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  Posts which breach these guidelines may not be published at all.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

Monday 7th May 2018

Slapton Ley

Fairly quiet except for 6 Common Sandpipers between the Bridge and Ireland Bay. Also a Whimbrel on the beach and 2 Sandwich Terns offshore.

Posted May 7th, 2018 at 8:40 am by Perry Sanders in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Sunday 6th May 2018

West Charleton

Just seen a Red Kite over a rape field just south of the village

Posted May 6th, 2018 at 4:08 pm by Perry Sanders in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Saturday 5th May 2018

Red Kite

Woodleigh area 9am hung around for a couple of hours. 

Posted May 5th, 2018 at 9:51 am by Colin Mills in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Friday 4th May 2018


A quick look around Topsham rec at around 4:30pm. The Bonaparte’s Gull was showing beautifully. Also of note 2 Black Swans

if interested. More info at

Posted May 4th, 2018 at 8:37 pm by Spencer Dicks in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Berry Head & South Brent

A morning visit to Berry Head ~ six Whitethroat, three Wheatear, Willow Warbler, Wren, numerous Fulmar and Guillemot, Oyster Catcher, Shell duck, Gannet, Manx Shearwater, Kittiwake, Great Black Back Gull, a few Swallow, an active pod of Harbour Porpoise.

Surprised to see a Fulmar land on the cliff face and flush a bright yellow Budgie from the cliff, it flew off towards the quarry.

Owley Moorgate, Ugborough Beacon, near South Brent this afternoon, two Cuckoo and three Great Black Back Gulls that had been feeding on a sheep carcass.


Posted May 4th, 2018 at 7:03 pm by Steve Hopper in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Start Point

Down at the light this morning Blackcap, 2 Whitethroats, 7 Chiffchaffs and 2 Willow Warblers. Yellow Wagtail overhead and 9 scattered Wheatears. Whimbrel and strangely a pair of Gadwall flew north off the Point. Also off the Point 8 Common Dolphins and 2 Harbour Porpoises.

Posted May 4th, 2018 at 6:07 pm by Perry Sanders in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Thursday 3rd May 2018

South Huish

The reported Pectoral Sandpiper  showing well if a bit distantly at South Huish this morning moving between the right hand corner of the marsh and out to the field behind the marsh where it was flying and feeding with 22 Whimbrel and a summer plumage Godwit.

In the right hand reed bed Sedge Warbler, Reed Warbler and male Reed Bunting, a few Swallows and House Martins over the marsh.

On the way in a notable hatch of Hawthorn flies over some of the hedgerows and two very prominent Whitethroat's taking advantage hawking insects as they came within reach.

A female Kestrel flew along the shoreline.

Posted May 3rd, 2018 at 9:32 pm by Steve Hopper in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

South Huish Marsh & East Soar

Pectoral Sandpiper showing really well at the front of the marsh. Also 20 Whimbrel.

At East Soar: 4 Wheatear, singing Garden Warbler, 2 singing Willow Warblers - GW & WW no longer breed regularly!

Non-avian: First Wall Brown; 5 Roe Deer.

Posted May 3rd, 2018 at 2:02 pm by Rob Macklin in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Wednesday 2nd May 2018

Berry Head

Seawatch 06.15 - 09.45 in persistent heavy rain until the last hour when winds went WNW & it cleared up: 2 Pomarine Skuas complete with “spoons”, 10 Puffins including several sitting on the sea quite close in, 25 Sandwich Terns (all but 1 in a single flock), Bonxie, 15 “Commic” Terns, 2 Whimbrels, 95 Kittiwakes, 2160 Manx Shearwaters, c20 Fulmars & a Harbour Porpoise.

On the land: 2 Wheatears, 3+ Sedge Warblers, 2 Willow Warblers, 4 Chiffchaffs & 4 Blackcaps.

Posted May 2nd, 2018 at 5:35 pm by Pete Aley in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Start Bay

Seawatch from the Memorial Car Park along Torcross line from 08:30-09:45.

Good nos. of Manx Shearwaters at a rate of around 1200 per hour, 2 Great Northern Divers and 7 Sandwich Terns all going south. Strangely enough 3 Arctic Skuas were going north. Also 2 Whimbrels flew in. 

Posted May 2nd, 2018 at 3:14 pm by Perry Sanders in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Tuesday 1st May 2018

South Hams

Very little at Soar first thing so headed to South Huish where a Pectoral Sandpiper had been found and showed well with a Curlew Sandpiper & 10 Dunlins. Also in the area 20+ Whimbrels, 6+ Bar-tailed Godwits, 3 Sandwich Terns, 4 Arctic Skuas, 8 Common Scoters, Wheatear & 6 Reed Warblers.

Later at South Efford Marsh: Spoonbill, Curlew Sandpiper, 7 Whimbrels & 6 Dunlins.

Posted May 1st, 2018 at 8:10 pm by Pete Aley in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Exminster marsh and Bowling Green Marsh.

Exminster marsh at first light this morning, slight frost over the marsh, Whimbrel flighting in, plenty of Swallows numerous Reed Warblers calling, Reed Bunting and Linnet but no sign of the Black-winged Stilt reported yesterday.

While stood at the middle car parking area a Great White Egret flew down the length of the marsh from the Powderham direction passed close to the Lions Rest industrial units and dropped briefly onto the pond towards the end of the mud track but almost immediately took off and flew out as far as the M5 before turning towards and passing over Topsham.

A visit to Bowling Green Marsh gave four Ruff, seven Knott and the Bonaparte’s Gull which was on the spit in front of the hide along with a first summer Mediterranean Gull and three Common Gull, on leaving Swift and male Blackcap seen.



Posted May 1st, 2018 at 11:53 am by Steve Hopper in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Start Point / Beesands Ley

Start Point very quiet. Hobby, 5 Whimbrels and a Pochard at Beesands, no sign of Great White Egret.

Posted May 1st, 2018 at 11:07 am by Perry Sanders in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

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