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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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 14th January 2018

Topsham cemetery

1 Hawfinch this morning.

Posted January 14th, 2018 at 12:12 pm by Martin Elcoate in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Saturday 13th January 2018

3 Firecrests, Millin Way, Dawlish Warren

 3 Firecrests, with a Goldcrest and a Chiff Chaff currently in my garden.

Posted January 13th, 2018 at 12:56 pm by Carole Leigh in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Friday 12th January 2018


Nice flat sea to check over Torbay today: 11 Great Northern Divers, 1 Black-throated Diver, 3 Red-throated Divers, 1 Black-necked Grebe, 35 Great Crested Grebes, 35 Common Scoter, 63 Shag, 19 Cormorant and still plenty of Razorbill and Guillemots.

25 Cirl Buntings and 2 Reed Bunting on seed in 2nd car park and a Firecrest in willows by the small pool between the car parks.


Posted January 12th, 2018 at 10:16 am by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Slavonian Grebe Kingsbridge Estuary 7 January

Three photos of a Slavonian Grebe showing how its jizz changes depending on whether the bird is fluffing up its wings between dives or appearing to lie lower and more sleekly in the water immediately before diving.  The bill was often held slightly open.

The grebe was observed at a fairly close range (a first time for this observer) and for about 5 minutes.

Slavonian Grebe swimming between dives Slavonian grebe diving Slavonian Grebe prior to next dive
Slavonian Grebe swimming between dives     Slavonian grebe diving     Slavonian Grebe prior to next dive

Posted January 12th, 2018 at 9:23 am by Michael Woodman Smith in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Goldeneyes Kingsbridge Estuary 7 January

Possibly sheltering from the stiff cold northerly wind on the morning of 7 January, two female Goldeneye appeared briefly right in front of the hide. before flying off inland.  Although the headshapes would appear to more closely resemble islandica, the bills indicate that both birds were in fact clangula.

Female Goldeneye Female Goldeneye Two female Goldeneyes
Female Goldeneye                               Female Goldeneye             Two female Goldeneyes

Posted January 12th, 2018 at 8:08 am by Michael Woodman Smith in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Thursday 11th January 2018

Musbury Hawfinches

Two Hawfinches in Musbury late this afternoon. One calling and showing from the small car park near the Church at the top of Church Hill (looking south west). The second flew NE over me halfway along the footpath between here and Higher Bruckland Farm. Also 250+ Redwing and 4 Yellowhammer.

Posted January 11th, 2018 at 8:50 pm by Steve Waite in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Ludwell Valley Park, Exeter

One Hawfinch in the boundary hedge between the field behind the tennis courts and the annual flower meadow (same corner I saw one in December).  Also one Dipper along the brook.

Posted January 11th, 2018 at 4:36 pm by Martin Elcoate in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Wednesday 10th January 2018


Adding to Rob's post: The Red-necked Grebe was in the Great Crested Grebe roost (best viewed from 3 beaches headland) and the Black-necked Grebe off Goodrington Beach. Bob Bailey also saw 3 more Great Northern Divers a Red-throated Diver and a Black-necked grebe off Preston seafront so a grand total of  30 Great Northern Divers in Torbay!

Posted January 10th, 2018 at 6:42 pm by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Broadsands,Brixham, Stover

Broadsands: 20+ Great Northern Diver, 2 Black-throated Diver, I Red-throated Diver (Thanks Mike), Slavonan Grebe, 33 Great Crested Grebe, Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Fulmar. In car park: 4 Siskin, 6 Bullfinch, 2 Greenfinch, 11 Cirl Bunting & 2 Reed Bunting.

Brixham Harbour: 4 Great Northern Diver, 11 Purple Sandpiper, I Turnstone. 11 Grey Seals hauled out.

Berry Head: 10 Fulmar, 3 Great Northern Diver S, Kittiwake, stacks of Gannets, Guillemots and some Razorbills. 50+ Common Dolphin.

Stover Lake: 30 Goosander inc.5 males, Pochard, Peregrine overhead, Kingfisher, Nuthatch, Marsh Tit.

Posted January 10th, 2018 at 5:00 pm by Rob Macklin in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Tuesday 9th January 2018

Around the Axe

Lots going on around the Axe Estuary at the moment. This afternoon an adult European White-fronted Goose and first-winter Caspian Gull were new in, as well as the long-staying Glossy Ibis (often just south of A3052 at Colyford where road crosses the Axe) and up to ten Water Pipit showing well (sometimes VERY well) on Colyford Common.

European White-fronted Goose
European White-fronted Goose

Glossy Ibis Water Pipits

Glossy Ibis                                      Water Pipits

Posted January 9th, 2018 at 9:47 pm by Steve Waite in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Broadsands to Goodrington

Checking the bay for wintering seabirds this morning produced: 2 Black-throated Divers, 17 Great Northern Divers, 34 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Black-necked Grebe and 2 Teal. Still plenty of Razorbills and Guillemots out in the bay.

At Broadsand 9 Cirl Buntings on seed in the 2nd car park and 1 Firecrest again in the marsh between the carparks.

Posted January 9th, 2018 at 10:05 am by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

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