Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

2019 Descriptions - last call

The deadline for the 2019 Bird Report is rapidly approaching. If you found (or saw) any of these birds please could you submit a description to to ensure your records are published. Many thanks. 

Alpine Swift, Dawlish 11 Jun  Hooded Crow, Baggy Point 10 May
Barred Warbler, Thurlestone 30 Aug Long-tailed Skua, Dawlish Warren 11 Oct
Caspian Gull, Thurlestone, 08 Feb Purple Heron, Slapton Ley 07 May
Caspian Gull, Topsham 02 Aug Sabine's Gull, Thurlestone 14 Aug
Cory's Shearwater, Berry Head 19 Jul Serin (2), Harrowbeer 19 Apr
Glossy Ibis, Otter Est 11-13 Mar Tree Sparrow (2), Berry Head 20 Mar


Posted May 2nd at 3:27 pm by Kevin Rylands in General Birding

Coronavirus update - Bird Hides

Please be aware that in line with Government guidelines on social distancing, the Devon Birds hides at Beesands, Fernworthy and Roadford, in addition to hides elsewhere in the County including Dawlish Warren are closed until further notice. Thank you for your co-operation and stay safe.

Please follow NHS guidelines:

Posted April 16th at 12:04 pm by Mike Daniels in General Birding


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 General Birding

Friday 14th October 2016


06:40-15:30. Cloudy start with a cold Fresh NNE wind decreasing and veering to a light SE by midday with brighter conditions. No rain.

Got out to Sharp Tor for first light but vis mig did not happen. Several Song Thrushes and Blackbirds calling on the way out and a single Redwing. The bottom of Starehole was fairly sheltered and held at least 6 Ring Ouzels though I think there may have been double that present. Also single Fieldfare. Elsewhere Grey Heron, Grey Wagtail, 2 Wheatears ( airfield ), Garden Warbler ( Starehole ), 10 Blackcaps, 13 Chiffchaffs, Yellow-browed Warbler ( long stayer  East Soar Willows, not seen but very vocal ), 9 Goldcrests, 2 Firecrests , ( Starehole and East Soar Ponds ) and 2 Siskins.

Walking up from the bottom of Starehole Valley a crake/rail flushed from the bracken and dived back in quickly. I reckon it was  probably a Corncrake but to brief to be 100%. Spent some time walking around where it landed but nothing doing. It was on the stream side of the path about 30 metres down from the large rock you can sit on and watch the ouzels from if anyone is there tomorrow and fancies checking it out.

Posted October 14th, 2016 at 5:03 pm by Perry Sanders in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Horsey Island and Caen River

After a few days of looking I finally found a/the Wryneck in the grass and on the fence behind the fishermen's huts at 12.30 today. A very striking bird close up with almost reptilian posture and markings as it molded itself into a grass tussock. All the regulars present including a Glossy Ibis on the flood near the 'White House'. Apologies for image quality. Phone through scope.

Sparrowhawk  Wryneck


Posted October 14th, 2016 at 2:29 pm by Rob Barnes in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

possible eiders off brixham?

Spotted five of these birds off the breakwater at Brixham. I took them to be eiders because of the shape of the bill but having downloaded them on the computer, and looked closer, now not so sure. Also they were diving but Hamlyn's doesn't say they are divers. Could they be scoters?

Philip .L. Fairclough

Posted October 14th, 2016 at 12:00 pm by philip l. fairclough in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Wistlandpound Reservoir

A little more activity at Wistlandpound Reservoir early this morning. 41 mallard, 3 moorhen, 3 cormorants, 4 little grebes, 3 teal, 2 wigeon, 1 little egret and the Great White Egret.   It has been seen here at different times for about two weeks and is possibly the same bird that frequents Arlington.

Posted October 14th, 2016 at 11:49 am by Margaret Phillips in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Thursday 13th October 2016

Lannacombe Valley.

2 Yellow Browed Warblers caught and ringed at this mornings ringing session. Also on site 10 Chiffchaffs  8 Blackcaps  3 Goldcrests ( poor autumn passage to date for this species )' and 1 imm. m. Black Redstart. It is always good to see the first of these in October.



Posted October 13th, 2016 at 1:29 pm by Alan K Searle in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Wednesday 12th October 2016

Western sandpiper

Went looking afterwork this evening but no sign of bird reported on tip poolat skern.Does anyone know who reported it?.Nothing on birdguides or devon birds

Posted October 12th, 2016 at 7:23 pm by Robert Marshall in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Tuesday 11th October 2016

Avon Dam

A flock of 12 Ring Ouzels just below Avon Dam, flying low eastwards over the valley, late afternoon.  

Posted October 11th, 2016 at 10:04 pm by Andy Smith in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Berry Head & Brixham

Two Yellow-browed Warblers (together) were  in sycamores along the lower middle path just south of the main woodland above the Berry Head Hotel; also around the headland: 2 Blackcap, 13 Chiffchaff, 7 Goldcrest, 5 Stonechat.

Flying over: 3 Redwing, 5 Song Thrush,6 Alba Wagtails,31 Meadow Pipits,11 Skylark,14 Goldfinches, 3 Greenfinches.

 Yellow-browed Warbler Berry Hd 11 Oct 2016 ML  Yellow-browed Warbler Brixham 11 Oct 2016 ML

One of the two Y-bW at Berry Head                                            The Breakwater quarry Y-bW

This afternoon another Yellow-browed Warbler was in the breakwater quarry car park with a flock of Long-tailed Tits. 

Posted October 11th, 2016 at 6:19 pm by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

East Soar - Yellow-browed Warblers

Pleased to catch up with the reported Yellow-browed Warblers (2) in the willows below East Soar Farm this morning. Patient observation required as they were not showing well. No tit flock observed to give a clue as to location and several chiffchaff present to confuse the observation. Photos of one bird only.

Yellow Browed Warbler - East Soar - 11/10/2016Yellow Browed Warbler - East Soar - 11/10/2016

Yellow-browed Warbler - East Soar - 11/10/2016

Posted October 11th, 2016 at 3:36 pm by David Pakes in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Monday 10th October 2016

East Soar-Soar Mill Valley-Southdown Farm

Highlight today was 5 Yellow-browed Warblers, 2 in East Soar willows, one in the plantation, one at Lower Soar & one in the willows in Soar Mill Valley. Other migrants: 13 Ring Ouzel, 23 Alba Wagtail, 205 Skylark, 320 Meadow Pipit, 61 Swallow, 50 House Martin, 2 Wheatear, Redwing, 29 Song Thrush, 34 Blackbird & 53 Robin (mix of migs & residents), 24 Blackcap, 56 Chiffchaff, 3 Goldcrest, Coal Tit (very unusual here), 14 Chaffinch & 200 Linnet.

Posted October 10th, 2016 at 4:37 pm by Rob Macklin in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Soar etc

06:30-14:45. Bright day but chilly Mod-Fresh NE wind

Thought i'd try something different and walked out in the dark to Sharp Tor for dusk to do a vis mig watch. ( Sharp Tor is directly across the bottom of Starehole Valley from Bolt Head ) . On the way out heard a few Song Thrushes and a Redwing. Bit of passage from 07:10-09:00 namely 1 Snipe, 11 Skylarks, 140 Meadow Pipits, 1 Tree Pipit, 28 alba Wagtails, 300 House Martins ( almost all in one group ), 40 Swallows, 100 Chaffinches, 1 Brambling, 100 Goldfinches, 6 Greenfinches, 70 Linnets, 12 Siskins and 4 Crossbills ( together ). Elsewhere around East Soar / Starehole were Great Spotted Woodpecker, Whinchat, Redstart, 5 Ring Ouzels, 3 Wheatears, 8 Blackcaps, 8 Chiffchaffs, 2 Yellow-browed Warblers ( East Soar Willows ), 4 Goldcrests and 2 Lesser Redpolls overhead. Saw Vic Tucker and Mike Northey who said there were at least 2 more Yellow-broweds in Soar Mill Cove with 3 Ring Ouzels. Mike had also flushed a Quail by the track nr East Soar Farm but could not relocate it. Left them to it as I was pushed for time. Got a feeling something good is out there so hopefully they will find it.

On the way home decided to call into Hope Cove and have a quick walk around the woods behind the old Lifeboat House, took 20 minutes but two more Yellow-browed Warblers added to the count. Amazing how many of these are around, I was quite disguisted when there were none in the Tescos car park when I called in for milk on the way home !


Posted October 10th, 2016 at 3:43 pm by Perry Sanders in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Thurlestone & South Huish

 ORTOLAN BUNTING flew over the Golf Course at 08.20 this morning calling before landing in a bush - reported by Mike Passman


Sat 8th    Peter Goodfellow and his son David had good views of two Cattle Egrets and a Little Stint about 1400 hrs for 10 mins. In field behind the cafe, with cattle. Close views.  With nearby Little Egret. Its black bill cf. their rather stubby yellow very noticeable. Stint with 3 Dunlin on Pond's near edge.

Posted October 10th, 2016 at 12:12 pm in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Sunday 9th October 2016

Rillage Point

07.00 to 10.00: Steady light passage of Swallows (51), Skylarks (4), Meadow Pipits (71), alba wagtails (15), Chaffinches (37), Linnets (73) and Siskins (4). Highlights were a Ring Ouzel on the sidelands and 44 Ravens flying very high to the WNW in two loose flocks of 28 and 16, within about 15 minutes of each other during the first hour of daylight. Would love to know where they were headed. 1 Snow Bunting yesterday (8th October).

This evening at dusk, 3 Eiders and a Common Scoter feeding close in to the rocky foreshore between Barricane Beach and Morte Point.

Posted October 9th, 2016 at 9:38 pm by Tim Jones in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Prawle Area

Sunday 9th October. Good day to be out birding (7.30 till 1.30pm) .Highlights 2 x Yellow-Browed Warblers in Pig's Nose Valley (differing prominence of wing bars)-one near Stallion's Bite and a second near lower gate. Also 1 Firecrest , 15 Blackcaps, 34 Chiffchaffs, 1 Whinchat, 2 Wheatears, 2 Song Thrushes,15 Blackbirds, Jay, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 4 Goldcrests seen (a few more heard) and on leaving the valley a Marsh Harrier (female/1st year type) flew east and then high NE over the airfields. Pat M. saw 2 Ring Ouzels (1 near overflow car park and another along the front), 15 Wheatear and saw both MIstle Thrush , Redwing and Snipe during a short vizmig.

Late postings : Friday 7th October seawatch ( in ESE Force 3 going 5, then 3) : 4 x Balearic Shearwaters east, 1 x Arctic Tern , 1 x Arctic Skua, 1 x Black-Throated Diver (s.p) and 1 x Red-Throated Diver (moulting from summer plumage) all east. 6 x Eider , 8 x Brent Geese west, 2 x Pintail, 40 x Wigeon, 2 x Teal, 2 x Shoveler,16 x Common Scoter, 9 x Dunlin all east.Also 5 x Mediterranean Gulls of all plumage types.

2nd October : Highlights : Lesser Whitethroat , Spotted Flycatcher, 2 x Reed Bunting.

We band of few (or two?) are still trying..and will try to get news out once the American has been located !

Posted October 9th, 2016 at 9:03 pm by Tony Marchese in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


07:40-16:30. Some cloud first thing but eventually a beautiful sunny day. Moderate-fresh NE wind easing through day.

Merlin, 3 Golden Plovers, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Grey Wagtail, 14 Wheatears, 14 Ring Ouzels, 21 Blackcaps, 66 Chiffchaffs, 7 Yellow-browed Warblers ( 2 Hgr Soar, 1 Hamstone Cottage, 2 East Soar Willows and 2 more seen by Alan Doidge in the plantation ) and 9 Goldcrests.

A few Red Admirals and 2 Clouded Yellows. Not sure if 7 YBW's is a mainland record for Devon ? Doubt it would last long if it was !

Posted October 9th, 2016 at 5:07 pm by Perry Sanders in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Horsey Island

Glossy Ibis on Horsey Island for a while this morning before being spooked by Little Egret flying over. Flew back onto the Taw Estuary.

Posted October 9th, 2016 at 3:23 pm by Rob Jutsum in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Saturday 8th October 2016

River Taw

The Dalmatian Pelican seen this afternoon on a sandbank in the middle of the river between Horsey Island and Yelland Pier.

Dalmatian Pelican
Dalmatian Pelican

Posted October 8th, 2016 at 7:18 pm by Mike Jones in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

East and Middle Soar

am of note: 1 Yellow-browed Warbler (with Long-tailed Tit and Blue Tit flock in East Soar willows), 2 Firecrests, at least 6 Ring Ouzels, 1 Yellow Wagtail, 30 Wheatears, c35 Chiffchaffs and c15 Blackcaps. Met Vic Tucker late morning who had seen additionally 1 Whinchat and 1 Woodlark overhead. 

Posted October 8th, 2016 at 6:58 pm by Andy Smith in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

River Caen/Taw Estuary

16:30 to 17:45 at the mouth of the River Caen. Birds of interest, a confiding Wryneck, Dalmation Pelican over, Spoonbill over at Isley and Marsh Harrier overhead.

Lovely Wryneck   The Dalmation Pelican
Wryneck                                                                           Dalmation Pelican

Posted October 8th, 2016 at 6:48 pm by Martin Bond in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Berry Head

The Yellow-browed Warbler was still in the quarry today with 2 chiffchaffs and a Goldcrest. 

Flying over: 2 Redwing, 13 Song Thrush, 9 Siskin, good numbers of Goldfinch.  

Posted October 8th, 2016 at 6:36 pm by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

DWT, Emsworthy, Dartmoor

At Emsworthy this morning 6 Ring Ouzels feeding on Hawthorn and Rowan berries. C30 Mistle Thrushes.

Ring Ouzel, Dartmoor.
Ring Ouzel, Dartmoor.

Posted October 8th, 2016 at 12:21 pm by david cawthraw in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

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