Devon Bird Sightings: Bird News from 22nd–30th April 2019

Scarce Breeding Birds - important posting guidelines

Please do not post any information about scarce or rare breeding species. They may be vulnerable to persecution or disturbance. 

The exception is information on these species at well known sites (e.g. Broadsands for Cirl Bunting and Aylesbeare for Dartford Warbler) or birds which are obvious migrants away from breeding sites.

If in any doubut, please don't post but report your sighting to the county recorder asap. Site editors cannot commit to editing posts which breach these guidelines, and the whole post may be removed or not admitted.

Further details can be found in the link below, but note, Wood Warbler is now also included as a scarce breeder:-

Posted April 15th at 3:02 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News


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Posted October 10th, 2016 at 9:14 am in Bird News

Sunday 28th April 2019


Even with the wind being absent at last, there wasn't much on show in the reserve this morning, so I set out for an evening walk around the Marsh. 3 Reed Warblers heard, 3 Little Egrets seen. Only 1 Sand martin and maybe 6 Swallows. Where are they all?

Posted April 28th, 2019 at 8:21 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Hembury Woods

Late afternoon, of note: a Swift hawking high over the river (my first of the year in the UK), two Garden Warblers singing and two male Pied Flycatchers.

Posted April 28th, 2019 at 8:07 pm by Andy Smith in Bird News

Slapton, South Milton

29 Whimbrel flying around Slapton, good views of Cetti's warblers and a few whitethroats along the front. Heard lots of reed warblers and glimpsed a few. Finally saw my first sedge warbler of the year after several attempts at South Milton and lots of swallows and house martins flying around the sewage works.

SwallowsWhitethroatCetti's Warbler
Swallows                                      Whitethroat                       Cetti's Warbler

Posted April 28th, 2019 at 4:31 pm by Richie Moore in Bird News

Junco update

No sightings since six yesterday.

Total raised for The Otter Trust and Devon Birds ...£263.40. Number of visitors over two days was at least 85. Thanks to Karen, Roger, Norman and Kevin for their support and to the birders who were very considerate.

Eds - ...and thanks above all, to you Susan. Your efforts have shown how a well organiosed twitch can be sucessfully arranged in such circumstances, and benefit birders, Devon Birds and other charities. Thanks again on behalf of all the birders who enjoyed the Junco. 


Posted April 28th, 2019 at 9:26 am by SUSAN AMBLER in Bird News

Croften Holiday Camp, Cockwood

Three breeding plumaged Cattle Egrets in fields almost opposite the entrance, with cattle, still yesterday. 

Posted April 28th, 2019 at 6:51 am by Steve Cox in Bird News

Saturday 27th April 2019


8 Golden Plover in ploughed field at Southdown Farm this afternoon

Posted April 27th, 2019 at 6:28 pm by Roger White in Bird News

North Devon

Many thanks to Susan and friends for granting access for great views of the Dark-eyed Junco today. I hope the donations box (for Devon Birds & The Otter Trust) continues to build up!

After this, at Upper Tamar Lake - c50 Sand Martins, 4 Swallows & a House Martin; and at Lower Tamar Lake, c25 Sand Martins, 6 House Martins & 4 Swallows. 

Posted April 27th, 2019 at 6:04 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Westward Ho! Dark Eyed Junco

Still showing well this morning at 79 Atlantic Way. Viewing until 5 pm. 

Posted April 27th, 2019 at 11:10 am by Susan Ambler in Bird News

Junco- Westward Ho!

Pic taken yesterday evening.

Slate-coloured Junco
Slate-coloured Junco

Posted April 27th, 2019 at 9:40 am by Jon Turner in Bird News

nr Slapton

A friend of mine has seen a Hoopoe this morning on his farm near Slapton.

Posted April 27th, 2019 at 9:35 am by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Friday 26th April 2019

East Dartmoor

Between the showers and drizzle;-

Yarner  - Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, Willow and Garden Warbler, Blackcap, Chiffchaff and Whitethroat. Woodpeckers, Song Thrush, Mistle Thrush and Marsh Tit with nest material.

Normal moorland species - and 3 Cuckoo at Emsworthy.


Posted April 26th, 2019 at 8:00 pm by Francis Welland in Bird News

Taw Estuary

Whimbrel on passage migration resting & refuelling (Bristle worm). Mallard with 9 juveniles already,

Posted April 26th, 2019 at 5:39 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News


An Iberian Chiffchaff was heard singing 200m from Steps Bridge yesterday just beyond where the path splits.

Posted April 26th, 2019 at 1:52 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Five Oystercatchers new in today; also 2 Whimbrels, 2 Curlews, Greenshank, Dunlin, Mandarin Duck (drake), Shag (adult), 3 Stock Doves, Bullfinch (male) & 12 Roe Deer (3 bucks).

Posted April 26th, 2019 at 1:46 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Thursday 25th April 2019

CANCELLATION of fieldtrip- Saturday

Please note that the fieldtrip (East Devon Branch) to Trendlebere Down and Yarner Woods planned for Sat. 27th has been cancelled due to the weather forecast (Storm Hannah) bringing rain and strong winds in the morning.

A BioiBlitz planned for Sunday 28th centred at NT Caddihoe, Ashclyst Forest, Broadclyst, Nr Exeter  between 10-4 will go ahead as planned.  Why not come and look for some birds with us. 

Posted April 25th, 2019 at 9:30 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in Bird News

South Huish marsh late afternoon

19 Godwits, 13 black tailed and 6 bar tailed, 2 whimbrel on the rocks and thanks to Dave Pakes for telling me about a stunning yellow wagtail on the island which I managed to find

Black-tailed Godwits &Bar-tailed godwitsBlack-tailed Godwits &Bar-tailed godwitsGodwits
Black-tailed Godwits &Bar-tailed godwits                                Godwits

Posted April 25th, 2019 at 8:58 pm by Richie Moore in Bird News

Westward Ho! garden

This bird landed briefly in my garden in Westward Ho! around 12.30 today April 25th. Photos taken through window. Looks like a Dark Eyed Junco?Can anyone confirm please?

Eds - Yes, it’s a Dark-eyed Junco! A new species for Devon. Great record. If it reappears, it would be great if the news could go out again if access can be arranged.

Dark-Eyed Junco?
Dark-Eyed Junco?

Posted April 25th, 2019 at 4:46 pm by Susan Ambler in Bird News

Exminster Marsh

At first thought this was a Lesser Whitethroat because of its behavior, singing from the base of the bush. My hearing isn't the best, so could be wrong on the song, its only time out of the bush gave me a opportunity to take this pick before it went to the base of the bush again. But the more I look at the pic the more I think its a Common Whitethroat? What do the experts think?

Plenty of other birds about, Sedge, Reed, Cettis, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler all in good song.

Common or Lesser Whitethroat?
Common or Lesser Whitethroat?

Eds: Never easy from one picture and especially from this angle! The lack of a pale eye ring might suggest Lesser Whitethroat, but the white appearing more limited to the outer edges of outer tail suggest Whitethroat and bill might show some yellow/flesh colour at lower base again good for Whitethroat. Cannot see leg colour. The song would have been a much easier way to sort them out, generally 'rattle' for L Whitethroat and 'fast scratchy' song of Whitethroat.

Posted April 25th, 2019 at 1:31 pm by simon Thurgood in Bird News

Rillage Point

06.05 to 08.45: With rain once again moving up from the south overnight, migration was generally underwhelming for the last week of April. The easterly element still present in the wind for a time, before it backed southerly, was no doubt responsible for a Lesser Whitethroat in the scrub and single calling Yellow Wagtail and Tree Pipit overhead. There was a small arrival of 7 Blackcaps, and 2 Willow Warblers were also new in, with none seen/heard yesterday. Swallows just about struggled into double digits, at 12. It was also quiet on the sea, with hardly anything moving, apart from 55 Lesser Black-backed Gulls, which continue to head E in small groups, sub-adults now accounting for a high proportion of the total.

Posted April 25th, 2019 at 10:03 am by Tim Jones in Bird News

Wednesday 24th April 2019

Avon Dam

Nice views of a Grasshopper Warbler reeling from low gorse scrub on one of the slopes a little below the dam this evening.

Posted April 24th, 2019 at 10:49 pm by Andy Smith in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

Walk to the Turf this evening was most rewarding. In the field next to the railway bridge on the reserve was one cattle egret with the Galloway cattle. At the end of the path alongside the railway was a small group of hirundines; 5 house martins, 2 swallows and one red-rumped swallow. It hawked for insects in the lee of the two large trees. No sign on our return at 7.30pm but lots of singing sedge, reed and Cettis warblers.

Posted April 24th, 2019 at 8:19 pm by John Waldon in Bird News

Powderham Marsh

At Powderham Marsh today. Little Gull 2nd Summer still, 2 Green Sand, singing Reed W, Cetti’s W & 4 Blackcap. 5 Sand Martin, 4 House Martin & a White Wagtail. 

Posted April 24th, 2019 at 6:31 pm by Steve Cox in Bird News

Grasshopper Warbler, Brownsham Cliff

reeling at 1130.  In the lee of the steep, N-facing side of the valley.        SS293 266

Posted April 24th, 2019 at 10:10 am by Abraham Cutajar in Bird News

Berry Head

Despite what appeared to be good fall conditions no sign of any grounded migrants, the Whitethroats, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs present were probably just breeding birds. Perhaps cloud cover and poor weather in France stopped any notable movement across the channel last night. Overhead 1 Tree Pipit and 1 Whimbrel.

Posted April 24th, 2019 at 10:07 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Rillage Point

Seawatch 06.30-08.30 with patchy light rain and wind ESE2-3: Manx Shearwater 74, Whimbrel 1, Common Sandpiper 1, Kittiwake 12, Black-headed Gull 1 E, Lesser Black-backed Gull 20 E, Arctic Skua 2 E (1 dark, 1 light phase), Guillemot 28, Razorbill 45, unidentified auks 149 (all auks heading E, up Channel, presumably to breeding colonies on Exmoor coast at Woody Bay/Wringapeak). No grounded landbird migrants to speak of and hardly any visible migration; 5 Swallows and single Siskin and redpoll sp. about the height of it.

Posted April 24th, 2019 at 9:42 am by Tim Jones in Bird News

South Huish marsh evening 23/04/19

Some splendid looking Bar-tailed godwits in summer plumage in with the Black tailed godwits, 3 whimbrel on the rocks and a few more flying about. A lovely female yellow wagtail, thanks to Mike Passman for not only spotting it but letting me look through his scope to get a brilliant view.

Black-tailed Godwits and Bar-tailed godwitsBlack-tailed Godwits and Bar-tailed godwitsWhimbrel
Black-tailed Godwits and Bar-tailed godwits                                Whimbrel

Posted April 24th, 2019 at 6:13 am by richie Moore in Bird News

Tuesday 23rd April 2019

Yarner and Challicombe

Garden Warbler (Tendlebere thanks to Mark Bailey for the ID) Lifer! hurrah! Also Pied Flycatchers, Tree pipit (Trendlebere) lots of Willow Warblers.Yellowhammer. Very little of note at Challicombe (only Cuckoos heard were near Yarner). A couple of Raven over and 3 buzzards near Hound Tor. Lots of Tadpoles - thousands in wet path near Sousson also Adder near there.

Garden Warb vid

Pied FlycatcherWillow WarblerGarden Warbler
Pied Flycatcher                    Willow Warbler                                     Garden Warbler

Posted April 23rd, 2019 at 10:46 pm by Martin Rooney in Bird News


A trip over the south side of Dartmoor this morning, lots of small birds over the moors generally, Stonechat, Greenfinch , Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Redpoll, Buzzard, Swallow, House Martin, Yellow Hammer, Redstart, Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Wren, Bullfinch, Wheatear, Raven and a Curlew heard calling.

Cuckoo seen at Venford (2) Warren House Inn (2) Emsworthy Mire (3)



Posted April 23rd, 2019 at 9:16 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

South Hams

Pretty quiet today. Soar: 2 Wheatears, 2 singing Sedge Warblers & 3 House Martins. Slapton Ley: 3+ Sandwich Terns, a Bar-tailed Godwit on the beach and c10 singing Reed Warblers.

Posted April 23rd, 2019 at 9:02 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Postbridge area

Reeling Grasshopper Warblers today at Archerton and Tor View.

Posted April 23rd, 2019 at 9:02 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News


For the info on Red Damselfly Dave, I had come to that conclusion from a frustrating Google search.....

Posted April 23rd, 2019 at 8:43 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Saddle Tor

Whitethroat with wheatear on path up to tor this afternoon.

Posted April 23rd, 2019 at 5:52 pm by Geoff Campbell in Bird News

Princetown Railway Track - Ingra Tor

Around midday two separate cuckoos heard, several wheatears, meadow pipit carrying nest material, two linnets, lots of skylarks,  other birds included ravens & crows.

Posted April 23rd, 2019 at 5:46 pm by Tony Hooper in Bird News

Pied Flycatchers at Yarner Wood

Three pairs of Pied Flycatchers at Yarner Wood busy nest building; also one pair of Redstarts.

Posted April 23rd, 2019 at 4:09 pm by Martin Overy in Bird News

Raddick Hill

Cuckoo calling and flying from tree to tree, 11.45 this morning. 

Posted April 23rd, 2019 at 2:19 pm by Mave Goddard in Bird News

Bursdon Moor, North Devon.

2 Grasshopper Warblers, 2 Whitethroats, 1 Wheatear, 4 Willoow Warblers, 2 Chiffchaffs, 2 Blackcaps, 2 Blackbirds, 4+ Skylarks, 1 Dunnock, Carrion Crows and Jackdaws, 2 Meadow Pipits.

Harvey Kendall..

Posted April 23rd, 2019 at 11:51 am by Harvey Kendall in Bird News

Rillage Point to Watermouth

06.35-08.35: Manx Shearwater 40, Lesser Black-backed Gull 8 (migrants), Sand Martin 3, Swallow 6, House Martin 3, Willow Warbler 2, Chiffchaff 5, Wood Warbler 1 (in full song – a patch first!), Grasshopper Warbler 1 (reeling), Blackcap 4, Whitethroat 5, alba wagtail 2, Tree Pipit 2 (fly-over calls), Linnet 15, redpoll sp. 3, Goldfinch 36, Siskin1. Swallow numbers still stubbornly low compared with a typical spring here. The same goes for Lundy.

Posted April 23rd, 2019 at 9:13 am by Tim Jones in Bird News

Monday 22nd April 2019

West Charleton Marsh and Wareham Point etc

Late afternoon/rising tide. Of note: 5 Sandwich Terns over the estuary, 15 Bar-tailed Godwits on the mud, 5 Reed Warblers singing in the reedbed etc.

Posted April 22nd, 2019 at 9:15 pm by Andy Smith in Bird News


Very little in the reserve this morning, even in the lovely warm sunshine! a few Blackcaps, couple each of Sedge and Reed Warblers. a brief visit (flying over) of the female Marsh Harrier. First sighting this year of a  red Damselfly - misplaced my book so not exactly sure which one...

Posted April 22nd, 2019 at 9:08 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Durl Rock

7.30 pm -  Birds settling on the rock included 20+ common gulls, 2 black back gulls, 1 shag and 2 oystercatchers. First time this year that I've seen the oystercatchers in this location.

Posted April 22nd, 2019 at 8:20 pm by David Roper in Bird News


 One Red Kite seen flying over Sharlands Lane, Braunton , at 1:00pm today by Andy Cotton.

Posted April 22nd, 2019 at 7:46 pm by Margaret- Phillips in Bird News

Turf and Exminster Marshes

Between 12.30-15.00. Birds of note included a male Linnet near the Turf hotel and two Egyptian Geese on Exminster Marshes. On the Turf ferry back to Topsham there was a lone Greenshank and an Avocet. 

Posted April 22nd, 2019 at 6:41 pm by Jonathan Martin in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

The Bar-tailed Godwit still around; today with a Whimbrel & Curlew on Blaxton Meadow (3 more Curlews over the estuary). Also, 2 Greenshanks,a singing Willow Warbler, Peregrine, 2 Green Woodpeckers, Stock Dove & 5 Roe Deer.  

Posted April 22nd, 2019 at 6:30 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Yarner Wood , Challacombe farm and Warren head farm

Early morning start was rewarded by Cuckoo, Willow warbler, Tree Pipit, female Redstart in Yarner wood. On to Challacombe, with Swallows, Mistle Thrush and lovely sightings of Male and Female Redstart, walk up to Warren Head Farm, halfway between the farms, pair of Whinchat fighting over territory with a Stonechat. Lovely Day.

Posted April 22nd, 2019 at 6:00 pm by Kay and Gary Deare in Bird News

Grenofen Woods, Dartmoor

A Red Kite high and distant overhead (zoomed and cropped record shot attached) the highlight this morning on a walk at Grenofen Woods. Also 2 song-flighting Tree Pipits, a very mobile and elusive male Redstart singing, good views of a singing Garden Warbler, a Cuckoo heard twice but not seen, a male Yellowhammer, a male Stonechat, a Raven over being mobbed by Carrion Crows, a male Grey Wagtail along the river, Green Woodpecker heard yaffling and a female Great-spotted Woodpecker along with the usual Chiffchaff, Blackcap, Willow Warbler, Nuthatch, Mistle Thrush, etc. Lots of Brimstones around too.

Very distant Red KiteTree PipitBrimstone
Very distant Red Kite                                      Tree Pipit                                       Brimstone

Posted April 22nd, 2019 at 5:28 pm by Stuart Green in Bird News

22-04-19 Cuckoo's at Emsworthy Mire

At least 2 Cuckoo's showing well around Emsworthy, at one point 2 male Cuckoo's were fighting with each other, Redstart singing for a mate by a tree near the barn, a few Wheatears around. 


Posted April 22nd, 2019 at 4:20 pm by Greg Bradbury in Bird News

Abbottsham Cliffs

Red Kite over grazing land behind cliffs 2 pm 

Posted April 22nd, 2019 at 2:44 pm by Rob Cleversley in Bird News

Cadover area, Dartmoor

Great morning. An Osprey over at 0845 was a surprise. Flying low towards Burrator. 

Redstart, Grasshopper Warbler, 2 Cuckoo, Garden Warbler, 2 Goosander, Green Woodpecker and Dippers - including 1 Juv. 

Good numbers of common warblers - 18+ Willow, 9+ Blackcap and 3+ Chiffchaff. 

Posted April 22nd, 2019 at 11:02 am by Chris E in Bird News


Date of cuckoo sighting omitted from previous post - 21st April.

Posted April 22nd, 2019 at 9:56 am by Nic Butler in Bird News


Cuckoo heard calling and seen perched in tree between Haytor Rocks and Holwell Tor SX 75313 77930 between 18.15 and 18.30. Possible second bird heard calling to the south-west.

Posted April 22nd, 2019 at 9:54 am by Nic Butler in Bird News

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