Devon Bird Sightings: Bird News from 8th–14th May 2018

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If you were fortunate enough to see any of the birds below please can you submit a description to the County Recorder to ensure they are included in the 2021 Devon Bird Report.

Black Kite


07 Jun



09 Oct

Caspian Gull


01 Dec



13 Oct


Noss Mayo

09 Feb

Little Bunting

Huxton Cross

18 Oct


Chudleigh Knighton

24 Sep

Long-tailed Skua


12 May

Common Rosefinch


10 Jun

Ortolan Bunting


17 Jun

Corn Bunting [2]


22 Jun

Pectoral Sandpiper

Bowling Green

27 Oct

Cory's Shearwater


07 Sep

Purple Heron

Slapton Ley

17 Apr

Glossy Ibis


21 Dec

RC Starling


01 Jul

Glossy Ibis

Otter Estuary

28 Dec

RC Starling

South Huish

09 Sep

Golden Oriole

Combe Valley

09 Jun

Ruddy Duck

Exe Estuary

04 Apr



26 May



21 Aug



30 May

Tree Sparrow


22 Jan

Hooded Crow


03 Jun

Tree Sparrow


14 Nov

Posted June 30th at 11:34 pm by Kevin Rylands in Bird News


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Posted October 10th, 2016 at 9:14 am in Bird News

Monday 14th May 2018

Exeter Quay

If anyone's lost a fulvous whistling duck with a yellow ring on its right leg, it was having a great time at sunny Exeter Quay this afternoon.

Posted May 14th, 2018 at 11:10 pm by Andrew Taylor in Bird News

Red kite

Two red kite flew over Christow from the Haldon Hills direction, heading west at about 6.30pm this evening. 

Posted May 14th, 2018 at 9:30 pm by Fiona Freshney in Bird News

Red Kite ~ Near Dean Prior, Buckfastleigh

Early this evening a local farmer rang me to say that he had ten Red Kite's on one of his fields near Dean Prior, Buckfastleigh.

The field in question was being used for preparing garden turf, several surrounding fields are having grass cut, on arrival all but one Kite had departed but the remaining bird showed well.

Back home at South Brent a single Swift over the house.

Posted May 14th, 2018 at 9:25 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Bowling green marsh viewing platform

Watched from 16:30 till 19:25

A steady passage of Red Kite with 42+ heading west and north west also 1 hobby 

Posted May 14th, 2018 at 8:53 pm by Keith Birchall in Bird News

Red Kite passage

Minimum 80 Red Kites heading West over Colyton between 14:15 and 17:45. Some birds were very high so we would have missed some; total birds going over would likely have been a fair few more than the 80 recorded. Also 1 Hobby over.

Posted May 14th, 2018 at 7:36 pm by Tim White in Bird News

Red Kites

19 Red Kites over Ilsington 17.25 14 May, gaining height and drifting west.

Posted May 14th, 2018 at 5:35 pm by Phil in Bird News

Isley marsh

Female Merlin at Isley Marsh this lunchtime. She flew up and landed on a fence post before quickly flying off again. Sedge warblers, Whitethroat and Meadow Pipits breathed a collective sigh of relief and resumed singing!

Posted May 14th, 2018 at 4:40 pm by Martin Unwin in Bird News

First House Martins

First sighting of House Martins arriving back in Chudleigh this morning. Already checking out nest sites under the Eve's.

Posted May 14th, 2018 at 11:22 am by Neil Mander in Bird News

Red Kite- M5

A Red Kite flew south over the M5 at 9.05am, c4 miles north of Exeter Services towards Broadclyst 

Posted May 14th, 2018 at 9:26 am by Mark Bailey in Bird News

Nightjars on Haldon

A stroll at dusk around the Harcombe area of Haldon Forest produced only one churring male Nightjar, plus a calling Tawny Owl. The ISS did make an impressive flypast though!

Posted May 14th, 2018 at 9:18 am by Martin Overy in Bird News

Sunday 13th May 2018

Powderham marshes

1 male garganey still present today . also several hobbies over Exminster marshes and a flock of 40 Whimbrel

Posted May 13th, 2018 at 9:54 pm by Jeff hacon in Bird News


Very unexpected shellduck stayed for 2 hours on an arable field in Rattery . A first for our farm.

Posted May 13th, 2018 at 9:44 pm by Ian samuel in Bird News


3 whimbrel flying near elberry cove this morning.

Posted May 13th, 2018 at 8:57 pm by graham folkerd in Bird News

Preston, Paignton

I heard the 1st Swifts over Preston this morning, and then this evening a solitary Swift flying overhead.

Posted May 13th, 2018 at 8:48 pm in Bird News

Roborough Down, Nr Plymouth

 Roborough Down near Plymouth ~ Yellow Hammer 4+, two pairs of Blackcap, Green Woodpecker, Song Thrush, Goldfinch 10+, Buzzard, numerous Willow Warblers, Meadow Pipit, good numbers of Swallows and Wren 3+



Posted May 13th, 2018 at 3:51 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Herring gulls

Am puzzled by the reduction in the number of herring gulls in my part of Exmouth - central Victorian terraces. Usually many on roof tops, and kept awake by their noise, but this year very few around. Is this a local phenomenon or is it more wides[read?

Posted May 13th, 2018 at 1:44 pm by Margaret mackintosh in Bird News

Rare Breeding Birds in Devon

Yet another reminder - any posts containing Devon Rare Breeding birds will be deleted. 

Please see:  if you are unsure

Posted May 13th, 2018 at 11:21 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Powderham Marsh yesterday evening

Saturday evening visit to Powderham Marsh. Still 2 Male Garganey, 60+ Swallow, 50+ Sand Martin, 40+ House Martin, 8 Swift, 5 singing Reed Warbler & 5 Whimbrel. Lots more hurindines over Exminister too. 

Posted May 13th, 2018 at 7:54 am by Steve Cox in Bird News

Saturday 12th May 2018

DWT reserve Heathfield

A late evening visit to the DWT reserve at Heathfield gave five possibly six Nightjar churring and seen in flight.

Before it got to dark Yellow Hammer, Stonechat, Meadow Pipit, a possible Tree Pipit and numerous Swallow.

Over at Stover two Tawny owls calling but no sign of any Nightjar's. 

Posted May 12th, 2018 at 11:00 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News


This morning, east of Norsworthy bridge:-

1 singing Redstart (m), 1 Green Woodpecker (m), 3 Siskin, 2 Grey Wagtail, 1 Blackcap, 1 Cuckoo, 1 Tree pipit in display flight, 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Raven, 1 Roe deer amongst the pines.

At Sheepstor: 5 Siskin, 2 Yellowhammer, 1 Reed bunting (m), 3 Stock dove, on feeders in private garden, 3 House Martin overhead.

Posted May 12th, 2018 at 7:00 pm by Alan Livsey in Bird News

Turf Locks

Osprey fishing on the river this afternoon . 

Posted May 12th, 2018 at 6:45 pm by Gerry Hooper in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Whimbrel with 6 Curlews on Blaxton Pool, Nuthatch nesting, Green Woodpecker, 3 drake Mandarins, Whitethroat singing & 12 Swifts.

Posted May 12th, 2018 at 6:38 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Meddon Green LNR

A morning walk around the reserve saw, 2 Redpoll, 2 Marsh Tit, 1 Blackcap, 5 Greenfinch, 2 Willow Warbler, 5 Swallow, 2 House Martin, 4 Chaffinch, 3 BLackbird, 2 Goldfinch, 2 Robin, 3 Blue Tit, 1 Dunnock.

Posted May 12th, 2018 at 2:06 pm by Rod Mudge in Bird News

Friday 11th May 2018

Prawle Point

Seawatch  from 7.45am till 1.30pm in reasonable conditions: SE 4. 4 Pomarine Skuas-2 dark and 2 pale phased; 1 Bonxie; 1 Great Northern Diver and 1 Puffin. 1000+ Manx Shearwaters.Left before rain set in as lost my rain hood !


Posted May 11th, 2018 at 11:13 pm in Bird News

Berry Head update

Seawatch 0920-1920 (with Pete Aley and Bill MacD). SSE-S with rain bearing front arriving1320-1800, clearance by 1830. A very strong passage of 98 Puffins (a record here, my previous highest count was 66 on 09/04/09), in groups up to four. Also Iceland Gull (presumed faded 2cy and almost certainly same bird as seen by Rupert Kirkwood 2 days ago), Balearic Shearwater (good record for May), c6300 Manx Shearwaters, Pomarine Skua, 2 Arctic Skuas, 3 Bonxies, Red-throated Diver (bp) Great Northern Diver (bp), 9 Sandwich Terns, 18 Common Scoters (8S,10N), Whimbrel and singles of Common Dolphin & Harbour Porpoise.

Iceland Gull (2cy?)Manx Shearwaters

Posted May 11th, 2018 at 10:03 pm by Mark Darlaston in Bird News

Slapton Ley / Beesands Ley

Got to Slapton Ley late afternoon. In the rain a couple hundred Swallows and about 100 House Martins at Torcross. Around Ireland Bay c500 Swifts. Numbers soon fell as the rain eased and the sun came out, all this fairly predictable at Slapton. A half hour seawatch from the Memorial Car Park produced 185 Manx Shearwaters and 2 Sandwich Terns heading south. Around at Beesands Ley surprised to see what I presume is the same male Garganey that was found on Monday. Also still a Pochard and a few Swifts, Swallows and House Martins dropping in and out.

Posted May 11th, 2018 at 8:56 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Berry Head

Seawatch this afternoon to coincide with the poorer weather (13.20 - 18.00): highlight was a Pomarine Skua with good spoons; also Balearic Shearwater, 62 Puffins, c4,700 Manx Shearwaters, Arctic Skua, 3 Bonxies, Red-throated Diver, 4 Sandwich Terns & a Harbour Porpoise.

MD was there before and after me so update with higher numbers anticipated.

Posted May 11th, 2018 at 8:03 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Garganey at Bowling Green Marsh

A lunchtime lots of Swifts and hirundines, and the Ruff with the Godwits, as described by Simon Bates later in the afternoon, but the surprise find was a male Garganey skulking in the reeds in the channel nearest the railway track.  Also quite a few Rook, an uncommon visitor to the marsh still.  

Posted May 11th, 2018 at 5:22 pm by Chris Marcol in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

Generally a bit quiet on the Marsh this morning. Lots of Swift, Swallows, House Martins and Sand Martins. Three Ruff at the back showed quite well amongst the Black Tailed Godwits, one quite red, one with a black neck and one with a black and white neck.

Posted May 11th, 2018 at 3:11 pm by Simon Bates in Bird News


Lunchtime walk to Exton - Glaucous Gull (imm) between Exton and Lympstone Commando approx 1.30.

Posted May 11th, 2018 at 1:38 pm by Martin Rooney in Bird News

Bowling Green Marsh

Alan & Abbie Fielding would like to thank the person who let them look through his scope, at Bar Tailed Godwits and a Ruff, yesterday at Bowling Green Marsh hide.

Posted May 11th, 2018 at 9:32 am by Mike Daniels in Bird News

South Brent

Yesterday 10th May gave me my first sightings of House Martins over the village and at home at South Brent, the first and only Swift so far came over the house on Tuesday.

Soaring Sparrow Hawk put up a flock of 22 Starlings, later in the day a teircel Peregrine had a tickle at my racing pigeons but they lived to fly another day.

Last night several adult Tawny owls heard calling through the night and one mobile young bird calling, nice to know that they have bred successfully again this year.

Long Tailed Tit pair with a nest of young and a Blue Tit on eggs in one of the garden nest box's.

Posted May 11th, 2018 at 7:50 am by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Thursday 10th May 2018

Sharpa Marshes

Up to 100 Hirundines alighting on stalks on Sharpa Marshes at 19.30 this evening.

Posted May 10th, 2018 at 10:15 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

A361 near Tiverton

Single Red kite over the A361 west of Tiverton at 0815 this morning. 

Posted May 10th, 2018 at 8:33 pm by Paul Bearman in Bird News

Exminster Marshes & Powderham Reserve

Plenty of Swifts (c35) and Sand Martins (30+) over Exminster Marshes with 6 Hobbies & a flock of 30+ Whimbrels flew over.

At Powderham Reserve, 2 drake Garganeys,  Common Sandpiper & 13 Whimbrels.

Posted May 10th, 2018 at 5:11 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Yarner Wood

12 - 3pm, pick of the bunch... endless pied flycatcher, 5 marsh tit and a couple redstart 

Posted May 10th, 2018 at 4:40 pm by George Hinton in Bird News

Okehampton, Castle woods

Wood warblers in castle woods, and later, first swifts over town.

Posted May 10th, 2018 at 7:58 am by Jasper Michie in Bird News

Wednesday 9th May 2018

Yelland/Isley Marsh RSPB

Highlights this morning were 3 Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Turnstone (1 winter 1 summer plumage), 9 Dunlin (summer plumage), 4 Whimbrel and a Curlew. Plenty of Sedge Warbler and Whitethroat, some of each were extremely showy and gave incredible song-flights.

Posted May 9th, 2018 at 8:47 pm by Lowell Mills in Bird News

Venford, Bench Tor, White Wood

3 Crossbill, 2 Cuckoo, 3 Lesser Redpoll, 8 Pied Flycatcher, 7 Redstart, 4 Tree Pipit, 13 Willow Warbler and 7 Wood Warbler.

Posted May 9th, 2018 at 8:44 pm by Rob Hubble & Stella Tracey in Bird News

Yelland - new regeneration of the heronry?

There is a single Grey Heron nest (with a very large youngster stretching its neck this morning) in the thick willow scrub behind the pond west of Yelland's old power station site.

My recollection from chats about the old heronry with more long-standing birders in Devon, is that although there used to be nests in the scots pines around the station perimeter, this colony had 'gone bust' and no herons have bred there in years. If this is the first nest in a while then it has made my month! Eds/others please confirm.

PS - I'm also delighted to report that despite long-running disturbance from construction on the power station's footprint, a breeding pair of Raven remain: A nest with large youngsters was spotted in the scots pines this morning.

Posted May 9th, 2018 at 8:32 pm by Lowell Mills in Bird News

Dunsford Wood

Fleeting views of  a pair of Wood Warblers at Dunsford Wood today.

Wood Warbler
Wood Warbler

Posted May 9th, 2018 at 4:58 pm by Samuel Gray in Bird News

Southdown Farm, Bolberry

2 Greenland Wheatears - very approachable! Many Cirl Buntings still in flocks, looks like a late season.

Posted May 9th, 2018 at 4:52 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Berry Head

Sea Watch from Berry Head, 06:30 - 12:00:

  • 300 - 400 Manx Shearwater (Hard to keep track of nos as many birds doubled back, > S, then < N, with many landing in rafts ranging from c.20 - c. 60 strong no discernable Balearics);
  • 4 - 8 Arctic Skua (2 > S; 4 < N; 2 > S ?);
  • 1 Pomarine Skua < N; 
  • 1 R-t Diver > S; 
  • 2 Arctic Terns < N (+ 3-4 Commic Terns >S);
  • 1m & 1f Wheatear between point & quarry.
  • 1 Man (Homo Sapien) in a Kayak - we've not met but hi Rupert!

Posted May 9th, 2018 at 4:50 pm in Bird News

Kayak trip Berry Head

photos from this am

Manx and Berry head ? Iceland Gull Purple Sandpiper
Manx and Berry head                          Iceland Gull                        Purple Sandpiper

Posted May 9th, 2018 at 4:35 pm by Rupert Kirkwood in Bird News

Berry Head kayak trip

Part 1,

120+ Manx shearwaters

20+ Razorbills

Guillemots , many

2 Great Northern Divers flying across the neck of Berry Head at Shoalstone.

1 Sandwich tern

1 White winged Gull near Berry head at 0900, Iceland I think

1 Purple Sandpiper at Brixham Breakwater

(note: just in case anyone was, justifiably, worried  I didn't go anywhere near the Guillemot colony and photographed the auks 2 miles offshore)

Posted May 9th, 2018 at 4:32 pm by Rupert Kirkwood in Bird News

Berry Head kayak trip

further photos

Manx Shearwater Razorbills Guillemot
Manx Shearwater                            Razorbills                                         Guillemot

Posted May 9th, 2018 at 2:22 pm by Rupert Kirkwood in Bird News

Welcombe area.

During Part 1 of my BBS this morning:-

4 Yellowhammers, 1 Raven over and 1 Buzzard,, 2 pairs of Whitethroats, 5 Blackcaps, only 1 Willow Warbler but 4 Chiffchaffs, House Martins and Swallows plus the 'commoner' species.

Harvey Kendall and Barry Bryne.

Posted May 9th, 2018 at 11:59 am by Harvey Kendall in Bird News

Tuesday 8th May 2018

Dawlish Warren Red-backed Shrike

The Red-backed Shrike was still showing at Dawlish Warren this afternoon. The only other bird of note was a Cuckoo.

Red-backed Shrike  Cuckoo
Red-backed Shrike                                          Cuckoo

Posted May 8th, 2018 at 8:31 pm by Samuel Gray in Bird News

Soar & Slapton Ley

At Soar first thing, no signs of migration but c18 Whitethroats around.

Later, Slapton produced 15+ Swifts, Common Sandpiper & Tawny Owl.

Posted May 8th, 2018 at 8:10 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Dawlish Countryside Park

Red Kite over approx 11:30 this morning. Quite a few warblers around including a lots of Whitethroats.

Posted May 8th, 2018 at 7:08 pm by Simon Bates in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

11am - 13pm x4 hobby feeding across marsh directly opposite Turf.

A few whimbrel dotted here and there, along with usual warblers.

Posted May 8th, 2018 at 2:39 pm by George Hinton in Bird News

Red Kite - Haytor

A Red Kite flew south over the road by Haytor at 11.05am and watched circling the moor for 10 minutes

Posted May 8th, 2018 at 2:28 pm by Mark Bailey in Bird News

Exe Estuary/Exminster Marshes

Red Kite over the estuary towards Exton/Clyst Estuary drifted off over Exminster Marshes at 1330hrs. Also, a distant Hobby high over the marshes. 

Posted May 8th, 2018 at 2:07 pm by Terry Smith in Bird News

Red Backed Shrike - update

The Male Red-Backed Shrike showing around Greenland Lake still 12.55 at least. 

Posted May 8th, 2018 at 12:56 pm by Mark Bailey in Bird News

Dawlish Warren

Male Red backed shrike near the car park (edge of nature reserve near copse known as the Cuckoo's nest). From inner car park, pick up gravel path that leads into nature reserve - bird seen in bushes near copse.

Posted May 8th, 2018 at 9:36 am by Stephen Edwards in Bird News

Challacombe, Dartmoor.

Late entry - 7th May.

Gloriously sunny day on the moor produced a pleasing array of birds:-

2 Whinchats, 1 female Redstart, 1 Tree Pipit, at least 3 Willow Warblers, 1 Garden Warbler, 4 Chiffchaffs, 2 Cuckoos, Meadow Pipits, Swallows and a House Martins nest at the farm, 5+ Wheatears and several Linnets, 1 Buzzard soaring.   Moderate numbers of Orange Tip butterflies.

Harvey Kendall and Barry Bryne.

Posted May 8th, 2018 at 7:37 am by Harvey Kendall in Bird News

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