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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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 14th February 2018

Brixham Harbour, yesterday

Close examination of photos of yesterday's "adult" glaucous gull shows that while the plumage is adult type, the basal 2/3 of the bill is flesh-coloured and there are traces of a dark band on the lower mandible. Both characters would appear to indicate a 4th winter bird - comments appreciated.

Glaucous gull, 4th winter?
Glaucous gull, 4th winter?

Eds. Adult Glaucous Gulls often have pinkish toned bills in winter, also quite obvious dark bill marks can be shown by much older known age large gulls and presumably also in Glaucous.  Plumage looks to be entirely adult - white tail and underwing with no darker marks on primary covs - so most likely adult, i.e. older than 5th cal year.

Posted February 14th, 2018 at 12:59 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

Braunton Marsh & Fremington Pill

the tundra bean goose is still with the swans on Braunton Marsh best seen from Sandy gate car park.

then went to Fremington Pill to look for the glossy ibis but didn't find the bird, but at the bridge by the quay we found a pair of spoonbills , one bird was ringed.

Posted February 14th, 2018 at 9:33 am by roger jewell & mike gibson in General Birding

Tuesday 13th February 2018

Brixham Breakwater

Pics of today's two glaucous gulls. The immature (probably the one photographed also by Alistair King) would seem to be a 2nd winter bird - pale eye, pale bill tip and pale secondaries.

Glaucous gull, 2nd winter Glaucous gull, adult Glaucous gull, adult
Glaucous gull, 2nd winter                       Glaucous gull, adult                        Glaucous gull, adult

Posted February 13th, 2018 at 9:52 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

Jetty Marsh LNR and Bowling Green Marsh

Trip to Jetty Marsh this this morning produced a stunning Hawfinch showing really well on footpath near entrance. Also saw 12 greenfinch 4 bullfinch and water rail calling. Single female brambling in garden area at Bowling  Green Marsh this afternoon 

Posted February 13th, 2018 at 7:37 pm by Tim Frayling in General Birding

Matford Marsh

American Wigeon Male showing well amongst 144 Wigeon. Also 60 Teal, 10 Shoveler, Kingfisher and a stunning 50+ Snipe. The Snipe were all on the marsh feeding, so how many more were there as I doubt I saw them all. 

Posted February 13th, 2018 at 7:11 pm by Steve Cox in General Birding

Brixham Breakwater glaucous gulls

A visit to Brixham harbour 2-4.30pm produced 2 glaucous gulls on the breakwater. The first bird, a 1st or 2nd winter, did not hang around but flew off in the direction of the fish market (could not be located there 20 minutes later). On return to the breakwater we found an adult bird (which had beeen glimpsed from the far side earlier) hanging round with a flock of herring gulls near the end. This individual was quite confiding, flying by very close and several times perching near us on the breakwater wall. Photos later.

Posted February 13th, 2018 at 6:17 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

Plym Estuary


c70 Redwings, Jack Snipe, Snipe, 9 Goosanders, 4 Wigeon, Kingfisher & Common  Sandpiper this morning.

Earlier, a Chiffchaff, probably tristis , in my garden , Mount Gould.

Posted February 13th, 2018 at 3:00 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Monday 12th February 2018

Matford Marsh and Haldon Forest Park


The American Wigeon showed well on the first pool at Matford. Viewed from area close to the information board and next to the road.  Nearby Exminster Marshes was buzzing with winter birdlife.  Several small Starling murmurations and clouds of Lapwing and Golden Plover aloft.    

Later at around 15.45, a lone female Brambling visiting the feeders close to the main car park at Haldon Forest Park. 


Posted February 12th, 2018 at 6:06 pm by Paul Darlington in General Birding

Lustleigh Cleave

Great views of a male Lesser Spotted Woodpecker in with a Tit flock, early pm. Called once. Typically active but unobtrusive.

Posted February 12th, 2018 at 5:50 pm by Andy Smith in General Birding

Black Redstart -Plymouth

Lovely male Black Redstart at 'Rusty Anchor' -West Hoe this afternoon

Posted February 12th, 2018 at 5:24 pm by Ian Teague in General Birding

Plym Estuary

New winter peak of 60 Shelduck. Also 11 Goosanders (2 drakes), sinensis Cormorant, 9 Oystercatchers, 190 Dunlins, Kingfisher, Common Sandpiper & 10 Grey Herons.

Posted February 12th, 2018 at 4:50 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Fremington Pill

Glossy Ibis in the pill this morning , showing really well.

Posted February 12th, 2018 at 2:36 pm by David Paterson in General Birding

East Soar

Highlight 2 Firecrest. Also 5 Snipe.

Non-avian - masses of frogspawn in Starehole Ponds!

Posted February 12th, 2018 at 2:05 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Sunday 11th February 2018

Starling Murmuration

After reading Steve's post the other day just had to witness the murmuration for myself. Very impressive, right in the heart of Heathfield industrial development, junction of Battle Road & Cannon Road. There were at least 6,000 birds and amazingly they all roosted in no more than 3-4 leylandi trees.

Posted February 11th, 2018 at 6:42 pm by Stephen Huggins in General Birding

Arlington court.

After a dismal morning yesterday on exmoor with a few small birds you could have almost reached out and touched as they contended with the weather conditions,  a more sheltered walk around Arlington court woods provided herons, nuthatch, blue great and coal tits, mallards, Robins,Jay greater spotted wood pecker and dunnock.


Posted February 11th, 2018 at 6:28 pm by Philip worth in General Birding

Red-breasted Merganser Courtship Behaviour

The 'intense display', performed by a male Merganser on Kingsbridge estuary last week, would always begin with the 'Courtship-intent' posture.  The male would then turns sideways to his female partner and briefly adopt the 'Salute' pose.  Finally he would face his partner and execute the 'Curtsey' display by lowering his neck under water, raising his rear and depressing the tail under water.  The bill was opened wide giving (it was assumed) the 2 stage Courtship-calls described in BWP.

Courtship-intent posture Salute posture Curtsey posture
Courtship-intent posture                             Salute posture                             Curtsey posture

Posted February 11th, 2018 at 6:23 pm by Michael Woodman-Smith in General Birding

Chudleigh Sparrowhawk

Recent photographs of a sparrowhawk on a collared dove kill in a Chudleigh garden.


Posted February 11th, 2018 at 6:03 pm by Mark Witherall in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh & EXminster Marshes 11/02/18

Relatively quiet at Bowling Green this afternoon. Nice Ruff showed well in front of the hide. There was another at Exminster marshes with the dunlin flock.


Posted February 11th, 2018 at 5:54 pm by Mark Witherall in General Birding

Stover Country Park

Cold blustery showers this morning at Stover:

18 Goosander (5m 13f), 5 Tufted duck (3m 2 f), 2 Kingfisher,  1 Mandarin, 1 Great spotted woodpecker, 1 Bullfinch.

Posted February 11th, 2018 at 2:36 pm by Alan Livsey in General Birding


An early walk around Rock Park Barnstaple caught 6 bullfinches, three Goldcrest and a Goosander on the river amongst others.

Posted February 11th, 2018 at 12:07 pm by richard yeats in General Birding

Saturday 10th February 2018

Beesands Ley

4pm visit to Beesands in miserable conditions. 1 Male RING-NECK DUCK. And 1Male SCAUP still present 

Posted February 10th, 2018 at 5:19 pm by Terry Goddard in General Birding

Brixham Harbour

The adult Glaucous Gull still in Brixham Harbour today around fish market roof and outer harbour

Posted February 10th, 2018 at 3:59 pm by Mark Bailey in General Birding


Seven people braved the rain for the Exeter RSPB field trip to Broadsands this morning.  We were rewarded by really good views of an Iceland Gull on the rocky section of the beach (sorry, no photo).  Also out to sea was a small flock of Common Scoter with a Black-necked Grebe. In the back corner of the second car park, some of us were lucky to catch a Firecrest and there were also good numbers of Cirl Buntings feeding (perhaps because there were not so many dogs as sometimes).

Posted February 10th, 2018 at 2:02 pm by Richard Swinbank in General Birding


Excellent views of an Iceland Gull on the rocks with the main roost  this morning - looks quite settled

Posted February 10th, 2018 at 12:37 pm by Tim Clyburn in General Birding

Friday 9th February 2018

Heathfield Starling murmaration

I spent 20 minutes from 17.10hrs this evening at Heathfield watching the Starling murmaration, one of the locals watching advised me that the birds have been gathering each evening for several weeks now.

An estimated 6000 plus birds by the time I left at 17.30hrs and still more birds continuing to arrive. 

Of note was the behaviour of a Herring Gull that was clearly trying to snatch birds out of the air with its beak, a number of gulls gathered but this was the only one displaying this type of behaviour, something that I have not heard of or witnessed previously.


Posted February 9th, 2018 at 8:39 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Berry Head

Glaucous Gull (without tatty wings - presumably Mike's recent 2nd bird) came in close to cliff, past Coastguard Station then out into Torbay c.12:45.

No sign of any returning fishing boats nor any Iceland Gulls up until c.16:00.

Posted February 9th, 2018 at 6:26 pm by Dave Holloway in General Birding

Teignmouth 9th Feb pm

Compact flock of twenty Great Crested Grebes approx 50 metres offshore at Holcombe.  Twelve Common Scoters and two Great Northen Divers off Sprey Point.  Numerous feeding Gannets. One Rock Pipit.

Posted February 9th, 2018 at 5:16 pm by Patrick Case in General Birding


Firecrest feeding on buses very close to the ground in Plymbridge Wood this afternoon.


Posted February 9th, 2018 at 4:27 pm by Peter Castle in General Birding

River Exe

At least 7 Ringed Plover and 5 Turnstone on the river at the Exton end of the Royal Marine Camp at 1.30pm.

Posted February 9th, 2018 at 4:26 pm by Richard Jordan in General Birding

Thursday 8th February 2018

Teignmouth 8th Feb pm

Two Great Northen Divers off Teignmouth this afternoon.  One off Eastcliff and one in the river mouth.

Posted February 8th, 2018 at 5:14 pm by Patrick Case in General Birding

Grey Wagtail, Exmouth

The grey wagtail (see 5th Feb) returned for the fourth day in a row. I've only seen one other grey wagtail in my little back yard in the centre of Exmouth in the 30 years I've lived here.

Posted February 8th, 2018 at 3:04 pm by Margaret Masckintosh in General Birding

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