Devon Bird Sightings: Bird News from 22nd–31st May 2021

2020 Records request

If you saw any of the records below please submit a description to the County Recorder to ensure they make the official record. Many thanks.


·         Bee-eater 03-Aug Wistlandpound Res

·         Caspian Gull 15-Apr Fremington Pill

·         Caspian Gull 14- Sep Powderham

·        Crane [3] 22-Mar Milton Abbot

·         Glossy Ibis 20-Jun South Efford Marsh

·         Glossy Ibis  02-Nov Seaton Marshes

·         Golden Oriole 07-Apr Fremington Pill

·         Golden Oriole 28-May Weston Mill

·         Golden Oriole [2] 23-Jun Bolt Head

·         Greenland WF Goose 20-Dec Roadford





·         Green-winged Teal Nov/Dec Exe Estuary

·         Grey Partridge 12-Nov Exminster Marshes

·         Leach's Petrel 30- Sep Labrador Bay

·         Leach's Petrel 31-Oct Sidmouth

·         Long-tailed Skua 04-Jul Dawlish Warren

·         Montagu's Harrier 17-May West Dart River

·         Ring-necked Duck Jan/Feb Meeth

·         Spotted Crake 09-Apr East Down

·        Stone-curlew [2] 22-Sep South Huish



Posted June 18th at 11:40 pm by Kevin Rylands in Bird News


At a recent Council Meeting it was agreed that Field Trips (Guided Walks) and Indoor Meetings could restart as soon as Branches were happy to proceed, with all necessary Covid safe precautions in place. 

Full details are now on the website.

Taw & Torridge Branch will not be re-starting Indoor or Outdoor Meetings before January 2022.

Posted April 16th at 11:17 am by Mike Daniels 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 28th May 2021

Red Kite - Paignton

Flying North over Goodrington at 3.00pm

Posted May 28th at 8:24 pm by Paul Nunn in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Highlight today was a female Red-backed Shrike, showing well at times. Also, 17 Mandarin Ducks (15 drakes), Green & Great Spotted Woodpeckers, pair of Stonechats, Whitethroat, c30 Swifts, 7 Roe Deer & 2 Small Heaths.

Posted May 28th at 8:18 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Lower Tamar Lake

Good afternoon,

Tamar Lake this morning.

3 Willow Tit, 3 Robin, 9 Blue Tit, 2 Chaffinch, 1 Cormorant, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Moorhen, 1f Blackcap, 5 Coal Tit, 1 Chiffchaff, 3 Great Tit, 2 Nuthatch.

Also 1m Siskin in my garden at Hartland.

Posted May 28th at 4:35 pm by Rod Mudge in Bird News

Velator reserve

A Grey Heron was by the pond in the reserve this morning - swiftly departing when it saw me! A Collared Dove was an unusual record at this time of year. A Kingfisher came and perched over the pond and bashed a full size Stickleback into shape before flying off with it. Reed Warblers nest-building, Willow Warbler, Blackcap Song Thrush and Chiffchaff Singing. Couple of Swifts over.

Posted May 28th at 3:51 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Red Kites over Beaford area.

2 Red Kites drifting west .  South of Beaford moor from the A3124 at 08-30.

Posted May 28th at 3:31 pm by Malcolm Shakespeare in Bird News

Red Kite

Red Kite soaring above Seaton Wetlands, drifting West at 11.45 am today.

Posted May 28th at 2:35 pm by Rodney Gayer in Bird News

Exminster Marsh

There is an summer plumaged American Golden Plover at Exminster Marsh- found c8am by JD and still present late morning - viewed distantly from canal bank by end car park. Also a partial summer plumage Curlew Sand (also found by JD)

Posted May 28th at 11:43 am by Mark Bailey in Bird News

Exminster and Haldon - Red Kites

5 Red Kites over Exminster Marsh at 10.10-10.20am. Another Red Kite circling over the A380 on Haldon by the garage at 11.06am.

Posted May 28th at 11:36 am by Mark Bailey in Bird News


While working near Brendon I saw this Spotted flycatcher in nearby trees. Also saw a male Redstart but unable to get a good image. On my way home I stopped off at Lanacre Bridge area where I had a fantastic view of a male Pintail as it flew pass towards Withypool. Just getting my camera out of my vehicle so no photo, but I did get some great photos of a pair of Grey Wagtails and saw a Dipper shoot pass. I'll go back at some point for the Redstart.

Spotted Flycatcher
Spotted Flycatcher
Grey Wagtail
Grey Wagtail

Posted May 28th at 2:00 am by Martin Bennett in Bird News

Thursday 27th May 2021

Red Kites

This afternoon I had Red Kite over the garden in Alphington, though further east (Colyton) 33 have been seen today

Posted May 27th at 7:46 pm by Steve Cox in Bird News


Day trip today: A few Guillemots and Manx Shearwaters, plus the odd Kittiwake and Razorbill on the outward journey along with only 2 Gannets and 2 Porpoise. On the island at least 7 Spotted Flycatchers, 3 Chiffchaff, Whitethroat, Tree Pipit, Sparrowhawk and Peregrine. Dean Jones reported a flyover Yellow Wagtail, and added that at least 300 Puffin borrows have been noted in Jenny's Cove. Looking down from above, it was very noticeable how big the increase in Puffin numbers has been since my last spring visit. On the return journey lots of Razorbills, with a few more Manx Shearwaters including a few sat on the water. Lovely calm day, much improved by an amazingly helpful ebb tide on the way out, and a flood tide on the way back!

Posted May 27th at 6:36 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

East Dartmoor

Yarner Wood: 6 Pied Flycatchers, Garden Warbler, 4+ Siskins, Marsh Tit, 2 Grey Wagtails, Brimstone & Roe Deer.

Trendlebere Down: Whinchat, Tree Pipit, 2 Cuckoos, Lesser Redpoll & Roe Deer.

Emsworthy Mire: 2 Redstarts, 3 Cuckoos, 1+ Siskin & Brimstone.

And best of all, lovely sunshine!

Posted May 27th at 6:11 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Marsh Green

Further to my last post... 2 Red kites just drifted west towards Exeter at 17.15.

Posted May 27th at 5:15 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in Bird News

Clyst St Mary

A walk north up the meadows produced 2 Cetti's Warbler, 9 Reed Warbler, 2 Whitethroat, a Sedge Warbler, a Reed Bunting and a pair of Stonechat.  (The Stonechats were close to the riverbank and associated waterways.  Further up the River Clyst I have seen others also associated with riversides and slow moving water in ditches which seems to be a favoured habitat).  A numbers of Swallow and House Martin in the village, the latter visiting two nests.

Back home at Marsh Green, some good raptors over head with Hobby, Peregrine and a Buzzard in the sky at the same time at 4.30pm.

Posted May 27th at 4:59 pm by Jonathan Ruscoe in Bird News

Dart Alien

To go with all the grey squirrels Canada geese and pheasants,my first TURTLE today,1500,Totnes sewage works!

Posted May 27th at 4:56 pm by Denis Doy in Bird News

Soar Mill Valley area

Best today was female Greenland Wheatear out on the arable farmland. Also 6 Buzzards - the resident pair escorting four migrant/wandering birds from the area. Sedge Warblers up by a min.50% to c.18 territories.

Posted May 27th at 4:05 pm by Rob Macklin in Bird News

They're here at last!

Having waited all year, the swifts are finally here, screaming up and down over the back gardens in Paignton.

Posted May 27th at 8:03 am by philip l. fairclough in Bird News


While working on Dartmoor I got a long distance shot of this Wheatear.


Posted May 27th at 2:20 am by Martin Bennett in Bird News

Wednesday 26th May 2021

Nightjars Bovey Heath

At least two nightjars churring and flying from about 2138

Posted May 26th at 10:34 pm by Ian Stone in Bird News

Crownhill Down

At least 12 Wheatears with a pair carrying nesting material, Skylarks, Meadow Pipits, Buzzards 2, Ravens 1,Willow Warblers 2,Stonechats 8, Yellowhammers 5, Linnets 9.


Posted May 26th at 10:18 pm by Bob Barrow in Bird News

Cadover Bridge

2 Cuckoo's heard one seen, plenty of Sand Martins

Sand Martins
Sand Martins

Posted May 26th at 9:07 pm by Greg Bradbury in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Two Black-tailed Godwits new in; also, 27 Mandarin Ducks (22 drakes), Red-crested Pochard (f), 2 Spotted Flycatchers, Green Woodpecker, Stonechat (m), 2 Whitethroats (both singing) & 5 Roe Deer.  

Posted May 26th at 6:15 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Braunton Burrows

Lesser Whitethroat singing.  Tawny Owl heard at 13:00.  

Posted May 26th at 8:40 am by G and L Carr in Bird News

Tuesday 25th May 2021


Addition to previous report


Posted May 25th at 10:23 pm by Bob Barrow in Bird News


Boringdon Golf course: Wheatears 2, Swifts 2, Whitethroats 4, Skylarks 12, Goldfinches 6. Loughtor Mill: Blackcaps 6, Chiffchaffs 6, Song thrush 2, and a solitary Dipper on the Tory Brook.

Posted May 25th at 10:16 pm by Bob Barrow in Bird News


Four 1st or 2nd summer Great Northern Divers on sea off Roundham Head Paignton this evening.

Posted May 25th at 9:18 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

Steps Bridge - Fingle Bridge; Mardon Down

Along the river, the expected Dippers and Grey Wagtails. In the woods, 10+ Pied Flycatchers and 3/4 Garden Warblers singing, plus all the tits and thrushes, and Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Goldcrest etc.

Later, just before the rain started, on and around Mardon Down were a Redpoll, a Cuckoo, a Tree Pipit, more Garden Warblers, and the usual Yellowhammers, Linnets, Stonechats and Willow Warblers, and a Fallow Deer. 

Posted May 25th at 7:27 pm by James Camden in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

This morning's visit produced: Treecreeper, Green Woodpecker (f), Whitethroat (m), Stonechat (m), Kestrel, Raven, Shag & 6 Roe Deer.

Posted May 25th at 3:57 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

south molton

3 fledged greenfinches being fed by parents on sunflower hearts in garden, 3.45 pm

Posted May 25th at 3:57 pm by art symons in Bird News

Monday 24th May 2021

Braunton Burrows

Lesser Whitethroat singing.  Tawny Owl heard at 13:00.  

Posted May 24th at 9:31 pm by G and L Carr in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

On a wet afternoon, a pair of Shelducks with 9 small ducklings, 17 Mandarin Ducks (13 drakes), female Red-crested Pochard, female Wheatear, Treecreeper, Whitethroat, 2 Stonechats & 8 Roe Deer.


Posted May 24th at 8:25 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News


200+ House Martin and about 15 Swallow feeding over the (small) sewage works near the Yealm Est this afternoon. House Martins also perched in nearby trees. 

Posted May 24th at 5:25 pm by Chris E in Bird News

Sunday 23rd May 2021

Exminster Marshes

While scanning (unsuccessfully) for the Red-rumped Swallow this afternoon, I was amazed when about 300 House Martins exploded from Oak trees! Terrible digiscope image (terrible weather!) taken after many of them had returned to shelter and rest up again. From memory, the only time I've seen House Martins perched in trees was on the wintering grounds in Zambia, when a large flock went into large trees to roost at dusk. So where do they go at night when they don't have a nest to roost in?

House Martins resting in Oak tree
House Martins resting in Oak tree

Posted May 23rd at 10:18 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News

Exminster Marsh

A late in the day visit, after being away all weekend. Red-rumped Swallow still showing around middle car park, at this time end of FP from car park. Seen until 8.20pm, when moved and not seen again though looked until 9pm. 300+ House Martin, 200+ Sand Martin & 150+ Swallow along with 30+ Swift and pair Gadwall 

Posted May 23rd at 10:06 pm by Steve Cox in Bird News

Berry Head

Sea watch 10.30am to 12.30pm. Highlights: lots of Manx Shearwaters, 2 Puffins, 5 Great Northern Divers and an Osprey (very close at 11.30am, harried by gulls, headed on north across the bay towards Hope's Nose). 

Posted May 23rd at 5:23 pm by Andy Smith in Bird News

Hopes Nose

Hopes Nose 1pm-315pm-superb sea watch-gale force southerlies and heavy rain-2 Storm Petrels inc 1 close in off point just beyond outfall 2.25-2.31pm(giving ‘olden days’ views), a Bonxie close south 2.05pm & a constant stream of Manxies best guess estimate 2000 (2 Turnstone, 2 Swift south)

Posted May 23rd at 4:05 pm by Mark Bailey in Bird News

Plym Saltram


Little Egret, 4 Curlew, Mandarin, Canada's, Herring/BH/GBB Gull, Swalows, House Martins, Jay, RN Parakeet, LT/Blue/Great Tit, Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Greenfinch.

Posted May 23rd at 3:51 pm by David Grant in Bird News


The Grey Wagtails nested at the top of the wall of our barn this year, which is probably a bit more typical than last year’s nest in the honeysuckle next to the front door. Still very vocally protective though. The single chick landed on the lawn for a while, giving us this photo opportunity. He’s still flying around (slowly and a bit unsteadily) so hopefully he might make it.

Posted May 23rd at 2:28 pm by Roger Duggleby in Bird News

Saturday 22nd May 2021

late swifts

after almost giving up on our swifts which normally nest under our eaves on the 5th or 6th may,they finally arrived yesterday on the 20th displacing the sparrows that had already started to rear young.i heard a lot of noise from the nest and then the sparrow chicks fell silent so i am assuming the swifts killed them.has anyone else seen this?we are just outside okehampton 

Posted May 22nd at 10:13 pm by L Smith in Bird News

Blackingstone Rock and the Wrey Valley

Walked up from Lustleigh, then N to Blackingstone, down to Wrey Barton and back along the railway. In the morning woods and farmland were all the usual Thrushes, Tits, Warblers and Finches, highlight being 4/5 Garden Warblers in the young plantations. Lunch at Blackingstone was, despite the cold, serenaded by a Redstart, Willow Warblers, and two members of what I think of as the "Tree Pipit Parachute Display Team". Afterwards a Redpoll, my first here, was buzzing (though Collins says serrrring) over the heathland above Pepperdon Farm, with Stonechat, Yellowhammer and Whitethroat below. In the valley, Dipper and Grey Wagtail were on the Wrey, Treecreeper and Marsh Tit in the Oaks, and a second,very confiding, Redstart sang from a thorn tree, aflame in the welcome sunshine.

Posted May 22nd at 9:10 pm by James Camden in Bird News

Woody Bay

A visit to Woody Bay this evening produced:

Wooded area: Grey Wagtail, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Blackcap, Chiffchaff, a very vocal Song Thrush, a singing male Chaffinch, and a Willow Warbler. But best of all was a striking male Common Redstart! 

Down at the bay around the rocks were a good number of Guillemot and Fulmar amongst the Herring Gulls, a lonesome Oystercatcher, and amazing close views of a Gannet circling round and diving several times into the sea. 

Woody Bay, you never disappoint me! 

Posted May 22nd at 9:09 pm by Jonny Pinn in Bird News

Cuckoo - Halshanger Common

Male Cuckoo calling frequently and briefly seen in scrub just SE of Cold East Cross 15.00hrs; also 5+ Skylark, 2 prs Greenfinch, 1 Willow Warbler from path to Rippon Tor.

Posted May 22nd at 7:32 pm by Robert Morgan in Bird News


4 Ravens over Newton Rd above trees near turn off for Coffinswell, although we regularly see a pair first time we have seen 4.

Posted May 22nd at 7:31 pm by Gary Bolton in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

An afternoon visit produced: 2 Spotted Flycatchers, Treecreeper, 3 (f) Wheatears, Whitethroat, Stonechat, Peregrine (2nd cal yr), Sparrowhawk, 4 lingering Curlews & a Roe Deer.

Posted May 22nd at 6:24 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Lannacombe Valley. ( RingingRecovery )

A 1st.Yr. m Firecrest ringed at this site on 28/10/2019 was recaught at Merville-Fraceville-Plage. Calvados. France  on 14/10/2020. Only 11 British ringed Firecrests have been recovered abroad ,4 previously in France. Given that both the ringing and recapture dates fall in the peak autumn migration period for this species on the English Channel coasts,it is most likely that this individual  was on passage on both occasions to its wintering site further to the South and West. Following the English coastline when ringed and the French coastline  (the predominant route ) when recaught.

Posted May 22nd at 4:32 pm by Alan K. Searle. in Bird News

Slapton. Ley.

At 2.30 pm. A Hobby over the Lower Ley at the Torcross end.

Posted May 22nd at 2:43 pm by Alan K. Searle. in Bird News

Slapton sands

Yesterday afternoon (Friday) I spent a little time watching Gannets feeding just off shore. Also had a walk along the edge of the lake and where I saw a number of Great Crested Grebes (adults and juveniles) a few Tufted Duck, Coots, hundreds of: Swifts; Swallows and House & Sand Martins.


Posted May 22nd at 2:39 am by Martin Bennett in Bird News

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