Devon Bird Sightings: Bird News from 1st–7th April 2021


Devon Birds supported the intended outcomes of this project but are very concerned about the current approach with extensive removal of scrub during the breeding season. We do not support the current proposals and have raised our concerns with the landowner Clinton Devon Estates and received a response which causes us great concern. 

We encourage members to raise their concerns with the Environment Agency as recommended in the response from Clinton Devon Estates.

Posted yesterday at 10:55 am by Mike Daniels in Bird News


In the light of the continuing Covid19 restrictions on the number of people gathering together, and the need for social distancing, it has been agreed that there will be no Devon Birds meetings or events organised until 21st June 2021, when Government restrictions are planned to be lifted. If there is any Government announcement that necessitates a change to this date an update will be posted.

Posted April 16th at 11:17 am by Mike Daniels in Bird News

Lockdown relaxations

Devon Birds would like to thank the many members and other birdwatchers who complied with the restrictions during the recent Lockdown and stayed in their local area (village, town or part of city) to birdwatch while exercising (and later) taking recreation. We hope that, despite the obvious frustrations, you found some respite in watching wildlife in your local area and perhaps discovered some birds close to home, that you might otherwise not have seen! As always, please submit sightings to the County recorder and / or BirdTrack. 
Please continue to follow the Covid related requirements (currently "rule of six outside, social distancing etc) while enjoying the new freedoms to extend your birdwatching. Some hides will remain closed for the time being and where you find one open, please follow Government guidelines on keeping yourself & others safe:
Thank you from
Devon Birds News site editors & members of the Records Committee

Posted April 2nd at 4:28 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Think before you post...!


Please think very carefully before posting any information on scarce or rare breeding species both here and elsewhere online.

A list of ‘at risk’ species in the county can be found here. Please note that Wood Warbler should now also be treated as on the list. All species included need to be protected - many receive full legal protection under Schedule 1 and/or are rare in the county and may be vulnerable to persecution/disturbance. It is an offence to intentionally disturb any of the Schedule 1 species during the breeding season without a valid licence. This also applies to anyone taking photographs of these species at or near the nest or whilst feeding dependant young.

Some species may be found breeding at numerous locations however please keep information on these species limited to well-known sites (e.g. Labrador Bay for Cirl Bunting, Aylesbeare Common for Dartford Warbler). Others may be found as obvious migrants and as such can also be posted eg coastal Ring Ouzel and passage waders, or raptors eg Little Ringed PloverRed Kite or Marsh Harrier.

If you have any doubts and think there is a chance there may be breeding, either because of the habitat or behaviour of the bird(s) then do not post, but please submit your records to the County Recorder and the RSPB.

Please be aware that egg collecting and other forms of persecution remain very real hazards for some of Devon’s birds.

Posts which breach these guidelines are likely to be not admitted / removed althogether, rather than edited.  


Posted March 15th at 11:56 am by Mike Langman 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

Sunday 4th April 2021

Wrafton pond

Early morning visit to Wrafton pond where there were a good number of birds. More than one each of the following - Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Bullfinch, Long tailed tit, one male Reed Bunting and a female with a metal ring, Little Grebe, male Pochard, Cetti's Warbler and some of the usual. 

Reed Bunting
Reed Bunting
Willow Warbler
Willow Warbler

Posted April 4th at 11:28 pm by Martin Bennett in Bird News

Saltram Park

Additional to today's three posts for Saltram was a Treecreeper in the 'wet wood', my first here for some time.

Posted April 4th at 9:26 pm by Chris Marcol in Bird News

Sparrowhawk, Teignmouth

Devouring feral pigeon on back patio

Sparrowhawk and deceased pigeon
Sparrowhawk and deceased pigeon

Posted April 4th at 9:08 pm by Alan Ford in Bird News

Baggy Point today

A walk out to Baggy Point this morning bought the reward of our 1st Northern Wheatear Two  in fact, a male and a female. Overhead was one Swallow which  was flying....South! Maybe its heading back to Spain to avoid the cold weather tomorrow! Images are included for record only as they're distant & heavily cropped. 

Male Northern Wheatear at Baggy Point
Male Northern Wheatear at Baggy Point
Female Northern Wheatear at Baggy Point
Female Northern Wheatear at Baggy Point

Posted April 4th at 9:00 pm by Phil and Sue Naylor in Bird News

Yarner Wood

08:41 - 12:17

Highlights: Yellowhammer, Siskin,male singing Pied Flycatcher, Song and Mistle Thush, Nuthatch, Stonechat, Goldcrest.

Posted April 4th at 8:34 pm by Paul Bray in Bird News

Combe Martin swallows

Sat in the garden this afternoon, there were a steady stream of swallows and house Martin's traveling east to west. Buzzards soaring overhead, blue and great tits furnishing nest boxes. Goldfinches ,Plenty of house sparrows chittering from bramble hedges but no nest box activity.grey heron no doubt seeking out ponds in people's gardens and finally the regular sparrow hawk streaking between gardens..

Posted April 4th at 7:02 pm by Philip worth in Bird News

Saltram to Clearbrook

Sightings today:

Saltram woods 

Nuthatch, chaffinch, green finch, stock dove, skylark, ring-neck parakeet 

Saltram bird hide

3 x Curlew, 18 x Redshank, 4 x shelduck, 6 x little egret, 6 x Canada geese

Plymbridge woods

Green woodpecker, nuthatch, dunnock, chaffinch, green finch,  peregrine pair (food pass observed at 13.45pm), Bullfinch pair, mandarin duck 

Posted April 4th at 6:55 pm by Kate Downes in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Exminster

A relatively short look at the Plym Estuary & Saltram this morning produced: 1+ Snipe, a pair of Stonechats, Linnet & 12 Roe Deer. 

Late afternoon at Exminster Marshes, the Ruddy Shelduck still about (viewed from the canal bank just south of Fishermens’ car park) &, from the Lion’s Rest, adult Russian White-fronted Goose, 3 Pintails (2 drakes), 3 Cattle Egrets & 300+ Sand Martins.

Posted April 4th at 6:27 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News


Jays 2, Snipe 1, Green Woodpeckers 2, Chaffinches Goldfinches, Linnets a pair nr. Blaxton Meadow, Nuthatches, Skylarks, Chiffchaffs, Stock Dove. At least 5 Swallows over Saltram House and pond. Sadly found a dead Tawny Owl in the drainage channel by the Sewage Works.


Posted April 4th at 4:25 pm by Bob Barrow in Bird News

South Brent ~ Blackcap

My first Blackcap of the year and heard in full song in the garden this afternoon, it took ages to actually get a view of it as it remained sulking in the deep hedge cover for most of the time, a second bird heard singing closer to the house later in the afternoon.

A Green woodpecker calling frequently and the sound of a GSWP drumming.


Posted April 4th at 4:19 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

North Devon

At Penhill this morning , a minimum of 3 Sandwich terns & 1 Osprey .

Posted April 4th at 3:30 pm by Dave Paterson in Bird News


Once it had warmed up after a cold start the air was filled with the sound of bird song again, Chiffchaffs ,Blackcaps, Wrens,Robins, Dunnocks, Blue tits, Great tits etc all full of the joys of spring.

A few Holly Blue Butterflies on the wing & my first sighting of a female Orange tip Butterfly. The path was fringed with violets & primroses against the backdrop of the flowering gorse smelling of coconut.  

Posted April 4th at 3:09 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

A Ruddy Shelduck was the main interest showing south of the access road and before the bends.  Found by others this morning. Judging by the pale head a female I believe.  Also present in the same area were 3 Cattle Egret. 70+ Sand Martin high and passing through..  Numbers of duck still present with at least 24 Wigeon, 2 Shoveler, 2 Pintail.  

Posted April 4th at 2:22 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in Bird News

Yellowhammer - Torbay

Male Yellowhammer in full voice on Hopes Nose this morning - first I've seen here for a while. Also still nine Purple Sandpipers o Haldon Pier, Torquay Harbour.

Posted April 4th at 1:02 pm by CLIFF PARROTT in Bird News

Scadson Woods - Paignton

Red Kite circling quite low over house in northerly direction today at 11.20 hours. Local Gull population not so impressed !!!

Posted April 4th at 11:31 am by Clive Mason in Bird News


Pied Flycatchers are back with two seen and heard singing.

Posted April 4th at 9:39 am by Matt Collis in Bird News

Saturday 3rd April 2021


early walk around cadover on this windy morning. 

3 herons, m+f reed buntings, grey and pied wagtail, buzzard, at most 7 sand martins taking interest in one bank of the river  a shame as it was quiet then, but wont be with people walking,  a lot of goldcrest ,willow warblers, green woodpeckers, raven, stonechat, meadow pip, dunnock, robin, great tit, blackbirds.  No wheaters for me, must be the wrong spot

Posted April 3rd at 11:36 pm by Annabel Sharpe in Bird News

Marsh Green, East Devon

House Martins - first of the year. Three birds excitedly chattering around the house and two fly straight in to the old nest under the gable to assess the repairs required! 

Posted April 3rd at 6:42 pm by Robin Pearson in Bird News

South Brent ~ Swallow

Exmouth for the Northern Mockingbird.

Town Quay, Newton Abbot ~ Shag, Cetti's Warbler, 2 Chiffchaff and Skylarks in song from the race course.

Back home at South Brent, female Reed Bunting around the feeders, two Great Black Backed Gull overhead and my first South Brent Swallow of the year (last years first home bird recorded on the 9th April)

Reed Bunting
Reed Bunting

Posted April 3rd at 5:16 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Additions to Alan’s sightings: Common Sandpiper, Siskin, 28 Turnstones, pair of Stonechats, 2 Sand Martins & 4 Roe Deer.

Posted April 3rd at 5:10 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Plym Saltram

 A Red Kite over Saltram around 1pm. 

Posted April 3rd at 4:50 pm by David Grant in Bird News

Ottery St Mary

At least 70 Sand Martins in 2 flocks on the Otter, south of OSM, with a couple of Swallows, my first of the year. Goosander (f) flew north, 2 singing Blackcaps and a treecreeper showing well. 

Posted April 3rd at 4:46 pm by Martin Littlemore in Bird News

Braunton Burrows

A  fall of spring migrants in the willow scrubby areas on Braunton Burrows yesterday morning & this morning.Taking the same route as in previous years this morning's count consisted of 29 Chiffchaff, 20 Willow Warbler,13 Blackcap, 1 Jay (I think probably the same one as yesterday),& my first Common Whitethroat of the year. 3 Cettis heard yesterday morning. Whooper Swan still present with the Mutes.

Posted April 3rd at 2:30 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News


Glad to finally see several House Martins this morning with the Sand Martins and Swallows over and around Wrafton Pond and the Scrape. Also on the pond 4 Pochard, and a pair of Shoveler. Down to one Black-tailed Godwit out on the scrape. A few Teal lingering. Summer plumage Little Egret. Good numbers of Chiffchaff and Willow Warbler in the vicinity. Much the same mix over in the reserve. Then at ten past ten the Gulls from the industrial estate and those from past Sherpa Marsh got themselves in a right old state about something. It took me a while but I eventually found why: a fast-flying Osprey headed off over Braunton Marsh and towards Georgeham.

Posted April 3rd at 2:15 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Plym estuary & Saltram

This morning: 1 Bar tailed Godwit, 4 Common gull, 88 Redshank, 4 Greenshank, 2 Ring necked parakeet, singing Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs, 5 Swallows and 1 Sand Martin over the cow fields.

Posted April 3rd at 2:13 pm by Alan Livsey in Bird News


Noticed the Whooper Swan still happily hanging out with the Mutes in the dykes whilst on my morning run. 

Posted April 3rd at 12:00 pm by Kelvin Irwin in Bird News

Friday 2nd April 2021


1 Swallow over dartington this evening 

Posted April 2nd at 9:56 pm by Hamish Johnson in Bird News


Countess Weir ~ Four Cormorant in breeding plumage, six Sand Martin, Chiffchaff singing in the WTW, fly over Heron.

Exminster Marsh (From the gate opposite the Lions Rest Ind units) Bar Headed Goose, White Fronted Goose and four Greylag Geese. While watching the geese a huge flock of hirundines flew in over the area of the Turf Inn too far away for positive ID as to which species but simply clouds of them

From the first car park on Station Road distant view of a Great White Egret flying out over Topsham.

Powderham ~ Female Sparrowhawk

Heathfield ~ Goldcrest


Posted April 2nd at 9:09 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News


My first swallows of the season; 2 seen at 6.30 pm above farm buildings near Drewesteignton. Looked like they had not long arrived. 

Posted April 2nd at 8:31 pm by Fiona Freshney in Bird News


An Osprey NE over Middle Soar around 5.30pm and 7 Wheatears together on the stone walls (but no sign of the Hoopoe seen earlier).

Posted April 2nd at 7:46 pm by Andy Smith in Bird News

Cadover Bridge

Several cock Wheatears calling and displaying over a windswept  Legis Tor Warren early this morning + c.30 Meadow Pipits, 2 pairs of Grey Wagtails, a pair of Pied Wagtails ,and a pair of Goosanders on the Plym....looks like its mating season!!!


Posted April 2nd at 6:50 pm by Bob Barrow in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

A good showing of migrants in this morning's sunshine including: a Red Kite (going NE at 09.12), Ring Ouzel, 3 Wheatears (2 males), Willow Warbler and 5 singing Blackcaps. Also, Siskin, a pair of Stonechats, Green Woodpecker, Bar- & Black-tailed Godwits (latter in summer plumage), 6 Greenshanks & 6 Roe Deer.  

Posted April 2nd at 12:48 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Sandwich Tern Appledore

Very surprised to see a splash into the water on the receding tide just off the Beaver Inn, Appledore,  and a Sandwich Tern emerge with a small fish! 1st for us at this location. 12:05. 

Posted April 2nd at 12:21 pm by Phil and Sue Naylor in Bird News

Thursday 1st April 2021

East Devon

Not sure whether I have already submitted this post so here goes. Today between jobs I stopped off at a well known Wildlife area in East Devon and got to see this lovely little Dartford Warbler.  Also met a couple of birders looking for the same bird but sadly for them, they left just five minutes or so before this bird appeared.

Dartford Warbler
Dartford Warbler
Dartford Warbler
Dartford Warbler

Posted April 1st at 9:38 pm by Martin Bennett in Bird News

Aveton Gifford

Pulled into the tidal road on the way home, where the Lesser Yellowlegs showed distantly with some Redshank and three Greenshank.

Lesser Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs

Posted April 1st at 7:36 pm by Chris Marcol in Bird News

Late post from Tuesday.....Braunton

I went for a walk on my own on Tuesday 30th as Sue was busy. Sandy Lane & Boundary road  around the Great Field and home via the allotments at Velator.  Notable were the number of small warblers,  some vocal, others silent. Chiff chaff were most numerous, I counted 14 and only 3 were vocal. I heard 1 Willow warbler singing and saw 2 possibles as they appeared greener/yellower than the Chaffs. 2 Sedge warbler were chattering away in undergrowth adjacent to the drain ditch not far from the holiday cottage site. I heard 3 but saw no Cettis warblers. No hirundine at all! 

Posted April 1st at 7:30 pm by Phil Naylor in Bird News

Slapton Ley and Beesands Ley

Very choppy at the Stokeley Bay end where Red-necked Grebe played hard to find in the waves, couldn't find reported Goldeneye though. At Slapton Bridge thousands of Roach moving up to spawn attracted two huge female Pike. Four Swallows over the Higher Ley.

At Beesands Ley the Ring-necked Duck showed well in calmer conditions, but no sign of a reported drake Pintail.

No Grebe just a Red-neck!
No Grebe just a Red-neck!
Ring-necked Duck
Ring-necked Duck

Posted April 1st at 7:23 pm by Chris Marcol in Bird News

Bolt Head

Sat at Bolt Head when I thought I heard a Chough, looked up and sure enough there it was. Too distant and too quick for a decent photo but managed to fire off a few shots


Posted April 1st at 6:23 pm by Richie Moore in Bird News

Hembury Woods

Singing Tree Pipit again plus at least 6 singing Willow Warblers (fresh in) and a male Redstart. 

Posted April 1st at 6:02 pm by Andy Smith in Bird News

Exminster Marsh

Short-Eared Owl early afternoon feeding around the lagoon (6 Swallows over marsh)

Posted April 1st at 5:48 pm by Mark Bailey in Bird News

Red kite Barnstaple

Red kite flying over my garden in Whiddon Valley this afternoon 

Posted April 1st at 5:47 pm by Julie Green in Bird News

Yealm Estuary, Brixton to Steer Point

Six Greenshank, 4 singing Blackcap, 5 singing Chiffchaff, 2 Mistle Thrush, Curlew and a dead Slow Worm

Posted April 1st at 5:44 pm by Chris E in Bird News

Trendlebere Down, SE Dartmoor

Willow Warbler in song this afternoon.

Posted April 1st at 5:02 pm by Pete Stevens in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

Apart from the unusual sighting of the Bar-headed Goose and a Swan Goose (escapee) ?? We had an early Sedge Warbler, Cettis Warblers 8, Chiffchaffs, numerous Sand Martins, a Swallow, Reed Buntings, Lapwings, Curlew, Black tailed Godwits ,Dunlin, Redshank, Teal, Pintail, Wigeon Greenfinches, Chaffinches, Linnets, Blackcaps and a Ringed Plover. 

Greylag Goose and Swan Goose
Greylag Goose and Swan Goose
Bar-headed Goose
Bar-headed Goose

Posted April 1st at 3:46 pm by Bob Barrow & John Lloyd in Bird News

Slapton Ley

First look around Slapton since 2nd January. Singing Reed Warbler near the quarry. 5 Swallows, 5 Sandwich Terns and a Sanderling elsewhere.

Posted April 1st at 3:08 pm by Perry Sanders in Bird News

Burrator reservoir

A walk round the reservoir this morning: 5 singing Blackcaps, several Chiffchaff, 4 Goosander (2m,2f) on the water.

Posted April 1st at 2:39 pm by Alan Livsey in Bird News

Soar Mill Valley

Cold easterly wind but first Wheatears arrived, both males inc.a singing male on a traditional territory - a record 14 pairs across Soar in 2020! Also today 4 singing Blackcap, Swallow, 7 Chiffchaff; offshore 35 Gannet, 2 Fulmar and a Grey Seal close in. 2 Red Admirals. 

Posted April 1st at 2:00 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Bowling Green Marshes


Male Common Redstart 

Posted April 1st at 12:44 pm by Paul Bray in Bird News

Exminster Marshes

Amongst the usual waders and waterfowl today were a Swan Goose (possibly Greylag cross?) and a Bar-headed Goose. Also a Short-eared owl out hunting

Bar-headed Goose
Bar-headed Goose
Swan Goose
Swan Goose

Posted April 1st at 11:08 am by Peter Newman in Bird News

Blackcap m

Still a regular vusitor to our garden (ivy bush) in Topsham

Posted April 1st at 9:46 am by Lee Summersby in Bird News

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