Thurlestone Bay is a bird rich area of the South Hams (part of Devon).
Having lost Thurlestone Marsh.earlier this year when it was drained agreed with Eric Wotton to redraw the patch boundry to include the Avon Estuary which will incorporate the very impressive South Efford Marsh.
The 2016 year list will be amended to include species recorded there which had not been seen on the old patch
Any comments you wish to make can be entered in the guestbook.
Have posted an Annual Review for 2016 which can be accessed by clicking the link or via the appropriate heading in the Menu above
The JANUARY review has been posted and I have transferred the JANUARY sightings to the archive 2017 section .
Have retained a lot of photos from the last 3 years at the end of this months report at the bottom of this page
Photo of PEC SANDPIPER taken by Alan Doidge Sept 2016
Some more of the fab photos from Alan Doidge of the bird of the year for Thurlestone- they are superb
A nice record shot from James K of a BRAMBLING at Huxton Cross on 24 January 2017
2 more photos from Alan D - BARNACLE GOOSE at South Efford Marsh and a CATTLE EGRET in a field near Horswell House taken last weekend
WED 22 FEB
A cloudy morning with drizzle and showers , A W f7 wind and rough seas
Received a report last night from Mark Bailey that at 15.30 there were 4 CATTLE EGRET in the field near Horswell House , stopped off at 12.30 today and there were 4 CATTLE plus 2 LITTLE EGRETS . Makes you wonder just how many there are in South Devon .
Because of poor offshore viz only managed in an hour to pick up - 16 GANNET, 9 AUKS 1 KITTIWAKE, 5 FULMAR , from 11.00 there were 5 kite surfers in the bay !
On South Huish Marsh - 140 WIGEON , 60 TEAL, 2 SHOVELER,
1 SHELDUCK, 1 COOT, only 15 SNIPE and 3 LAPWING today, the lone DUNLIN still. No sign of the W F GEESE
On the rocks - 15 TURNSTONE, 5 RINGED PLOVER.
The DESERT WHEATEAR continues to show well to visitors on Leasfoot Beach
Some gale force winds on Thursday associated with storm Doris - might bring some large Gulls in.
TUES 21 FEB
A cloudy morning with a brisk f3/4 W wind .
Report from yesterday of a 1w ICELAND GULL at South Huish Marsh- any more detailed info would be welcome
Only 10 GANNET offshore . On South Huish Marsh the 2 WHITE FRONTED GOOSE flew in from the fields at 12.00, 130+ WIGEON, 35 TEAL, 1m SHOVELER, 1 LITTLE GREBE, 2 COOT 2 SHELDUCK , only 9 LAPWING, 1 DUNLIN, 45 + SNIPE . At 12.00 3 CURLEW flew onto the marsh left 5 mins later to the east - we do
not have any resident ones so these are probably the first migrants, 1 WATER PIPIT
On the rocks -8 TURNSTONE, 6 RINGED PLOVER and the BLACK REDSTART
In the field near Horwell House 2 CATTLE EGRET and 3 LITTLE EGRET.
Message for Roger the landscape gardener who was speaking to Eric on Saturday about viewing screens - can he ring him asap on07564 218620
MON 20 FEB
Very little to report today - DESERT WHEATEAR still showing well, .
On South Huish Marsh the 2 WHITE FRONTED GOOSE came in to drink and preen at 11.15 ( if they are in the field with the CANADAS they seem to fly in at this time ), much better views particularly for anyone wanting to photograph . Otherwise same species as Sunday
On the rocks 15 TURNSTONE .
In the field near Horswell House I could only find 1 CATTLE EGRET along with 2 LITTLE EGRET
Finally at South Milton Ley Dave P reported a FIRECREST
A nice close up of the bill of the WHITE FRONTED GOOSE at South Huish Marsh taken by James K
SUN 19 FEB
A cloudy morning with a F3/4 W wind . Lots of visitors today .
Report rec'd of both TAWNY and BARN OWL very vocal last night near South Milton Ley
This morning the DESERT WHEATEAR still showing well on Leasfoot Beach.
Offshore 3 GREAT N DIVER flew in from the west at 09.25 , 2 landed on the sea . Also 3 FULMAR , 12 GANNET, 15 AUKS ,
2 KITTIWAKES . At 09.45 picked up a white winged gull flying east , too far out for positive id , on size probably ICELAND
On South Huish Marsh - 140 WIGEON, 25 TEAL, 2 SHOVELER,
3 SHELDUCK, 1 LITTLE GREBE, 25 LAPWING,30 + SNIPE
1 DUNLIN, 1 WATER PIPIT . The 2 RUSSIAN WHITE FRONTED GOOSE feeding on the Marsh
The BLACK REDSTART on the rocks .
In the field near Horswell House wood still 2 CATTLE EGRET.
Over my garden at 14.15 30 FIELDFARE , 3 REED BUNTING on the feeders
FRI 17 FEB
Made a trip with Eric to Broadsands to see the PACIFIC DIVER that Mike Langman found yesterday . Although a flat mill pond sea the Diver was some distance offshore so difficult to pick up good views , spent some time in the company of a RED THROATED DIVER, also on the sea were a BLACK THROATED and GREAT NORTHERN DIVER, 2 BLACK N GREBE and a COMMON SCOTER .
Stopped off at Huxton Cross at 13.00- 100+ CHAFFINCH, 4 CIRL BUNTING, 10 YELLOWHAMMER and a FIELDFARE.
Next update will be Sunday evening
Whist waiting for auditions for the remake of Last of the Summer Wine our photographic agent Steph Murphy took this publicity shot at Broadsands this morning of Eric Tony and myself
THURS `16 FEB
Almost spring like weather ,sunny and only a light breeze , no wonder the DESERT WHEATEAR has started to sing .
South Huish marsh held the same birds as Tuesday. , although the WIGEON are flying to rest on the sea .In the fields with the CANADA flock were the 2 WHITE FRONTED GOOSE.
The BLACK REDSTART still on the rocks by the flats .4 RINGED PLOVER on the rocks
Near the footbridge a COAL TIT calling ( not often seen here )
In West Buckland valley - 1 GREEN WOODY, 3 GREAT SP WOODY, 2 COAL TIT , 4 GOLDCREST
Alan P had a poor morning ringing only 5 new birds inc 1 CHIFFY. He estimated around 30 CHIFFY on site along with 32 REDWING , 1 WATER RAIL, 1 TAWNY OWL . He also had 2 CATTLE EGRET in the field next to Horswell House
WED 15 FEB
Another morning with rain until 09.30 , F3 WSW wind and by 10.00 clear horizon and sunny periods .
The best mornings seawatch of the year so far with a good passage of species , so good that I did not leave the car park until 11 .45 . Started the watch at 09.30 just as the rain cleared through-
145 GANNET east, 14 KITTIWAKE , 2ad COMMON GULL, 3ad MED GULL, at 10.15 a 1st w LITTLE GULL (124 ) flew east close inshore , 32 RAZORBILL and 80 AUKS flew east , 8 COMMON SCOTER- east, 150+ WIGEON were on the sea and at 09.45 they were joined by 4 db BRENT GOOSE which flew in from the west .
A total of 6 DIVERS logged - 09.45 - 1 RED THROATED ( on the sea ) 10.10 & 10.12 BLACK THROATED flew east , 10.03 1 GREAT NORTHERN flew west and at 10.05 2 flew east . 1 TEAL and 1 SHELDUCK flew into the marsh .
On the rocks 11 TURNSTONE
at 12.00 went down to Leasfoot Beach , the DESERT WHEATEAR showing very well, plumage starting to change towards summer .
In the Horswell House field there were 3 CATTLE EGRET.
This afternoon a visit to the tidal road at Aveton Gifford produced - 3 GREENSHANK, 5 REDSHANK, 2 BLACK T GODWIT, 2 COMMON SANDPIPER, 2 SHELDUCK, Both EGYPTIAN and BARNACLE GOOSE were on the river . Eric also had an ad MED GULL . He also had in his garden a SIBERIAN CHIFFY
TUES 14 FEB
Heavy rain overnight with an overcast morning , poor viz offshore .
On South Huish Marsh- 135 WIGEON, 30 TEAL, 2 SHOVELER,
3 SHELDUCK, 1 DUNLIN, 1 WATER PIPIT, only 15 SNIPE,
2 ad COMMON GULL. , 120+ BLACK H GULL, 30 LESSER B B GULL.
In the fields with the CANADAS were the 2 WHITE FRONTED GOOSE
Nick reports the DESERT WHEATEAR has been heard singing . , still on Leasfoot Beach
On South Efford Marsh Eric reports - 150 WIGEON, 70+ TEAL,
2 GREENSHANK, 3 REDSHANK, 1 KINGFISHER , 4 BLACKCAP still around the gardens
This afternoon 3 f REED BUNTING and a CHIFFCHAFF on my garden feeders
Went up to Huxton Cross at 16.00 the Finch flock was -
250+ LINNET, 200+ CHAFFINCH , 15 YELOOWHAMMER also
5 SKYLARK and 3 RED L PARTRIDGE
MON 13 FEB
An overcast morning with a few sunny periods later , a F8 ENE wind made watching difficult .
Offshore in 45 mins from 09.20 - 30 GANNET, 2 FULMAR,
1 SHELDUCK and 2 TEAL flew east .
On South Huish Marsh unchanged from yesterday apart from an ad MED GULL on the water briefly , the BLACK REDSTART on the rocks
At Huxton Cross around 150 CHAFFINCH sheltering in the wood,
9 STOCK DOVE .
At Aveton Gifford Dave P reported - 2m 2 f PINTAIL on flood water at north end of the marsh , also small numbers of FIELDFARE and REDWING. Eric had in his garden - 6 CHIFFY and
On my feeders a pair of REED BUNTING
Sun 12 FEB
A cloudy morning but another bitterly cold day with a F5 ENE wind, joined by Graham , Chris and Bob today .
After a very cold w/end - even some snow flurries on Sat the DESERT WHEATEAR still showing well on Leasfoot beach this morning .
Offshore 65 GANNET, 1 GREAT N DIVER on the sea , 2 RED T DIVER flew east , 1 SHELDUCK west .
On the rocks - 5 TURNSTONE, 5 RINGED PLOVER, 1 BLACK REDSTART
On South Huish Marsh - 120 WIGEON, 35 TEAL, 2 SHOVELER, 100+ SNIPE , 95 LAPWING, 1 BLACK T GODWIT, 1 DUNLIN, 1 LITTLE GREBE, 1 COOT, 1 WATER PIPIT
At Aveton Gifford 5 FIELDFARE, 1 BLACKCAP . Last week Rod Bone had 1m 3f PINTAIL on flood water at the back of North Marsh.
A report of a GREY PARTRIDGE ( 123 ) on the road near Bobs car park ., almost certainly one of the birds reported late autumn .
FRI 10 FEB
A cloudy morning with poor viz offshore , bitterly cold in a F 5 NE wind , worth going out though for 2 patch year ticks .
Offshore a BLACK T DIVER flew east at 10.50. 20 COMMON SCOTER flew west , only 2 GANNET.
On the rocks 15 TURNSTONE and 2 RINGED PLOVER
On South Huish Marsh- a femail PINTAIL ( 121 ) ,2 SHOVELER,
1m GADWALL, 150 WIGEON, 45 TEAL, 50 + LAPWING,
1 BLACK T GODWIT, 1 DUNLIN . Increase in SNIPE to 60 + , also
2 JACK SNIPE ( 122 ) - 1 in flight and 1 feeding .
In the nearby field with 45 CANADAS were the 2 WHITE FRONTED GOOSE - they flew off with 8 CANADAS at 09.45 .
In Buckland Valley 35 GOLDFINCH, 1 GREAT Sp WOODY and GOLDCREST
THURS 9 FEB
A morning with some sunny periods but feeling cold in a biting f4 E wind
Offshore - 25 COMMON SCOTER and 4 WIGEON flew east,
On South Huish Marsh only change from Wed - 2 SHELDUCK and a BLACK T GODWIT ( no W F GOOSE again )
BLACK REDSTART on the rocks still.
At HUXTON CROSS 750 + mixed flock of CORVIDS , 250 + WOOD PIGEON, 250 + STARLING , 150 CHAFFINCH
Yesterday Alan P was ringing at South Milton Ley- 16 CHIFFCHAFF ( +14 on site ), 1 SIBERIAN CHIFFY ( +2 on site , 1 ringed ),
2 REDWING, 3 GOLDCREST.
3 m REED BUNTING singing and at least 3 WATER RAIL heard
WED 8 FEB
A sunny morning with little breeze , cold start with a frost .
A 45min garden watch from -08.00 produced 29 species -highlights - 2 RAVEN, 2 REED BUNTING, 1m BULLFINCH,
1 REDWING, 12 TEAL, 2 WIGEON .
Started at Leasfoot Beach - the DESERT WHEATEAR showed well - it has now been on the patch for 3 months , anyone know what the longest stayer is ?
On South Huish marsh - WIGEON , TEAL and SHOVELER same as yesterday, a m GADWALL was new in , Only 60 LAPWING,
40 SNIPE, 1 DUNLIN, 1 L > GREBE, 1 WATER PIPIT . No sign of the W F GOOSE today .
On the rocks 7 TURNSTONE, 1 BLACK REDSTART
Short visit to the tidal road at Aveton Gifford produced - 1 BARNACLE GOOSE, 3 GREENSHANK , 1 REDSHANK, 1 COMMON SANDPIPER, whist through his garden Eric reported - BLACKCAP, GOLDCREST L T TIT
TUES 7 FEB
A sunny morning with only 1 shower but a brisk F5 W wind . Joined by Graham today , also at least 7 visitoers to look at the Geese.
Offshore a feeding flock of 75 GANNET, 1 FULMAR, 2 KITTIWAKE, 2ad COMMON GULL, 4ad MED GULL .
On the rocks - 8 RINGED PLOVER, 11 TURNSTONE , 1 BLACK REDSTART.
On the Marsh - 160 WIGEON ( highest this winter ) 35 TEAL,
2 SHOVELER, 1 LITTLE GREBE, 1 COOT, 35 SNIPE, 1 DUNLIN ,
200 GOLDEN PLOVER ( picked up by Alan in the far distance )
1 WATER PIPIT, 2ad MED GULL ( part of the 4 on sea ). At 10.45
Tony M watched a 2w ICELAND GULL ( 120 ) land on the marsh, spent less than a minute before flying out to sea , thankfully everyone on site managed to see it before flying off .
The 2 European ( or RUSSIAN as they now seem to be called ) WHITE FRONTED GOOSE were showing well feeding on the grass at the side of the marsh before returning to the field with the CANADAS .
At 15.45 the Huxton Cross Finch flock totalled over 500 birds mostly LINNET & CHAFFINCH also GREENFINCH , GOLDFINCH , a separate flock of 30 YELLOWHAMMER and a MISTLE THRUSH
On South Efford Marsh Eric reports - 120 WIGEON, few TEAL and a GREENSHANK . On the North Marsh Rod had 76 SNIPE and both the BARNACLE GOOSE and EGYPTIAN GOOSE with the CANADAS
Received details from Helen of some ringing recvoveries the most interesting is a SEDGE WARBLER ringed at South Milton Ley at 13.00 on 24 Aug 2016 and controlled at 10.30 0n 26 Aug 2016 at Tour aux Moutons , Donges , Loire Atlantique a distance of 353 km in less than 48 hours .
MON 6 FEB
A cloudy morning with showers developing from 10.30 and an incresing f5-7 S wind
In the field near horswell house woods I could only find
1 CATTLE EGRET
On South Huish Marsh the first COOT (119 ) of the year,
2 BLACK T GODWIT, 1 KINGFISHER ( also on the rocks ),
1ad MED GULL, WIGEON , TEAL, SHOVELER and LAPWING numbers unchanged from yesterday .
No sign of the WHITE FRONTED GEESE today
On the rocks 1 BLACK REDSTART , 6 RINGED PLOVER,
Offshore - 32 GANNET, 4 COMMON SCOTER , 2 RAZORBILL and a FULMAR - all flew east
SUN 5 FEB.
Having arrived home at 03.00 a later start than normal today , reached South Huish Marsh at 10.00.. Prior to this surprised to find water pools on T'stone Marsh with 22 MALLARD, 12 TEAL and a male WIGEON .
Offshore only a single GANNET, on the rocks 2 TURNSTONE and
3 RINGED PLOVER, Bob had a PEREGRINE over .
On the Marsh - 105 LAPWING ( on 1st Bob had 142 - highest count this year ), 1 BLACK T GODWIT, 1 DUNLIN, 15 SNIPE.
110 WIGEON, 15 TEAL, 2 SHOVELER. Amongst a flock of 50 CANADA GOOSE were 2 RUSSIAN GREENLAND WHITE FRONTED GOOSE ( 118 )- found yesterday by AJL , last record was in March 2015 . A WATER PIPIT also .
At South Milton Ley Eric and Alan had 12 CHIFFY, 1 SIBERIAN CHIFFY, 1 GREY WAGTAIL, ,in fields next to Horswill House woods were 2 CATTLE EGRET - these are probably the same as seen 2 weeks ago at S H Marsh, best position to try and pick them up is from the approach road to the sewerage works
On Leasfoot Beach nice to see the DESERT WHEATEAR had survived the last weeks rain and storm force winds , visitors today from Derbyshire and Dorset
At Huxton Cross the finch and thrush flock contained - 250 LINNET, 200+ CHAFFINCH, 12 YELLOWHAMMER, 30 GOLDFINCH, GREENFINCH, 20 SKYLARK, 25 FIELDFARE, 15 REDWING.
Alan had a BARN OWL over the bridge at Avtn Gifford .
Whilst I was away it was obviously GOOSE time - On South Efford Marsh an EGYPTION GOOSE ( 116 ) and a BARNACLE GOOSE
( 117) .Dave Pakes had a YELLOW BROWED WARBLER by the entrance gates to S E Mrash
FUERTEVENTURA TRIP 28 JAN - 4 FEB
Spent a week at the Jandia Princess Hotel at the very South end of the Island - our first visit. Hired a car for 2 days to visit some of the sites further north.
Disappointing total of only 45 species - although did manage to find some surprises.
Target birds were BLACK BELLIED SANDGROUSE - found a total of 17 at La Pared coming to an almost dry stream, and FURTEVENTURA CHAT this was difficult to find.
Over the Hotel - Offshore or flying over, SWALLOW, PALLID SWIFT, PLAIN SWIFT, RAVEN, SANDWICH TERN, many LESSER B.B. GULL, YELLOW LEGGED GULL. Several CORYS SHEARWATER, many trip reports only mention singles of GANNET ,seen daily (early evening) from Hotel Balcony max 30 including a single flock of 23.
On Thursday 2nd February a flock of 6 SACRED IBIS flew north only 50 feet above us - cannot find any reference to this specie in any visitor reports.
Whilst watching the SAND GROUSE found a female BLACK REDSTART again no comments in any previous reports.
Waders were disappointing only GREENSHANK, RINGED PLOVER, COMMON SANDPIPER, 10 BLACK WINGED STILT. Only 1 CATTLE EGRET at Risco Del Pasa where a flock of 25 SANDWICH TERN feeding offshore.
Near Los Molinos the only HOUBARA BUSTARD of the visit, a feral flock of 40+ MUSCOVEY DUCK. At the nearby reservoir
2 HOOPOE, 1 HERON, 150+ COOT, 40 + TEAL, 4 SHOVELER,
8 TUFTED DUCK, 11 LITTLE EGRET, 1 SPOONBILL, 60+ RUDDY SHELDUCK, 2 BLACK HEADED GULL.
Found plenty of BERTHELOTS PIPIT and at least 7 SOUTHERN GREY SHRIKE.
Only raptors KESTREL and BUZZARD
Finally flying south with 2 SANDWICH TERN one evening a good candidate for LESSER CRESTED TERN.
Record shot of the CATTLE EGRET at SOUTH HUISH MARSH 23 JAN 2017 by Alan Doidge
Photos of the DESERT WHEATEAR 13 Nov 2016 from Alan Doidge
YELLOW BROWED WARBLER at South Milton Ley 19 Oct
PURPLE HERON - Some more photos from Alan Doidge
PURPLE HERONS at South Huish Marsh
2 photos from Alan Doidge taken 24 April 2016
Some stunning photos of SQUACCO HERON by Alan Doidge
Consensus of opinion is there is at least 2 birds in the South Hams area . Confirmed by simultaneous sights last night of birds at Beesands Ley and at Prawle Point . Still one bird on the Scillies. Until comparison of photos can be made the jury will have to be out on whether the South Milton bird on Wed was another one !
WILLOW WARBLER and ACREDULA WARBLER
Not often in Devon that an opportunity arises to compare these 2 species .
ACREDULA is a sub specie of WILLOW breeding mostly in Scandanavia usually above 63o North , studies have confirmed that they winter in different habitats in Africa
Have received these photos from Roger and Helen of a bird ringed on the 11 August at South Milton Ley, whilst I missed this, I was fortunate to see one that Bob ringed a few years ago . You really do need to see them in the hand to appreciate them.
Photos below of the BEE-EATERS at Aymer Cove 30 MAY taken by Alan Doidge
Record shot of the GLOSSY IBIS taken at 16.00 Sat 27 Dec- Alan Doidge
Some cracking photos from Alan Doidge of the SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF and colour ringed ROCK PIPIT