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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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

Tuesday 13th March 2018

Brixham to Dartmouth

Kayak trip Brixham to Dartmouth:

6 Purple Sandpipers on Brixham Breakwater

3 Purple Sandpipers (with 3 Turnstones) on Eastern Black Rock, small island off Froward Point.

c100 Common Scoter

20 Common Dolphin off Berry Head

3 (2+1) Harbour Porpoise off Froward Point

Purple Sandpiper and Turnstone
Purple Sandpiper and Turnstone

Posted March 13th, 2018 at 6:09 pm by Rupert Kirkwood in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Monday 12th March 2018

Heathfield Starling Roost

And so, the Heathfield Starling roost comes close to its final days.  Just 1,500 were estimated (yet to be confirmed from a photograph taken to help calibrate my previous estimates) this evening (12th March).  The first birds were seen at 17.26 followed by a trickle of flocks of no more than 100 birds (most less than 50) all coming from the Ashburton/Newton Abbot direction and heading towards the Bovey Tracey/Haytor direction where there has  clearly been a pre-roost site.

At 18.05, birds began to return from this site to the Heathfield roost with some additional small fllocks still arriving from both the Ashburton/Newton Abbot and Haytor directions.  Birds circled over the roost site building up until 18.30 when the last birds entered the roost.  Interestingly, birds entered the trees nearest the main road through the industrial estate as on 10th suggesting they were either new to the area or the previous roost trees were  badly fouled by droppings from the many thousands of birds using them on previous occasions.  

Posted March 12th, 2018 at 7:50 pm by Dennis Elphick in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

R.Caen + Sharpa Marshes

Single Avocet on the R.Caen again this afternoon

Female Marsh Harrier over reed beds - Sharpa Marshes

Posted March 12th, 2018 at 6:39 pm by Rob Jutsum in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Sunday 11th March 2018

Morte Point House Martins

This afternoon I watched 3 House Martins head due west, disappearing out over the sea, straight towards Lundy. Around Morte Stone 3 Red-throated Divers.

Posted March 11th, 2018 at 7:37 pm by Martin Thorne in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Saturday 10th March 2018

Heathfield Starling Roost

A further decline to an estimated 10,000-12,000 this evening (10th March).  Small numbers from 17.33 although larger numbers (flocks of up to 250+ from 17.38 with most birds from the Ashburton/Newton Abbot direction but heading towards Bovey Tracey/Haytor until 17.57 when a similar number (ca 3,500) to those counted in, returned to Heathfield circling around quite high at times across a large area as far as the A38 (and beyond?) and the Bovey Tracy area.  Numbers then built up over a period of 20-mins with some good display during the next 10 mins (17.58-18.20).  Small groups continued to arrive from both the Ashburton/Newton Abbot and Bovey Tracy/Haytor areas until 18.30 with the last birds into the roost by 18.38 - quite a bit later than previous observations.

Posted March 10th, 2018 at 7:55 pm by Dennis Elphick in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Friday 9th March 2018

Along the Exe

An adult Iceland gull was going back & forth along the shore between the coastguard hut & Langstone Rock at midday. The Black-necked grebe was on Exeter canal down from the M5.

Posted March 9th, 2018 at 5:10 pm by Martin Elcoate in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Beesands Ley

Arrived at Beesands fairly early in search of Ring-necked Duck, Scaup and the Red-necked Grebe. Saw two out of the three but maybe the Scaup was out of sight or at Slapton. A few pochard and tufted ducks bobbing about with the usual mute swans, but not much else happening. Weather was terrible so we cut it short. 

Red-necked Grebe 

Posted March 9th, 2018 at 3:24 pm by Steph Murphy in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Thursday 8th March 2018

Heathfield Starling Roost

An estimated 15,000 tonight (6th March) is a 50% drop on estimate for 4th suggesting many birds are leaving for breeding areas in N Europe, N Poland, Russia, The Baltic and Scandinavia.  certainly there were far fewer birds and most again came in from the Ashburton/Newton Abbot area and the early arrivals again headed for the Bovey Tracey/Haytor area before coming into the roost.  Small numbers arrived from 17.23 to 17.35 when larger and more flocks began to arrive, many still heading for Bovey/Haytor until 17.50.  Display then began to take place around the roost site for some while with birds returning from the Bovey/Haytor area.  All birds were in by 18.08 on a colder evening than 4th..

Posted March 8th, 2018 at 8:13 pm by Dennis Elphick in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Matford Marsh

The American Wigeon was showing well late afternoon. Also of note were 10 Snipe, 1 Stock Dove, 7 Curlew and good numbers of Lapwing. 

For more details please visit

Posted March 8th, 2018 at 6:34 pm by Spencer Dicks in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


 A walk down to the beach end of the marsh and could see the damage snow and “The Beast from the East” had caused. Not as bad as I first thought, part of the reeds had been blown down and some debris amongst the reeds. The marsh has more water in it than usual, so hope it stays like that. As I was surveying the damage, saw this smallish bird flying low along the beach, when it got closer, realised it was a male Merlin, which was brilliant. Flew quite close past me and lost sight of it as it flew below the coastguard cottages. The Tufted Duck, Little Grebe and Coot were still here with also the usual Mallards and Teals, acouple of Canada Geese, some Gadwalls and lots of Snipe around the edges of the marsh.     

Posted March 8th, 2018 at 4:38 pm by Paul Albrechtsen in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Dartington ~ Hawfinch

At long last caught up with the reported Hawfinch at Dartington late this morning, on arrival four birds seen in flight and eventually found two feeding on the ground on the lower side of the playing field of Park school and the woodland that adjoins that field.


Over the time that I was there birds seen feeding on the ground inside the wood and also feeding in ivy covered trees, at any one time a total of nine birds, when on the ground usually in company with Chaffinch and Redwing

Also seen two Nuthatch, one Treecreeper, large numbers of Redwing and Chaffinch, Song and Mistle Thrush, two Jay and a Kestrel flew through the woodland canopy as I left.

At home in South Brent three lots of Canada Geese over between 6.30 and 8am, a Greater Black Back Gull overhead, a male Reed Bunting and a male Brambling on the feeders.


Posted March 8th, 2018 at 2:37 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