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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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