Devon Bird Sightings from 22nd–31st May 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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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

Friday 31st May 2019

Ivybridge - Piles Copse

In and around the copse: Cuckoo, Tree Pipit, Redstart, Pied Flycatcher Dipper and Grey Wagtail. On the moor: Kestrel, Wheatear and Stonechat.

On the 4 km. of the mineral tramway S. from Sharp Tor: c.20 singing Skylark, making c.10 per sq. km., which seems a good number for such a degraded grassland.

As was the case a month ago, a lone Willow Warbler was singing from an isolated Hawthorn c300m from the nearest other tree. Perhaps, in the absence of Wrens or other insectivores, there is enough food in the gorse to support it/them. An anomalous record in in any case.

Posted May 31st, 2019 at 9:43 pm by James Camden in General Birding

Velator latest

I went away recently and on my return found, as I suspected that all the 4 remaining Goslings have been predated.(2 of them had gone a few days previously). Fox? Badger? Otter? I'll never know. Of note today was a pair of Blackcaps and a Spotted Flycatcher.

There seems to have been a major hatching of Azure Damselflies. And they are already mating in some numbers! (Photo)

Maybe that's what the juvenile Grey Wagtail was feeding on by the pond.

Mating Damselflies.
Mating Damselflies.

Posted May 31st, 2019 at 5:44 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding


Cuckoo calling in Hawthorns on South Down Cliff last night

Posted May 31st, 2019 at 11:43 am by tim clyburn in General Birding

Squacco heron

30.5.19 AprilSquacco heron on rocks under Rat island opposite landing bay ,Lundy.(16.00 hours)

Posted May 31st, 2019 at 10:28 am by Fiona Moffastt in General Birding

squacco heron, Lundy Island

Really good views as we waited to catch the boat back to Ilfracombe yesterday. 4pm. On the rocks next to the pier.

Posted May 31st, 2019 at 10:06 am by andy Cooper in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Plym Estuary & Saltram Thursday 30th May

Green & Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Stock Doves, Sparrowhawk, 18 Mandarin Ducks (all but 1 drakes), pair of Bullfinches, 6 Little Egrets & 2 (presumed escaped) Barnacle Geese.

Posted May 31st, 2019 at 9:07 am by Pete Aley in General Birding

Thursday 30th May 2019

Woodbury common

Heard my first Cuckoo, saw Skylarks, linnets and Stonechats. Also Brinstone butterfly.

Posted May 30th, 2019 at 5:38 pm by Simon Crookall in General Birding

Blackbirds unusual diet?

Okay its not Devon, but Dulverton IS Exmoor and some of Exmoor is;

Came across this female BLACKBIRD obviously collecting food for babies, but it's the FISH, probably a Bullhead, which surprised us today in Dulverton. It was alongside the mill leat just off the River Barle on the road which passes the Bakery? 

Never seen this behaviour before. 

Blackbird/Kingfisher hybrid!
Blackbird/Kingfisher hybrid!

Posted May 30th, 2019 at 3:51 pm by Philip Naylor in General Birding

Wednesday 29th May 2019

Manx Shearwaters

45 Manx Shearwaters in Labrador Bay today all in one flock.


Posted May 29th, 2019 at 7:21 pm by Robert Hughes in General Birding

Devon Birds/RSPB/BTO Spotted flycatcher tracking project

Devon Birds/RSPB/BTO Spotted flycatcher tracking project

We need your help in locating Spotted flycatcher nests in Devon to contribute to our ongoing project (as written about last year in Devon Birds).

Spotted flycatchers have seen declines of 83% since the 1960s. Reasons for this decline may include factors operating within UK breeding grounds, such as reduced availability of invertebrates, but the species may also be declining due to problems along their migratory journey to Africa and back. But we know little about where their wintering grounds are or the route they take to get there. We need this information to understand what part of the annual cycle causes problems for spotted flycatchers, and where we might need to direct future work to reverse declines. To do this we are continuing the work we started in 2016, tracking migrations and determining wintering areas using tiny tracking devises called geolocators. After a successful trial in 2016-17 when we retrieved eight  of these tags, suggesting they go to Angola, we tagged more in 2018 and will be tagging a final small number of adults this year.  These geolocators weigh only 0.36g - incredible!

To be able to do this we need to catch and tag spotted flycatchers in places where they are known to return each year, as we need to recapture tagged birds the year after to retrieve the tag and its data. The best places to do this are gardens. Do you have Spotted flycatchers nesting at the moment in your garden or farm? And have you had them nesting the past few years? If so, and you are happy to have your spotted flycatchers captured and tagged for this project, please could you email or

Thanks, Malcolm Burgess

Posted May 29th, 2019 at 6:53 pm by Malcolm Burgess in General Birding

Roborough Down

Late afternoon walk along Rorobourgh Down saw lots of Stonechats, Willow Warblers, Linnets, a Sparrow Hawk, Meadow Pipets and heard but didn't see a Cuckoo.

Stonechat       Willow Warbler
Stonechat                                       Willow Warbler

Posted May 29th, 2019 at 11:57 am by Duncan Leitch in General Birding

Tuesday 28th May 2019


3 seen at new site this evening.Pretty good for first visit plus tawny owl on way out.

Posted May 28th, 2019 at 10:33 pm by Robert Marshall in General Birding


Swimming just at the side of the car park had super views of a female Goosander and TWENTY chicks, all swimming with her.  Is this likely to be one female looking after two broods? Guides (incl. BTO) suggest a clutch size of ten.  Female Shelduck will adopt other female's chicks.  And Goosander?  Took a v poor photo in which you can count 20 chick 'blobs'.  Further up river by the weir male Grey Wagtail furiously catching flies.  

Posted May 28th, 2019 at 8:23 pm by Geoff Green in General Birding

East Devon Commons

Uphams Plantation, Woodbury Common:  Spotted Flycatcher in first sw section of coniferous forest with Yellow Hammer and 2 Chiffchaff present on common.  Across the road on Bicton Common a Green Woodpecker mobile.  South of Woodbury Castle 2 Swift moving east and at Venn Ottery Common another 3  Swift sighted plus 1 pr of Stonechat and 1 pr of Yellow Hammer.  A Little Egret flying up the Otter Valley.  Otherwise rather quiet.

Posted May 28th, 2019 at 2:27 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding

Bank Holiday Monday Dartmoor

Lesser Redpolls, Skylarks, Yellowhammers and lots of Stonechats up on Dartmoor also a cuckoo being mobbed by Meadow pipits

StonechatSkylarkLesser Redpoll
Stonechat                                        Skylark                                Lesser Redpoll

Posted May 28th, 2019 at 6:30 am by Richie Moore in General Birding

Monday 27th May 2019

Pipits, Thurlestone & Dartmoor

A rock pipit collecting maggots from the rotting seaweed at Thurlestone and Meadow pipit up on Dartmoor showing it's incredibly long hind claw

Rock PipitMeadow PipitMeadow Pipit
Rock Pipit                          Meadow Pipit                          Meadow Pipit

Posted May 27th, 2019 at 8:56 pm by Richie Moore in General Birding


Goosander and chick.

Posted May 27th, 2019 at 7:01 pm by john elvin in General Birding


Lesser Redpoll (female) seen North side of Meldon Hill, Chagford on 27th May 2019

Posted May 27th, 2019 at 6:57 pm by Gareth Clatworthy in General Birding

Cuckoo's at venford reservoir

2 heard and 2  cuckoo's. Seen  courting on moorland behind the toilet car park, 1 yellowhamer at bench Tor  ,5 swift 1 chiffchaff feeding newly fledged young on the path around the reservoir 

Posted May 27th, 2019 at 6:39 pm by Hamish Johnson in General Birding


A Nightjar churred briefly just before noon today from a newly-replanted area of conifers near Perridge, at the North end of the Haldon ridge. The clouds were gathering for a shower, so perhaps the fading light was the trigger. The background chorus of Warblers (five spp. including Garden), Thrushes, Yellowhammers and Tree Pipits was most impressive.

Posted May 27th, 2019 at 4:49 pm by James Camden in General Birding

Waddeton Red Kite

Single Red Kite  low over the orchards at Waddeton dinner time today

Posted May 27th, 2019 at 3:30 pm by Tim Clyburn in General Birding

Dartmoor ~ Cuckoo's

Late post from yesterday morning, Dartmoor above Ashburton to Challacombe ~ Headland Warren, Cuckoo found in most of the habitat suitable for them. One calling from arable land on the Ashburton side of Cold East Cross, three calling and showing well near Whistman's Wood, two possibly three between Challacombe and Headland Warren low cloud and mist on the higher moor made birding challenging.


Posted May 27th, 2019 at 12:53 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Red Kite

Heading south near Newton St Cyres

Posted May 27th, 2019 at 12:34 pm by Richard Taylor in General Birding


Cuckoo heard calling near Rockbeare yesterday afternoon.

Posted May 27th, 2019 at 8:47 am by Maggie Heal in General Birding

Sunday 26th May 2019

The Cuckoo

Have heard and seen the male cuckoo today on the moorland just above Goodameavy today.  Heard one or two or three around Trolesworthy Farm at Cadover this week.  No callings on Saturday as there were crowds of people & barking dogs.  Also one at Plymbridge on Wednesday 

Posted May 26th, 2019 at 7:18 pm by Christina Haythorn in General Birding

Cuckoos southern Dartmoor/plymbridge woods


Posted May 26th, 2019 at 7:06 pm by Christina Haythorn in General Birding

Taw Estuary - Barnstaple

A flock of c30 Starlings consisting mainly of fully fledged juveniles foraging on the mud & alighting on the ropes & deck of a boat. 1 or 2 adults in attendance still feeding juv's.

Posted May 26th, 2019 at 6:51 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Emsworthy Mire

41 species seen this morning. Highlights include - Red Kite flying over Haytor at around 10am, Snipe flushed from the scrub, at least 2 cuckoos heard and on leaving at around 1pm a Wheatear with young and the distant call of a Curlew.

Female broad bodied chaser also seen near the pond area.

Posted May 26th, 2019 at 6:06 pm by Carole Wren in General Birding

Heavitree, Exeter 13:10

Red Kite heading South

Posted May 26th, 2019 at 1:15 pm by Diane Brooker in General Birding


Red Kite north-west over Cedar Close, Exmouth at 1115hrs this morning.

Posted May 26th, 2019 at 11:21 am by Terry Smith in General Birding

Saturday 25th May 2019

mear valley exmouth

7 ringneck parakeet

Posted May 25th, 2019 at 7:25 pm by barry insull in General Birding

Venford, Bench Tor and Whites Wood

Lovely late afternoon session with 4 or 5 Cuckoos, 1 Green Woodpecker, a couple of male Redstarts, a pair of Tree Pipits, singing Yellowhammers and a few Redpolls.

Posted May 25th, 2019 at 7:16 pm by Andy Smith in General Birding


Two Red Kite over Saltram House National Trust.

Soaring above the house then headed N.E

Posted May 25th, 2019 at 4:46 pm by Stephen J Turner in General Birding

Barnstaple Red Kite

Red Kite over Roundswell at 16.15 .

Posted May 25th, 2019 at 4:19 pm by Dave Paterson in General Birding

Harleston by Slapton

Hobby over early pm.

Posted May 25th, 2019 at 3:37 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Down tor

On the southern slopes of Down tor this morning:

1 Tree pipit, 2 Great Spotted woodpeckers, 1 singing male Pied flycatcher, 1 Spotted flycatcher, 1 singing Blackcap, 2 Cuckoo, several fledgling Dunnocks, 2 Buzzard overhead and Green woodpeckers heard.

Posted May 25th, 2019 at 3:26 pm by Alan Livsey in General Birding


5 Red Kites high over Cairn, been seeing odd ones and twos for Wks, highest count so far this year. 

Fulmar Capstone Parade
Fulmar Capstone Parade

Posted May 25th, 2019 at 1:48 pm by Martin Thorne in General Birding

Friday 24th May 2019

Barn Owl - Velator

Beautiful evening view of a Barn Owl hunting in the area for quite sometime.

Posted May 24th, 2019 at 9:55 pm by Beth woollam in General Birding

Berry Head kayak trip

One pack of 15 Manx Shearwaters.

Pleasant mugshot of very inquisitive Guillemot.

plus: 6 Harbour porpoise, 2 Barrel Jellyfish


Posted May 24th, 2019 at 8:03 pm by Rupert Kirkwood in General Birding

Red KIte

1 Red Kite over St. Giles on the Heath this afternoon.

Posted May 24th, 2019 at 5:56 pm by Adrian Davey in General Birding

Yarner Wood

Highlights of a pre-breakfast visit this morning were 10 Pied Flycatchers (3 females & 7 males, including 2 pairs feeding young in nest boxes) and 3 Redstarts (2 females & a male). Also: 1 or 2 Spotted Flycatchers, Siskin, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Green Woodpecker, 3 Marsh Tits & a pair of Grey Wagtails.  

Posted May 24th, 2019 at 5:51 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Fernworthy Res, mid devon field meeting

the weather was good for birding, 34 birds seen in total,  the best  sightings were of spotted flycatcher, pied flycatcher,  black cap, redstart and  a tree pipit, plus a garden warbler and whitethroat when i first arrived.  in front the fishermans hut we also had a female gadwall with three youngsters diving for food.  a good day out.

Posted May 24th, 2019 at 3:44 pm by roger jewell in General Birding

Purple Sandpiper - Torquay

Still a solitary Purple Sandpiper on Haldon Pier, TQ Harbour this morning, plus 6 Turnstone. Looks as if this one is planning a summer on the Riviera.

Posted May 24th, 2019 at 12:25 pm by CLIFF PARROTT in General Birding

Taw Osprey

Thursday from 5 pm to 6.30. Scottish Osprey feeding first on sandbank between Chivenor and Isley/Marsh Farm then moved to field on farm. Seen 3 times since May 11th in same area. Trying to get clear shot of ring!! 

Osprey Home Marsh Farm
Osprey Home Marsh Farm

Eds: don't say this very often - but what a great photo!

Posted May 24th, 2019 at 11:51 am by Sue Ambler in General Birding

Late Post - Wrafton Pond & around & about!

3 juvenile Moorhens with adult birds close at hand collecting food items.

While sitting on a bench this skylark approached only a few metres away.


Posted May 24th, 2019 at 11:31 am by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Prawle Point

05:45-07:00: Very quiet but wasn't expecting much! Single Great Nothern Diver, 3 Manx Shearwater and 6 Canada Goose west, 8 Common Scoter east.  Lots of auks, mostly Guillemot, and Gannet mainly flying west too.

Good selection of warblers, tits, finches and buntings singing in the bushes, and several Swallow hanging around.  Single male Stonechat also.

Posted May 24th, 2019 at 10:40 am by Nigel Sluman in General Birding

Cuckoo ~ South Brent

A Cuckoo calling on the village side of Brent Hill, South Brent, in the 30 plus years that I have lived here I have never known or heard of one at this location.

Posted May 24th, 2019 at 9:30 am by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Thursday 23rd May 2019

Red Kite

At Bowling Green Marsh this lunchtime around 13:00 a single Red Kite drifted over Exton area heading east.  May have been the same one posted at Paignton and then Starcross.

Posted May 23rd, 2019 at 9:28 pm by chris marcol in General Birding

Plymbridge Wood

Fledgling Great Tit , Great Spotted Woodpecker and female Mandarin Duck with ducklings.

Fledgling Great TitGreat Spotted WoodpeckerFemale Mandarin Duck and ducklings
Fledgling Great Tit               Great Spotted Woodpecker             Female Mandarin Duck and ducklings

Posted May 23rd, 2019 at 7:28 pm by Peter Castle in General Birding

Post Bridge/ Challacombe Farm. Dartmoor

11 members of DB (East Devon Branch) attended the all day fieldtrip to central Dartmoor. A distant Cuckoo was seen at Archerton and a Redstart present in trees along the path north.  Several Stonechat held territories but their presence was noted by Magpies and one nest site was probably predated.  A Green Woodpecker was heard to the east.  A brief view of Grey Wagtail was had and three Buzzard passed overhead with Meadow Pipits, Willow Warblers, House Martins and Wheatear adding to a small list of species.  Two members lunched at the Clapper Bridge and were rewarded with Dipper.

Challacombe Farm produced good sightings of breeding Redstart plus Marsh Tit, House Martins.  Garden Warbler and Pied Flycatcher were heard plus a Cuckoo south of the farm and Lesser Redpoll was seen higher up the valley towards Headland Warren.  From the road near the latter several more Wheatear were present.

Posted May 23rd, 2019 at 6:57 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding


A Red Kite drifted north over Roundham Head, Paignton at 12.30pm being mobbed by Herring Gulls.


Posted May 23rd, 2019 at 3:46 pm by Mike Langman in General Birding

River Plym

Cycle ride this morning from Plymouth to Clearbrook return.

Plymbridge Woods: the pair of Pergrines at the watch point feeding young in the nest, Dipper, 20 Mandarin Ducks (19 drakes), 2 Grey wagtails, 4 Siskins, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers &, Marsh Tit. 

Clearbrook: 2 Tree Pipits, 2 Lesser redpolls, & a pair of Stonechats with 2 newly-fledged young.

Posted May 23rd, 2019 at 2:35 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding


Red kite this morning 

Posted May 23rd, 2019 at 12:42 pm by Gerry Hooper in General Birding

Hobby at Fremington

A hobby just shot through, east to west, the new housing estate at the old Fremington army camp adjacent to the trees lining the south bank of Fremington Pill.

Posted May 23rd, 2019 at 12:20 pm by Phil Naylor in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Wednesday 22nd May 2019

Braunton Toll Road

Late afternoon visit to the River Caen. Lots of alarming Gulls and Shelduck meant something big in the air, but it took quite  awhile to find the culprit - an Osprey which started to gain height over RMB Chivenor, after a while it was still there gaining height and I can't be certain that there wasn't another one even higher up!

No sign of any Little Owls, but a smart Barn Owl hunting around the marsh road later on.

The three small Waders on the flood just inside the breach were: a Dunlin, a Ringed Plover and um something else! Same size as the other two (poss a tad larger) but no black belly, slight impression of more scalloped plumage but otherwise no particular features to help I/d....

Posted May 22nd, 2019 at 8:46 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Whitethroat, 2 Green Woodpeckers, Grey Wagtail, 15 drake Mandarin Ducks, Whimbrel, Curlew & 2 Oystercatchers. 

Posted May 22nd, 2019 at 8:36 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Roborough Down 22-05-19

Plenty of Redpolls on the down this am, along with Yellowhammers, Willow Warblers, Linnets, Stonechats, a Cuckoo heard but not seen

Repoll (F)Redpoll (M)Skylark
Repoll (F)                               Redpoll (M)                          Skylark

Posted May 22nd, 2019 at 2:44 pm by Greg Bradbury in General Birding

East Soar

Whimbrel in off the sea, 3 pairs Reed Warbler at Starehole Ponds.

1st Dark Green Fritillary & Large Skipper.

Posted May 22nd, 2019 at 1:50 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding


A 6am start proved worthwhile at Broadsands today. Two whimbrel. one of which landed, the other flew on inland. Behind the beach huts, a whitethroat had picked out his singing perch and was in good voice and the reed warbler was singing his heart out too, It became a competition which could sing the loudest. Plenty of photos and footage of behavior and song. Brilliant.  An occasion for appreciating God's handiwork.

Posted May 22nd, 2019 at 11:34 am by PHILIP L. FAIRCLOUGH in General Birding

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