Devon Bird Sightings: Bird News from 15th–21st March 2019

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


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

Thursday 21st March 2019

Horsey Island

Up to 150 Sand Martins over Horsey Island early evening (18.30) at high tide. Probably all the Sand Martins in the area gathering in one flock just before going into roost. 2 Wheatear at the side of the Toll road on the telephone cables.

Posted March 21st, 2019 at 9:06 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News


Little of note around Exmouth today. Kittiwake and the Ring Necked Parakeet (first time I've seen the Exmouth bird). Some suggestions that it may be nesting proved to be true! Short video here - poor light and distant for my camera.

Kittiwake Ring-necked Parakeet
Kittiwake                          Ring-necked Parakeet

Posted March 21st, 2019 at 8:14 pm by Martin Rooney in Bird News

R.Taw, Barnstaple. Pottington to Ashford Sewage Works. 1410-1500.

Black-tailed Godwit 24; Shelduck 33; Goosander 2 (1M,2F); Redshank 6; Wigeon 62; Little Egret 6; Greenshank 1.

A first Mediterranean Gull of the year on my patch. A second winter bird. 

Posted March 21st, 2019 at 7:13 pm by Maurice Clements in Bird News

Wrafton Pond, Velator & Sherpa Marsh

At least 90 Sand Martins at pre-roost in the area this evening and at least four, possibly as many as six, Water Pipits.

Posted March 21st, 2019 at 6:42 pm by Tim Jones in Bird News

South Huish & Bigbury Island

South Huish: 3 Wheatears toward the back of the marsh today, 1 Black-tailed Godwit & approx 15 Teal.

Bigbury Island, 1-2  Willow Warblers, 7 Chiffchaff

Posted March 21st, 2019 at 5:14 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Berry Head

2 wheatears in the Quarry late this morning

Posted March 21st, 2019 at 4:50 pm by Jeff Hacon in Bird News

Harleston by Slapton

Bit of a shock when a Hawfinch landed on the bird feeder scattering the other finches. Stayed for 10 mins then returned 90 mins later! also female Blackcap & singing Chiffchaff.

Posted March 21st, 2019 at 2:22 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Rillage Point to Watermouth

The first chance to visit my patch in a few days coincided with a heavily overcast morning with patchy clag and light drizzle, interspersed with some brighter dry interludes – perfect for producing a small fall of gounded migrants and some decent visible migration. Totals included: 2 Grey Herons (looming out of the mist and over the cliff tops), 4 Skylarks (very scarce at this site in spring), 7 Sand Martins (all whipping along to the W), 2 Chiffchaffs, 3 Stonechats, 6 Wheatears (a grounded group of 4m & 2f), 52 Meadow Pipits, 9 alba wagtails, 29 Goldfinches & 9 Linnets.

Posted March 21st, 2019 at 1:14 pm by Tim Jones in Bird News

Hopes Nose

Male Wheatear half way down south side by benches mid morning. Also 2 Chiffchaffs singing.

Posted March 21st, 2019 at 10:35 am by Mark Bailey in Bird News

Wednesday 20th March 2019

Velator Reserve

And to add to Rob's observations: I ringed 10 Chiffchaffs in the reserve this morning, several with classic 'Rhino horns from nectar/pollen in flowers in a more exotic southern location. A few Sand Martins around the reserve late morning. Also ringed a male Grey Wagtail, a male Cetti's Warbler, and a female Brambling - carrying a good covering of fat.

Posted March 20th, 2019 at 8:50 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Baggy, R.Caen & Wrafton Pond

Evidence of several more migrants arriving in N.Devon today with 2 Wheatear at Baggy am & 2 more by the side of the R.Caen pm.

20 - 30 Sand Martins over Wrafton Pond late aft. + several more over R.Caen & Braunton Marshes.

Posted March 20th, 2019 at 5:48 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

Mid morning, the Marsh Harrier was sitting on the ground at the edge of the lagoon;  2 Egyptian Geese flew in & 3 Gadwall were present.  The Snow Goose was in the first field adjacent to the Swan's Nest.

Posted March 20th, 2019 at 5:27 pm by Rupert Ormerod in Bird News

Dawlish Warren

When at the Warren this morning I checked out issues relating to the (East Devon Branch) fieldtrip planned for Thursday 28 March.  The footpath along the dunes remains closed indefinitely and getting to the hide could be risky at high tide so we will not attempt this and will concentrate on other areas and sea watch.

The two main car parks are no longer taking cash due to theft but take credit and debit cards...however the pay and display machine at the first car park (before the tunnel) does take cash so purchase your ticket there first.  The fee is £2.20 (all-day) until the end of the month when the fee increases!  

Not a lot of birds of note but pleased to see my first 2 Sand Martins and a Cirl Bunting in song.

Powderham produced a distant Wheatear on a horse jump (thanks to Audrey Wolstenholme and friends for finding this for me).

Posted March 20th, 2019 at 5:21 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in Bird News


Saltram, on the duck pond the Red-crested pochard has returned and showing well

Red-crested Pochard
Red-crested Pochard

Posted March 20th, 2019 at 4:18 pm by Greg Bradbury in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Generally quite quiet but: redhead Goosander, female Red-crested Pochard, 7 Mandarin Ducks, Little Grebe, 1 or 2 Green Woodpeckers heard, 2 Stock Doves and 5 Roe Deer.  

Posted March 20th, 2019 at 3:49 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Berry Head

Single swallow flew in over the meadow this morning- didnt look like stopping anytime soon!!

Posted March 20th, 2019 at 3:22 pm by Tim Clyburn in Bird News

Exeter City

Great Crested Grebe pair on the Exe, also Peregrine on the church tower. Brimstone butterfly Wonford Road. 

Grebe video.

Great Crested GrebeGreat Crested GrebePeregrine
Great Crested Grebe         Great Crested Grebe                          Peregrine

Posted March 20th, 2019 at 2:44 pm by Martin Rooney in Bird News


32 little egret  in a field next to the Culm in Willand at lunch time.

Posted March 20th, 2019 at 2:17 pm by geoff campbell in Bird News


Tuesday 19 March.  Outing to Instow - Bunting with nesting material (not shown), The same Bunting (Possible Reed Bunting) and a single Buzzard.

Eds - yes, Reed Bunting.

Reed Bunting? The same Bunting different tree. Buzzard on Barn roof.
Reed Bunting                                                                   Buzzard on Barn roof.

Posted March 20th, 2019 at 1:05 am by Martin Bennett in Bird News


Tuesday 19 March on Instow outing - Oyster catchers more than 2 but less than 500. In the mix were; Turnstones, Knot, Snipe 7 or 8, Wigeon and 2 female Teal, 2 Curlew, 1 Godwit (Far right of image1) see image 2, Grey Plover (Far left of image 1), and some Red Shank. Herons nesting.

Oyster catchersGodwit (croped from Oyster catcher image)Heron
Oyster catchers                                 Godwit (croped from Oyster catcher image)             Heron

Posted March 20th, 2019 at 12:50 am by Martin Bennett in Bird News

Tuesday 19th March 2019

Bench Tor

1 Swallow cruising around in the late afternoon sunshine. My first of the year.

Posted March 19th, 2019 at 9:18 pm by Andy Smith in Bird News

Exminster Marsh

Cetti's Warbler on the towpath and heard but not seen Sedge Warbler on back Railway path, Exminster Marshes.

Posted March 19th, 2019 at 6:44 pm by Martin Rooney in Bird News

Berry Head - Midday 19th March

A calm sea today with only a few common and lesser black back gulls out over the water. The highlight of my watch was observing 11 common dolphins as they slowly made their way from North to South around Berry Head. The dolphins were too far out to get a good picture but showed well with binoculars. 

Posted March 19th, 2019 at 5:36 pm by David Roper in Bird News

Soar Mill Valley

5 Chiffchaffs inc.two singing. Still a few migrant Song Thrushes trickling through. Also: 2 Bull finch, 3 Greenfinch, 6 Buzzards.

Posted March 19th, 2019 at 4:22 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

The Hoe, Plymouth. 19/03/2019

Near the cannons on the Hoe, a Male & Female type Black Redstart amongst the rocks.

At Captain Jaspers a Great Black-backed Gull (metal ring left leg white ring A4MW on right leg).

Posted March 19th, 2019 at 3:08 pm by Michael Spencer in Bird News

19-03-19 Dartford Warbler

Dartford Warblers showing well today on Dartmoor

Dartford Warbler  
Dartford Warbler

Posted March 19th, 2019 at 3:08 pm by Greg Bradbury in Bird News

Thornhillhead, N.Devon

Willow tit vigoursly calling at the feeders this morning. Pleasing to see all six tit species we get here (blue, coal, great, long tailed, marsh and willow) at the feeders recently - most species at the same time is five. First Chiffchaff of the year calling nearby this morning.  Spring (very nearly)!

Posted March 19th, 2019 at 2:54 pm by Mark West in Bird News


No Hirundines over or near the reserve this morning. 3/4 Chiffchaffs chasing insects over the pond in the reserve. One Black-tailed Godwit out on the scrape.

Posted March 19th, 2019 at 2:20 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Monday 18th March 2019


On the sea: 2 Red-necked Grebes, 6 Great Crested Grebes - otherwise very quiet.

Posted March 18th, 2019 at 9:48 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Hembury Woods

Nice views of a Woodcock and a vocal Green Woodpecker, late afternoon.

Posted March 18th, 2019 at 8:48 pm by Andy Smith in Bird News

Horsey Island

Late aft - 1 smart male Wheatear briefly on the top of the inner Great Bank by the Toll Road + 63 Black tailed Godwits foraging with a few in smart summer plumage..

Posted March 18th, 2019 at 6:57 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Northbrook, - Matford marshes

Very quiet on the Northbrook today - council still working along the path. Kingfisher (pictured) just down from Salmon Pool. Another Kingfisher flew through the back pond at Matford Marshes, also there a Water Rail and Gadwall. No sign of any Cattle Egret behind the storage units today.

Kingfisher Kingfisher Gadwall
Kingfisher                      Kingfisher                                              Gadwall

Posted March 18th, 2019 at 5:22 pm by Martin Rooney in Bird News

Lower Tamar Lake

c20 Sand Martin this morning.

Posted March 18th, 2019 at 2:30 pm by Rod Mudge in Bird News


First Wheatear, on edge of the airfield at East Soar and a migrant flock of 30 Meadow Pipits above Soar Mill Cove.

Posted March 18th, 2019 at 1:56 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Velator reserve

Lots (maybe 20) of Sand Martins hawking insects over the reserve this morning, and with them a few (4/5?) Swallows. A few Chiffchaffs were also taking insects at lower level and two were singing. The two Grey Wagtails were back for more, and also of note were 3 Reed Buntings, 2 Gadwall, still 2 Swans. A Great Spotted Woodpecker was again drumming. Tawny Owl called, once! As did a Cetti's Warbler.

Posted March 18th, 2019 at 1:32 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Sunday 17th March 2019

North Devon coast – Rillage Pt & Bull Pt

Some signs of real movement for the first time in a couple of weeks, with 170 Meadow Pipits battling W into a still blustery headwind along the clifftops and just offshore at Rillage Point between 06.15 & 08.15. Other passerine migrants included small numbers of Linnets and alba wagtails. Both at Rillage and at Bull Point later in the morning, there was an almost continuous westbound passage of Herring and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, following the shoreline.

Posted March 17th, 2019 at 11:04 pm by Tim Jones in Bird News

Roadford Lake

Pink Footed Goose with Canada Geese from viaduct today.17th March.

Posted March 17th, 2019 at 7:54 pm by Adrian Davey in Bird News

Wrafton Pond

3 Swallow + 1 Sand Martin above the pond.

Posted March 17th, 2019 at 6:52 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Plymbridge Woods.

This morning between the showers:-

7 Mandarin, 1 Kingfisher, 1 Bullfinch (f), 1 Marsh tit, 1 Ring necked Parakeet,   1 Great spotted Woodpecker (m) drumming, Magpies and Crows nest building.

Posted March 17th, 2019 at 2:46 pm by Alan Livsey in Bird News

Anchor Wood - Penhill marsh from Tarka trail

11:30 - 12:30 low water.
31x Cormorant on the mid channel sand bank. 1x Greeshank in shallow water right close to the trail (this bird has been around this spot at low water for a month now). 14 Shelduck in Anchor wood field. The usual sprinkling of Curlew and Little egret. Strangely very few Redshank.
Very little on Penhill marsh just 4 Little Egret and 3 Shelduck.

Posted March 17th, 2019 at 2:23 pm by Roy Churchill in Bird News

Roadford Lake

Roadford this am:

at least 14 Brambling with Chaffinch flock on shore of Lake

2 Barnacle Geese

Barnacle Goose
Barnacle Goose

Posted March 17th, 2019 at 9:42 am by Rupert Kirkwood in Bird News

Saturday 16th March 2019

Beesands Ley

Quick look mid-afternoon, Male Ring-necked Duck ( presumed Slapton bird ), male Scaup, 32 Tufted Ducks, male Pochard, Great Crested Grebe and a Sand Martin.

Posted March 16th, 2019 at 5:52 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Tidal road AG and Slapton

Nice views of a greenshank and a Great black backed gull with a flounder on the tidal road. At Slapton the odd gannet really close to shore and a raft of about 20 common scoter far out.



Great Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull

Posted March 16th, 2019 at 2:13 pm by Richie Moore in Bird News

Teignmouth Seafront

2 Sandwich Tern flew S this morning

Posted March 16th, 2019 at 10:22 am by David Cope in Bird News

Friday 15th March 2019


Two Red-necked Grebes at Elbury Cove, Torbay today, with 1 GND. One beginning to develop red neck. 

Posted March 15th, 2019 at 5:23 pm by Steve Cox in Bird News

Turf pub

Wheater on rocks by the Turf. Red legged Partridge by Powderham Church.

Posted March 15th, 2019 at 11:36 am by Nick Workman in Bird News

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