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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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

Wednesday 31st July 2019

West Charleton Marsh

Hobby passed through this evening. Still 25 Swifts in the village.

Posted July 31st, 2019 at 9:00 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Tuesday 30th July 2019

Bowling Green Marsh

A quick look after work around 4:30pm - 5:00pm. A Wood Sandpiper was showing nicely to the left of the hide. A Ruff flew in just before I was leaving. Also a few Whimbrel, Greenshank and Green Sandpiper. If interested, more details at

Posted July 30th, 2019 at 10:35 pm by Spencer Dicks in General Birding

Bowling Green Sandpipers

Three species, one Common, two Green and one Wood Sandpiper together on the marsh this lunchtime.

At Matford Pools, a Buzzard carrying what looked like a redshank size wader in one claw, crossed over the car at 17:35.

Posted July 30th, 2019 at 9:08 pm by Chris Marcol in General Birding


Over the evening high tide - birded from 3.15 - 6.30.  Good numbers of waders scattered continually by Psycho the LBB Gull. Highlights, Wood Sandpiper, Green Sandpiper, Ruff,Sum Plum Grey Plover, a very clean white breasted Spotted Redshank (briefly), Whimbrel, Bar Tailed Godwit,

Bar-tailed Godwit  Wood Sandpiper  Ruff
Bar-tailed Godwit                       Wood Sandpiper                                              Ruff

Posted July 30th, 2019 at 8:27 pm by Martin Rooney in General Birding

Exeter Goosanders (again)

Nine or ten redheads fishing actively below Trews Weir this morning, with an Egret on the bank hoping to benefit from their driving the fish into the shallows.

Posted July 30th, 2019 at 5:02 pm by James Camden in General Birding

Monday 29th July 2019


Two dark phase Arctic Skuas offshore late afternoon.

Posted July 29th, 2019 at 9:07 pm by Will Salmon in General Birding

Lyme Bay boat trip from Brixham, yesterday

Pictures from yesterday morning's boat trip.

Balearic shearwaters with a Manx shearwater in front
Balearic shearwaters with a Manx shearwater in front

Gannet, 2nd cal year
Gannet, 2nd cal year

Yellow legged gull, juvenile
Yellow legged gull, juvenile

Posted July 29th, 2019 at 6:20 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

Warren House Inn to Challecombe & back

Hobby, 2 Crossbills, 4 Redstarts, 5 Whinchats (incl 2+ juvs), Garden Warbler & 2 Lesser Redpolls.

Later at Clearbrook, Green Woodpecker & 2 Lesser Redpolls.

Posted July 29th, 2019 at 4:55 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Snipe fledgling rescue

My cat brought in a snipe fledgling this morning. I hope I rescued and released it in time to save its life. I live in Hatherleigh, Devon. Didn't know there were snipe in this area. Didn't take photo-too busy reassuring it. V long bill and dark brown eye stripe whole length of head.

Posted July 29th, 2019 at 1:22 pm by Susan Hall in General Birding

Fremington Pill

Glossy Ibis

Posted July 29th, 2019 at 9:30 am by David Paterson in General Birding

Sunday 28th July 2019

Exe ~ Osprey

Osprey on the Exe late morning on the low tide, viewed from Exton station, ringed both legs but too distant to read any details, heavily mobbed by GBBG at one point.

Good numbers of Curlew and one Greenshank.

Goosemoor up to 30 Lapwing and a single Common Gull

Posted July 28th, 2019 at 7:56 pm by Steve HOPPER in General Birding

Leaf cutter bees

While out photographing wildlife in Instow’s dunes area, I came across some bees that were carrying rolled-up leaves.  I followed the bees and discovered they were part of a 50+ strong colony nesting in the sand dunes.  It was fascinating to watch them, as they pulled the rolled-up leaf into tunnels and I even saw two bees excavating new tunnels. On-line research points towards them being Coastal Leaf Cutter Bees, is that correct?

Coastal leaf cutter bees
Coastal leaf cutter bees

Posted July 28th, 2019 at 6:23 pm by Martin Bennett in General Birding

Sedge Warbler

Sedge Warbler with food.

Sedge Warbler
Sedge Warbler

Posted July 28th, 2019 at 5:48 pm by Martin Bennett in General Birding


Adult summer plumage (ish) Ruff at Bowling Green this afternoon. Flock of Dunlin flew in.Otherwise quiet with usual gulls,godwit and duck.

Posted July 28th, 2019 at 5:19 pm by JOHN PHILLIPS in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Great to see see a pair of Spotted Flycatchers carrying food to a nest box relocated by the NT earlier this year. Also: 2 Whimbrels, 96 Redshanks, 3 Greenshanks, a pair of Shelducks with 2 juvs, 11 Mandarin Ducks & 3 Stock Doves.

Posted July 28th, 2019 at 5:07 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Lyme bay boat trip from Brixham, 9am-1pm

Great trip this morning. In the harbour cormorant, shag, a grey seal (marina) and a heron (on the bunkering jetty). Out to sea 2 fulmar, 6+ manx shearwater, 200+ balearic shearwater (most in 2 big rafts of 80 and 93), the usual black headed, herring, lesser black backed, and great black backed gulls, 2 mediterranean gulls (near Berry Head), 1 juv yellow legged gull, 1 kittiwake, 43 guillemot, 14+ gannet, 5 porpoise, 42+ common dolphin, and 2 compass jellyfish. Also seen well offshore 5 large dark nymphalid butterflies (of which 1 close was confirmed as red admiral) and a marmalade hoverfly. Photos later.

Posted July 28th, 2019 at 4:27 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

Fremington pill

(Red) Knot, Glossy Ibis 50+Redshank

Posted July 28th, 2019 at 11:57 am by Gordon Westley in General Birding


Walked around Sherpa Marsh yesterday evening. About 30 Swans, including 5 + 2 well-grown Cygnets. 2 Grey Herons, but no sign of any Egrets, Great or Little. 1 Lapwing, a few each of Swallow, Sand and House Martin. Best was a Peregrine chasing the Starling flock into the reed-bed.

Later on ringing Swallows produced a further 56 birds plus a Sand Martin.

Posted July 28th, 2019 at 8:36 am by Jon Turner in General Birding

Saturday 27th July 2019


New creature in the reserve yesterday, and seen briefly again today - Common Lizard. Ringed about 130 Swallows this week (so far) virtually all juveniles, so it seems breeding is ok, but this is a small sample.

And, I have a pair of Swallows nesting in my car port at home too!

Posted July 27th, 2019 at 4:18 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Headland Warren-Challacombe Farm

Several wheatear along the roadside including a juvenile. Behind Soussons Wood on the road to Postbridge a pale buzzard. Lots of stonechat and meadow pipits.

Juvenile wheatear
Juvenile wheatear


Pale buzzard
Pale buzzard

Posted July 27th, 2019 at 2:56 pm by Ian Muir in General Birding

white sparrow

baby white sparrow with parent bird in my garden in whitleigh been here for about a week now

Posted July 27th, 2019 at 10:35 am by barry insull in General Birding

Thursday 25th July 2019

Fremington Ibis

The Glossy Ibis is back on Fremington Pill, with Curlew, Redshank, a Greenshank, and 554 Black-headed Gulls, 2 SShelduck with 5 yg,

Posted July 25th, 2019 at 7:53 pm by Peter Howard in General Birding

West Soar/Soar Mill Valley

70 Swift moving through, 80 House Martin, 3 Sand Martin, 3 Wheatear at Soar Mill Cove (prob.local projeny), 200 Linnet.

Posted July 25th, 2019 at 2:28 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding


Juvenile Cuckoo near Molland this morning.

Juvenile Cuckoo
Juvenile Cuckoo

Posted July 25th, 2019 at 11:53 am by David paterson in General Birding

Wednesday 24th July 2019

Harleston by Slapton

First returning Willow Warbler, in brief song in the garden before feeding in the veg patch. Also Swift & Green Woodpecker.

Posted July 24th, 2019 at 9:48 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Family of Goosanders Mill on the Exe pub Exeter

Very approachable family of Goosanders this morning

Posted July 24th, 2019 at 3:56 pm by Roy Adams in General Birding

Exeter Goosanders

Five redheads were loafing on the river just below Trews Weir suspension bridge around 9am today.

Posted July 24th, 2019 at 3:52 pm by James Camden in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

At least 2 Green Woodpeckers, Grey Wagtail, 6 Stock Doves, 3 Kestrels, 2 Common Sandpipers (including a bird with some "spots" on breast sides), 3 Greenshanks, ad & juv Mediterranean Gulls, Shag, Shelducks with 2 juvs, 32 Curlews, 12 Mandarin Ducks & 2 Roe Deer.

Posted July 24th, 2019 at 3:11 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding


Not much happening of late, but this morning on arrival a female/juv Kestrel on the entrance telegraph pole, and a Sparrowhawk circling over the SW corner - carrying one of my birds grrr! and being mobbed by half a dozen Swallows. In the reserve the first Whitethroat I've seen there this year and a brief visit of a Kingfisher. House Martin and Swift flying over and then a small group of Rooks and Jackdaws flew over going west and a few minutes later came back heading east! As I was leaving I went round to look out over the marsh and my attention was immediately drawn to two large white birds perched on bushes in the NE part of the marsh. Both were Great Egrets, and as I was calling Sue Bruce to alert her, they flew south and I think landed around the main pond opposite the Toll House. A Little Egret flying with them gave a good perspective of size. Sue told me she had heard a Quail on the Great field I think she said on Monday in the middle of the day.

Posted July 24th, 2019 at 12:07 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Tuesday 23rd July 2019

Dawlish Warren

A portlandica Arctic Tern from the hide at high tide; also over 100 Sandwich & c10 Common Terns, 12 Black-tailed Godwits, Grey Plover, c30 Dunlins & 2 Whimbrels.

The summer-plumaged Slavonian Grebe and 6 Whimbrels off Cockwood.

portlandica Arctic Tern with Sandwich Terns
portlandica Arctic Tern with Sandwich Terns

portlandica Arctic Tern with Sandwich Terns
portlandica Arctic Tern with Sandwich Terns

Posted July 23rd, 2019 at 9:16 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding


Sorry, only a poor quality phone shot of the Goosander feeding on the Exe last Thursday evening. Also saw them again Friday evening, but not since then. 

Posted July 23rd, 2019 at 8:32 pm by Mike Booth in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

A walk around the area an hour or so before high tide produced the following:

Curlew 31, Greenshank 3, Redshank 94, Dunlin 1, Common Sandpiper 4, Oystercatcher 3, Little Egret 14, Kingfisher 1, Grey Heron 4, Med Gull 1 1st s, Dipper 1 by Longbridge, Kestrel 1, Sparrowhawk 1, Stock Dove 10, Whitethroat 1 and Sedge Warbler 1. 

Posted July 23rd, 2019 at 12:23 pm by Martin Phillips in General Birding

Monday 22nd July 2019

Gulls hawking for ants at Exeter

Mixed flock of about 500 Herring Gulls and Black-headed Gulls hawking for flying ants over Exwick between 3pm and 4pm today.

Posted July 22nd, 2019 at 5:06 pm by Martin Overy in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

The Turnstone still on Blaxton Meadow with a Dunlin, 4 Oystercatchers, 33 Curlews, 95 Redshanks, 3 Greenshanks & 13 Little Egrets. Also 4 Common Sandpipers, 5 Stock Doves, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers & 6 Mandarin Ducks. 

Posted July 22nd, 2019 at 4:38 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Goosanders herding fish

Sadly no  photographs but on Thursday 18th July there were 12 Goosanders - females and young, working the River Exe upstream to Trews Weir and then herding the fish into the shallows where they feasted. Several people saw this from the suspension bridge as did I.

The collapse of St James Weir has left the expanse below Trews Weir pooled and with several shingle beaches.  The birds were working together to herd the fish into these shallow pools. It was a fantastic site and I wonder if it  has been observed commonly?

Posted July 22nd, 2019 at 3:36 pm by Adrian ROGERS in General Birding

R.Taw, Barnstaple. Pottington to Ashford Strand House. 1100-1215.

High tide 1007.

Common Gull 1; Mediterranean Gull 7 (5A;1 1st S; 1J). No migrating waders, just a few Curlew,Oystercatcher and 1 Whimbrel. 16 Little Egret & 7 Grey Heron on Penhill Marsh.

Posted July 22nd, 2019 at 12:59 pm by Maurice Clements in General Birding

The Skern, Appledore, on rising tide

Among a mixed airborne flock of mainly Herring & Black headed Gull competing for some cake (!) thrown for them by some grockles was an adult Common Gull. About 6 Ringed Plover and a similar number of Dunlin were feeding on the mud ahead of the incoming tide. There are a LOT of baby Goldfinch with the adults making the most of the copious thistle turning to seed. 

Posted July 22nd, 2019 at 10:10 am by Phil and Sue Naylor in General Birding

Roseate Terns Dawlish Warren

2 adult Roseate Terns flew in from the sea travelling towards the estuary at approximately 0730hrs.Also over 50 Sandwich Terns present, 6 Sanderliing and 2 Ganetts also seen

Posted July 22nd, 2019 at 9:43 am by Roy Adams in General Birding

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