General Birding

Missing Devon rarity records 2018

Unfortunately no descriptions have been submitted for the following records of ‘A’ species reported in 2018. This means, as things stand, they will not make the official record as part of the 2018 Devon Bird Report. It would be a great shame to lose these records.

If anyone saw these birds (you don’t have to be the finder) please can you submit a description and/or photos asap to Kev Rylands: Thank you.

Chough Northam 17-18 July  

Corn Bunting Beer Head 25 August

Cory’s Shearwater (2) Ilfracombe 28 July

Cory’s Shearwater Thurlestone 26 August

Glossy Ibis Exe Estuary 21-27 October

Golden Oriole Blaxton Meadow 18 April

Great Shearwater (2) Berry Head 20 September

Great White Egret (2) Bridge Marsh, Axe Estuary 13 January

Great White Egret Black Hole Marsh, Axe Estuary 22 August

Great White Egret Exminster Marshes 30 March

Great White Egret Exmouth 06 May

Great White Egret Stover 01 October

Honey-buzzard Dartmoor 21-22 May

Little Bunting Slapton 21 October

Montagu’s Harrier Dartmoor 19 Aug

Pectoral Sandpiper Upper Tamar Lake 13 August

Ring-necked Duck Lee Moor 14 October

Rose-coloured Starling Beesands 27-28 August

Serin South Hallsands 24 April

Tree Sparrow Haldon 20 May

Posted September 24th at 8:44 am 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


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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

Sunday 15th July 2018

Saturday 14th Plymouth Boat Trip

This morning 10 members of Plymouth Branch set off from Sutton Harbour on our inaugural 'mini pelagic' aboard 'Happy Days'  Fish oil and rubby-dubby were used to temp the birds in with an almost instant reaction from the Herring Gulls, but closely followed by a raft of 38 Manx Shearwaters. Juvenile Gannets came to look but weren't tempted. A family party of Guillemots came very close in. Back in The Sound we found at least 9 Mediterranean Gulls (5 ad spl, 1 2nd year and 3 juvs) in a party of B-H Gulls of all ages. In all 26 species were counted. A second trip in the afternoon may even have turned up a few more. 

Guillemot FamilyMediterranean & Common Gulls
Guillemot Family                              Mediterranean & Common Gulls

Eds: the 'Common' Gulls in the photo with the Mediterranean Gulls are actually Herring Gulls, note the size difference. 

Posted July 15th, 2018 at 12:33 am by Chris Marcol in General Birding

Saturday 14th July 2018


25 med gulls this evening.11 ads,6 2s,6 fs 2 juv. 18:45

Posted July 14th, 2018 at 7:52 pm by Robert Marshall in General Birding

West Charleton Bird Hide

Please be advised that the West Charleton Bird Hide is closed until Thursday 19th July for repairs to the steps and boardwalk

Posted July 14th, 2018 at 6:29 pm by Mike Daniels in General Birding

A life on the ocean wave

Sorry for this late post. Fishing in a boat off Berry Head yesterday (Friday 13th) two pods of porpoise also fishing and leaping clear of the water, causing other fish to also leap. Beautiful day flat calm and little breeze. Tried to take photos but too far away and porpoise and boat going up and down too much!  Not much in the way of birdlefe except for some oystercatchers on Cod Rock.

Posted July 14th, 2018 at 5:12 pm by Philip L. Fairclough in General Birding

Friday 13th July 2018


The influx of Gulls due to the ongoing heatwave continues. Lesser BBgu numbers up to 30.                     The last week I've noticed a Great Black Backed Gull that is a bit aberrant on its black plumage. On closer inspection it looks like it has both wings tagged with white tags and possibly a geo locatator. 

Posted July 13th, 2018 at 9:09 pm by Martin Thorne in General Birding

Marsh Green, East Devon

Female Sparrow Hawk takes young Sparrow from my garden.  Nature can be so cruel.

Posted July 13th, 2018 at 6:10 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding

Velator reserve

27 birds ringed this morning:

1 Wren

1 Dunnock

3 Chiffchaff

1 Willow Warbler

1 Whitethroat

2 Reed Warbler

10 Blackcap

1 Song Thrush

3 Blackbird

1 Greenfinch

1 House Sparrow

1 Great Spotted Woodpecker

1 Kingfisher (worth raking out all the duck-weed then!)

Of interest 4 Teal were flying about when I arrived and landed on the pond. They flew off and spent the morning out on the scrape.

Posted July 13th, 2018 at 4:30 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Blaxton Meadow

On this mornings high tide the following were seen . Little Egret 10, Curlew 38, Whimbrel 2, Greenshank 3, Common Sandpiper 6, Redshank 74 and 2 Shelduck with 2 young.

Posted July 13th, 2018 at 10:51 am by Martin Phillips in General Birding


8 swifts flying around the roof tops of exmouth town center.

Posted July 13th, 2018 at 6:20 am by eric in General Birding

Thursday 12th July 2018


Presumed escapee Snow Goose with Canada Geese by River Kenn,close to road by river Exe.

Snow Goose
Snow Goose

Posted July 12th, 2018 at 3:43 pm by simon thurgood in General Birding

Wednesday 11th July 2018


During a  couple of hours early afternoon at Goodrington Seafront I watched a movement of Mediterranean Gulls >S 38 in total but one flock of 32! ages of birds: 18 juvs, 6 fs, 3 ss & 11 ads. Also a good movement of Black-head gulls with over 70 counted and 3 Sandwich Terns. 

Posted July 11th, 2018 at 4:46 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding

Mutters Moor, Sidmouth

15 members of DB attended the evening walk (East Devon Branch) to find Nightjars3 Swift overhead and a lonesome Yellow Hammer singing while we waited for the action.  First call heard at 21.47 with first sightings a few minutes later.  Several close fly passes and 'churring' heard from various locations on the heath. A possible 4 territories estimated. 

Posted July 11th, 2018 at 8:57 am by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding

Tuesday 10th July 2018

Ivybridge Swifts

Late this evening no less than 24 Swifts over Diary lane, Ivybridge.

Just after midday back home at South Brent a Peregrine Falcon circling over harwell Lane.

Posted July 10th, 2018 at 10:23 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding


14 Mediterranean Gulls at Broadsands this evening, 5 juvs, 4 fs, 2 ss and 3 Ads

Posted July 10th, 2018 at 9:16 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding

Wrafton, Velator, Sherpa Marsh

Slow time of year so not much going on (except at Sherpa - more anon) It's odd that the scrape by the Tarka Trail seems to be getting wetter by the minute. Where is all this water coming from? Nothing at all there today though.

The result of all the duck-weed removal is showing signs of improving the pond - a Kingfisher again today.

Later on this evening I walked down to Sherpa Marsh, avoiding all the cows. Black-headed Gull numbers are increasing and a fair proportion of them are juvs. On the Caen river a smart (the first this summer?) adult Mediterranean Gull. On the main pond 25 Swans, 14 Canada Geese (only 8 juvs) about 30 Mallard - mostly full grown juvs., and another adult sum plum Mediterranean Gull. a small mixed flock of Swallows, Sand and House Martins. A single Teal (early?) and one Lapwing. Further round I was a bit surprised to see a family of 6 juvenile Little Grebes. Both adults in attendance, but I didn't think they could possibly incubate 6 eggs - they're huge aren't they? 4 Each of Grey Heron and Little Egret. 

BWP states: Little Grebe clutch size 4-6 or even 2-7 max 10!

Posted July 10th, 2018 at 9:12 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Four Common Sandpipers on the narrow river, 3 Oystercatchers, Green & Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Whitethroat singing, 1 or 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 14 Mandarin Ducks, Swallow on nest, Kestrel and good numbers of butterflies including c50 Gatekeepers, 4 Marbled Whites and 3 Small Skippers.

Posted July 10th, 2018 at 4:54 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Spotted flycatcher tracking project

Devon Birds/RSPB/BTO Spotted flycatcher tracking project

Thanks to several people for sharing their garden Spotted flycatchers with us after our appeal. We are nearly there but still need your help in locating a few more Spotted flycatcher nests in Devon to contribute to our ongoing project that you can read about in the current issue of Devon Birds.

Spotted flycatchers have seen declines of 83% since the 1960s. Reasons for this decline may include factors operating within UK breeding grounds, such as reduced availability of invertebrates, but the species may also be declining due to problems along their migratory journey to Africa and back. But we know little about their wintering grounds. We need this information to understand what part of the annual cycle causes problems for spotted flycatchers, and where we might need to focus future work to reverse declines. To do this we are continuing the work we started in 2016, tracking migrations to determine wintering areas using tiny tracking devises. These geolocators weigh only 0.36g - incredible!

But to be able to do this we need to catch and tag spotted flycatchers in places where they return each year, as we need to recapture tagged birds the year after to retrieve the tag and its data. The best places to do this are peoples gardens. Do you have Spotted flycatchers nesting at the moment in your garden or farm? If you are happy to have your spotted flycatchers captured and tagged for this project, please could you email or

Posted July 10th, 2018 at 9:23 am by Malcolm Burgess in General Birding

Monday 9th July 2018

Bowling Green Marsh & Goosemoor

1 very pale Ruff this lunchtime at Bowling Green Marsh.

At Goosemoor, 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls. One was ringed but too far away to read.

Posted July 9th, 2018 at 8:51 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding

Plym Estuary

Whimbrel, 32 Curlews and 3 Mediterranean Gulls (2 ads + 1st-s) on Blaxton. Also: 2 Stock Doves, 13 Little Egrets, c20 Redshanks, 4 Mandarin Ducks, Kingfisher, Common Sandpipier and Mallard with a small duckling.

Posted July 9th, 2018 at 8:23 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding


2 seen in Woolacombe today at 12:30.

Posted July 9th, 2018 at 6:27 pm by Robert Marshall in General Birding

Bovey Heathfield DWT reserve, Yesterday evening

Two nightjars churring and calling in trees on the heath edges, one of them seen very well flying over the heath.

Posted July 9th, 2018 at 1:45 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

An unusual sight.

Her's something we don't often see, a wagtail in a tree. Spotted this one at Broadsands whilst having a BBQ, (me not the wagtail)! Still waiting to see the hundreds which roost in Courtenay St in Newton Abbot.

Posted July 9th, 2018 at 11:23 am by Philip L. Fairclough in General Birding

Sunday 8th July 2018

Arlington court

An early morning walk around Arlington court saw redstart, heron, buzzard, and nuthatches with swallows dipping on the top pond. Also down by tuckers bring bridge we saw this hind.

Later at home in combemartin a humming bird moth amongst other numerous species of butterfly. 

Nuthatch Hind
Nuthatch                                              Hind

Posted July 8th, 2018 at 7:58 pm by Philip worth in General Birding

Lyme Bay boat trip from Brixham

Pics from today's trip. Additional to Nigel's list, 2 adult Mediterranean Gulls just off Berry Head, and a 1st summer Common Gull offshore at the chum. The small bill with only a trace groove (visible in other pics), dusky face and lack of coloured eye ring identify the Puffin as a 1st year bird: see Mike Harris's paper: 

Additional to the birds, 2 Compass Jellyfish and several Blue Jellyfish.

Common Gull, 1st summerPuffin, presumed immatureBlue Jellyfish, Cyanea lamarckii
Common Gull, 1st summer                        Puffin, 1st summer                  Blue Jellyfish, Cyanea lamarckii

Posted July 8th, 2018 at 5:23 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

Lyme Bay Boat trip.

This mornings Lyme Bay boat trip was in beautiful sunny conditions but no wind. Went out about 10 miles . Birds sighted 14 Manx Shearwater, 10+ Guillemots, Fulmar, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Kittiwake, Gannets, 100+ Herring Gulls on the chum but best of all was a Puffin sitting on the water with a Guillemot as we came back towards Berry Head. if interested in coming with us text 07866202576.

Posted July 8th, 2018 at 3:13 pm by Nigel Smallbones in General Birding

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