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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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 21st September 2017

Berry Head

Seawatch 06.45-10.15

Highlight was a juv Sabine's Gull which lingered for 25 minutes, most of the time sitting on the sea with a flock of Kittiwakes. Also: Sooty Shearwater, 5 Balearic Shearwaters, 2 Pomarine Skuas, 17 Arctic Skuas, 19 Bonxies, 2 Skua sp, 14 Sandwich Terns, 2 Common Terns, 9 "Commic" Terns, 325 Kittiwakes, 9 Common Scoters, 2 Storm Petrel sp and 5+ Harbour Porpoises.

A Wheatear on the rocks.

Posted September 21st, 2017 at 6:23 pm by Pete Aley in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Wednesday 20th September 2017

Bolwing Green Marsh/Goosemoor

Two juvenile Red-rumped Swallows watched from the Goosemoor viewpoint for about 10 minutes up to 1.00pm, but not seen since. They were feeding with a Sand Martin over the railway end of Bowling Green Marsh. Checked from the hide for about hour an hour afterwards and later back at Goosemoor, but only small numbers of Barn Swallow, Sand Martins and House Martins seen.

Black Tern still feeding over BGM when I left at 3.00pm. Several Water Rails heard and 2 Greenshank and 2 Snipe seen at Goosemoor.

Posted September 20th, 2017 at 4:29 pm by Dave Smallsire in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Tuesday 19th September 2017

Horsey & Braunton Marshes

Great White Egret showing well on Horsey late aft + photo of one of the 3 Cattle Egrets on Braunton Marshes (the other 2 keeping a very low profile & not visible until all 3 flew out over the R.Caen after 18.00.

Posted September 19th, 2017 at 10:02 pm by Rob Jutsum in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Anchor bank, Barnstaple.

No sign of Grey Phalarope today, the 250 odd Dunlin flock held 2 Curlew sandpipers , 2 Little Stint and a single Sanderling.   Still good numbers of Black and Bar tailed Godwits present.

Posted September 19th, 2017 at 1:24 pm by Malcolm Shakespeare in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Monday 18th September 2017

Grey Phalarope

Great day out today, started with Grey Phalarope and Ruff at Budleigh Salterton and a Bar-headed Goose with the Canada geese at the end of the beach. Other highlights here were 3 kingfisher and Cetti's warbler. On to Bowling Green Marsh, and with much needed help from the experts there,

found both the Curlew sandpiper and the Little Stints.Thanks to all.

Posted September 18th, 2017 at 10:12 pm by Kay and Gary Deare in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Bishop's Tawton

Two probable Cattle Egret sighted from train 18:05 in field below Bishop's Tawton in line with the quarry.

Posted September 18th, 2017 at 8:39 pm by Lowell Mills in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Soar and South Efford Marsh

Little vis mig except c45 Swallows going south at first light (100+ around in total). A Grasshopper Warbler in Starehole, Tree Pipit, 14 Ringed Plovers grounded and a Golden Plover over, 25 Blackcaps, 28 Chiffchaffs, 3 Whitethroats, 10 Goldcrests, 4 Wheatears, 300+ Meadow Pipits, Bullfinch, Great Spotted Woodpecker and Sparrowhawk.

At South Efford Marsh, 2 Cattle Egrets, Kingfisher, 4 Greenshanks, 5 Dunlins, 3+ White wagtails, 1 each of Bar and Blacl-tailed Godwits, Common Sandpiper and Great Spotted Woodpecker.

Posted September 18th, 2017 at 6:24 pm by Pete Aley in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Horsey Island

A good look at Horsey Island during the incoming tide before most of the waders were moved on by rising water levels (Spring tide 17.45 - 9.0m)

No sign of the Great White Egret but after close inspection of the waders & waterfowl - 1 Little Stint & 1 Curlew Sandpiper amongst 56 Dunlin,3 Grey Plover, 9 Ringed Plover, 5 Barwits, 6 Blackwits & a number of mobile Greenshank covering a wide area!

Waterfowl - 2 Pintail, 1 Wigeon & 1 Shoveler  & more sleeping duck behind the rushes a good distance away so difficult to be certain of ID.

Posted September 18th, 2017 at 6:14 pm by Rob Jutsum in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Isley Marsh RSPB

At sunrise this morning my first sighting this autumn of the ringed Spoonbill [green/yellow flag/green, blue/metal/lime] (now 10 years old). On its own feeding at the mouth of the creek. Also a singing Cetti's Warbler nearer the Tarka Trail. 

Posted September 18th, 2017 at 10:13 am by Lowell Mills in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Sunday 17th September 2017

Torbay and Bowling Green Marsh

Broadsands beach, Paignton this morning three Mediterranean Gulls one with a green plastic leg ring but unable to make out the details.


Berry Head gave a distant passing Shearwater which I am satisfied was a Sooty Shearwater but I could be wrong.

To BGM to catch the late afternoon high tide, lots of waders predominantly Black Tailed Godwit and Dunlin but in with them were Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Avocet, Sanderling and Ringed Plover.

Duck spices included Pintail, Gadwall, Shoveler, Mallard, Teal and Wigeon.

Three Little Grebe one still very much in summer plumage.

(A Knot can be seen in each of the wader images)

Posted September 17th, 2017 at 9:09 pm by Steve Hopper in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Saturday 16th September 2017

Budleigh Salterton

The Grey Phalarope that has been here for around 3 days now. On scrape just up the path past Budleiigh Cricket Club. A great visitor for Budleigh! It was also nice to meet Stan Davies there, who was one of the orginal inventors of the scrape at Bowling Green Marsh. Also whilst viewing the Grey Phalarope, around 400 Canada Geese flew in, in formation, to the River Otter. 

Grey Phalarope  


Posted September 16th, 2017 at 5:28 pm by Steph Murphy in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Osprey ~ Powderham

Little Grebe on BGM this morning

From the BGM viewing platform two Kingfishers, 5 plus Willow Warbler (along the path to the platform) one male Blackcap and one Goldcrest

From the Goat Walk a Little Stint with the Dunlin and Ringed Plovers.

Towards Powderham an Osprey seen perched on the top of a tree some 400 yards plus the west side of the river almost as soon as it was seen it flew across towards the river.

Posted September 16th, 2017 at 4:38 pm by Steve Hopper in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

South Efford Marsh

1 Curlew Sandpiper again with the mid-pm high tide.

Posted September 16th, 2017 at 4:35 pm by Andy Smith in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Wembury Point

2 Hobby together flying over heading west and a spotted flycatcher in the pine trees at Wembury Point were eclipsed by a wryneck feeding in the fields below the pine trees although mobile and elusive (thanks to another Birder I met giving me the heads up on the wryneck and spotted flycatcher) - a few record shots attached. Chiffchaff, whitethroat, swallow and house martin also noted.



Posted September 16th, 2017 at 1:16 pm by Stuart Green in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Friday 15th September 2017

Anchor Wood west of the new bridge

Grey Phalarope Pics whilst with Jon Turner

Grey PhalaropeGrey Phalarope

Grey Phalarope

Grey Phalarope

Posted September 15th, 2017 at 8:43 pm by Martin Bond in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Otter Estuary (Budleigh Salterton)

Stunning Grey Phalarope showing well on the pool in the second field north of the Cricket club. 

Posted September 15th, 2017 at 7:06 pm by Spencer Dicks in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Hartland point

0700-0900 wind NNW 4-5

2 Bonxie, 36 Manx Shearwater, 24 Common Scoter, 85 Kittiwake

plus 2or 3 Harbour Porpoise

Posted September 15th, 2017 at 11:42 am by Rupert Kirkwood in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

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