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  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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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

Monday 14th August 2017

South Efford Marsh

Fairly quiet this afternoon in the rain, 2 Greenshanks, Redshank, 4 Common Sandpipers and a couple obliging Kingfishers.

Posted August 14th, 2017 at 8:18 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

My first Spotted Flycatcher of the year here, Also 11 Oystercatchers, 29 Curlews, 13 Little Egrets, Kingfisher, 2 Stonechats, c10 Swifts and 3 Kestrels.

Posted August 14th, 2017 at 5:58 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Yelland/Isley Marsh/Horsey Island Osprey


90+ Oystercatcher where laid up beside yelland jetty and 17 Little Egret, 2 Spoonbill 80+ Curlew where on Isley Marsh...Just after 1p.m.the Osprey was fishing the Taw just off of the floodbank between Crow Whitehouse and the fisherman's huts...It hit the water 4 times and on the last time made a catch and carried it low over the flood bank onto Horsey and out of sight.

Posted August 14th, 2017 at 4:29 pm by Ken Ebsworthy in General Birding

Seaton Wetlands- Colyford Common

24 Members of DB (East Devon Branch) met for the fieldtrip led by Bob Olliver this morning, with several smaller splinter groups quickly forming.  The walk took in the Tower Hide, Island Hide and Colyford Common Hide.  The main interest came from waders with Common Sandpiper (2), numbers of Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Ringed Plover (8), Curlew, and singles of Snipe, Green Sandpiper, Greenshank and Whimbrel.  A juvenile Water Rail with an adult were seen together from the Colyford Common hide and Kingfisher and Sparrow Hawk added to the interest. 

Dave Murray, one of our most respected and well known birders, was remembered.  Dave was a founding member of the East Devon Branch and passed away in hospital recently following a six month illness.  A private funeral attended by Carol and family members was held on Wed 9 August.

Posted August 14th, 2017 at 3:32 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding

Budleigh Salterton

One fem/juv type Wheatear seen in the rain on shingle bank at mouth of R. Otter this morning.

Posted August 14th, 2017 at 11:04 am by Colin Randall in General Birding

Sunday 13th August 2017

Lyme Bay boat trip from Brixham

Common terns from the boat this morning (adults + 1 juv), and one Arctic tern among the first flock of 7 birds.

Common tern, adult  Common tern, juvenile Arctic tern, adult
Common tern, adult                     Common tern, juvenile                         Arctic tern, adult

Posted August 13th, 2017 at 8:08 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

Exeter House

23 Swifts almost all heading south, with House Martin's & Swallows this afternoon. Over Exeter House just east of A30, probably following the higher ground. 

Posted August 13th, 2017 at 8:08 pm by Steve Cox in General Birding

Lyme Bay boat trip from Brixham

Apart from the bonxie, todays skuas presented some interesting id/ageing puzzles.  All three were immatures, the first an arctic skua followed by 2 pomarine skuas, the first of which had spoons. Sadly the pomarine with spoons had something (plastic?) caught on its leg.

Bird 1; Arctic Skua, 2nd S. Bird 2; Pomarine skua, 2nd S. Bird 3; Pomarine skua, 1st or 2nd S.
Bird 1; Arctic Skua, 2nd S.         Bird 2; Pomarine skua, 2nd S.           Bird 3; Pomarine skua, 1st or 2nd S.

Eds -  great photos Chris and captions, the last bird is a 2nd Summer - a 1st summer would be in active wing moult and more like a juv in body plumage.

Posted August 13th, 2017 at 6:06 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

Lyme Bay Boat Trip

This mornings Lyme Bay boat trip out of Brixham was once again rewarding with the following birds seen. 1 Great Skua, 2 Pomarine Skua, I Skua sp which was possible another Pom, 2 Storm Petrel, 16 Common Tern, 8 Manx Shearwater, 4 Balearic Shearwater, 1 Razorbill, Guillemot, Fulmar and the usual Gulls . Sea was calm and hardly any wind. On the way in 2 harbor Porpoise and many Compass Jellyfish. I hope some good pictures will be added to this posting.

Posted August 13th, 2017 at 2:32 pm by Nigel Smallbones in General Birding


Juvenile White-winged Black Tern off Exmouth beach again this morning, at 0605.

Posted August 13th, 2017 at 9:08 am by Matt Knott in General Birding

Saturday 12th August 2017

11-08-16 Black Tern

A Black Tern was showing very well as it went around the marsh hunting for food.


Eds Guessing this is Bowling Green Marsh?? It's always good to use the Post Title as a location not anything else.

Posted August 12th, 2017 at 8:24 pm by Greg Bradbury in General Birding

Horsey Island

Got 2 Kingfisher, Sparrowhawk, Peregrine, 2 Spoonbill, 7 Eider, Common Sandpiper, Dunlin/Ringed Plover flock, Yellowhammer. Bags of butterflies including Wall Brown and Common Blue. Dipped the Osprey and Ibis. 12.00-14.15

Posted August 12th, 2017 at 8:05 pm by Lowell Mills in General Birding

Man Sands and Berry Head

Sorry about the late post (from Thursday!):

First of all we went to Man Sands. The following is what I saw today: a possible male and female eider (distant views so could have been a species of scoter), 4 or 5 shags/cormorants (three of these were flying overhead), 1 or more great black-backed gulls, 2 or more wood pigeons, 6 mallards (4 adults and 2 young), some swallows, 2 or more herring gulls, some linnets, 2 stonechats, some house martins and 1 or more kestrels (only one was seen at a time but there could have been more). Then on to Berry Head where we saw: a kestrel, gulls, some linnets, 1 or more possible cormorants/shags, some magpies, 1 or more crows/rooks and some feral pigeons. 

Posted August 12th, 2017 at 7:24 pm by Samuel Gray in General Birding

Update on Lyme Bay Trip on Thursday

Oops, forgot to include that we also saw 3 Common Scoter. 

Find some more pictures from the trip - apologies for the poor picture of the Arctic but this was for ID purposes and it was a long way away

Balearic Shearwater Storm Petrel Arctic Tern harassing Kittiwake
Balearic Shearwater                                 Storm Petrel                 Arctic & Pomarine Skua harassing Kittiwake

Eds. Nice photo comparison - just for clarity the bird grabbing the Kittiwake from below is an immature Pomarine Skua, with the Arctic Skua above.

Posted August 12th, 2017 at 2:04 pm by G E and L A Carr in General Birding


The juvenile White-winged Black Tern was off Exmouth beach @ 0635 and seen again from Mudbank, feeding off Starcross, @ 0805.

Posted August 12th, 2017 at 9:33 am by Matt Knott in General Birding

Friday 11th August 2017

Lyme Bay Trip on Thursday

Good trip out from Brixham into Lyme Bay on Thursday.  Birds seen included 3 Arctic Skua, 2 Pomarine Skuas, 4 Bonxies, 10 Storm Petrels, 3 Ringed Plover, 50+ Manx Shearwater, 5 Balearic Shearwaters, Sooty Shearwater, Sandwich Tern, 100+ Kittiwake, 2 Razorbills.  Usual Gannets, Guillemots, Lesser BB Gulls, etc. Lots of pods of Common Dolphin.

Pomarine Skua Storm Petrel
Pomarine Skua                                             Storm Petrel

Posted August 11th, 2017 at 11:40 pm by G E and L A Carr in General Birding

Thatcher Point, Torquay


15+ Swifts straight out to sea and into the distance heading SE.  2 Ravens overhead and a lone Gannet past Thatcher Rock.    

Posted August 11th, 2017 at 9:21 pm by Paul Darlington in General Birding


Early this morning in the warm sun recorded: 4/5 Chiffchaffs, Willow Warbler, 10/12 Long-tailed Tits, 3 Bullfinches, 4/5 Goldfinches, Jay, Green Woodpecker, 5 Great Tits, 6 Wrens, Greenfinch, Blue Tit, Nuthatch, 2 Swallows, 2 Robins & Blackbirds and a Buzzard.

Posted August 11th, 2017 at 9:12 pm by Stephen Huggins in General Birding

South Huish Marsh

Good to see waders in this sort of numbers at South Huish Marsh this morning! Not quite BGM, but very welcome nonetheless! Counts of 160+ Dunlin, 40+ Ringed Plover and 1 Black Tailed Godwit. They all flew off at 12.50hrs and I did not wait to see if they returned. Earlier in the morning local guru, Mike Passman, also had 4 Greenshank and a woodlark on site! On the way there, I had seen 3 Green Sandpiper on North Marsh at South Efford. A later visit to the reserve gave only 1 greenshank in with 20 curlew by the sluice.

South Huish Marsh - 11.8.2017
South Huish Marsh - 11.8.2017

Posted August 11th, 2017 at 5:12 pm by David Pakes in General Birding


Flock of 60 swifts heading west over bay view road at 10:00

Posted August 11th, 2017 at 3:33 pm by Robert Marshall in General Birding

South Molton

26 swifts this morning 9 to 9.20 am, some screaming.

Posted August 11th, 2017 at 9:30 am by Art Symons in General Birding

Thursday 10th August 2017

Cann Woods, Plympton

On a late season visit to Cann Wood, pleased to find four Nightjars. One bird attempted some half-hearted churring but the others not very vocal at all, so there may be more that haven't as yet left, but they are just harder to detect.

Posted August 10th, 2017 at 11:11 pm by Chris Marcol in General Birding

South Molton

10 swift this morning, 9 am, 4 this evening, 8 pm

Posted August 10th, 2017 at 11:02 pm by Art Symons in General Birding

Seaton Wetlands

Great session at Seaton today, plenty of waders about with Green Sandpiper and Little Ringed Plover adding a bit of quality.

LRP with Ringed Plovers and Dunlin. Green Sandpiper Two fighting Common Sandpiper
LRP with Ringed Plovers and Dunlin.         Green Sandpiper                   Two fighting Common Sandpiper

Posted August 10th, 2017 at 8:49 pm by Simon Thurgood in General Birding


Tree Pipit flew over the village this morning

Posted August 10th, 2017 at 8:22 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Velator reserve

Ringing in the reserve today: another early flush of Blackcaps with 7 ringed and 8 retraps - all from the last few weeks - odd that I hardly ever see them on my daily visits. Also 4 juvenile Bullfinches 8 Chiffchaffs, 1 tiny just fledged Reed Warbler. New to the reserve ringing list were two Stock Dove pulli - from the Owl box :( .

Posted August 10th, 2017 at 8:18 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Horsey Island Osprey

Excellent views of the Osprey hunting over the pool and perched on a post the opposite side feeding on a catch this morning although  I didnt actually witness the bird taking the fish...The bird was seen regularly around horsey in flight and perched up until about 2pm....2 Spoonbill flew in at about 1pm and 1 Glossy Ibis flew in beside the drainage ditch beside the toll road...A marsh Harrier was heading towards the great field as I left...

Posted August 10th, 2017 at 5:29 pm by Ken Ebsworthy in General Birding


A single swift over Kingsteignton this morning  Interestingly 7 were still present over Kingsteignton last evening and another 30 over Newton Abbot about 8pm

Posted August 10th, 2017 at 3:41 pm by JDA in General Birding


A nice surprise at Mansands with a Water Rail making an appearance and a Little Grebe in summer plumage. Also loads Swallows, House and Sand Martins passing through. Some Reed Warblers still around, a Cetti’s singing and a Sedge Warbler below the hide with some Willow Warblers and Chiffchaffs.

Posted August 10th, 2017 at 1:18 pm by Paul Albrechtsen in General Birding

Wednesday 9th August 2017

South Huish Marsh early evening

LRP - 1 juv, dunlin 46 (4 adults), 10 ringed plover (2 juvs).

Posted August 9th, 2017 at 8:52 pm by Richard Archer in General Birding

River Exe

The juvenile White-winged Black Tern still at the south end of the River Exe on and off mid evening viewable distantly from Cockwood Steps ( Also being watched from Shelly Beach and Dawlish Warren )- loosely associating with large number of Sandwich and Common Terns.


Posted August 9th, 2017 at 8:38 pm by Mark Bailey in General Birding

Bell and Chinkwell Tor

Sorry about the late post - from yesterday:

Today must have been the day of the 'small birds' as the only 'big birds' were a buzzard and a raven (both heard). On the way up the first part of the slope to Bell Tor there were... great tit/s, a whitethroat, a stonechat and 2 or more meadow pipits. When we reached Bell Tor, I found a nice vantage point quite high up with a great view of all the birds below me. From here I saw... a whitethroat, 1 or 2 stonechats, a juvenile robin, the calling buzzard I mentioned earlier and 1 or 2 dunnocks. There was not much walking up the second part of the slope to Chinkwell Tor apart from this is where I think I heard the raven calling. When we reached Chinkwell I spent most of the time 'chasing' wheatears about. The most I saw together was 3 but there could have been more, there were also somewhere between 5 and 10 linnets flying about. On our way back down to the car I was able to add chaffinch to my overall list of today's bird sightings.

Posted August 9th, 2017 at 8:29 pm by Samuel Gray in General Birding

Osprey, Horsey island.

No sign of Marsh harriers , Ibis or Spoonbills but a fine Osprey over Horsey mere.

Posted August 9th, 2017 at 3:41 pm by Malcolm Shakespeare in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

A male Kingfisher putting on a good performance this morning and a good count of 16 Mandarin Ducks (all imm/fems). Also 3 Common Sandpipers, Oystercatcher, 2 Greenshanks, 56 Redshanks, 23 Curlews, 11 each of Grey Herons and Little Egrets and a juv Great Black-backed Gull.

Posted August 9th, 2017 at 1:41 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Glossy Ibis- Velator

Arriving at the reserve this morning, I was disappointed there were no Egrets in the field (up to three most days recently) but no sooner had I thought this, than 2 sprung up from some long grass and headed towards the reserve. They were followed by a Glossy Ibis! It circled and returned to land a few yards from  me!

When I left it again flew up and followed a Little Egret to perch in one of the conifers in  the reserve - so it officially goes on the reserve list!

A flock of over 50 Goldfinch were buzzing around the reserve too.

Posted August 9th, 2017 at 12:47 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Bowling green marsh Tuesday 8th

Late post for yesterday watched from 17:30: till 20:45

1 wood sandpiper very vocal then flew towards exminster, 3 green sandpipers, 1 spotted redshank, 22 whimbrel, 294+ curlew, 320+ black tailed godwits ( included 35+ juv's ) 4 bar tailed godwits, 240+ recdshank , 21+ greenshank, 1 pochard, 7 gadwall, 10+ tufted duck. 50+ dunlin.

late evening 6 juv  goosanders dropped in from the north east, also a juv yellow wagtail



Posted August 9th, 2017 at 6:25 am by Keith Birchall in General Birding

Tuesday 8th August 2017

Willow Warber and Swifts ~ South Brent

Warbler sp seen in the garden this morning I thought a Chiffchaff but others express the view that it is a Willow Warbler the bird was showing well until a female Sparrow hawk arrived on the scene.

Two Swifts over the house for most of the mid evening period.


Posted August 8th, 2017 at 10:03 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Lyme Bay boat trip from Brixham, late news

Of a flock of 6 terns past the boat on Sunday (6th), I photographed and have positively identified 3: an adult and a juvenile common tern, and an arctic tern. The white forehead and dark bill suggests the latter is a 2nd summer bird.

Adult Common tern 2nd summer Arctic tern 2nd sum Arctic tern with juv Common tern
Adult Common tern             2nd summer Arctic tern            2nd sum Arctic tern with juv Common tern

Posted August 8th, 2017 at 7:30 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

White-winged Black Tern - Exmouth

A juvenile White-winged Black Tern present for its second day off Shelly Beach, Exmouth. Details on later. News not released yesterday as it was only a 'possible'. Much better views today.

Posted August 8th, 2017 at 7:20 pm by Matt Knott in General Birding

Snellings Down area

August 6th - Osprey seen hunting close to the rocks below the coast path

Posted August 8th, 2017 at 6:33 pm by Sarah Bovey in General Birding

Exe Estuary

At Bowling Green Marsh (enjoying closer views of waders thanks to the new work): Wood & Green Sandpipers, Spotted Redshank, c200 Black-tailed Godwits, c6 Greenshanks, 4 each of Bar-tailed Godwits and Whimbrels, Sand Martin and 2nd-s Mediterranean Gull.

Exmouth produced 100+ Sandwich and c12 Common Terns, 3 juv and 2 ad Mediterranean Gulls and a juv Yellow-legged Gull plus 2 Swifts. 

Sparrowhawk, 10+ Swifts and another Sand Martin at Exminster Marsh and the summer plumaged Slavonian Grebe off Cockwood.

Posted August 8th, 2017 at 6:00 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh

Wood Sandpiper and Green Sandpiper from the hide this lunchtime.

From the viewing platform, Spotted Redshank and Common Sandpiper.

Posted August 8th, 2017 at 2:18 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding


Busy with pruning duties in the reserve, so I missed both of Rob's Harriers! :(

There were at least 7 Swifts hawking over the reserve, and both Grey Heron and Little Egret by the reserve pond.

Posted August 8th, 2017 at 1:07 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

R.Caen,Horsey Island, Sherpa Marsh

An early start this morning produced the first of 2 Marsh Harriers.

An immature flying SW over the R.Caen searching for prey over Braunton Marshes, the second seen later on (viewed from the Taka trail) was a dark brown adult female searching for prey over the reed beds on Sherpa Marshes. Good views for several minutes. Obvious plumage differences between these 2 birds.

I Green Sandpiper calling from Horsey Island.

Posted August 8th, 2017 at 10:24 am by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Shillingford Abbot, edge of Exeter

Watched 100+ Swifts feeding over fields around 1245 yesterday, but almost all moved on with 15 minutes. Also 50+ Swallows & 40+ House Martin. 

Posted August 8th, 2017 at 10:12 am by Steve Cox in General Birding

Older Posts in General Birding →

← Newer Posts in General Birding