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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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 7th September 2018

R.Taw, Barnstaple. Off Pottington Ind. Est. 1430

Black-tailed Godwit 85; Knot 51 and Redshank 2.

Posted September 7th, 2018 at 10:10 pm by Maurice Clements in General Birding


A few migrants around in beautiful conditions: Lesser Whitethroat, 23+ Yellow Wagtails, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, Goldcrest, Sedge Warbler, 3 Wheatears, 2 Whinchats, 4 Whitethroats, a handful of Chiffchaffs, Willow Warblers and Blackcaps, Hare and 3 Roe Deer.  

Posted September 7th, 2018 at 9:43 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Otter Estuary, Budleigh Salterton

The Spotted Crake still remains faithful to the east side of the estuary and now present for its 18th day! It showed well this afternoon on the rising tide, though generally most reliable in the morning if the tide is suitable. Also up to 3 Water Rails around the same area. Bar-headed Goose still on the estuary and the Egyptian Goose is probably still around, last seen 2 days ago at least.

On the cliffs west of Budleigh and the golf course, my first Firecrest of the autumn, Spotted Flycatcher and Yellowhammer.

Posted September 7th, 2018 at 9:33 pm by Chris Townend in General Birding

East Soar

Few wagtails in evidence, but a ringtailHen Harrier from car park at East Soar at 12:30.

Posted September 7th, 2018 at 6:07 pm by Renton Righelato in General Birding

East Devon

Budleigh Salterton ~ from the hide a Bar Headed Goose flew in with the numerous Canada Geese, inc two white headed birds, Water Rail, Peregrine, 2 Buzzards 2 Little Egret, Heron.


Black Hole Marsh ~ Wood Sandpiper, Dunlin, Redshank, Greenshank, Lapwing, Common Sandpiper, Black Tailed Godwits (inc 2 coloured tagged birds) several Snipe showing well.

Posted September 7th, 2018 at 6:03 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

East Soar

Saw a single wheatear, a couple of spotted flycatchers, blackcaps and the usual stonechats with several young ones.

Wheatear Spotted Flycatcher Blackcap and a wren
Wheatear                                              Spotted Flycatcher                                   Blackcap and a wren

Posted September 7th, 2018 at 4:21 pm by Richie Moore in General Birding


Gt  White Egret and 1 Kingfisher on the Ley today, best viewed from seaward end of the Ley.

Posted September 7th, 2018 at 12:58 pm by Terry Goddard in General Birding

Thursday 6th September 2018

South Brent Birds of Prey

A good day for birds of prey from home at South Brent with Hobby (three visits) Buzzard, two sightings of female Sparrowhawks, a female Kestrel flew across my house field (not a common sight around the village) and three tawny owls this evening.

Other birds inc GSWP and Raven



Posted September 6th, 2018 at 10:27 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Bowling green marsh

from the hide 15:00 till 16:45

the long staying male Ruff showed well at times, 7 avocet flew in 3 times but didn’t land each time flying back to the estuary, 1 spotted redshank flew over towards goosemoor, 15+ ringed plover , 100+ Dunlin, 2 knot, 200+ redshank, 50+ pintail, 60+ wigeon, 18+ little egret, 1 juvenile water rail, 1 sparrow hawk.

then moved to the viewing platform 16:50 till 18:00

within seconds of getting on the viewing platform picked up an osprey fishing of the wall of rivers meet house managed to get it in the scope and was an adult it dived after a fish disappearing behind the wall despite watching for some time it didn’t reappear and must of caught a fish and flown towards turf / exminster then picked up another osprey of exmouth and managed to watch this one for over 20 minutes as it hunted over the estuary eventually fishing of rivers meet house and catching a good size fish heading off towards turf this was a different bird and looked like the bird which has been around for a couple of months.

on the mud on the far side from the viewing platform were the 7 avocet from earlier, 5 knot, 200+ Dunlin, 30+ ringed plover, 12 grey plover, 8 greenshanks, 200+ redshank, 150+ curlew 

Posted September 6th, 2018 at 9:00 pm by Keith Birchall in General Birding

Gannet and Common Dolphin at Berry Head

About 3 o'clock this afternoon, about 300 yds off Berry Head something like 50 or 60 Gannet and a pod of Common Dolphin made short work of a ball of fish.  The dolphin pod had a least one calf.  The show moved off towards Daddyhole and by 4 o'clock had dispersed.

Gannet and Common Dolphin Gannet and Common Dolphin Showing Calf
Gannet and Common Dolphin                   Gannet and Common Dolphin                   Showing Calf

Posted September 6th, 2018 at 8:59 pm by Bill Coulson in General Birding


Last night while catching Swallows (15),  we returned to the nets late and found (as usual) a Pipistrelle Bat in a net. I have discovered an easy way to get them out and it was soon on it's way. At the other end of the net run a huge surprise was a much bigger Bat - managed some photos and later identified it as a Lesser Horseshoe Bat. Never seen one before, fine addition to the reserve mammal list.

This morning I opened the nets in the garden and in among the basins full of Blue and Great Tits, ringed a male Blackcap, a Treecreeper and a Marsh Tit. Never seen one here, or at my previous house or in the reserve. Last time I ringed one was at Hartland Point probably 25 years ago! One of the Blue Tits had a ring on that wasn't mine. Probably one of Chris Dee's up at West Down or Chapel Wood.

Posted September 6th, 2018 at 4:35 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh

6+ Yellow Wagtails in the field between the marsh and the viewing platform amongst the cattle this lunchtime.

Posted September 6th, 2018 at 2:29 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding

Middle Soar & Soar Mill Valley

Best today was a hunting Hobby plus a imm Yellow-legged Gull with 450 Herring Gulls. Also: 4 Ringed Plover, 7 Stock Dove, 2 White Wagtail only, 6 Pied Wagtail, 9 Rock Pipit, 10 Wheatear, 4 Whitethroat, 21 Blackcap, Willow Warbler & 2 Spotted Flycatcher.

Non-avian: male Brimstone, only my 2nd record at Soar in 7 years!

Posted September 6th, 2018 at 2:11 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Garden redstart!

Just looked out the window over breakfast to see a 1st winter redstart in our little front garden in Wonford :) Best thing on my garden list! :)

Posted September 6th, 2018 at 8:32 am by Helen Whitall in General Birding

Wednesday 5th September 2018

Ford Park Cemetary 05-09-18

Spotted flycatcher in FPC this morning, a nice find for this area

Spotted Flycatcher
Spotted Flycatcher

Posted September 5th, 2018 at 10:05 pm by Greg Bradbury in General Birding

Beer Head

Six Yellow Wagtail with sheep on coast path between the village and the Head 7.30pm

Posted September 5th, 2018 at 9:31 pm by Dave McKeown in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Back on the patch, post St Lucia.Two Bar-tailed Godwits, juv / 1st-w Yellow-legged Gull, 8 Oystercatchers and 4 Greenshanks at the top of the estuary. Also Kingfisher, Green Woodpecker, 2+ Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Chiffchaffs, 100 Redshanks, 3 Common Sandpipers, c40 Curlews, 12+ Mandarin Ducks and a Sparrowhawk.

Posted September 5th, 2018 at 9:04 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Ford Park Cemetery, Plymouth 05-09-2018

Can anyone help with the Identification of this little beauty. I thought it was a meadow pipit but the legs seem all wrong.

Eds - it's a Spotted Flycatcher; a migrant and scarce breeder in the Plymouth area. Beautiful indeed.

Posted September 5th, 2018 at 8:46 pm by Michael Spencer in General Birding

Bowling green marsh

Watched from 15:10 till 17:55

A very quiet high tide but still a few good birds the first was juvenile GARGANEY found asleep in front of the reeds on the far side of the marsh from the hide and showed well at times the second bird was a possible juvenile bearded tit seen only briefly so only 95% certain but unable to find again, and the third bird a running water rail in and out of the reeds on the far side again , pintail numbers continue to increase with 26+ , wigeon 35+, 4 tufted duck , 9+ Little egrets. 

From the goatwalk 

500+ Dunlin. 80+ ringed plover, 5 whimbrel 

Posted September 5th, 2018 at 7:22 pm by Keith Birchall in General Birding

Axe Estuary- East Devon

A pleasant morning for 17 members of DB (East Devon Branch) around the estuary.  A walk to the river mouth produced 2 Peregrines off the coast and some distant birds including Gannets, Common Scoter and small numbers of Swallow.  Yellow Wagtails reported to be passing through also.  The estuary produced small numbers of waders with a Knot amongst the Black-tailed Godwits that were later seen again at Blackhole Marsh.  The latter venue also produced a Wood Sandpiper, C. Sandpiper and Water Rails.  Having left the estuary we later heard of an Osprey being reported near the bridge but nothing was seen when we returned there after lunch.  Thanks to Bob Olliver for leading us and it was good to see some new members and some familiar faces after the August break.

Posted September 5th, 2018 at 7:08 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding


EIDER in eclipse on rocks at Langstone Cliffs. Also WHEATEAR on beach between Dawlish Warren and Dawlish.

Posted September 5th, 2018 at 5:09 pm by Ray Jones in General Birding


Good to see a Kingfisher in the reserve again this morning. The last of the juvenile Canada Geese can fly! I've seen it a couple of times flying the length of the pond. Just needs to pluck up courage to get up and over the trees now. A late evening session for Swallows on Monday only delivered two, but the total for the year is now 366. Also ringed a juvenile Spotted Flycatcher - only the second here.

A Buzzard - presumably one of the breeding pair, was circling above the reserve today calling permanently. As I was leaving, a Kestrel was being given a hard time by a Jackdaw, and when I turned for a better look it had been joined by a Peregrine. They both circled off South. Then as I reached the gate by the river a Sparrowhawk flew North towards the village.

Posted September 5th, 2018 at 2:05 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Horsey Island

Three Knot, and a mix of Ringed Plover and Dunlin. A Peregrine on one of the sadly derelict Linhays.


Posted September 5th, 2018 at 1:45 pm by Alan Denzey in General Birding

R.Taw, Barnstaple. Pottington to Ashford Sewage Works. 0940 - 1100.

Black-tailed Godwit 27; Bar-tailed Godwit 2; Ringed Plover 3; Redshank 1; Knot 15; Med Gull 3; Dunlin 2.

Penhill Marsh. Grey Heron 47; Little Egret 10.

Bradiford Reserve. Lapwing 1; Teal 16.

Posted September 5th, 2018 at 11:44 am by Maurice Clements in General Birding

05-09-18 Ford Park Cemetery

At FPC this morning around 9am, a few Ring-necked- Parakeets were showing well, a Wheatear, the first this year in the cemetery (as far as I know) also showing very well and quite undisturbed by my presence, allowing me to take close up shots

Wheatear Wheatear 
Wheatear                                                 Wheatear                                     Ring-necked Parakeet

Posted September 5th, 2018 at 11:20 am by Greg Bradbury in General Birding

Tuesday 4th September 2018

Bere Peninsula 04-09-18

Osprey seen perched and feeding in dead tree, the Tavy Railway Bridge at approx position SX 451 625 at around 12:20.

Posted September 4th, 2018 at 10:34 pm by Colin & Joyce Hannaford in General Birding

R.Taw, Barnstaple. Pottington to Ashford Sewage Works. 1100 - 12.45

Black-tailed Godwit 57; Bar-tailed Godwit 2; Knot 4; Little Egret 2 and Grey Heron 2; Med Gull 2.

Penhill Marsh. Grey Heron 38; Little Egret 10.

Bradiford Reserve. Teal 12 and 1 Kingfisher.


Posted September 4th, 2018 at 8:09 pm by Maurice Clements in General Birding

Otter Estuary

Was just watching the Spotted Crake at the spot where it's been for a while when a second bird emerged from the reeds nearby 

Posted September 4th, 2018 at 4:15 pm by Dave McKeown in General Birding

Budliegh Salteron

10.45. Spotted crake & a bar headed goose seen from the hide,. Above white bridge two cattle egrets with the cows.

Posted September 4th, 2018 at 3:29 pm by roger jewell & mike in General Birding

East Soar

A good day for wagtails but overall much quieter: 26 Yellow Wagtail, 76 White Wagtail, 12 Pied Wagtail, Ringed Plover, 80 Meadow Pipit, 12 Wheatear, 4 Whitethroat & Willow Warbler.

Message for Steve Cox: Can you let me know where the Lady's Tresses are?

Posted September 4th, 2018 at 2:17 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Monday 3rd September 2018

Lesser whitethroat

1 found dead at Instow marine camp this  morning.Was on the inside of one of the hangars I'm painting so assuming it got in over the weekend and couldn't get out again poor thing..

Posted September 3rd, 2018 at 9:10 pm by Robert Marshall in General Birding

Lyme Bay boat trip from Brixham, yesterday

A few more pictures from yesterday's trip. The skua sp. seen on the way back in was a dark phase Arctic, in inner primary moult.

Great Skua Storm Petrel Arctic Skua
Great Skua                                Storm Petrel                                      Arctic Skua

Posted September 3rd, 2018 at 7:02 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

East & Middle Soar

East & Middle Soar this am.

250+ H Martin, 50+ Swallow, Swift, 13 Wheatear, 6 Whinchat, 13 Whitethroat, 9 Blackcap, Sedge Warbler, 25+ Yellow Wagtail, 8 Wt & 15+ Pied Wag, Spotted Flycatcher, Redstart, Golden Plover, Reed Bunting

Also 50+ Small Copper, 9 Painted Lady’s & 1 Small Heath

30+ Autumn Ladies Tresses 

Posted September 3rd, 2018 at 6:35 pm by Steve Cox in General Birding

Request for information

With the current flourish of Ortolan Bunting sightings ( dipped myself on 2 seen at Rame yesterday) and the number of records based on sound recordings, does anyone know what happens to these birds one heard overhead or overnight ?

Posted September 3rd, 2018 at 1:06 pm by Tony Marchese in General Birding

East Soar

A good bit of vis mig this morning with 140 Swallow, 560 House Martin and 2 Swift all heading east. Also: 5 Ringed Plover, 27 White Wagtail. 26 Yellow Wagtail, 2 Tree Pipit, 20 Meadow Pipit, 2 Whinchat, 14 Wheatear, 11 Whitethroat, 3 Blackcap, 30 Goldfinch & 110 Linnet.

Posted September 3rd, 2018 at 12:49 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Mediterranean Gull

Sunday September 2nd. Walk around Galmpton. There was a 2nd summer Mediterranean Gull on the mud in front of the house at Mill creek, along with the canada geese and black-headed gulls. (thanks Mike Langman). Also a nice Wheatear on one of the Lower Greenway fields.

Posted September 3rd, 2018 at 9:20 am by Kay and Gary Deare in General Birding

Sunday 2nd September 2018

Lower Tamar Lake

This morning at the lake,
4 Grey Wagtail 2 adults and 2 Juv, 1 Sedge Warbler,  16 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Wren, 1m Tufted Duck, 1 Marsh Tit, 1 Goldfinch.

Posted September 2nd, 2018 at 9:21 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

Otter Estuary - Spotted Crake

Spotted Crake again on the Otter estuary this morning between 0720 and 0820, making its way slowly downstream from White Bridge all the way to the bottom viewing platform.

Spotted Crake
Spotted Crake

Posted September 2nd, 2018 at 8:50 pm by Nick Pratt in General Birding

Lyme Bay Boat Trip

Here's some pictures to add to Nigel's earlier post

Storm Petrel Great Skua Yellow-legged Gull, juv
Storm Petrel                                     Great Skua                             Yellow-legged Gull, juv

Posted September 2nd, 2018 at 6:25 pm by simon thurgood in General Birding

Berry Head

Sea watching - 06:30 - 12:30: a lot of effort for minimal return, not surprising considering the light winds - 12 Balearic & 6 Manx Shearwaters; 2 Great & 2 Arctic Skuas; 3 Sandwich Terns; with a steady trickle of Kittiwakes. The cetaceans brightened the day: 3 Harbour Porpoise; 20 - 30 Common Dolphin (with young leaping clear of the water!).

The quarry was dead quiet first thing, seemingly devoid even of local birds.

Posted September 2nd, 2018 at 3:47 pm by Dave Holloway in General Birding

Lyme Bay boat trip from Brixham.

This morning trip started well with a Grey Seal fast asleep on Brixham Marina wave pontoon. Just outside Berry Head sightings of 3 Harbour Porpoise but the best was to come when we reached about 5 miles out with 150+ Common Dolphin around the boat. Adults, young and some very young Dolphins, a fantastic experience. Chummed  at about the 7 miles mark. Birds seen 2 Great Skua, 1 Artic Skua, 1Skua sp, 20 Manx Shearwater, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 1 Yellow-legged Gull, 1 Storm Petrel, Fulmar, Kittiwake, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Great Black-backed Gull and in the Harbour area of Brixham White, Pied and Grey Wagtail. We had no Balearic Shearwater. A good trip and I hope some good pictures follow.

Posted September 2nd, 2018 at 3:11 pm by Nigel Smallbones in General Birding

Otter Valley

Having cleaned the DB Hide on the east bank and carried away another bag of bottles and litter I took a walk up the valley on the west footpath towards the aqueduct where I found two Cattle Egrets with a 200 strong herd of cows.  (Not to be confused with two other smaller herds).  Likely to be the same birds as seen by Chris T yesterday. Probably best seen from the river path.

Lots of small birds in the trees along the 'Little Otter' including several Treecreeper, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff and others. 

Posted September 2nd, 2018 at 12:36 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding

Saturday 1st September 2018

Otter Estuary, Budleigh Salterton

2 Catte Egrets on the estuary this evening and then flushed by a Peregrine and lost to view.
No sign of Spotted Crake this evening.

Cattle Egrets by Chris Townend, Otter Estuary

Posted September 1st, 2018 at 9:20 pm by Chris Townend in General Birding

South Efford marsh

A single cattle egret amongst the cows, several reed buntings and the usual waders. Greenshanks, black tailed godwits, curlews and common sandpipers at South Efford marsh.

Reed Bunting Cattle egret Common Sandpiper
Reed Bunting                             Cattle egret                                 Common Sandpiper

Posted September 1st, 2018 at 8:02 pm by Richie Moore in General Birding

Lower Tamar Lake

From yesterday,

2 Dipper, 1 Kingfisher, 2 Grey Wagtail, 4 Grey Heron, 17 Great Crested Grebe, 1m Tufted Duck, 1 Mute Swan.

Posted September 1st, 2018 at 12:14 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

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