Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Missing Devon rarity records 2018 UPDATE

We have had a good response to the request for missing descriptions for a number of ‘A’ species reported in 2018. Thank you to those who have made the effort to provide these.

However some descriptions remain outstanding meaning, as things stand, they will not make the official record as part of the 2018 Devon Bird Report. It would be a great shame to lose these records but the report deadline is pressing.

If you saw any of these birds (you don’t have to be the finder) please can you submit a description and/or photos asap to Kev Rylands: Thank you.

Cory’s Shearwater (2) Ilfracombe 28 July
Cory’s Shearwater Thurlestone 26 August
Glossy Ibis Exe Estuary 21-27 October
Golden Oriole Blaxton Meadow 18 April
Great White Egret Exminster Marshes 30 March
Great White Egret Exmouth 06 May
Honey-buzzard Dartmoor 21-22 May
Pectoral Sandpiper Upper Tamar Lake 13 August
Rose-coloured Starling Beesands 27-28 August
Tree Sparrow Haldon 20 May

Posted September 24th at 8:44 am by Pete Aley in General Birding

Dawlish Warren

Please take extra care when visiting Dawlish Warren. We have been informed that due to the recent bad weather there has been significant erosion from Groyne 10 eastwards. This means that access along the site, to and from Warren Point (and the bird hide) will be via the beach only, with a risk of being cut off for a period either side of high water! Signs have been put up to alert people to the hazards, but people need to be aware that access routes that they have become used to may not be available and they need to exercise extreme caution,  with the possibility of being cut off by the tide, and people are strongly urged not to try climbing the sand cliffs. Further information is available on the Teignbridge District Council website.

Posted November 9th, 2018 at 11:08 am by Mike Daniels in General Birding


If you follow our Blog but are not currently a member of Devon Birds please consider joining Devon Birds to help us 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 by George & Julia Harris in General Birding

Sightings Page Changes

Acting on comments to Devon Birds some changes have been made to this page. To the right of this header post you'll see there are now several subjects for you to choose to read and post on. Just click your chosen subject and use as previously.

Please be careful not to post under the wrong subject. If you do, you can still easily go back to edit and change the subject yourself so it appears on the right page.

Please try and keep posts short, particularly in the Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts page. Photographs are still very welcome.  

For help with ID email photos to

Posted June 30th, 2016 at 9:24 pm by George & Julia Harris in General Birding

Thursday 31st October 2019

Wrafton Pond

Visited Wrafton Pond again after 16.00 today in the mizzle & surprised to see 2 Goldeneye & the female Greater Scaup which was not visible during the early morning visit.

Posted October 31st at 7:04 pm by Rob Jutsum in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

West Soar/Soar Mill Valley/Southdown Farm

A very productive afternoon: Brambling with Linnet flock, Merlin, Wheatear in Soar Mill Cove, 13 Lapwing & 26 Lesser Black-backed Gull - good counts for Soar, Curlew, Snipe, 700 Skylark, 230 Starling, 150 Carrion Crow, 12 Song Thrush, 42 Robin, 75 Meadow Pipit, 21 Stonechat, Redwing, 80 Linnet & 17 Yellowhammer.

Quick heads up: 6 imm.White-tailed Eagles were released on the Isle of Wight in August so could well turn up in Devon - one has already been to Essex!

Posted October 31st at 6:42 pm by Rob Macklin in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

N Hallsands.

A Yellow Browed Warbler calling in the willows, but not showing. 9 Goldcrests ( 4 ringed ) 2 Firecrests ( 1 ringed) , 1 Blackcp ( ringed )  and 5 Chiffchaffs (1ringed). The additional Robins of recent days appear to have moved on,with just local birds on their usual territories.

1st. Yr. m. Firecrest
1st. Yr. m. Firecrest

Posted October 31st at 4:20 pm by Alan K. Searle. in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Wrafton Pond

07.00 - 1 Goldeneye on the pond this am.

Posted October 31st at 8:20 am by Rob Jutsum in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Wednesday 30th October 2019

Berry Head sea watch

Additions to Mike’s numbers below (to 15.00 including last 1.5 hrs from Shoalstone): 35 Little Gulls (1st-w + 34 ad), Arctic Skua, 5 Pom/Arctic Skuas, 4 Bonxies, 120 Common Scoters, 4 Brent Geese, 9 Teal, 3 Shovelers, 6 Red-breasted Mergansers, 2 Black-necked Grebes, Great Northern & Red-throated Divers & 8 Mediterranean Gulls.

Posted October 30th at 4:01 pm by Pete Aley in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Hoopoe Dawlish Warren

We were pleasantly surprised to encounter a Hoopoe this morning, in the entrance bushes/ buffer zone of the nature reserve (close to the car park).

Posted October 30th at 2:14 pm by Stephen Edwards in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Autumn Watch - Devon

We've had notification that a piece on Autumn Watch on Friday will feature film footage from one of our members Michael Woodman-Smith about cliff breeding Shelducks in Devon - this Friday 1 November at 8pm on BBC2

Posted October 30th at 2:04 pm by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Berry Head

A good mix of species during a brief seawatch  this morning between 0730-0850hrs: 1 Long Tailed Duck (drake), 1 Pintail, 1 Wigeon, 58 Common Scoter, 9 Brent Geese, 1 GND, 5 Med Gulls, 10 Little Gulls (approx. in one flock), 2 Pomarine Skuas (juvs), 1 Arctic Skua (juv), 2 Arctic/Pom Skuas, and at least 3 Harbour Porpoise.

Around the wood: 1 Treecreeper, 2 Firecrest, 23 Goldcrest and 4 Chiffchaffs.

Posted October 30th at 1:07 pm by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Tuesday 29th October 2019

Sharpa / Wrafton scrape

After receiving a phone call from Jon Turner who spotted this bird on the scrape this morning, cycled down the trail to meet up with book to establish birds identity. The light for photography was tricky with dense cloud cover & very bright silvery reflection on the surface of the water which created exposure problems for both cameras! The majority of my photos were either too dark or too light & most have been confined to the recycle bin. This photo was the best I could manage.

Posted October 29th at 7:22 pm by Rob Jutsum in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Berry Head

Trying to find shelter was difficult at the Berry Head today the best area was along the road leading up from the Berry Head Hotel. birds here included: at least 4 Firecrests, 22 Goldcrest, 6 Chiffchaff, 11 Long-tailed Tits, and a late Pied Flycatcher

 Firecrest Berry Head 291019ML

                           Pied Flycatcher                                                                     Firecrest

Posted October 29th at 12:09 pm by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Monday 28th October 2019

Saunton Sands

Another photo of single Snow Bunting.

Posted October 28th at 6:25 pm by Rob Jutsum in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Saunton Sands

Single Snow Bunting searching for seed along the strandline this aft.

Posted October 28th at 6:05 pm by Rob Jutsum in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


Best birds today were: a Yellow-browed Warbler (in willows just below Southdown Farm), 3+ Ring Ouzels, Merlin, Black Redstart & Firecrest. A modest movement overhead (mainly east) included: 3,500 Wood Pigeons, 30 Stock Doves (+ 25 grounded), 50 Starlings, 15 Alba Wagtails, 100 Jackdaws, 3 Mistle Thrushes & a flock of 18 Cormorants. Also: 15 Golden Plovers, 17 Goldcrests, 4 Fieldfares, 2 Blackcaps, 3 Chiffchaffs, Lapwing, a flock of 300 Skylarks in one field & 2 Roe Deer.

Posted October 28th at 3:20 pm by Pete Aley in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Lannacombe Valley.

Relatively sheltered from the easterly wind this morning. 25+ Goldcrests ( 13 caught and ringed ) , of which 6 were " continental birds ". 2 Firecrests ( caught and ringed ). Also present 3 Chiffchaffs,and again today there seemed to be Robins everywhere, " ticking" from the thick cover with some chasing each other around.Difficult to get a count, but certainly a big increase on the local resident/wintering birds. Overhead hundreds of Wood Pigeons moving approx. S.E. ( Not counted ).

" Continental " Goldcrest. A little more pallid than some.
" Continental " Goldcrest. A little more pallid than some.

Side shot of same bird.
Side shot of same bird.

Another Firecrest photo 1st.Yr. F. They are such delightful birds.
Another Firecrest photo 1st.Yr. F. They are such delightful birds.

Posted October 28th at 1:45 pm by Alan K.Searle. in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Sunday 27th October 2019

East Soar

0650 to 0850: Early start but not the hoped for vis mig: very quiet just 2370 Woodpigeon SE, 120 Jackdaw N, 300 Skylark, 22 Alba Wagtail, 50 Meadow Pipit, 8 Starling E, 2 Bullfinch.

Posted October 27th at 10:13 pm by Rob Macklin in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Horsey Island - White House

Decided not to put the clocks back one hour last night but at 18.00 today!

So at 16.00 this aft which was 15.00 if I had put the clocks back one hour last night, set off on my bicycle down the Toll Road as far as the White House to check out the R.Caen & Horsey. Good size flock of c700 Golden Plover resting on a sand bank on Horsey which were swiftly moved on by the incoming spring tide.

While standing on the Great Bank near the White House a very dark streaky Falcon flew swiftly through the garden of the White House & across the partly flooded field in front of me, a Hobby.

On arriving home a murmuration of c300 Starling alighting in my neighbours palm tree to roost. Along comes a Sparrowhawk, flies into the palm & the Starlings scatter in all directions. Glad to say the Sparrowhawk was unsuccessfull.

Posted October 27th at 6:01 pm by Rob Jutsum in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

N. Hallsands

14 Chiffchaffs ( 6ringed ), 20+ Goldcrests ( 8 ringed )  including 4 "continental birds " and 3 Firecrests ( ringed ), all of which were females.Several Robins "" ticking" away in areas where Idont normally see them. There has obviously been quite an influx of these around the Start Point/Prawle Pt. headlands in the last 10 days.

1st. Yr. F.
1st. Yr. F.

Posted October 27th at 1:35 pm by Alan K. Searle. in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Saturday 26th October 2019

Prawle Point

Seawatch from 8.20am to 3.15pm with Pat Mayer in SSW,later SW force 6 going 7 winds with heavy rain at times.

5 Sooty, 1 Balearic, 7 Manx Shearwaters. 6 Arctic Skuas all west and 1 Bonxie east and 1 west. 1 red-head Red-breasted Merganser. 5 Mediterranean Gulls. 8 Fulmars, 2000+Gannets and 720+ Kittiwakes, 540 auks.

Later as I was about to leave , with the wind calmer and conditions brighter, from the NT car park I saw 120+ Kittiwakes fly west close to shore in 5 minutes and amongst them at least 1 Pomarine Skua (adult moulting) and 3 other skua species, probably also Poms.( large double white underwing crescent) all shearing into the strong wind. No Leach's Petrel tho conditions seemed good for a sighting!

Posted October 26th at 10:14 pm by Tony Marchese in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Berry Head

Seawatching 0745-0945am produced the following highlights: 1 juvenile Sabine's Gull, 1 juvenile Pomarine Skua, 1 juvenile Arctic Skua, 1 Manx Shearwater, 4 Fulmar, 770+ Kittiwake, 1051 Auks (mostly Razorbills) and at least 3 Harbour Porpoise.

Posted October 26th at 3:08 pm by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Friday 25th October 2019

Berry Head sea watch 09.30 - 16.00

Skuas on view for most of the day but difficult to count due to many seemingly hanging around, but settled on: 12 Pomarines, 17 Arctics, 7 Bonxies & 2 Pomarine or Arctic, the latter including a particularly puzzling adult which none of the observers were sure about. Also: a good number of Puffins for the season (I saw 7 and missed at least 9 others). Sooty, Manx & 9 Balearic Shearwaters, 3 Common Scoters, 2 Fulmars 2nd-w Mediterranean Gull & 4 Harbour Porpoises. A Ring Ouzel was calling in the quarry when I arrived.   

Posted October 25th at 7:20 pm by Pete Aley in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

N. Hallsands.

A brief visit am. before the wind rose. In the willows 11 Chiffchaffs ( 6 ringed ), 9 Goldcrests ( 4 ringed , one of which was a "" continental " bird. At the beach another 3 Chiffchaffs around the gardens and 2 Black Redstarts ( f/ imm. ). on the beach cottages roofs.  Yesterday morning at Prawle Pt. ( Reserve ) fairly quiet with 8 Goldcrests ( 4 ringed ) 1 Firecrest ( ringed ), and 7 Robins around the Reserve and car park. Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps noticeably absent.

Posted October 25th at 7:05 pm by Alan K. Searle in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Thursday 24th October 2019


Ring Ouzel briefly in clifftop scrub at Bundle Head this morning.

Posted October 24th at 6:25 pm by Will Salmon in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


Paul Gosling and I flushed a Long-eared Owl on Orcombe Point this morning. Luckily it pitched back in the hedge pretty quickly and when we left it, it was viewable from the double gate at the top of Gore Lane (where the footpath starts). It's sat at the base of a small ash tree 20-30yds along the hedge. Please park carefully, don't block any gates and under no account enter the field. Also Black Redstart on Orcombe this morning.

Posted October 24th at 11:08 am by Matt Knott in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Wednesday 23rd October 2019


Highlights were, a Yellow-browed Warbler (in willows in Starehole), 2 Ring Ouzels (male + 1st-w female), 3 Black Redstarts & Redstart. Overhead: 150 Stock Doves, 2,300 Wood Pigeons & 150 Jackdaws, mainly heading west. Also: 31 Goldcrests, 8 Bullfinches, Siskin, Grey Wagtail, 8 Chiffchaffs, Blackcap, 3 Golden Plovers,3 Redwings, 15 Song Thrushes, 2 Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Little Egret, Green Woodpecker & a Stoat.

Posted October 23rd at 6:05 pm by Pete Aley in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

East Soar

Concentrated on the vis mig today:

4550 Woodpigeon SE; 500 Stock Dove SE; 390 Jackdaw - 275E, 105W & 10 grounded; 40 Starling SE; 500 Skylark moving & grounded; 6 Alba Wagtail; 6 Bullfinch.

Also: migrant Great Spotted Woodpecker, Black Redstart, Ring Ouzel on north side of farm, 21 Goldcrest & 40 Goldfinch.

Posted October 23rd at 3:08 pm by Rob Macklin in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Start Point.

Around the farm this morning 17 Goldcrests  (6 ringed ,of which 4 had the plumage characteristics of""continental" birds. Also present 6 Chiffchaffs ( 3 ringed ) , 20+ Goldfinches.  15/20 linnets and several more Robins than the usual resident/wintering birds. Overhead several small flocks of Woodpigeons ( not counted ) moving west. Also 11 Stock Doves.

"" Continental " Goldcrest .
"" Continental " Goldcrest .

Posted October 23rd at 2:10 pm by Alan K. Searle. in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Berry Head

Slimmer pickings on the overhead migration today, the best of the counts were : 72 Redwing, 6 Song Thrush, 2 Brambling, 1 Siskin, 12 Skylark, 13 Chaffinch & 5 Bullfinch. 

Around the headland: 1 Ring Ouzel in the quarry, 3 Firecrest, 32 Goldcrest, 5 Chiffchaff, 1 Blackcap, 

Posted October 23rd at 12:29 pm by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Tuesday 22nd October 2019


Just the 2 Ring Ouzels in Starehole today. Also in the valley at least 2 Water Rails heard. Pretty quiet otherwise.

Posted October 22nd at 8:13 pm by Perry Sanders in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Berry Head

Some great overhead migration today, the highlights were: 630+ Redwing, 2 Mistle Thrush, 13 Song Thrush, 400+ Wood Pigeon, 23 Swallows, 65 Meadow Pipits, 6 Skylark, 2 Grey Wagtail, 17 'alba' Wagtails, 2 Redpoll, 1 Brambling, 14 Bullfinches, 22 Chaffinch, 10 Siskin, 1 Reed Bunting, 1 Yellowhammer. 

Around the headland: 1 Yellow-browed Warbler 200m north of the Wardens Bungalow (near last years Hume's Warbler tree), 2 Firecrest, 28 Goldcrest, 14 Chiffchaff, 1 Ring Ouzel a flock of 22 Long-tailed Tits and 5 more in the quarry.

   YBW_BH_221019ML1  YBW_BH_221019ML2  Redwing Berry Head 22 oct 2019 ML

                  Yellow-browed Warbler                     Yellow-browed Warbler                         Redwing Flock  

Posted October 22nd at 11:57 am by Mike Langman in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

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