Devon Bird Sightings from 1st–7th March 2020

Coronavirus - Devon Birds bird hides

During the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak the use of Devon Birds bird hides should be in line with Government guidelines to individuals on how to protect themselves.

Please follow NHS guidelines:

Thank you for your co-operation and stay safe.

Posted August 25th at 9:58 am by Mike Daniels in Bird News

Changes to Devon Bird Sightings

This page was initially set up to give a concise news summary of birds of interest seen in Devon. Anyone noting interesting species, passage and counts could post the details to inform other birders what was going on around the county. Photos could also be added for interest and to enliven the posts. It was accepted that because other wildlife was of interest, this would also appear especially when included in a birding post.

However, in the last year, more posts have been appearing purely on subjects other than birds. Whilst of interest to some observers, this is detracting from the aim of the pages, i.e. principally bird sightings.

Devon Birds has therefore taken the decision to require contributors of other wildlife to post this in the Other Wildlife subject. However it’s accepted that occasional, exceptional, other wildlife seen during a birding outing justifies inclusion in the bird sightings post. This should, however, be a minor part of the post.

Photos are often appearing as a gallery, or even acting as a personal photo blog, rather than of county-wide sightings of interest. Devon Birds has a Gallery which members and other birders are welcome to submit their often stunning photos to, for others to see. Many of these photos need not then appear on this page. From now on, only two photos per post will be accepted to help keep posts more concise.

Devon Birds very much welcomes posts that already meet these criteria and those that will continue to do so. It would also be great to widen the input from keen birders who currently don’t contribute, including some old friends who have dropped out. Hopefully the changes will encourage wider participation, so if you look at the site but don’t post, please consider doing so.

Our aim is to provide a concise daily news summary of bird sightings around Devon, and these changes should fulfil this goal.

Below is a summary of the changes:

  • Bird News (bird sightings of interest, with added occasional other wildlife) will be the default subject when visitors arrive at this page.
  • Other Wildlife posts therefore won’t initially be shown unless visitors click Other Wildlife under Subjects on the right-hand side.
  • Only two photos can now be submitted per post.
  • General bird photos should be posted in our Gallery please.
  • Co-authors should now only use the Submit a Blog Post form, to ensure a more consistent format for posts.

Posted August 21st at 3:53 pm in Bird News


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 Bird News

Saturday 7th March 2020

Heddons mouth to woody bay and back

Morning walk towards woody bay and back, from the cliff tops saw many species of gull scouring the cliffs and stonechat amongst the heather, and razor bills on the water in small groups. Walking back towards hunters Inn I disturbed a snipe in the woodland.  There were many blue and great tits amongst the trees and down by the rivers edge a pair of grey wagtail. 

Back up on top the Moor courting skylarks were gracing the sky.  Is spring really here? 

Male grey wagtailFemale wagtailStonechat
Male grey wagtail                               Female wagtail                               Stonechat

Posted March 7th at 7:37 pm by Philip worth in Bird News

Wrafton Pond

With a brief improvement in the weather, I made a fourth attempt to see the Red-crested Pochard and was rewarded with some close up views on arrival.

Posted March 7th at 6:03 pm by Derek Stacey in Bird News

Exe Estuary cruise

After a tip-off that there was a Spoonbill on the Exe (thanks Derek!), we had very distant views of it from the boat, feeding off Mudbank Lane. Other highlights included - near Turf - the overwintered male Ruff with large numbers of Black-tailed Godwits (1000+), several hundred Golden Plover, c180 Knot and c20 Sanderlings scattered along the riverbank. Two drake Goldeneye were in the mouth of the Clyst (one later flying upriver at Topsham), the Slavonian Grebe was at Cockwood, plus c12 Great Crested Grebes, c8 Shags, c20 Mergansers, 6+ Ringed Plover, 1-200 Bar-tailed Godwits, 5+ Greenshank, large numbers of Black-headed and Common Gulls, but no Avocets - an early departure?

Posted March 7th at 5:54 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News

Friday 6th March 2020

West Charleton Marsh - 06.03.2020

Almost more water than marsh after a boggy walk to the hide at West Charleton Marsh today. A Common Snipe, clearly heeding the Corono Virus advice , was self isolating on a small island of grass. 5 seen in total. An unusual view for me of a Red Breasted Merganser, normally seen on the estuary, on the grass of the marsh, near the scrape. Quite a few Moorhens, a Water Rail,several ducks including Wigeon, Teal, Mallard and 8 Shelduck , together with  Canadas and a couple of Mute Swan making the most of the now lake. Only 2 Greenshank,13 Oystercatcher, 2 Redshank, 7 Little Egret and a few Curlew on the Estuary at high tide.

Common Snipe   Red- Breasted Merganser
Common Snipe                         Red- Breasted Merganser

Posted March 6th at 6:54 pm by Dave Pakes in Bird News

Velator reserve

For the first time in a month I opened some nets this morning. Not too exciting, but a few new Greenfinches still, along with a few retraps. Four retrap Bullfinches. Best bird was Chiffchaff - I caught 5, of which 4 needed to be ringed and one of them was certainly a migrant - it had the gummy nectar and pollen aggregation around the base of the bill. One of the others weighed in at 10 grams, which had me suspecting it could be a Willow Warbler, but the wing formula showed it to be a Chiffchaff. Other retraps included 2 male Cetti's Warblers, a female Kingfisher ringed last August, and a Coal Tit with a Z-reg ring, which was ringed in August 2015 - first time it has been retrapped. Where's it been for the last 3 and a half years/

Posted March 6th at 5:19 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Wrafton Pond

The Red crested Pochard is still on the pond.

Posted March 6th at 3:35 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Thursday 5th March 2020

Meeth quarry

Drake ring necked duck on main lake from the hide 2pm thursday

Posted March 5th at 2:51 pm by Leslie Holburn in Bird News

Wednesday 4th March 2020

Stover CP

This picture of a sinensis ' Continental ' Cormorant was found on a Facebook page. Picture taken by Nigel Street at Stover CP today. The gular angle is the best way to identify this sub species in all ages. 

continental Cormorant Stover CP 4th March 2020 Nigel Street

Posted March 4th at 9:49 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Stover Lake

Today while working near Bovey Tracey I had a look around Stover Lake for an hour or two.  10 -15+ pairs of Mallard, 6 pairs of Tufted Duck, 4 pairs of Mandarin, Coots, Moorhens, lots of Robins, finches, various  tits and a pair of Mute Swans.   

RobinMandarin DuckTufted Duck
Robin                                       Mandarin Duck                     Tufted Duck

Posted March 4th at 7:10 pm by Martin Bennett in Bird News

Yarner and Dartmoor

Early morning visit to Yarner Wood yesterday gave the hoped for Woodpecker species, two Raven, Siskin, Long Tailed Tit, plenty of activity from Robins, Wrens and Blue Tits, three Mandarin on the reservoir.

A late afternoon walk along the Red Lake track at Bittaford produced a Yellow Hammer on the lower part of the moors, several Dunnock, Meadow Pipit and Skylark, one Stonechat and a Raven.

Posted March 4th at 7:11 am by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Tuesday 3rd March 2020

Exminster Marshes

Waders mainly around new scrapes

DunlinBar-tailed GodwitCurlew
Dunlin                                                   Bar-tailed Godwit            Curlew

Posted March 3rd at 4:28 pm by Colin Scott in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

A walk around the estuary and Saltram this morning produced the following.

Goosander 5 (3m & 2f), Red-breasted Merganser 4 (1m & 3f), GND, Turnstone 33, Dunlin 52, Redshank 151, Greenshank 5, Common Sandpiper 2, Kingfisher 2, Green Woodpecker, GS Woodpecker, Treecreeper 2 and 3 Chiffchaff.

Posted March 3rd at 4:01 pm by Matin Phillips in Bird News

Underwood, Plympton

The Black Redstart is still present in and near our garden. For how much longer, I wonder?

Black Redstart
Black Redstart

Posted March 3rd at 3:46 pm by Jason Smart in Bird News

East Soar

2 migrant Firecrests in blackthorn scrub at base of Starehole Valley.

Posted March 3rd at 3:30 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Monday 2nd March 2020

Bowling Green Marsh

From the hide this morning high numbers but low diversity: many Blackwits, Redshanks and Dunlin but no Barwits, Avocet, Lapwing or Snipe for example. Highlights were a Scaup, the Ruff that has been here all winter and, oh so briefly, the Dowitcher.

Posted March 2nd at 10:05 pm by James Camden in Bird News

Saunton Village

While cycling through Saunton Village this morning I heard a Chiffchaff calling several times. Perhaps one of our overwintering Chiffs in N.Devon or is it just a bit too early for a new arrival?

Posted March 2nd at 9:52 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

One to cause a bit of confusion..

An afternoon spent at Gara Bridge following the report of a lost/escaped "Kestrel" sized falconry bird.

While searching for it five Buzzards soaring and displaying over the valley, one male Sparrow hawk, a Raven, two Mistle Thrush and a Marsh Tit.

And after lots of foot work and effort a Peregrine cross American Kestrel hybrid recovered, I had no idea what it was !! If anyone saw it over the few days it has been at liberty I can understand them being very confused.

Posted March 2nd at 8:37 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Lower Tamar Lake

The lower lake this morning,

17 Goosander 8m 9f, 2 Nuthatch, 13 Willow Tit, 2 Marsh Tit, 2 Goldcrest, 1 Fieldfare, 4 Great Crested Grebe.

Posted March 2nd at 7:41 pm by Rod Mudge in Bird News


Brief view of a Cetti's Warbler coming out of and then diving back into the reeds this morning. Also of note 3 Canada Geese on the pond and a fly - in Grey Heron about to touch down when it saw me and cruised on by.

Posted March 2nd at 5:23 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News


Great Crested Grebe on the Exe near railway bridge at St Davids. Peregrine at St Michaels Church, Pair of Lesser Black Backed Gulls  at Trews Weir. One Redshank near Salmon Pool. Dipper, Kingfisher, 2 Green Sandpiper and Grey Wagtail on the Norhbrook..

Great Crested GrebePeregrine
Great Crested Grebe                            Peregrine

Posted March 2nd at 3:44 pm by Martin Rooney in Bird News


the 2 Siberian Chiffchaffs were still present in the marsh behind the car park (both looking scruffy having just started their moults) at least 3 collybita Chiffchaffs (all neat and tidy after having mostly completed their moults ready for an early migration), Firecrest and Goldcrest also present in the marsh.


Posted March 2nd at 2:05 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Sunday 1st March 2020


Finally made the trip to Mansands and had great views of the Blue-Winged Teal which stayed on the pool to the far left looking towards the beach, viewable from the metal gate. With the rain recently the river was fully flowing and we were just able to get over, something to bare in mind, wellies would have been great. 

Other highlights were Cetti's Warbler (1 seen, 2 heard), 2 Snipe, 2 Great Crested Grebes offshore and 5+ Gadwall.

Blue-winged Teal
Blue-winged Teal

Posted March 1st at 8:53 pm by Matt Clark in Bird News

Woolacombe Beach

Late afternoon bathing in the stream a 2nd CY Iceland Gull. Unusually not a single Common Gull nor on Croyde beach.  

Posted March 1st at 8:07 pm by Martin Thorne in Bird News

Torbay / Yarner / Haldon

Broadsands this morning a first winter Mediterranean Gull with a small flock of Black Headed Gulls, and a single Oyster Catcher.

In the back car park eight plus Cirl Buntings mostly females, two male Yellow Hammer, four Greenfinch, four Long Tailed Tit, three Dunnock and a flock of House Sparrow.

Marine Parade, Paignton ~ forty one Turnstone.

A380 Newton Abbot ~ three Buzzards soaring and displaying.

Pond Hide at Yarner the feeders were alive with a range of Tit species and Siskin.

On the road from Chudleigh to Haldon Forest, a mixed flock of Fieldfare (14) and Starling, towards Haldon at least seven Brambling with a Chaffinch flock feeding on beech mast.

Around Haldon Forest Park plenty of Siskin, a small flock of Crossbill and twelve Fallow deer.

Back home at South Brent around the garden feeders, female Reed Bunting, four Bullfinch, five Greenfinch, four Siskin, numerous House Sparrow and Chaffinch, the male Sparrow sp of undetermined origin in for most of the afternoon, Pied Wagtail, Wren, Long Tailed Tit, Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, overhead two Stock Dove and two Great Black Backed Gulls, 27 species in total ticked off around home.

Posted March 1st at 8:03 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Wrafton Pond

Had a look at the pond on the way down the Tarka trail this aft & on the way back.

1m Red crested Pochard still present, 2m Pochard,1f Goldeneye, 1m + 1f Gadwall, 1 Kingfisher, 2 Little Grebes & the very vocal male Song Thrush which has been singing from this territory since before Xmas!

Posted March 1st at 6:19 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

29th Feb Bowling Green Marsh

Nice to see the Long-billed Dowitcher at B G M along with Black-tailed Godwits going into breeding plumage. Marsh Harrier on and off for most of the morning quartering the far side reed bed. Lots of water, with the height in the river not falling by much even at half tide down.

Long-billed Dowitcher Bowling Green Marsh 29th FebLong-billed Dowitcher Bowling Green Marsh 29th FebBar-tailed Godwit
Long-billed Dowitcher Bowling Green Marsh 29th Feb                      Bar-tailed Godwit

Posted March 1st at 11:23 am by Barry Rankine in Bird News

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