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

·         Crane [2] 24-Jun nr Ottery

·         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 13-May Bishops Tawton

·         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

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

Friday 23rd July 2021

Haldon Nightjars

Went out on Wednesday night and last night. On Weds. at North Wood, Windy Cross, heard three, but didn't see any of them. Two Tawny Owls were calling from the mature conifers in the backround. Last night, on the E. side of the ridge near the main car park (the Gruffalo Walk?), saw one feeding and heard four more. No Tawnies there, but on the way home one was perched on a telegraph pole at Clapham and at home another was calling from Belle Isle Park. Churring started around 2140 both nights.

Plenty of Siskins in the plantations, but no Crossbills - hardly seen one this year. On both nights the last song came from Yellowhammers around 2120. Tree Pipits and Garden Warblers seem to have finished for the year. 

Posted July 23rd at 2:15 pm by James Camden in Bird News

Red Kite - Chittlehamholt

Single Red Kite half mile west of Chittlehamholt, low over hay field.

Posted July 23rd at 11:36 am by Paul Sopp in Bird News

Crownhill Down

Couldn't compete with Bob's sightings yesterday, but today, 30+ Mistle Thrush around. Also 5 Dunlin in stunning summer plumage and 1 Common Sandpiper on the huge Drakelands pit (owned by Tungsten West) viewed from the top of the Down.

Posted July 23rd at 8:58 am by Chris E in Bird News

Thursday 22nd July 2021

Bradiford, nr Barnstaple

While photographing Swifts from my garden at about 8pm, this Hobby came into view very high overhead.....


Posted July 22nd at 9:42 pm by Alan Denzey in Bird News

Crownhill Down and Cadover

A productive mornings birding commenced at Cadover with Linnets 12, Bullfinches 2, Chaffinches 7, Willow Warblers 10, Wrens 2, Ravens 3, .Crows 8, Rooks 5, Jackdaws 12, Sand martins 12, Swallows 6, Mistle thrushes 10, Pied Wagtails 8, Buzzards 2, Hobby 1, Stonechats 7, Wheatears 6. Later over Crownhill Down: Jays 2, Green Sandpiper 1, Buzzards 2, Peregrine 1,Linnets 12, Skylarks 6,Stonechats 8, Yellowhammers 1,GSW 1, GWP 1,Ravens 2 and at least 2 dozen Mistle thrushes. We were surprised and delighted to see an Otter in one of the ponds near the Down which set off a noisy reaction from the Coots who had youngsters nearby.


Posted July 22nd at 8:45 pm by Bob Barrow & John Lloyd in Bird News

Late post, Baggy Point yesterday

Meant to post, but forgot. A walk to Baggy Point yesterday started well with a  Juvenile Stonechat with a Vapourer Moth caterpillar which it was wiping on a post top to remove the hairs! On the walk out along the lower path a rare sighting of a Brown Hare in the long grass to our right made our day! At the point itself as we approached was a Juvenile Northern Wheatear.  Offshore we observed a flight of ten Mediterranean Gulls three of which were adults. Numerous Cormorants flew by, some of which were disturbed from their usual roosting/resting place by regular passage of stand up paddle boarders taking advantage of the rare completely flat calm sea conditions! Two adult Gannet were heading up the channel and we spotted what was probably a Harbour Porpoise in the distance towards Hartland point. On the walk back along the top track we saw numerous Whitethroat,  Linnet, Goldfinch and a Swift. In the pond..a swimming Grass snake! 

Juvenile Stonechat with Vapourer Moth caterpillar
Juvenile Stonechat with Vapourer Moth caterpillar
Brown Hare
Brown Hare

Posted July 22nd at 11:16 am by Phil and Sue Naylor in Bird News

Wednesday 21st July 2021

Broadsands - gull watch

Good to have the first South Devon Branch meeting for what seems like an eternity, this morning at Broadsands starting at 7am - great to see a few regulars getting up for the re-arranged early morning start. Lots of Herring Gulls on the beach of all ages but sadly no Yellow-legged Gulls today. However 17+ Mediterranean Gulls including juveniles among the Black-headed Gulls was good to see. Singing Greenfinches, Cirl Buntings, Little Egret and families of Swallows with several House Martins also noted.

Posted July 21st at 9:19 pm by Mike Langman in Bird News

South Efford Marsh 20 July

An early morning visit to the now flooding marsh revealed two sleeping groups of young Shelduck without parental supervision.  Seem to have fully developed wings, so maybe they have fledged although not yet seen in flight ( )

Also now on the marsh 3 Common Sandpipers (  ) 3 Curlew, 2 Greenshank and 1 Kingfisher.  Looking hopeful for the autumn migration now.

Posted July 21st at 8:27 pm by Michael Woodman Smith in Bird News


Kayak trip to Eddystone today:

Exceptionally calm, exceptionally hot.

2 Balearic Shearwaters resting with flock of Manx

plus: 7 Harbour Porpoise. pod of 10+ Dolphins (almost certainly Common)

Balearic Shearwater
Balearic Shearwater
Balearic Shearwater
Balearic Shearwater

Posted July 21st at 7:52 pm by Rupert Kirkwood in Bird News


Early morning at Saltram. Several female Mandarins, Heron 1, Little Egrets 2, Curlew 3, Redshank 15, Stock Doves 2, Jays 2, Magpies 3, GWP's 2, Wrens 3,Stonechats 8, Goldfinches with juveniles 30+, Greenfinches 6, Swallows 12, House Martins 6, Whitethroat 1, Buzzard 1,Skylarks 20+

Stock Dove
Stock Dove

Posted July 21st at 7:20 pm by Bob Barrow in Bird News

Seaton Wetlands

Good afternoon's birding at Seaton Wetlands. Black Hole Marsh had 27 Black-tailed Godwits in breeding plumage, 1 Greenshank, 2 Little Ringed Plovers, around 50 Redshanks, a Whimbrel, 4 Common Sandpipers,  3 Dunlins and a Mediterranean Gull. Colyford Common had 44 Curlews, 2 Common Snipes, a juv  Marsh Harrier, 3 juv Kestrels, a Kingfisher and a juv Cuckoo. A swift entered one of the swift nestboxes at Stafford Marsh.

Posted July 21st at 4:54 pm by Rodney Gayer in Bird News

Saunton Down (or Down End)

Andy and I stopped by to look for Rob's Scoter this morning. sadly no sign - much disturbance from paddle-boarders, swimmers, Snorklers etc etc. We could see Baggy Point clearly too, and no small blobs on the water out there either. Did see a rather splendid summer plumage Turnstone on rocks down by the water's edge, and found three or four Mediterranean Gulls on the rocks too.

Posted July 21st at 12:43 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Northam, near Torridge Bridge

Late post from Tuesday 20.07.21

Between Torridge Bridge and RM Zeta Berth there were at least 27 Mediterranean Gulls (3 juveniles but the rest adults and second summer birds). Lots of Black-headed Gulls so there may well have been more Meds further down towards Instow.

Posted July 21st at 12:16 pm by Martin Unwin in Bird News

Tuesday 20th July 2021

Storm Petrels

The 2 'Control' Petrels from the other night were ringed as below:

Point Lynas, Anglesey 01.30 a.m 12th July 2020

Gwennap Head, Porthgwarra Cornwall 01.00 23rd July 2020.

So 1 each from North and South.

Posted July 20th at 2:04 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Wrafton area

On Sunday morning, I got these images of a Dipper and a Kingfisher in the Wrafton area.


Posted July 20th at 1:16 am by Martin Bennett in Bird News

Monday 19th July 2021

Cann Woods, Plympton - Nightjars

Tonight's walk in the woods was enlivened by a Tawny Owl on the path, possibly picking up Toads, we saw three, and a single Roe Deer before our first Nightjar flight call was heard at 9:42pm. Churring commenced 9 minutes later. Two pairs seen resting on paths, and one female circled overhead repeatedly. 9 or 10 individuals overall.

Posted July 19th at 11:38 pm by Chris & Janet Marcol in Bird News

Interesting Gull behaviour

Sunday 18 July. At 21.00, on a residential street in Bovey, I noticed some gulls flying low past the front window and landing on the road/lawn. Going outside I found 15-20 Herring Gull/1 Lesser Black-backed picking up hundreds, if not thousands, of non-flying ants. They resembled a moving-carpet of gulls as they worked their way along the road and front gardens. This went on for 15-20 minutes. Often see gulls/hirundines/etc in the air hunting flying ants but this was a first. 

Posted July 19th at 8:26 pm by John Walton in Bird News

Crownhill Down

Early this morning over Crownhill Down. At least 2 dozen Mistlethrushes Linnets 9, Goldfinches 6, Yellowhammers 2, Stonechats 12, Wheatears 8, Dunnocks 2.Swallows 10, Ravens 3 Buzzards 2, several Skylarks and Meadow Pipits.

juv. Stonechat
juv. Stonechat

Posted July 19th at 5:45 pm by Bob Barrow in Bird News


Picture from early this morning.

Grasshopper Warbler
Grasshopper Warbler

Posted July 19th at 3:35 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Hartland Point

Spent yesterday evening, last night and the early part of this morning ringing at Hartland point. Well worth it:

3 Wren, 1 Dunnock, 9 Chiffchaff, 2 Blackcap, 12 Whitethroat, 3 Stonechat, 1 Kestrel, 1 Grasshopper Warbler, and 17 Storm Petrels we also caught 2 further Storm Petrels with rings from elsewhere..

A moth trap was also run through the night and at least 30 species caught, including Poplar and Elephant Hawkmoth.

Posted July 19th at 11:49 am by Jon Turner in Bird News

Venn Ottery Hill, East Devon.

A great evening with Nightjars calling and showing from 21.34.  At least 4 males present and using the pine trees on northern boundary of the re-landscaped quarry.  In contrast Venn Ottery Common was quiet other than an earlier Green Woodpecker calling.

Posted July 19th at 8:06 am by Jonathan Ruscoe in Bird News

Sunday 18th July 2021

West Charleton Area

Early morning walk in beautiful sun and calm wind revealed a single male Reed Bunting, several Sedge Warblers, three large Herons and a lone Cattle Egret which settled among four Little Egrets. On the estuary numerous Black headed gulls, Curlew, three Dunlin and two Common Sandpipers.

Posted July 18th at 9:05 pm by Tom & Dan Kent in Bird News

Boat trip from Brixham

Quiet day out past Berry Head due to little or no wind and flat seas.  However, Harbour Porpoise and 2 Common Dolphins, 10 Manx Shearwater, Balearic Shearwater, 7 Gannet (including 2nd + 3rd cy plus adults)  Guillemot, Razorbill, 2 Sandwich Terns.  Usual gulls.   

Posted July 18th at 8:15 pm by G and L Carr in Bird News

Surprise visit- Torbay

Sat in the garden enjoying a meal, the noise of gulls harassing a raptor drew our attention to three Red kites circling overhead. A rare, beautiful and very welcome sight.

Posted July 18th at 7:32 pm by Philip L. Fairclough in Bird News


3 Common Scoters (1m+2f) at Downend this am approx 500 metres west of the point. Also 3 Med Gulls in amongst a flock of BH Gulls resting on the rocks.

Posted July 18th at 11:16 am by Rob Jutsum in Bird News


Took dog out early to avoid the heat later on. Walked down by Velator harbour and back, then out to the scrape. Both Kingfisher and Dipper in or through the harbour area. 1 Black-headed Gull,15 Mallard, but no sign of the Pintail seen yesterday. Singing Reed Warbler, and 3 Whitethroats along the way. First Swallow I have seen in the area for several weeks. Scrape too full of water.

Posted July 18th at 8:15 am by Jon Turner in Bird News

Fremington Pill

Yesterday (Saturday) at Fremington pill there were three Greenshanks and three Common Sandpipers. A few Redshank turned up just before 10.00.

Common Sandpiper
Common Sandpiper

Posted July 18th at 1:35 am by Martin Bennett in Bird News

Friday 16th July 2021

Baggy Point this morning

There were numerous Linnet, Stonechat, Rock & Meadow Pippit but the highlights of a morning walk to the point and back were the three juvenile Northern Wheatear right at the point, and a flyby from an adult Mediterranean Gull heading north about 300 metres offshore. Images included for the record only as both taken at long range  

Two Northern Wheatear fledglings
Two Northern Wheatear fledglings
Extreme range record shot Mediterranean Gull
Extreme range record shot Mediterranean Gull

Posted July 16th at 6:39 pm by Phil and Sue Naylor in Bird News

Velator ringing

A very slow ringing session this morning was considerably enlivened by catching and ringing 3 juvenile Kingfishers. A couple of Reed Warblers, a Blackcap and a juvenile Chiffchaff added interest.

Non-birding: a Comma butterfly was around the ringing table, and at one point, it landed on my hand! A close look at it revealed why it is called Comma! and also why it was there - it was using it's' tongue' (proboscis?) to lick at the tiny sweat droplets off the back of my hand. Very beautiful.

Posted July 16th at 5:03 pm by Jon Turner in Bird News

Exminster Marsh

Great White Egret still present this morning on the edge of the lagoon, quite distant viewed from the canal, disappeared into the long grass about 1045. Also, 2 Lapwing, 14 Black Tailed Godwit dropped in, 40+ Curlew over, 8 Reed Warbler, 1 Sedge Warbler and a male Blackcap.

Posted July 16th at 4:10 pm by Alan Livsey in Bird News

Chittlehampton ~ Little owl

A count of 19 Swift over the house at South Brent first thing this morning and two active House Martins nests in the village centre.

Confirmed breeding of Little Owls near Chittlehampton, with a young owlet being brought into me this morning via a vets.

Bar Headed Goose and an adult Med gull at Hackney Marsh, Newton Abbot on Wednesday, a first year Med Gull at Exmouth.


Posted July 16th at 11:56 am by Steve Hopper in Bird News

Thursday 15th July 2021

Spotted Flycatcher

Two adults and a juvenile feeding in the trees by entrance to Yarner Wood opposite car park.Plus one Pied Flycatcher

Posted July 15th at 9:13 pm by Paul Carter in Bird News

Great white egret at Exminster marshes!!

GWE at Exminster marshes today at 11:00 .

Posted July 15th at 8:19 pm by Unai Marquez Pardo in Bird News

Great white egret at Exminster marshes!!

Great egret spotted at the main lagoon at 11:06 getting harassed by a pair of coots , a few minutes later it  flew deeper into the marshes , afterwards at 11:15 it flew quiet low and couldn't be seen after  , it may have headed in the direction of  Exeter or it may still be hanging around at the marsh . Also 1 sedge warbler spotted and 5+ reed warblers singing , 2 buzzards , no corpses of any birds found .

Posted July 15th at 7:38 pm by Unai Marquez Pardo in Bird News

Plym Estuary & Saltram

Highlight this morning was a Tawny Owl; also, 2 Green Woodpeckers (including a juv), Raven, 8 lingering Shelducks including a pair with 3 juvs & a Greenshank. 

Again a good spread of butterflies including 45+ Small Skippers, Large Skipper, 8 Marbled Whites & a Comma.

Posted July 15th at 2:28 pm by Pete Aley in Bird News

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