Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

2019 Descriptions still outstanding

Many thanks to all observers that submitted their records for 2019. However there are still a number of records that require descriptions before they can appear in the Bird Report.

If you were fortunate enough to find (or see) any of these birds below please could you submit a description to the County Recorder Many thanks, stay safe.

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 - Daily exercise and Bird Hides

Please be aware that in line with Government guidelines on non-essential travel and social distancing, the Devon Birds hides at Beesands, Fernworthy and Roadford, in addition to hides elsewhere in the County including Bowling Green Marsh, Dawlish Warren and Seaton Wetlands are closed until further notice. Whilst some people may be fortunate enough to be within walking/cycling distance of these sites, others should not be making special journeys to visit these areas at this time. 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

Sightings page guidelines & rare breeding bird posting restrictions

We welcome contributions from Devon Birds members and the general public. Please follow the guidelines on this page if you have something to post on the blog, remembering to use the relevant subject.

Please post responsibly, never post details of rare breeding, or winter roosts of vulnerable, species. If you are unsure of what to - or not - to post, there are guidelines on the restrictions  here.

Please note:-

1. That Wood Warbler in probable breeding areas should also not now be published

2.  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all. Editors do this job on a voluntary basis and cannot commit to editing out rare breeding bird information in posts which which include wider sightings. Please help us to avoid the need to delete or not admit posts. Thanks.

For help with ID email photos to

Posted January 8th at 9:12 pm by Pete Aley 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

Sunday 7th May 2017

Prawle Area

Black Redstart and 3 male Wheatears in set aside field near Gammon Head, otherwise a Whitethroat (36 singing males on territory) and Swallow day , with 115 Swallows either in off the sea or coasting eastwards. Butterfly species included 2 Small Pearl- bordered fritillaries, 4 Green Hairstreak, 2 Common Blues ( including one female) and a Small Copper. More warmth and sunshine would have produced more.

Posted May 7th, 2017 at 10:54 pm by Tony Marchese in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Saturday 6th May 2017

Bowling green marsh and goatwalk topsham

Watched from 10:30 till 17:00

started at the hide at bowling green marsh the 3 male ruffs showed well with 50+ black tailed godwits, 10+ tufted duck? 3 gadwall, 15+ wigeon , 5+ house Martin , 20+ swift among sand martins and swallows , 4 Cetti's warblers, 12+ reed warblers. 

From the goatwalk , 360+ dunlin , 2 sanderling, 13 knot, 23 ringed plover, 37+ grey plover, 8+ whimbrel, lots of swifts moving over exminster marsh

from the viewing platform at bowling green marsh another 8+ grey plover. 59+ bar tailed godwits, the Spoonbill  was very active today feeding most of  the time, just after 15:20 picked up a distant Osprey down river of Lympstone it caught 1 fish but lost it as it took off it then flew up river towards turf we saw it dive again but was lost to view ( other birders at the goatwalk saw it take a large fish and it headed up behind turf), 30+ swift through in small groups, 7+ buzzard through heading north up the river clyst , 15+ great crested grebe 

Another quick look from the hide produced a 1st summer Mediterranean gull.


Posted May 6th, 2017 at 8:47 pm by Keith Birchall in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Roadford lake

Greenshank and Common Sandpiper

Posted May 6th, 2017 at 8:43 am by Rupert Kirkwood in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Friday 5th May 2017

Prawle Seawatch

Seawatch from 7.20 to 1pm in NE going ENE 5-6 going 7 with PM : Hobby  in off the sea at 11.20am; 70+ Swifts gong east ,some in off; 2 Great Northern Divers in summer plumage west;15 Manx Shearwaters east;14 Bar-Tailed Godwits, 7 Grey Plover and 3 unidentified waders east;23 Common Scoter east;6 Swallows and 6 House Martins;a Chiffchaff and a Whitethroat newly arrived in off and a Wheatear flying east. Also 4 Dolphins ( probably Bottle- Nosed and a Harbour Porpoise.

Posted May 5th, 2017 at 11:26 pm by Tony Marchese in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


Further to Keith's post the imm Spoonbill was on the estuary as viewed from the Bowling Green Marsh viewing platform at midday.

Posted May 5th, 2017 at 11:07 pm by Martin Elcoate in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Wednesday 3rd May 2017

Exminster Marsh.

Sorry, late post for Tuesday 2nd May 0530 to 0600. 2 x Spoonbill feeding in distant shallow water as viewed from canal path by car park. Also drake Garganey on pond adjacent to road to canal car park.  

Posted May 3rd, 2017 at 8:31 pm by Mike Booth in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Haldon Forest Survey

Another trip up to Haldon Forrest  for five DBWPS members who make up one of the survey teams.

Goldcrest, Willow Warbler, Blackcap, Yellow Hammer, Treecreeper, Song & Mistle Thrush, Nuthatch, Linnet, Chiffchaff and Buzzard seen in the woodland area.

The Heath land gave the days highlights, initially Stonechat with and feeding young, Green woodpecker followed by Tree Pipit and a pair of very confiding Crossbills.

Numerous other regular species recorded.

Posted May 3rd, 2017 at 1:28 pm by Steve Hopper in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Tuesday 2nd May 2017

Osprey over Yelland

The Osprey was circling high up with a lot of gulls over the old ashbeds at Isley marsh around midday today. Attached just  a record shot as it was very high up.


Posted May 2nd, 2017 at 10:02 pm by Roy Churchill in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Soar, South Huish Marsh & South Milton Ley

Soar was very quiet this morning: Wheatear, 3 Sedge Warblers, 4 Shelducks (going south west), 3 Blackcaps and 25 Whitethroats.

At South Huish Marsh later, 5 Cattle Egrets, Lapwing, 3 Whimbrels, 3 Sedge Warblers and Reed Bunting. South Milton Ley produced 4 Reed Warblers and 2 Jays.

Posted May 2nd, 2017 at 5:53 pm by Pete Aley in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Exe Estuary

Up to Bowling Green Marsh and Exminster marsh with Keith Male for the midday high tide.


On BGM a Ruff and Greenshank in with the Godwit flock and a Spoonbill showing well, duck species inc some 10 Tufted, pair of Gadwall, Shoveller and Mallard with ducklings. Chiffchaff in the lane side hedge. Four Buzzard soaring high over the area

, On Exminster marsh 15 plus Reed Warblers very vocal but extremely elusive, Reed Buntings, a Garden Warbler, seven Whimbrel and at least two Lapwing on leaving a distant Hobby and a hovering Kestrel.

Posted May 2nd, 2017 at 5:27 pm by Steve Hopper in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Monday 1st May 2017


As I can't make the Devon Birds trip, I sneaked over for a preview today.

Good numbers of Manx Shearwaters on the outward journey, and in with one large raft were a few Common Terns and several Black Terns. Also the usual Guillemots, Razorbills, Kittiwakes and the odd Gannet.

In Millcombe, 4 Blackcaps, Whitethroat, 2/3 Chiffchaffs, Goldcrest, and at the top of the valley Redpoll and Willow Warbler.

Walked out along 1/4 wall - two Sika Deer. Huge numbers of nesting Guillemots and Razorbills along with encouraging numbers of Puffins in Jenny's Cove. Plus Fulmars.

At Pondsbury 3 Teal two broods of Mallard, Sedge Warbler, Swift, House Martin. Then bird of the day: a Short-eared Owl which flew round and pitched in south of the pond.

After seeing a fine male Redstart along the east part of 1/4 wall, not much along the east side, but back in Millcombe with a little help from Tim and Tim, I saw Grasshopper Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Garden Warbler, and a rather distant view of the Red-necked Grebe. Buzzard and Kestrel seen along with 2 Peregrine. 

Posted May 1st, 2017 at 10:17 pm by Jon Turner in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Redstarts and Cuckoo - Smeardon Down

A lovely pair of Redstarts showing well at close quarters (pics to follow) and a Cuckoo calling and later flying by at distance on Smeardon Down, Peter Tavy this evening

Posted May 1st, 2017 at 7:09 pm by Andy Brown in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Bowling Green & Goosemoor

A drake Garganey was at Bowling Green Marsh early in the morning, flying off towards the estuary. Other ducks included surprisingly good numbers of Teal and Wigeon (15+), plus Shoveler (7), Pintail (drake), Gadwall (pair plus a drake) and Tufted (8). An Avocet and a couple of Whimbrel came in at high tide, as did 2 Ruff, Dunlin (200?), Ringed Plover (1), both godwits and some Knot briefly, before decanting to Goosemoor. A Swift went through and about a hundred mixed hirundines fed over in front of the hide.

At Goosemoor, 28 Greenshanks and a mixed bunch of Knot and both godwits fed for a while until the water level rose and the mud disappeared. Some splendid Knots and Bar-tails in breeding plumage, despite the dismal light!

Bar-tailed Godwit and Knots at Goosemoor Bar-tails in varying plumages! Garganey at BGM
Bar-tailed Godwit and Knots at Goosemoor   Bar-tails in varying plumages!                         Garganey at BGM

Posted May 1st, 2017 at 1:11 pm by Dave Smallshire in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Older Posts in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts →

← Newer Posts in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts