Devon Bird Sightings: Bird News from 22nd–31st August 2018

Coronavirus - Devon Birds bird hides

During the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak the use of Devon Birds bird hides should be in line with Government guidelines to individuals on how to protect themselves.

Please follow NHS guidelines:

Thank you for your co-operation and stay safe.

Posted August 25th at 9:58 am by Mike Daniels in Bird News

Changes to Devon Bird Sightings

This page was initially set up to give a concise news summary of birds of interest seen in Devon. Anyone noting interesting species, passage and counts could post the details to inform other birders what was going on around the county. Photos could also be added for interest and to enliven the posts. It was accepted that because other wildlife was of interest, this would also appear especially when included in a birding post.

However, in the last year, more posts have been appearing purely on subjects other than birds. Whilst of interest to some observers, this is detracting from the aim of the pages, i.e. principally bird sightings.

Devon Birds has therefore taken the decision to require contributors of other wildlife to post this in the Other Wildlife subject. However it’s accepted that occasional, exceptional, other wildlife seen during a birding outing justifies inclusion in the bird sightings post. This should, however, be a minor part of the post.

Photos are often appearing as a gallery, or even acting as a personal photo blog, rather than of county-wide sightings of interest. Devon Birds has a Gallery which members and other birders are welcome to submit their often stunning photos to, for others to see. Many of these photos need not then appear on this page. From now on, only two photos per post will be accepted to help keep posts more concise.

Devon Birds very much welcomes posts that already meet these criteria and those that will continue to do so. It would also be great to widen the input from keen birders who currently don’t contribute, including some old friends who have dropped out. Hopefully the changes will encourage wider participation, so if you look at the site but don’t post, please consider doing so.

Our aim is to provide a concise daily news summary of bird sightings around Devon, and these changes should fulfil this goal.

Below is a summary of the changes:

  • Bird News (bird sightings of interest, with added occasional other wildlife) will be the default subject when visitors arrive at this page.
  • Other Wildlife posts therefore won’t initially be shown unless visitors click Other Wildlife under Subjects on the right-hand side.
  • Only two photos can now be submitted per post.
  • General bird photos should be posted in our Gallery please.
  • Co-authors should now only use the Submit a Blog Post form, to ensure a more consistent format for posts.

Posted August 21st at 3:53 pm in Bird News

2019 Descriptions - last call

The deadline for the 2019 Bird Report is rapidly approaching. If you found (or saw) any of these birds please could you submit a description to to ensure your records are published. Many thanks. 

Alpine Swift, Dawlish 11 Jun  Long-tailed Skua, Dawlish Warren 11 Oct
Barred Warbler, Thurlestone 30 Aug Purple Heron, Slapton Ley 07 May
Caspian Gull, Thurlestone, 08 Feb Sabine's Gull, Thurlestone 14 Aug
Caspian Gull, Topsham 02 Aug Serin (2), Harrowbeer 19 Apr
Cory's Shearwater, Berry Head 19 Jul Tree Sparrow (2), Berry Head 20 Mar
Hooded Crow, Baggy Point 10 May  


Posted May 2nd at 3:27 pm by Kevin Rylands in Bird News


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 Bird News

Tuesday 28th August 2018

South Brent Tawny owls

An evening with the four young Tawny owls that I released back into the wild recently..... twelve sightings in total, on three occasions two birds in view at the same time, having fed, the birds could be heard calling as they began to range out from the area of their release pen.


Posted August 28th, 2018 at 10:32 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Otter Estuary, Budleigh Salterton

The Spotted Crake has been showing fairly regularly at low tide over the last couple of days. Best viewed from either of the designated viewing platforms 150M north of the Lime Kiln Car Park on the west side of the estuary OR 150M south of White Bridge on the west side of the estuary. Best time for the tide is around  3 - 4 hours after or before high tide. The Egyptian Goose (rare on the Otter) has still been hanging around with the large Canada Goose flock along with 2 Greylag Geese. Below is a digiscoped video still using my phone and a 50X zoom and some luck! More and video on my blog:

Spotted Crake, Otter Estuary by Chris Townend

Posted August 28th, 2018 at 10:29 pm by Chris Townend in Bird News

Kestrels at Southdown Cliff. Brixham

I spent some time this morning watching a pair of Kestrels hunting along the cliffside at Southdown. Eventually one got close enough for a photo.


Posted August 28th, 2018 at 6:51 pm by Bill Coulson in Bird News

Kingsbridge area

Start Point first thing fairly quiet, 2 Chiffchaffs, Blackcap, Grey Wagtail and 31 Yellow Wagtails. Then went down to Beesands for an hour not seeing the Rose-coloured Starling reported yesterday. Had a look down Charleton Marsh late morning and there was a Cattle Egret at the top of the marsh and a distant Osprey perched on a branch across the water in Lincombe Woods. Then went and saw the incredible 51 Cattle Egrets at South Huish that departed N-NE at 15:00 ( next stop South Efford ? ). Finally had another go at the Juvenile Rose-coloured Starling at Beesands and saw it at 16:20 with Common Starlings on the roof of the grey house, 3rd back from the hide car park.

Posted August 28th, 2018 at 5:30 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Around East Soar & Aveton Gifford

East Soar area ~ In the large stubblefield from the Bolt Head memorial car park car park (opposite the airfield) a flock of some 100 plus mixed Wagtails mostly Yellow but several Pied and at least one White along with Linnets all birds lifted when a hunting juvenile female Sparrow hawk swept across the field at low level.

Three Kestrels in the area, two female Sparrow Hawks, several Buzzard, two Sika deer stags the first wild ones that I have seen.

Three Wheatear.

Down at the farm in with the cattle up to 50 Yellow Wagtails very mobile moving around the area but coming back to where the cattle were.

Aveton Gifford tidal road, Osprey, Greenshank, Redshank 350 plus Herring Gulls, Oyster Catcher, Curlew and two Common Sandpiper.

Back home at South Brent the visiting Hobby.

Posted August 28th, 2018 at 4:05 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News


This morning:-

10 Mediterranean gull (7 adult, 3 2nd winter) 8 Ringed plover, 4 little egret, c40 Goldfinch, 4 Cirl bunting, 3 Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap, 2 Wheatear, 1 Sparrowhawk. Plenty of berries and apples ripe for picking.

Posted August 28th, 2018 at 3:17 pm by Alan Livsey in Bird News

BGM , Goosemoor, Darts Farm

Birded from 6.50 - 11 am. Arrived at BGM to find approx 400 Canada Geese (and the Snow Goose) who fortunately moved out before the main wader flocks came in on the high tide. Of note, 3 Knot, 2 Green Sandpiper, 10 Greenshank (left for Goosemoor) 2 Oyks, Stock Dove, 2 Whimbrel, 1 Med Gull, Jay (near viewing platform). Paraglider disturbance again at approx 9.30. 

Goosemoor 16 Greenshank, 6 Common Sandpiper, adult Spotted Redshank.

Darts farm - a few Swallow and 26 Lapwing.




Posted August 28th, 2018 at 2:52 pm by Martin Rooney in Bird News

SouthHuish Marsh

At 11.05 a flock of 51 CATTLE EGRET flew down the valley and landed in a field containing a herd of Friesian Cows . This is most likely a Devon record and possibly a UK record for a single flock

Posted August 28th, 2018 at 2:50 pm by Mike Passman in Bird News

East Soar

Still wagtails around with 67 Yellow Wagtails, 7 White Wagtails & 13 Pied Wagtails across the area. Also: 2 Tree Pipit, Whinchat, 6 Wheatear, Redstart, 5 Blackcap, 14 Whitethroat, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, 2 Willow Warbler & 80 Linnet.

Posted August 28th, 2018 at 2:23 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Monday 27th August 2018


Five Tree Pipits, two Spotted Flycatchers and a flyover Yellow Wagtail were the pick of the migrants at Bundle Head this morning.

Posted August 27th, 2018 at 9:40 pm by Will Salmon in Bird News

Preston, Paignton

Walking down to Preston seafront this morning approx. 20 House Martins, Grey Heron flying inland, 13 Turnstones on Marine Parade, Collared Dove, several Swallows, Starlings and a number of Shags.

Posted August 27th, 2018 at 8:35 pm in Bird News


A hike between Bolberry and Overbecks and back via Soar: 250+ yellow Wagtails (60+ in fields on the Warren nr Bolt Hd with Highland cattle, 40+ in with dairy cattle at East Soar farm and 150+ in grassy fields at top of Overbecks), 3 White Wagtails on beach at Soar Mill cove with Pied Wagtails and 13 Rock Pipits. Other migrants 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 1 Redstart, 7 Willow Warbler 15+ Chiffchaff, also 2 Firecrest in woods below Overbecks. 

 white Wagtail Soar mill cove 27 Aug 2018 ML    pied Wagtail 1w

            White Wagtail ad probably female                                   Pied Wagtail fw probably female

Yellow Wagtails Soar 27 Aug 2018 ML

                                      Part of Yellow Wagtail flock above Overbecks East Soar.

Posted August 27th, 2018 at 6:52 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Rillage Point to Watermouth

One Balearic Shearwater W at 08.30 today, 27th – a long-awaited patch first! Also 11 Manx Shearwaters and 8 juv Shags flying W out of the Bristol Channel. On Sun 26th, 146 Gannets – a record count for me at this site – flew W out of the Channel 14.00 onwards, as the front eased away to the E, the wind backed to the W, the rain got lighter and visibility picked up. Surprisingly little else with them; just single Manx Shearwater and Kittiwake and 37 Fulmars (probably most of the latter from local colonies).

Posted August 27th, 2018 at 3:22 pm by Tim Jones in Bird News


At last, signs of migration on the Skern. Feeding on the mud on an outgoing tide just over Appledore Bridge among a mixed flock of Dunlin and Ringed Plover were 2 Little Stint and a Curlew Sandpiper. Also in the area 1 Sandwich Tern, 1 Common Tern and 19 Knot.

Posted August 27th, 2018 at 10:22 am by Roger Doble in Bird News

Sunday 26th August 2018

Sidmouth sea watch

Short seawatch from Sidmouth sea front in the squally rain c10:30-11.30. 2 arctic skuas (both close in), 1 distant Manx/Balearic shearwater, 8 sandwich terns, 6 kittiwakes, 1 fulmar, 8 gannets, 1 common scoter. All going W except the scoter going E.

Posted August 26th, 2018 at 11:34 pm by Michael Pocock in Bird News

Pied Flycatcher

Devon coast path Yealm estuary

Posted August 26th, 2018 at 8:25 pm by Tony Edie in Bird News

South Brent Hobby

From today's 5.30pm visit

Posted August 26th, 2018 at 5:58 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News


Seawatching from the yacht club 09:00 - 11:10: two Arctic Skuas, one Great Skua, one skua sp, seven Manx Shearwaters, eight Common Scoters, c.50 Common Terns, 34 Sandwich Terns, 61 Kittiwakes, two Med Gulls and a Whimbrel.

Posted August 26th, 2018 at 5:19 pm by Will Salmon in Bird News


Whilst walking along River Lemon Culvert from ASDA to Bradley Lane along with the regular Grey Wagtail there was a Dipper just yards from centre of town. 

Posted August 26th, 2018 at 5:16 pm by Gary Bolton in Bird News

Crossing to Lundy

Yesterday close to the Island an Arctic Skua. Today a few more, lots of Gannets and Porpoise. 

Juv Dark phase Arctic Skua
Juv Dark phase Arctic Skua


Posted August 26th, 2018 at 4:05 pm by Martin Thorne in Bird News

Berry Head

Seawatching highlight totals this morning: 1 Storm Petrel, 1 Sooty, 32 Balearic, 18 Manx Shearwaters, 145 Common, 81 'commic', 7 Arctic & 16 Sandwich Terns, 13 Arctic & 18 Great Skuas, 600+ Kitiwakes mostly in a huge raft in Torbay ,18 Med & 9 Common Gulls, 32 Common Scoter.

         Dave Dawe & pigeon friend.  

                      Dave Dawe and Friend                                     Sooty Shearwater in the mist.

Posted August 26th, 2018 at 2:34 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Saturday 25th August 2018

Wrafton etc

While watching a Kingfisher in the reserve this morning, another one came in. Sadly when this happens they usually just chase each other around and depart, just like these two did. Lots of Tits of all 4 species in a wide-spread mobile flock, which included at least a couple of Chaffinches and Blackcaps. Oddly, a Little Grebe was on the pond after not seeing one for a week or so. This one looked like an adult. Still one of the juvenile Canada Geese on the pond. Unable, or unwilling to fly.

This evening I walked around Sherpa Marsh. There were at least 400 Canada Geese there. Of more interest were about 16 Pied Wagtails over on the saltmarsh on the Caen River, several Little Grebes on the main Pond, still 2 Lapwing, 2 Greenshank, a few each of Swallow and House Martin, and a hunting juvenile male Sparrowhawk which took full advantage of seeing several Reed Warblers flycatching out of the top of the Reed-bed. It took one and plucked and ate it about 50 yards from where I was watching. Also (adding to the strange timings and sightings all this spring/summer) were at least 10 Swifts hunting over the reed bed. 1 Little Egret. About 40 Swallows over the reserve as I walked out.

Posted August 25th, 2018 at 9:38 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Prawle Point

Highlight today was a Wood Warbler seen at 7.30 and 8.30 am below NT car park and in the reserve. Pat thought on average seen here every 4/5 years. Also 2 Sedge Warbler, 1 Spotted Flycatcher, 6 Yellow Wagtails (with Black Cattle), 20+ Whitethroats, 7 Blackcaps, 2 Willow Warblers, 1 Sand Martin. Earlier Pat had seen 2 Mute Swans ( irregular occurrence here) 4 Tree Pipits and 1 Wheatear.

Posted August 25th, 2018 at 8:12 pm by Tony Marchese in Bird News


For those who have been following the four year saga of the young Hobby that I reared and released in 2014 may be as delighted as I am to know that she returned this evening !!!!

As yet I have not seen her but my wife and daughter saw her about 6pm sat on a post outside of the kitchen, when food was offered followed by a whistle she gave one of her usual flying displays before coming in to take the offered day old chick, hopefully she will return later this evening so that I can see her........

(Update) She came in again at 8.10pm just before dusk and again at 8.25p when she took another DOC, now just need her to arrive in day light in an effort to get some new images.

While waiting for her to return 14 Long Tailed Tits through the garden a record number for the garden and one Tawny owl.

Posted August 25th, 2018 at 6:49 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

R.Taw, Barnstaple. Pottington to Ashford sewagw works 1220

Black-tailed Godwit 5; Knot 22; Med Gull 5.

43 Grey Heron on Penhill Marsh.

Posted August 25th, 2018 at 6:47 pm by Maurice Clements in Bird News

Swift and Red Kite

Single Swift seen this afternoon just after 2.00 pm over the Victoria Road area of Barnstaple quickly followed by a Red Kite being mobbed by two gulls before drifting off towards Goodleigh direction

Posted August 25th, 2018 at 5:08 pm by Robert Morgan in Bird News


Birded 7am - 9.30 nothing of any great note - sunshine too bright and mist too misty to see much at times. Paraglider disturbed 90% of the roosting flock at about 9.25. Pair of Kingfisher at Riversmeet.

!!!!! Kingfisheer
!!!!!                                 Kingfisher

Posted August 25th, 2018 at 11:05 am by Martin Rooney in Bird News

Friday 24th August 2018

Avon reservoir

Very obliging Jack Snipe near Huntingdon Cross sat for several minutes before usual low short flight.

Posted August 24th, 2018 at 9:31 pm by John Phillips in Bird News

South Efford Marsh, Aveton Gifford, Nr Kingsbridge

Friday 24th August. The osprey still on the East side of the Avon Estuary, just beyond the South end of the tidal road at mid-day.

From 5.30 to 6.30pm at South Efford hide. 3 common sandpipers, 5 ringed plover, 7 dunlin, 7 black-tailed godwits, 5 greenshank, probable green sandpiper (distant in the rain), 12 curlew, 1 whimbrel, kingfisher, 4 teal with 50+mallard and 70+ canada geese. Many pied wagtails and 2 yellow wagtails. On walk back, large twittering of about 150 house martins, with some swallows all very active overhead.

Posted August 24th, 2018 at 9:17 pm by Chris Klee in Bird News

Plym Estuary

Highlight was a male Redstart and 2 Juv Yellow-legged Gulls. Also - 3 Ringed Plovers (unusually 2 on Blaxton), 2 Greenshanks, 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 41 Curlews, 2 Turnstones, 2nd-s Mediterranean Gull, 20 Little Egrets, Green Woodpecker, 2 Whitethroats & Chiffchaff.

Posted August 24th, 2018 at 7:18 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Otter Estuary, Budleigh Salterton

A visit from 4pm to 5pm. The Spotted Crake showed rather well on the far side of the Estuary from the viewing platform south of white bridge. Also a single Egyptian Goose. If interested, more information and pictures at

Posted August 24th, 2018 at 6:51 pm in Bird News


Three Osprey together off Mudbank this morning @ 0920.

Posted August 24th, 2018 at 2:59 pm by Matt Knott in Bird News


Very few migrants about, best was: 18 Yellow Wagtail & 12 Wheatear. Also: 130 Linnet & 2 Red-legged Partridge.

Posted August 24th, 2018 at 2:01 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Colour ringed Med gull Plymouth

I have received back the information of a juvenile Med Gull seen on Blaxton Meadow on the 28th July 2018.

Yellow ring 2L67 in black. Ringed on 25th June 2018 as a pulli at South Binness, Langston Harbour, Hampshire.  It's always good to know something about the birds you see.

Posted August 24th, 2018 at 1:05 pm by Martin Philiips in Bird News

East Prawle.

At Moorwell Pond, a Nightjar caught at this morning's ringing session.A stunning bird at close quarters. Dissapointingly few common migrants on site,4 Blackcaps, 1 Garden Warbler, 1 Willow Warbler,1 Chiffchaff  and 1 Sedge Warbler.


Posted August 24th, 2018 at 11:57 am by Alan K. Searle. in Bird News

Thursday 23rd August 2018

Lower Tamar Lake

Lower Tamar Lake this morning.

2 Marsh Tit, 1 Nuthatch, 1 Willow Tit, 2 Grey Heron, 15 Great Crested Grebe, 1m Tufted Duck, 1 Mute Swan, 9 House Martin, 5 Greenfinch.

Posted August 23rd, 2018 at 9:44 pm by Rod Mudge in Bird News


Another juvenile Yellow-legged Gull this evening (photo below) - lots of new scapular feathers and one new wing covert feather. Also at least 11 Mediterranean Gulls

Yellow-legged Gull juv Broadsands 23 Aug 2018 ML

Posted August 23rd, 2018 at 9:36 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Aveton Gifford tidal road

On arrival at the Aveton Gifford tidal road this afternoon, several birders viewing a juvenile Yellow Legged Gull, the reported Osprey showed up perching at the top of a dead tree across the estuary, flew several times before returning to the same perch.


Its presence flushed a number of birds including 34 Curlew, 17 Black Tailed Godwit and 34 plus Mallard.

Four Greenshank flew in, 2 Little Egret, 1 Heron, 1 Buzzard, 24 Mute Swan and a Common Sandpiper.

Dart Bridge this evening two Dipper.

Back home at South Brent two Tawny owls


Posted August 23rd, 2018 at 8:54 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Soar & Averton Gifford

Soar - 44 Yellow Wagtails, 10 Blackcaps, Whinchat, Wheatear, Sedge Warbler, Hare & 2 Roe Deer.

Averton Gifford - Osprey over the estuary, juv Yellow-legged Gull, Black-tailed Godwit & 4 Greenshanks. 

Posted August 23rd, 2018 at 8:01 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Wednesday 22nd August 2018


The last week have seen lots of Med Gulls passing & loafing on the rocks from Tunnels Capstone & Chain, max c 60 . I've nots seen any darvic ringed Herring Gulls still present. 2 pairs of GBBGus look like they have now taken up residence. 

Mediterranean Gullsone of Ilfracombes Lesser BBg Juvs
Mediterranean Gulls                                         one of Ilfracombes Lesser BBg Juvs

Posted August 22nd, 2018 at 9:24 pm by Martin Thorne in Bird News

R.Taw, Barnstaple. Pottington to Ashford sewage works. 1400.

Black-tailed Godwit 15; Med Gull 19; L.B.B.G 6; G.B.B.G 6

Penhill Marsh - Grey Heron 35.

Saw my first returning Lapwing at 1220 Castle Quay, Barnstaple.

Posted August 22nd, 2018 at 8:00 pm by Maurice Clements in Bird News


A quick walk around the lake at Mansands this morning gave a Garden Warbler in an Elderberry bush and a Wheatear, juvenile on the beach.


Posted August 22nd, 2018 at 3:38 pm by Bill Coulson in Bird News

Femington Pill 14:00 - 15:00

Glossy Ibis still plus 1x Greenshank, 1x Common Sand and the usual redshank gang.

Posted August 22nd, 2018 at 3:22 pm by Roy Churchill in Bird News

Otter Estuary, Budleigh Salterton

A Spotted Crake was a very welcome addition to patch list this morning. It is actually quite showy for a Spotted Crake! Best viewed from the hide on the west side of the Otter just north of the Lime Kiln Car Park. The bird is feeding on the opposite side of the estuary along the vegetated muddy bank so a scope is pretty essential. Also important to avoid high tide. First seen late in the gloom yesterday evening but I didn't have my scope to confirm my suspicions! Some video on my blog later today for those interested.

Posted August 22nd, 2018 at 12:02 pm by Chris Townend in Bird News

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