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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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 28th February 2018

Golden Plover, Middle Soar

Part of a flock of some 200 Golden Plover feeding on winter wheat in fields     near Middle Soar 'farmhouse'.


Posted February 28th, 2018 at 8:57 pm by Michael Woodman Smith in General Birding

Taw estuary

A binocular-less bike commute along to Barnstaple from Yelland.

A ragged female-type Marsh Harrier (prob same as reported yday on north side of Taw) was hunting over the near reedbed of SaltPill Duck Pond (E end of Home Farm Marsh). On opposite side of Tarka Trail here, the warm manure piles in the field had attracted scores of pipits, wagtail, finches and Starling; and closest to the footpath through this field, a Chiffchaff! Incidentally the site on either side of this footpath to Fremington is excellent, managed for pheasant hunting I think but also top notch for passerines, woodpeckers, hawks and Barn/Tawny Owl.

At Fremington Pill mouth, one of the Spoonbill and a Greenshank.

Another Water Rail encounter in ditch by Tarka Trail.

250-300 Dunlin around Anchorwood Bank area, plus a dozen or so Sanderling.

Fieldfare dotted along the route.

Posted February 28th, 2018 at 8:35 pm by Lowell Mills in General Birding

Velator reserve

Took a call this morning from a birder from Exeter wanting to look round the reserve, and regrettably I put them off due to lack of birds at the moment. I have to apologise then for flushing a Tawny Owl and then seeing a very active Chiffchaff!

I've been spending quite a lot of time recently having bonfires to burn off the tree-top brash which accumulates over the year. Wanted to get most of this done before the snow tomorrow. As I was finishing off at about 5p.m. I took a look at the scrape and surrounding field. The scrape had been frozen earlier with nothing to see. Some of it had thawed and several Teal were taking advantage of the open water. In the field a flock of several score of Curlew and some Golden Plover and closer in several Snipe. Lapwing were by the scrape and out in the field. Biggest surprise though were 6 Dunlin by the scrape. My first record here. A Kingfisher darted away downstream as I crossed the river to get to the reserve.

Posted February 28th, 2018 at 7:57 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Plym Estuary

First signs of cold weather influx with 15 Golden Plovers (over Dell Walk and appeared to drop in the fields), 14 Lapwings (11 over and 3 on the pool). Also Jack Snipe, 3+ Snipe, 8 Goosanders (2 drakes), Common Sandpiper & Fox.

Posted February 28th, 2018 at 7:48 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Plymouth Beacon park

Had a meadow pipit in the front garden today in the middle of the mid morning blizzard certainly unusual 

Posted February 28th, 2018 at 7:30 pm by Mike williams in General Birding

Exe Estuary cruise

The Stuart Line birdwatching cruise today saw the immature drake Eider in the estuary at Dawlish Warren and a Great Northern Diver off Cockwood, where the Slavonian Grebe had retreated eastwards, presumably to get out of the strongly easterly wind. No doubt for the same reason, many waders hugged the eastern side of the estuary, including most of the Black-tailed Godwits between Lympstone and Topsham. At least 300 Pintail were around the mouth of the Clyst, the most I've ever seen on the Exe. A single Greenshank was at Powderham, a dozen or more Sanderlings on the central sandbank, 5 Goldeneye (1 drake) at Topsham and the 2 Snow Geese were visible with Canadas over the sea wall north of Powderham (in a snow flurry, of course!).

Posted February 28th, 2018 at 5:14 pm by Dave Smallshire in General Birding

Hawfinch at Yennadon Down, near Yelverton

A surprise female HAWFINCH on Yennadon Down today at 1530. It was low in the hawthorns, keeping out of the wind, about 100m along the stone wall up the hill from the car park at Yennadon Down. This was my first ever in West Devon and, added to the one in Topsham Cemetery on Saturday, gave me my second sighting in 5 days...I've never managed that before! Also, a female BRAMBLING in my Dousland garden today.

Posted February 28th, 2018 at 4:54 pm by Howard Ackford in General Birding

Fremington Pill

Glossy Ibis seen at 10.30 feeding near the sluice on the Pill. 

Posted February 28th, 2018 at 11:18 am by Paul Bearman in General Birding


3 Mediterranean Gulls (2 ad + 1 fw) this morning. Yesterday 41 Cirl Buntings on seed in 2nd car park and 4 Reed Bunting.

Posted February 28th, 2018 at 8:41 am by Mike Langman in General Birding

Tuesday 27th February 2018

Lower Tamar Lake

A very cold lake this morning saw, 1f Goldeneye, 13 Wigeon, 7 Tufted Duck, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Little Egret, 2 Willow Tit, 2 Marsh Tit, 1 Song Thrush. No Goosander.

Posted February 27th, 2018 at 7:38 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

Otter Estuary Budleigh Salterton

1 adult Winter Mediterranean Gull. 1 Little Grebe, 18 Brent Geese, 4 Ringed Plover and 1 Tawny Owl. 

More details on my blog

Posted February 27th, 2018 at 6:55 pm by Spencer Dicks in General Birding

Velator Quay

Female Marsh Harrier seen near to the RMB boundary at 10am, ragged appearance but flying buoyantly in the very cold wind.

Posted February 27th, 2018 at 2:05 pm by Alan Denzey in General Birding

Nutwell Court, Lympstone

A first-winter Iceland Gull flew off the Exe estuary at 0700hrs and headed NE over the Exe Trail and Nutwell Court. 

Posted February 27th, 2018 at 7:47 am by Terry Smith in General Birding

Monday 26th February 2018


At Isley Marsh, two of the Spoonbills flew in around 16.00. Also Turnstone, Dunlin, Grey Plover, breeding plumage GCGrebe. Back along the Tarka Trail came the highlight: classic cold snap encounter with a Water Rail feeding in ditch by play. Unfazed by presence of people and feeding well.

Posted February 26th, 2018 at 9:11 pm by Lowell Mills in General Birding

Pink Footed Goose

Forgot video link for Pink Footed Goose

Posted February 26th, 2018 at 7:12 pm by Martin Rooney in General Birding

Around the Exe

Firstly to Exminster Marsh where the Pink Footed Goose showed well (as below approx SX961869). Also further down towards the cycle bridge The Snow Goose pair showed well, if distant, best viewed from the towpath as they are on the far side of the railway(view from approx SX966854 looking west). Nothing else of note but good numbers of Dunlin, Curlew and Redshank at Turf Lock on a rising tide. Parts of the western shore of the estuary well iced and Grey Plover seen there.

Then across to Topsham cemetery (despite the burst water main on Topsham Road)  a female Hawfinch and various Greenfinch were visible.

Because Topsham Road was closed, on my return, I finished by walking up along the Northbrook and, as ever, saw Dipper and 3 or 4 Green Sandpiper.

Pink Footed Goose Snow Goose
Pink Footed Goose                  Snow Goose

Posted February 26th, 2018 at 6:37 pm by Martin Rooney in General Birding

South Huish marsh 26th Feb. 12.30 pm

4- Black tailed godwits.

2- Ringed Plover

3- Jack Snipe

1- Cattle Egret

5-Little egrets

Posted February 26th, 2018 at 6:34 pm by Nick Reevell in General Birding

Plym Estuary

In a bitter wind - Jack Snipe, 3 Snipe, winter peak of 228 Dunlins (210 on pool), Teal, 6 Oystercatchers, 32 Turnstones, Ringed Plover, 4 Goosanders & Green Woodpecker.

Posted February 26th, 2018 at 6:15 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Exminster Marshes

The Pink-footed Goose was with a Canada Goose flock, fairly close in to the path along the canal by the viewing platform this lunchtime.

Posted February 26th, 2018 at 4:08 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding

Nutwell Court, Lympstone

Firecrest and a Chiffchaff seen from the Exe Trail boardwalk in evergreens just north of the lake at 1335hrs. On the lake itself were 8 Teal and a Black Swan.    

Posted February 26th, 2018 at 2:22 pm by Terry Smith in General Birding

Red Kite

08:25 this morning a single Red Kite, receiving attention from a Crow, over the A38 at the Splattford Split at Kennford

Posted February 26th, 2018 at 9:22 am by Chris Marcol in General Birding

Sunday 25th February 2018

Beesands Ley


The male Ring-necked Duck present amongst several Tufted Duck on the far side of the Ley.  A cracking male Scaup in front of the hide too.

2 Little Grebes, Shoveler and Teal also seen.

At nearby Slapton Ley, a male Goldeneye viewable off the pond dipping platforms.  A large flock of Wigeon, several Gadwall, Common Gulls, Little Grebes and Great Crested Grebes also on the water.

Earlier, at 10.15 and closer to home, at least 40 Redwings and a large flock of Goldfinches in the grounds close to the main entrance of Torquay Boys' Grammar School.   


Posted February 25th, 2018 at 8:32 pm by Paul Darlington in General Birding

Blaxton Meadow scuffle

Two male Shelduck fighting over a female at Saltram , Plymouth , this afternoon.

Posted February 25th, 2018 at 4:56 pm by Peter Castle in General Birding

Cattle Egrets at Powderham

In the stubble field just up from Powderham Church where they were last year, there was 5 Cattle Egret that I could see this afternoon, the field dips away from the hedge so couldn't see the far side. Sat and watched for a while, they kept flying over towards Powderham castle and back again, are they the same birds or is there more around the Deer and Castle Grounds?

Cattle Egret
Little Egret with muddy bill and legs


Posted February 25th, 2018 at 3:45 pm by Simon Thurgood in General Birding


Initially fairly quiet, as to be expected in such a cold easterly wind, but saw 4 Greenfinches and a Kestrel. In the woodland plenty to see including Goldcrest, Redwings, female Bullfinch, plenty of Great & Blue Tits, a Coal tit, 2 Jay, 3 Wrens and a Great Spotted Woodpecker. Additionally enjoyed seeing a Roebuck & deer together.

Posted February 25th, 2018 at 12:52 pm by Stephen Huggins in General Birding

Saturday 24th February 2018

Pink-footed Goose at Powderham

The Pink-footed Goose was still viewable distantly from the Powderham Footbridge this afternoon.

Pink-footed Goose
Pink-footed Goose

Posted February 24th, 2018 at 6:56 pm by Samuel Gray in General Birding

Beesands Ley

Ring-necked Duck still present this morning.

Posted February 24th, 2018 at 6:53 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding



The Iceland Gull showed incredibly well on the seaward side of The Point. It spent long periods in the surf close to the beach. 

At least 3 Common Gulls in the same vicinity and an obliging GND on the sea off the nearby car park. 

Posted February 24th, 2018 at 6:28 pm by Paul Darlington in General Birding

Bowling green marsh


170+ Pintail, 4 Tufted duck, 1 Pochard, 1 Little grebe, 1 Greylag goose. On the viewing platform: plenty of Godwits, Avocet, Dunlin, 100+ Grey plover, 3 Red breasted merganser (2m 1f) did a swim past while diving for fish. 48 species seen.

No sign of the Hawfinch at Topsham cemetery, but a juvenile Peregrine perched on the water tower was a nice alternative.

Posted February 24th, 2018 at 5:06 pm by Alan Livsey in General Birding

Plymbridge Wood , Lower Meadow.

Kingfisher , Dipper , Grey Wagtail , male and female Mandarin Duck and in a tree over the river a Nuthatch calling.


Posted February 24th, 2018 at 4:45 pm by Peter castle in General Birding


Firecrest (male) alongside old railway track in Parke, Bovey Tracey

Posted February 24th, 2018 at 4:20 pm by John Walton in General Birding

Plym Estuary

A look just after high tide produced: 139 Redshanks, 86 Dunlins on Blaxton Pool with 29 Curlews, 9 Goosanders, Common Sandpiper, Kingfisher, 6 Oystercatchers, 3 Greenshanks, 3 Jack Snipe, Snipe, 3 Stonechats, 4 Little Grebes & 2 Nuthatches.

Posted February 24th, 2018 at 4:18 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Teignmouth and Powderham

The adult Bonaparte’s Gull showed very well at Teignmouth off the Point car park flying up and down the beach from 940am-1005am at least - Also an imm Iceland Gull present close inshore around the mouth of the river. 

Yesterdays Pink-Footed Goose relocated by MKn north of Powderham Footbridge distantly with Canada Geese and still present late morning. Also 2 Snow Geese still there and 2 Greylag Geese.

Posted February 24th, 2018 at 12:11 pm by Mark Bailey in General Birding

Friday 23rd February 2018

Red Kite

Red Kite, flew south over Underdown, Haldon Forest at 8am.

Posted February 23rd, 2018 at 11:06 pm by John Gale in General Birding

River Exe - Exton

At least 20 Turnstone on the river opposite the Royal Marine Camp at 2.00 pm.

Posted February 23rd, 2018 at 4:23 pm by Richard Jordan in General Birding

23-02-17 Hawfinch @ Totsham Cemetery

The Hawfinch still hanging around at Totsham Cemetery today, managed to get a clear shot before it disappeared again.


Posted February 23rd, 2018 at 3:58 pm by Greg Bradbury in General Birding

Thursday 22nd February 2018

Bowling Green Marsh

Following on from an earlier post there were 184 Pintail, although there could of been many more out of view. Also on bowling green there was a large flock of dunlin and a Kingfisher. Out at the Viewing platform there were large flocks of avocet, dunlin and black and bar-tailed godwits as well as several red-breasted mergansers.

Posted February 22nd, 2018 at 6:40 pm by Benjamin Rousseau in General Birding

Dartington update

An early morning run to the spot listed at Dartington netted a single Hawfinch high I the trees and quite skittish. This was amongst a large flock of Chaffinch and Bramblings. There were Goldfinches and Green finches also present on site along with Jay, Crow and Magpies. A single sighting of a Greater spotted woodpecker and lots of Redwings made a pleasant hour.

Now for the real reason for posting, the previous post noted that the school was on half term. They are NOT and when I spoke to one of the teachers there this morning she was quite supportive of people actively watching the birds but in her words”not in school time please” I thought I would convey this to the group in case of confusion.

Please respect the fact that this is around a junior school so please avoid school times.

Posted February 22nd, 2018 at 3:53 pm by John wilkes in General Birding


Started at BGM 9.20 - 11am (hide very busy by then) lots of Pintail of note, more than I've seen before on the marsh. Good sized Dunlin and Redshank flocks. Approx 20 Bar Tailed Godwits (fewer Blackwits came in but did not stay likewise Avocet - 6 stayed on the marsh). 2 male Gadwall, pair of Pochard, Stock Dove, 3 Snipe. Among the usual suspects.

Goosemoor - Greenshank

Topsham Cemetery - 1 Hawfinch,Greenfinch, Goldcrest, and G.S.W. and a small Redwing flock in the field with the ponies.

Topsham Rec 3 Goldeneye (2m 1f) and Common Sandpiper,

Common Sandpiper Goldeneye Hawfinch
Common Sandpiper            Goldeneye                         Hawfinch

Posted February 22nd, 2018 at 3:24 pm by Martin Rooney in General Birding

Siskins in my garden , Estover , Plymouth , this morning

Good to see 3 Siskin back on the feeders after not seeing them for about a week.


Posted February 22nd, 2018 at 10:52 am by Peter Castle in General Birding

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