General Birding

Breeding Birds

Please think very carefully before posting any information on scarce or rare breeding species both here and elsewhere online.

A list of ‘at risk’ species in the county can be found here. Many of these receive full legal protection under Schedule 1 and/or are rare in the county and may be vulnerable to persecution/disturbance. It is an offence to intentionally disturb any of the Schedule 1 species during the breeding season without a valid licence. This also applies to anyone taking photographs of these species at or near the nest or whilst feeding dependant young. 

You should also apply these principles to vulnerable species without the wider legal protection. 

Although some species may be found breeding at numerous locations, please keep information about them limited to well-known sites (e.g. Labrador Bay for Cirl Bunting and Aylesbeare Common for Dartford Warbler). Others may be found as obvious migrants and as such can also be posted eg coastal Ring Ouzel and passage waders, or raptors eg Little Ringed PloverRed Kite or Marsh Harrier.

If you have any doubts and think there is a chance there may be breeding, either because of the habitat or behaviour of the bird(s) then do not post, but please submit your records to the County Recorder and, as appropriate, the RSPB

Please be aware that egg collecting and other forms of disturbance and persecution remain very real hazards for some of Devon’s birds. Unfortuately this can involve people wanting to photograph or obtain close views of the  birds, as well as eg egg collectors. 

Every year editors on this site have to remove or edit posts which breach the code outlined here. Please play your part in making this unnecessary. 

Thank you.

Posted March 20th at 3:43 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Dawlish Warren

Please take extra care when visiting Dawlish Warren. We have been informed that due to the recent bad weather there has been significant erosion from Groyne 10 eastwards. This means that access along the site, to and from Warren Point (and the bird hide) will be via the beach only, with a risk of being cut off for a period either side of high water! Signs have been put up to alert people to the hazards, but people need to be aware that access routes that they have become used to may not be available and they need to exercise extreme caution,  with the possibility of being cut off by the tide, and people are strongly urged not to try climbing the sand cliffs. Further information is available on the Teignbridge District Council website.

Posted November 9th, 2018 at 11:08 am by Mike Daniels in General Birding


If you follow our Blog but are not currently a member of Devon Birds please consider joining Devon Birds to help us 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 by George & Julia Harris in General Birding

Sightings Page Changes

Acting on comments to Devon Birds some changes have been made to this page. To the right of this header post you'll see there are now several subjects for you to choose to read and post on. Just click your chosen subject and use as previously.

Please be careful not to post under the wrong subject. If you do, you can still easily go back to edit and change the subject yourself so it appears on the right page.

Please try and keep posts short, particularly in the Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts page. Photographs are still very welcome.  

For help with ID email photos to

Posted June 30th, 2016 at 9:24 pm by George & Julia Harris 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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