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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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

Friday 31st August 2018

R.Taw, Barnstaple. Pottington to Ashford Sewage Works 1345 - 1515.

Black-tailed Godwit 32; Bar-tailed Godwit 3; Med Gull 3; Knot 3 and Ringed Plover 11.

Penhill Marsh.  Grey Heron 38; Little Egret 9; Whimbrel 1 and a Peregrine, which after spending best part of an hour preening on a sandbar, then decided to cause mayhem among the waders. It finally flew off towards Codden Hill.

Posted August 31st, 2018 at 7:47 pm by Maurice Clements in General Birding

Spotted Crake at Budleigh Salterton.

Spotted Crake seen at 4 pm today from the hide north of Lime Kiln Car Park on River Otter at Budleigh Salterton.

Posted August 31st, 2018 at 7:40 pm by Malcolm Steward in General Birding

River Taw, adjacent to Horsey Island

Duplicate posting....seen this morning....Short-eared Owl on riverbank, two Ospreys, one on channel marker, two flying Spoonbill and a Peregrine.

Short-eared Owl Osprey with fish Spoonbill
Short-eared Owl                          Osprey with fish                                       Spoonbill

Posted August 31st, 2018 at 6:51 pm by Alan Denzey in General Birding

Lower Tamar Lake

2 Dipper, 1 Kingfisher, 2 Grey Wagtail, 4 Grey Heron, 17 Great Crested Grebe, 1m Tufted Duck, 1 Mute Swan, 50+ Mallard, Coot, Moorhen.

Posted August 31st, 2018 at 5:16 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

Whinchat Gore lane Exmouth

Also Whinchat this morning at Gore Lane ( thanks to Mke L for ID)

Posted August 31st, 2018 at 4:17 pm by Martin Rooney in General Birding

Around Exmouth

Early at Orcombe Point and Gore Lane 7am. At least 4 Wheatear (2 early, 2 later) on dung heap. Around 12 Yellow Wags in with the cattle behind Maer Farm (follow public footpath). Also Swallow, Linnet and Rook. Nothing unusual at high tide at Mudbank and a quick visit to Goosemoor 1 Greenshank and 1 Curlew nothing special at BGM.

Yellow Wag video.

Yellow Wagtail  Yellow Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail                              Yellow Wagtail

Posted August 31st, 2018 at 2:30 pm by Martin Rooney in General Birding

Thursday 30th August 2018

Brixham pelagic

Went out of Brixham today on a 9-hour Naturetrek seabirds and cetaceans trip. We headed due east for about 20 miles, then south for about 20 miles, then west towards Start Bay, then north back to Brixham. We failed to find the main cetacean target, White-beaked Dolphin, but did encounter 8 pods of Common Dolphins, totalling about 125. The largest group, of 30 or more, was 8 miles E of Berry Head, and the last (about a dozen) was only 1 mile off Berry Head. Many of them came to ride our bow wave, giving excellent views. Eleven Harbour Porpoises rather paled into insignificance. Birdwise it was rather quiet, with 17 European Storm-petrels, 3 Balearic and 21 Manx Shearwaters, 5 Great Skuas, 43 Gannets, 19 Fulmars, 45 Guillemots, 150 Kittiwakes (including a colour-ringed juvenile that I photographed without realising it was ringed), 1 Common Scoter and 1 Med Gull (off Berry Head!). Returning back to Brixham, it was nice to see a few Turnstones in their summer finery scavenging for scraps, just a matter of days after returning from their wild Arctic breeding grounds!

 Colour-ringed Kittiwake Common Dolphin Turnstone

Colour-ringed Kittiwake                              Common Dolphin                             Turnstone

Posted August 30th, 2018 at 10:03 pm by Dave Smallshire in General Birding

R.Taw, Barnstaple. Taw Bridge to Fremington Pill. 1120 - 1330.

40 Black-tailed Godwit; 1 Bar-tailed Godwit; 23 Redshank and just 1 Dunlin.

1250 Fremington Pill.

130+ Redshank; 3 Common Sandpiper; 1 Kingfisher; 1 Whimbrel and 1 Glossy Ibis. The Ibis normally frequents the area of the creek near the cottages and its roosting tree. Today it flew down nearer to the sluice gate. 1 Little Egret.

Posted August 30th, 2018 at 7:55 pm by Maurice Clements in General Birding

South Milton Reserve - Ditch Work

Further work is being carried out on the ditch created last year by the public footpath near the sewage treatment plant.  The work includes reshaping the banks and creating an access path which will lead to a viewing screen (to be erected later).  The work is scheduled to be completed by 7 September.

Posted August 30th, 2018 at 7:04 pm by Nick Townsend in General Birding

Anchorwood bank, Barnstaple 11:30

Some 36 Black-tailed Godwits and 1 Bar-tailed on the receding tide.

Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit

Posted August 30th, 2018 at 4:18 pm by Roy Churchill in General Birding

Wednesday 29th August 2018

South Efford marsh

Lovely evening at South Efford marsh, a spotted flycatcher on the way to the hide then whilst sat in the hide good views of greenshanks and black tailed godwits and a whimbrel flew past.


Eds - to all photographers please label or reference species photos.

Posted August 29th, 2018 at 9:46 pm by Richie Moore in General Birding

Clennon Valley Ponds, Paignton this afternoon

A pair of dabchicks with 3 well-grown chicks showing well at the upper end of the lower pond. 9 gadwall (3m, 6f) on the middle pond, and 2 tufted duck (1 on lower pond, 1 on middle). Large numbers of chiffchaffs were working through and flycatching around the sallows around the middle pond.

Dabchick, adult and chick  Gadwall, drake
Dabchick, adult and chick                            Gadwall, drake

Posted August 29th, 2018 at 9:40 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

East Soar

Yellow Wagtails showing well with cattle, counted 32 (adults and Juveniles) also 6 Wheatears, all Juv/1st winter birds.

Yellow Wagtail, Juv/1st Winter    Wheatear, juv/1st winter
Yellow Wagtail, Juv/1st Winter                               Wheatear, juv/1st winter

Posted August 29th, 2018 at 6:10 pm by simon thurgood in General Birding

Stokenham. ( churchyard )

A 1st. W. male Redstart in the churchyard ; my first of the autumn.

Posted August 29th, 2018 at 4:55 pm by Alan K. Searle in General Birding

River Otter (East Devon)

With reference to Steve Hoppers request, the Spotted Crake has been showing on the east side of the Otter Estuary at map ref:  SY075826 (using 'grid ref finder').  Best viewed from the first viewing platform on the west side down river from Whitebridge (where it is best to park).  From the platform look down the estuary towards the only visible muddy shore several hundred yards away and below the DB (East Bank) hide.  I have yet to see a decent photo as the distance and reed bed obscures the view!  I believe it has also been seen from the main hide (West Bank) further down towards the sea front.  Hope this helps.

Elsewhere in East Devon today an Osprey seen from the Mudbank Lane viewing screen, Exmouth at 10.45am heading from Powderham to Turf.

Posted August 29th, 2018 at 4:11 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding

Otter Estuary, Budleigh Salterton The Spotted Crake

Hi is any one able to give a map ref in respect of the location to view the Spotted Crake at Budleigh Salterton please ~ regards Steve

Posted August 29th, 2018 at 12:43 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding


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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

Monday 27th August 2018

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 by Stephen Huggins in General Birding


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 General Birding


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 General Birding

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 General Birding

Pied Flycatcher

Devon coast path Yealm estuary

Posted August 26th, 2018 at 8:25 pm by Tony Edie in General Birding

South Brent Hobby

From today's 5.30pm visit

Posted August 26th, 2018 at 5:58 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding


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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding


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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding


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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding


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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding


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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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 General Birding

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