Devon Bird Sightings from 15th–21st July 2020

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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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

Friday 24th July 2020

Preston seafront

The 1st Turnstone has returned to Preston, still resplendent in it's summer plumage. 

Posted July 24th at 8:24 pm by Stephen Huggins in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Blaxton Meadow was full of birds on this morning’s big high tide including: juvenile Mediterranean Gull, 3 Common Sandpipers, Dunlin (summer plumage), 82 Redshanks, 4 Greenshanks, 2 Whimbrels, 36 Curlews, 2 Oystercatchers & adult Shelduck with 4 juveniles. Also 2 Spotted Flycatchers, Whitethroat, male Stonechat with 3 juveniles, Great Spotted & 2+ Green Woodpeckers, Shag & 3 Roe Deer. 

Posted July 24th at 2:38 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Dawlish Warren

Yesterday at Dawlish Warren: Common, Sandwich and Arctic Terns, Med. Gulls, Oystercatchers, Whimbrels, Curlews, Ringed Plovers, Dunlins, Sanderlings, Linnets. Slavonian Grebe showing well at Cockwood.

Slavonian Grebe, Sanderlings, Common Tern
Slavonian Grebe, Sanderlings, Common Tern

Posted July 24th at 11:05 am by Bob Barrow & John Lloyd in General Birding

Thursday 23rd July 2020


1 juvenile Yellow-legged Gull and 8 Mediterranean Gulls on the beach early evening.

Posted July 23rd at 10:05 pm by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Bradiford Reserve Barnstaple

Having some work done on the reserve this week. Yesterday elver's seen in the freshly running spring ditch after the mini digger had done some work. Today Green Sandpiper flitting around the same newly cleaned spring ditch so pleased to see this work having such a quick impact. more to do tomorrow and will see what else turns up.

Posted July 23rd at 6:01 pm by Karen Sims in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

In addition to Martin's sightings this morning, a Whimbrel, 2 Stock Doves, my first juvenile Lesser Balack-backed Gull of the year and the adult Shelduck with 4 juveniles.

Posted July 23rd at 3:29 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Mediterranean gull on Sutton Harbour 13.50

On the 'beach' next to the old China House pub. Ringed I think but stupidly don't have binoculars.

Posted July 23rd at 1:56 pm by Martin Lavelle in General Birding


From the bridge over the river as I arrived a bird I thought would be a Grey Wagtail, but when it flew it became a Common Sandpiper, I blame the wagging tail! The tide was quite high - up as far as the weir, so it was pushed up to the low water.

Trying (and failing) to catch Swallows last night I heard a Water Rail just outside the reserve. I've heard it several times of late.

I have also had sporadic sightings of 2 Black-tailed Godwits out on the scrape. I think they are the same as the two I saw on 26th June - one in sum plum, one not.

Posted July 23rd at 12:31 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding

Wigford Down 23.7.2020

A walk over Wigford Down from Cadover Lakes this morning. About 30 Pied Wagtails mainly juvs feeding in the Cadworthy Farm fields. A loose flock of about 40 Starlings practically all juvs, in same fields.

The most interesting and amusing sighting was of an adult Great Black Backed Gull on a large stone being intimidated by a Raven. The gulls reaction was one of complete indifference. Despite the Raven being very noisy and agitated, it didn't move a muscle, and eventually the Raven gave up and flew off

Posted July 23rd at 12:18 pm by roger smaldon in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

This mornings high tide produced at least 4 Common Sandpiper, 37 Curlew 97 Redshank, 2 Greenshank, 1 Oystercatcher,1 Dunlin (sp), Little Grebe, Kingfisher and juv Yellow-legged Gull on Blaxton meadow.

Around Saltram were 3 Green & 3 GS Woodpecker, Whitethroat and 5 Stock Dove.

Posted July 23rd at 11:25 am by Martin Phillips in General Birding


(Blog about wed-22nd)

Greater spotted and green woodpeckers. Juv Perigrine screaming away at the quarry- didn't spot the parents. Swifts gathering at the viaducts, biggest group was around 20-30. plenty of nuthatches in the trees, buzzards, sparrowhawks. White throated dippers. Grey wagtails. Hoped to see the crossbills previously said the other day, but no luck, needle in a haystack there. 

Posted July 23rd at 1:17 am by Annabel Sharpe in General Birding

Wednesday 22nd July 2020

South Huish Marsh early evening

38 dunlin then later only 13 of which 12 adults, 1 juv. Water levels already pretty low. V busy and noisy in NT car park. I wonder how compatible the c/p is with the wetland.

Posted July 22nd at 7:44 pm by Richard Archer in General Birding

Lower Tamar Lake

This morning at the Lake

7 Willow Tit, 18 Blue Tit, 3 Great Crested Grebe, 4m Tufted Duck, 1 Grey Wagtail, 2 Coot, 2 Mute Swan, 9 Canada Geese, 6 Great Tit, 4 Chaffinch, 1 Wren, 2 Dunnock, 2 Robin, 3 Jay, 2 Sedge Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackbird, c30 Mallard.

Posted July 22nd at 7:27 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding


Seabirds definitely eclipsed by cetaceans today:

4 balearic Shearwaters,

!0 Harbour Porpoise (small groups)

35 Common Dolphins (3 groups)

2 Minke Whales (2 and 6 miles north of Eddystone). They definitely both ventured into Devon's water while they were zig zagging about.

Harbour Porpoise
Harbour Porpoise

Common Dolphin
Common Dolphin

Minke Whale
Minke Whale

Posted July 22nd at 6:13 pm by Rupert Kirkwood in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Venford Reservoir

Two Great Crested Grebes, one Little Grebe, 20+ House Martins, Crossbills calling in spruce on east side of reservoir but not seen.

Posted July 22nd at 5:05 pm by roger smaldon in General Birding

Turtle Dove

Have got a Turtle Dove coming into my garden for seed. Been around  for a few months

Eds: please ensure you submit this record to the County Recorder (if you have a photo that too) link here.. 

Posted July 22nd at 3:50 pm by sandra statt in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Beesands Ley

From the hide this morning: Juv Marsh Harrier over the reeds. It drifted off, gathering height, to the north. Also Kingfisher,  Reed Warblers and Willow Warbler.

Posted July 22nd at 3:15 pm by Roger White in General Birding

Avon Dam at dawn

Only a Great Crested Grebe on the water, but the dam wall was unusually busy. Aside from a resting Cormorant and a huddle of young Carrion Crows, there was much coming and going of small passerines, mostly juvs, between 0615 and 0630. Most surprising were Nuthatch and Bullfinch and Spotted Fly, but also recorded on the wall were Pied and Grey Wagtails, Meadow Pipit, Chaffinch, Great Tit, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Swallow:and Stonechat.



Posted July 22nd at 2:22 pm by Peter Reay in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

A Cattle Egret in full summer plumage roosting on one of the posts on Blaxton Meadow at high tide this morning. In addition there, an adult Sandwich Tern circled but didn’t land, 5 Greenshanks, 2 Whimbrels with 36 Curlews, Common Sandpiper (+ 2 more on the river), Kingfisher & adult Mediterranean Gull. Also, a family party of 4 Spotted Flycatchers, male Whitethroat with a newly fledged juvenile, 2 juvenile Stonechats, Great Spotted Woodpecker & 4 Roe Deer.

Posted July 22nd at 12:41 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Med Gulls, Dawlish

5 Med Gulls flew South past Boat Cove at Noon

Posted July 22nd at 12:32 pm by paul barker in General Birding

Baggy Point

Beautiful day for a walk out to Baggy this morning. Not much on show  - a couple of Mediterranean Gulls, a few parties of Linnets, and 4 Wheatears out at the point. Despite a very calm sea, no sign of Dolphins or Porpoises.

Posted July 22nd at 11:48 am by Jon Turner in General Birding

Headland Warren Farm

Yesterday between 10:00 - 12:00, lots of Wheatear in the farm paddocks. 5 Whinchats seen just out of the farm heading up to Hockney Tor, with more Wheatears at the top of the hill. Plenty of swallows, meadow pipits and stonechats around the farm also. 

Posted July 22nd at 10:28 am by Matt Clark in General Birding

Tuesday 21st July 2020

Marine Parade ~ Paignton

Four Mediterranean Gulls at Marine Parade, Paignton on this mornings high tide, two ringed birds, one an adult seen in Torbay on a regular basis green ring RLN4 the second ringed bird one of this years yellow ring APUE from details on its metal tag ring possibly a French bird.

Posted July 21st at 10:09 pm by Steve Hopper in General Birding

Slapton Sands

Yesterday's 2 juvenile Wheatears still in the same location , and today with an Ad.f / 1st.Yr. f . m. individual . Given the date, possibly they have bred locally.

Posted July 21st at 5:17 pm by Alan K. Searle in General Birding

Swifts in Great Torrington

The swifts in Torrirngton seemed to disappear since my last report on 25 June. In the last few days they've been around again and this morning I was thrilled to see 9 over the town centre. Also 6 house martins, they are group-inspecting eaves as if teaching the youngsters where good nest sites are. 1 swallow

Posted July 21st at 11:12 am by Aubrey McKenzie in General Birding


Lovely to see my first spotted flycatcher of the summer  on a early evening stroll around saltram also green woodpecker and missile thrush 

Posted July 21st at 8:06 am by Mike Williams in General Birding

Monday 20th July 2020

Lower Tamar Lake

This morning at the lake

2 Mute Swan, 2 Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Tit, 1 Grey Wagtail, 5 Blue Tit, 3 Treecreeper, 4 Long-tailed Tit, 4 Buzzards over, 1 Coal Tit, 4 Chaffinch, 1 Willow Warbler.

Posted July 20th at 9:46 pm by Rod Mudge in General Birding

Plymouth to Clearbrook return

A cycle ride produced 2 Crossbills (just south of Bickleigh), 3 Peregrines around the Cann Quarry nest site, 2 Marsh Tits, a few Siskins, 5 Silver-washed Fritillaries & a Brimstone.

Posted July 20th at 8:28 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Juvenile swift

Found this young one on the floor a few days ago.must have fallen out from under the eaves so I put him/her back in the nest and watched to make sure the parents were still in attendance.i now check every day to  make sure nothing else has fallen out.we are just outside Okehampton 

Posted July 20th at 6:36 pm by Laurence Smith in General Birding

Exminster Marshes


Garganey on the lagoon.

Posted July 20th at 4:33 pm by Paul Bray in General Birding

Slapton Sands

2 Wheatears on the sea defence boulders ,both still in juvenile plumage.

Posted July 20th at 4:27 pm by Alan K Searle in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

On this mornings high tide the following were seen.

Curlew 38, Redshank 91, Greenshank 3, Whimbrel 1, Dunlin 1, Common Sandpiper 6, Kingfisher 1, Stonechat 1 juv, Whitethroat 2, G Woodpecker 2 and 8 Stock Dove.

Posted July 20th at 10:38 am by Martin Phillips in General Birding

Sunday 19th July 2020

Yelland to Instow

Nipped out to Yelland and Instow this afternoon,

Marbled White
Marbled White


Pied Wagtail
Pied Wagtail

Posted July 19th at 10:37 pm by Martin Bennett in General Birding

Valley of the Rocks

Popped out this morning to Valley of the Rocks and got photos of goats, a Buzzard flying over the sea and a Wheatear feeding around some stones.



Juvenile Stonechat
Juvenile Stonechat

Posted July 19th at 10:33 pm by Martin Bennett in General Birding

South Molton

Garden tick: juvdnile redstart, streaked breast, reddish tail, flicking tail vigorouslyfor 2-3 mins, 1740 this evening

Posted July 19th at 7:57 pm by Art Symons in General Birding

Powderham Marsh

Wood Sandpiper still present this evening, 2 Green Sandpipers and great views of the female Marsh Harrier

Posted July 19th at 7:28 pm by David Cope in General Birding


1000-1530 :

12 Mediterranean gull with fading summer plumage, 6 Dunlin, 1 Whimbrel, 6 Whitethroat, 2 Blackcap (1m, 1f) 4 Chiffchaff in the scrub, 2 Skylark. Red admiral, Marbled white, Gatekeeper butterflies. 1 Grey seal.

Posted July 19th at 5:41 pm by Alan Livsey in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

A low tide visit this afternoon, focusing on the land, produced: 2 Spotted Flycatchers, a male & 2 juv Stonechats, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Whitethroat, 2 Roe Deer fawns, 8 Marbled Whites & 35 Gatekeepers.

Posted July 19th at 4:41 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Torre Abbey Sands, Torquay


Single Dunlin sharing the beach with a decent crowd of paddlers and bathers! 

Posted July 19th at 4:00 pm by Paul Darlington in General Birding

Paignton, Preston Beach.

A mixed flock of 4 Sanderling and 3 Dunlin on the beach this morning.

2 Sanderling(left), 3 Dunlin(centre) and 2 Sanderling(right).
2 Sanderling(left), 3 Dunlin(centre) and 2 Sanderling(right).

Posted July 19th at 11:41 am by Steven O'Donoghue in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram 18/7/20

Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull on Blaxton Meadow (unfortunately, appeared to be tangled in fishing line), 3 Greenshanks, 2 Common Sandpipers, 4 juv & an adult Shelduck, adult Mediterranean Gull & Green Woodpecker.

Posted July 19th at 10:49 am by Pete Aley in General Birding

Saturday 18th July 2020

Kingsbridge Estuary

A Knot in Charleton Bay this evening

Posted July 18th at 10:05 pm by Perry Sanders in General Birding

Yelland to Instow

More from my outing.


Marbled White
Marbled White


Posted July 18th at 5:52 pm by Martin Bennett in General Birding

Yelland to Instow

Out on my trotters again today this time around Yelland and Instow.  Saw the following: 4 Oyster Catchers, 1 Curlew, 2 Reed Warblers, 2 Mute Swans, 2 Stonechats, 1 Dunnock, 2 Sedge Warblers, 3 Marbled White and a few Orchids.


Sedge Warbler
Sedge Warbler

Sedge Warbler
Sedge Warbler

Posted July 18th at 5:48 pm by Martin Bennett in General Birding


A flock of c600 Gulls loafing on the salt marsh at high tide, mainly Black-headed Gulls but including 166 Mediterranean Gulls of which 31 were juvs a record number for me at this site. Only 8 Herring Gulls, 1 Common Gull and 1 Sandwich Tern. The only waders were 8 Oystercatche and a Redshanks.

Posted July 18th at 5:34 pm by Roger Doble in General Birding

Blagdon,s Meadow, Plymouth, 18-07-20

On Blagdon's meadow, just off Embankment Road, 2 Clouded Yellows showing very well, amongst common clues (M & F), small coppers (M & F) and lots of burnets 

Clouded Yellows
Clouded Yellows

Posted July 18th at 4:43 pm by Greg Bradbury in Other Wildlife

Black Hole Marsh, Seaton

07:52 - 10:04

Little Ringed Plover x4, Greenshank, Redshank, Common Sandpiper, Black-tailed Godwit x9, Reed & Sedge Warbler. Roe in field (1 buck, 1 doe).

Posted July 18th at 4:29 pm by Paul Bray in General Birding

Powderham Marsh

On and over the Marsh this morning, female Marsh Harrier, Wood Sandpiper, I green Sandpiper, 12 Little Egrets, Snow Goose, and moderate numbers of Swallows, House Martins and a few Swifts

Posted July 18th at 2:10 pm by Rupert Ormerod in General Birding

Friday 17th July 2020

Plym Estuary & Saltram

2 Peregrines, Sparrowhawk, 2 Green Woodpeckers, juv Stonechat, Whitethroat, 2 Common Sandpipers, 2 Greenshanks, still 4 juv Shelducks & an adult Mediterranean Gull.

Posted July 17th at 6:09 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

Slapton Ley

At least 80 Med Gull ( all ages ) and 2 adult Arctic Terns on the beach about 300 metres north of Torcross this morning.

Posted July 17th at 4:12 pm by Perry Sanders in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Matford marsh

On walk to work this morning 30 little egrets and 2 green sandpipers on Matford marsh 

Posted July 17th at 8:01 am by Keith Birchall in General Birding

Lopwell 16 July

Took a walk along the Tavy from Lopwell Dam to Maristow Quay checking for waders. Party of four Common Sandpipers by Lopwel - two adults with two juvs.

Posted July 17th at 7:55 am by Rob Jones in General Birding

Thursday 16th July 2020


this impressive bright comet is now more conveniently visbile in the evening sky after dark (looking good 11-12pm). Low in the NW and if you can view it from a dark site it really helps. Finder chart at:

Posted July 16th at 9:04 pm by Chris Proctor in Other Wildlife

Shoalstone Point - Brixham

Honey Buzzard being harried by Lesser-black backed Gull and Herring Gulls at Shoalston Point then continued west following shoreline towards Brixham at 12.35 today. This bird was fairly dark and lacked obvious trailing edge to underwing, barring not distinct so would suggest a female.

Posted July 16th at 8:54 pm by Clive Mason in General Birding


An adult Redshank at Torcross end of Slapton Ley this morning,  presume must be pretty uncommon here.

Posted July 16th at 8:44 pm by Steve Wadsworth in General Birding

Powderham Marsh

A scan for an hour around mid-day produced 9 Cattle Egrets (6 ads. and 3 juvs.), 2 Mediterranean Gulls, 2 Kestrels (ad. m. passing a food item to a juv.), and singles of Wigeon (with a broken wing), Shoveler, Snow Goose, and Green and Common Sandpipers.

Posted July 16th at 5:11 pm by James Camden in General Birding

Dawlish Warren Moths July 16

A really good night's mothing last night, for variety rather than numbers, particularly between 10pm and midnight. The Barred Straw was the first moth into the trap but most species were happy just sitting on the wall nearby, where I almost overlooked this intricate little Twenty Plumed Moth.

Barred Straw
Barred Straw

Twenty Plumed Moth
Twenty Plumed Moth

Posted July 16th at 4:19 pm by Peter Leigh in General Birding

Late news earlier this week.

Evening before last I bumped into a birder who had watched a Common Scoter diving for, catching and eating small crabs near the Barnstaple downstream bridge on Monday. Sadly gone the next day.

Posted July 16th at 2:00 pm by Jon Turner in General Birding


Spectacular gathering of gulls in the estuary mouth this morning. An estimated 2000+ Herring Gull. An hour or so spent on Exmouth Quay, watching the chaos, produced at least 1 juv Yellow-legged Gull, c20+ Mediterranean Gull, 5 Common Tern, c10/20+ Sandwich Tern and good numbers of Black-headed Gull. In addition, a flock of 10 Cattle Egret flew past and upriver at 0755 and shortly after, a Tufted Duck. Photos on the blog later.

Posted July 16th at 9:11 am by Matt Knott in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Avon Dam at dawn

Although two-a-penny on most estuaries, even in July, Redshank is not even annual on Dartmoor or elsewhere inland in Devon. Thus an adult at the Avon Dam early this morning was a great surprise and a new species for both site and parish. Also present, one Great Crested Grebe, but no other water birds..

Posted July 16th at 8:13 am by Peter Reay in General Birding

Wednesday 15th July 2020


Walking the coast path this evening between Strete and Blackpool sands I was amazed to see a stunning male silver pheasant walking towards me. No doubt an escape but i was able to see he had no ring. He seemed oblivious to me until I got out my camera when he promptly went shy and disappeared into the undergrowth by the stream just north of Strete

Posted July 15th at 9:32 pm by Jeff hacon in General Birding

South Efford Marsh

3 Cattle Egrets on the marsh this afternoon. Also there and along the Tidal Road: 1 Greenshank, 4+ Common Sandpipers, 17 Curlew, 15+ Little Egrets and a Kingfisher.

Posted July 15th at 7:27 pm by Andy Smith in General Birding

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Juvenile Yellow-legged Gull, 2nd-s Mediterranean Gull, 2 Peregrines, Whitethroat, Kestrel, Shag & 2 Roe Deer.

Posted July 15th at 5:49 pm by Pete Aley in General Birding

stover country park

5 mute swans, 3 which were cygnets. An occupied nest of great crested grebes, 50 mallards,10 coots,5 great tits,1 blue tit,1 grey heron,3 mandarin ducks,1 stock dove,1 woodpigeon,1 moorhen,2 herring gull,1 kingfisher,2 carrion crow,1 coal tit,1 blackbird,2 robins,1 dunnock and 2 chaffinch.

Posted July 15th at 2:38 pm by Henry Jones in General Birding

Chudleigh moths

The best of last night's catch - a male Ghost Moth and a Scallop Shell. Otherwise fairly quiet with (unusually) very few noctuids.

Ghost Moth, male
Ghost Moth, male

Scallop Shell
Scallop Shell

Posted July 15th at 2:24 pm by Chris Proctor in Other Wildlife

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