding

Horsey island

On the rising tide this afternoon: 50 Dunlin, 24 Ringed Plover, one each of Curlew, Whimbrel, Redshank and Sanderling and 2 Knot (one sum plum).,

Posted May 9th, 2017 at 6:25 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Fingle Woods,Dartmoor

2 Garden Warbler - one singing. Now up to 13 Pied Fly Territories & 4 Redstarts. Female Goosander on river. No Wood Warblers here yet!

100+ Early Purple Orchids.

Posted May 9th, 2017 at 4:35 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding


Buck Roe Deer. Stopped on the road near Mortehoe village this morning to let it pass but it chose the hedge side.

Well don't just sit there, come and open the gate!
Well don't just sit there, come and open the gate!

Posted May 9th, 2017 at 3:41 pm by Derek Stacey in Other Wildlife

Dunsdon Nature Reserve

Heard a cuckoo calling at Dunsdon Nature Reserve, well away from hotspots for the cuckoo.

Posted May 9th, 2017 at 3:15 pm by Paul Rendell in General Birding

Berry Head

Off the headland: 4 Great Northern Divers, 3 Manx Shearwaters, 1 Common Scoter & 3 Harbour Porpoise

overhead: moving >E 39 Swift, 16 House Martin, 1 Sand Martin, 22 Swallow. 


Posted May 9th, 2017 at 11:44 am by Mike Langman in General Birding

Broadsands - Elberry cove

2 whimbrel on rocks between elberry and broadsands this morning.


Posted May 9th, 2017 at 11:35 am by graham folkerd in General Birding

yarner wood / soussons - Yesterday

yarner: pied flys, grey wagtail, whitethroat, cuckoo heard, willow warb, chiffchaff, kestrel,buzzard.

soussons: stonechats, meadow pips, treepip, female and male whinchat ( what a beaut!), cuckoos 2/3 heard and 1 seen, willow warb, skylayrk,

Posted May 9th, 2017 at 9:16 am by graham folkerd in General Birding

Red Kite

Sorry for late post. On Sunday it was great to see a Red Kite circling over the Ten Tor teams as they came to the finish from Cosdon/Belsone

Posted May 9th, 2017 at 3:00 am by Richard Burston in General Birding

Monday 8th May 2017

Nightjars at last!

On our fifth evening visit to Cann Wood, Plympton since the last week of April, tonight we were rewarded by a single 'gooik!' call from an unseen nightjar.  We were also barked at by an invisible Roe buck who thought we were too close for comfort.

Posted May 8th, 2017 at 11:00 pm by Chris & Janet Marcol in General Birding

Buckland Common, east Dartmoor

Birds on the common this afternoon included 1 redpoll, linnets, 2 pairs stonechat, abundant meadow pipit, 2 yellowhammer, willow wablers, several whitethroat, cuckoo heard, buzzards over. Other wildlife included 3+ emperor moth, 1 green hairstreak, 1 small fritillary sp., 1 fox, 1 roebuck. Back around the pine trees at the carpark around 6pm, songflighting redpolls, courting willow warblers & cuckoo (male and female).

Posted May 8th, 2017 at 10:40 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding


350/400 dunlin,9 sanderling,3 knot 1 barwit,9 grey plover

Posted May 8th, 2017 at 10:06 pm by Robert Marshall in General Birding

Soar and South Huish

Soar - Swift, Spotted Flycatcher, Reed Warbler, 2 Sedge Warblers, Great Spotted Woodpecker, good views of Fox and c10 Bottlenose Dolphins off Bolberry

One Cattle Egret still on South Huish Marsh and also, Sand Martin, Ringed Plover and 3 Dunlins.

Fox Fox

Posted May 8th, 2017 at 8:34 pm by Pete Aley in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Horsey Island, Braunton Marsh

Not nearly as many birds this evening. Perhaps as many as 40-50 Dunlin,8-10 Ringed Plover, 18 Whimbrel, 15 Grey Plover, 2 White Wagtails, and best was a Knot approaching summer plumage.

Posted May 8th, 2017 at 8:25 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Red kite over Hunters Inn

Spotted this red kite above Hunters Inn this afternoon. Further down in the valley a wood warbler was singing close to the road.

Red kiteWood Warbler
                                           Red kite                                                                   Wood Warbler

Posted May 8th, 2017 at 6:28 pm by R Gowen in General Birding

Corndon Tor, Dartmoor - 2 Cuckoo

Two ( seen in the air at the same time) mobile calling male cuckoo on Corndon Tor at 1610hrs today.

Posted May 8th, 2017 at 5:56 pm by David Pakes in General Birding

Roborough Down 08/05/2017

At least 2 if not 3 very vocal Cuckoo's on the Down around lunctime, Heard but not seen. Apart from the Robins, Pied Wagtail, Stonechats, Blackbirds, Corvids, Linnets and Dunnocks. 

Others: Brimstone (m & F) on the wing with small whites, red admiral & peacocks. Spotted Orchid plants beginning to appear.

Posted May 8th, 2017 at 5:19 pm by Michael Spencer in General Birding

Morte Point

0605 -1030. 33 species including 1 Reed Bunting (my 101 species this location), 1 Turnstone, 15 Manx Shearwater, 5 Fulmar, 2 Gannet, 7 Whitethroat, 50+ House Martin, good number of Swallows, 1 Sparrowhawk. GBbGs outnumbered Herring Gulls.

Reed BuntingReed Bunting
Reed Bunting

Posted May 8th, 2017 at 2:20 pm by Derek Stacey in General Birding

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