General Birding

Missing Devon rarity records 2018 UPDATE

We have had a good response to the request for missing descriptions for a number of ‘A’ species reported in 2018. Thank you to those who have made the effort to provide these.

However some descriptions remain outstanding meaning, as things stand, they will not make the official record as part of the 2018 Devon Bird Report. It would be a great shame to lose these records but the report deadline is pressing.

If you saw any of these birds (you don’t have to be the finder) please can you submit a description and/or photos asap to Kev Rylands: Thank you.

Cory’s Shearwater (2) Ilfracombe 28 July
Cory’s Shearwater Thurlestone 26 August
Glossy Ibis Exe Estuary 21-27 October
Golden Oriole Blaxton Meadow 18 April
Great White Egret Exminster Marshes 30 March
Great White Egret Exmouth 06 May
Honey-buzzard Dartmoor 21-22 May
Pectoral Sandpiper Upper Tamar Lake 13 August
Rose-coloured Starling Beesands 27-28 August
Tree Sparrow Haldon 20 May

Posted September 24th at 8:44 am by Pete Aley in General Birding

Dawlish Warren

Please take extra care when visiting Dawlish Warren. We have been informed that due to the recent bad weather there has been significant erosion from Groyne 10 eastwards. This means that access along the site, to and from Warren Point (and the bird hide) will be via the beach only, with a risk of being cut off for a period either side of high water! Signs have been put up to alert people to the hazards, but people need to be aware that access routes that they have become used to may not be available and they need to exercise extreme caution,  with the possibility of being cut off by the tide, and people are strongly urged not to try climbing the sand cliffs. Further information is available on the Teignbridge District Council website.

Posted November 9th, 2018 at 11:08 am by Mike Daniels in General Birding


If you follow our Blog but are not currently a member of Devon Birds please consider joining Devon Birds to help us 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 by George & Julia Harris in General Birding

Sightings Page Changes

Acting on comments to Devon Birds some changes have been made to this page. To the right of this header post you'll see there are now several subjects for you to choose to read and post on. Just click your chosen subject and use as previously.

Please be careful not to post under the wrong subject. If you do, you can still easily go back to edit and change the subject yourself so it appears on the right page.

Please try and keep posts short, particularly in the Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts page. Photographs are still very welcome.  

For help with ID email photos to

Posted June 30th, 2016 at 9:24 pm by George & Julia Harris in General Birding

Thursday 15th August 2019

Sherpa Marsh

A productive walk around the Marsh this evening: one juv Pied Wagtail, several Sand Martins and a few House Martins, 6/7 Swifts, 25 Swans - only 3 cygnets, 1 Lapwing, 1 Little Egret, best was (at last!) a juvenile Yellow Wagtail.

Posted August 15th at 10:22 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Saunton Sands & Braunton Burrows

Plenty of birds along the Saunton Sands shoreline late afternoon with 50+ Knot 200+ Sanderling, 200+ Oystercatcher the most ive seen here, 30+ Ringed Plover 30+ Dunlin. My first Yellow Wagtail of the early Autumn with 2 around the cattle on Braunton Marsh and two Osprey on the Taw Estuary a very pleasant walk.

Sanderling at Saunton Sands
Sanderling at Saunton Sands

Knot on Saunton Sands
Knot on Saunton Sands

2 Yellow Wagtail on Braunton Marsh
2 Yellow Wagtail on Braunton Marsh

Posted August 15th at 8:45 pm by Derek Carter in General Birding

Fremington Pill.

A walk along the road to Fremington Quay logged 70+ Redshank this afternoon in the Pill including good numbers of Juvs.  On the return back around 2:30 a single Glossy Ibis along with 2 Common Sandpiper were in the pool by the sluice.

Posted August 15th at 4:28 pm by Ken Ebsworthy in General Birding

Erme Holberton

Adult Osprey on the Erme water meadow this afternoon, sitting in dead tree with fish.

Posted August 15th at 4:15 pm by Vic & Sylvia Tucker in General Birding

Erme Holberton

Adult Osprey on the Erme water meadow this afternoon, sitting in dead tree with fish.

Posted August 15th at 4:15 pm by Vic & Sylvia Tucker in General Birding


Still quiet, just 4 Swift, 10 Whitethroat & 300 Linnet.

Posted August 15th at 3:37 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding


1 Dipper on Teign just upriver of Teigngrace

Posted August 15th at 9:43 am by Lois Pryce 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 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 at 10:05 am by Tim Jones in General Birding

Saturday 10th August 2019

ringneck parakeet

mear valley 9 ringneck parakeet

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


flock of swallows feeding over farmland above copythorne rd yesterday morning

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

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