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 social distancing, the Devon Birds hides at Beesands, Fernworthy and Roadford, in addition to hides elsewhere in the County including Bowling Green Marsh and Dawlish Warren are closed until further notice. 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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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 27th June 2020

Exminster Mediterranean Gulls

A flock of c400 gulls, 90%+ Black-headed, resting over the high tide among the cattle just North of Turf contained at least 8 adult Meds., very belatedly getting my year-list to 150. Not my favourite bird in this plumage: 

Earlier, off Cofton Steps, a frenzied flock of 500+ mixed gulls were feeding in mid-estuary, presumably on a hatch of fish (Flounder? Dabs? Mullet? Does anybody know what breeds in the estuary?). The Slavonian Grebe in his breeding fine to ry was only about 50m offshore in calm water, allowing a prolonged good view.

Haven't seen the Powderham Egyptian Geese pair for several weeks; at the end of May they had 7 nearly-full-grown young. Perhaps they have a communal moult site elsewhere like some other Anseriformes.

Posted June 27th at 5:37 pm by James Camden in General Birding

Friday 26th June 2020

Wrafton etc

Been a bit quiet lately as summer settles in.  But signs of change on the way when yesterday a Black-headed Gull was out by the scrape with about 50 panting Herring Gulls and 2 LBBs. This morning there were 2 Black-headed Gulls there, and the first 2 Black-tailed Godwits.

Ringing in the reserve yesterday produced 7 Blackcaps 2 Chiffchaffs, 1 each of Cetti's Warbler, House Sparrow. Whitethroat, and Blue Tit; others included two juvenile Song Thrush and 5 Dunnocks. Not sure what's going on with the Little Grebes - both juvs are present, but the adults both seem to have gone.

Posted June 26th at 5:21 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Three adult Sandwich Terns dropped in with the 159 Black-headed (including the first 3 juvs of the year) & 5 Mediterranean (3 ad-s, 2nd-s & 1st-s) Gulls on Blaxton Meadow. Also 15 Curlews, 2 Stock Doves, Shelduck with 4 ducklings, Green Woodpecker, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 35 Marbled Whites, 10 Small Skippers & 5 Ringlets.

Posted June 26th at 3:26 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Exminster Marshes - update from reserve

The reserve is unfortunately looking quite dry at the moment as a result of the hot, dry weather in May and June. Despite this, some areas remain wet and there have been three species of wader recorded with successful breeding on site.

Lockdown has made reserve management difficult and quite restrictive in terms of what we can or cannot do. In some cases, management activities have become impossible. We have been operating with extremely limited staffing since lockdown on 23rd March, since we had to wave goodbye to our full-time residential volunteers, and our work party and most individual volunteering activities had to stop. We are still a long way from normal staffing capacity.

On top of lockdown and minimal staffing, Steve and I both only started in our roles (Warden and Site Manager respectively) just before lockdown. This has meant that there is a lot for us to get our heads round, and there are many things on the list of management objectives that we’d really like to achieve but probably won’t be able to this year.

So far, we’ve had to focus all of the limited on-reserve time we’ve had into ‘essential’ work: animal welfare, security, health and safety, legal compliance and delivery of agri-environment schemes. For us this has mainly been ensuring the welfare and security of grazing animals, and any essential work under our Countryside Stewardship scheme. We have put a particularly huge amount of effort into maintaining our electric fences recently to contain cattle as well as stop predators getting into core areas.

We are also still working to re-open our sites and are starting to welcome back volunteers, and along with that comes a whole raft of covid-19 measures that we need to ensure are in place for the health and safety of our staff, volunteers and visitors.

We have begun to try to get our heads round the many dams, sluices, drop boards, gates and pipes that make up the interconnected waterways of Exminster, but there is an awful lot for us to get our heads round. Unfortunately, there are also some issues with the new water control structures and scrapes in the fields adjacent to the canal, which we will be having the contractors back to look at. We are reserving some lagoon water for troubleshooting the issues so we can get this right. A lot of money was spent on the new features and we’re not happy to leave it as an unresolved issue which will compromise reserve management objectives for many years to come.

As we learn more about the water control structures on site we’ll be prioritising water distribution to core areas such as within the predator fences or where we think it can have best effect based on knowledge of nests and juvenile waders. Hopefully timings will also line up and we will be able to direct water into the new scrapes for autumn wader passage alongside our testing, snagging and fixing.

 We’re well aware that many parts of the reserve are very dry after the dry spring we’ve had, but at the moment it’s unlikely that we’ll be able to address this particular issue given the other priorities we have, the situation we’re in and the reduced resources at our disposal.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. We are doing our best.

RSPB Reserves manager

Posted June 26th at 11:40 am by Mike Langman in General Birding

Stonebarrow, Trinity Hill, Widworthy

Recent shots while walking the dog.



Roe Deer
Roe Deer

Posted June 26th at 7:18 am by Geoff Mitchell in General Birding

Thursday 25th June 2020


2 Wheatear seen on the rocks opposite the stable fields. 

Posted June 25th at 8:04 pm by Matt Clark in General Birding

Lower Tamar Lake

This morning at the lake,

1 Kingfisher, 1 Willow Tit, 2 Grey Wagtail,1 Pied Wagtail, 1 Grey Heron, 2 Mute Swan.

Posted June 25th at 8:04 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

Northam, near Torridge Bridge

Further to my earlier post about Mediterranean Gulls hawking for flying ants over the garden many of the gulls went down to rest on the mud/sand banks below my house. Amongst a group of 30 plus Black-headed Gulls there were 3 adult Meds (1 with a yellow colour ring on the left leg) 2 first summer birds and 1 second summer bird. Autumn seems to be just around the corner!!

Posted June 25th at 7:10 pm by Martin Unwin in General Birding

Dawlish Warren Moths 24/6 (2)

First Privet Hawkmoth of the year

Privet Hawkmoth
Privet Hawkmoth

Privet Hawkmoth
Privet Hawkmoth

Posted June 25th at 6:38 pm by Peter Leigh in General Birding

Northam, near Torridge Bridge

Two Mediterranean Gulls (1 adult and 1 second summer) over the house this afternoon joining with several Black-headed Gulls hawking for insects. Also several Swift up very high.

Posted June 25th at 3:52 pm by Martin Unwin in General Birding


At least 3 swifts and a Kestrel over Heavitree shops 13.45.

Posted June 25th at 3:03 pm by Martin Rooney in General Birding

Red Kite - Chudleigh 25 June

Red Kite seen flying low over the town , then circled to great height and drifted gradually east. Not the first sighting here, but nice late one.

Posted June 25th at 2:15 pm by Nick Walter in General Birding

Crossbills Plymouth

2 Crossbills went over my house in Lipson this morning calling frequently

Posted June 25th at 12:23 pm by Rich Billington in General Birding

Swifts in Torrington

I counted 15 swifts over Great Torrington this morning. That's more than recent years by !00$%

Posted June 25th at 9:52 am by Aubrey McKenzie in General Birding

Pair of cranes

Pr of calling cranes over Marsh Green, nr Ottery heading east.

Posted June 25th at 9:14 am by Robin Pearson in General Birding


First Nightjar churring at 9:32pm then recorded 7 churring males across the forest, with much wing-clapping, kewicking and superb views of feeding birds over the plantations. Also 5+Crossbills, 20+ Siskins, c.10 Lesser Redpolls, Green & Great Spotted Woodpecker, Grey Wagtail, singing Tree Pipit & Willow Warbler and six Roe Deer.

Posted June 25th at 9:01 am by Rob Macklin in General Birding

Wednesday 24th June 2020

Yarner Wood

13:41 - 15:35

A pair of Redstart; a pair of Pied Flycatcher feeding young in a nestbox and a lone female Siskin were the highlights.

Posted June 24th at 5:13 pm by Paul Bray in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

First returning Kingfisher, 2 Spotted Flycatchers, 2nd-s Mediterranean Gull, 14 Curlews, 2 Shags, Bullfinch, Green Woodpecker (heard), 2 Gatekeepers & 30 Marbled Whites

Posted June 24th at 2:11 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding


About 20 swifts above Totnes around midday today

Posted June 24th at 1:30 pm by Philip Strange in General Birding

Tuesday 23rd June 2020


 Just seen 40-50 swifts over Braunton above kingsacre area wow at 5.30

Posted June 23rd at 4:43 pm by Kevin Lymer in General Birding

Lower Tamar Lake.

6 Blackcaps, 4 Willow warblers, 3 Chiffchaffs all in song, 1 Kingfisher, 10 adult Mallards with 15 juveniles, several Blue Tits, 2 Coal Tits, 2 Mute Swans, Rooks at the nearby rookery, Carrion Crows and 3 - 4 Jackdaws, 1 Blackbird, 3 Great Crested Grebes.

Harvey Kendall.

Posted June 23rd at 12:31 pm by Harvey Kendall in General Birding

North Devon

Late post.  Popped out on Sunday evening with my camera and captured these images. The Kestrel is a long distance recorder shot.

Barn Owl
Barn Owl

Grey Heron
Grey Heron


Posted June 23rd at 11:33 am by Martin Bennett in General Birding

Monday 22nd June 2020

Swift's day.

Today has been a day of swifts. Everywhere I have stopped to work and journeying in between, the most noticeable bird has been a swift. Two to five was the average number seen at each stop, well over 20 at the Roundswell roundabout on the A39 and even when I got home there were two or three feeding overhead. Lovely to see so many all over my area of North Devon. Obviously shows they are doing well this year.

Posted June 22nd at 5:17 pm by Robert Morgan in General Birding

Cann Quarry ~ Peregrines & Spotted Flycatchers

I collected one of this years Cann Quarry (Plymouth) Peregrines from a Plymouth vets this morning, I suspect the bird had collided with a wire fence close to the nest site and bruised one of its wings.

Can any one give me an idea of how long ago this brood may have fledged and left the nest and if they have remained in the vicinity of the nest site as I want to get the bird back to its parents as soon as possible.

Cancel the above request I have been able to obtain the info required.

Peregrine juvenile female


While watching them a pair of Spotted Flycatchers dropped into the tree to the front of the viewing area.

Posted June 22nd at 5:15 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Radford Lake 22-06-20

Med Gull flying over Radford Lake

Posted June 22nd at 5:06 pm by Greg Bradbury in General Birding

Dawlish Warren NNR

08:27 - 11:25

Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, GBBG, Cirl Bunting (2), Sandwich Tern (6+), Common Tern (2) and a lone dark bellied Brent Goose were the highlights for me.

Posted June 22nd at 2:51 pm by Paul Bray in General Birding

Preston, Paignton "moth"

The "moth" is a male large skipper butterfly - the black liine on the forewing identifies it as a male.

Posted June 22nd at 2:13 pm by Chris Proctor in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Three Mediterranean Gulls (all 1st-summers) on this morning's high tide, together with my first returning Redshanks (12) & 8 Curlews. Also a pair of Spotted Flycatchers, juv Great Spotted Woodpecker, 3 Green Woodpeckers (including a juv), 23 Mandarin Ducks, Whitethroat, 5 Marbled Whites & 4 Roe Deer.

Posted June 22nd at 2:00 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Fernworthy reservoir 21st June 2020

Windy day up at fernworthy. At first bird hide, 2 redstarts nesting, a siskin in the coniferous forest and the highlight were 2 great crested grebes. Also present: 45 canada geese, 13 mallards, a chiffchaff calling and the usual lot.

Posted June 22nd at 1:03 pm by Henry Jones in General Birding

South Brent

A pair of Stonechats appears to have bred on enclosed farmland on the north side of Brent Hill this year, and has been suspected in the last few years. Habitat on Brent Hill itself looks more suitable, but there is no evidence that they breed there. The hedges below the hill are wide, up to 3 m across, and most border hay meadows. Adults have been present this year since early March, but the first newly fledged juvs not seen until 16 Jun. How unusual is it for Stonechats in Devon to breed on farmland inland? I would be interested to hear of any other instances on 

Probable stonechat breeding site below Brent Hill
Probable stonechat breeding site below Brent Hill

Stonechat juv  20 June
Stonechat juv 20 June

Posted June 22nd at 7:32 am by Peter Reay in General Birding

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