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


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

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

Wednesday 5th May 2021

Widecombe in the Moor

Working near Widecombe in the Moor today and spotted a Wheatear and Whinchat, long distance shots of each. Also saw a Meadow pipit, a couple of Linnets, a Willow Warbler and a lovely Fox.


Posted May 5th at 12:25 am by Martin Bennett in Bird News

Tuesday 4th May 2021


Cold evening walk around the marsh. More Swallows than Sand Martins for a change this evening. 1 Common Sandpiper and the Glossy Ibis, which flew North towards the scrape. A pair of Teal. Quick look at the scrape revealed 2 Shelduck, 1 Pied Wagtail and the Glossy Ibis. Lots of Swallows hawking insects low over the water.

Posted May 4th at 8:20 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News


Scrape had a lot of mostly sub-adult Herring Gulls. Reserve had Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and Blackcap. Sand and House Martins with some Swallows hawking insects in the lee of the reserve by the scrape. A Kingfisher paid an all-too-brief visit to one of the pond perches. By the Marsh road both Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat. Dipper and Grey Wagtail seen in the river Caen.

Posted May 4th at 2:04 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Monday 3rd May 2021

Exminster Marshes

A couple of grubby characters on the marsh this afternoon

Posted May 3rd at 9:05 pm by Robin Pearson in Bird News

Berry Head seawatch 10.25-16.45

Highlights were a Roseate Tern (which showed twice mid afternoon) & 2 Puffins. Also, 165 Manx Shearwaters, 6 Sandwich Terns, 5 Swifts, Common Gull, 2 Harbour Porpoises & Grey Seal.

Posted May 3rd at 7:57 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

River Exe- Sunday 2 May

Pics by Unai Marquez Pardo

Sand Martin- River Exe
Sand Martin- River Exe
Reed Warbler- Exminster
Reed Warbler- Exminster

Posted May 3rd at 6:17 pm by Mark Bailey in Bird News

Ring info on yesterday's Turnstone

Reply from my report to Naturhistoriska Riksmuseet:

Thank you for the report. Yes, it is Swedish and we can clear it out to an individual. It's ringed as a pull, summer 2015, on an island up in the Gulf of Botnia, northern Sweden. A complete recovery-report will be sent to you in an about a week. It will take a short while due to Corona restrictions. 

Best regards 

Tuomo Kolehmainen 
Bird Ringing Centre 
Museum of Natural History 

Posted May 3rd at 10:54 am by John Foster in Bird News

Wrafton scrape

Glossy Ibis present again this morning - still cold and also very windy but no rain yet.

Glossy Ibis
Glossy Ibis

Posted May 3rd at 10:43 am by Jon Turner in Bird News

Ottery St Mary

First Swift of the year yesterday pm, among a group of Swallows, Sand and House Martins on the river at Fluxton

Posted May 3rd at 7:52 am by Martin Littlemore in Bird News

Sunday 2nd May 2021

Whinchat - Headland Warren

One of about eight seen today.

Whinchat male
Whinchat male

Posted May 2nd at 11:10 pm by Chris & Janet Marcol in Bird News

River Exe , RV park and Exminster marshes

At the River Exe 2 great-crested grebes , 50+ sand martins , 30+ swallows , 6 cormorants , 1  great black-backed gull pair , 2 lesser black-backed gull pair , 2 black-headed gull , 1 little egret , 1 great-spotted woodpecker drumming , no sign of the female goosander by Mill on the Exe . At Riverside Valley park 1 jay 3 grey herons , 1 potential great reed warbler . At Exminster marshes 3 buzzards , 5 little egrets , 1 grey heron , 2 pairs of shelducks , 1 hobby , 7 swifts , 40+ sand martins , 20+ swallows , 3 reed warblers , 5+ chiffchaffs singing , 3+ Cetti's warblers singing , 2+ sedge warblers singing


Posted May 2nd at 10:49 pm by Unai Marquez Pardo in Bird News

Bennett's X to Challacombe

A circular walk turned up at least eight Whinchats, six Cuckoos and 20+ Swallows along with the usual Stonechats, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks around the moorland.  Around Challacombe Farm a reeling Grasshopper Warbler was the highlight amidst several Chiffchaff & Willow Warbler, Pied Wagtail and a male Redstart. At Golden Dagger Tree Pipits, Kestrel, Buzzard, Raven and Reed Bunting. Around Vitifers a male Green Woodpecker looked out of place in the moorland setting. 

Posted May 2nd at 10:37 pm by Chris & Janet Marcol in Bird News

Plym Estuary and Saltram

8am this morning, South end, Whimbrel on the Pontoon adjacent to Chelson Meadow, and (to my surprise) 5 Turnstone (one of them ringed, apparently in Stockholm which has been reported). Very confiding Greenfinch perched in one of the trees next to the shore and a single Mute swan flying south. Then I walked up to Blaxton Meadow (another Whimbrel on the E shore, en route), not much going on there - same as Mr Aley - 1 Dunlin, 1 Greenshank & the Bar-tailed Godwit. Also an LBBG and a pair of Swallows flying SW. 


Posted May 2nd at 9:15 pm by John Foster in Bird News

Erme Pound above Ivybridge

Walk from Harford to Erme Pound included two cuckoo in full call, Meadow Pipits and Grey Wagtail on the river, numerous Skylarks. Standing above river was accidently able to see right into a Carrion Crow nest just 3m above river; wool lined nest with two fledglings and two eggs. Possible parent bird just up the valley so a swift exit.

Carrion Crow nest Erme Pound
Carrion Crow nest Erme Pound
Carrion Crow chicks and eggs
Carrion Crow chicks and eggs

Posted May 2nd at 8:57 pm by R Mogridge in Bird News


Ringing in the reserve today was again slow and all the action pretty much over by mid-morning.

Ringed 2 juvenile Robins, 1 Blackcap, 1 Song Thrush, 2 Bullfinch, 8 Reed Warblers and 2 Garden Warblers. Bird of the day though was another well-travelled Reed Warbler - S550766 which I ringed in the reserve on 3 June 2017 as an adult female, so she's been to Africa and back at least 6 times. That's pretty impressive. I did retrap her in the reserve in 2019, but that's the only other sighting. 2 Swifts over at 10.45.

Posted May 2nd at 7:26 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

A Dunlin in summer plumage new in on Blaxton Meadow at high tide, with 3 Greenshanks, 4 Whimbrels & the lingering Bar-tailed Godwit. Also 2 pairs of Swallows returned to their breeding site at the south end of the estuary & 2 Roe Deer.

Posted May 2nd at 5:45 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News


Cadover area: Goosander with three fledglings (two in pic). Garden Warbler, Cuckoo, Whitethroat, Redstart, 6 Wheatear, 11 Willow Warbler etc.

Crownhill Down: Green Sandpiper (on top pools), 3 Cuckoo, 4 Wheatear, Stoat, 21 Swallow all flying west.

Green Sandpiper
Green Sandpiper

Posted May 2nd at 4:26 pm by Chris E in Bird News

Weir Quay

Sunday 02/05/2021

 At 2pm today on mud flats 5 whimbrel

Posted May 2nd at 3:07 pm by carol bartlett in Bird News

Horsen Farm near Simonsbath

Cuckoo calling well 3 pm

Posted May 2nd at 2:56 pm by Val Horne in Bird News

Bench Tor and Venford

Early am. Heavy frost and fierce cold cold at first but warming up nicely. Great views of a Cuckoo, plus Redstarts, Tree Pipits and Pied Flycatchers all singing, a pair of Treecreepers, a couple of singing Yellowhammers and lots of Siskins and Willow Warblers.

Posted May 2nd at 2:38 pm by Andy Smith in Bird News

Emsworthy Mire

Up here before 7am while the morning is good weather. 

Had 4 cuckoos, 3 males and 1 female, not at Emsworthy itself but up the tor areas, around i believe Holwell tor. One male was actively following the present female, as she was being hounded by the smaller birds. 

Male redstart still at farmstead, lots of other birds like wheaters, ravens, stonchats, willow warblers, chiff chaff, blue/great tit, woodpigeon, jackdaw, raven, rook, swallows, robin, wren, meadow pippits, buzzard. Gs woodpeckers heard drilling,  canada geese fly past. nuthatch heard. 

Posted May 2nd at 2:09 pm by Annabel Sharpe in Bird News

Common Redstart, Dawlish

Following on from the previous  weeks Common Whitethroat, On 29th April late afternoon a female Common Redstart, spent a few hours until dusk, bathing and frantically flycatching in our and adjacent garden overlooking Oakland Park.

Also of interest a "continental" Coal Tit, briefly 30th April in garden, lacking olive tones with a grey mantle 

Posted May 2nd at 1:21 pm by paul barker in Bird News

Combemartin in the garden

A fine morning in the garden so far, goldcrest, goldfinch,dunnock, blackbirds, woodpidgeon, collard doves and sparrow's going about their business. Stars of the garden so far a pair of female siskin


Posted May 2nd at 10:54 am by Philip worth in Bird News

Saturday 1st May 2021

Wrafton pond

This morning there was a lot of activity on and around Wrafton pond.  On the water were: a pair of Swans with their eight cygnets; two Little Grebes; a male and female Coot each with a single chick each; and two Moorhens. In the reeds around the pond were two or more Reed Warblers; at least two singing Sedge Warblers; two Cetti's; and a pair of Reed Buntings. On the scrape were; a Male Ruff; a single Black tailed Godwit, a Lesser Black back gull; a Grey Heron; male & female Teal; a Canada Goose; four Shelduck; and a number of Swallows. 

Black-tailed Godwit
Black-tailed Godwit

Posted May 1st at 10:33 pm by Martin Bennett in Bird News


Bit of a Ruff twitch this morning - well for North Devon! - 5 of us! 2 Black-tailed Godwits. Still there at lunchtime at least. On Wrafton Pond now 8 cygnets looking very lovely. Mum seemed to be keen to feed and spent much of her time upside down. The cygnets looked a bit bemused. This evening 2 Common Sandpipers, 4 Whimbrel  (in the Pill between the toll house and the harbour) and lots of Swallows, Sand and House Martins over the marsh. Best were 3 Yellow Wagtails - difficult to see in among the Buttercups and Dandelions. Evening ringing in the reserve the last couple of evenings has produced over 50 Swallows and a couple of Sand Martins.

Posted May 1st at 10:10 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Powderham & River Exe

12:40 - 14:40

Powderham: Hobby, Kestrel, Buzzard, Whitethroat, Blackcap.

River Exe: Osprey seen successfully fishing - too big a fish for it to take to a tree / perch and being mobbed by gulls, landed on a mudbank mid-river to consume its catch.

Posted May 1st at 8:17 pm by Paul Bray in Bird News

South Brent

My first Swift of the year seen over home at South Brent, also a trickle of Swallows passing over in small numbers.


Posted May 1st at 4:39 pm by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Preston, Paignton

Small movement of Swallows in groups of 2-3 going North.3 Swifts over garden this afternoon.

Posted May 1st at 3:59 pm by Tony Sherwood in Bird News


Early morning between Norsworthy Bri. and Down Tor. At least 4 Cuckoos, Chaffinches , Goldfinches, several Redstarts, Meadow Pipits, Skylarks, 3 Wheatears, Willow warblers, 2 Green Woodpeckers, 3 Ravens


Posted May 1st at 3:58 pm by Bob Barrow in Bird News

East Ogwell house Martin’s are back

Seen first last evening but positive I.D. this afternoon. A few days earlier than last year the family of House Martin’s that nest in the area have returned once more. They have been hunting all around the estate and over the field on the edge of Canada hill. Let’s hope they manage to breed successfully again. They manage two broods last year.

Posted May 1st at 3:54 pm by John Wilkes in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Little new this morning, but at least 4 Whimbrels, the Bar-tailed Godwit & 4 Greenshanks still around, 2 Swifts & just a dozen Swallows over, Shag, pair of Stonechats, & 5 Roe Deer. 

Posted May 1st at 2:05 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Chambercombe Manor

Distant Pied Flycatcher this morning.

Posted May 1st at 1:24 pm by Derek Stacey in Bird News

Blackdown Rings, Loddiswell

2 singing Tree Pipits - prob.the only breeding site in the South Hams at 198 asl; also 4 singing Willow Warblers & a pair of Stonechats - unusual location.

Posted May 1st at 11:30 am by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Dawlish Warren

Lesser Whitethroat around the main pond this morning; singing but generally elusive and mobile. Also 3 Wheatear and several Whimbrel. 

Posted May 1st at 11:19 am by Peter Leigh in Bird News

Teign Valley

From the Teign Valley Facebook page...Hoopoe near Hennock Thursday 29th  ,good video...

Posted May 1st at 9:45 am by Neil Graham in Bird News

Exeter flood relief channel

Yesterday evening over River Exe and flood relief channel were 180+ Swallow, 15+ Sand Martin, 3+ House Martin and 6 Swift.

Posted May 1st at 7:20 am by Steve Cox in Bird News

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