Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Missing Devon rarity records 2018 UPDATE

We have had a good response to the request for missing descriptions for a number of ‘A’ species reported in 2018. Thank you to those who have made the effort to provide these.

However some descriptions remain outstanding meaning, as things stand, they will not make the official record as part of the 2018 Devon Bird Report. It would be a great shame to lose these records but the report deadline is pressing.

If you saw any of these birds (you don’t have to be the finder) please can you submit a description and/or photos asap to Kev Rylands: Thank you.

Cory’s Shearwater (2) Ilfracombe 28 July
Cory’s Shearwater Thurlestone 26 August
Glossy Ibis Exe Estuary 21-27 October
Golden Oriole Blaxton Meadow 18 April
Great White Egret Exminster Marshes 30 March
Great White Egret Exmouth 06 May
Honey-buzzard Dartmoor 21-22 May
Pectoral Sandpiper Upper Tamar Lake 13 August
Rose-coloured Starling Beesands 27-28 August
Tree Sparrow Haldon 20 May

Posted September 24th at 8:44 am by Pete Aley in General Birding

Dawlish Warren

Please take extra care when visiting Dawlish Warren. We have been informed that due to the recent bad weather there has been significant erosion from Groyne 10 eastwards. This means that access along the site, to and from Warren Point (and the bird hide) will be via the beach only, with a risk of being cut off for a period either side of high water! Signs have been put up to alert people to the hazards, but people need to be aware that access routes that they have become used to may not be available and they need to exercise extreme caution,  with the possibility of being cut off by the tide, and people are strongly urged not to try climbing the sand cliffs. Further information is available on the Teignbridge District Council website.

Posted November 9th, 2018 at 11:08 am 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 us 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 by George & Julia Harris in General Birding

Sightings Page Changes

Acting on comments to Devon Birds some changes have been made to this page. To the right of this header post you'll see there are now several subjects for you to choose to read and post on. Just click your chosen subject and use as previously.

Please be careful not to post under the wrong subject. If you do, you can still easily go back to edit and change the subject yourself so it appears on the right page.

Please try and keep posts short, particularly in the Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts page. Photographs are still very welcome.  

For help with ID email photos to

Posted June 30th, 2016 at 9:24 pm by George & Julia Harris in General Birding

Sunday 30th April 2017


Two adult summer plumage Med gulls at Topsham Rec in the afternoon were smart birds. In the morning I enjoyed the equally smart Black tern feeding over Bowling Green Marsh & Curlew sandpiper (thanks to Keith Birchall for the news). Two Ruff still present on the marsh among a good array of waders including summer plumage Knot and Bar-tailed godwit.

Posted April 30th, 2017 at 10:51 pm by Martin Elcoate in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


Seawatching 07:00 - 11:00: 1 Pomarine Skua (9:10), 1 Great Skua, 1 Arctic Skua, 4 Great Northern Divers, 3 Eider, 4 Manx Shearwater, 30+ Sandwich Tern, 29 Common Scoter, 2 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 2 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 200+ auks, 5+ Fulmar, 40+ Kittiwake and 24 Black-headed Gull.

Posted April 30th, 2017 at 7:03 pm by Laurie Allnatt in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Thurlestone Bay

Went out to Torcross line this morning as the rain started. Very quiet, nothing moving on the sea, no hirundines or Swifts over the ley. Thought I would try Thurlestone Bay in the afternoon as the weather cleared. Arrived in Bob's Car Park at 14:20 where Mike Passman was seawatching and had just had 7 Eiders go south. In the next couple of hours headed south were 62 Manx Shearwaters, 25 Common Scoters, Arctic Skua, 2 Great Skuas and a couple Whimbrels. No doubt about the highlight though. At 15:20 Mike picked up a raptor coming in from the sea the other side of Warren Point. It came close inshore and across the bay and proved to be a female Montagu's Harrier. It eventually went down and disappeared in the grass in a field behind Beacon Point.

Posted April 30th, 2017 at 6:30 pm by Perry Sanders in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Bowling green marsh

Watched from 09:10 till 11:45

within a couple of minutes of getting to the hide picked out a nice Curlew sandpiper coming into summer plumage among 20+ dunlin, with rain now heavy and at 09:50 picked up a Black Tern over the back of the marsh it was still showing well when I left .

totals for the morning in addition were 2 Ruff , 7+ knot, 40+ bar tailed , 45+ dunlin, 2 oystercatcher, 4 redshank, 30+ black tailed godwits, 8+ whimbrel, 3 curlew, 1 avocet, 1 1st summer Mediterranean gull, 40+ black headed gull, 8+ lesser black backed gulls, 4 sedge warblers, 6+ reed warblers, 4+ Cetti's warblers, 21+ wigeon, 6+ tufted duck, 2 gadwall, 300+ sand Martin , 20+ swallows, 1 buzzard.

Posted April 30th, 2017 at 2:38 pm by Keith Birchall in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Berry Head

Seawatch 05.45-10.15am: 1 Pomarine Skua (probably 3rd cy), 2 Arctic Skuas (Dark phase and then pale phase), 4 Great Skua (video footage of one here: ), 3 Puffin, 15 Manx Shearwaters, 6 Great Northern Divers, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Mediterranean Gull (fs), 1 Red-breasted Merganser, 2 Shelduck, 1 Common Scoter, 1 Sandwich Tern, 5 Whimbrel, 56 Kittiwake, 5 Common Gulls 1 Harbour Porpoise and a Whale Sp >S possibly Minke (fairly distinct dorsal fin).

Posted April 30th, 2017 at 1:40 pm by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


Maer Rocks - 0545 - 0745 - 1 Arctic Tern, 2 Little Tern and 3 Common Tern lingering. Also this morning 1 Black Tern (east @ 0630), 14 'commic' Tern, c20+ Sandwich Tern, a further 4 Common Tern, 1 Arctic Tern, 9 Great Northern Diver, 1 Great Skua, 8 Whimbrel 1 Eider (west), 2 Common Gull, 1+ Guillemot, 9 Common Scoter, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Black-headed Gull and 2 Fulmar along with small numbers of Gannet and Kittiwake.

Posted April 30th, 2017 at 8:17 am by Matt Knott in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Saturday 29th April 2017

Yarner Wood

Located the Wood Warbler quite quickly from its constant singing by following the path upstream and turning left, taking us onto the higher path. It was very mobile, calling all the time. Didn't see any rings on either legs. Back down to Flycatcher territory and we counted 6 in total (2 m and 3 fm)

Pied Flycatcher Wood Warbler Wood Warbler


Posted April 29th, 2017 at 7:51 pm by Steph Murphy in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


3 Wheatear, 5 Whitethroat and a Turtle Dove in the field behind the hide -  sadly a scare bird these days.

Posted April 29th, 2017 at 2:15 pm by David Cope in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Wednesday 26th April 2017

Shipley ~ South Brent ~ Cuckoo

Shipley Bridge towards the Avon Dam near South Brent this morning Whitethroat 2, Bullfinch 5, Goldcrest 5, Swallow 20 plus, Blackcap 9 all males, Willow Warbler 5, my first actual sighting of a Cuckoo (seen twice and beginning to call later in the morning) Wren 7, Song Thrush, Goldfinch 2, Chiffchaff 4, Mistle Thrush 4+ (one carrying food) Buzzard 2, female Kestrel being driven off by a Mistle Thrush, Greater Black Back Gull 2, Raven, Skylark 2, Pied Wagtail 3, Linnet 8, a flock of 40 plus Meadow Pipits arrived together near the pump house flying in from the direction of South Brent.

Posted April 26th, 2017 at 1:20 pm by Steve Hopper in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Monday 24th April 2017

Prawle Sightings this weekend

Apologies for late posting.On Friday evening  Pat M saw a Red Kite; on Saturday 22nd April Pat M saw 3 Grasshopper Warblers, a male Redstart,a Sedge Warbler, 40+ Willow Warblers and 75+Wheatears and a possible Pomarine Skua.

Sunday 23rd (when I visited) seawatching with Pat M (7.20 till 9am) produced  2 Arctic Skuas , 3 Sandwich Terns east and 13 Manx Shearwaters west. A smattering of common migrants included my first 5 Whitethroats, 11+ Wheatears, 2 Willow Warblers, 20+ Swallows, 1 Sand Martin. Always interesting what a difference a day makes at this time of the year ! 

Posted April 24th, 2017 at 10:51 am by Tony Marchese in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Sunday 23rd April 2017

Yarner Wood

An early morning visit to Yarner Woods gave no less than thirteen Pied Flycatchers, two Wood Warblers together high in the Oak canopy, female Redstart, mating pair of Woodpeckers not something I ever expected to see, Siskin, Song Thrush and Great Spotted Woodpeckers.

Emsworthy Mire gave male Redstart, two male Wheatear, Meadow Pipits and three soaring Buzzards.

On Dartmoor, Swallow, Skylark, Meadow Pipit and several Linnets.

Back at home, Swallow, Nuthatch, Song Thrush and recently fledged Blackbird

Posted April 23rd, 2017 at 7:22 pm by Steve Hopper in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Saturday 22nd April 2017

Prawle Point (Reserve)

An Ad.m. Firecrest ringed at this site on 12/10/16 has been recovered on02/04/17 at Beverwijk, Noord-Holland, Netherlands. (Unfortunately taken by a cat). Of 13609 Firecrests ringed in Great Britain (until 31st.Dec 2015) only 8 have been recovered abroad, 3 previously from the Netherlands.      This individual would have wintered either in S W Britain or further south on the Continent and was returning to breed in Europe when it was recovered.

Posted April 22nd, 2017 at 5:17 pm by Alan K Searle in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

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