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  Long-tailed Skua, Dawlish Warren 11 Oct
Barred Warbler, Thurlestone 30 Aug 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
Hooded Crow, Baggy Point 10 May  


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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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 14th May 2017

Eastern Subalpine Warbler at Dawlish Warren

Caught up with the EASTERN SUBALPINE WARBLER around 10.30, where a number of birders had already gathered, thanks to Mark Bailey and his running commentary on the birds movements. It was calling and moving from Hawthorn to Apple Tree on the back track between the main pond and the golf course. Tricky bird to get a decent shot of as it was best to keep some distance from it. The general public at large were being frantically waved at to go the other way. Anyway, a very exciting tick for my list. Well done to Ivan for initially spotting it.


Posted May 14th, 2017 at 3:23 pm by Steph Murphy in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Woodchat Shrike

At 08:00 the female Woodchat Shrike ranging widely over Cuckoo Ball nr Bittaford.  Her position occasionally given away by harrying Meadow Pipit.  Also there a calling Cuckoo, Wheatear and a super Yellowhammer.

I've attached a shaky photo with another of the tree it was sitting in taken from the same  spot showing that you don't have to disturb birds just to get a snap.


Posted May 14th, 2017 at 11:57 am by Chris Marcol in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Cuckoo Ball, Ivybridge

Woodchat Shrike at Cuckoo Ball again this morning. Mobile but showing well to 9.30 am at least. Mainly frequenting fence line and gorse clumps around ancient burial chamber towards the top of the hill. Happily catching beetles and attracting the agitated attentions of local Meadow Pipits and Skylarks. Good views of Cuckoo here too. 

Posted May 14th, 2017 at 11:56 am by Andy Smith in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Saturday 13th May 2017

West Soar

Bonxie flying east offshore mid-morning - patch tick! Also Fulmar & 34 Gannet. Spotted Flycatcher in Soar Mill Valley. Also: 2 Green Hairstreak.

Later at home in Harleston: Hummingbird Hawk-moth nectaring on Red Valerian.

Posted May 13th, 2017 at 2:48 pm by Rob Macklin in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Berry Head

Sea watching, 7 to 9 am with Dave Holloway: 1 pale ad. Pomarine Skua (at 7.45), 1 Black Tern (8.45), 1 summer-plumaged Great Northern Diver (flew into Tor Bay), an intermittent trickle of Manx Shearwaters and Kittiwakes, a few Porpoises close in and a Tree Pipit in off the sea.

Posted May 13th, 2017 at 12:50 pm by Andy Smith in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Friday 12th May 2017

Prawle Point and South Huish

Seawatch from 7am till 11am. Forecast SSW and showers but weather remained SW,misty at times but no showers !

Adult Pomarine Skua,pale phase,at 9.55 east ( later,presumed same,west at 11.05). Arctic Skua dark phase east at 10.45 and a Bonxie west at 8.20am. 2 Great Northern Divers in summer plumage west at 10.40. Also 34 Common Scoters east and 196 Manx Shearwaters west ( includes group of 90+ birds) And a pod of min.12 Common Dolphins surfacing and leaping acrobatically. At the edge of the reserve my first Spotted Flycatcher at Prawle and a female Wheatear.

Arrived at South Huish at 12.45 and rain soon started. No reports of yesterday's Purple Heron but I did see the male Garganey, a female Yellow Wagtail, the Avocet, the Cattle Egret ,4 Dunlin and a White Wagtail.Also 20+ House Martins,15+Swallows and 2 Sand Martins.


Posted May 12th, 2017 at 6:54 pm by Tony Marchese in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


Seawatching from Penlee, Cornwall, watched one of the Pomarine Skuas seen, fly cross border towards Bovisand Bay. An adult pale phase with "spoons".

Posted May 12th, 2017 at 4:25 pm by Pete Aley in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Berry Head: 06:00 - 09:30

2 Pomarine Skuas (both light phase, 1 ad, 1 2nd yr?, no"spoon",  c.08:45); 1 Gt Skua (chasing a Gannet, a Gt B-b Gull, then a Herring Gull, c. 07:00 -07:30); at least 31 Manx Shearwater; 10 Common Scoter (flew S and landed off head, c. 09:15, then flew back N, c.09:30).

Posted May 12th, 2017 at 12:33 pm by Dave Holloway in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Thursday 11th May 2017

Berry Head

Seawatch totals 0600-0830hrs: 1 ad Long-tailed Skua, 1 Pomarine Skua, 1 Bonxie, 1 Puffin, 1Great Northern Diver, 11 Manx Shearwaters, 2 Sandwich Tern plus 20+ C Dolphin, 2 H Porpoise.

Also 2 Spotted Flycatchers

video of Pomarine Skua: 

poor footage of the Long-tailed Skua: 

Posted May 11th, 2017 at 11:06 am by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Tuesday 9th May 2017

Yarner Wood and Trendlebere Down

A morning visit to a very cold Yarner Wood and Trendlebere Down with Keith Male, Sparrowhawk, Buzzard, Raven, numerous Goldcrest some of which were very vocal, Redstart 3, Wood Warbler 3 one collecting nesting material, Pied Flycatcher 9, one male having a normal metal BTO type ring and a gold coloured ring on the other leg, staff checking the nest boxes advised that at least one box contained dead chicks. Wren, pair of displaying Blackcap, Raven, Song and Mistle Thrush, Mandarin and Mallard duck.

On Trendlebere down Linnet 4+, at least three families of Stonechat, Tree Pipit 3, a Cuckoo flew over the top of us and flew into the top of Yarner wood some time later a second bird heard calling out on the moors, Yellowhammer 5+ and Willow Warbler 3+.

Sparrowhawk flew over the A38 at Ashburton.

Posted May 9th, 2017 at 9:46 pm by Steve Hopper in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Monday 8th May 2017

Soar and South Huish

Soar - Swift, Spotted Flycatcher, Reed Warbler, 2 Sedge Warblers, Great Spotted Woodpecker, good views of Fox and c10 Bottlenose Dolphins off Bolberry

One Cattle Egret still on South Huish Marsh and also, Sand Martin, Ringed Plover and 3 Dunlins.

Fox Fox

Posted May 8th, 2017 at 8:34 pm by Pete Aley in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

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