Devon Bird Sightings from 15th–21st July 2017

Recent Winter Weather

I should like to include a piece on the effects on birds of the recent severe cold snap (26 February to 3 March) in the next 'Devon Birds'. Please send any accounts, observations and anecdotes to me ( and I will try and compile a single account (with of course, full acknowledgement of all contributors). Please include some weather notes - for instance, here in East Devon it was the glazed frost on the morning of 2 March that did the most damage, covering everything with a layer of ice and forming an icy crust on the lying snow. Many thanks.

Mike Lock

Posted March 9th at 11:52 am by Mike Daniels in General Birding

Devon Birds Records Committee

After serving as a member of the Committee for five years, Chris Townend will be standing down at the end of June 2018. Chris, who leads wildlife watching holidays through his own company 'Wise Birding', has been an active member of the Committee, and his consistently pragmatic approach to assessing records has proved invaluable. The Society would like to thank him for his contribution over the past five years and wish him well in the future.

A formal application to fill the vacancy has been received from Andrew Smith, from Buckfastleigh, which is supported by members of the Committee. Andy has been birding for over forty years and moving to Devon in 2015, Andy has since explored the County, regularly visiting Soar and South Huish during migration, whilst more locally he spends his time and surveying at Hembury and Holne Woods.

Over the last 20 years Andy has led over 130 bird and natural history tours, mainly for Naturetrek. His experience and knowledge from birdwatching in over 50 countries including much of the Western Palearctic will be especially useful to Devon Birds and the Records Committee.

Unless the County Recorder receives any other applications before 15th April 2018, Andy will be formally elected to fill the vacancy for a five year period.

For more information and/or an application form please contact: Kevin Rylands, County Recorder. Email:

Posted February 21st at 11:01 am by Mike Daniels in General Birding


If you follow our Blog but are not currently a member of Devon Birds please consider joining Devon Birds to help us 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 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

Friday 21st July 2017

Berry Head

Just a few additions to Mark's post to complete the day at Berry Head from 17.20 to 19.40. One Great shearwater (19.10), 54 Manx Shearwater,1 Balearic Shearwater, 2 Arctic Skuas,12 Common Scoter, 2 Med. Gulls. Both Risso's Dolphin were seen again close in at 19.05. Thanks Mark for putting me on to them when seen earlier.

Posted July 21st, 2017 at 10:24 pm by Clive Mason in General Birding

Otter Estuary

Group of 5 Goosander redheads preening & resting on sandy strip near to Otter Head, around 2100 hrs, apparently unperturbed by late walkers & dogs.  

Posted July 21st, 2017 at 10:08 pm by Timothy Joy in General Birding

Berry Head update

05:20-17:20 (12hrs) species with updated totals from below: 181 Cory's Shearwaters, 82 Great Shearwaters, 6 large Shearwater sp., c4000 Manx Shearwaters, 6 Great Skuas, 4 Arctic Skuas, 22 European Storm-petrels, 45 Common Scoter, 7 Goosander / RB Merganser (fem/imm types too distant  to tell). Balearic Shearwater were very scarce for this time of year and optimum conditions with only 5 seen.  A single Risso's Dolphin continued to feed off the headland after the sea calmed down (one of the two earlier).

In a Devon context it was the 3rd highest Great Shearwater count and 4th highest Cory's Shearwater count, however, the views of some birds were exceptional. Photos below only with 300mm lens, zoomable if you click on them.

Cory's, Great & Manx ShearwatersCory's, Great & Manx Shearwater

Cory's (bottom left), Great (top left) and Manx (bottom right) Shearwaters

Great ShearwaterGreat ShearwaterGreat Shearwater

Great Shearwater

Cory's ShearwaterCory's ShearwaterCory's Shearwater

Cory's Shearwater

Posted July 21st, 2017 at 8:56 pm by Mark Darlaston in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


7  med gulls,4ad,1ss,1fs,juv.Just about to leave when i noticed a movement on beach which turned out to be a family party of little ringed plovers mum,dad and 1 baby17:00-17:50.

Posted July 21st, 2017 at 8:39 pm by Robert Marshall in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Start Point -additional sightings

In addition to Perrys' sightings, 2 Balearic Shearwaters, 2 Sooty Shearwaters, 1 Bonxie, 1 juv Yellow-legged gull, 1 Whimbrel and 1 Storm Petrel.

Posted July 21st, 2017 at 7:49 pm by Douglas Stannard in General Birding


Seawatching 05:45 - 11:45:

7 Cory's Shearwaters, 5 Great Shearwaters, 10 large shearwater sp., 1127+ Manx Shearwater, 4 Arctic Skua, 1 Great Skua, 16 Common Tern, 46 Kittiwake, 88 Common Scoter and 6 Whimbrel.

Posted July 21st, 2017 at 7:13 pm by Laurie Allnatt in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Horsey Island

During a clearance in the weather this aft cycled along the Toll Rd to Horsey. It was certainly worth the time & effort with 2 early Spoonbills feeding then resting with the incoming tide.No colour rings on these two.

Posted July 21st, 2017 at 5:48 pm by Rob Jutsum in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Berry Head

Fantastic Seawatch for those that braved the weather.. 0520-14.20hrs Highlights: 164 Corys Shearwaters, 81 Great Shearwaters, 5 Sooty Shearwaters, 4 Balearic Shearwaters, 3,500+ Manx Shearwaters,  20+ Storm-petrel, 1 Puffin, 5 Great Skuas, 2 Arctic Skuas,3 Mediterranean Gulls, 2-3 juv Yellow-legged Gulls, 2 Risso's Dolphins good numbers of Harbour Porpoise.

Video link of one of the Cory's Shearwaters.. 

Video link of one of the Great Shearwaters.. 

Posted July 21st, 2017 at 3:38 pm by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Start Point

Strong S-SW, heavy rain from 13:30.

Great seawatch 08:15-13:00. Good nos. of large shearwaters south ie 82 Cory's and 21 Greats. Also a small number not specifically id. Good passage of Manx Shearwaters through the morning otherwise just one Arctic Skua.

Posted July 21st, 2017 at 3:15 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Sparrowhawk, Mutley

1350hrs.  today spotted Sparrowhawk on a chimney top at Seaton Avenue, Mutley, Plymouth.

Posted July 21st, 2017 at 2:50 pm by Michael Spencer in General Birding

Berry Head

Quite quite on the bird front at Berry Head today. This is what we saw: herring and great black-backed gulls, feral pigeons, swifts, pheasants, linnets, cormorants/shags, stonechat(s), corvids, magpies and gannets. Some reports of harbour porpoise but we didn't get to see them and also an early emerging gatekeeper!

Posted July 21st, 2017 at 6:39 am by Samuel Gray in General Birding

Thursday 20th July 2017

Topsham viewing platform

On a falling tide this evening, 8 Greenshank feeding in the little bay on the right by the stone sea wall, in company with a few Redshank and a couple of Curlew. Female Sparrowhawk in the trees, but throat seems surprisingly pale. Apologies for the poor quality photos, just a basic digital! 

Posted July 20th, 2017 at 9:46 pm by Timothy Joy in General Birding

Preston Torbay

And another juvenile Yellow-legged Gull with a juvenile Herring Gull for comparison on rocks at Preston Seafront.

juvenile Yellow-legged Gull Preston with Herring Gull Juv July 21 2017 ML  juvenile Yellow-legged Gull Preston with Herring Gull Juv July 21 2017 ML2

Posted July 20th, 2017 at 8:54 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding

parakeet roost

40 pluss ringneck parakeet central park inc 2 blue 

Posted July 20th, 2017 at 8:51 pm by barry in General Birding


A Whimbrel was feeding on the beach this morning. Also a female Redstart was around the coastguard cottages and a Willow Warbler was by the hide. There are still plenty of Reed Warblers about and the Cetti's is still singing. On the marsh, just afew Mallards and Moorhens and 7 Gadwalls. 

Posted July 20th, 2017 at 2:21 pm by Paul Albrechtsen in General Birding

Wednesday 19th July 2017

Siskin in Exwick

A male Siskin appeared in the garden (Exwick) for around five minutes feeding on the Niger seed. A first for the garden, usually swarmed by Golfdinches and House Sparrows. Have read that Siskins are more likely to be seen in gardens following wet weather perhaps explaining this new visitor.

Posted July 19th, 2017 at 10:13 pm by Lucy Forsey in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

A good showing of gulls today with a juv Yellow-legged Gull (scarce here - record shots attached) and 5 Mediterranean Gulls (ad-s, 2nd-s, 1st-s and 2 juvs). Also - Shag, 3 Whimbrels, 2 Dunlins, 30 Curlews, Stock Dove, Grey Wagtail and 5 Little Egrets.

Yellow-legged Gull, juv
Yellow-legged Gull, juv

Yellow-legged Gull, juv
Yellow-legged Gull, juv

Yellow-legged Gull, juv
Yellow-legged Gull, juv

Posted July 19th, 2017 at 5:20 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Goodrington & Broadsands

2 juvenile Yellow-legged Gulls on the beach at Goodrington. (bird on right - note small white notches on tertial feathers, just above the wing tips, not a common feature on juv Y-lG)

juv Yellow-legged Gull Goodrington 19 July 2017 ML   juv Yellow-legged Gull 2 Goodrington 19 July 2017 ML


3 Mediterranean Gulls on beach (2 ad s & 1 juv), off the beach two groups of Common Scoter totaling 35.


Posted July 19th, 2017 at 9:40 am by Mike Langman in General Birding

Tuesday 18th July 2017

Swifts over Brixham

Sitting in my garden in Brixham last night about 9.20 to 9.40 I was treated to a formation flying display by 17 Swifts and it was spectacular. They flew in close formation, even better than the red arrows, then in the end flew very high and vanished into the clouds. Sorry no pictures was busy watching them!!!

Posted July 18th, 2017 at 10:27 am by Nigel Smallbones in General Birding

Monday 17th July 2017

Velator and the Toll Road, Braunton.

Ringing in the reserve this morning was productive, especially if you (like me) like Blackcaps!. We ringed 18, all but one were juveniles, plus a retrap and two singing males present still. Also ringed: 3 Treecreepers, 2 Sedge Warblers, 7 Goldcrests, 6 Chiffchaffs, 4 Reed Warblers, and a very recently fledged Song Thrush - this may be from a third brood - they've been singing for months now and the male was still singing today!

This evening I cycled down the Toll Road to the flood, entertainment was provided by some plonker who had managed to get his 4WD stuck in the mud by the scrape! A tractor duly arrived and hauled it out. Sadly this disturbed most of the birds, but present were 9 Little Egrets, 18 Redshank, 10 Black-tailed Godwit, 3 Greenshank, 15 or so Dunlin, 5 Curlew, and a Ruff.

Posted July 17th, 2017 at 9:02 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding


At the Plym Estuary & Saltram this morning: 2 Mediterranean Gulls (adults), Kingfisher, Whimbrel, 26 Curlews, 9 juv Black-headed Gulls, 7 Little Egrets and 50+ Swifts. Also lots of Gatekeepers and a Roe Deer (doe).

This afternoon, 4+ White-letter Hairstreaks in Central Park (record shot below). Also a selection of other butterflys including Holly Blues and Commas and a Peregrine over.

Yesterday, a Mediterranean Gull amongst the Black-headeds after flying ants over my house (Mount Gould).

White-letter Hairstreak
White-letter Hairstreak

Posted July 17th, 2017 at 8:00 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

fremington, home farm.

6 young Herons on the scrape,near the hide plus 4 little egrets,4 young sedge warblers,little flock of common sandpipers on beach area on the tide,got pics but not good.Goldcrest,greenfinch,linnets, stonechat and a seal feeding on the entrance to the river. Butterflies,red admiral, peacock,comma,burnet,small skipper,gatekeepers and emperor dragonflies.

Posted July 17th, 2017 at 5:41 pm by John Elvin in General Birding

Goosanders it is!

Thanks to Jonathan for photo of one of the Otter "redheads". The pic looks just like our two birds and I'm happy to accept his identification as Goosanders. 

Posted July 17th, 2017 at 2:00 pm by Timothy Joy in General Birding

Sunday 16th July 2017

Lyme away boat trip

A few more pics from this mornings trip. You never appreciate how small Storm Petrels are till you see them next to other sea birds. Another great trip.

Storm Petrel between Fulmars
Storm Petrel between Fulmars

Posted July 16th, 2017 at 10:49 pm by Paul Treen in General Birding

16-07-17 Marbled White @ Ford Park Cemetary

Plenty of butterflies showing at Ford Park Cemetery today, the best being the Marbled White, the rarer Small Copper (variety ab. caeruleopunctata) along with Gatekeepers, Large Whites, Burnets, Ringlets and more

Posted July 16th, 2017 at 8:34 pm by Greg Bradbury in Other Wildlife

Brixham Harbour hirundines

The swallows have fledged a brood from a nest behind a ladder on the harbour wall, on the north side of the Fish Market. The nest is only about a metre above high water mark - the second year they have successfully nested here. Nearby, a brood of house martins look about ready to leave a nest under the eaves of the yacht club (close to the flagstaff) - view from the path behind the fish market..

Swallow family party (2nd juv. was on fence above)  House Martin nest
Swallow family party (2nd juv. was on fence above)            House Martin nest

Posted July 16th, 2017 at 8:15 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

Lyme Bay boat trip

Some of the birds from this morning's trip out of Brixham. For a while we had 2 bonxies both mobbing the gulls.

Bonxie (Great Skua) Manx Shearwater Storm Petrel
Bonxie (Great Skua)                              Manx Shearwater                         Storm Petrel

Posted July 16th, 2017 at 7:56 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

Boat Trip

Heres some pics from the trip out with Nigel, Iam sure there will be more from others to follow?

Great Skua Fulmar
Great Skua                           Fulmar

Posted July 16th, 2017 at 7:40 pm by Simon Thurgood in General Birding

central park about 20 ringneck parakeet pic of a couple


Posted July 16th, 2017 at 4:28 pm by barry in General Birding

Lyme Bay boat trip

This mornings trip out of Brixham, sea state was a bit lumpy, We traveled 8 miles out and had some good birds. 1 Med Gull, 50+ Manx Shearwater, 1 Balearic Shearwater, 1 Storm Petrel, Kittiwake, many Gulls and 2 Bonxies(Great Skua), these passed over the boat and one spent a long time at the rear of the boat chasing Herring Gulls.

I hope somebody will post some pictures for you to see. I missed taking any shots as I had my head down with the chum!!!! Still got some places next week, if interested call 07866202576.  




Posted July 16th, 2017 at 2:06 pm by Nigel Smallbones in General Birding


 Red Throated Diver (juv) off groyne in front of Dawlish station.

Posted July 16th, 2017 at 1:58 pm by Nick Workman in General Birding

Hobby and white Buzzards ~ Dartmoor

Following early morning phone calls from members of the DBWPS today started with a trip out to Dartmoor to pick up an injured adult Hobby that had been recovered by a farmer on his farm above Widdicombe, the bird has a badly injured left wing and is in very poor condition.

On the track down to the farm two recently fledged almost pure white Buzzards sitting on a field wall and a male Redstart, lots of Swallows and a couple of Pied wagtails.

Posted July 16th, 2017 at 12:45 pm by Steve Hopper in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

South Huish

Cattle Egret family at South Huish yesterday 15th 

Cattle Egret Family Group   Juvenile Cattle Egret
Cattle Egret Family Group        Juvenile Cattle Egret

Posted July 16th, 2017 at 8:22 am by Roger Backway in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Saturday 15th July 2017

Otter Estuary

I was interested to read Tim's note of Friday 14th regarding two birds (Goosander or Merganser?) on the Otter. 

The previous day I saw what I believed to be 2 juvenile Goosanders fishing opposite the west bank hide.  I believe Red-breasted Merganser would have been out of season although Tyler (Birds of Devon) does say that non-breeding birds do stay beyond April and sometimes into the summer.  I will record mine as juv. Goosander but am open to correction.  The above is the best picture I could get with a bridge camera at 200 yards.

Posted July 15th, 2017 at 8:29 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding

Goodrington Beach Torbay

Two juvenile  Yellow-legged Gulls on the exposed rocks in the middle of the beach, one was huge (facing right) the other (facing left and in flight) just a little bigger than the surrounding Herring Gulls


Posted July 15th, 2017 at 6:55 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding

South Huish

Pair of Cattle Egret with 2 juveniles photos to follow 

Posted July 15th, 2017 at 2:05 pm by Roger Backway in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

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