Devon Bird Sightings from 8th–14th March 2019

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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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

Thursday 14th March 2019

Purple Sandpipers - Torquay

At least seven Purple Sandpipers on the rocks at Haldon Pier this morning at high tide. 

Posted March 14th, 2019 at 7:23 pm by Cliff Parrott in General Birding

Marsh Harrier - Exminster Marshes

Distant views of the female Marsh Harrier at around 3:45pm this afternoon, Also a male Kestrel hunting in the field in front of Swans nest. 

Posted March 14th, 2019 at 6:46 pm by Jordan in General Birding


2 Cattle Egrets were with a small group of Little Egrets in the field the other side of the roundabout from Matford Pool this lunchtime.

Posted March 14th, 2019 at 4:52 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding

Wednesday 13th March 2019

South Hams

A violent battle as I drove down the road to South Sands at Salcombe around 1345hrs today. A sparrowhawk was wrestling what I believe to be a jay in the middle of the road, forcing me to stop. I quickly took a photo through the car window but both birds flew off into a neighbouring garden when I got out! I did not hold out much hope for the jay though!

Earlier at South Milton Ley, where I filled the feeders, 6 Snipe and 4 Mallard on the now water covered area where the reed cut took place earlier this year. Goldfinch, Chaffinch, Water rail, Pheasant with many assorted Tits at the feeders. Sparrowhawk, 2 Buzzard, several Chiffchaff , 4 Yellowhammer and a couple of Cirls  elsewhere on the marsh.

At South Huish, little change. Mike P pointed out a Mediterranean Gull,  earlier had seen 2 Water Pipit on the meadow. Good numbers of LBB Gulls in with the flock.

Sparrowhawk v Jay at Salcombe - 13.3.2019
Sparrowhawk v Jay at Salcombe - 13.3.2019

Posted March 13th, 2019 at 7:03 pm by David Pakes in General Birding

Ring-Necked Duck

Beesands Ley 13/3/19 Drake Ring-Necked Duck Drake Pochard 46 Tufties 2 Teal 4 GC Grebe 2 Gadwall 7 Sand Martin female Stonechat on the beach

Posted March 13th, 2019 at 5:46 pm by Bryn & Ros Burgess in General Birding

Matford Marsh,

2 Cattle Egrets on the large scrape at Matford  late morning, plus 1 Little Egret, and at least 25 Shoveler, mainly males.   Just a bit windy

Posted March 13th, 2019 at 5:34 pm by Rupert Ormerod in General Birding

Tarka Trail & Bradiford Reserve

Leucistic Blackbird by the side of the Tarka trail near Chivenor roundabout.

 2 Pink-footed Geese with some Canada Geese sheltering & foraging on Bradiford Reserve in 50 > 60 mph westerly gale force winds this morning.


Posted March 13th, 2019 at 4:41 pm by Rob Jutsum in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

lower tamar lake and roadford reservoir

lower tamar ,  from the carpark by the bird feeders, and down to the hide a good selection of birds were seen,  32 birds altogether with good views of the willow tit.

moved on to roadford, and from the viaduct looking north we had 3 golden eye, two barnacle geese and a pinkfoot goose feeding with the canada.  

Posted March 13th, 2019 at 4:24 pm by roger jewell & mike gibson in General Birding

13 March Powderham Park and Exe

Among other birds seen were Sand martin, Peregrine that put up the gulls and Curlew on Powderham Park, Snipe and Green Sandpiper.  Plus a flock of 110 Pintail on the Exe.

Posted March 13th, 2019 at 3:52 pm by Pete Stevens in General Birding

Shiphay, Torquay


Very surprised to find a Red-Legged Partridge strutting up and down on my back lawn this morning!  An unlikely, enclosed and suburban location for the species.  Although it seemed happy nosing about on the adjacent patio and through the daffodils, I thought that I'd check that it was OK.  As soon as I stepped outside, it lifted off and flew powerfully in the direction of Torbay Hospital. 

An interesting start to the day.    

Posted March 13th, 2019 at 3:48 pm by Paul Darlington in General Birding

Tuesday 12th March 2019


Pleasantly surprised in the reserve this afternoon, when I found several Chaffinches hawking insects over the pond, along with a Chiffchaff in the reeds. Then another bird flew towards me and landed on the other side of the pond: very smart male Grey Wagtail, which was then joined by a female. Never seen a pair in the reserve before. One of the Swans then flew in but it's mate didn't quite make it over the trees, so landed outside. first Swan called for it, had a look round, then left.

Posted March 12th, 2019 at 8:23 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh

Found a Spotted Redshank on the marsh with Redshank at around 10am and then flushed somewhere by a brazen Sparrowhawk which then sat on a post in the middle of the reserve. Not seen again. 

Posted March 12th, 2019 at 4:19 pm by Matt Collis in General Birding

Broadsands - Recent Pics: Male Yellowhammers

Just a tip of the hat to Bill Coulson's stunning photo Tweeted a couple of weeks ago.

NB Bottom left m&f; bottom right, with m Cirl Bunting




Posted March 12th, 2019 at 2:57 pm by Dave Holloway in General Birding

Broadsands - Recent Pics: Male Cirl Buntings

Sorry, can't help myself! This is really infectious plus, with the limitations of the camera (& the user!) where else can you get this close?

NB Last pic, m & f together.


Posted March 12th, 2019 at 2:38 pm by Dave Holloway in General Birding

Broadsands - Recent Pics: Female Yellowhammer v Female Cirl Bunting

More recent picks from Broadsands comparing female Cirl Buntings & Yellowhammers. Never been anywhere where I've had to think about this before. I'm no expert, thanks go to, Mike Langman, Collins Bird Guide & Birds ID Insights, by Couzens & Nurney.

  • Top Row: Female Yellowhammer - showning, thick, diffuse, smudged breast streaking; yellow primary edges; yellow in crown; " blobby" face markings; yellow tinged belly; diagnostic rufous rump partially visible.
  • Bottom Row: Female Cirl Bunting - showing, thin, fine breast streaking; pale primary edges; no yellow in crown; sharper, clearer face markings; no yellow in belly; diagnostic olive/grey rump.

Posted March 12th, 2019 at 2:07 pm by Dave Holloway in General Birding

Red Kite

12.00 Red kite seen a mile east of Barnstaple on the A361

Posted March 12th, 2019 at 12:22 pm by richard yeats in General Birding

Monday 11th March 2019

Exminster Marsh and Cockwood

Exminster Marsh

A quick look this morning for yesterday’s reported female Red-crested Pochard was unsuccessful but the Snow Goose was still in the feild next to the Swans Nest inn. I also saw my first Sand Martin of the year with 4 birds around the viewing platform. 


This afternoon around 4:15pm were 2 Cattle Egret (possibly 4 but didnt have my scope) in a tree with Little Egrets behind Cofton garage. More details if interested on

Posted March 11th, 2019 at 10:08 pm by Spencer Dicks in General Birding

Hen Harrier Exmoor

A stunning female Hen Harrier in flight, light and buoyant hunting over the moorland and scattered trees.  Clear views of the white rump.  Also Kestrel, approx. 200 Golden Plover, 3 Buzzards, Ravens, Crows, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Stonechat, 30 Fieldfares and a large flock of Starlings.

Posted March 11th, 2019 at 5:53 pm by Nicholas Armstrong in General Birding

Glossy ibis

Glossy ibis sighted in Budleigh Salterton in fields on the left of white bridge on the river otter

Posted March 11th, 2019 at 5:13 pm by Paul jenkins in General Birding

11-03-19 Plym-woods

The two Peregrine Falcons by Plym-wood Quarry, were showing well today, and managed a distant shot of the pair mating, a new female this year, but not sure if the male is the same one or new. A shot through the holly bush of a Female Kingfisher, and a friendly Dipper by the weir.

Peregrines matingFemale KingfisherDipper
Peregrines mating                       Female Kingfisher                                    Dipper

Posted March 11th, 2019 at 4:11 pm by Greg Bradbury in General Birding


The 2 Red-necked Grebes were together off Churston Point & Elberry Cove (c.12:45); 2 Great Northern Divers near the Mussel Beds; 3 Great Crested Grebes off Three Beaches.

At least, 10 Cirl Buntings (7m, 3f); 5 Yellowhammers (3m, 2f); 2 Reed Buntings (fs), coming to the seed behind beach huts.

Also a Grey Seal in Broadsands Bay & c.10 - 15 Common Dolphins in Torbay, off Churston Point.


Posted March 11th, 2019 at 3:56 pm by Dave Holloway in General Birding

Ludwell Valley - Matford - Cattle Egret

7 or 8 Green Sandpiper between Ludwell Lane and Woodwater Lane. Nothing much on the Northbrook otherwise (council adding new paths and clearing away undergrowth, so no Dipper, no Grey Wags, no Water Rail bur brief glimpse of Kingfisher). Nothing unusual on Matford Marshes but in the fields behind the Storage Unit depot on Sannerville Way between the railway and the canal a Cattle Egret with 18 mute swans. Quite flighty but did not fly far. Approx grid ref SX946887


Cattle Egret
Cattle Egret

Posted March 11th, 2019 at 3:17 pm by Martin Rooney in General Birding

Sunday 10th March 2019

Ilfracombe Lesser Black-Backed Gulls

About 40+ sitting out the storm today all around Ilfracombes beaches and on Cheyne rocks. Could be some resident and Lundy birds. Other seabirds this morning 1 Great Skua, 3 Manx Shearwaters heading back down channel, only 3 Gannets and a breeding plumage Cormorant with a white colour darvic ring. On Woolacombe beach 150 Common Gulls. 

Herring Gulls + about 10 Lesser BB GullsLesser BB Gulls
Herring Gulls + about 10 Lesser BB Gulls                                   Lesser BB Gulls

Posted March 10th, 2019 at 8:39 pm by Martin Thorne in General Birding

Lower Tamar Lake

This morning at the lake
1f Ring-necked Duck, 3 Willow Tit one pair at the hide and a single at the car park, 2 Marsh Tit, 1 Nuthatch, 3 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Cormorant.

Posted March 10th, 2019 at 7:07 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Blaxton Meadow

On this morning's high tide the following were seen.

Little Grebe 4, Kingfisher 2, Common Sandpiper 3, Shellduck 42, Curlew 42, Oystercatcher 5, Redshank 154 (142 on the meadow), Dunlin 54, Greenshank 7, Snipe 13 (12 on the meadow), little Egret 12, Black T Godwit 1, Goosander 1m, Redwing 2 & Stock Dove 2.

Posted March 10th, 2019 at 2:47 pm by Martin Phillips in General Birding

matford marshes

Marsh Harrier hunting over fields between Matford Marshes and Exminster Marshes around lunchtime Saturday. Seen from the car.

Posted March 10th, 2019 at 9:37 am by John Phillips in General Birding

Saturday 9th March 2019


Kestrel hunting near Morte point.


Posted March 9th, 2019 at 7:41 pm by Martin Bennett in General Birding


The evening Gull roost contained of interest: 3 Mediterranean Gulls (2 fw, 1 sw), 63 Common Gulls. Also 3 Great Crested Grebes and 2 Great Northern Divers out in Torbay.

Posted March 9th, 2019 at 5:47 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding

Slapton and Chivelstone

Had a great morning at Slapton, Ring necked duck, a little grebe and 5 pochard Torcross end. Near the bridge great views of a swallow and a sand martin flying around together also lots of chiffchaffs much more than I have seen in recent weeks. Heard several Cetti's warblers and got the odd glimpse of one. On to South Pool to try and see the cattle egrets. Rob Murphy spotted them with his magnificent scope in the distance at Chivestone. We made it 11 of them.

Sand Martin  Swallow  Cattle Egret 
Sand Martin                          Swallow                                   Cattle Egret

Posted March 9th, 2019 at 5:37 pm by Richie Moore in General Birding

Slapton Ley 7 March

Here are the photos again that got lost in post as it were.   Sorry about that!  Hope it works this time.

Male Ring-necked Duck with Female Tufted Duck Male Ring-necked Duck with Female Tufted Duck
Male Ring-necked Duck with Female Tufted Duck

First of two Otters
First of two Otters

Posted March 9th, 2019 at 12:00 pm by Michael Woodman Smith in General Birding

Friday 8th March 2019

Slapton Ley Thursday 7 March

As the light was so good, I spent much of the morning photographing at Slapton Ley.  4 No early Barn Swallows (1st record 2017 11 March) and 2 No Chiffchaff.  On the Ley the Male Ring-necked Duck joined the antics of a group the  male Tufted Ducks, staying in close contact with a particular female Tufty.

At about 0930, I spotted an elongated ripple in the otherwise smooth water on the west of the Ley.  A  pair of Otters swan, or rather dolphined, right though the reeds just in front of Stokenham Hide; they headed steadily for the Stockenham reed beds.


Posted March 8th, 2019 at 8:36 pm by Michael Woodman Smith in General Birding

South Pool creek

9 cattle egrets South Pool creek today.

Posted March 8th, 2019 at 4:54 pm by Richie Moore in General Birding

Slapton Ley

Ring-necked Duck still present in Stokeley Bay this morning. Also 3 Goldeneyes and 3 Pochards on the the ley. Black-necked Grebe on the Ley at the north end of the Tank Car Park and one on the sea off the Memorial Car Park, both coming into summer plumage. Female type Marsh Harrier did a circuit of the reeds behind Ireland Bay at 13:30. No hirundines. An Otter showing in Stokeley Bay this morning.

Couple videos uploaded, Cormorant Vs Pike  and swim by Otter below the Stokeley hide

Posted March 8th, 2019 at 4:50 pm by Perry Sanders in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Exminster Marsh

The Marsh Harrier did a "fly-by" at mid day putting up all the birds on the marsh

Posted March 8th, 2019 at 4:01 pm by simon Thurgood in General Birding

Powderham Marsh

The presumed escapee Snow Goose showing well with the Canada Geese

Posted March 8th, 2019 at 3:59 pm by simon Thurgood in General Birding

Bolt Head

Offshore 4 Red-throated Diver W, 3 Fulmar W & 54 Gannet.

Also: 3+ Harbour Porpoise.

Posted March 8th, 2019 at 2:53 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

River Teign above Chudleigh Bridge

Pair Mandarin and pair of Goosander on river only highlight of a mornings walk. 

Posted March 8th, 2019 at 2:44 pm by Nick Walter in General Birding

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