Devon Bird Sightings: Bird News from 8th–14th May 2021


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Posted October 10th, 2016 at 9:14 am in Bird News

Friday 14th May 2021

Hembury Woods

First Spotted Flycatchers in today. Great to see them back! At least five singing Garden Warblers now too and some interesting interspecific aggression displayed towards one from a male Blackcap.

Posted May 14th, 2021 at 9:16 pm by Andy Smith in Bird News


On Molland Common this afternoon there were four cuckoos within earshot. A single wheatear seen and a whinchat in full voice. Many meadow pipits, some in display flights. And several skylarks pouring forth their melodic notes.

Posted May 14th, 2021 at 7:55 pm by stewart beer in Bird News


A gloomy afternoon followed by bright spells with an afternoon walk around. 

4 dippers- 2 Juv, 10+ grey wagtails, 1 Kingfisher, rather quiet on the kingfisher activity, lots of goldcrest, tree creepers, raven, buzzards, nuthatch, song thrush, 1 cormorant swimming up river, P falcon activity, both Male and female showing lots of activity, with a feeding change over around 2pm, female clearly seen feeding chicks but unclear exactly how many she has as she has them nicely hidden away, potential rogue male passing by after the male went hunting.

Had a lovely chat with other local birders on the bridge, who gave lots of hints and tips that I appreciated greatly 

Posted May 14th, 2021 at 7:10 pm by Annabel Sharpe in Bird News

Canada Geese - Wrafton etc.

Wednesday 12th, saw a pair of Canada Geese with 4 goslings on the side of Braunton Pill across from the Toll House. Yesterday the same (?) family were by the side of the main pond at Sherpa - only 3 goslings though.  The female has a ring on -  we have ringed 2 broods in recent years so perhaps one of the young, although I'm not sure whether either of the pair in the reserve are ringed. They were there again this afternoon, along with four goslings with Ma and Pa on the pond in the reserve.  Several other paired and unpaired birds are making a nuisance of themselves in the area.

Lots of mainly House Martins around the area today, but plenty of Swifts too.

Posted May 14th, 2021 at 6:47 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Additions to Martin's sightings below: 6 Spotted Flycatchers, Whitethroat singing, 2 Siskins, Turnstone (summer plumage), Shag & 8 Roe Deer.

Posted May 14th, 2021 at 3:43 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Cuckoo`s On Dartmoor

On my walk this morning above cadover bridge i heard and saw three cuckoo`s, Two males and one female....Atttached photo is of one of the males.

Posted May 14th, 2021 at 2:26 pm by patrick hawkins in Bird News

Cuckoo north of East Charleton

1 male calling briefly at SX764440 about 1 mile north of East Charleton near Lower Bowden Farm, then flew off north at about 13:10 hours.

Posted May 14th, 2021 at 1:51 pm by Barrie Whitehall in Bird News

Soar Mill Valley

Dead Short-eared Owl down by the cove, very unfortunate!

Looks like a very good year for Sedge Warbler, Blackcap & Chiffchaff. Whitethroats are everywhere - will be 100+ territories here.

Non-avian: 2 Brown Hare

Posted May 14th, 2021 at 11:10 am by Rob Macklin in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Seen around the area of note first thing this morning were the following.

The long staying Bar-tailed Godwit, 2 Whimbrel, 1 Greenshank, 3 Curlew, 3 Oystercatcher, 3  Wheatear, a pair of Stonechats, Green Woodpecker and 1 Spotted Flycatcher.

Posted May 14th, 2021 at 10:24 am by Martin Phillips in Bird News

Red-rumped Swallow, Dawlish

Red-rumped Swallow still feeding over the town between 7am - 7:45am this morning.  Feeding fairly high up and mobile, ranging along the cliffs to the north of the station.  The photos are from yesterday evening in the rain.

Red-rumped Swallow 13.5.21
Red-rumped Swallow 13.5.21

Posted May 14th, 2021 at 8:53 am by Luke Harman in Bird News

Thursday 13th May 2021

Red Rumped Swallow, Dawlish Brook

Red Rumped Swallow on Dawlish Brook in front of Gay's Creamery. Photos not brilliant - taken on phone.

Posted May 13th, 2021 at 4:44 pm by Nick Workman in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

My first Spotted Flycatcher of the year today (although there's been reports for several days). Also, Treecreeper, at least 1 Siskin, c20 Swifts, singing Whitethroat, Stonechat, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Bar-tailed Godwit, 2nd cal year Mediterranean Gull,10+ Mandarin Ducks, 2 Shags & 6 Roe Deer.

Posted May 13th, 2021 at 4:34 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Wrafton/ Sherpa

Got a bit wet today, but worth it for the hirundines around the Marsh! Also a displaying Whitethroat near the reserve, 2 singing Chiffchaffs and 4/5 Reed Warblers in the reserve. Several each of Swallow and House Martin hawking insects very low over the scrape and Tarka Trail by the pond. However down at Sherpa House Martins probably outnumbered Swallows over the water and reed-beds. Much fewer Sand Martins but good numbers of Swifts. Plenty of Reed Warblers in the reed-bed. As I walked back past the reserve, a large flock of House Martins were feeding over the SW corner. I've noticed this in previous years.

A few nights ago while ringing Swallows in the reserve (lots of them!) one had a ring on belonging to someone else - it was ringed at Portland Bill last summer. So, been to Africa and back since then.

Posted May 13th, 2021 at 2:04 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Wednesday 12th May 2021

Perridge area

Walked a loop through the lanes from Ide to Perridge and back this morning. All the May regulars present, including Whitethroat and Yellowhammer in the hedgerows, Garden and Willow Warblers and Tree Pipit in the young plantation, and Marsh Tit and Treecreeper in the woods. Considering the temperature and cloud cover, song was as intense as I've heard it, with at least six Mistle Thrushes especially prominent. Unexpected were a Yellow Wagtail with cattle near the trig point, and a trilling Whimbrel heading N over Ide.

All told, around 40 farmland and woodland passerine spp. in a fairly ordinary bit of Devon.

Posted May 12th, 2021 at 5:04 pm by James Camden in Bird News

Challacombe Farm 12th May

Early morning saw a pair of Treecreepers working their way along the driveway wall inspecting every hole, going completely in some. Nest site prospecting came to mind. Garden Warbler singing his heart out looking impressive in the sunlight.

Every hole and crevasse examined
Every hole and crevasse examined
A sight and sound to cherish .
A sight and sound to cherish .

Posted May 12th, 2021 at 3:51 pm by Barry Rankine in Bird News

Crownhill Down and Smallhanger

First thing 4 Cuckoo, including one getting a hammering from the Meadow Pipits. 4 Wheatear, 6 Willow Warbler, Tree Pipit, 14 Swallow, Sand Martin and a flyover Shelduck. 

Cuckoo and Meadow Pipits
Cuckoo and Meadow Pipits
Cuckoo and Meadow Pipits
Cuckoo and Meadow Pipits

Posted May 12th, 2021 at 3:16 pm by Chris E in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

A well-timed walk this morning, just before the rain set-in, revealed: 2 Treecreepers, 2 Mediterranean Gulls (both 2nd cal year), 12 Swifts, Green & Great Spotted Woodpeckers, 2 Siskins & 5 Mute Swans.

Posted May 12th, 2021 at 1:56 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Tuesday 11th May 2021

Crownhill Down

Really good views of Cuckoos 3, Wheatears 2, Willow Warblers 6, Stonechats 4, Buzzards 2,Meadow Pipits 7, Linnets 2.


Posted May 11th, 2021 at 10:55 pm by Bob Barrow in Bird News

Cann Woods - Nightjars - Tues 11th

Saw my first two Nightjars of the season with churring from probably four males, from 21:09, to the accompaniment of at least four hooting Tawny Owls. Due to the weather this was my first visit to the wood since the 4th May, so it is possible they've been in for a few days already.  Also a Fox and four Fallow hinds. 

Posted May 11th, 2021 at 10:41 pm by Chris Marcol in Bird News

Wrafton pond

Wrafton pond was very quite this morning just a few gulls and Mallard. Heard and saw a Great spotted Woodpecker flying over the pond towards Tesco. Heard a number of Reed & Sedge Warblers and a single Cetti's. A Reed Bunting was showing well.  On the scrape was a single Common Sandpiper, a pair of Shelduck, three Canada geese and a Heron.  Two deer running across the field between the scrape and the reeds beyond.

Common Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper
Reed Bunting
Reed Bunting

Posted May 11th, 2021 at 8:28 pm by Martin Bennett in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

A walk this morning produced: Whimbrel, 3 Curlews, 10 drake Mandarin Ducks, 2 pairs of Moorhens with young, Green & Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Siskin & 3 Roe Deer. 

Posted May 11th, 2021 at 11:58 am by Pete Aley in Bird News

Cadover area

Grasshopper Warbler reeling, Redstart, Cuckoo, Garden Warbler, 5 Reed Bunting, Whitethroat, 9+ Willow Warbler, Goosander with 2 juvs - presumably the same family I saw a couple weeks ago when there were 3 juvs, 5 Wheatear and the usuals.

Posted May 11th, 2021 at 10:12 am by Chris E in Bird News

Berry Head

Yesterday - brief early morning seawatch 06.20-07.20am produced 1 Great Northern Diver, 1 Great Skua, 52 Manx Shearwaters, 60+ Kittiwakes, 20+ Gannets and 4+ Harbour Porpoises.

Overhead: 1 Swift, 12 Swallows, 2 House Martins & 4 Yellow Wagtails. Around the headland singing Lesser Whitethroat behind the car park toilet block,  4-5 Small Blue Butterflies, 1 Wall Brown and a Hummingbird Hawkmoth.

Posted May 11th, 2021 at 9:42 am by Mike Langman in Bird News

Monday 10th May 2021

Lower Tamar Lake

We found a Willow Tit at the lake today and also a very expensive piece of birding kit.  If you lost something near the dam this afternoon/evening, please get my email from Devon birds and identify what you lost. I have it in safe-keeping.

Am trying to get CBWPS to run this too, as technically it was in Cornwall.

Posted May 10th, 2021 at 10:27 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Ilfracombe /Lee

Male Wheatear (3rd sighting) around Capstone Cliffs, Chiffchaff, Skylark (field above Lee on the south side), House Martins (flock of approx. 50 moving west down Bristol Channel)

Posted May 10th, 2021 at 4:06 pm by Dave Shadwell in Bird News

Cuckoo heard but not seen in direction of Stover Park

Undertaking some ecological survey work at a site near Teigngrace and heard a Cuckoo at 09.30 yesterday (9th May 2021) and then again at 20.15 on the same day. Both calls came from the direction of Stover Park.

Posted May 10th, 2021 at 12:59 pm by Lee Bullingham-Taylor in Bird News

Hardwick woods- Plympton

A brief 1 hour stroll around the woods and onto Amados hill. 
Lots of Goldcrest, song thrush, nuthatch, crows, ravens nesting, gs woodpecker heard, green being quiet today, robin, wren, blue and great tit, mistel thrush. 

On Amados hill, kestrel and buzzards hunting and displaying, a group of 10 house martins flying over, greenfinch, dunnock, goldfinch, woodpigeon, 

Posted May 10th, 2021 at 12:34 pm by Annabel Sharpe in Bird News

Velator reserve

No sign of, or sound of, any Cuckoos this morning! Just the usual suspects. But outside - the other side of the fence on the south side, I disturbed a pair of Roe Deer. The first I've seen in the vicinity. They ran off and stood in the field looking back at me.

Posted May 10th, 2021 at 12:08 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Ringmore, Kingsbridge

Swifts numbers now up to 7 birds flying around the village.

Posted May 10th, 2021 at 10:44 am by Roger Smaridge in Bird News

Great Torrington

Yesterday 9th May I took a gentle walk around Torrrington Common and found my first swallows at the Dartington Crystal factory (5 minimum). At least 5 House martins were swooping over the Torridge at the Rothern Bridge (Puffing Billy), and I saw a hare nearby too. A spotted flycatcher was sallying out from a hedgerow on the Common iitsellf. A chiffchaff was singing, but only the one, and at least 3 blackcaps and 3 song thrushes. The most surprising bird of the day was a kestrel hovering briefly over Reeds Field (adjacent to Puffing Billy). I've lived in Torrington 17 years and not seen a kestrel here, until a couple f weeks ago when a falcon passed my flat and I thought it looked like a kestrel,but I was sceptical because I had never spotted one in North Devon. Maybe this is the same individual. No butterflies.

Posted May 10th, 2021 at 6:01 am by Aubrey McKenzie in Bird News

Sunday 9th May 2021

Ens worthy

Two cuckoos heard and seen. Another two further down the valley heard. Robins, nuthatch,blue tit, great tit,  longtailed tit, chaffinch, dunnock  by picnic table. Raven flew over. 

Bluebells not yet at their best !

Posted May 9th, 2021 at 9:43 pm by Angela Truman in Bird News

Global Birdwatch - in Chudleigh

This year I decided to stay in Chudleigh Parish for the day, seeing 55 species by 6 pm. Our limited areas of arable land produced 4 Skylark, 2 Whitethroat and 5 Yellowhammer territories, with 6 Linnets and a Lesser Whitethroat nearby. The southern part of Haldon produced Skylark, Stonechat, Tree Pipit, Whitethroat, Willow Warbler, Linnet and Redpoll. Other totals included Little Grebe, 5 Swifts, Sparrowhawk, 15 Chiffchaff, 10 Blackcap, Dipper, Grey Wagtail, 6 Song Thrush, 10 Chaffinch, only 2 Greenfinch and 21 Siskins, including 7, mostly juvs, on my feeders 

Posted May 9th, 2021 at 8:29 pm by Dave Smallshire in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Just a brief visit this morning. The highlights were Sedge Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher. The only wader seen was a Greenshank!

Posted May 9th, 2021 at 7:51 pm by Martin Phillips in Bird News

George Nympton

While checking my Cattle this morning by the River Mole had the pleasure of viewing the four Hirundine species all at the same location.Three Swifts,about fifty Swallows.At least eight House Martins and after training the binoculars on a'brown'coloured bird,confirmed it was a Sand Martin.

Posted May 9th, 2021 at 7:43 pm by Roger Gay in Bird News


A pair of Pied Flycatchers and a pair of Redstarts. Jays, Magpies, Blackcaps, Willow Warblers, Chaffinches, Song and Mistle Thrushes ,Great tits, Blue tits and a Grey Wagtail.

Pied Flycatcher
Pied Flycatcher
Grey Wagtail
Grey Wagtail

Posted May 9th, 2021 at 7:29 pm by Bob Barrow in Bird News

Wrafton pond

Popped down to Wrafton pond where I spotted the resident Kingfisher, Little Grebe, two Swans and their eight Cygnets, a Willow Warbler, a couple of Reed Warblers and many of the usual residents.  On the scrape were a number of gulls, a Pied Wagtail, a couple of Canada geese and a distant single Sandpiper on the far side of the scrape.

Swan with eight Cygnets
Swan with eight Cygnets
Common Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper

Posted May 9th, 2021 at 4:07 pm by Martin Bennett in Bird News

RSPB Chapel Wood

Walked around the wood for the first time in ages (it was all closed up last year). A pair of Goldcrests, 4 Chiffchaffs, female Blackcap, Garden Warbler and a Spotted Flycatcher - presumably new in.

Thanks to Alan P for the Cuckoo information. I didn't try to get too near it in case it just flew off, so I'll have another look and see if I can see it (and a potential female too!

Posted May 9th, 2021 at 4:04 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Hope's Nose

Late morning:

An elusive Lesser Whitethroat and a Garden Warbler on the northern side of the top meadow.  An unseen singing Sedge Warbler there as well.

Elsewhere on site, another unseen, chuntering Sedge Warbler, 2 Whitethroats, Willow Warbler, Chiffchaff, Blackcap and three Wheatears,  A trickle of Swallows over and a Grey Seal.  

Others had a Whinchat in the quarry earlier.  

Posted May 9th, 2021 at 3:32 pm by Paul Darlington in Bird News

Tamar estuary / Ernesettle

This morning:  7 Swallow, 2 Swift, 1 Common Sandpiper, Blackcaps and Chiffchaffs, 1 Great Crested Grebe flew a circuit round the estuary.

Posted May 9th, 2021 at 2:46 pm by Alan Livsey in Bird News

Braunton/Wrafton/Vellator area

In addition to the other posts. Osprey over at 12:45 and female Yellow Wagtail seen.  Flock of 40+ Swifts over the marsh. 

Posted May 9th, 2021 at 2:20 pm by G and L Carr in Bird News

Trisyllabic call of Cuckoo

In response to Jon Turners post about a Cuckoo at Velator with an odd tri-syllabic call. I heard a similar call at South Milton Ley in May last year and a bit of research online revealed that the three?element “cu?cu?coo” call is believed to be uttered by males in the presence of a receptive female.

Posted May 9th, 2021 at 1:33 pm by Alan Pomroy in Bird News

Wrafton/Velator area

First bird I heard as I arrived at the reserve this morning was a Cuckoo! It had an odd tri-syllabic call. Heard it again about half an hour later. A few Reed Warblers in the reserve and still a singing Willow Warbler. Walked around the marsh - impressive numbers of Swallow, Sand and House Martin and a sprinkling of Swifts.  As I got back to the reserve, the Cuckoo called again so I set up my scope on the Tarka Trail opposite and had a good scan, but no sightings or any more calling. First record of Cuckoo in the reserve for about 12 years.

Back home a brief Hummingbird Hawkmoth from my kitchen window feeding on Azalia flowers.

Posted May 9th, 2021 at 12:59 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Braunton Marshes _ Braunton Great Field

Late post - early evening 7 May 2021. Counted c200 Swallows foraging over these areas but may have been more than this number.

This morning counted 16 Sedge Warbler on the same route.

85 Dunlin, 5 Ringed .Plover & 16 Whimbrel on Horsey. 2 Swifts over the Marshes.

Posted May 9th, 2021 at 12:42 pm by Rob Jutsum in Bird News

Saturday 8th May 2021

Berry Head

Final totals (for species with additions) to 4pm, including Mike’s counts below: 8 Puffins, c170 Manx Shearwaters, 7 Dunlins, 5 Sandwich Terns, 2 Great Northern Divers (summer plumage), 100+ Kittiwakes, 17 Swifts, 200+ Swallows, another Yellow Wagtail & a singing Sedge Warbler.

Posted May 8th, 2021 at 6:19 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

Cuckoo heard not seen

Heard cuckoo yesterday in the valley below Sharp Tor near Dartmeet.

Posted May 8th, 2021 at 1:24 pm by Caroline in Bird News

Berry Head

Highlights 0600-1100hrs: 56 Manx, 6 Puffin, 12 Common Scoter, 1 Great Northern Divers, 1 Hobby, nearly 100 Swallows, 30 + Sand Martins, 17 House Martins, 7 Swifts, 1 singing Black Redstart, 3 Spotted Flycatchers, 2 Garden Warbler, 2 Willow Warbler, 1 Tree Pipit, 1 Yellow Wagtail plus 5+ Harbour Porpoise And 1 Grey Seal.

Posted May 8th, 2021 at 1:01 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News


garden warblers showing well, also blackcap, redstart but no sign of spotted flycatcher, highlight of the day for me was a grasshopper warbler, seen from the road to Postbridge 200 yds the farm entrance right hand side over the fence on the gorse.  

Posted May 8th, 2021 at 12:12 pm by roger jewell in Bird News

Hopes Nose

Hopes Nose 630-10am-highlight was first bird of the day when I inadvertently flushed a Cuckoo at the  point-still present 830am- also 2 Wheatear, c40 Swallows in off, 2 Whimbrel ,18 stunning Turnstone in sum plum-sea watching dire- just 1 Manx, c12 Dunlin, 2GND but 5 Puffins(inc 1 very close)

Posted May 8th, 2021 at 10:09 am by Mark Bailey in Bird News

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