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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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

Thursday 7th September 2017

Dawlish Warren

3 Black Tern seen today,from the hide,at approx. 11.30. They were a good way out, but through scope could see their colour and small size alongside the Sandwich Terns'

Posted September 7th, 2017 at 8:17 pm by Kay and Gary Deare in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Wednesday 6th September 2017

Soar Area

Quail flushed underfoot in winter wheat stubble at Southdown Farm this morning. Also: Sparrowhawk, 700 Herring Gull, 41 Swallow, 19 Meadow Pipit, 2 Grey Wagtail, 2 Wheatear & 190 Linnet.

Non-avian: 2 Painted Lady.

Posted September 6th, 2017 at 1:55 pm by Rob Macklin in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Wembury Point

Wrynecks: two in view at the same time at 08:30, just SW of the pines inland from the Point. (Near the open gate on the tarmac track leading down to the patch of hard-standing and slipway, 50.3164, -4.1051).

Wryneck 06-09-2017
Wryneck 06-09-2017

Posted September 6th, 2017 at 10:54 am by John Bishop in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Isley Marsh/Yelland

Wryneck flushed from ground on south west coast path at approximately SS484327 at 07:15. Managed about a second of full lens binocular view before it dropped down into cover between path and higher grassland area. It is a popular dog walking route (as I was doing) but it by no means left the site. 

Nearest parking on access road to old Yelland power station. Access the spot from Tarka Trail either via the path up east perimeter of power station, or through gate at south west corner of RSPB Isley Marsh.

Posted September 6th, 2017 at 8:00 am by Lowell Mills in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Tuesday 5th September 2017

Berry Head

Seawatch 06.35-15.15: adult Sabine's Gull (@0700), 35 Artctic Skuas, 4 Pomarine Skuas, c15 Bonxies, (also quite a few skuas very distant often in difficult light hence 21 Skua sps), 53 Balearic Shearwaters, 3 Sooty Shearwaters, c150 Manx Shearwaters, 2 Black Terns, 8 Common Terns, 7 "Commic" Terns, juv Little Gull, 1st-s Mediterranean Gull, c300 Kittiwakes, Harbour Porpoise, 2 Common Dolphins and Grey wagtail over. 

Posted September 5th, 2017 at 6:09 pm by Pete Aley in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


A Wryneck was seen in Totnes yesterday by Daniel Kent - identified by description and not a great photo but the dark line can be seen down the back of the bird!

Wryneck Totnes

Posted September 5th, 2017 at 8:51 am by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Sunday 3rd September 2017

Berry Head update

Seawatching 0620-1800: 1 ad Sabine's Gull @06:45, juv Little Gull, Sooty Shearwater,38 Balearic Shearwaters, 22 Manx Shearwaters, Long-tailed Skua (pale juv) @13:55, 10 Pomarine Skuas, 69 Arctic Skuas, 15 Bonxie, Yellow-legged Gull 1w, 13 Black Terns (incl. one flock of 12), 80 Common Terns, 10 Arctic Terns, 7 Sandwich Terns, 435 Kittiwakes (just 15 juvs), 50 Common Scoter S & 9 N, 13 Bar-tailed Godwits & Whimbrel. Also 12+ European Storm-petrels, but... @15:10 a frustrating short view of a slightly larger petrel (seen by 3 of us before heavy rain obscured the view with European Storm-petel close by it) showed grey covert bar, jizz better fitted Wilson's but will have to go down as Storm-petrel sp (again!). There was also a good movement of Fulmars (no count) but included one 'double light'. Also light passage of Swallows over the sea and a Wheatear landed on the point. 2 Harbour Porpoise were the only cetaceans seen.

Posted September 3rd, 2017 at 7:34 pm by Mark Darlaston in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Berry Head

Seawatching 0630-0930hrs: 1 ad Sabine's Gull, 1 Sooty Shearwater, 15 Balearic Shearwaters, 9 Manx Shearwater, 3 Pomarine, 8 Arctic and 1 Great Skua, 10 Common, 1 Arctic and 1 Black Tern, 255 Kittiwake (but only 2 juveniles!) 14 Common Scoter >S & 9>N.

1 Firecrest in woods just S of Berry Head Hotel.

Posted September 3rd, 2017 at 3:36 pm by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


Seawatching 06:40 - 09:10: Storm Petrel, 4 Balearic Shearwaters, 2 Pomarine Skuas, 2 Arctic Skuas, 4 unidentified skuas (including possible Long-tailed), 51 Common Scoters, 86 Kittiwakes. Laurie Allnatt is still there so totals to be updated later.

Posted September 3rd, 2017 at 9:52 am by Will Salmon in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Friday 1st September 2017

Soar and South Efford Marsh

Quite a few Wagtails today with 41+ Yellows (including a flock of 38 amongst cows) and 45+ Albas including c30 Whites and c10 Pieds. Also: 5 Spotted Flycatchers, 1 or 2 Whinchats, 3 Tree Pipits, 2 Garden Warblers, c10 Whitethroats, 9 Willow Warblers, 20+ Chiffchaffs, c25 Blackcaps, 10 Wheatears, Sparrowhawk, 4 Stock Doves, 4 Sand Martins and a Reed Warbler.

South Efford Marsh held 6 Greenshanks, 8 Common Sandpipers, 4 Teal, c25 Alba Wagtails including 8+ Whites, Wheatear and Green Woodpecker. 

Posted September 1st, 2017 at 6:12 pm by Pete Aley in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Nocturnal recording

I've been trying my hand at nocturnal recording in Lipson (Plymouth). It is not Cape May but the last couple of weeks have been interesting. Tree Pipit has been regular and I have some evidence of birds travelling in groups (12 calls, single, double and triple calls in less than 30s for instance on 27/8). Likewise for Yellow Wagtail, 21 calls over a similar period suggests a group. Other species have included waders (Oystercatcher quite regular and a Green Sand on 25/8), Grey Heron and a few Robins.

Posted September 1st, 2017 at 11:35 am by Richard Billington in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

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