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 May review has been posted and I have transferred the MAY 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
2 more photos from Alan D of a WHITE FRONTED GOOSE and a 1w
ICELAND GULL taken at the end of Feb at South Huish Marsh
2 more photos of the GLAUCOUS GULL taken by Alan D at South Huish Marsh 3 APRIL 2017
Photos of the SPOONBILL and CATTLE EGRET from James K and SPOONBILL by Steve Hopper at South Huish Marsh on 5 April
Record shot of the PURPLE HERON on South Huish Marsh on 11 May 2017 - taken by James K
FRI 23 JUNE
After a very quiet day yesterday a little more around this morning . Started 100% cloud with a brisk F 5/6 W wind
In a 2hr seawatch from the car park - 35 GANNET, 4 MANX SHEARWATER, 2 KITTIWAKE, 1 AUK, 6ad BLACK H GULL ,
2 OYSTERCATCHER on the rocks .
On South Huish Marsh 2 CATTLE EGRET still, 2 SHELDUCK, 3 COOT 2 WHITETHROAT , 2 CHIFFY, 4 STONECHAT, , at least 10juv PIED WAGTAIL .
Amongst a flock of 50 + Gulls were 4 LESSER B B GULL, 3 GREAT BB GULL, and an ad YELLOW L GULL ( first june record for a few years )
WED 21 JUNE
Back on the patch this morning , met up with Graham - another sunny and warm day , hazy offshore with a F5/6 E wind early
The surprise this morning was a 1st summer GREAT NORTHERN DIVER feeding close inshore from 09.00-10.15 . This is certainly the latest June record ( only 3 in the last 7 years ). Also offshore 14 GANNET, 1 SANDWICH TERN, 4 BLACK H GULL , 5 SWIFT ( flew south )
On South Huish marsh 2 CATTLE EGRET, amongst the hirundines
2 SAND MARTIN .1m REED BUNTING
Very little to report whist I was away, Hobby over Aveton Gifford the best .
Although outside the patch a vey interesting photo from Terry Fenton on holiday from Glos. A male RED B Shrike he saw on Portlemouth Down - just inland from Mill Bay on 14 June
FRI 16 JUNE
Another sunny day although did start out with some cloud , a brisk F3/4 W wind
Info received from James K of 2 records at Hope Cove -
Mon 5.June- At 19.50 a dp ARCTIC SKUA flew east round Bolt Tail .. On SAT 10 June driving into Inner Hope on the road from Bolberry a HAWFINCH ( 183 ) feeding on the road - i will need info from Bob as to when the last record was - certainly not in the last 10 years
On South Huish Marsh yesterday 2 CATTLE EGRET , still feeding with the horses this morning , also 2 LITTLE EGRET, 1 BLACK T GODWIT, 2 WHITETHROAT , 1m 4 juv STONECHAT , 2 flocks of SWIFT 15 flew through . In the surrounding fields a flock of over 500 CORVID feeding after silage collected
By the footbridge - 1m REED BUNTING , 20+ HOUSE SPARROW
On the rocks 11 OYSTERCATCHER
Offshore a few GANNET, 1 FULMAR.
At 08.55 a CATTLE EGRET flew over the car park towards the Avon estuary
Next update will be Wed
WED 14 JUNE
A glorious sunny morning with only a light breeze .
An hours Garden watch from 07.45 produced 33 species including - 25 SWIFT, HOUSE MARTIN , SWALLOW. JAY, a CATTLE EGRET flew east at 07.55, a number of Warblers - REED , SEDGE , WHITETHROAT, BLACKCAP, CHIFFY, first small flock of 14 STARLING, HERON , 2 SANDWICH TERN flew east
Decided visits to 2 local valley would be more interesting in these conditions , starting with Hatch Bridge - 2 NUTHATCH,
3 GOLDCREST, 2 GREY WAGTAIL, , GREAT SP WOODY, COAL TIT ,
2 WILLOW WARBLER, 3 BLACKCAP, 3 CHIFFY.1 WHITETHROAT
Then on to Buckland Valley - 12 HOUSE MARTIN , 4 SWALLOW,
1 WHITETHROAT, CHIFFY, 2 BLACKCAP, 1 SPOTTED FLY,
1 GREEN WOODY , 2 RED L PARTRIDGE
TUES 13 JUNE
After a weekend spent watching RED KITE at Wallingford back on the patch today, met up with Graham
A very nice sunny day with only a light W breeze ,.
Offshore - 15 GANNET, 2 SANDWICH TERN, 1 KITTIWAKE
By the footbridge - 3juv STONECHAT, 2 WHITETHROAT, REED WARBLER and CHIFFY
On South Huish Marsh 2 resident CATTLE EGRET with another flying in at 10.15 and flew back west at 11.30, 1ad 3juv STONECHAT, 1 WHITETHROAT, 12 STARLING, 2 RAVEN , 9 SWIFT, SEDGE WARBLER
Whist Eric was relaxing in his garden at 11.20 he had a RED KITE fly over .
Whist at a steam fair managed to buy a pristine copy of Birds of the Banbury area 1972-1981, very interesting reading . If anyone reading the blog has an interest in that area if they contact me i am happy to pass this piece of ornithological history on ,.
FRI 9 JUNE
Late start after watching the Election into the early hours . A morning of sunny periods with a W wind F 6/7
Short seawatch produced - 14 GANNET, 10 KITTIWAKE ,
1 SANDWICH TERN , 1 STORM PETREL ( flew west at 09.30 )
On South Huish Marsh only 1 CATTLE EGRET . 7 juv STONECHAT on the fences.
Nick T rang this afternoon a resident of South Milton found an oiled GUILLEMOT on the beach - taken into care . Please keep an eye out for any other casualties
THURS 8 JUNE
Another morning where the weather did not reflect the time of the year - heavy rain until 10.30 , poor offshore viz , Wind SSW 7 .
Managed a 2hr seawatch from 10.30 - Further east good numbers of STORM PETREL, I only recorded 2 ( both east at 11.40 & 11.48 ) ( 181 ) , always a difficult bird to see in the Bay , also 31 GANNET, 6 FULMAR, 285 MANX SHEARWATER , 1 BLACK H GULL
( 1s )and 1 COMMON GULL
On South Huish Marsh 3 CATTLE EGRET
WED 7 JUNE
A morning of sunny periods with a brisk W F4/5 wind .
In 30 mins from the carpark and not recording even 1 GANNET decided on a change of venue , picked up Eric and covered the Aveton Gifford area - tidal road and surrounding woods and then up to Hatch Bridge - main highlights -
2 SPOTTED FLY , Several COAL TIT and JAY, BULLFINCH, WHITETHROAT, GREAT Sp WOODY , 3 GREY WAGTAIL , 3 CHIFFY.
TUES 6 JUNE
A morning of very heavy squally showers interspersed with some sunny periods . Unusually for June winds gusting at least to F8 W.
Biggest problem was to find a spot where a sope could be used and shelter from the showers
Joined by Graham and for part of the morning Terry .
Seawatching from 09.00 t0 12.15 produced - my first June record of a SOOTY SHEARWATER ( 181 ) which flew east reasonably close in at 10.20 .130 MANX SHEARWATER, 150 GANNET,
7 FULMAR, 3 KITTIWAKE . , 2 AUKS
On South Huish marsh 2 CATTLE EGRET feeding amongst the Highland Cattle
MON 5 JUNE
With forecast of strong winds and rain holding off until 10.00 was in Bobs car park for 07.15 , rough seas , SSW F7/8 and poor offshore viz . Raining early with a brief dry spell from 08.00-09.15
42 GANNET, 3 FULMAR, 31 MANX SHEARWATER, 3 COMMON SCOTER, 3 KITTIWAKE ,logged.
Returned at 17.00 wind gusting F8/9 still raing , in 20 mins
18 GANNET, 1 FULMAR .
Yesterday before the rain only a few GANNET offshore whilst on South Huish Marsh still 1 CATTLE EGRET
SAT 3 JUNE
After yesterdays rain during the morning and again in the afternoon , today started nice and sunny with a light breeze - Did an hours Garden watch from 07.30 which produced the highest total at 37 for some months . Amongst the highlights were - a CATTLE EGRET which flew west at 07.35 . , 14 Swift . a GREEN WOODY, REED and SEDGE WARBLER, BLACKCAP, CHIFFY, WHITETHROAT, 14 SWALLOW, only1 HOUSE MARTIN, Ad and Juv SONG THRUSH, CIRL BUNTING, SPARROWHAWK and KESTREL,
RED L PARTRIDGE.
SOME UNSEASONAL WEATHER FOR THE NEXT FEW DAYS WITH SOME RAIN AND STRONG WINDS, seawatching could be worthwhile
THURS 1 JUNE
A lovely sunny day once the mist cleared by 08.00, only a light variable breeze
Started the new month with an hours garden watch from 07.15, a total of 36 species recorded including - SWALLOW, SWIFT, HOUSE MARTIN, COAL TIT , LONG T TIT, SKYLARK, LITTLE EGRET, REED BUNTING , CIRL BUNTING, BLACKCAP, CHIFFY, WHITETHROAT, SEDGE & REED WARBLER, RED L PARTRIDGE
On Yarmer Beach - 9 OYSTERCATCHER, 2 DUNLIN, 2 SANDERLING, 1 WHIMBREL
Offshore a few GANNET, FULMAR, 9 COMMON SCOTER
On South Huish Marsh - 1 CATTLE EGRET ( now been recorded in every month this yaer ) 4 LITTLE EGRET, 1m TEAL , 2 SHELDUCK with 4 young .
Along the lanes and Buckland Valley - 1 YELLOWHAMMER,
2 GREAT SP WOODY, 1 MISTLE THRUSH , 5 BUZZARD
WED 31 MAY
Aquiet end to the month - another morning with low cloud , sea fog and drizzle
Offshore only a few GANNET, a FULMAR , the female COMMON SCOTER still in the Bay.
On South Huish Marsh could only find 1 CATTLE EGRET, a BLACK T GODWIT flew through at 09.45( first record for some weeks ) ,
Hirundines - 9 SWIFT , 6 SWALLOW and 20 HOUSE MARTIN. CHIFFY and SEDGE WARBLER singing
TUES 30 MAY
After yesterdays fog it was nice to be able to seawatch this morning, joined by Graham , overcast with a light NW wind
Offshore 60 COMMON SCOTER flew east ( 3 flocks of 15,25,20 ),
a single female still on the sea , 25 GANNET, 4 FULMAR,
1 KITTIWAKE , 2 WHIMBREL flew in off and staight up the valley .
On South Huish Marsh a male TEAL was a new arrival, 2 CATTLE EGRET, 3 LITTLE EGRET . Between 8 to 10 pairs of HOUSE MARTIN occupying / building nests , an increase on last year
In the lanes this afternoon a MISTLE THRUSH
SUN 28 MAY
An overcast morning with a brisk F4 E wind .
A short seawatch from 08.55 produced a dp ARCTIC SKUA flying east at 09.00, 18 GANNET, 12 MANX SHEARWATER-west,
a f COMMON SCOTER on the sea and a flock of 20 flew east.
At 12.00 a Humming Bird Hawk Moth in Bobs car park .
On South Huish Marsh 2 CATTLE EGRET, 3 LITTLE EGRET,
2 SHELDUICK with 4 young , a SPARROWHAWK flew over .
Although not on the patch Bob at 12.45 had a RED KITE flying over Kingsbridge College towards Churchstow
FRI 26 MAY
Another sunny and warm day with a brisk F5 /6 SE wind . Hazy offshore
A 90 min seawatch from the car park starting at 07.50 produced -
50 GANNET, 41 KITTIWAKE , 1 BLACK H GULL ,
21 MANX SHEARWATER, 4 FULMAR, 23 GREAT B B GULL,
4 COMMON SCOTER, 2 WHIMBREL, 7 OYSTERCATCHER .
Nothing of interest on South Huish Marsh this morning , however Thurs afternoon report received of a CATTLE EGRET
THURS 25 MAY
A warm sunny day with a F4 increasing 7 ESE wind.
This morning a 2hr 30 min seawatch off Warren Point from 08.05 produced - 46 GANNET, 15 FULMAR , 5 KITTIWAKE, 12 MANX SHEARWATER, 16 GUILLEMOT, 2 PUFFIN ( east at 08.35 and 08.50 )1 WHIMBREL, 1 TURNSTONE, 16 OYSTERCATCHER.
Big movement of RED KITE today particularly East Devon , thought we had missed out , then at 16.05 alarm calls of HERRING GULL put me on to one flying over my garden - a tick ,it is the
153 rd specie recorded from my garden since we moved in on
11 July 2008.
TUES 23 MAY
Late post due to computer problems .
Very poor conditions this morning - low cloud , mist and drizzle - very quickly decided walking the valleys would be more productive =
South Milton Ley produced - 60 + SWALLOW and 25 HOUSE MARTIN, 2 SWIFT , all feeding over the filter beds , REED and SEDGE WARBLER, CHIFFY, BLACKCAP and GREAT SP WOODY
A 90 min walk through Buckland Valley found the first 2 SPOTTED FLY for me - same sites as last year , 3BLACKCAP, 5 CHIFFY,
1 WHITETHROAT, 1 BULLFINCH, 3 GREEN WOODY, 3 GREAT SP WOODY, 10 HOUSE MARTIN , 6 SWALLOW
Nice shot of a Scandinavian Rock Pipit on South Milton beach 20 March 2017
Record shot of the GARGANEY on South Huish Marsh on 16 March
by Alan Doidge
A nice close up of the bill of the WHITE FRONTED GOOSE at South Huish Marsh taken by James K
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
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