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 7th January 2018


About a dozen cattle egrets are back in the fields opposite Bowden House on the road to Ashprington, same place as last year. Couldn't count as I was driving and they all took off possibly to roost as dusk was approaching.

Posted January 7th, 2018 at 7:50 pm by Henry Trollope in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Exwick cemetery

Two hawfinch at midday feeding on cherry stones still hanging in the canopy of one of the cherry trees within the woodland area. A female sparrowhawk came through barely above ground, fortunately for the finches!

Posted January 7th, 2018 at 5:23 pm by Simon M Bates in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


1 Hawfinch in Topsham cemetery late morning. 2 Goldeneye at the Rec.

Posted January 7th, 2018 at 1:57 pm by Martin Elcoate in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Friday 5th January 2018


At least five Great Northern Divers between Brixham and Paignton.

One poor view of Arctic/ Pom skua chasing Kittiwakes. Looked chunky enough to be a Pom.

40-50 Common Dolphins

Great Northern Diver Common Dolphin Common Dolphin
Great Northern Diver                         Common Dolphin                                 Common Dolphin

Posted January 5th, 2018 at 7:15 pm by Rupert Kirkwood in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


During a gull watch this evening with Pete Dennis hoping for an Iceland or Glaucous Gull we found a really smart 1st w Caspian Gull sat on the water close to a cleaning trawler. It remained for 15 minutes or so before flying off after another trawler heading for Torquay. Also at least 20 Great Northern Divers beginning to roost in small flocks out in Torbay and 30+ Common Dolphins.

Caspian Gull fw Brixham 5th Jan 2018Sketch of the 1st w Caspian Gull

Posted January 5th, 2018 at 7:12 pm by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


At least 4 Hawfinches at Topsham cemetery near the water tower. Mobile and moving to the allotment hedgerow and Highfield Farm.

Posted January 5th, 2018 at 10:48 am by Martin Elcoate in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Thursday 4th January 2018

Kingsbridge & Slapton

Kingsbridge estuary ~ Shelduck 60 plus, Oystercatcher, Wigeon, Teal, Mallard, Curlew, Redshank, Little Egret, Greenshank, Red Breasted Merganser 15 plus and 8 Dunlin.

A very Stormy Slapton with a very strong off shore wind, very little seen over the sea Common Gull and Gannet, with several gull roosts on sheltered parts of the beach out of the wind.

On the Ley 3 male Golden Eye, Slavonian and Black Necked Grebe in with the Tufted duck, Little Grebe, a pair of Gadwall , high light was an Otter that was just in front of the duck feeding area at Slaton, so close that the ducks, Coots, Moorhens and Black Headed Gulls all left the water.


On the way home Bullfinch, Common Sandpiper (Aveton Gifford) and a flock of Fieldfare.

Eds: Steve both of the grebes in the photo are Black-necked Grebes. Slavonian are really clean (at this time of year) with a straight line of contrast on the face and lack the dark dropping into the cheek. They usually lack the fluffy back end and have a flatter crown.

Posted January 4th, 2018 at 3:16 pm by Steve Hopper in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


Alive with birds: 3 Black-throated Divers, 12 Great Northern Divers, 1 Red-throated Diver. 1 Red-necked Grebe, 1 Slavonain Grebe, 400+ Auks (good mix of Razorbill and Guyillemots), 200+ Gannets, 40+ Common Dolphin.

1 Firecrest in marsh, 12 Cirl Buntings on seed in 2nd car park and 1 Reed Bunting. 

Posted January 4th, 2018 at 9:58 am by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Tuesday 2nd January 2018


Delighted to find a female Hawfinch today sat on top of a tree in a boundary hedge of the Sunhill Avenue allotment. I was viewing the bird from Highfield Farm. The finch appeared to drop into the cemetery where there are a number of yew trees. I was unable to relocate the bird in a brief search of the cemetery. Also 171 Fieldfares around Highfield Farm was a good count (only 2 Redwings).

Posted January 2nd, 2018 at 8:03 pm by Martin Elcoate in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


A great hour at Broadsands the highlights being: 1 Red-necked Grebe, 2 Black-throated Divers, 5 Great Northern Divers, 1 Red-throated Diver, 1 Black-necked Grebe, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 1 Great Skua, 1 Pomarine Skua (both Skuas lingering in Torbay). 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Firecrest  & 8 Cirl Buntings. 

red-necked Grebe Broadsands 2 Jan 2018 ML                                                                      Red-necked Grebe

Video link to distant B-t Divers 

Posted January 2nd, 2018 at 3:04 pm by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Monday 1st January 2018

Slapton Ley

Black-necked Grebe offshore by memorial car park. On ley 4m Goldeneye but very few wildfowl. Firecrest by bridge car park.

Posted January 1st, 2018 at 2:33 pm by Rob Macklin in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

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