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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding


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 General Birding


3 whimbrel flying near elberry cove this morning.

Posted May 13th, 2018 at 8:57 pm by graham folkerd in General Birding

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 by Stephen Huggins in General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

Saturday 12th May 2018


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 General Birding

Turf Locks

Osprey fishing on the river this afternoon . 

Posted May 12th, 2018 at 6:45 pm by Gerry Hooper in General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

Friday 11th May 2018

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 General Birding

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 General Birding


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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 by Dave Holloway in General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

Tuesday 8th May 2018

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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