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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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

Tuesday 21st August 2018

Venford Reservoir

Late afternoon, of note: 1 Green Sandpiper and 16 Goosander.

Posted August 21st, 2018 at 7:27 pm by Andy Smith in General Birding

Plym Estuary

Over the high tide, Black-tailed Godwit 3, Ringed Plover juv, Turnstone 13, Kingfisher, Yellow-legged Gull juv, Little Egret 19, Curlew 41, Shelduck juv and my first Wheatear of the autumn here.

Posted August 21st, 2018 at 6:05 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Venford reservoir

Earlier this morning, 24 Goosanders- all female, plus a pair of little grebe.

Posted August 21st, 2018 at 5:53 pm by John Lusher in General Birding

East Soar

Best today was a Pied Flycatcher in the farm willows but also Sparrowhawk pair, 80 House Martin, 8 Pied Wagtail, 3 Tree Pipit, 4 Wheatear, 9 Whitethroat, 5 Chiffchaff & 120 House Sparrow.

Four other birders reported a Corn Bunting in the water tower field - 2nd year in succession for this scarce species.

Posted August 21st, 2018 at 3:23 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Start Point


50 Swallows, 3 Tree Pipits, Yellow Wagtail, Blackcap, 4 Whitethroats, Chiffchaff, 6 Willlow Warblers, 3 Spotted Flycatchers and 2 Pied Flycatchers.

Posted August 21st, 2018 at 9:24 am by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Monday 20th August 2018

Ugbrooke Park

I took the opportunity to visit on one of the few days when it's possible to enter Ugbooke (near Chudleigh) this afternoon. The lake is a typical Capability Brown affair, with almost no aquatic vegetation and - in keeping with the estate's shooting enterprise - brim full of Mallard - at least 800 of them! That's an exceptional total for Devon, but I'm sure most (if not all) of these were reared for shooting and released in advance of the season, which starts on 1 September. With them was a Great Crested Grebe (my first ever in Chudleigh parish) and 2 Coot, but nothing else. There were up to 9 Stock Doves together in the surround old trees - in fact I saw them more often than Wood Pigeon, which doesn't happen very often!

Posted August 20th, 2018 at 5:28 pm by Dave Smallshire in General Birding


2 Knot on Horsey am.

Posted August 20th, 2018 at 4:27 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Blaxton Meadow.

A few hours before high tide produced the following. Common Sandpiper 2, Redshank 114, Greenshank 4, Little Grebe 1, Grey Heron 11. On the meadow were Little Egret 18, Curlew 41, Oystercatcher 4, Shelduck 1,  BHG 345 and Black Tailed Godwit 7.

Posted August 20th, 2018 at 1:07 pm by Martin Phillips in General Birding

Bridleway between Lee Moor and Plympton

One Yellow Wagtail feeding with Meadow Pipits in field before you reach the down. Yellow Wagtail then flew east. At least five Spotted Flycatcher in bushes along the bridleway before you reach Crownhill Down. 

Bridleway is off B3417 between Plympton and Lee Moor.

Posted August 20th, 2018 at 7:50 am by Chris E in General Birding

Lyme Bay Boat Trip - 19 Aug

As mentioned by Nigel we saw this Herring Gull this morning that only had a stub of a beak.  It seemed to have no problem feeding so its survival doesn't seem to be in doubt, but its ability to preen has to be in question.  Given the condition of its plumage though it doesn't look like a lack of attention but that the bird has had a very serious encounter with fishing gear which it was lucky to survive. 

Herring Gull 
Herring Gull

Posted August 20th, 2018 at 12:10 am by Chris Marcol in General Birding

Sunday 19th August 2018

Blue billed duck

Blue billed duck seen between Exe bridges in Exeter is a Fulvous Whistling Duck.

Posted August 19th, 2018 at 8:31 pm by Ian Muir in General Birding

Exe bridges blue billed duck

Unusual blue billed duck between the two Exe bridges in Exeter. I assume it is an escapee. It has a yellow band on leg.

Posted August 19th, 2018 at 8:20 pm by Ian Muir in General Birding

Sparrowhawk in Brixham garden

We have a bird feeding station midway between two thick shrubs. Our resident House Sparrow flock numbers about two dozen and they use these shrubs as an emergency refuge. This Sparrowhawk (female?) spent ten minutes trying to winkle one out but with no luck this time.

Sparrowhawk trying for House Sparrow Sparrowhawk
Sparrowhawk trying for House Sparrow              Sparrowhawk

Posted August 19th, 2018 at 7:52 pm by Bill Coulson in General Birding

Plym Estuary

On the high tide, a nice gathering of waders along the Embankment, included 4 Ringed Plovers (3 juvs & ad), Common Sandpiper, 6 Turnstones and 2 Dunlins.

Also 2+ juv Yellow-legged Gulls & 2 Black-tailed Godwits on Blaxton Meadow with 43 Curlews, 4 Oystercatchers, 19 Little Egrets, Stock Dove, juv Shelduck and a juv Mediterranean Gull.

Posted August 19th, 2018 at 7:34 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Broadsands "Ringing query"

Broadsands this afternoon, four Mediterranean Gulls all young birds.

Two juvenile Herring Gulls seen, one very tatty around the head, both birds were sporting bright green plastic poultry type tags on their left leg.


All gulls put up by a low flying young Buzzard..


Posted August 19th, 2018 at 7:27 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Lyme Bay boat trip from Brixham

The large feeding flock of gannets encountered 2.5 km SE of Mansands on the way south was one of the highlights of the trip. Nigel's count of 50+ is a conservative estimate, I counted 30, then we steamed south into a much larger flock. A very smart pale juvenile Mediterranean Gull attended the chum off Scabbacombe Head. It stayed for some time, doing well among among the larger gulls - must have been hungry. Sadly the storm petrel posed well for all of about a second before hopping over a wave crest and vanishing, so no picture.

Gannet flock 2.5 km SE of Mansands Mediterranean Gull, juvenile
Gannet flock 2.5 km SE of Mansands                  Mediterranean Gull, juvenile

Posted August 19th, 2018 at 6:57 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

Lyme Bay boat trip

Trip out into Lyme bay from Brixham was restricted by the rough seas and strong winds so ended not going out to far. Birds seen also refelect the rough seas. 50+ Gannets, 4 Manx Shearwater in the distance, Many Great black-backed Gulls, 2 Lesser Black-backed Gulls , Kittiwake, a very nice Med Gull very close to the boat so hope somebody will post picture and a very quick sighting of a Storm Petrel. Also seen a Herring Gull with a stub  of a beak, must find great difficulty in feeding. Lets hope next Sunday is a better day!!!

Posted August 19th, 2018 at 4:59 pm by Nigel Smallbones in General Birding

Canada Goose

Seeing Rupert's comments re Cackling Canada Goose. I'm no expert, but it is the time of the year when this year's juveniles are out and about and they are smaller than the adults (as his photo shows). So could this just be a juvenile? Anyone with more knowledge on the range of Lesser Canada's prepared to comment?

Posted August 19th, 2018 at 2:03 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Saturday 18th August 2018

Steve H’s Ringed Med Gull - Green RLN4

For further information: I saw this gull on Thursday at Broadsands - it is a gull I had seen before in September last year. I sent off my most recent sighting to the French ringing project and heard back promptly.  The gull was ringed as a chick in Jablines, just outside Paris in June 2015. It has been sighted several times in Torbay, summer and winter, since December 2016.  Seems to love the Bay! 

Posted August 18th, 2018 at 8:02 pm by Alistair King in General Birding

River Dart at Dartington

Sitting hidden on the riverbank below the deer park we watched a pair of Dipper working hard catching  large quantities of Caddisfly larvae. 

A family group of five young Goosander appeared swimming upstream fishing as they went.  They all took off when a group of kayakers came downstream and were followed into the air by an adult female who had been hidden under the trees on the far bank.

Dipper feedingGossander five of six family groupGoosander, one of the family group
Dipper feeding      Gossander five of six family group      Goosander, one of the family group

Posted August 18th, 2018 at 7:27 pm by Bill Coulson in General Birding

Tawny owl ~ South Brent

Some images of two of the four young Tawny owls released overnight on the 16th August (four of seven that came in as very young chicks) tucked away in the tree's above their release pen, they took all of the food placed out for them last night, not easy to spot but some owl poop on the ground gave them away..


Posted August 18th, 2018 at 6:20 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Paignton coastal

Marine Parade, Paignton ~ Ten Oyster Catcher, one Little Egret, one juvenile GBBG, one unidentified small wader species lifted from the rocks and flew around the headland one first summer Mediterranean Gull, twenty plus Blacked Headed Gulls.

Broadsands beach not less than eight Mediterranean Gulls two of which were ringed one adult with green ring RLN4 and a metal tag ring which begins FS and ends with 9 3082 and is stamped Musee Paris. A first summer bird with yellow ring 2L14 and a metal tag ring containing the numerals 76712. Later both birds photographed while stood together.

Four GBBG's,two being juveniles, three Mute Swan, two Little Egret, one Oyster Catcher, one Fulmar and a distant Gannet.




Posted August 18th, 2018 at 2:37 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Blaxton Meadow.

A walk around the estuary a few hours before high tide produced the following. Turnstone 7, Black T Godwit 1, Common Sandpiper 6, Dunlin 3, Ringed Plover 9, Redshank 48 and Grey Heron 11. On the meadow were Curlew 45, Oystercatcher 6, BHG c310, Shelduck 2 imm and 18 Little Egret.

Posted August 18th, 2018 at 11:43 am by Martin Phillips in General Birding

Coypool Plymouth 17.08.18

Single swift heading south over park and ride at Coypool at 20.05

Posted August 18th, 2018 at 7:08 am by Graham Devine in General Birding

Friday 17th August 2018

North Devon Gannet

Hi all, I was very happy to see my first Gannet today while surfing at Woolacombe this afternoon. I’ve always loved them but have never seen one in person, it was extra special as I was in the water with it! Great perspective watching it dive into the water only a few metres away! 

Have a good day,


Posted August 17th, 2018 at 8:34 pm by Ryan Watts in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

One or 2 juv Yellow-legged Gulls on Blaxton Meadow with 43 Curlews, 3 Oystercatchers, 18+ Little Egrets & Stock Dove. Elsewhere, 4 Ringed Plovers, 2 Greenshanks & 2 Common Sandpipers.

Thanks to Ranger Luke Dodimead, et al. for a constructive meeting about wildlife on Blaxton Meadow. 

Posted August 17th, 2018 at 7:13 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding


1 Sanderling, 1 Turnstone, 3 Dunlin and 2 Common Sandpiper along the beach by the sewage pipe and 2 Whimbrel, 6 Curlew and 47+ Oystercatcher with 4 Little Egrets at Wembury Point this morning.

A gull melee feeding along the high tide surfline, mostly Black Headed Gulls including many juveniles and with Herring Gulls and a few great black backed Gulls, 10+Mediterrranean Gulls (6 Juv/1st Winter, 2 2nd Summer and 2 Adult Winter) and a juvenile Yellow Legged Gull.

On land a Willow Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 10+ Whitethroat, Swallow over

Posted August 17th, 2018 at 6:47 pm by Stuart Green in General Birding

BGM 17-08-18 - Green Sandpiper

Showing very well close to the hide was a single Green Sandpiper, also noted Dunlins, Curlew, Whimbrel, Bar & Black tailed Godwits, common Sandpiper, knots & Lapwings among others

Posted August 17th, 2018 at 6:30 pm by greg bradbury in General Birding

Fremington Pill

Glossy Ibis on Fremington Pill at 9.30 this morning. Possibly the same individual as spent last winter in the area. As the tide rose it flew to trees at the top end of the Pill in the company of 2 Little Egrets. Also on the Pill a Greenshank and c150 Redshank. Off the Quay  23 Mediterranean Gulls.

Posted August 17th, 2018 at 5:16 pm by Roger Doble in General Birding

Salcombe/Bolt Head

14 Med Gulls feeding off Fir Wood. Fulmar E.

Posted August 17th, 2018 at 2:25 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Thursday 16th August 2018

R.Taw. Barnstaple. Pottington to Ashford Sewage Works. 1325

Black-tailed Godwit 2; Ruff 1 juvenile male; Med Gull 2.

The Heron count on Penhill Marsh was slightly down at 46.

Posted August 16th, 2018 at 4:34 pm by Maurice Clements in General Birding

Exmouth seafront

The Black Tern (presumably same bird present around the Exe for its 9th day), still offshore early afternoon , viewable from near lifeboat station, with large flock (c50) of Sandwich and Common Terns

Posted August 16th, 2018 at 2:23 pm by Mark Bailey in General Birding

Wednesday 15th August 2018

Kingfishers River Plym

Highlight of  walk around Saltram Area was a nice pair of Kingfishers appearing to have a scrap near the Weighbridge Bridge on the River Plym at Marsh Mills

Posted August 15th, 2018 at 8:07 pm by Michael Spencer in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh

Spoonbill, marsh harrier, green sandpiper, spotted redshank and common sandpiper all showing well this morning on the high tide with whimbrel, lapwing, dunlin, greenshank, curlew, black tailed godwit and redshank. Also a 1st winter Mediterranean gull, a raven, stock doves, partial summer plumaged bar tailed godwit and 4 juvenile tufted ducks along with the odd looking albino gull species that has been seen here and in Torbay and the regular psycho lesser black backed gull spooking the dunlin.

From the viewing platform a flyover peregrine, 3 Mediterranean gulls (2 juv, 1 1st winter), a harbour seal and an osprey fishing off Mudbank at Exmouth before flying off high towards Haldon carrying a fish.

From the train the Slavonian grebe was seen off Cockwood.

Posted August 15th, 2018 at 7:49 pm by Stuart Green in General Birding

Horsey Island

Cycled down the Toll Road for the first time in many months this evening to see what was on the devastation. As I clambered up the embankment a Curlew and a Greenshank flew from the stream but not much else immediately visible. However on closer inspection there were a lot of smaller waders on the sand bank. Out with the telescope. They were all Dunlin and Ringed Plover in about 40:60 split. Several hundred of each.

As I cycled back up the Toll road a wet area off to the left (landward) side looked promising, and suddenly two Green Sandpipers flew off, calling. First I've seen this year.

Posted August 15th, 2018 at 7:28 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Anchorwood Bank, R.Taw, Barnstaple. 1330.

Black-tailed Godwit 35.

Common Sandpiper 8

Ringed Black-headed Gull. White ring with black alpha/numerics " 20V5" on left Tarsus. Metal I/d ring on right tarsus. Details submitted to project leader. Awaiting history.


Posted August 15th, 2018 at 4:46 pm by Maurice Clements in General Birding

Braunton marshes

Distant view of a Marsh Harrier, and a wisp (!) of Snipe

Marsh Harrier Snipe
Marsh Harrier                                                         Snipe

Posted August 15th, 2018 at 12:58 pm by Alan Denzey in General Birding

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