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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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 1st May 2018


Very quiet week for me while at the field centre thus far. This afternoon there was an intermedius type LBBG on the Ley that was more towards the Baltic end of the scale than the very few others I have seen but enough contrast between mantle and primaries and enough white on the tips to preclude Baltic. I'd be interested if anyone else has seen it and has an opinion though.

Yesterday I had an apparent juvenile Swallow as well. Possibly the result of breeding in winter quarters?

Posted May 1st, 2018 at 12:03 am by Richard Billington in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Monday 30th April 2018

Start Point / Beesands Ley

Start Point early on very cold and windy. Only highlight a female Ring Ouzel in the gorse above Mattiscombe Beach. Next tried Beesands Ley  entering the hide at around  09:00 and the next half hour was pretty amazing and a little surreal. There was a flock of around 40 hirundines which soon started giving alarm calls and I looked up and saw a Hobby. About 15 minutes later a Great White Egret flew across the ley landing in the reeds on the landward side. I rang a friend who I knew would be interested, just as he answered I clocked a superb Red-rumped Swallow in front of me and I think I told him there was a Great Whiiiirrred-rumped Swallow present. It stayed until about 11:20. Also present up to 6 Swifts, 2 Whimbrels, 2 Singing Reed Warblers and a singing Sedge Warbler. One of Beesands better days.


Posted April 30th, 2018 at 3:54 pm by Perry Sanders in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Sunday 29th April 2018


Despite a mid morning start, not covering a vast area and battling a northerly wind, a pretty good selection of migrants, presumably grounded by last night’s rain.

Spotted Flycatcher 3, Pied Flycatcher female, Redstart female, Yellow Wagtail heard, Garden Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Wheatear 6, Blackcap 8, Willow Warbler 8, Chiffchaff 6, Whitethroat 6+ & Swallow 12.

Posted April 29th, 2018 at 6:24 pm by Pete Aley in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Prawle Point

Most unexpected bird today was a Hooded Crow which came in off the sea at Langerstone Point at 8.20am and flew strongly east. Otherwise there was a mini-fall today in a N/NE stiff breeze and overcast most of the morning till the sun shone.

Totals : 1 Lesser Whitethroat ,Firecrest, 1 Sedge Warbler, 1 Garden Warbler, 6 Spotted Flycatchers, 4 female Redstarts, 2 female Whinchats, 1 Goldcrest, 4 Wheatears, 15 Blackcaps, 10 Chiffchaffs and at least 50 Willow Warblers, with 15+ singing . Also 10 Whitethroats ,20 Swallows and 15 Whimbrel.

It appeared that I was the sole observer today suggesting that the numbers involved might have been considerably more if more birders had been present to cover the area.Martin Catt at Prawle village told me he had seen 2 Redstarts in his garden this morning !

Posted April 29th, 2018 at 5:26 pm by Tony Marchese in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Friday 27th April 2018

Cuckoo (Smeardon Down)

A second reccy visit to Smeardon Down, Peter Tavy this afternoon, drew a blank with the Redstarts but did get some distant shots of one of the Cuckoos being harassed by a Meadow Pipit. Also saw my first Swift of the season.

Cuckoo and Meadow Pipit
Cuckoo and Meadow Pipit

Posted April 27th, 2018 at 6:44 pm by Andy Brown in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


Seawatch all morning in the bay: Little Tern, Sandwich Tern c30, Whimbrel 43, Manx Shearwater 110 (many 100s more moving later but not counted), Red-throated Diver 3, Common Scoter 16, Kittiwake c15,  Fulmar c8, Swallow c80.

Later, South Huish Marsh: Swift 2, Sand Martin 2, House Martin 2, Whimbrel 7 & 2 Sedge Warblers heard singing.

Posted April 27th, 2018 at 6:10 pm by Pete Aley in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Berry Head

Seawatching totals 0615-1515: 1 Roseate Tern, 38 Arctic Terns, 11 Common Terns, 41 'Commic' Terns, 141 Sandwich Terns, 3 Arctic Skuas, 5 Great Skuas, 28 Puffins, 12 Great Northern Divers, 11 Red-throated Divers, 1 Black-throated Diver, 11 Common Scoter, 1 Teal, 1 Whimbrel,1642 Manx Shearwaters, 364 Kittiwakes, 2 1s/w Common Gulls and c1200 Auks. Also 8-10 Common Dolphin and 4+ Harbour Porpoise. around the headland little in the way of migrants of note: 1 Whinchat, 1 Willow Warbler,1 Sand Martin & 5 Swallows (Combined coverage ML&MD).


           Arctic Skua and Porpoise                                                  Manx Shearwater and Kittiwake

Posted April 27th, 2018 at 2:11 pm by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Start Bay / Slapton Ley

Tried a seawatch from the memorial car park 07:00-09:10. Flock of 16 pale-bellied Brent Geese south at 07:07 but little else except 3 Manx Shearwater and 6 Common Scoter. 3 Dunlins and a Wheatear on the beach. Around Ireland Bay Whimbrel and  Common Sandpiper. At Torcross  3 Swifts, c200 Swallows, 40 House martins and 5 Sand Martins.

Posted April 27th, 2018 at 10:41 am by Perry Sanders in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Monday 23rd April 2018

Morte Point and Iceland Gull

No sign of any Whimbrels and the leg ringed Wheatears appeared to have continued on their way. I managed to spot a Skua sp mythering squadrons of Gannets out past Morte Stone bouy along with several Manx Shearwaters. I then checked through the 100s of mixed gulls on Woolacombe beach loafing in the stream. Hiding in plain sight was a stunning 3rd winter Iceland Gull. I legged it along the beach despite being dark and overcast I had good views of the Gull and managed some reasonable photos which i'll post later if poss. 

Posted April 23rd, 2018 at 7:50 pm by Martin Thorne in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


5 Little Terns lingering and ranging widely off the seafront this afternoon. Yesterday 41+ Whimbrel and 31 Pale-bellied Brent Geese off Mudbank, still 2 White Wagtails on the Gore Lane dung heap and a Purple Sandpiper on Maer Rocks.

Posted April 23rd, 2018 at 5:12 pm by Matt Knott in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Sunday 22nd April 2018


Dart Bridge, Buckfastleigh, Grey Wagtail and a pair of Roe Deer.

On the approach to Poundsgate a Cuckoo seen in flight, north side of the village another heard calling and two Willow Warbler.

Cator Green ~ five House Martins.

Challacombe ~ Pair of Redstart, two Stock Dove, more Swallow than on a visit a few days ago, Grey Wagtail, Nuthatch, four Redpoll, two Cuckoo calling towards Headland Warren, five Whinchat, two Raven, Meadow Pipit, five Wheatear,  several Buzzards in the area including one very pale white headed bird and a Mistle Thrush.

Soussons Plantation ~ Two Skylark, Jay, Buzzard, five Chiffchaff, female Cuckoo in flight towards the Warren House Inn, heard calling before and after being seen. Green Woodpecker, four plus Siskin, Tree Pipit and Song Thrush. On leaving Soussons, a Red Deer Stag seen across the valley, my first Dartmoor Red deer.


A good day for raptor sightings (five species identified) with numerous Buzzard sightings, a brief view of a Red Kite near Cold East Cross above Ashburton and a Kestrel being mobbed by a Crow from the A38 at Ashburton

Yarner Wood very busy with visitors by early afternoon but no less than seven Pied Flycatcher seen, one male ringed with one of the transponder type rings of interest to the ringing team.



Posted April 22nd, 2018 at 3:17 pm by Steve Hopper in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Garganey Bowling Green Marsh

The male and female Garganey were still on Bowling Green Marsh yesterday afternoon.

Garganey Garganey
Garganey                                     Garganey

Posted April 22nd, 2018 at 8:40 am by Samuel Gray in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

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