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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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

Saturday 11th January 2020

Wrafton Pond

Going through my photos today of my recent visit to WP and came across this Male Shoveler in flight over the pond.

Male Shoveler
Male Shoveler

Posted January 11th at 8:31 pm by Martin Bennett in General Birding

Exe Estuary cruise

This afternoon's Stuart Lines birdwatching cruise was excellent, with a Great Northern Diver and a feeding group of 30 Shags at Exmouth, the Slavonian Grebe and the first of about a dozen Great Crested Grebes off Cockwood, a Peregrine over the boat off Powderham and big flocks of Golden Plover and Black-tailed Godwits (>1000 of each) around Turf, where there were c140 Knot and a few Ringed Plovers and Sanderlings.  Pride of place, however, went to the Long-billed Dowitcher, on its own on the river channel between Topsham and Turf (bit of a fluke actually finding it!).  Less exciting were 2 Black Swans at Topsham and a Snow Goose in fields with Canadas near Turf. There were only small numbers of Mergansers and Pintail, maybe around 30 of each, but relatively good numbers of Grey Plovers and Bar-tailed Godwits. Gull numbers were very impressive in late afternoon - hundreds of Common and Great Black-backs, though only half-a-dozen Lessers.

Posted January 11th at 7:35 pm by Dave Smallshire in General Birding

Lower Tamar Lake

The monthly Goosander count on the Lower Lake saw 6m 10f (on the Upper Lake 1m 1f), 4 Ring-necked Duck 3m 1f, 7 Tufted Duck , 4 Cormorant, 4 Long-tailed Tie, 2 Willow Tit, 3 Marsh Tit, 1 Nuthatch, c150 Black-headed- Herring-Lesser Black-backed and Black-backed Gull, 1 Green Sandpiper, 6 Great Crested Grebe.

Posted January 11th at 7:02 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

South Brent Sparrow sp

It took until the mid afternoon to show up but the Sparrow species subject to previous days posts came back into the garden feeders, poor light and rain did not help when it came to watching it.


Last evening a flypast from a Tawny owl and shorty after that a Barn owl calling on and off until 10pm.

Mid morning good numbers of Redwing flying between hillside and the Forder valley, one flock of 100 plus birds and numerous smaller flocks, a flock of 30 plus Goldfinch over the garden.

At least six Greenfinch on the garden feeders one being a BTO ringed female, GSWP, Nuthatch, male Bullfinch, nine Long Tailed Tit which got very agitated when a Sparrowhawk went over.


Posted January 11th at 4:33 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

A39 - Kilkhampton to Woolsery

A day late (Friday) - a raptor filled day in the sun. A hunting Barn Owl and a Woodcock on the way to the Kilk co-op first thing. c200 Golden Plover in the field below Urqhuart ltd near Eastcott - then fantastic afternoon views of a male kestrel, a male Hen Harrier quartering along a hedgerow and a female merlin resting on a culm grass mound.

Posted January 11th at 3:52 pm by Steve Wheale in General Birding


2 Firecrest at Lea Mount, Dawlish

Posted January 11th at 3:06 pm by paul barker in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

A pre-dawn start as part of the Goosander roosting count (6 birds including 2 drakes present first thing). Also: 12 Mandarin Ducks (7 drakes), 11 Wigeon (7 drakes), 217 Dunlins, Snipe, 9+ Little Grebes, Red-crested Pochard (female), Grey Wagtail, 3 Bullfinches & 2 Great Spotted & a Green Woodpecker.

Posted January 11th at 11:58 am by Pete Aley in General Birding

Ringed Avocet on the Tamar

Apologies for the rather soft image - the Avocet was a long way off! Can anyone identify the rings? There were a lot of Avocets but I did'nt see any other with rings.

Ringed Avocet
Ringed Avocet

Posted January 11th at 10:50 am by Tony Hooper in General Birding

Wrafton Pond

Other birds at Wrafton pond.

Female GoldeneyeMute Swan splashing around in the pond.
Female Goldeneye                            Mute Swan splashing around in the pond.

Posted January 11th at 12:48 am by Martin Bennett in General Birding

Wrafton Pond

It was a good day for me on Friday 10 January at the pond. Lots of gulls, seven Shoveler M/F some in flight, female Goldeneye showing well and the usual Swans, coots, Mallards and Moorhens. 

Female Shoveler
Female Shoveler

Male Shoveler
Male Shoveler

Shovelers in flight
Shovelers in flight

Posted January 11th at 12:45 am by Martin Bennett in General Birding

Friday 10th January 2020

Start Point area

I am hoping to get some help identifying the redstart I photographed at Lannacombe beach today. is it a female black redstart? Eds - yes a female / immature Black Redstart

I also attach a picture of the ring necked duck at Beesands this afternoon.

Female black redstart?
Female black redstart?


Ring necked duck
Ring necked duck

Posted January 10th at 11:19 pm by Pete Saunders in General Birding

Baggy Point

66 Common Scoter at Baggy early am & 1 Red throated Diver.

Posted January 10th at 10:07 pm by Rob Jutsum in General Birding

Dartmoor -10.01.2019

Lovely day on Dartmoor. Mixed flock of Fieldfare outnumbering Redwing on the Wallabrook. 2 Siskin in the top of pines. Both Grey and Pied Wagtail. Nearby at least one Brambling in with a flock of 60+ Chaffinch. Only raptors seen, 3 Buzzard and one hovering Kestrel. A healthy looking fox near Soussons. More good weather please!

Fieldfare and Redwing -Wallabrook - 10/1/2020
Fieldfare and Redwing -Wallabrook - 10/1/2020

Pied Wagtail- Wallabrook- 10/1/2020
Pied Wagtail- Wallabrook- 10/1/2020

Posted January 10th at 8:47 pm by Dave Pakes in General Birding

South Brent ~ Sparrow Sp

The Sparrow sp subject of yesterday's post was back around the garden feeders several times today, allowing me to take numerous new photographs, despite the images being better than yesterdays I am just as confused as to its identity, I am tempted to suggest a Tree Sparrow X House Sparrow hybrid, there is plenty of scientific evidence to be found on the internet to support such a hybrid but none of the studies that I have read have quality supporting images.


The bird has the white collar and a pale buffy under belly as in a Tree Sparrow, in other respects it matches the description given in Collins for the Italian Sparrow, the distinct white cheek patch and collar I feel negates it being a colour morph House Sparrow but who knows for sure?

Eds: see the link here of a very similar bird.. 

UPDATE ~ Following above Eds comment ~ I have read both the documents contained in the above link ~ viewing the images the bird appears identical to the bird subject of those documents other than the beak my bird has a coloured yellow and grey beak while the Budleigh bird has a black beak, this may simply be down to breeding condition.

Posted January 10th at 6:08 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Brixham Area & Stove CP

Bit of a rush round today in great viewing conditions:

Mansands: Blue-winged Teal showing well - lifer for me!  Water Rail, 2 Bullfinch, Cetti's Warbler.

Berry Head: Black Redstart, 2 Med Gull, 400+ Guillemot; 4 Razorbill, 15+ Fulmar.

Brixham Breakwater: 5 Great Northern Diver, 12 Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone.

Stover CP: male Mandarin, 3 Goosander, 2 Pochard, 2 Marsh Tit, 5 Nuthatch, 2 Treecreeper, 23 Long-tailed Tit,1 Lesser Redpoll.

Posted January 10th at 5:05 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Friday 9th January - Brixham Harbour

Enjoyable walk in glorious winter afternoon sunshine around Brixham harbour and the breakwater. Besides the usual gulls and shags there were 11 swans and 2 mallard ducks in the inner harbour. 2 great northern divers, a black headed gull and an oyster catcher at the end of the breakwater.

Posted January 10th at 4:52 pm by David Roper in General Birding

exminster marsh

Three barnacle geese and a snow goose seen in the fields by the lionsrest,. At turflocks in the field after the pub two Egyptian geese 

seenby the fir tree.

Posted January 10th at 1:37 pm by roger jewell& mike Gibson in General Birding


On 9th January my wife and I saw a Redstart in the hedgerows near Blackawton in South Devon

Posted January 10th at 9:36 am by Marcus Childs in General Birding

Thursday 9th January 2020

Sparrow Sp ~ South Brent

Seen around the feeders in my South Brent garden this afternoon ~ open to thoughts on what species or morph of Sparrow it may be.. have discounted it being a Tree Sparrow as it does not have the diagnostic black cheek patch.

Posted January 9th at 9:37 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh

In addition to Steve Cox's report, in the afternoon the Black-tailed Godwits increased to an estimated 800 to 1000 birds.  A single male Scaup and a female/juv type Marsh Harrier also put in appearances.

Posted January 9th at 8:46 pm by Chris Marcol in General Birding

Ludwell Valley Park, Exeter

On the 'Panny' Brook from Woodwater Lane bridge a group of six Green Sandpipers, (a couple may have been Common Sandpiper), at least 3 Grey Wagtails, 2 Chiffchaffs and a Raven.

Posted January 9th at 8:34 pm by Chris Marcol in General Birding

Bowling Green Marsh

A lunch time visit today. Teal 130, Wigeon 230, Shoveler 32, Pintail 8, Tufted 3, Pochard 4. Black-tailed Godwit 130+, Lapwing 10, Greenshank 4, Ruff 1 & Long-billed Dowitcher 1st wint.

Posted January 9th at 5:52 pm by Steve Cox in General Birding


Smart looking male Blackcap on my fat feeder in the garden this afternoon. Also a Great Spotted Woodpecker on the peanuts, and several Long-tailed Tits.

Posted January 9th at 3:52 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Burrator Reservoir

At least 3 Bramblings in with a flock of 100+ chaffinch flitting about in the beech trees near the main dam this lunchtime before the rain arrived and a Tawny Owl also heard calling. 

Posted January 9th at 3:40 pm by Stuart Green in General Birding

Stover Lake

1 female type Goosander this morning, although it flew off high at around 11.00. Also a male Wigeon which is fairly unusual for Stover. 1 Pochard, 2 Mandarins, 1 Kingfisher.

Posted January 9th at 1:31 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding

Wednesday 8th January 2020

Plym Estuary

A relatively short look, late afternoon produced: 6+ Goosanders (3 drakes & 3+ redheads), Great Northern Diver, 3 Shags, 6 Mandarin Ducks (3 pairs), 12 Wigeon (7 drakes), 6 Greenshanks, 234 Dunlins, 132 Redshanks, Stock Dove & Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Posted January 8th at 9:35 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding


Tawny Owl seen in the reserve this afternoon. 2 Stonechats and 2 Kestrels just outside.

Posted January 8th at 8:51 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Upper and Lower Tamar Lake

The Lower Lake this morning,

8 Willow Tit, 1 Nuthatch, 4 Long-tailed Tit, 1m Great Spotted Woodpecker, 5 Great Crested Grebe, 8 Goosander.

Upper Lake.

2 Willow Tit (at a new feeding station), 4 Ring-necked Duck 3m 1f, 2 Greylag Geese, c50 Great and Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 4 Cormorant, 9 Tufted Duck,

1 Grey Heron.

Posted January 8th at 7:40 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

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