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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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

Tuesday 19th May 2020


Feeding time at ‘The Byes’ Sidmouth 

Female BlackcapDunnock
Female Blackcap                         Dunnock

Eds: The Dunnock is actually a female House Sparrow

Posted May 19th at 10:30 pm by Geoff Mitchell in General Birding


Walked all the way to the estuary this morning down the east bank of the Caen. Not much to report - a couple of Whitethroats and a female Wheatear the highlights.

Not much bird life around the marsh but a Fox showed yesterday over by Chivenor.

Posted May 19th at 8:04 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Lower Tamar Lake

The feeders are up and running again, sadly two at the hide have been stolen.

This morning at the Lake.

4 Willow Tit, 2 Treecreeper, 1m Blackcap, 1 Long-tailed Tit, 2 Coal Tit, 1m Tufted Duck, plenty of Swallows and House Martins.

Posted May 19th at 7:20 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

My sightings over the last couple of months include:-

Cuckoo (very rare here; possibly even a new bird for the site)

24+ Whimbrels

2+ Common Sandpipers

1 Black- & 3 Bar-tailed Godwits

3+ Dunlins

2 Snipe

Jack Snipe

6 Sand Martins

Green & Great Spotted Woodpeckers 

9+ Wheatears

13+ Stock Doves

Singing Sedge & Willow Warblers (& Reed Warbler just outside the boundary)


A pair of Stonechats

Goosander (redhead)

Red-crested Pochard (female)

9+ Mandarin Ducks

Mediterranean Gull (2nd calendar year)

& 14 Roe Deer.

Posted May 19th at 9:07 am by Pete Aley in General Birding

Nightjars, Bovey heath

Three birds seen together chasing each other around. At least two churring birds. Yesterday evening between 2100 and 2200 hrs 

Posted May 19th at 8:58 am by jacquieB in General Birding

Swifts are back

Saw the my first swifts of the year yesterday, high up over Harford.

Posted May 19th at 8:47 am by Ann Willcocks in General Birding

Sparrowhawk - Knowstone

Sparrowhawk in relative's garden - Knowstone, N Devon

Posted May 19th at 8:00 am by Peter Lamb in General Birding

Monday 18th May 2020

Nightjars at Bovey Heathfield

Fly-by at 21.25, then three brief bouts of churring (2 birds?) and a fly-over between 21.30-22.00

Posted May 18th at 10:31 pm by John Walton in General Birding


Fledglings around the garden 

Pied Wagtail
Pied Wagtail

Posted May 18th at 8:20 pm by Geoff Mitchell in General Birding

Egyptian Goose

Two birds, on the Dart near Dittisham this afternoon.

Posted May 18th at 7:34 pm by Alun Sherwood in General Birding


The pair of Grey Wagtails which unexpectedly nested by our porch and entertained us during the lockdown with their acrobatic feeding antics over the stream through our garden fledged a pair of young on Saturday. They hung around the garden yesterday but have now disappeared altogether. We’ll miss them!

Posted May 18th at 6:09 pm by Roger Duggleby in General Birding

Fernworthy Reservoir

Approach road to Fernworthy. 10 pairs of Stonechat, 4 Linnet, 1 drab coloured Willow Warbler and a brighter friend, 4 Mallard overhead (towards the reservoir), 3 Siskin in conifers, a pair of Grey Wagtail and a Green Woodpecker. Beautiful walk.

Posted May 18th at 4:49 pm by Ian Muir in General Birding


Greenland Wheatear female on Bolt Head.

Non-avian: 18 Small Pearl-bordered Fritillary.

Posted May 18th at 3:58 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Holdstone down

Another walk around holdstone down saw less than half the amount of birds compared to yesterday.  Linnet, skylark, meadow pipit and a singular redstart. 

Redstart                        Linnet                           Skylark

Posted May 18th at 1:44 pm by Philip worth in General Birding

Lower Tamar Lake

Pleasantly quiet and sunny.   c. 50 Swallows,  25 Sand Martins, 4 Blackcaps, 5 Chiffchaffs, 3 Willow Warblers, 1 Garden Warbler, 4 Wrens, pair of Great Crested Grebes, 1 male Tufted Duck, several Mallards,1 Grey Heron over..  At least 9 Rooks attending the nearby rookery busy nest building/repairing.

Harvey Kendall..

Posted May 18th at 1:20 pm by Harvey Kendall in General Birding

Yelland to Instow

Took my camera for another walk, this time from Yelland to Instow. Got some shot of a Sedge Warbler in the evening sun and a Blackcap later on in poor light. Heard two Cuckoos calling and a Whitethroat close to the Sedge Warbler.  A Stoat ran out of the hedge and stopped dead in the middle of the path about 3-4 metres from me but ran off into the bushes as soon as I tried to turn my camera around. Nice to see it though! 

Sedge WarblerSedge WarblerBlackcap
Sedge Warbler                     Sedge Warbler                   Blackcap

Posted May 18th at 1:22 am by Martin Bennett in General Birding

Sunday 17th May 2020

emsworthy mire

GS woodpecker,cuckoo, stonechat pairs,willow warblers

Posted May 17th at 10:19 pm by JOHN PHILLIPS in General Birding

Rillage Point to Watermouth

After a really quiet week, when it was beginning to feel as if migration might already be petering out for the season, this morning saw by far my best visible passage of Swallows for the whole spring. Between 05.35 and 08.30, just over 750 flew W or NW past Rillage Point. By contrast, there were few House Martins (just 33) and no Swifts at all, making this quite an odd day for the second half of May. It certainly looks as if a good proportion of Swallows have been held up by conditions further south, so if you haven't got your usual birds back yet, don't give up hope! Fingers crossed it also means that there are plenty of martins & Swifts still to arrive.

Posted May 17th at 9:22 pm by Tim Jones in General Birding

Ringmore Downs nr Burrator

Late news for yesterday a relative asked me to identify some birds she saw while walking over the moors at Ringmore Downs. What a surprise to see two dotterel in the photo. She watched 3 to 4 individuals displaying all their usual lack of concern while she took photos walking a few meters ahead of her. Not that I'm jealous at all !

Posted May 17th at 9:18 pm by Nik Ward in General Birding

Dawlish Warren Village moths

A slightly better moth night last night but still far fewer species than one might expect for mid-May. Only Shuttle-shaped Dart and Treble Lines in any numbers but a few singles of other species including this Figure of Eighty and an a micro moth that I cannot identify (possibly Aethes sp but very early for most likely species). Any guesses on i.d. would be welcome. The colouring on the image is accurate and the moth was just 9mm in length.

Figure of Eighty Mystery moth
Figure of Eighty                    Mystery moth

Posted May 17th at 7:21 pm by Peter Leigh in General Birding

Aylesbeare Common

Beautiful afternoon on Aylesbeare Common. Dartford Warbler, many pairs of Stonechat, and Linnets all showed well. Also saw a Willow Warbler (and heard several). 

Posted May 17th at 7:18 pm by Jonathan Martin in General Birding

Purple Sandpipers - Torquay

Still two Purple Sandpipers ( plus two Turnstone ) on Haldon Jetty, Torquay

Posted May 17th at 6:25 pm by Cliff Parrott in General Birding

Holdstone down

A 9.30am ish walk around holdstone down saw many skylark, meadow pipit, bullfinch, and many what appeared to me to be different types of warbler not including whitethroat and many small flocks of linnet in different areas around  the Moor. 

LinnetMeadow Pipit and linnetLinnet
Linnet                 Meadow Pipit and linnet                Linnet

Posted May 17th at 5:57 pm by Philip worth in General Birding

Dartmoor above South Brent

Early morning walk out from Shipley bridge car park onto the moors via the WTW and the Bala Brook.

Two Cuckoo in the Bala brook valley and three near Black Tor, numerous Yellow Hammer, Meadow Pipit, Skylark, Willow Warbler, Stonechat including a pair with fledged youngsters. Mistle and Song Thrush a handful of Swallows only surprise was seeing a male Pied Flycatcher.


Forty plus Herring Gull feeding on the moor and one GBBG.

Back home at South Brent a Green Woodpecker and a high flying Peregrine.

Another Tawny owl chick brought in having been found in the road at Bovey Tracy.

Posted May 17th at 5:12 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding


Tawny Owl hunting in daylight this morning and Garden Warbler singing this afternoon. Both a couple of hundred meters from Cully Higher Street. Nice.

Posted May 17th at 4:08 pm by Geoff Campbell in General Birding

Sherpa marsh Braunton

No sign of the or indeed any other Yellow Wagtails this morning. Consensus is it is probably a hybrid of Flava x Thunbergii.

Several each of Sand and House Martin, Swallow and Swift around the marsh.

Posted May 17th at 1:21 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Emsworthy, Cuckoo

Yesterday at about 3.15 pm had many sightings of two cuckoos flying and in the trees at Emsworthy reserve

Posted May 17th at 9:44 am by Michael Powell in General Birding


Swallows and House Martins around the house yesterday.

Posted May 17th at 9:13 am by Geoff Mitchell in General Birding

Goosanderlings, Dunsford Wood

Late yesterday evening. Female goosander with eight tiny goosanderlings River Teign, Dunsford wood. Unfortunately too dark for a photo.

Posted May 17th at 9:11 am by JacquieB in General Birding

Morte Point

Another photo  taken during my walk yesterday of a Whitethroat.


Posted May 17th at 1:38 am by Martin Bennett in General Birding

Saturday 16th May 2020

Cadover Bridge to Dewerstone Wood 16th May

Wigford Down gave good numbers of typical moorland species, Stonechat, Linnet, Meadow Pipit and Skylark, with Kestrel, Buzzard and Raven, heard but didn't see Cuckoo.  It was harder in the woods but Great Spotted Woodpecker and a pair of hole nesting Pied Flycatchers were the best.  Back at Cadover were Sand Martins posing on a fence.

Posted May 16th at 11:17 pm by Chris & Janet Marcol in General Birding

Yellow Wagtail

Some other (poor) pics of the Yellow Wagtail - some doubt about the identity as Blue-headed....

Eds - although the white mark below the eye does not appear to be particularly well developed on this individual, it looks good for Blue-headed. A combination of the dark blue-grey head, white supercillium and yellow throat are good features.

Race of Yellow Wagtail?

Race of Yellow Wagtail?

Posted May 16th at 10:27 pm by jon turner in General Birding

Cuckoo near Blackingstone Rock

Whilst out at Hennock Reservoirs this evening checking for nightjar one the clearfell (2 heard churning) I could hear a cuckoo calling over towards Blackingstone rock at about 9pm. 

Posted May 16th at 10:23 pm by Fiona Freshney in General Birding

Morte Point

Took my camera for a walk around Morte Point today and got some photos of a Whitethroat, a Rock Pipit, and two Grey Seals. One Guillemot, two Shags, a Cormorant and a few Gannets far out to sea.

WhitethroatRock PipitGrey Seal
Whitethroat                                           Rock Pipit                       Grey Seal

Posted May 16th at 9:52 pm by Martin Bennett in General Birding

Exe and Yarner

Mill Farm, Powderham 20 plus House Martin, a RL Partridge, three Song Thrush looked like a pair with a youngster, Whitethroat in full song.

Powderham heronry a nest with three well grown young visible from the road.

Brief drive down to Exminster Marsh, Cetti's, Sedge and Willow Warblers, very surprised to hear a Cuckoo calling, single Lapwing and a Mallard duck with 10 ducklings.

Over the Yarner as earlier post good number of Pied Flycatchers, very distant Cuckoo calling and two very vocal Garden Warbler.

Hen with red transponder type ring

Posted May 16th at 9:25 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Yellow Wagtail Sherpa Marsh Braunton

At last after at least 25 walks around the marsh just recently, tonight, with Andy Lansdell we found this Blue-headed Yellow Wagtail.

Blue-headed Yellow Wagtail
Blue-headed Yellow Wagtail

Posted May 16th at 9:21 pm by jon turner in General Birding

Northam Burrows and Skern

Still six Shelducklings on Greylake managing to avoid disturbances from dog walkers and visitors.

Posted May 16th at 9:13 pm by Martin Unwin/Irene Hahn in General Birding

central park plymouth

around 20 ringneck parakeet 8pm barn park entrance many blue juvenile and the unusual bright yellow juvenile still with the group

Posted May 16th at 8:30 pm by barry insull in General Birding

Wembury Point

Two trips to WP today to look for the Woodchat shrike which seems to have moved on. Gutted not to have seen this bird right on my doorstep. However, probably saw the most Whitethroats and Stonechats than on any other occasion. Distant views of a Gannet off Langdon beach and a willow warbler in the brambles in between the pines north of the radar station. 





Posted May 16th at 6:14 pm by Matt C in General Birding

Yarner Wood & Emsworthy Mire

Yarner: Stacks of Pied Flys; Redstart in song; 20+ Siskin, 2 Garden Warbler. non-avian: 2 Pearl-bordered Fritillary & 16 Brimstone.

Emsworthy Mire: 6 Cuckoos (5m 1f) flying around and calling madly; cracking view of singing male Redstart; 5 singing Willow Warbler; Tree Pipit.

Posted May 16th at 4:45 pm by Rob Macklin in General Birding


Not as exciting as some recent posts, but 2 Chudleigh ticks for me on our morning walk. A Kingfisher flashed past near Watercress Ponds and a Whitethroat singing and briefly perched on overhead wires on the road back to Chudleigh from Kerswell.

Posted May 16th at 4:14 pm by Nick Potter in General Birding

Budleigh Salterton

A nice Reed Warbler with right leg ringed and carrying nesting material. Taken with my cheap bridge camera from about 50 ft away.  Otherwise no great excitement.  Two birders (new faces to me) asked if I had seen the 13 Bee-eaters which had evidently been reported yesterday on Bird Guides and on Devon Wildlife Sightings website. This was news to me.....  wish people would put their sightings here and in good time! Rant over.

Posted May 16th at 2:59 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in General Birding

Slapton Ley

Cetti's and Reed Warblers seen as well as a wonderful male Linnet. Forgot to reach for camera in excitement.

Posted May 16th at 2:36 pm by Thomas Kent in General Birding

Emsworthy, Cuckoo

Yesterday at about 3.15 pm had many sightings of two cuckoos flying and in the trees at Emsworthy reserve.

Posted May 16th at 12:35 pm by Michael Powell in General Birding


Near Axminster, arrived on Wednesday and all day Thursday, spent early morning calling,  Friday morning he had gone.

Posted May 16th at 10:11 am by Jackie Burrough in General Birding

Little Bittern at Radford Lake

Little Bittern showing well at Radford Lake early yesterday afternoon. I didn't realise it was so small compared to the Little Egret in the middle pic.

Little Bittern, Little Egret and Little Bittern, Little Bittern
Little Bittern, Little Egret and Little Bittern, Little Bittern

Posted May 16th at 7:03 am by Bob Barrow in General Birding

Friday 15th May 2020

Little Bittern at Radford Lake

Little Bitterns showing well at Radford Lake early afternoon. I didn't realise they were so small compared to the Little Egret in middle pic.

Posted May 15th at 10:52 pm by Bob Barrow in General Birding


Libbaton golf course  Burrington wonderful view of a Hoopoe on the ground and in flight. Gave us a great view of its crest. Great sight only ever seen them in France .

Posted May 15th at 8:58 pm by Peter Churcher in General Birding

Teignmouth, New Road, 11.00am

Red Kite over the garden, a pale individual.

Posted May 15th at 8:14 pm by Simon Bates in General Birding

Skern Shelduck

This afternoon there was a pair of Shelduck on Greylake with six new ducklings.

Posted May 15th at 7:43 pm by Martin Unwin in General Birding

Dawlish Warren



Posted May 15th at 7:05 pm by Robert Kent in General Birding


2 cuckoos heard only one seen constantly moving harassed by meadow pipits, willow warbler in trees/bushes along wall quite close to car park.

Willow Warbler
Willow Warbler

Posted May 15th at 6:35 pm by Gary Bolton in General Birding

Bee-eaters in Exmouth

7+ Bee-eaters were briefly in my garden in Drakes Avenue, Exmouth from 10am. 7 were seen together and as they flew off east six appeared from behind the oak tree they had been favouring, so possibly 13 in total. Regrettably no further sign by late afternoon.

Posted May 15th at 3:57 pm by Peter Sparks in General Birding

Radford Lake 15-05-20

Little Bittern showing well on the lake, and a Cormorant with having a fight with dinner

Posted May 15th at 3:44 pm by Greg Bradbury in General Birding

Partially leucistic hacksaw at Velator

On our return from Sherpa Marsh spotted a semi leucistic Jackdaw amongst a flock of about 20 foraging the night ride line along the tidal River Caen.

Semi leucistic Jackdaw on the Caen River at Velator
Semi leucistic Jackdaw on the Caen River at Velator

Posted May 15th at 3:21 pm by Phil and Sue Naylor in General Birding

Peregrine over Sherpa Marsh

A walk around Sherpa Marsh this morning produced four common Swift, numerous sand martin and barn swallows, heard several Cettis and sedge warblers. Two Reed bunting, six little egret and the star of the show a beautiful male Peregrine falcon came from the south & continued over the marsh last seen heading north. Image attached purely as a record shot, out of focus & extremely cropped :(

Peregrine falcon record image
Peregrine falcon record image

Posted May 15th at 3:13 pm by Phil & Sue Naylor in General Birding

14th May Little Bittern and Woodchat Shrike

First real birding outing for a while, up at five off to Yarner Woods. Only 6 degrees but lovely weather, target birds seen, Spotted and Pied Flycatcher's, Redstart, Garden Warbler.

Had a call to say a very rare Little Bittern had been seen at Radford Lake in Plymouth so back to Plymouth. Had good views, news of a Woodchat Shrike was at Wembury Point

Returning to perch with BeeWhat a bonus , local rarityQuick retreat, close encounter with human's
Returning to perch with Bee     What a bonus , local rarity    Quick retreat, close encounter with human's

Posted May 15th at 3:09 pm by Barry Rankine in General Birding

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