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 social distancing, the Devon Birds hides at Beesands, Fernworthy and Roadford, in addition to hides elsewhere in the County including Bowling Green Marsh and Dawlish Warren are closed until further notice. 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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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

Thursday 28th November 2019

Lower Tamar Lake

This morning early at the lake,

1 Green Sandpiper, 9 Goosander 4m 5F, 1 Kingfisher, 6 Great Crested Grebe, 4 Willow Tit, 2 Marsh Tit, 2 Cormorant, 1m Gadwall, 1 Nuthatch, 2 Wren.

Posted November 28th, 2019 at 7:44 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

Barnstaple - Isley Marsh

A walk down the railway this morning produced 9 Goosanders on the sandbanks just West of the bypass, the Ibis and a Spotted Redshank in Fremington Creek, and 4 Spoonbills and c2000 very vocal and flighty Golden Plovers (with several hundred Lapwings accompanying) at Isley. Others of note were Yellowhammer (not a regular here for me), Kestrel, Redwing, Fieldfare, and probably 10 Water Rails calling from the ditches. Stonechat was a surprising omission, but still c75 spp. in total.  

Posted November 28th, 2019 at 7:19 pm by James Camden in General Birding

Bursdon Moor

Male Hen Harrier arrived at about 4.15 this afternoon. Flew on up over the hill.

Posted November 28th, 2019 at 6:48 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Brixham Breakwater

1 Mediterranean Gull, 3 Purple Sandpipers and 3 G.N.Divers from end of breakwater this morning.

Posted November 28th, 2019 at 6:34 pm by Paul Nunn in General Birding

28-11-19 Ernesettle Creek

Female Kingfisher showing very well, Greenshank and Teal, others seen little egrets, Redshanks, on the Tamar side 3 Great-crested grebes, about a dozen Avocets, Shell Ducks, & Curlews

Kingfisher (F) Greenshank Teal
Kingfisher (F)                      Greenshank                                              Teal

Posted November 28th, 2019 at 3:36 pm by Greg Bradbury in General Birding

Marine Parade, Preston, Paignton.

Pleasantly surprised to see a Colour Ringed Common Gull fly in late yesterday afternoon. I have just completed the sighting report, but the bird is already confirmed as having been ringed in Southern Norway.

Posted November 28th, 2019 at 11:22 am by Steven O'Donoghue in General Birding

Wednesday 27th November 2019

Exe Estuary cruise

This afternoon's Stuart Lines cruise was perhaps most notable for an amazing succession of rainbows! That aside, there was an imm drake Eider off Exmouth and a female Common Scoter off Powderham Corner, the usual Slavonian Grebe at Cockwood, c10 Great Crested Grebes, maybe 150 Pintail around Lympstone, c110 Knot, a few dozen Bar-tailed Godwits, maybe 800 Golden Plover and hundreds of Lapwings roosting near Turf, 2-300 Avocets, 2 Greenshanks, c10 each of Ringed Plover and Sanderling and a sw Mediterranean Gull on Bull Hill sandbank. Only c100 Black-tailed Godwits - presumably most were on Exminster Marshes floods, as they were on Sunday. A Peregrine had a go at a Stock Dove over Warren Point and a Grey Seal appeared off the marina after we had returned to Exmouth.

Posted November 27th, 2019 at 10:24 pm by Dave Smallshire in General Birding

Teignmouth Weds pm

Single Great Northern Diver off the yacht club..

Single Great Crested Grebe at Holcombe..

Approx 25 Common Scoters off Sprey Point.

Posted November 27th, 2019 at 5:58 pm by Patrick Case in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh

Lots of Wigeon, Teal and Shoveler with Snipe showing well. Highlight though were two SCAUP; one swimming about and the other tucked up with the Tufties. 

Posted November 27th, 2019 at 3:39 pm by Matt Collis in General Birding


3 Scaup, 1 Goldeneye, 1 Gadwall and a pair of Teal (I don't see these here very often) on Wrafton Pond this morning.

In the reserve, a Fieldfare calling from the tree-tops. First record this year.

Song Thrush singing around my garden early on.

Posted November 27th, 2019 at 1:39 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Tuesday 26th November 2019

Blue-winged Teal - Man Sands

The Blue-winged Teal, along with the rest of the Teal flock, spent most of the day hidden in the reeds, but did show briefly (only long enough for a poor distant shot).  It did flap its wings a couple of times but couldn't capture the moment.  Also there three Tufted Duck, a Water Rail in flight and at least one Black Redstart.

Posted November 26th, 2019 at 9:50 pm by Chris Marcol in General Birding

Hen Harrier - Bellever, Dartmoor

15.15hrs today, Kate and I were treated to the sight of a lovely male Hen Harrier flying slowly down the East Dart from the Postbridge direction, across Bellever Bridge, continuing on downstream.

Posted November 26th, 2019 at 6:01 pm by Dave Pakes in General Birding

Whitleigh plymouth

3 ringneck parakeet

Posted November 26th, 2019 at 5:41 pm by barry insull in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Visit on this afternoon's rising tide. Brent Goose (dark-bellied), 2 Great Crested Grebes, Jack Snipe, Teal, 4 Wigeon, 15 Snipe, 6 Greenshanks, 51 Curlews, 2 Shags, 33 Turnstones, Green Woodpecker, Chiffchaff & 6 Roe Deer.

Posted November 26th, 2019 at 5:17 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Velator reserve

At least 2 Water Rails (one seen) about the reserve this morning and a (or the same) Siberian Chiffchaff .

Posted November 26th, 2019 at 5:09 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Whitleigh Garden

Female Sparrowhawk.

Posted November 26th, 2019 at 5:06 pm by Chris Buckland in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh

The Long-billed Dowitcher was on the 'island' this morning. Also a Scaup.

Posted November 26th, 2019 at 2:37 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding

Purple Sandpiper on Maer Rocks Exmouth

My first visit to Maer Rocks over low tide this autumn to see if our normal Purple Sandpipers have arrived, and sure enough 7 were feeding out on the edge where sea meets rocks. With them was a lone Knot which was a nice surprise as normally these birds are in good numbers out on the estuaries at some distance away. Also 5 Turnstones were present. Caution should you venture out to see them the seaweed and rocks are extremely slippery.

Purple Sandpiper Knot Knot
Purple Sandpiper                                       Knot                                                 Knot

Posted November 26th, 2019 at 2:16 pm by Derek Carter in General Birding

Monday 25th November 2019

Starcross - Dawlish Warren

At least 10 cattle Egret in a field 2-3 hundred yards along the Dawlish Road from the Cockwood turn off. Only field along there with cattle. Slav Grebe diving by the wreck off Cockwood Steps. Not much else to report. In failing light at the Warren about 100 Grey Plover, 15 or so Knot and about 15 Dunlin lots of mainly Dark Bellied Brents and large flock of Oystercatchers on Finger point. Leucistic Oyk on the Starcross Golf Course. Nothing off the sea wall.

Cattle Egret Grey Plover and Knot Leucistic Oystercatcher
Cattle Egret                Grey Plover and Knot                       Leucistic Oystercatcher

Posted November 25th, 2019 at 8:44 pm by Martin Rooney in General Birding

Lower Tamar Lake

This morning at the lake

1 Green Sandpiper on the weir. 10 Goosander 3m 7f, 2 Willow Tit, 1 Marsh Tit, 2 Song Thrush, 6 Tufted Duck, 5 Long-tailed Tit, 2 Wren.

Posted November 25th, 2019 at 7:19 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

Harford ~ Woodcock

An injured Woodcock brought into me today having been picked up at Harford, Ivybridge, the bird has a large healed callus on the shoulder of one wing and several flight feathers missing, possibly consistent with being the victim of a bird of prey strike, the bird is unable to fly but seems remarkable able and healthy despite the injury.

Around my South Brent garden, Tawny Owl calling overnight, Long tailed Tits being the first birds on the garden feeders this morning, two Stock Dove, a Green Woodpecker, several flights of Redwing passing over, Wren, Greenfinch, Pied Wagtail, several Blackbirds, Nuthatch, Coal, Great and Blue Tit all before 8am.

Posted November 25th, 2019 at 4:21 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Whitleigh Garden

16 Long Tailed Tits, 1 m and 1f Blackcap,1 Robin,1 Dunnock,3 m Blackbirds.

Posted November 25th, 2019 at 4:09 pm by Chris Buckland in General Birding

Taw/Torridge Estuary.

At low tide this morning a Red-throated Diver off the cricket ground at Instow. Many Brent Geese and Wigeon spread widely across the estuary, mainly on the northern shore. 

Posted November 25th, 2019 at 2:36 pm by Roger Doble in General Birding

Sunday 24th November 2019

Noss Mayo Carriage Drive

In Centry Wood, above Stoke caravan park, a Firecrest, a Goldcrest and Chiffchaff.  Further along the path the usual Stonechats, Robins and Wrens, a pair of Ravens, two Kestrels and three Buzzards.

Posted November 24th, 2019 at 11:04 pm by Chris & Janet Marcol in General Birding

Stuartline Cruise 24th November

A dry cruise.! Following a very wet Saturday there was plenty of floodwater in the estuary which had an impact on the number of birds on show around the Topsham area of the Estuary. There were none of the large numbers of Black Tailed Godwits that normally frequent this area of the Estuary. It was suggested they were all on the surrounding flooded farmland feeding on Worms and other invertebrates succumbed to the saturated ground, other wise the visitors were delighted with seeing a Peregrine on lookout on Holy Trinity Church Spire in Exmouth a Kingfisher near the Marina and the two Grey Seals one on the pontoon and the other on a Trawler off inner Dawlish Warren. Good numbers of Dark Bellied Brent Geese with several juveniles on show across the estuary. 100+ Widgeon in front of Dawlish Warren Hide took off and flew over the boat, with distant views of the Slavonian Grebe near the wreck off Cockwood. A few Great Crested Grebe, good numbers of Pintail and Shelduck showing off Lympstone. Greenshank were at their normal haunt near the flooded River Kenn confluence. Between Turf Lock,  Topsham and Exton one female Goldeneye a few Ringed Plover good numbers of Dunlin 300+ of Lapwing 300+ of Golden Plover and as ever the stars of the show 300+ Avocets thrilled the visitors. 

Posted November 24th, 2019 at 8:52 pm by Derek Carter in General Birding

Starcross to Dawlish Warren

Amongst the usual hordes of wildfowl and waders, this afternoon's WeBS count produced Slavonian and 2 Great Crested Grebes and 398 Brent Geese, of which 15.5% were juvs (so they've have a reasonable breeding season). In very dull conditions after a shower, Snipe were feeding and preening out on the open mud by the saltmarsh at Dawlish Warren - a total of 53 seen. I've never seen them feeding out in the open on the estuary mud like this before; it was rather bizarre to seen them feeding alongside Turnstones, Redshanks, Dunlin and Oystercatchers! I wonder if they feed on the open mud like this at night? Oh for a hide at the back of the golf course and a night vision camera! A Cirl Bunting singing on the edge of the golf course was a surprise, given the awful weather.

Posted November 24th, 2019 at 8:25 pm by Dave Smallshire in General Birding

Avon Dam

25 roosting Goosanders including 6 males this morning was highest count so far for Avon Dam this winter - and possibly for Dartmoor, though there were 24 at Tottiford Res on 13 Nov. Before departure around 0730, a pair discreetly moved away from the main group, briefly displayed then mated. Have not seen mating earlier than January before, and wonder how unusual it is for mating to occur at this time of year in birds in general -  apart from doves and pigeons.

Posted November 24th, 2019 at 8:00 pm by Peter Reay in General Birding


Garden today

Great Spotted Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker

Posted November 24th, 2019 at 7:53 pm by Geoff Mitchell in General Birding

Slapton Ley

A brief late afternoon visit. Drake Ring-necked Duck and 2 Scaup with the Tufted Ducks etc at the Torcross end of the Ley; 1 Great Northern Diver off the memorial carpark and a Firecrest from the boardwalk at the back of Ireland Bay.

Posted November 24th, 2019 at 7:31 pm by Andy Smith in General Birding

Plym Estuary

An excellent count of 32 Snipe on Blaxton Meadow (more evidence of the benefits of restricted access; before this we didn't get any Snipe here!) Also: Kingfisher, Red-breasted Merganser (redhead), 2 Shags, 5 Little Grebes, 6 Greenshanks, 51 Curlews, 2 Wigeons & a Polish-ringed adult Mediterranean Gull ("PHAU").

Posted November 24th, 2019 at 6:58 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Slapton & Start point

A few Goldcrests flitting about, Good views of the Black necked grebe and 2 water rails in front of the Stokeley hide. A Merlin at Start point and a great northern Diver on the sea.

Black-necked Grebe Water Rail Merlin
Black-necked Grebe                      Water Rail                                              Merlin

Posted November 24th, 2019 at 6:42 pm by Richie Moore in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh and Haldon

The Long-tailed Duck showed very well in front of the hide this afternoon at BGM.  2 Firecrests around the nearby Monmouth Street Overbridge.

Earlier at Haldon, a group of 16 Crossbills and many Redwings.  The feeders at the main car park were heaving with varying numbers of Chaffinches, Siskins, Goldfinches, Greenfinches, Yellowhammers and the regular Tit species.   

Posted November 24th, 2019 at 5:23 pm by Paul Darlington in General Birding

Baggy Point

Another walk out to Baggy Pt this morning.

The single Velvet Scoter still present but keeping a distance from the 2 flocks of Common Scoter, one flock consisting of 73 individuals & the other much further out of 24, so a slight increase since my last count of 92.

Posted November 24th, 2019 at 5:09 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Whitleigh Garden

Female Blackcap,2 Goldcrests,1 Song Thrush,3 f Blackbirds,1 Robin,1Wren,20+ House Sparrows small flock of Starlings 8 Long tailed Tits,1 Blue Tit.

Posted November 24th, 2019 at 5:08 pm by Chris Buckland in General Birding

Velator reserve

Ringing today, highlights were;

5 Chiffchaff (all nominate)

3 Goldcrest

1 Meadow Pipit

1 Cetti's Warbler

1 Song Thrush

28 Greenfinch

2 Goldfinch

Among 56 birds ringed.

Little Egret on the scrape, 2 Pied Wagtails displaying to each other on wires just outside the entrance.

Posted November 24th, 2019 at 4:49 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Very late Swallow

Single swallow hunting for insects over Camperdown, Exmouth c 1345hrs today

Posted November 24th, 2019 at 4:37 pm by Cliff Parrott in General Birding

Turf to Countesswear 1200-1315

In the estuary were 150+ Avocets, 600+ Golden Plovers, and double figures of Grey and Ringed Plovers, no Godwits, but a few Rooks. It is noticeable that over the last couple of years these have started to follow Carrion Crows in becoming estuary birds (easily 500 of the latter most days). A response to, or a cause of, reduced wader numbers, or unrelated?

On Exminster Marsh were a female Marsh Harrier, a Peregrine, and the "missing" Godwits, plus an awful lot of Wigeon and others. Probably eight Water Rails in the ditch alongside the cycle path.

At Matford, a lone Cattle Egret was in the field South of the by-pass, and a Green Sandpiper in the Alphinbrook flood channel.

Seventy plus spp. in total.

Posted November 24th, 2019 at 4:34 pm by James Camden in General Birding

Starling murmuration

Just finished watching a small murmuration over Christow with between 150 and 200 birds by the end. Not big numbers I know, but unusual for Christow. 

Posted November 24th, 2019 at 4:22 pm by Fiona Freshney in General Birding

24/11/2019 Ford Park Cemetery, Plymouth

Despite the dreary weather and rain Green Ring-necked Parakeets and Jays showing well with a couple of Redwings and Gold Finches.

Posted November 24th, 2019 at 3:25 pm by Michael Spencer in General Birding

Middle Soar to Southdown Farm.

Nothing unusual but some good numbers:  400 Woodpigeon, 12 Stock Dove, 900 Skylark, 24 Canada Geese, Grey Wagtail, 100 Jackdaw, 240 Carrion Crow, 200 Starling, 48 Goldfinch, 2 Snipe, 48 Goldfinch, 36 Yellowhammer, 20 Cirl Bunting & 6 Reed Bunting.

Posted November 24th, 2019 at 3:20 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding


Great Northern Diver between pier and Ness headland, Herring Gull feeding frenzy at the mouth of the estuary Teignmouth side hundreds of starfish washed up on shoreline gulls attempting some successfully to swallow whole.

Posted November 24th, 2019 at 2:24 pm by Gary Bolton in General Birding

Tamar estuary / Ernesettle

This morning before the rain:-

60 Avocet, 55 Wigeon, 16 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 86 Snipe on Ernesettle creek.

Posted November 24th, 2019 at 1:54 pm by Alan Livsey in General Birding

Saturday 23rd November 2019

Saturday 23rd Nov - Brixham Harbour

3 Imm Shags fishing in very low water by the Golden Hind at lunch time today and 20 very busyTurnstones searching for food on the harbour wall.

Posted November 23rd, 2019 at 10:13 pm by David Ropet in General Birding

Further to Perry's post

The male Ring necked duck was on the ley off Torcross carpark with a good number of tufted sign of the scaup though. 

Posted November 23rd, 2019 at 8:13 pm by Nik ward in General Birding

plymouth railway station

around 100 ringneck parakeet to roost .right on time as usual 430 pm

Posted November 23rd, 2019 at 6:21 pm by barry insull in General Birding

South Huish marsh and Slapton ley

At South Huish marsh, 2 Pale bellied Brent geese, 10 ringed plover and 10 snipe. Roger spotted a swallow flying over the marsh and Mike Passman pointed out a water pipit. I saw 4 Black-tailed godwits and at least 4 Med gulls. At Slapton several goldcrests and heard several water rail but none seen. Good views of the Black necked grebe and a distant Scaup and 3 goldeneye.

Ringed Plover
Ringed Plover

Mute Swans
Mute Swans

Pale-bellied Brent Goose
Pale-bellied Brent Goose

Posted November 23rd, 2019 at 5:40 pm by Richie Moore in General Birding

Plym Estuary/Blaxton Meadow

Seen on this afternoons high tide were the following .

GND 1, Great Crested Grebe 1, Little Grebe 6, Wigeon 2, Oystercatcher 8, Curlew 26, Greenshank 6, Redshank c130, Dunlin c158, Snipe 15, Kingfisher 1, Goosander 6 & Common Gull 3.

Posted November 23rd, 2019 at 4:05 pm by Martin Phillips in General Birding

23-11-19 Sefton Ave, Lipson, Black Redstarts

Male Black Redstart still showing well on the rooftops, female still around but not showing as much as the male.

Posted November 23rd, 2019 at 2:23 pm by Greg Bradbury in General Birding

Friday 22nd November 2019

Plymouth Branch field trip to South Efford Marsh

A group of 13 braved the weather to visit the reserve spending four hours there. In that time we saw around 40 species. Highlights were several Kingfishers showing well, Greenshank, Snipe, Common Sandpiper and, on the river behind the reserve hide, Little Grebe. A full species list will appear in Society News section. 

John Lloyd

Posted November 22nd, 2019 at 6:23 pm by John Lloyd in General Birding


After the walk out to Baggy, I headed down to the reserve, still not raining. A few small birds included a Chiffchaff or two, and closer inspection revealed at least 5, one of which was a very pale greyish individual, which must have been a Tristis type. No yellowy or greeny tones at all. I ringed one a few weeks ago, and checked this one for a ring - none seen so this is the second one this month. A Goldcrest was also with the Tit flock. Lots of Greenfinch today - yesterday was mainly Goldfinch.

As I left, in the river both Kingfisher and Dipper present.

Posted November 22nd, 2019 at 2:18 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Baggy Point

Took a while but eventually (at about 10a.m.) the Velvet Scoter flew in close to the point and as Rob said it was alone and not associating with the other Scoters, it dived then surfaced and shook it's wings revealing the all important white speculum. About 69 Common Scoters also present. 2 Rock Pipits, 1 Stonechat and a pair of Ravens.

Posted November 22nd, 2019 at 11:03 am by Jon Turner in General Birding

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