Devon Bird Sightings: Bird News from 15th–21st September 2018

2020 Records request

If you saw any of the records below please submit a description to the County Recorder to ensure they make the official record. Many thanks.

·         Bee-eater 03-Aug Wistlandpound Res

·         Caspian Gull 15-Apr Fremington Pill

·         Caspian Gull 14- Sep Powderham

·         Crane [3] 22-Mar Milton Abbot

·         Crane [2] 24-Jun nr Ottery

·         Glossy Ibis 20-Jun South Efford Marsh

·         Glossy Ibis  02-Nov Seaton Marshes

·         Golden Oriole 07-Apr Fremington Pill

·         Golden Oriole 28-May Weston Mill

·         Golden Oriole [2] 23-Jun Bolt Head

·         Greenland WF Goose 20-Dec Roadford




·         Green-winged Teal Nov/Dec Exe Estuary

·         Grey Partridge 13-May Bishops Tawton

·         Grey Partridge 12-Nov Exminster Marshes

·         Leach's Petrel 30- Sep Labrador Bay

·          Leach's Petrel 31-Oct Sidmouth

·        Long-tailed Skua 04-Jul Dawlish Warren

·         Montagu's Harrier 17-May West Dart River

·         Ring-necked Duck Jan/Feb Meeth

·         Spotted Crake 09-Apr East Down

·        Stone-curlew [2] 22-Sep South Huish



Posted June 18th at 11:40 pm by Kevin Rylands in Bird News


In the light of the continuing Covid19 restrictions on the number of people gathering together, and the need for social distancing, it has been agreed that there will be no Devon Birds meetings or events organised until 19th July 2021, when Government restrictions are planned to be lifted. If there is any Government announcement that necessitates a change to this date an update will be posted.

Posted April 16th at 11:17 am by Mike Daniels in Bird News

Think before you post...!


Please think very carefully before posting any information on scarce or rare breeding species both here and elsewhere online.

A list of ‘at risk’ species in the county can be found here. Please note that Wood Warbler should now also be treated as on the list. All species included need to be protected - many receive full legal protection under Schedule 1 and/or are rare in the county and may be vulnerable to persecution/disturbance. It is an offence to intentionally disturb any of the Schedule 1 species during the breeding season without a valid licence. This also applies to anyone taking photographs of these species at or near the nest or whilst feeding dependant young.

Some species may be found breeding at numerous locations however please keep information on these species limited to well-known sites (e.g. Labrador Bay for Cirl Bunting, Aylesbeare Common for Dartford Warbler). Others may be found as obvious migrants and as such can also be posted eg coastal Ring Ouzel and passage waders, or raptors eg Little Ringed PloverRed Kite or Marsh Harrier.

If you have any doubts and think there is a chance there may be breeding, either because of the habitat or behaviour of the bird(s) then do not post, but please submit your records to the County Recorder and the RSPB.

Please be aware that egg collecting and other forms of persecution remain very real hazards for some of Devon’s birds.

Posts which breach these guidelines are likely to be not admitted / removed althogether, rather than edited.  


Posted March 15th at 11:56 am by Mike Langman 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

Friday 21st September 2018

South Hams

Start Point first thing produced Spotted Flycatcher, 35 Alba Wagtails & Wheatear. At Slapton Ley, Hobby, 105 House Martins, 2 Sandwich Terns, c20 Mediterranean Gulls & 3 Wheatears. Great White & 2 Cattle Egrets showed at Beesands Ley and finally 2 Spotted Flycatchers at Hallsands.

Posted September 21st, 2018 at 10:16 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Cattle Egret at Blaxton Meadow Saltram Plymouth

Today on Blaxton Meadow at 12.00 a Cattle Egret showing alongside a Little Egret offering a good comparison of the two species.

Posted September 21st, 2018 at 7:31 pm by John Lloyd in Bird News


Grey Phalarope off the Leisure Centre briefly @ 1615.

Posted September 21st, 2018 at 6:55 pm by Matt Knott in Bird News


Juv 1st winter Grey Phalarope on mudflats just off yacht club this morning from 10.30.

Posted September 21st, 2018 at 1:46 pm by mike glover in Bird News


Whilst walking around the reserve this morning I looked out on the scrape and was delighted to see a single, unringed Spoonbill. although I was tucked into the trees it saw me and took flight - into the teeth of the strong south-westerly wind. I can't recall any other records this autumn in North Devon (sure I'm wrong!). In the reserve a large bird of prey resolved into a very low-flying Peregrine.

I suspect that it went yesterday but today I didn't see the last Canada Goose, so I guess it has finally jumped ship and I hope joined the rest of the gang out and about. It has been alone since the rest of the family left on 11th August.

Just as I was leaving a big Tit-flock started crossing the meadow and I counted at least 18 Blue Tits, 8 Long-tailed 4 Great, a Goldcrest and a Blackcap among them.

Posted September 21st, 2018 at 1:40 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Cockwood, Exe Estuary

Single swift over at 9.30 and wheatear on sea-wall.

Posted September 21st, 2018 at 11:13 am by John Waldon in Bird News

Thursday 20th September 2018


From the Hoe this afternoon, 2 each of Sandwich Terns and Mediterranean Gulls (ad + 2nd-w).

Plym Estuary - 2 Black-tailed Godwits, 7 Greenshanks, 128 Redshanks, 35 Curlews & a Stock Dove. 

Posted September 20th, 2018 at 8:24 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

An interesting last day at Seaton Wetlands.

A sparrowhawk on an unsuccessful sortie over Black Hole Marsh, a one legged greenshank, a goose which was recorded as a snow goose with which I would concur and the return of the wood sandpiper. All I have to do now is wait till next year to see what turns up then.




Posted September 20th, 2018 at 6:32 pm by philip l. fairclough in Bird News

Otter Valley, East Devon

5 Cattle Egret including 1 immature with dark legs, feet and bill with cattle in second field above Whitebridge at noon. Best seen from riverside path.   (Footpath from Whitebridge to sea front car park still closed for repairs).

Posted September 20th, 2018 at 1:50 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in Bird News

Wednesday 19th September 2018


7 Cattle Egrets and 1Gt White Egret

Posted September 19th, 2018 at 6:32 pm by Terry Goddard in Bird News

Grey Phalarope - South Huish Marsh - 19/09/2018

Nice to be able to point out a Grey Phalarope, I had just found,  to our Chairman and his wife visiting South Huish Marsh around mid-day today. Bird still present when I left mid- afternoon. Only a distant photo for me, no doubt one of the many subsequent visitors will be able to post a better image.

Grey Phalarope - South Huish Marsh - 19/09/2018
Grey Phalarope - South Huish Marsh - 19/09/2018

Posted September 19th, 2018 at 5:52 pm by Dave Pakes in Bird News

Taw Estuary - Pottington

Cycled along the Tarka trail to Barnstaple am. The Black & Bar-tailed Godwits (majority Black) were frantically searching for food in 40 to 50 mph gusts of wind with feathers ruffled & tails spread out for maintaining balance in the strong winds. Difficult to keep the camera steady!

Posted September 19th, 2018 at 4:44 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News


Hi Phil, I think your Wood Sandpiper is a Redshank....

Posted September 19th, 2018 at 7:55 am by Jon Turner in Bird News

Tuesday 18th September 2018

Always expect the unexpected

Seaton Wetlands has been very quiet since my post last week but tonight the tables were turned. One wood sandpiper, two green sandpipers, one greenshank, one lapwing and a brief glimpse of a lone common snipe. i wonder what else I'll see before I go home in three days time. Watch this space.




Posted September 18th, 2018 at 10:31 pm by philip l. fairclough in Bird News


Barn Owl at dusk this evening , flying over road between Woodbury and Ebford. First for some time

Posted September 18th, 2018 at 10:12 pm by Roger Brooks in Bird News


The weather forecast for Thursday is for more rain and continuing high winds, making bird watching v difficult with little prospect of seeing anything. So the planned walk for Thursday is cancelled. If you have friends who don't use this web site would you please pass on this message. Thanks. 

Posted September 18th, 2018 at 7:42 pm by Geoffrey Green in Bird News

Berry Head

Seawatch 06.45 - 14.30: Balearic Shearwater 227 including a flock of c50, Manx Shearwater 3, Arctic Skua 28, Bonxie 16, Common Scoter 7, Sandwich Tern 9, Common Tern 2, "Commic" Tern 7, Kittiwake 320 in one raft, Harbour Porpoise 4+. Also Siskin over. 

Posted September 18th, 2018 at 5:48 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News


Birded 11.30 - 2.30 2 Ruff (1 juv, 1 moulting adult), 7+ Pintail,, Kingfisher hovered by the hide for a few seconds, Tufted Duck, Stock Dove and a late influx of Wigeon, 6 Greenshank. From the viewing platform some distant Dunlin, Oyks and a GBB Gull. Goosemoor had around half a dozen Dunlin and 46 Greenshank.

Ruff BGM
Ruff BGM

Ruff BGM
Ruff BGM

Greenshank Goosemoor
Greenshank Goosemoor

Posted September 18th, 2018 at 3:20 pm by Martin Rooney in Bird News

Monday 17th September 2018

Occombe, Preston

Late morning visit produced 4 Swallows, Blackcap, 2 Chiffchaff, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Buzzard, Jay. Long-tailed Tit & 3 female Pheasants.

Posted September 17th, 2018 at 9:16 pm in Bird News

Berry Head

Sea watch with MD from 06.45 to 16.45 produced the following. Great Shearwater 6, Sooty Shearwater 2, Balearic Shearwater 205, Pomarine Skua 1, Arctic Skua 18, Bonxie 31. Also Black Tern 9, Common Tern 8, Sandwich Tern 10, Little Gull 2 and Med. Gull 3.  

Posted September 17th, 2018 at 6:37 pm by Clive Mason in Bird News

South Huish

1 Juvenile Great Skua flew onto the marsh, it stayed for 5 minutes and then moved to the Chanel behind Bob's island out of view. Also 7 Yellow wagtails, 1 White wagtail and 2 Cattle Egrets.

Posted September 17th, 2018 at 4:09 pm by Terry Goddard in Bird News

Exe - Starcross

Osprey - seen from Mudbank, landed on exposed shingle and sandbank between Starcross and Cockwood with catch;  harassed by ever increasing number of Crows, and eventually flew off up-river;  lost over Powderham.

Posted September 17th, 2018 at 3:21 pm by Rupert Ormerod in Bird News


Exmouth Imperial rec. Ospray fishing on ebb tide bagged a mullet then flew off towards starcross chased by gulls and crows.

Posted September 17th, 2018 at 3:12 pm by eric in Bird News

East Soar

Most interest on the high fields before the fog rolled in: Golden Plover, 8 Ringed Plover, 3 Dunlin, 600 Herring Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Sparrowhawk, 2 Kestrel, 8 Pied Wagtail, 13 Alba/White Wagtail, Whinchat, 150 Linnet and the first autumn movement of 66 Skylark. Scrub migrants very poor just Whitethroat & 3 Blackcap.

Non-avian: Brown Hare & MF Roe Deer.

Posted September 17th, 2018 at 2:01 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News


1 over Gregory's lorry depot Cullompton heading s/east at 12.55

Posted September 17th, 2018 at 1:09 pm by Robert Marshall in Bird News

Sunday 16th September 2018


Along the beach, late afternoon, 1 fw Little Gull again plus at  least 25 Mediterranean Gulls and c20 Sandwich Terns. On the ley, a minimum of 35 Great-crested Grebes.

Posted September 16th, 2018 at 8:40 pm by Andy Smith in Bird News

16/09/18 South Efford marsh

Counted 22 black tailed godwit and a bar tailed godwit outside the hide late afternoon also several greenshank.

Bar-tailed Godwit
Bar-tailed Godwit

Black-tailed Godwits
Black-tailed Godwits


Posted September 16th, 2018 at 8:28 pm by Richie Moore in Bird News


Driving into Croyde from the Georgeham direction late this afternoon, a large - 50+ - flock of House Martins swirling over the east side of the village.

Posted September 16th, 2018 at 7:37 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News


The meeting point for this week's planned walk at ORCOMBE has been changed to the Foxholes Long Term car park, which is on the front and just left of the Lifeboat Station. Please note this change and let any "non web" friends know. Also, the weather forecast for Thursday looks stormy. If this firms up on Wednesday I'll send out another post on Wednesday. 

Posted September 16th, 2018 at 7:16 pm by Geoffrey Green in Bird News

Slapton Ley Hobby

Hobby seen going after dragonflies from Ireland Hide top of ley

Posted September 16th, 2018 at 6:48 pm by Ian Stone in Bird News


2 Hobbies flying rapidly south east over Swallow Way, Cullompton at 2.30pm.

Posted September 16th, 2018 at 6:29 pm by Olly Mears in Bird News

elberry cove

a med. gull sitting on 1 of the buoys "dividing" elberry cove as I swam right alongside it ( on Thursday).  they have been appearing at elberry more frequently.

Posted September 16th, 2018 at 9:15 am by graham folkerd in Bird News


I agree the raptor in Phil's correspondent's photo is a common buzzard. Also the bunting is a yellowhammer.

Posted September 16th, 2018 at 1:54 am by Lowell Mills in Bird News

Saturday 15th September 2018


Phil - I think your raptor photograph is a Buzzard. The Bunting has a large tick on it's head. This is quite common, and they eventually fall off.

Posted September 15th, 2018 at 10:18 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

A quiet week just got better

After the flurry on Black hole Marsh earlier in the week, things have quietened down till last night and today. Last night a new birder spotted this bird on a fence post some distance away. i couldn't tell from the photo whether it's the elusive Pallid Harrier or an osprey. Maybe someone with better eyesight can identify it?

Tonight at Seaton Marsh hide, nothing of note except this juvenile reed bunting on the pathway. The apparent growth on its head perhaps explains why it spent most of its time on the floor, allowing me to get within ten feet.

Posted September 15th, 2018 at 9:05 pm by philip l. fairclough in Bird News


Lovely view of a Hobby this afternoon over Bableigh nr Landkey which then headed off south over the back of Codden Hill.

Posted September 15th, 2018 at 8:46 pm by Robert Morgan in Bird News

Slapton Ley

15:00-18:00 ( mainly on beach )

6 unidentified Egrets picked up at distance behind Slapton Village later flew south across Ireland Bay and down to Torcross. Then went offshore, eventually appearing to go inland at North Hallsands at 16:35. Combination of looking into the sun and distance meant I could not nail them but if I had a free bet I would say Cattle Egrets. Also saw the Marsh Harrier and a distant marsh Tern, by default presumed Black Tern at Torcross late afternoon. Best of the Gulls were 18 Mediterranean and 2 adult Yellow-legged. Still good numbers of mostly adult Lesser Black-backs.

Posted September 15th, 2018 at 8:37 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News


1 Hobby, moving fast, a little inland of Thurlestone, early pm.

Posted September 15th, 2018 at 7:37 pm by Andy Smith in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

A few waders on the high tide including: Black-tailed Godwit, 2 Common Sandpipers, 24 Turnstones, Ringed Plover, 8 Oystercatchers, 41 Curlews & 5 Greenshanks. Also 22 Little Egrets, 18 Grey Herons, 9 Ring-necked Parakeets & a Stock Dove. 

Posted September 15th, 2018 at 6:31 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News


Working around the reserve today with Ben and Andy. Had a few nets open not in any great expectation of catching much. So Robin, Blackcap and Goldcrest (first this autumn) were about par. Three retraps including a male Bullfinch in heavy moult.

Nearly 40 species recorded in over or near the reserve, including one of the resident Buzzards, a Kestrel, and a flyover dark Marsh Harrier. A few Swallows over Sherpa Marsh. And, the first since 21st June - a Black-tailed Godwit on the scrape, morning only. Out there too were some Wigeon (5) and a couple of Shoveler.

In the river singing Dipper, a Kingfisher and a juv Grey Wagtail.

As we were packing up to leave a large Tit flock started moving about - mostly Blue and Long-tailed, but Great, and Coal also. In with them were some Chiffchaffs, a couple of Blackcaps, a Greenfinch, and a Willow Warbler. (Where were they when I had the nets open on Thursday!)  About 50 birds in all.

Posted September 15th, 2018 at 6:13 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News


Solitary common Gull on the beach by the slipway.

Posted September 15th, 2018 at 5:32 pm by Richard Yeats in Bird News

Colaton Raleigh Common, East Devon

Visited the grenade range area between 8-9.30am this morning but no sightings of P. Harrier.  Two Kestrel in same area plus Stonechats, M. Pipits, Skylark and a numbers of Bullfinch at copse near car park.

Posted September 15th, 2018 at 11:16 am by Jonathan Ruscoe in Bird News

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