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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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

Saturday 14th April 2018

Braunton, N.Devon

At 12.50 while out in the driveway the Herring Gulls started making a fuss again & I looked up & an Osprey went over the top of the garden approx.200 metres up heading north being mobbed by the gulls.

Common Whitethroat near the White House early this morning.

Posted April 14th, 2018 at 1:31 pm by Rob Jutsum in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Sharpa scrape

96 Black tailed Godwits busy refuelling before migrating to their breeding grounds. 6 Teal still on the scrape.

Posted April 14th, 2018 at 12:00 pm by Rob Jutsum in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

First Cuckoo of year - for me

Saw my first Cuckoo of the year fly over the Peter Tavy to B3357 road near Sowton Town. It was flying towards Cox Tor (Where I had just spent 2 hours looking for one). Spring is definitely here. Lots of Wheatears, Meadow Pipits and Skylarks on the moor surrounding Cox Tor. 

Posted April 14th, 2018 at 9:55 am by Robin Stanbridge in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Thursday 12th April 2018

Osprey on the Taw

The Osprey was fishing on the River Taw between Chivenor and Fremington yesterday afternoon (14:35) and again this morning (09:20). Being mobbed by gulls before flying off back over Braunton towards West Down direction.
(Record shot attached)

Posted April 12th, 2018 at 10:55 am by Sam Aston in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Mealy Redpoll, Soar

Yesterday morning Ian Teague and I found a Redpoll at Soar. Having plenty of red on the underparts, it was clearly a Lesser or Mealy. We considered the latter but, at the time, concluded it was a Lesser and I posted this amongst other sightings last night. However, I began to have some doubts and after checking my photos and literature, taking advice and re-discussing it with Ian, now feel it is a Mealy Redpoll

Photos attached showing the main features, although we didn't see the under-tail covets. The bird's tail was missing. 

I appreciate how rare Common Redpoll is in Devon, so apologies to local birders for not having sorted this out at the time and therefore not getting the news out earlier. The bird was on the cliff top path in gorse, opposite the gate south of Mid Soar House.

Having said all this, I'm aware - from my Shetland trips - how difficult the Redpoll group is to identify, so any informed views on this bird would be welcome.


Posted April 12th, 2018 at 8:53 am by Pete Aley in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Monday 9th April 2018

Tarka trail - Braunton to Barnstaple

108 Black tailed Godwits on Sharpa / Wrafton scrape.

9 Blackcaps & 11 Chiffchaffs heard singing along the sides of the trail. 1 Common Sandpiper at the mouth of R.Yeo near the Barnstaple Civic centre. 2 Greenshank in the corner by the Braunton Inn.

Posted April 9th, 2018 at 12:02 pm by Rob Jutsum in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Sunday 8th April 2018

Horsey Island

18.30 - 18.45 - 104 Black tailed Godwits on Horsey, 3 Knot, 35 Redshank, 9 Ringed Plover & 6 Dunlin

Posted April 8th, 2018 at 7:22 pm by Rob Jutsum in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Heathfield Starling Roost - PS

Bumped into John Avon today at Slapton.  He reported seeing Starlings regularly at dusk over Bickington (between Ashburton and Heathfield) during December 2017 and clearly heading for the Heathfield roost (5Km).  This confirms my sightings at the roost from 21st February 2018 and suggest that some birds, at least, were coming from this direction throughout the winter (Dec-March).  My guess is that birds reported coming in from the Haytor/Bovey Tracey area before my own observations had originally come from the Ashburton direction and first went to a pre-roost site in the Bovey Tracey area as was noted during February/March.  This is typical behaviour and it's good to get corroboration of the flight line from the Ashburton direction.  They regularly passed over a knoll in the landscape at Bickington and dropped into fields to feed prior to heading for the roost.  This is also on a line from Buckfastleigh and possibly South Brent.  However, my guess is that they were feeding during the day in the area bounded by the A38, A384, A381 and A383 as previously suggested.

Posted April 8th, 2018 at 6:37 pm by Dennis Elphick in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Beesands Ley

Ring-necked Duck and Scaup still present. Also 2 Great Crested Grebes, 63 Tufted Ducks, 5 Gadwall and an Otter.

Posted April 8th, 2018 at 12:28 pm by Perry Sanders in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Sharpa / Wrafton scrape + Braunton

85 Black tailed Godwits on the scrape early am.

When I got home the Herring Gulls making a fuss again - 2 Common Buzzards circling around in the thermals.

Posted April 8th, 2018 at 11:24 am by Rob Jutsum in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

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