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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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

Sunday 21st October 2018

Middle Soar to Southdown Farm

Highlight was Yellow-browed Warbler in sycamores at Lower Soar. Vis Mig, mainly eastwards, inc.1480 Woodpigeon, 56 Stock Dove, 750 Jackdaw, 141 Starling & 60 Chaffinch. Also on site: 250 Skylark, 26 Robin, 5 Red-legged Partridge, 3 Chiffchaff, 81 Carrion Crow, Great Spotted Woodpecker - migrant, Bullfinch, 330 Linnet, 29 Yellowhammer & 12 Cirl Bunting.

Posted October 21st, 2018 at 2:03 pm by Rob Macklin in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Soar area

A  Yellow-browed Warbler in Southdown Farm willows late morning, calling and showing well. 5 Ring Ouzels (4 in Starehole), a Merlin over the airfield, a few Chiffchaffs, Blackcaps and Goldcrests and a Wheatear.

Posted October 21st, 2018 at 1:53 pm by David Cope in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Saturday 20th October 2018

Osprey At Powderham Castle

The Long Staying Osprey Was Seen Today In The Dead trees In Front Of The Castle. After Warming Itself In The Glorious Sunshine It Did A Circuit Of The Castle Grounds And Lake.

Posted October 20th, 2018 at 3:46 pm by patrick hawkins in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Slapton Ley

Yellow- browed Warblers (2 ringed, one at Street Gate.) Also 5 Firecrests ( one rung). 10+ Blackcaps, 20+ Chiff Chaffs, a late Sedge Warbler. Some overhead migration including a few thousand Woodpigeons going south.

Posted October 20th, 2018 at 12:47 pm by David Cope in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Start Point


Beautiful clear, fairly still morning not good for vis mig except for c6700 Woodpigeons that went through (largest flock 1500 ). At least 50 Stock Doves and a feral pigeon through with them. Hardly any thing else moving, best 4 Bramblings and 4 Reed Buntings,. Also seen 9 Redwings, 2 Fieldfares and good number of c1000 Starlings flying around. Just 3 Chiffchaffs and 2 Goldcrests seen, no sign of the Yellow-browed Warbler. Sunny morning encouraged a Skylark to go into full X factor audition mode.

Posted October 20th, 2018 at 12:14 pm by Perry Sanders in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Friday 19th October 2018


Nothing moving overhead during the first half hour of light but then some reasonable vis mig (largely dried up by 09.15) mainly heading east: Alba Wagtail 55, Stock Dove 125 (including some pure flocks), Wood Pigeon 1,110, Skylark 330, Goldfinch 50, Starling 55, Jackdaw 295, Siskin 3+, Golden Plover 4 & Swallow 2.

Grounded: Yellow-browed Warbler in Soar Mill Cove, Firecrest, Black Redstart, 3 Ring Ouzels, 4+ Wheatears, 14 Chiffchaffs, 9 Blackcaps, 2 Goldcrests, Redwing & 3 Great Spotted Woodpeckers. Also Clouded Yellow.

Clearly, some overlap with other sightings today.

Posted October 19th, 2018 at 6:42 pm by Pete Aley in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

East Soar

More morning  movements included Woodpigeon 1150E, Jackdaw 550E, Golden Plover 26E, 2 Lapwing 2E (first of the year here) & 74 Starling E/NE. Also on site: 100 Skylark, 4 Ring Ouzel, 6 Wheatear, 11 Song Thrush inc.8N over farm, 7 Blackcap, 6 Chiffchaff, 24 Blue Tit (8 on airfield & 16 moving up through Starehole with 10 Great Tit and migrant Great Spotted Woodpecker. Seen by other obs: Yellow-browed Warbler at the ponds.

Posted October 19th, 2018 at 4:28 pm by Rob Macklin in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Start Point


Lots of vis mig till mid morning but in all directions. First pulse of Woodpigeons through, two flocks each of about 500 birds ( couple hours apart but could be same birds ). Also seen today, Great Spotted Woodpecker, 10 Swallows, Wheatear, 2 Redwings, 2 Ring Ouzels, Black Redstart, 2 Blackcaps, Yellow-browed Warbler ( in the farm ), 10 Chiffchaffs, 5 Goldcrests, 2 Coal Tits ( not seen well enough to see if continental ), 40 Starlings, 2 Bramblings and a Lesser Redpoll. Many hundreds each of Goldfinches and Linnets up the road from the farm. Good number of Red Admirals flying towards the Point.


Posted October 19th, 2018 at 3:18 pm by Perry Sanders in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Berry Head

Good overhead movement of birds today (selected counts): 3 Brambling, 2 Crossbill, 2 Reed bunting, 3 Yellowhammers, 10 coal tits (including a flock of 6), 37 Skylarks, 1 Swallow, 23 Song Thrush.

Around the headland: 1 Whinchat, 3 Firecrest, 4 Goldcrest & 7 Chiffchaff


Posted October 19th, 2018 at 12:31 pm by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Shipley Bridge, South Brent

At Shipley for 8am this morning, despite heavy mist on the lower ground Dartmoor was in full sunshine, the Ring Ouzels were being very elusive but over the visit nine birds seen, all in the area where the road leads up to the filtration plant. Very few Rowan berries left but Holly and Hawthorn berries may be enough to hold the birds for a few more days.

Plenty of Blackbirds and smaller numbers of Mistle Thrush and Redwing, Green Woodpecker, Buzzard, Raven and Jay all present.

As nice as it was to see the Ring Ouzels a female Merlin up towards the filtration plant was an unexpected treat.

Just as I was leaving a bird of prey came over the top of the hill being mobbed by a Carrion Crow, it being the first Hen Harrier I have seen on Dartmoor in two years.

Hen HarrierHen Harrier

Posted October 19th, 2018 at 10:31 am by Steve Hopper in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


Yellow-browed Warbler calling and showing intermittently at the north end of the golf course this morning

Posted October 19th, 2018 at 10:06 am by Will Salmon in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Thursday 18th October 2018

Leonards cove

yellow browed warbler seen Monday/Tuesday mornings october15/16th. In a mixed tit/warbler flock. We stopped in the 1st bungalow at the cliff edge giving me a good view across the valley.was seen for 5 minutes each time. Also seen there pair of blackcap/bullfinch,chiffchaff,g's woodpecker,2 buzzards+ a couple of gannets.

Posted October 18th, 2018 at 9:20 pm by Alan Robinson in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Middle Soar/Soar Mill Valley/Southdown Farm

Best morning of the autumn so far with highlights of ringtail Hen Harrier over Middle Soar, female Merlin & 4 Ring Ouzel in the valley. First autumn movement of Woodpigeon with 1040 moving east. Also: Golden Plover, 52 Stock Dove on stubbles, 4 Great Spotted Woodpecker in the valley - all migrants, 7 Swallow, 270 Skylark, 100 Meadow Pipit, 9 Rock Pipit in the cove, 2 Wheatear, 34 Stonechat, Fieldfare, 12 Song Thrush, 11 Blackbird, 6 Blackcap, 27 Chiffchaff, 50 Goldfinch, 8 Greenfinch, 310 Linnet, 50 Yellowhammer & 11 Cirl Bunting. 

Posted October 18th, 2018 at 2:21 pm by Rob Macklin in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Shipley Bridge Ring Ouzels

A morning visit to Shipley Bridge / Avon Dam near South Brent gave views of the reported Ring Ouzels on the hillside below the road leading up to the filtration plant, a total of nine sightings with four birds flying off together towards the dam.


In that area several Mistle Thrush, lots of Blackbirds, an abundance of Blue and Coal Tit, Bullfinch, two Jay, Buzzard, Green Woodpecker and Meadow Pipits on the skyline.

On the way up to the Dam a Greater Spotted Woodpecker, Skylark, Linnet, Meadow Pipit, Goldfinch, three sightings of a hunting male Sparrow hawk, at one point five Kestrels in view at the same time, they moved off when two Buzzards arrived.

The presence of the birds of prey flushed seventeen Ring Ouzels from the area of Zeal Gorge they flew across the quarry area below the dam and out towards Buckfastleigh. Shortly after that 53 Fieldfare flew up the valley.

From the dam a male Peregrine and a small number of Mallard.

Posted October 18th, 2018 at 1:47 pm by Steve Hopper in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Wednesday 17th October 2018

Berry Head

A Yellow-browed Warbler found calling and showing well south of Berry Head Hotel along the road approx 50m up the hill from the old Berry Head Farm buildings.

Also around the site 3 Goldcrest, 8 Chiffchaff, 3 Blackcap. Overhead: 6 Song Thrush, 9 Siskin, 30+ Chaffinch, 110 Goldfinches, 14 Linnet, 11 'alba' wagtails, and 4 Skylark.

Yellow-browed Warbler Berry Head 17 Oct 2018 ML

Posted October 17th, 2018 at 12:31 pm by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Tuesday 16th October 2018

East Soar

First 5 Ring Ouzels of the autumn in Starehole Valley; also a very unusual movement of Blue Tits with 15 moving up through Starehole and 7W over the airfield, Great Spotted Woodpecker - migrant, 2 Wheatear, 4 Song Thrush 14 Blackcap, 12 Chiffchaff, 2 Bullfinch, 26 Robin, 100 Liinet, 60 Goldfinch & 20 Yellowhammer. All usual areas checked for YBW but no luck.

Posted October 16th, 2018 at 2:11 pm by Rob Macklin in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


At least two Firecrests on the south side of the Ness yesterday morning.

Posted October 16th, 2018 at 10:15 am by Will Salmon in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Monday 15th October 2018

Thurlestone ~ Isabelline Shrike

The reported Isabelline Shrike showing well from the coastal path alongside the Thurlestone golf course.


Also in the area 150 plus Meadow Pipits, flocks of Goldfinch, a handful of Wheatear, pair of Stonechat, several Rock Pipits, two Swallow, Heron and Raven.

On the beach 15 Oyster Catcher, 11 Dunlin and 5 juvenile Ringed Plover.

Out to sea several Gannet in the distance.



Posted October 15th, 2018 at 1:26 pm by Steve Hopper in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Older Posts in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts →

← Newer Posts in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts