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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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

Wednesday 7th February 2018

Stover Lake, afternoon

The lake edges were frozen in places. Fewer goosander than yesterday but still at least 13 brownheads and 2 drakes with close views of courtship behaviour. 3 flew off during the afternoon. Also 1 pochard and 1 tufted duck (both drakes). 1 water rail heard by near boardwalk on south side.

Posted February 7th, 2018 at 9:49 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

Red Kite and Short-eared Owl

Red Kite above the A399 at SS664369.  Short-eared Owl flitting between Somerset and Devon near Kinsford Gate, Exmoor at SS751359.

Posted February 7th, 2018 at 7:28 pm by Kim Beaver & Rosie Arnold in General Birding


Lots (maybe 100) of Redwings in the reserve this afternoon. At 3.30p.m the tatty female Marsh Harrier was drifting about over Sherpa Marsh.

Posted February 7th, 2018 at 6:18 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Beesands and Slapton

Beesands Ley - Male Ring necked Duck showing well with tufted ducks, also 2m1f Pochard, 3m2f Gadwall. 1 Cettis warbler in reeds, 1 firecrest in hedgerow along footpath over to Slapton Ley.

Slapton Ley - 2 black necked grebe together near Torcross (very red eyes in strong sunlight), 4+m and 3+f goldeneye, 2 water rail at the duck feeding platform and 1 at the bridge

Posted February 7th, 2018 at 4:56 pm by Stuart Green in General Birding

Pizwell Farm, nr. Postbridge

6 Crossbill near farm. 5 Snipe also nearby. Later a flock of about 60 Golden Plover were seen over the moor above Dousland.

Posted February 7th, 2018 at 4:08 pm by Rob Hubble and Stella Tracey in General Birding

Tuesday 6th February 2018

Stover Lake

About 20-25 goosander including 4 drakes (we didn't attempt a count with birds scattered all over the place). Also pair pochard, tufted ducks, 2 heron, kingfisher. Usual tits and nuthatch at feeding station, plus a few siskin hanging around in tree tops.

Posted February 6th, 2018 at 9:32 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

Hackney Marshes, Kingsteignton

Excitement this afternoon when half a dozen snow flakes fell on the marshes. Highlights were large numbers of goldfinches, and a water rail taking a very leisurely stroll across an open are of mud by the railway bridge.

Posted February 6th, 2018 at 9:18 pm by Richard Harley in General Birding


I was very pleased to see a Firecrest again in the garden today having not seen one here since early January.

Posted February 6th, 2018 at 8:25 pm by Margaret Phillips in General Birding

Back garden, East Ogwell

The cold weather brought many birds to the feeder. Pairs of Blackcaps, Bullfinches, Blackbirds and Robins and a very brazen goldcrest. Highlight was a male Hawfinch feeding on Hornbeam seeds off the ground for over 15 mins.

Posted February 6th, 2018 at 7:27 pm by John Simons in General Birding

Reed Bunting ~ South Brent

Female Reed Bunting in the garden this afternoon, first one I have seen here this winter, showing up just after 1pm and then seen several times from 4pm, then a Sparrow hawk hunting through the garden cleared all the feeding birds.

Posted February 6th, 2018 at 5:42 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Beesands - Ring-necked duck

Quieter in the cold today at Beesands than Perry's report yesterday. However the Ring- necked Duck was still showing well and looking settled. Also 2 Pochard, fewer Tufted (count of 42), 2 Coot, no Gadwall seen, but a short visit from a pair of Teal.

Posted February 6th, 2018 at 5:21 pm by David Pakes in General Birding

Cranbrook Countryside Park

A team of nine undertook the second of four surveys of the Countryside park this morning and listed a total of 41 species over the two hour count. (The survey has been commissioned by the East Devon Countryside Team and two further surveys will be held in April and June).  Thank you to those taking part.

An overwintering Chiffchaff was found and the most interesting find was a Green Sandpiper found in the same place (a muddy ditch), as during the first survey on 21 November last year.  Totals of some species were:  Redwings (40), Fieldfare (35), Song Thrush (10) and Bullfinch (10).  Others of note were Raven, Kestrel, 2 Treecreeper and 4 Stonechat. Small numbers of Mallard and Moorhen were found on the lakes having colonised them since the new town was first constructed. On the negative side, some species previously found on or by the lakes (Grey Heron, Little Grebe and Cormorant) seem to have moved away since building encroached on these areas. 

Posted February 6th, 2018 at 4:53 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding

Southdown Farm, Bolberry.

Highlight was a flock of 45 Cirl Bunting. Also: 300 Skylark, 90 Linnet, 3 Red-legged Partridge, Snipe & 9 Song Thrush.

Non-avian: 11 Roe Deer inc.3 males - site record!

Posted February 6th, 2018 at 4:22 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Dartington Hall School & River

An impressive flock of 400+ Chaffinches contained 5+ Bramblings.Plenty of Buntings in the area too, including c40 Reeds, c60 Yellowhammers & c15 Cirls. Also 9 Woodlarks, Skylark, 2 Dippers, 2 Teal and 2 Little Grebes. 

Earlier, Ringed Plover and Common Sandpiper with 17 Turnstones and also a Snipe on Blagdon's Meadow, Plym Estuary. 

Posted February 6th, 2018 at 3:43 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Dawlish Warren 5th February

Ad,w. Mediterranean Gull on water near Langstone Rock at high tide. Also Red-throated Diver in Dawlish Bay.

Posted February 6th, 2018 at 10:47 am by Ray Jones in General Birding

Monday 5th February 2018

Firecrest Dawlish Warren Car Park

Good views at lunchtime of one Firecrest and a second heard in the brambles behind the parking meter on the station side of the first car park area in the Warren car park

Firecrest Dawlish Warren
Firecrest Dawlish Warren

Posted February 5th, 2018 at 9:24 pm by Jo King in General Birding


Winter peaks of 52 Shelduck & 10 Little Egrets on Plym Estuary. Also 4 Goosanders, 8 Wigeon, pair of Red-breasted Mergansers, 8 Grey Herons, 4 Little Grebes, 129 Redshanks, c100 Dunlins, 6 Oystercatchers, 3 Greenshanks & 29 Turnstones. Later a look around Budshead & Woodland Woods produced 10 Redwings, 4 Nuthatches and on Ernesettle Creek, 3 Snipe, 2 Greenshanks & 29 Teal.

Posted February 5th, 2018 at 6:50 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Gret Wagtail, Exmouth

Grey wagtail in back yard of terraced house, central Exmouth this afternoon. (Photo through double glazing)

Posted February 5th, 2018 at 5:24 pm by Margaret Mackintosh in General Birding


1Red kite going north at 4:30

Posted February 5th, 2018 at 4:52 pm by Gerry Hooper in General Birding

Slapton Ley 25th Jan

Pics missing from yesterdays post


Posted February 5th, 2018 at 9:51 am by Barry Rankine in General Birding

Sunday 4th February 2018

Slapton Ley 4th Feb

Ring-necked Duck in Irland Bay area, huge Dog Otter swam down channel and under bridge into Lower Ley. Six Cattle Egret at Thurlstone, with the horses behind the NT Marsh

Posted February 4th, 2018 at 8:59 pm by Barry Rankine in General Birding

Plymouth waterfront

Female Black Redstart at Tinside Lido.  Kingfisher on rocks below Citadel.  2 Linnets on industrial waste ground at Cattedown. 

Posted February 4th, 2018 at 8:30 pm by Jane Penton in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh and Goosemoor

From the hide: pintail, mute swan, tufted duck, avocet, canada geese, buzzard, curlew, shoveler, coot, redshank, shelduck, black-headed gull, starling, wood pigeon, ruff, pied wagtail, sparrowhawk, little egret, corvids, gadwall, teal, magpie, wigeon, wigeon hybrid and pochard.

Viewing platform and the road: greenfinch, chaffinch, dunnock, robin, blackbird, avocet, little egret, shelduck and possible greenshank (distant).

Goosemoor: common gull, black-headed gull, greenshank, curlew, wigeon, teal and possible redshank.

Redshank Redshank Common Gull

Redshank                                         Redshank                                Common Gull

Posted February 4th, 2018 at 8:29 pm by Samuel Gray in General Birding

Plymouth Sound

2 Sandwich Terns in Batten Bay, Mountbatten, this afternoon.

Posted February 4th, 2018 at 7:50 pm by John Bishop in General Birding

Lower Tamar Lake

At the top end of the lake in the swamp 2 Willow Tit, 1 Woodcock, 1 Treecreeper. On the way home at the Clovelly roundabout on the A39 a Hen Harrier (ringtail).

Posted February 4th, 2018 at 6:43 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

Tundra Bean Goose

Real treat to see this Goose so close, seen both races before in Norfolk but always some distance, came within 80-100 metres with the Mute Swans, normally most things (animal and humans) go the opposite direction when I arrive! Smart looking bird! More pics on my blog

Tundra Bean Goose with the Mute Swans
Tundra Bean Goose with the Mute Swans

Posted February 4th, 2018 at 5:28 pm by Simon Thurgood in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh & Stover CP

Bowling Green Marsh ~ On arrival first thing this morning good numbers of Waders in the air over the marsh, on looking out from the hide saw a female Marsh Harrier over the marsh scattering the smaller wading species. The Harrier came across the marsh twice and was visible over a stubble field towards Lympstone for some time.

Record image female Marsh Harrier BGM

No sooner had the Harrier moved off when an immature Peregrine came in flushing the gathered Redshank and had several serious attempts at taking one.

That basically left pretty much just the duck species and Curlew on the marsh, the ducks included Pochard, Tufted, Gadwall and Pintail.

On leaving a female Brambling on the feeders.

Stover Country park ~ Not less than 25 Goosander on the lake (only three of them male) drake Pochard and three Tufted duck and three Heron. Around the feed station Marsh Tit, female Bullfinch and in the background canopy a large flock of very vocal Siskin.

Posted February 4th, 2018 at 4:33 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Plym Estuary

At least 6 Goosanders (1 drake), 8+ Wigeon, Common Sandpiper, 4 Little Grebes and 24 Common Gulls this afternoon.

Posted February 4th, 2018 at 3:55 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Exminster Marshes

Large numbers of Lapwing, Brent Geese, Wigeon & Black-tailed Godwit. Also viewed Pied Wagtails, a family of 4 Bullfinches (1m, 3f), Cormorants, Mute Swans, 4 Long-tailed Tits, Starlings, Greenfinch, Pheasant, Grey Heron and a small flock of Goldfinches.

Posted February 4th, 2018 at 3:47 pm by Stephen Huggins in General Birding

Hawfinch exwick cemetry

A very productive hour this morning at exwick cemetry on arrival just after 08:00 soon picked up 1 Female Brambling with a small group of chaffinch then as I walked up the right hand side of the cemetry 1 Hawfinch showed well but soon there were another 4 as I watched more came into view until 18 were on show then as I watched another 10 flew over so 28+ Hawfinch my best count so.

Posted February 4th, 2018 at 2:33 pm by Keith Birchall in General Birding


The drake Ring Necked Duck relocated at Slapton in Ireland Bay at 930am this morning, firstly viewed from the toilet block and then much closer and more sheltered from the viewing platform at the back of Ireland Bay - also c45 Gadwall, 10 Little Grebe , 2 Pochard and the highlight an Otter in the channel either side of the bridge at 1040am. Earlier a redhead Goosander and 1 Gadwall at Beesands.

Posted February 4th, 2018 at 11:04 am by Mark Bailey in General Birding

Ground feeding Blackcap

Male Blackcap feeding on sultanas in my garden


Posted February 4th, 2018 at 10:20 am by Peter Castle in General Birding

Saturday 3rd February 2018

Bean Goose

Nipped out between Rugby matches to check out the Goose. Before I got there I had to stop at Marstage Farm to look at a Harrier that crossed the road in front of me. By the time I got out of the car it was nearly over the reserve, but good enough views to make out a dark adult female Marsh Harrier with very tatty primary flight feathers.

Rob was keeping watch over the Goose, which was in a field with several Mute Swans. About 400 yards past the round linhay. Tundra Bean indeed.

In the reserve yesterday (latish in the afternoon) a large flock of 50+ Starlings, which don't often visit, preferring the telegraph wires and surrounding fields. This lunchtime 50 plus Redwings there.

Posted February 3rd, 2018 at 6:35 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding


Quiet afternoon, only highlight being 4 Jays.

Posted February 3rd, 2018 at 4:29 pm by Stephen Huggins in General Birding

Cattle Egret

12 cattle Egrets seen with scope around cattle in field between Bere Ferris and Weir Quay.

Posted February 3rd, 2018 at 3:23 pm by Amanda Pugh in General Birding

Beesands Ley lunchtime

Drake ring-necked duck and drake scaup still present.

Posted February 3rd, 2018 at 2:55 pm by Richard Archer in General Birding

South Efford Marsh

Spoonbill still on South Efford Marsh at 12.25hrs. A more unusual sighting was of a Great Crested Grebe on the estuary below the tidal road. They are not often seen here!

Posted February 3rd, 2018 at 2:19 pm by David Pakes in General Birding

Shiphay, Torquay


A male and female Blackcap have been visiting the fat ball feeder in my back garden all morning.  Both birds appear to be in excellent condition and are alternating visits and using a dense laurel hedge as cover.  

Posted February 3rd, 2018 at 12:26 pm by Paul Darlington in General Birding

Exe Estuary Stuart Line Cruises

Exe Estuary boat trips on Tuesday/Wednesday of last week gave good numbers of wading birds including 1100 Golden Plover and 1400 Lapwing. Also 5 Goldeneye on the river and 2 Great Northern Divers.

Posted February 3rd, 2018 at 12:01 pm by Ian Waite in General Birding

Isley Marsh RSPB and Skern. 2nd Feb.

Late post

2nd Feb.   2 Spoonbills showing well at Isley Marsh and 1 Greenshank.

450+ Golden Plover at the Skern - one  taken by a Peregrine.   5 Grey Plovers.

Harvey Kendall & Barry Bryne.

Posted February 3rd, 2018 at 10:18 am by Harvey Kendall in General Birding


Those familiar with the Somerset birding forum will have seen reports of multiple sightings of Short-eared Owl and Hen Harrier in the Kinsford Gate area. I visited the area late afternoon yesterday, with weather cold cloudy calm and dry, and had 4 SEOs and 2 ringtails, although more were seen by other observers. The Devon/Somerset border does in fact run through Kinsford Gate SS740366, and whilst most of the activity was on the Somerset side of the border, some was also on the Devon side.

Posted February 3rd, 2018 at 9:29 am by Roger Doble in General Birding

Reply to Dave Holloway re Blackcaps ground feeding

I get Blackcaps in my garden , Plymouth , every year.  This year I have seen at one time 3 female and 2 male but at another time 3male and 2 female , so a good turn out.  They all feed from Sultanas that I put out onto the lawn for the Blackbirds , and have done every year that they have been coming.  This year I have also seen them on the table picking at bits and pieces.

Posted February 3rd, 2018 at 9:12 am by Peter Castle in General Birding

Friday 2nd February 2018

Lower Tamar Lake

23 Goosander 10m  13f, 1 Little Egret, 3 Wigeon, 3 Grey Heron, 9 Tufted Duck, 1 Little Grebe, 1 Great Black-backed Gull, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Jay, 12 Snipe, 1 Nuthatch, 1 Song Thrush, 4 Willow Tit, 5 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Kingfisher.

Posted February 2nd, 2018 at 7:21 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

Ground Feeding Blackcaps?!

Hardly groundbreaking (pardon the pun) science I know but, continuing from my earlier post, 20.1.18, which included a pic of a Blackcap on one of my fat feeders: I now have 2 m & 1 f (same as last year) in my garden in Paignton.

All 3 have now taken to feeding on the ground. Managed some hasty record shots of one of the m this pm. Not seen or heard this before, has anyone else?


Posted February 2nd, 2018 at 7:03 pm by Dave Holloway in General Birding


Further to Jonathan's post earlier.  I took photos of a large flock wheeling for considerable time over Topsham and the Sludge Reed Beds this morning and by enlarging the photo and making it into a grid then using the clicker, I counted >1800 Black Tailed Godwits - may or may not be the same flock but looks similar and other posts on Twitter mention a Red Kite and the Marsh Harrier in this area today

Black Tailed Godwits Flock no >1800 Black Tailed Godwits Flock no >1800 Black Tailed Godwits Flock
Black Tailed Godwits Flock no >1800               Black Tailed Godwits Flock

Posted February 2nd, 2018 at 6:56 pm by Jo King in General Birding


Large flock of waders believed to be Golden Plover putting on a display over the waterfront of Topsham and viewed at a distance from Exminster Marshes this morning.  Numbers counted from photo are 1,362 give or take a few.

While I am here, may I mention that the EAST Devon Branch AGM to be held on TUES 20 Feb is now to be held at The Otter Inn, Colaton Raleigh and not the Blue Ball Inn, Sidford as advertised.  The speaker is Mike Langman.

All welcome and please come and support us.

Posted February 2nd, 2018 at 6:00 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh

Peregrine Falcon causing disturbances this morning 

Peregrine Avocet
Peregrine                                                                                Avocet

Black-Tailed Godwit
Black-Tailed Godwit

Posted February 2nd, 2018 at 5:22 pm by ColinScott in General Birding

Beesands - Scaup

Was admiring the Ring-necked Duck at Beesands with Terry Goddard late morning, when I picked up a drake Scaup in with the Tufted Ducks. A new arrival this year at this location. 

Scaup - Beesands Ley - 02/02/2018
Scaup - Beesands Ley - 02/02/2018

Posted February 2nd, 2018 at 4:59 pm by David Pakes in General Birding

Water Pipit at Wembury

Despite the constant disturbance along the beach by dog walkers I eventually found a water pipit feeding on the seaweed masses east of the sewage pipe with rock pipits and meadow pipits ( I saw it briefly on the 13th January too). Mobile and flighty and active but I did manage to get a few record shots.

Also feeding along the beach were 3+chiffchaffs, 2 grey wagtails, a goldcrest, pied wagtails, chaffinch, dunnock and stonechats.

On the rocks a curlew and a pair of mallard with oystercatchers, a raven flew over from The Mewstone calling, gannets were distantly offshore and at least 2 song thrushes were busily singing

Water Pipit - zoomed and cropped Water Pipit
Water Pipit - zoomed and cropped                                    Water Pipit

Posted February 2nd, 2018 at 3:01 pm by Stuart Green in General Birding

Rv Plym and Mountbatten

River Plym opposite Saltram on a low tide gave two female Goosander, Little Egret, Shell duck, plenty of Redshank and a good mix of Gulls.

Mountbatten gave a fly over Kingfisher, two Great Northern Diver and an adult Mediterranean Gull that remained on the wing through the visit.


Posted February 2nd, 2018 at 2:28 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Exe Estuary Cruise, 1 February

The Bonaparte’s Gull was on Exmouth beach: a good start! Also close to Exmouth, but inside the estuary was a Great Northern Diver with the first of 23 Great Crested Grebes (the most I’ve ever seen here). There were 3 Greenshanks at Powderham and well over 100 Pintail feeding around the mouth of the Clyst. There were impressive numbers of Avocets, Lapwings, Dunlin and Black-tailed Godwits towards Topsham, where there was a drake Goldeneye on the river.

Posted February 2nd, 2018 at 11:40 am by Dave Smallshire in General Birding

Thursday 1st February 2018

Martin's Spoonbill

I'd say the colour ringed Spoonbill is almost certain to be the long returning Dutch bird



I last saw it early January at Isley. It's now 10.5 years old.

Posted February 1st, 2018 at 10:21 pm by Lowell Mills in General Birding

Wrafton pond/Velator

Still several Gadwall, Wigeon and Shoveler on Wrafton Pond.

The scrape - viewed from the Tarka Trail - was devoid of birds. In the reserve I was very surprised to see a Coot! Not seen one in the reserve for about a year. Things continued to improve when a Kingfisher appeared, then a Little Grebe. Also present a dozen Redwings a Reed Bunting and 2 Chiffchaffs.

Viewed from the reserve, 2 Teal on the scrape with several Meadow Pipits nearby. 

Posted February 1st, 2018 at 7:10 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Uphams plantation near Yettington

An hours visit after work produced 2 Brambling in amongst the small Chaffinch flock and a calling flyover Crossbill. More details

Posted February 1st, 2018 at 7:07 pm by Spencer Dicks in General Birding


This was a colour ringed bird (left above knee: green/yellow/green, right above knee: white/blue). It was feeding below the Torridge Bridge and then moved off downstream towards Appledore as the tide advanced. From here it flew further downstream and disappeared from view.

Posted February 1st, 2018 at 5:13 pm by Martin Unwin in General Birding

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