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  Long-tailed Skua, Dawlish Warren 11 Oct
Barred Warbler, Thurlestone 30 Aug Pectoral Sandpiper,  South Huish 19 Jul
Caspian Gull, Topsham 02 Aug Purple Heron, Slapton Ley 07 May
Cory's Shearwater, Berry Head 19 Jul Sabine's Gull, Thurlestone 14 Aug
Glossy Ibis, Otter Est 11-13 Mar Serin (2), Harrowbeer 19 Apr
Hooded Crow, Baggy Point 10 May 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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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


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Posted October 10th, 2016 at 9:14 am by George & Julia Harris in General Birding

Saturday 10th August 2019

ringneck parakeet

mear valley 9 ringneck parakeet

Posted August 10th, 2019 at 8:57 pm by barry insull in General Birding

North Devon seawatching

At a rain- and gale-lashed Hartland Point from 08.00 to 13.00 Tim Davis & Tim Jones recorded 532 Gannets, 1352 Manx Shearwaters, 111 Fulmars, 14 Kittiwakes, an Arctic Skua, a Sandwich Tern, and three Whimbrels. All were heading W out of Barnstaple/Bideford Bay.

From Lundy during the morning and early afternoon Dean Jones counted 212 Gannets, 2991 Manx Shearwaters, 22 Fulmars, 19 Kittiwakes, a Ringed Plover and two Turnstones.

Off Watermouth in the late afternoon Tim Jones encountered small numbers of Gannets,Manx Shearwaters, Fulmars and Kittiwakes continuing to fly W out of the Bristol Channel, where Gannets have been seen upstream today at least as far as Lydney and Sharpness in the Upper Severn Estuary. Also off Watermouth, two Harbour Porpoises and an Ocean Sunfish.

Posted August 10th, 2019 at 8:13 pm by Tim Jones in General Birding


Over a low high tide 14.00 - 15.00.  1 Little Egret, 31 Ringed Plover, 1 Turnstone, c250 Dunlin, 4 Sanderling, 5 Knot, 3 Redshank, 1 Greenshank 2 Whimbrel, 18 Curlew, 43 Common Tern, 2 Little Tern, 4 Sandwich Tern.. what a difference a bit of wind makes!

Posted August 10th, 2019 at 3:47 pm by Roger Doble in General Birding

Re Pottington Oystercatchers

On 8th June driving out of Rgb I spotted 2 pairs among the nesting Lesser bb and Herring Gulls, so there may have been more. Hope they are successful as the Ilfracombe pairs I'm aware of always seem destined to fail. I also surveyed Mullacote ind estate for nesting Gulls which is easy cos there isn't any. Probably a bit too exposed up there. 

This morning off Ilfracombe a Basking Shark and several feeding Grey Seals were attracting lots of Gulls. Some good birds were present as well. 2+ Storm Petrels were close to the anchored Trinity ship. A Great Skua and 2 flocks of 4/5 Whimbrels were making their way down channel. 

young Seal enjoying a tasty breakfast.
young Seal enjoying a tasty breakfast.

Posted August 10th, 2019 at 3:22 pm by Martin Thorne in General Birding

Start Bay/Slapton Ley

Little offshore except reasonable numbers of Fulmars and Kittiwakes flying south. Over the ley at Torcross  250 plus House Martins, 20 Sand Martins and 6 Swifts. Also Little Grebe, 61 Tufted Ducks and 5 Pochards ( 3M ).

Posted August 10th, 2019 at 1:01 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Berry Head

Seawatch 05:30-10:00 Fairly slow, only 33 Manx Shearwater and 9 Balearic. Highlights were a Sooty Shearwater south at 06:45 and a pale phase adult Pomarine Skua south at 08:30. Also 1 Bonxie, 100+Kittiwake, 4 Sandwich tern, 1 Common Tern, 3+ 'Commic' Tern, 6+ swift.

Posted August 10th, 2019 at 11:12 am by Simon Tonge in General Birding


flock of swallows feeding over farmland above copythorne rd yesterday morning

Posted August 10th, 2019 at 9:27 am by graham folkerd in General Birding

Friday 9th August 2019

Budleigh Salterton

A ninety-minute seawatch late morning produced Gannets passing at a rate per ten minutes of 10-25, Manx Shearwaters of 5-15, and Fulmars of 1-2, plus 5 Common Scoter, and a Great Skua. No Auks or Kittewakes.

On the way home, 10 minutes at BGM produced the Spotted Redshank and singles of Common and Green Sandpipers.

Posted August 9th, 2019 at 9:30 pm by James Camden in General Birding

Shobrooke Park North (and surrounding area)

Cormorant (over) and single escapee Bar-headed Goose (the regular bird here) seen just outside of the site in fields adjacent to Nomansland Cross - both common birds on the lakes at Shobrooke, but, to our knowledge, this is the first time that they have been seen here in the Sandford and Upton Hellions Nature Group (SUHNG) recording area, which borders the park. 

Posted August 9th, 2019 at 9:01 pm by T. M. Mylett in General Birding

South Milton sands

Some lovely waders on the beach at South Milton, Sanderling, turnstones, Dunlin and ringed plover.

Turnstone                               Sanderling                                Dunlin

Posted August 9th, 2019 at 5:02 pm by Richie Moore in General Birding

Budleigh Salterton sea front.

An hours watch from the shelter near Lime Kiln car park (11am -12noon) produced:  28 Gannet, 3 Balearic Shearwater, 12 Manx, 2 GBB Gulls and 5 Oystercatcher.  All flying west. Variable weather conditions with visibility from horizon down to half a mile.  Two of the Balearics came in within several hundred yards.  

Posted August 9th, 2019 at 2:58 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding

Thursday 8th August 2019


Quick look between folk music sessions in deteriorating condition lots of Herring gulls, a few,BH Gulls, one Oyster Catcher on the rock armour and one Turnstone on the rocks near Jacob's Ladder. Visibility down to about 50 yards offshore.


Posted August 8th, 2019 at 8:49 pm by Martin Rooney in General Birding

Bradiford oystercatchers

Surveying the Bradiford site for DevonBirds in 2017, I noted that an oystercatcher pair were collecting food from the pond mud on Bradiford and flying to the roofs of the industrial unit 'nextdoor', which strongly implied successful hatching. I wonder if this year's nestling has jumped down from there, or they've moved to lower ground because of the gulls.

Posted August 8th, 2019 at 8:06 pm by Lowell Mills in General Birding

R.Taw, Barnstaple. Pottington to Ashford sewage works. 11.30-13.00. High tide 12.40.

Black-tailed Godwit 7; Bar-tailed Godwit 1; Med Gull 1A; Redshank 1 and 3 Dunlin flying up-river.

A surprise sighting was that of an Oystercatcher chick still in down feathers on the concrete bank between Bradiford Water and the rear of RGB. It was being attended to by 2 adults. In the 30-odd years that I have been birding along this stretch of the river, this is the first time that I have ever known Oystercatchers to be breeding here. The chick was incapable of flight and could not have come far.

Posted August 8th, 2019 at 2:37 pm by Maurice Clements in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram Wed 7th August

First returning Little Grebe and autumn Wheatear. Also: 2 Turnstones, Whimbrel, 4 Greenshanks, Dunlin, Common Sandpiper, 32 Curlews, 1st-s Mediterranean Gull, Shelduck pair with 2 juvs, 27 Mandarin Ducks, 2 Shags, 4 Stock Doves & 2 Swifts.  

Posted August 8th, 2019 at 12:10 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Wednesday 7th August 2019

Taw Estuary - Pottington

2 Bar-tailed Godwits foraging. Photo taken from the Tarka trail early evening.

Posted August 7th, 2019 at 9:54 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Charleton Marsh/ Bay

Kingfisher bombing around the marsh. In the bay Whimbrel, 29 Ringed Plovers, 43 Dunlins, 2 Sanderlings and at least 5 Common Sandpipers.

Posted August 7th, 2019 at 8:52 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding


On our way home from the Hide at Dawlish we stopped at BGM and went out onto the viewing platform. Peering sharp left there were 2 Spotted Redshanks in among the Redshank flock.

Posted August 7th, 2019 at 8:26 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Dawlish Warren

Colour-ringed Oystercatchers this afternoon. Quite excited to find the two Blue/Yellow colour-ringed birds, as I put these rings on last November! The other one Ivan Lakin tells me was ringed pre-2002, when this combination stopped being used.

Ivan also found the Black Tern out on a buoy in among the boats, and the Slavonian Grebe was away over near Cockwood.

H8 Yellow over Blue with white script
H8 Yellow over Blue with white script

H9 Yellow over Blue with white script
H9 Yellow over Blue with white script

Black and White ring.
Black and White ring.

Posted August 7th, 2019 at 8:24 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Mountbatten, Plymouth

An adult gannet sheltering on the water at the SE end of Batten Bay was a surprise this afternoon. After a while it managed to haul itself onto the rocks, but with great difficulty. Clearly not a well bird. Also an adult Mediterranean Gull seen and three Oystercatchers, but otherwise, only Herring and GBB Gulls.

Gannet, Batten Bay, Plymouth
Gannet, Batten Bay, Plymouth

Posted August 7th, 2019 at 5:36 pm by Jason Smart in General Birding

Slapton Sands.

21 Sanderling plus a lone Dunlin. My first double figure count for Sanderling here. this autumn.

Posted August 7th, 2019 at 2:56 pm by Alan K. Searle in General Birding

Shobrooke Park

4+ Black-headed Gull mostly around bridge area until 1930 at least, the first of summer/autumn on patch. 

Posted August 7th, 2019 at 8:08 am by T. M. Mylett in General Birding

Tuesday 6th August 2019

South Huish Marsh

Tuesday afternoon 14.30 onwards. 2 Wood Sandpipers, 3 Dunlin, 12 Ringed Plover.

Posted August 6th, 2019 at 7:22 pm by Joe Higman in General Birding


What I think was a juvenile Fox was disturbing the Moorhens by the reserve pond today. Spent some time scratching - probably fleas.

Posted August 6th, 2019 at 3:57 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Monday 5th August 2019

Dockwell, South Brent - Spotted Flycatcher

Having surveyed the Dockwell patch fairly thoroughly during the years of the South Brent Bird Survey and subsequently, I have been concerned about the lack of Flycatchers this season, both Pied and Spotted, the latter having appeared regularly in reasonable numbers over past years. I therefore breathed a sigh of relief when I briefly saw my first Spotted Fly there last Thursday. I returned this morning and recorded amongst others, 6 Moorhen ( inc 4 well fledged young from a 2nd brood), 2 Treecreeper, 3 Jay, 4 Canada Geese and 2 Mistle Thrush, but no sign of a Flycatcher. I returned after lunch and was very pleased when a Spotted Flycatcher posed on a fence near my car!

Spotted Flycatcher - Dockwell, South Brent- 05.08.2019
Spotted Flycatcher - Dockwell, South Brent- 05.08.2019

Posted August 5th, 2019 at 5:55 pm by Dave Pakes in General Birding

Hartland Point Storm Petrel

The bird we retrapped last Friday was ringed at Porthgwarra, West Cornwall on 6th July this year. It had a brood patch, as did all the other birds we ringed that night, indicating breeding fairly locally. (Lundy?)

Posted August 5th, 2019 at 5:11 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Three Ringed Plovers (2 ads + juv), 3 Dunlins, Whimbrel, 3 Common Sandpipers, 4 Greenshanks, Kingfisher, 2 Shags, 13 Little Egrets, 9 Mandarin Ducks, 2 Spotted Flycatchers feeding young, Peregrine & 4 Stock Doves.

Eight species of wader on Blaxton Meadow today.  

Posted August 5th, 2019 at 3:25 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

late news from Slapton this weekend

In addition to Perry observations the gull flock was quite spread out on Saturday with estimate numbers of many hundreds of gulls feeding on whitebait and roosting on the beach in several groups. Numbers included around 50 Mediterranean gull, 10 Common gull, a single adult Yellow Legged gull, LGGB 75, GBBG 125, Herring gull 200, Kittiwake 1, Black headed gull 15, Sandwich tern 8, Sanderling 2, Ringed plover 2, and an Oystercatcher.

Ringing on Saturday morning saw a total of 132 birds processed including 5 Grasshopper warbler, Sedge 62, Reed 30, White 6, Garden 1, Willow 11 plus a smattering of other common species. Two Sedge warbler were already carrying British rings so waiting to hear where from but one is probably from Lands end.

A short ringing session on Sunday until 9 am produced 45 birds including 2 grasshopper warbler and 28 Sedge warbler and the rest made up of Reed, Willow and Whitethroat.

Several Painted lady's around but no big numbers like elsewhere.

Posted August 5th, 2019 at 12:08 pm by Nik Ward in General Birding

Sunday 4th August 2019

Lower Prewley Moor, Sourton

Heard an unfamiliar call as I entered the far western corner of Lower Prewley this afternoon: it turned out to be a very agitated Grasshopper Warbler. It gave excellent views and continued calling rapidly for several minutes, presumably having young very close by. Soon after, a Willow Tit heard and then seen in some of the many willows on the site. Frequent Lesser Redpolls in the area too.

Posted August 4th, 2019 at 10:44 pm by Dave Smallshire in General Birding

Slapton Sands / Start Bay

Lots of gulls around, plenty of whitebait in the bay at present bringing in the mackerel etc. Med Gulls of all ages on view, juvenile Yellow-legged Gull flying around and a Manx Shearwater and 3 Common Terns flew south.

Posted August 4th, 2019 at 6:44 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Dawlish and Bowling green marsh

Lots of waders at Bowling green marsh, Curlew, Whimbrel, Redshank, Green sandpiper, Dunlin, Lapwing, Greenshank and black-tailed godwits. On to Dawlish Warren where there where lots of Sandwich terns a few common terns and Dunlin and ringed plover.

Whimbrel & Curlew
Whimbrel & Curlew

Sandwich Tern
Sandwich Tern


Posted August 4th, 2019 at 5:39 pm by Richie Moore in General Birding

Exmouth Parakeets

Exmouth Parakeets seam well established with this female feeding at least two Juveniles with another two calling in the Douglas Avenue area of Exmouth. 

Female feeding young
Female feeding young

Juvenile pulling bark
Juvenile pulling bark

Female checking the sweet chestnuts
Female checking the sweet chestnuts

Posted August 4th, 2019 at 5:17 pm by Derek Carter in General Birding

Blanton Meadow, Saltram

Sunday 4th August, 9.00. 3 Green Sandpiper.

Posted August 4th, 2019 at 4:42 pm by Joe HigmN in General Birding

Kingsbridge Estuary

Lots of gulls viewed distantly off Lincombe from Charleton hide. c800 Herring Gulls and c2000 Black-headed Gulls. All got spooked one time, an Osprey has been seen lately but I could not pick one out. Feeding on something, maybe Whitebait. 20 plus Med Gulls ( must be way more ) present. Single Common Sandpiper and Black-tailed Godwit in Charleton Bay.

Posted August 4th, 2019 at 12:54 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Saturday 3rd August 2019

Slapton Ley

Green Sandpiper heard calling around Torcross tonight. Earlier at least 10 Mediterranean Gulls seen offshore in Start Bay without much effort. Also 5 Sandwich Terns.

Posted August 3rd, 2019 at 10:34 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding


A quick visit to Seaton between visits to Sidmouth festival. Not much of any note (locals complaining of too much water in the site). Highlight was a visiting LRP that dropped in about 6pm.


Posted August 3rd, 2019 at 9:43 pm by Martin Rooney in General Birding


2nd of August at Turnchaple near Plymouth ,we saw 60+each of Painted Lady and Red Admiral . Today many fewer Red Admiral but similar numbers of Painted Lady’s.

Posted August 3rd, 2019 at 2:11 pm by Vic & Sylvia Tucker in General Birding

Hartland Point

Finally got round to the annual pilgrimage to Hartland Point last night to ring Storm Petrels. Accompanied by Chris Dee and Andy Lansdell. Ended up ringing 17 with one retrap from somewhere else - will post here when I get the details back from the BTO. Stayed on in the morning and caught a few of the local residents - mostly Blackcaps and Whitethroats.

One Grasshopper Warbler heard and seen in the scrub on the south side of the valley. Good numbers of Manx Shearwaters passing by and at least 2 Porpoises seen with diving Gannets.

Posted August 3rd, 2019 at 11:49 am by Jon Turner in General Birding

Manor Gardens, Exmouth

Woken up to sounds of the jungle today! 5 noisy Ring Necked Parakeets in Manor Gardens. Fun to watch!

Posted August 3rd, 2019 at 10:32 am by Simon Crookall in General Birding

Friday 2nd August 2019

Middle Soar to Southdown Farm

First returning Tree Pipit by Soar Mill Cove, also 3 Willow Warbler, prob.migrant Wheatear, 15 Swift & 270 Linnet.

Non-avian: male red-veined darter, 59 Painted Lady.

Posted August 2nd, 2019 at 10:43 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Two Spotted Flycatchers (at different locations and one visiting nest box), Green & Great Spotted Woodpeckers,2 Chiffchaffs, Kingfisher, 2 Dunlins, Whimbrel, 3+ Common Sandpipers,3 Greenshanks, 105 Redshanks, 34 Curlews, 8 Mandarin Ducks, a pair of Shelducks with 2 juvs & a pair of Roe Deer.  

Posted August 2nd, 2019 at 2:16 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Stone Curlew - Dawlish Warren

A Stone Curlew found by Lee C early morning at Dawlish Warren over the high tide and still present in the bight early afternoon

Posted August 2nd, 2019 at 1:12 pm by Mark Bailey in General Birding

Thursday 1st August 2019


Odd.. Haven't seen any Painted Ladys at all for a few weeks then suddenly there were 5 in the reserve this afternoon feeding on Thistle flowers. + another by the entrance bridge.

Another 35 Swallows caught tonight.

Posted August 1st, 2019 at 10:17 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Marsh sandpipers on Bowcombe Creek

Three marsh sandpipers on Bowcombe Creek, Kingsbridge Estuary at 4pm to 5pm 1st August. Seen on the shore and in flight. Flew off to the main estuary as tide rose at 5pm.

Posted August 1st, 2019 at 5:40 pm by Chris Klee in General Birding

Matford Ponds, Exeter

5 Green Sandpiper present this morning.

Posted August 1st, 2019 at 3:22 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding

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