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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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 14th August 2019

Bowling Green Marsh - Bar-headed Goose

Yesterday and again today this juvenile Bar-headed Goose turned up with the Canada flock. It has the yellowy bill & legs as expected, and no head cross bars of an adult. bar-headed.  It however appears as big as the Canadas and overall brown/grey rather than ash grey, could it be a xCanada hybrid?

Bar-headed Goose juv
Bar-headed Goose juv

Bar-headed Goose juv
Bar-headed Goose juv

Bar-headed Goose juv
Bar-headed Goose juv

Posted August 14th, 2019 at 11:43 pm by Chris Marcol in General Birding

Saunton Sands

Late Post -13/08/2019.  Small flock of 41 Knot on passage having just arrived back from the high arctic enjoying a rest, wash & preen after foraging along the shoreline.

Posted August 14th, 2019 at 9:32 am by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Tuesday 13th August 2019


In the reserve late this evening tape-luring Swallows. Monday night  - 1, Tuesday night - 85, Tonight 35. Year total now over 400. Also ringed Kingfisher no 12, another juvenile. Flying over were at least 12 Swifts.

By the bridge to the reserve one, occasionally 2 Dipper these last few days.

Posted August 13th, 2019 at 10:13 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

East Soar

No migrants - best were 22 Med Gulls in Starehole Bay and 400 Linnet.

Posted August 13th, 2019 at 3:03 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Juvenile cuckoo

Encounter with a juvenile cuckoo near Laughter Tor on Dartmoor yesterday. Landed in a rowan sapling right in front of me; not very concerned about my presence. If only I had a half decent camera. 

Posted August 13th, 2019 at 12:49 pm by Fiona Freshney in General Birding

Avon Dam

Three brown-head goosanders roosting this morning. Had gone by 0630. Checked weekly, and these were first since 22 Jun. Would be interested to hear of any other goosanders in Devon over the next month or so at

Posted August 13th, 2019 at 9:54 am by Peter Reay in General Birding

Spotted Flycatchers

Spotted Flycatchers at Avon Mill Garden Centre yesterday, In the Trees by the river, catching flies, for a youngster.

Posted August 13th, 2019 at 8:10 am by Kay and Gary Deare in General Birding

Monday 12th August 2019

Otter Estuary

Two Avocets on the estuary this evening - A rare bird on the Otter and only my 3rd sighting in 10 years.
Also Green Sandpiper, 10+ Dunlin, 3 Ringed Plover and an obliging Cetti's Warbler.
Avocets on the Otter by Chris Townend

Cetti's Warbler, Otter Estuary by Chris Townend

Posted August 12th, 2019 at 7:43 pm by Chris Townend in General Birding

Slapton Sands.

7 Black Tailed Godwits, 2 Whimbrel, 6 Ringed Plover and2 Dunlin.this afternoon.

Posted August 12th, 2019 at 4:15 pm by Alan K. Searle. in General Birding

South Brent

Two pied flycatchers in small hawthorns on Brent Hill this morning, presumed migrants or at least dispersing juvs (over 3 km to nearest known breeding site). Otherwise just a whitethroat and a few chiffs and willows.

Posted August 12th, 2019 at 2:21 pm by Peter Reay in General Birding

12-08-19 Brown Magpie

At Knighton Road, Plymouth an unusual Brown Magpie seen and Photo'd at 10.35am

Brown Magpie
Brown Magpie

Posted August 12th, 2019 at 11:53 am by Greg Bradbury in General Birding

Sunday 11th August 2019

Velator etc

Late evening visit to try and boost the Swallow catch - only caught one! But also ringed another Kingfisher, and retrapped one from a few weeks back. (I saw two Kingfishers in the reserve earlier on today). In the field next to the one south of the reserve, the farmer has cut the grass and there were several hundred Swallows chasing insects there for a while. Only a few came and inspected the tape recorder. Over the reserve were 5 Swift, the first I've seen in several days.

A Black-tailed Godwit for it's third day out on the scrape.

Best bird was a male Marsh Harrier, which flew south from the reserve towards the reed-bed.

Posted August 11th, 2019 at 9:57 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Morte Point

Few Birds to be seen, conditions had improved too much. 2 flocks of 5 Sanderlings 1 Manxie 6 Gannets, one Juv looking a bit worse for wear. Compensated for by spending an hour watching European Storm Petrels, albeit at a fair distance, feeding over static fishing gear buoy ropes. Max 5 in view at the same time. 

Storm Petrel, just about!
Storm Petrel, just about!

Hitching a ride.
Hitching a ride.

Posted August 11th, 2019 at 9:09 pm by Martin Thorne in General Birding

exmouth parakeet roost

9 ringneck parakeet at the roost at douglas avenue

Posted August 11th, 2019 at 7:51 pm by barry insull in General Birding

Tamar estuary / Ernesettle

This morning:

c100 Herring Gull, 12 Little Egret, 10 Common Sandpiper, 5 Whimbrel, 3 Grey Heron feeding on flatfish, 2 Greenshank on Ernesettle creek, 2 Greenfinch, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Whitethroat. Trees heaving with red apples and berries.

Posted August 11th, 2019 at 6:45 pm by Alan Livsey in General Birding

Slapton Sands.

11 Sanderling,19 Ringed Plover and 2 Turnstone on the beach this afternoon.

Posted August 11th, 2019 at 5:09 pm by Alan K. Searle. in General Birding

Berry Head

Seawatch, 06:00 - 15:00 predictably slow with only 10 Manx & 6 Balearic Shearwaters all day, & 3-4 Med Gulls.

Constant trickle of Painted Ladies, together with 2 Migrant Hawkers in off the sea.

Usual Harbour Porpoises, at least 3, close in at first; c.20 Common Dolphin, mid am; but highlight of the day, at least 3 Bottle-nosed Dolphins close in c.midday.


Posted August 11th, 2019 at 5:02 pm by Dave Holloway in General Birding

Rillage Point to Watermouth

06.30 to 08.50: juv Shelduck 7, European Storm-petrel 2, Fulmar 37, Manx Shearwater 5, Gannet 39, Common Sandpiper 1, Lesser Black-backed Gull 16, Sandwich Tern 3, Great Skua 1, Guilllemot 1. All heading W out of Bristol Channel, except for Gannet flocks feeding over four Harbour Porpoise and an Ocean Sunfish (presumed same as yesterday; appeared similar size).

Posted August 11th, 2019 at 10:05 am by Tim Jones 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

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