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

Sunday 14th April 2019

Prawle Point

Seawatch in SE cold winds force 5-6. Pat from 6.30am saw 1 Arctic Skua, 3 Sandwich Terns and a Whimbrel. From 7.30 to 1.15 pm we saw 2 Bonxies, 5 Black- throated Divers ( 2 in full summer plumage), 17 Sandwich Terns, 17 Common Scoter,130 Manx Shearwaters, 15 Fulmars, plus 600+ Gannets.

Posted April 14th at 10:35 pm by Tony Marchese in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Slapton Ley 11 April

To start with I found it difficult to locate the Black-necked Grebe as it was underwater a lot of the time.  Fortunately the bird stayed mostly to the east of Stokeley hide.  Unfortunately it didn't come close.

The male Goldeneye was more obliging, cruising up and down in front of the hide, finally in the evening taking off  to join a group of Tufted Duck.

Black-necked GrebeMale GoldeneyeMale Goldeneye take off run
Black-necked Grebe               Male Goldeneye               Male Goldeneye take off run

Posted April 14th at 6:19 am by Michael Woodman Smith in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Saturday 13th April 2019

Beesands Diving Duck

Wednesday 10 April.  Much warmer here than at Stokeley Hide where the wind was off the sea.   The male Ring-necked Duck regularly returned to the    island to rest in between bouts of feeding. I am attaching a photo of the alert bird that shows the ring neck.

The Scaup preferred to fish in the water to the seaward side of the island.  The bird was quite wary and knew I was trying to photograph him. 

Male Ring-necked Duck
Male Ring-necked Duck

Adult male Scaup
Adult male Scaup

Posted April 13th at 8:54 pm by Michael Woodman Smith in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Slapton and Beesands Leys

Raw east wind not making easy viewing. At Slapton the 3 Ring-necked Ducks still on the Lower Ley north of Torcross. Also male Goldeneye and the summer-plumaged Black-necked Grebe in Stokeley Bay. Good numbers of hirundines early afternoon, at least 120 Sand Martins, 25 Swallows and 15 House Martins. 30 plus Common Gulls in Ireland Bay and 3 singing Reed Warblers in the relative shelter behind Ireland Bay.

A quick look at Beesands Ley late afternoon and the male Ring-necked Duck here showing well. Also present 14 Tufted Ducks, male Pochard, Great Crested Grebe, 40 Swallows, 4 Sand Martins and a House Martin. Don't think I saw a butterfly all cold.




Posted April 13th at 7:30 pm by Perry Sanders in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Friday 12th April 2019

Soar & South Huish

A very slow and cold start at Soar with little appearing before three hours after first light. Then: Redstart (female), 9 Wheatears, Whitethroat,    4 Willow Warblers, 5 Blackcaps, 12 Chiffchaffs, 5 House Martins, 9 Swallows, 2 Sand Martins, 2 Hares & a buck Roe Deer.

South Huish: 3 Mediterranean Gulls (2 1st-s & 2nd-s), 3 Swallows & 2 House Martins.

Posted April 12th at 4:59 pm by Pete Aley in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Rillage Point to Watermouth

Surprisingly good for migrants this morning (06.45-08.00), in spite of the unpromisingly cold and clear conditions, with a biting ESE wind. Totals included 3 Sandwich Terns (first of the year here), 1 Sand Martin, 28 Swallows, 5 House Martins, 3 Willow Warblers, 8 Chiffchaffs, 5 Blackcaps (including the first 2 females of the year for this site), 1 Wheatear, 3 alba wagtails, 30 Meadow Pipits, 2 Tree Pipits, 50 Linnets, 5 Crossbills (in off the sea, heading ESE into the wind), 21 Goldfinches and 1 Siskin.

On Wednesday 10th, a strong E-bound passage of Lesser Black-backed Gulls (total of 84, mainly ads) and my first Common Redstart of the year – a single female.

Posted April 12th at 9:49 am by Tim Jones in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Tuesday 9th April 2019

Rillage Point to Watermouth

First patch visit for 12 days saw steady visible migration – in spite of the heavily overcast conditions and a chilly E wind – as well as good numbers of grounded warblers. Totals included: Sand Martin 10, Swallow 5, House Martin 2, Willow Warbler 13, Chiffchaff 13, Blackcap 9, alba wagtail 5, Meadow Pipit 41, Tree Pipit 3 (my first of the spring), Linnet 48, Crossbill 1, and Goldfinch 42.

Posted April 9th at 10:26 pm by Tim Jones in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Emsworthy Mire

Great Grey Shrike still on site this afternoon in 3rd field after the barn. More info at

Posted April 9th at 6:52 pm by Spencer Dicks in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

D.W.T. Emsworthy Dartmoor.

Great Grey Shrike,D.W.T. Emsworthy Taken At 08.30 This Morning

Posted April 9th at 10:06 am by patrick hawkins in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

Monday 8th April 2019

South Hams

Four Ring-necked Ducks in the South Hams today! A drake at Beesands Ley and the 2 drakes and a duck on Slapton Ley (Torcross end). 

At Soar, a Firecrest (with apparent "pollen horns"), a Reed Warbler singing, 11 Chiffchaffs, 5 Blackcaps, Swallow & Snipe.

Also: at Beesands, drake Scaup, Willow Warbler & Sandwich Tern; and at Slapton, summer-plumaged Black-necked Grebe (half way down Lower Ley), c20 Sand Martins, 2 Swallows, Sandwich Tern, 2 Willow Warblers & a sinensis cormorant.

Posted April 8th at 9:04 pm by Pete Aley in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts


Yellow Wagtail landed briefly on the golf course before flying north at 08:45.

Posted April 8th at 12:17 pm by Will Salmon in Scarce / Rare Birds & Passage Counts

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