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  Long-tailed Skua, Dawlish Warren 11 Oct
Barred Warbler, Thurlestone 30 Aug 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
Hooded Crow, Baggy Point 10 May  


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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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 by George & Julia Harris in General Birding

Friday 28th July 2017

Bowling Green Marsh Thursday afternoon.

Two Wood Sandpipers and Common Sandpiper

Posted July 28th, 2017 at 5:56 pm by Richard Tyler in General Birding

Labrador Bay, Shaldon.

12 members of DB attended this mornings fieldtrip (East Devon Branch) led by Richard Swinbank is search of Cirl Buntings and we were rewarded by many sightings including a family group.  Out to sea a few Gannet were initially present, a flock of c12 Scoter flew south and a few distant sea birds kept up the interest as to their ID but were too far out to confirm as we had all left our scopes in the cars.   Other birds of interest were a Buzzard, 2 Swift, several Willow Warbler, Whitethroat, c20 Goldfinch, Green Woodpecker and Skylark.  The steep gradients of the site failed to defeat us and the visit was a first for several of us and followed a talk last year by Kath Jeffs, RSPB Cirl Bunting Project Officer.

Posted July 28th, 2017 at 5:38 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding

Skern, Northam Burrows

Checked out this morning's high tide roost:

84 Black-headed Gulls,

81 Oystercatchers

54 Curlews

1 Whimbrel

1 Ringed Plover

1 Turnstone

2 Knot (1 in sum plum)

c16 Dunlin

3 Sandwich Tern

NO Little Gull :(

Posted July 28th, 2017 at 12:33 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Thursday 27th July 2017

Berry Head

Arrived at the head shortly before 6 this morning to find a largely flat sea. No wonder none of the regulars were around! However, as Bob has said there were Gannets and Dolphins for some entertainment. About 6.30 an Arctic Skua flew strongly west, this was followed by two more making a nuisance of themselves with the Commic Terns going by. A while later two more appeared and were joined by a third. The next Skua was bigger and all brown and joined by another Arctic Skua, which made a pass at it from below - a Pomarine Skua! During my stay a few Manx Shearwaters flew by and the last group had a Balearic Shearwater tagging along. Quite pleased with this, I headed off for high tide at Dawlish.

Sadly the path to the hide is still inaccessible. I could see Terns on the point with a lot of Oystercatchers, but distance too far to make much of an id.

Bowling Green Marsh has changed hasn't it! The two Wood Sandpipers obliged in front of the hide. 1 Dunlin.

Posted July 27th, 2017 at 9:38 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Berry Head 27 July 2017

Great views of approx 40 Gannets feeding a along with 5 Harbour Porpoises until 2 Jet Skis arrived and lingered. After about 30 minutes the Gannets and Porpoise reappeared.

Harbour Porpoise Gannet Gannet
Harbour Porpoise                          Gannet                                                     Gannet

Posted July 27th, 2017 at 6:27 pm by Bob Telford in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh

The 2 Wood Sandpipers were at times very close to the hide this lunchtime. Also 1 Common Sandpiper.

Posted July 27th, 2017 at 2:14 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding


An immature Little Gull loafing with Black-headed Gulls over high tide this morning. Also 1 Sandwich Tern, 2Whimbrel, and just 2 Med Gulls. All change on arrival of a Peregrine.

Posted July 27th, 2017 at 10:32 am by Roger & Lynne Doble in General Birding

Wednesday 26th July 2017

Prawle Point seawatch

Decent seawatch from about 13:00 to 16:30, several hundred Manx Shearwaters went past during that time, also 3 Arctic Skua, a couple of Guillemots and 2 Razorbills, hundreds of Gannets, many Kittiwakes too. Perhaps the best moment though was watching a pod of 10 or more Bottlenose Dolphins swimming east very close in to the headland, giving great views as they breached.

Posted July 26th, 2017 at 6:57 pm by Elliot Dowding in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh

2 Wood Sandpipers were making good use of the new scrapes at Bowling Green Marsh this lunchtime. They disappeared for a few minutes when a Great Black-backed Gull disturbed most of the waders on the marsh but came back to show well in front of the hide again and were still there when I left at about 1.45. Also 1 Common Sandpiper.

Posted July 26th, 2017 at 2:04 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding

The skern, Northam Burrows

High tide this morning (around 9am), injured juvenile guillemot resting on rocks. Also 2 sandwich terns just in front of the car park.

Posted July 26th, 2017 at 10:32 am by Mickael Henique in General Birding

query Adonis

We have many photos of the Adonis from around Durlston Park in Swanage Dorset,and we also believe this is not an Adonis,it is difficult with these butterflies so tiny and active and on home farm fremington this week we did think how stunningly blue they look.It has blacck horizontal lines all around the wings which continue right to the tip. In the sun they look almost turquoise.

Posted July 26th, 2017 at 7:40 am by John Elvin in General Birding

Tuesday 25th July 2017

Juvenile Green Woodpecker

A day later than last year, this year's juvenile Green Woodpecker makes a first appearance on our lawn.

Green Woodpecker Green Woodpecker Green Woodpecker
Green Woodpecker


Posted July 25th, 2017 at 11:30 pm by Bob Telford in General Birding


Ringing this morning in the reserve: Another 13 Blackcaps, 4 Reed Warblers, 2 Chiffchaffs and 2 Goldcrests. Plus this juvenile female Kingfisher.

This evening cycled down the toll road - Lots of Gulls, mostly Black-headed - about 300? In amongst them about 20 Mediterranean Gulls. Waders were Redshank, Greenshank and Dunlin in about equal numbers - 15-20 of each, 1 Whimbrel, 1 Ringed Plover, 3 Knot, and 162 (possibly more) Curlew, 3 of which were colour ringed. This is why my counts were so sketchy - I was trying to get the combinations, but they all promptly stood on one leg!! Will let you now if I get any feedback.

Juvenile female Kingfisher
Juvenile female Kingfisher

Posted July 25th, 2017 at 9:31 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Kieth' mystery wader

Just an observation about Keith' mystery wader.

Going out on a limb here, as never having seen one but surely the really white forehead and bill length make a decent case for a possible Western Sandpiper. 

Posted July 25th, 2017 at 6:15 pm by Spencer Dicks in General Birding

Monday 24th July 2017

stnt / peep

pic of mystery wader at Topsham this evening any views welcome 

stint / peep
stint / peep

Posted July 24th, 2017 at 11:36 pm by Keith Birchall in General Birding

Stint / peep Topsham

Watched from 17:30 till 20:30

Just after 17:30 picked up a distant wader of the goatwalk in Topsham at first had no idea of size but it caught my attention eventually it walked past some Dunlin and it appeared to be a stint / peep so a couple of calls and a short time later was joined by other local birders but no good views could be obtained it soon moved and was eventually relocated in the goosemoor reserve in Topsham with other birders it was either a Little Stint or a possible Semipalmated Sandpiper have attached a photo of the bird and have circulated some other photos and hoping to be able to solve the mystery, it flew of high east just after 20:00 

Posted July 24th, 2017 at 11:20 pm by Keith Birchall in General Birding

Avon Estuary & South Efford Marsh

11am - 14.15hrs. Amongst others, including lots of black headed gulls, 4 Common Sandpiper on the estuary, 2 Greenshank, 1 sp Black Tailed Godwit, 20 Curlew on marsh. Of particular interest was the presence of 4 Cattle Egrets, having seen 3 there the previous day with Eric Wotten, as we cleared the track to the hide. Mike Passman's "Thurlestone Bay" Fishing Website contains some good information about the likelihood of these Cattle Egrets breeding in the area, which would be a first for Devon, I believe. 2 of the Egrets ( Photo attached), possibly both juveniles, came fairly close to the hide, one of them, as characteristic of juveniles, not yet showing the diagnostic yellow bill of the other.( this was the same as the other two more distant in the middle of the marsh) Both seemed to have downy plumage on the head. None of the cattle egrets on the marsh had the buff orange summer breeding plumage seen on other long staying adults at South Huish, until fairly recently. One of the more numerous Little Egrets( Photo attached) present came and danced on the pool in front of the hide giving good comparisons of the differences between the species, size, bill colour and shape, head shape, neck length, wing shape and leg/feet colours. All of the Cattle Egrets flew south down the estuary at 13.45hrs.

Cattle Egrets - South Huish Marsh - 24.7.17             
Cattle Egrets - South Huish Marsh - 24.7.17                              Little Egret

Posted July 24th, 2017 at 8:17 pm by David Pakes in General Birding

Evening stroll at Northam Burrows

Pleasant stroll around Northam Burrows one evening last week - no waders on Skern but some passerines around the old landfill site.

Approx 300 Starling roost Male Stonechat Took off the instant that I got the camera onto it - I am guessing that it's probably an immature Whinchat?
    Approx 300 Starling roost                                         Male Stonechat                       Took off the instant that I got the camera onto it - I am guessing that it's probably an immature Whinchat?  Eds: It's a Wheatear

Posted July 24th, 2017 at 4:03 pm by Martin Overy in General Birding

Southdown Farm & Soar Mill Cove

First returning 2 Willow Warblers, Possible migrant Wheatear at the Cove, 42 Swifts, 40 Linnet and post-breeding flock of 55 House Sparrows at the farm. 19 species of butterflies inc. 3 Holly Blue, 55 Red Admiral, 25 Peacock, 6 Painted Lady, Comma, 4 Dark Green Fritillary, 6 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary, 27 Speckled Wood, 22 Wall & 4 Grayling. Silver-washed Fritillary flying round my kitchen later - new garden tick!!

Posted July 24th, 2017 at 2:57 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Sunday 23rd July 2017

Lundy Day Trip Aboard The Oldenburg

The crossing over. off Bull Point a Great Skua, 2 Storm Petrels and a flock of 12 Common Scoter. Half way across, a flock of about 6 Shearwaters that looked like Sooty Shearwaters and then a Balearic Shearwater close to the stern. Then great views of 8 Common Dolphins. The return trip, more large Shearwaters feeding, inc 3 Great Shearwaters.

Posted July 23rd, 2017 at 7:52 pm by Martin Thorne in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

3 Whimbrels, 24 Curlews, juv Mediterranean Gull, Little Egrets up to 17+, 5 Mandarin Ducks, 2 Whitethroats and still c35 Swifts.

Posted July 23rd, 2017 at 7:27 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding


Walked around Sherpa Marsh (the reed-bed and ponds just south of the reserve) this morning. 4 Well grown cygnets, and at least one juvenile Little Grebe, but the water levels are really high and there are no muddy margins to attract waders...

This afternoon/evening I cycled down the Toll Road to the flood and sat watching the water level fall. Actually I had hoped it might be rising, but that didn't start happening until I left! Not much on show: 3 Greenshank, 1 Redshank, 3 Curlew, 3 Black-tailed Godwits, 2 Oystercatchers 6/7 Little Egrets, 3 Grey Heron and about 15 Dunlin which flew off! Star bird was undoubtedly the very dark adult female Marsh Harrier, which came in from the east (putting most of the birds up again) at just before 5p.m. landed, was spoken to by 3 Crows, and headed up and towards Crow Point before veering right back parallel with the Toll road until lost to view over Braunton Marsh. Not sure I've seen Marsh Harrier up here in July before.

Cycling back along the toll road there were several more Redshank and Greenshank by the waters edge. One adult Mediterranean Gull with about 150 Black-headed on the saltings.

Posted July 23rd, 2017 at 6:29 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Lyme Bay boat trip from Brixham

Yet another pic of this morning's immaculate adult long tailed skua, also a couple of the other birds on show.

Long tailed skua, adult Gannet, 3rd year Storm petrel
Long tailed skua, adult                     Gannet, 3rd year                                              Storm petrel

Posted July 23rd, 2017 at 6:14 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

Lyme Bay Boat Trip

Boat trip out of Brixham into Lyme Bay started slow with a lumpy sea. 2 Common Dolphin about 4 miles out. Then went 8 miles out and chummed, only a few gulls but then we had 5 Storm Petrel, Bonxie, Kittiwake, Fulmar, 20 Manx Shearwater, Gannet and then a bird flew towards us, great discussion what is it, many pictures taken as it flew over the top of the boat!! The ID is possible Long-tailed Skua, pictures will  follow. A good trip.

Posted July 23rd, 2017 at 2:06 pm by Nigel Smallbones in General Birding

Saturday 22nd July 2017

Bowling Green Marsh

At high tide this afternoon the waders were making good use of the recently created scrapes, islands and spits. They were dominated by about 300 Black-tailed Godwits and 200 Curlews, with perhaps 200 Redshanks. Many of the last flew over to Goosemoor, as did most of maybe 100 Dunlin. Lapwing and Whimbrel were into double figures and there were single Common Sandpiper and Oystercatcher, plus 6 Wigeon and a family of Shelduck. What was promising was the much closer range of many of the Curlews, Whimbrel and Godwits that would formerly have been the case.

Goosemoor held 32 Greenshanks and a Spotted Redshank in non-breeding plumage, plus a tight pack of uncountable Dunlin and Redshanks.

Most of the waders today were adults in wing and (less so) body moult.

Bowling Green Marsh panorama showing recent earthworks
Bowling Green Marsh panorama showing recent earthworks

Posted July 22nd, 2017 at 10:08 pm by Dave Smallshire in General Birding

In the garden combemartin

Pleasantly surprised today, a sound I haven't heard around for a couple of years now, a pair of green finches in the pine tree.Also fledging goldfinches, blackbirds busy feeding young, dunnock, blue tits jackdaws and quite a few woodpidgeons. 

Posted July 22nd, 2017 at 4:53 pm by Philip worth in General Birding

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