Devon Bird Sightings: Bird News from 15th–21st September 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

Friday 18th September 2020

Home Farm Marsh scrape

Not one, but TWO Great White Egret today on the scrape at Home Farm Marsh. Also counted 10 Greenshank on Fremington Pill which is more than we normally see. A flock of about 30 Wigeon flew past us as we walked back from the marsh up the Taw towards Fremington Quay before about turning and flying back down river towards Horsey Island marsh. Kingfisher fishing from the outfall sluice from the Nature Reserve. 

Two Great White Egret on the left with Little Egret on the right
Two Great White Egret on the left with Little Egret on the right
Closer view of the two GW Egrets
Closer view of the two GW Egrets

Posted September 18th at 9:56 pm by Phil and Sue Naylor in Bird News

R.Caen > Braunton Marshes

6 Cattle Egrets on Braunton Marshes on the way to R.Caen but none on the way back early evening.

On R.Caen 213 Dunlin & amongst them 4 Curlew Sandpipers.

Posted September 18th at 7:14 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Warleigh Point

Osprey this morning


Posted September 18th at 4:12 pm by Rupert Kirkwood in Bird News

Velator reserve and quay

Forgot to mention that there was a rather noisy pair of Ravens in the reserve this morning, attracting the attention of loads of Jackdaws.

On the ride back from the Marsh I stopped to look in the recently ploughed field across the road from Velator harbour and car park. I counted at least 40 Pied / White Wagtails.

Posted September 18th at 4:08 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Fremington Pill

2 Glossy Ibis between 7.45am and 9.15am but only one came down to feed. 18.9.2020

Posted September 18th at 4:07 pm by Pete Rodgers in Bird News

Preston, Paignton

Very little about after the storm conditions of the previous night.  22Turnstones, 2Second year Great black-backed gulls,6Oystercatchers  Several Rock Pipits, 2 Shags passing through, 3 Great black-backed gulls and lone Robin directly above where my wife and I were sitting.

Posted September 18th at 2:17 pm by Len Norrish in Bird News

Braunton Marsh

Quick ride out to the round Linhay and found one, then 2 Cattle Egrets. Carried a short way and on my return looked properly at the Egrets to find one was a Cattle Egret and the other a Little Egret!

Posted September 18th at 12:41 pm by jon turner in Bird News

R.Caen > Braunton Marshes

Forgot to mention there was a single Snipe calling overhead yesterday late aft over the R.Caen & 2 Snipe which flew up from the field with the Cattle Egrets early evening.

Posted September 18th at 11:38 am by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Thursday 17th September 2020

R.Caen Braunton Marshes

Cycled down to R.Caen on incoming tide with the scope.

No sign of the Osprey on the metal post but a Cormorant instead. Then a flock of Brent Geese flew in & landed near the flight gantry. Taking advantage of the strong currents associated with the spring tide they swam into Horsey Island, On the way home 7 Cattle Egrets on Braunton Marshes.

Posted September 17th at 9:46 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News


2 Bar-tailed Godwit, 5 Dunlin, 1 Redshank, 9 Turnstone, 2 Ringed Plover and 3 Curlew with Oystercatchers along the beach at Wembury Point this morning on the dropping tide. Around 30 Mediterranean Gulls (5 juveniles) amongst the roosting gulls out on the rocks.

4 Wheatear and a Whitethroat noted along with a Chiffchaff and a pair of Blackcap and around 100 Swallow moving east in a steady trickle over a 2 hour period and including 2 Sand Martin.

Plenty of Red Admiral feeding up on ivy Blossom, a Painted Lady (first sighting of one this year in Devon) and a Clouded Yellow also seen. 

Posted September 17th at 5:57 pm by Stuart Green in Bird News

Marldon - Red Kite

Red Kite seen drifting over the church in Marldon about 1.30pm today, closely pursued by a Buzzard. About 15 minutes later a Kestrel flew overhead. 

Posted September 17th at 4:34 pm by Stephen Huggins in Bird News

Velator/river Caen

Highlight of brief visit to the Reserve was a small Grass snake, racing to get away from me! The river this afternoon had 1 Redshank, 2 Ringed Plover and 40 or so Dunlin some which were mingling with Black-headed Gull flock, and included a Curlew Sandpiper.

Posted September 17th at 4:30 pm by jon turner in Bird News

shaugh prior to cadover

a lovely circular walk up the vally over the rocks up to cadover and around back, during this walk seen g.swoodpecker, 20+nutchatch,  stonechats, linnets, swallows, house martins, ravens, a startled group of pheasants, pair of buzzards, kestrel, grey wagtails, dipper, meadow pips 

Posted September 17th at 4:10 pm by Annabel Sharpe in Bird News

Fremington Pill

Glossy Ibis showing well at Fremington Pill today

Posted September 17th at 3:36 pm by David Paterson in Bird News

Berry Head seawatch

Berry Head 0730-1230, NE4-5 cloudy clearing: 28 Balearic Shearwaters ( group of 11), 11 Arctic Skuas, Great Skua, European Storm-petrel, 22 Common Scoter, juv Common Gull, 6 Sandwich Terns, c150 Kittiwakes, 30 Auks (mostly Razorbill), 2+ Harbour Porpoise, 20+ Common Dolphins (feeding under Gannets). Also a passage of 172 Swallows over the sea in 1st hour.
Common ScotersBalearic Shearwater Common Scoters                                                             Balearic Shearwater

Posted September 17th at 3:22 pm by Mark Darlaston in Bird News

Braunton Marshes

Flock of Starlings social distancing on top of Hawthorn Bush!

Adult & juvenile Cattle Egret.

Posted September 17th at 3:12 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

On the early morning high tide: 180 Redshanks, 7 Greenshanks, 39 Curlews, 22 Little Egrets & a Kingfisher. Also, Whinchat, 3 Stonechats, 6+ Siskins over & 6 Roe Deer.

Posted September 17th at 9:20 am by Pete Aley in Bird News

Wednesday 16th September 2020

Velator Reserve/Caen river

Caught and ringed another Kingfisher this morning. A juvenile female again. Also of note 3 Blackcaps, 2 Chiffchaffs, a Song Thrush and an adult female Bullfinch - the mother of the juveniles I have been catching lately?

Got a text from Andy Lansdell this evening which had me hurrying to meet him at the mouth of the Caen. I hope he will post a picture of the resulting Osprey later. Smart Wheatear too. Thanks for the heads up on the Curlew Sandpiper Dave - we saw one (a summer plumage bird no less!) in Somerset on 12th July.

Posted September 16th at 8:46 pm by jon turner in Bird News

Braunton Marsh

Quick look at the Cattle egrets and counted 8 (group of 7 and a single), then on to Horsey Island where Rob Jutsam and my wishes came true as we saw a very distant Osprey. Two ruff, 2 greenshank, 2 dunlin, 2 little owl, 2 Wheatear were the supporting cast.

Distant Osprey
Distant Osprey
Northern Wheatear
Northern Wheatear

Posted September 16th at 8:40 pm by Andy Lansdell in Bird News

Preston Beach, Paignton.

A total of 6 Dunlin were spread around the rocks this afternoon.


Posted September 16th at 5:37 pm by Steven O'Donoghue in Bird News

East Soar

A good day's tally inc.Firecrest at Starehole Ponds along with 2 Reed Warbler & Sedge Warbler, 12 Blackcap, 16 Chiffchaff, 5 Whitethroat, 6 Spotted Flycatcher, 2 Grey Wagtail, 10 White Wagtail, 21 Wheatear, 180 Swallow, 230 House Martin, 60 Meadow Pipit, 60 Skylark, Sparrowhawk and migrant Buzzard gaining height and moving high to the north.

Non-avian highlights: Hornet Robber Fly, 174 Large White & Clouded Yellow.

Posted September 16th at 4:54 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Fremington Pill

This afternoon at the Pill , 1 Glossy Ibis , 1 Spotted Redshank , 2 Kingfishers , 7 Greenshanks , 2 Dunlins & one for Jon Turner a Curlew Sandpiper ( thanks Gordon ) 

Curlew Sandpiper
Curlew Sandpiper
Curlew Sandpiper
Curlew Sandpiper

Posted September 16th at 4:37 pm by David Paterson in Bird News

Coastal footpath - Prawle car park to Pigs Nose Valley. 07:45 – 12:00.

Very little the reserve at Prawle however, roosting on the Coastguard Cottages roofs, on the power lines/ telephone lines and flying around was well over 500 Hirundinidaes. At least 350 House Martins and 150 Swallows. In the fields to the West of Lookout were 6 Wheatears. Pigs Nose Valley was full of warblers with many Chiffchaff, Willow Warblers, Blackcaps and at least 10 Whitethroats. The majority of the martins/swallows had departed by 12:00.

Posted September 16th at 3:53 pm by John O'Connell-Davidson in Bird News

Egret Roosting Powderham Park Estate

Sorry for late post but thought worth posting. Powderham Park Exe Estuary has become quiet a haunt for Little Egret roost but at midday yesterday while scanning trees for a reported Osprey, 3 Cattle Egret were seen roosting in an Oak Tree there may have been more hidden from view.So if they’re not with the cattle around the Estuary check the trees in Powderham. Kingfisher seen fishing near Turf Lock prey Prawns for lunch.

Prawn Lunch
Prawn Lunch
3 Cattle Egret at Powderham Park
3 Cattle Egret at Powderham Park

Posted September 16th at 3:17 pm by Derek Carter in Bird News

Saltpill pond and Gaia trust.

From the Tarka trail this morning , 3 Cattle Egrets feeding around the Black Cattle. The Great Egret flew from Saltpill pond towards Isley.  The marshy area around Saltpill held several Snipe and a calling Water Rail. Glossy Ibis nearby on Fremington Pill.    On both journeys a roosting Male Peregrine on Torridge bridge.

Posted September 16th at 12:09 pm by Malcolm Shakespeare in Bird News

Cattle Egrets, Braunton Marsh

Nice to see 6 cattle Egrets on the Marsh today, including at least one juvenile with dark beak.

Posted September 16th at 6:33 am by Andy Leat in Bird News

Tuesday 15th September 2020

Braunton Cattle Egrets

Nice to see adult and juveniles together this evening.

Posted September 15th at 11:01 pm by Andy Leat in Bird News


Highlight of an afternoon walk was a Yellow Wagtail heard and then seen in flight briefly from Old Way.

Posted September 15th at 8:53 pm by Nick Potter in Bird News

Labrador Bay

An evening visit in the hope of finding an Ortolan was largely thrawted by the largest field no longer being a stubble. Around 15 Cirl Bunting and a vocal Green Woodpecker were to be expected but a Short-eared Owl was definitely not. Presumably disturbed from its roost by mobbing Blackbirds and Magpies it flew south across the valley before perching up in a dead tree.

Some excellent arable plants in the southern most arable field with masses of Field Woundwort and Weasel's-Snout as well as Corn Spurrey and Sharp-leaved Fluellen. Also plenty of Small-flowered Catchfly from the clearly very succesful Back from the Brink reintroduction

Posted September 15th at 8:26 pm by Kevin Rylands in Bird News

Cattle egrets Braunton marsh

Six cattle egrets on Braunton marsh this evening. In the field near the Linhay.

Posted September 15th at 7:30 pm by Andy Leat in Bird News

Braunton Marshes

Now 6 Cattle Egrets on Braunton Marshes.

Posted September 15th at 6:46 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News


2+ Curlew Sands, 9 Grey Plover and Osprey highlights from Bowling Green viewpoint 

Posted September 15th at 6:14 pm by Reuben Veal in Bird News

Berry Head seawatch

Seawatch 12:45-15:15. Little wind, 100% cloud cover so good for cetaceans in theory, where: c15 Harbour Porpoises and c80 Common Dolphins (in several groups with young, some hassled by 2 jet skis, others by a speed boat). Bird-wise quiet, but an Arctic Skua, 30 Common Scoter, 2 Balearic Shearwaters, 3 distant unidentified mid-sized shearwaters, c40 Kittiwakes, 14 Cormorants (migrating south), but best of all a Black Tern feeding mid-range!

Posted September 15th at 5:55 pm by Mark Darlaston in Bird News


Highlights were an Ortolan Bunting which flew up Stare Hole valley at 10.00, calling (but I couldn’t relocate it) & my first Firecrest of the autumn (in East Soar willows). Also, 80 Siskins over (probably many more), Whinchat, Spotted Flycatcher, Wheatear, 7 Yellow Wagtails, 2 Tree Pipits, 3 Grey Wagtails, 18 Chiffchaffs, Willow Warbler, 12 Blackcaps, 4 Whitethroats, c100 each of House Martins & Swallows, Sand Martin, Great Spotted Woodpecker & a Bullfinch.

Posted September 15th at 3:08 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Lower Tamar Lake

This morning at the Lake.

6 Tufted Duck, 3 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Cormorant, 7 Canada Geese.

Posted September 15th at 2:41 pm by Rod Mudge in Bird News

East Prawle.

At Moorwell Pond this morning, 14 Chiffchaffs, 12 Blackcaps ,1 Willow  Warbler. 1 Spotted Flycatcher and the Cetti's Warbler. Nearby 2 Yellow Wagtails with the cattle and overhead a lone Swift heading South.

Willow Warbler.
Willow Warbler.

Posted September 15th at 12:47 pm by Alan K. Searle. in Bird News

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