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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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

Sunday 7th April 2019

Anchor Wood to Penhill Marsh

The highlights this morning between Anchor Wood and Penhill Marsh were a pair of treecreepers resting on opposite sides of the same tree, a possible Bonaparte’s gull in the Taw by Penhill Marsh, and almost opposite were 7 cattle egrets in the field with the cows.

TreecreeperTreecreeperBonaparte's Gull
Treecreeper                                               Treecreeper                                    Bonaparte's Gull

Posted April 7th, 2019 at 8:35 pm by Colin Dracott in General Birding


Only found out yesterday while taking a break from gardening that a male wren has built a nest against the shed in our garden.Was watching again today and another wren presumably a female was happily feeding in its presence.Great camouflage using dead ivy leaves amongst the new growth.Also my first for the year and only 2/3 willow warbler for the garden feeding oblivious to my presence.

Posted April 7th, 2019 at 8:20 pm by Robert Marshall in General Birding

Great grey shrike

Emsworthy mire seen twice while doing the circular route last sited 200 metres north of barn very mobile

Posted April 7th, 2019 at 6:56 pm by Ben sullivan in General Birding

River Otter south of St Saviours Bridge, Ottery St Mary.

A morning walk down river produced amongst others 1 pr Goosander, 2 Gt S-Woodpecker, 1 Reed Bunting, 2 Swallow, 30+ Sand Martin, Green Woodpecker (heard), Little Egret, Willow Warbler (heard), several male Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and a Sparrow Hawk over.   The riverside fields have been planted with many hundreds of tree in the space of a few months which will make this a great area in years to come.

My first 2 Swallows for my village at Marsh Green were seen at around noon today.  Last year the first were sighted on 28 April.

Note: East Devon Fieldtrip programme recently circulated for April omitted to list the trip to Berry Head on Tuesday 9 April commencing at  This is still due to take place (although the weather forecast is not good!). 

Posted April 7th, 2019 at 6:01 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding

Exminster Marshes

Garganey, wheatear, kestrel only birds of note on a brief visit today at 2pm. 

Posted April 7th, 2019 at 4:18 pm by Martin Rooney in General Birding

West Charleton Marsh

4 Teals, 2 Wigeons and 2 Snipes on the marsh. Singing Willow Warblers, Blackcaps and Cirl Buntings present.

Posted April 7th, 2019 at 2:35 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding


6pm 0n 6th - One of a number of Willow Warblers seen on route to Scrapes

Willow Warbler
Willow Warbler

Posted April 7th, 2019 at 11:41 am by Ranald Fowler in General Birding

Two parakeets

Maer valley Exmouth 

Posted April 7th, 2019 at 8:14 am by David bartlett in General Birding

Saturday 6th April 2019

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Three new patch birds for the year - Ring Ouzel (female), Williow Warbler and Linnet (4). Also, 2 Swallows, a pair of Mandarin Ducks, Green Woodpecker, Sparrowhawk, 5 Blackcaps, 5 Chiffchaffs & a pair of Long-tailed Tits buliding a nest.

Posted April 6th, 2019 at 11:30 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

She's Back! #2 - Paignton

Part 2 of my earlier post re female Goldcrest mistaking her reflection in my dining room window & brass plate of the back door handle for an intruder.

Apologies if I'm banging on about this but I'm as facinated with the bird's behaviour as she is with her own reflection. Plus it's providing some ace photo & video opportunities.

Posted April 6th, 2019 at 10:00 pm by Dave Holloway in General Birding

Berry head to Brixham

Walk from Berry Head to Brixham and back fairly quiet Greater Blackbacks, Gannets, Guillmots,a few Swallows lots of Goldfinch,some obliging Turnstones and a Chiffchaff singing were the highlights back home in Plymouth a possible Willow Wabler?

TurnstoneChiffChaffWillow Warbler?
Turnstone                                           ChiffChaff                            Willow Warbler?

Posted April 6th, 2019 at 9:37 pm by William Beck in General Birding

Matford - Starcross

Multiple stops this morning:

Matford ponds - two Green Sandpipers and several Sand Martins;

Exminster Marshes - a male Garganey, two Barnacle Geese, a Peregrine, two Sedge Warblers chuntering in the ditches near the fisherman's car park, and more Sand Martins;

Starcross, Powderham Park and the Kenn outfall - an Egyptian Goose, two late Pintail and eight Greenshank and two Sandwich Terns. No Brent Geese, Mergansers or G-c Grebes visible in the estuary, so it seems the seasonal turnover has advanced quickly; 

In the lanes "inland" from Starcross - the expected Cirl Bunting and R-l Partridge.

Throughout - a sprinkling of singing Willow Warblers, perhaps a week later than normal.

Posted April 6th, 2019 at 9:20 pm by James Camden in General Birding

Ashridge Farm, Kennerleigh

Flock of 200+ Fieldfare flying east 07.30 this morning.

Posted April 6th, 2019 at 8:58 pm by Richard Burston in General Birding

Around the Exe and beyond...........

Around the Exe this morning, Starcross by the National laboratory services eight Greenshank, four Little Egret, a solitary Curlew and several Redshank.

Over the Powderham deer herd numerous Sand Martin, nine Little Egret, the Powderham Heronry was well occupied and several Heron around the area.

Looking over the Exe from near the Powderham pedestrian overbridge, a displaying pair of Reed Bunting, two Sandwich Tern, six Oyster Catcher two of which were ringed (yellow ring over a dark blue ring on the right legs “2A” & “6M”) four Linnet, Little Egrets, Heron and one Great Crested Grebe.

Goosemoor eight Little Egret.

RSPB Bowling Green Marsh ~ singing Chiffchaff and Wren in the hedgerow, three Buzzard overhead, two Heron, Little Egret, three Greylag Geese, large numbers of Redshank with a few Dunlin and Knott mixed in, good numbers of Black Tailed Godwit, one Lapwing and a single Avocet that flew away from the marsh during the visit, a single Sand Martin and a Great White Egret being the highlight.

Exminster marshes two drake Garganey was unexpected bonus and hovering Kestrel on leaving.

DWT Heathfield a hunting Kestrel which took what appeared to be a Lizard of some kind and a vocal Chiffchaff.

Late afternoon a single Swallow at Cornwood.

Back home at South Brent two Tawny owls calling well outside (8.20pm). Yesterday two seen taking shelter in a holly tree during the afternoons heavy rain.

Posted April 6th, 2019 at 8:40 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

She's Back! #1 - Paignton

This female Goldcrest has been trying to see off her own reflection at my house in Paignton. She comes around the middle of every day, either to the brass plate of the back door handle or at the dining room window. Today she came to both.

Pics below & Youtube vid link:

Posted April 6th, 2019 at 6:37 pm by Dave Holloway in General Birding


Lots of Willow Warblers in the reserve the last three or four days. Looking South towards Sherpa, a female-type Marsh Harrier over the reed-bed, landed and a little while later was mobbed in flight by a pair of Crows. This was at about 10.a.m.

Walked around Sherpa early evening - a fine drake Garganey on the ponds - the same as last week, or another bird?

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

Just below Turf

A single Sandwich Tern flying around, then went down river towards the Warren.

Posted April 6th, 2019 at 5:11 pm by simon Thurgood in General Birding

Dunsford woods

Male pied flycatcher close to notice about coppicing by track uphill to viewpoint. Also male blackcap

Posted April 6th, 2019 at 3:03 pm by Jeff Hacon in General Birding

Friday 5th April 2019

Plym Estuary & Saltram

My first Swallows (6) and Blackcap (singing male) here this year; also 4 Common Sandpipers (indicating some movement), 9 Snipe, redhead Goosander, 7 Greenshanks, Turnstone, 10 Little Egrets, 2 Grey Wagtails, 7 Chiffchaffs, Stock Dove, Great Spotted Woodpecker and a Nuthatch nest building. 

Posted April 5th, 2019 at 6:00 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding


Wet and windy on the Skern mid afternoon. On the plus side not many dogs. Around 200 Golden Plover still present on the salt marsh but little else. A Little Ringed Plover by Greysands Lake was showing well until flushed by one of the few dogs there. Just before leaving a Merlin flew over the lake. 

Posted April 5th, 2019 at 5:32 pm by Roger Doble in General Birding

Great White Egret - Darts Farm , Topsham

A Great White Egret found by Bob Bailey on Exminster Marsh at 1040am promptly flew off, was seen briefly at Goosemoor and then was refound by Bob at Darts Farm at 1145am on the pools in front of the viewing shelter- still present mid afternoon. Also several Sand Martins and a Swallow

Posted April 5th, 2019 at 2:39 pm by Mark Bailey in General Birding


A Great White Egret popped into Goosemoor this morning, for more on my travels go to

Great White Egret
Great White Egret

Posted April 5th, 2019 at 2:34 pm by simon Thurgood in General Birding

Ashford Sewage Works to Pottington

3 Knot foraging amongst 34 Black tailed Godwits & 5 Bar tailed Godwits.

Posted April 5th, 2019 at 12:01 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Thursday 4th April 2019

Teignmouth - New Road 13:00

Nice to add Red Kite to the garden list! All the gulls were calling.

Posted April 4th, 2019 at 10:32 pm by Simon Bates in General Birding

Slapton Ley

The 3 ring necked Ducks were at the south end of Slapton Ley at 7.30 this evening but no swallows or sand martins were flying in the hail !

Posted April 4th, 2019 at 10:20 pm by Jeff Hacon in General Birding

Steps Bridge Mid Devon Field Meet

A walk along the Teign near Dunsford produced some noteworthy birds including Green Woodpecker, pairs of Mandarins, Dippers and Grey Wagtails, as well as the more usual resident and summering woodland birds..   

Posted April 4th, 2019 at 8:08 pm by Nicholas Armstrong in General Birding

Slapton Ley.

Another fantastic Sand Martin day. Certainly more birds than on Tuesday,but difficult to get an accurate count. Possibly 450/500+. Whether al lot of them are those of the last  two days,that have halted their northward movement ,due to the drop in temperature;or are fresh birds in ,is impossible to tell. Whatever the answer they are a spectacular sight.

Posted April 4th, 2019 at 7:06 pm by Alan K. Searle. in General Birding

Yesterday 3rd April at Prawle and Slapton

Lots of singing Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps on arrival at Prawle. Walking from Bunkers to Horsley Cove I saw my first House Martin here and my first Wheatear. At Horsely Cove a party of 7 Shelduck.

At Slapton Ley from Stokeley Bay hide I also saw the 2 male and 1 female Ring-Necked Ducks in some ways eclipsed by the sight of hundreds of Sand Martins ,which at 1pm covered the whole of the Ley visible from the hide.





Blackcap                                                      Shelduck



Heavily cropped record shot of the 2 male and 1 female Ring-necked Ducks


Posted April 4th, 2019 at 2:12 pm by Tony Marchese in General Birding

River Culm Uffculme

5 sand martins and 3 swallow at the Culm midday

Posted April 4th, 2019 at 12:43 pm by geoff Campbell in General Birding

Chudleigh Redstart

A female Redstart was a surprise visitor to our garden in Chudleigh this morning. It didn't hang around for long though.

Posted April 4th, 2019 at 9:29 am by Nick Potter in General Birding

South Huish marsh, Slapton Wed,03/04

Little ringed plover at South Huish marsh, and lots of Chiffchaffs and Cetti's warblers singing at Slapton. Nice blackcap flitting about in the blossom.

BlackcapWrenLittle Ringed Plover
Blackcap                                              Wren                                            Little Ringed Plover

Posted April 4th, 2019 at 8:48 am by Richie Moore in General Birding

Cirl Buntings

For the passed two months we have had a pair of Cirl Bunting feeding on Finch seed on the back lawn in South Knighton

Posted April 4th, 2019 at 8:45 am by Roger Yeoman in General Birding

Wednesday 3rd April 2019

Red kite

Seen lunchtime at Battisborough Cross , South Hams , Wednesday 3rd April 2019 .

Posted April 3rd, 2019 at 11:15 pm by John Atwill in General Birding

Raptors on Stamps

The Royal Mail are issuing a set of new stamps on 4th April (Thursday) illustrating British Raptors. They look good and may be of interest to some members.

Posted April 3rd, 2019 at 9:09 pm by Michael Spencer in General Birding

Whitleigh Garden

One Hobby and one Swallow over also 2 C Buzzards 11 Goldfinches.

Posted April 3rd, 2019 at 5:00 pm by Chris Buckland in General Birding


Good to see the LRP again this morning from the reserve, which was heaving with Sand Martins and a few Swallows plus a bonus House Martin. Chiffchaffs all over the place, and several Willow Warblers.

Posted April 3rd, 2019 at 2:24 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Slapton Ley

Slapton Ley ~ Cetti’s Warbler calling and showing all around the Ley along with Chiffchaff, huge numbers of Sand Martins coming in off of the sea and over the Ley, simply swarms and not realistic to even try counting, two House Martin and a small flock of Swallows in with them and possibly my first Red Rumped Swallow, briefest of views but distantly pale and pink rumped.

Sand martins with House Martin top centre

Several pairs of displaying Great Crested Grebe, duck species included Tufted, Ring Necked (pair) drake Golden Eye and Gadwall.

Hovering Kestrel and off of the beach several Sandwich Terns.


Posted April 3rd, 2019 at 1:20 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Heathfield Estate, Honiton

Two Red-legged Partridge on bungalow roof this morning. 

Posted April 3rd, 2019 at 1:03 pm by Andy Rook in General Birding

Tuesday 2nd April 2019

South Huish

I am a new member and this is my first ever post. I saw many of the birds listed in Dave Pakes report on an afternoon of blustery showers. I witnessed the solitary Avocet and Little Ringed Plover. A flock of Black Tailed Godwits and another of LBB and GBB gulls. 3 Swallows passed through. Pairs of Shellduck, Teal, Mallards, Stonechat and Canada Geese were in evidence. Carrion Crow, Heron, Little Egret and Coot were also seen.

Black tailed GodwitStonechatDistant Little Ringed Plover
Black tailed Godwit                                     Stonechat                      Distant Little Ringed Plover

Posted April 2nd, 2019 at 8:02 pm by Pete Saunders in General Birding

Slapton Ley.

A large arrival of Sand Martins today.  300+ counted this evening from the Torcross car park, no doubt with a lot more over the rest of the Ley. A few Swallows among them.

Posted April 2nd, 2019 at 6:27 pm by Alan K. Searle in General Birding

nr South Brent

Flock of 20 Fieldfares and 3 or 4 Redwings came out of a hedgerow near the weirdly named Bloody Pool Cross on the Marley Head to Shipley Bridge road this afternoon.

Posted April 2nd, 2019 at 5:40 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding

LRP at Wrafton

It was there early (about 10) when I arrived, and still out there when I went home at about 3p.m. Another early record - my recollection is they usually turn up in about mid-to-late April.

And in the reserve, loads of Sand Martins feeding over the pond, a few Swallows among them, several each of singing Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers. A few more Blackcaps than yesterday. 2 calling Cetti's Warblers.

Posted April 2nd, 2019 at 5:26 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Lincombe woods

Raven, flying and calling in the wood.

Posted April 2nd, 2019 at 5:24 pm by Michael Curran in General Birding

Avocet - South Huish Marsh

Star of a lunchtime visit to South Huish Marsh was a lone Avocet. first sighting at this location this year. Also present 1 Ruff, 33 Black-Tailed Godwit ( Only a couple showing signs of summer plumage), 1 Little Egret, 2 Water Pipit developing nice pink breast plumage, + a couple of linnet and other species.

Posted April 2nd, 2019 at 4:27 pm by Dave Pakes in General Birding

Dawlish Warren

Red-rumped Swallow today, while I was there apart from several Sand Martins there was at least 1 House Martin

Red-rumped Swallow
Red-rumped Swallow

Posted April 2nd, 2019 at 3:51 pm by simon Thurgood in General Birding

Red Rumped Swallow - Dawlish Warren

Lee Collins found a Red Rumped Swallow over the main pond at Dawlish Warren with 2 Sand Martins this morning / still showing on and off mid afternoon .

Posted April 2nd, 2019 at 2:52 pm by Mark Bailey in General Birding

Monday 1st April 2019

South Huish marsh late afternoon

Several black-tailed godwits and a single ruff, 2 distant Little ringed plovers. Saw my first wheatears of the year with 3 of them near the carpark. A small flock of Linnets landing on the barbed wire fence and feeding on the grass

RuffBlack-tailed GodwitLinnet
Ruff                                                       Black-tailed Godwit                          Linnet

Posted April 1st, 2019 at 10:44 pm by Richie Moore in General Birding


After a few days away, a late afternoon visit to the reserve: lots of Sand Martins feeding over. An influx of Chiffchaffs, at least three  singing Willow Warblers, and 6 male Blackcaps seen.

Later still while looking at the scrape from the Tarka Trail, a small wader took one look at me and flew off towards Sherpa, slowly gaining height. Not Common Sandpiper, and almost certainly not Green Sandpiper... Will look again tomorrow.

Posted April 1st, 2019 at 9:43 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Tamar Lakes

Upper Lake.

4 Willow Tit, 1 Treecreeper.

Lower Lake,

3 Willow Tit, 1 Marsh Tit, 1m Reed Bunting.

Posted April 1st, 2019 at 7:21 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

Exeter - Matford

Had to go into town today - walked back from the City Basin to Matford and back along the canal. Single Redshank in the Basin (unusual) about 6 Lesser Black-backed Gull, Two Cattle Egret ( one by the Matford roundabout at the back of the farm with 14 Little Egret, the other in the fields by the path near the canal). Chiffchaff singing along the canal (dropped as soon as I got the camera on it DOH!) At least 4 Buzzards overhead. Nothing much on Matford Marshes or on the Northbrook.

RedshankLesser Black-backed GullOne of the two Cattle Egret
Redshank                                   Lesser Black-backed Gull               One of the two Cattle Egret

Posted April 1st, 2019 at 5:08 pm by Martin Rooney in General Birding

R.Taw, Barnstaple. Pottington to Ashford Sewage Works 1345-1530

Black-tailed Godwit 31; Bar-tailed Godwit 1; Common Gull 2; Shelduck 16; Common Sandpiper 1. 3 Willow Warbler feeding on insects in the Blackthorn bushes hanging over Bradiford Water.

At 1355 while sat on the sea wall by Ashford Sewage Works picked up 2 very small gulls on the foreshore. Initially thought that the first may have been the Bonaparte`s Gull seen at Wrafton last week. After picking up the second and observing them for just over 1/2hr decided that both were late first winter Little Gulls. Both disappeared at about 1430 but one returned at 1505 and was still there at 1515 when I left.

Posted April 1st, 2019 at 4:04 pm by Maurice Clements in General Birding

Lovely Little Lady at the Back Door - Paignton, 1.4.19

Following on from my post, 21.3.19, regarding a female Goldcrest apparently trying to feed around my windows; later she caught her own reflection in the glass and, like many birds, seemed to mistake it for an intruder and proceeded to attack it.

She is now doing the same with her reflection in the brass plate of the back door handle, raising her crest, posturing, then flying off in frustration.

Pics below and Youtube vid at this link:


She also left me her calling card (pics below).


Posted April 1st, 2019 at 3:59 pm by Dave Holloway in General Birding

Berry Head

Sorry for this late posting from Saturday and Sunday morning , Brixham Breakwater.  Saturday morning on coast path from Berry Head to St Mary's Bay, Cettis Warbler calling and then seen. Brixham Breakwater 7 Purple Sandpiper, 5 Turnstone on old fuel jetty, many more Turnstone in Harbour area. 

Posted April 1st, 2019 at 3:55 pm by Nigel Smallbones in General Birding

Adult Med Gulls Coombe Cellars Sunday 31st at 4pm

Two Adult Med Gulls flying over the Teign estuary at Coombe Cellars. The birds were vocal and showed full black hoods

Posted April 1st, 2019 at 10:13 am by Adam Davison in General Birding

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