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 FEBRUARY review has been posted and I have transferred the FEBRUARY 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
TUES 21 MAR
A fine sunny morning , good viz , cold with a F5/6 WNW wind
On South Huish Marsh another drop in Duck numbers - only
3 WIGEON, 30 TEAL, 3 SHELDUCK, 6 COOT.
Offshore - 95 GANNET ( inc a feeding party of 50+ ) 4 KITTIWAKE east, on the sea at 10.15 a RED T DIVER and at 10.50 a GREAT N DIVER .
On the rocks 11 TURNSTONE .
Mon afternoon Alan D had 2 SCANDINAVIAN ROCK PIPIT on the beach - nice photo below .
Next update 30 Mar off to find some nice spring migrants in Cyprus with Graham .
Nice shot of a Scandinavian Rock Pipit on South Milton beach 20 March 2017
MON 20 MAR
A dire morning , poor viz , drizzle and some heavy showers plus a F7+ SW wind .
Strong winds produced one of the largest movement of GANNET with 235 logged in just over an hour - most flying east, at one stage there were 55 sat on the rough sea . Also 2 FULMAR ,
2 AUKS east and at 10.55 a SANDWICH TERN ( 137 ) flew east
On the rocks only 2 TURNSTONE, a PEREGRINE flew over
On South Huish Marsh - 35 TEAL, 14 WIGEON, 3 SHELDUCK, 1 SNIPE
SUN 19 MAR
Only spring migrant this morning was a singing CHIFFY.
A cloudy morning with light drizzle, a brisk F 5/6 W wind
Offshore 30 GANNET ( mostly west ) , 2 FULMAR , at 12.25
4db BRENT GOOSE flew west into Bigbury Bay. On the rocks
6 TURNSTONE .
On South Huish Marsh an increase to 7 COOT, 14 WIGEON,
16 TEAL, 4 SHELDUCK, 1 SNIPE,.
Bob had 2 CATTLE EGRET in the usual field at `10.00
Record shot of the GARGANEY on South Huish Marsh on 16 March
by Alan Doidge
FRI 17 MAR
A sunny morning soon turned cloudy feeling cold in a F 4/5 WNW wind
A short seawatch mid morning produced - 14 GANNET, 4 FULMAR, 2ad MED GULL, 36 BLACK H GULL , 2 COMMON SCOTER -east
On South Huish Marsh - a lot of the duck moved on overnight , today - 30 WIGEON, 15 TEAL, 2 SHELDUCK, 2 SHOVELER , amongst a large number of Gulls was an ad MED GULL
THURS 16 MAR
An overcast cloudy morning with a light W breeze , some drizzle , poor viz offshore .Will be rembered as Spring migrants arrival day.
Started off with a 45 min garden watch at 07.15 - 23 species logged inc - 1 CHIFFY, 2 GREAT SP WOODY, 3 SNIPE ,
2 SHELDUCK .
With poor viz only GULLS on the sea included 30 BLACK HEADED, later a GREAT CRESTED GREBE , on the rocks 8 TURNSTONE
All the activity centered on South Huish Marsh - at 09.15 found 2m 1f GARGANEY ( 133 ) - still present late afternoon ,
38 WIGEON, 30 TEAL, 1m GADWALL, 4 SHELDUCK, 11 SNIPE ,
1ad MED GULL, 1f WHEATEAR,. SAND MARTIN ( 134 ) started passing through from 09.30- at least 35 , Terry G picked up a HOUSE MARTIN ( 135 ) and after i took Bob home he and Dave P had a SWALLOW ( 136 ).
Could not find any CATTLE EGRETS in the field at 12.30 .
First time I can recall having the 3 common Hirundines arriving on the same date.
Yesterday Alan P was ringing at South Milton Ley- 7 CHIFFY, GOLDCREST, 2 BULLFINCH , also on site a F MARSH HARRIER ( probably the same one seen at Aveton Gifford on Mon ) 1 WATER RAIL, 7 SNIPE
WED 15 MAR
Another cloudy morning, only a very light W breeze .Calm sea
At 08.00 sat on the sea were flocks of GULLS - 80 BLACK HEADED included 3 ad MED GULL, also400+ HERRING GULL. Only 5 GANNET logged .
At 8.10 3 REDPOLL ( 132 ) flew over Bobs carpark calling .
On South Huish Marsh 33 WIGEON, 30 TEAL, 7 SHELDUCK,
2 SHOVELER, 4 LITTLE EGRET, 4 SNIPE, 1 CHIFFY, 1m REED BUNTING, 150+ HERRING GULL and 5 LESSER B B GULL.
This afternoon 1 CHIFFY and 3 RED L PARTRIDGE seen from my garden .
TUES 14 MAR
A cloudy morning with a F4 WNW wind .
At 08.00 2 RED L PARTRIDGE in the field opposite my house .
Offshore - 6 GANNET , 3 ad MED GULL sat on the sea until 09.25 when they flew off up the valley.
On South Huish Marsh the WIGEON reduced to 33, still 35 TEAL,
2 SHOVELER , 3 SHELDUCK, 1 WATER PIPIT, 2m 2f WHEATEAR.
No Hirundines yet
MON 13 MAR
A fine sunny morning with a light NW breeze , good viz
Offshore - 2 ad MED GULL - east, 15 BLACK H GULL -east,
5 GANNET .
On South huish Marsh - 62 WIGEON, 30 TEAL, 2 SHOVELER,
2 SHELDUCK, 26 SNIPE, 1 WATER PIPIT
On the rocks - 2 RINGED PLOVER, 9 TURNSTONE
On the beach -1 m WHEATEAR ( Dave P later had 2 ) , he also had the BLACK REDSTART, 1 WHITE WAGTAIL
In the usual field near Horswell House at 12.30 there were
3 CATTLE EGRET
At 13.45 Eric had a F MARSH HARRIER flying over North Marsh, also on South Efford Marsh - WIGEON, TEAL, CURLEW , REDSHANK, GREENSHANK, 2 WHITE WAGTAIL. In local gardens
SUN 12 MAR
An overcast morning with an incresing toF4/5 NW wind . Joined by Graham, Bob and Chris this morning .
Whilst driving into Thurlestone village Graham had a GREY PARTRIDGE in the road , also YELLOWHAMMER in the hedges .Offshore -
3 BLACK THROATED DIVER ( 2 flew E and 1 landed on the sea ) by 09.05 ., 14 GANNET, 1 SHELDUCK -W , At 13.00 Bob and Graham had a flock of c80 BLACK H GULL and 1 MED GULL fly in and straight up the valley .By the footbridge - a SIB CHIFFY, 1 CHIFFY anda SONG THRUSH .
On South Huish Marsh an EGYPTION GOOSE was a new arrival, possible to have this, the 2 WHITE FRONTED and some CANADA GEESE in the scope at the same time . 60 WIGEON, 41 TEAL,
2 SHOVELER, 2 SHELDUCK, 20 + SNIPE, 1 CURLEW flew over. A m WHEATEAR on the front of the Marsh as well as the beach,. Up to 5 WHITE WAGTAIL and 15+ PIEDS .
In the Horswell House field Bob had at least 4 CATTLE EGRET
SAT 11 MAR
No influx of migrants this morning , species on South Huish Marsh same as Friday
On T'stone Marsh this morning 6 TEAL, 2 WIGEON
Late morning there were 3 CATTLE and 1 LITTLE EGRETS in the usual field .
A GREY WAGTAIL and singing CHIFFY at South Milton Ley.
At 16.00 6 TEAL on the sea , 1 RINGED PLOVER and 2 TURNSTONE on the rocks
FRI 10 MAR
A bright morning with some sunny periods until 11.00 when thick sea mist rolled in . A light SE breeze
An hours garden watch from 07.30 produced 24 species which included - 2 WIGEON, 2 TEAL, 4 REED BUNTING 1 CIRL BUNTING
The GREAT CRESTED GREBE still in the Bay, only 6 GANNET
On South Huish Marsh same species as Thurs although the TEAL down to 30 . At 10.45 a male NORTHERN WHEATEAR ( 131 ) by the Nat Trust car park on the grass - the first Spring migrant
No sign of the DESERT WHEATEAR on Leasfoot Beach again , looks like it has moved on .
THURS 9 MAR
A cloudy morning with low cloud / mist ,poor viz offshore . Only a light W breeze.
Despite 3 visits this morning Nick and I could not locate the DESERT WHEATEAR. It was last reported on Rare Bird Alert on Tues 7 Mar .
Earlier this morning over my garden a GREEN WOODY and on the Marsh 2 TEAL, 2 WIGEON, 6 MALLARD . At 14.15 a F BLACK
REDSTART on my roof .
Offshore in the Bay a GREAT CRESTED GREBE ( 130 ) first of the year,. Only 1 GANNET . On the rocks a RINGED PLOVER
On South Huish Marsh - 2m GADWALL were new arrivals,
72 WIGEON, 47 TEAL, 2 SHOVELER, 2 SHELDUCK,
2 WHITE FRONTED GOOSE, 5 COOT, 1 SNIPE, 1 WATER PIPIT.
At 11.30 a flock of Gulls landed , 100+ HERRING, 10 GREAT B B , 15 LESSER B B ,
1 ad COMMON , 40 BLACK HEADED
WED 8 MAR
Another dire day weather wise - low cloud , drizzle , F 7 W wind , very poor viz offshore .No sign of any spring migrants here
On South huish Marsh the highlight was a record count of 5 COOT !, 75 WIGEON, 35 TEAL, 2 SHOVELER , 3 SHELDUCK, 3 SNIPE . The 2 WHITE FRONTED GOOSE still feeding around the marsh
Offshore could only pick up 2 GANNET and a FULMAR
On the rocks 18 TURNSTONE and 2 RINGED PLOVER.
In the field near Horswell House still 5 CATTLE EGRET and a LITTLE EGRET
MON 6 MAR
A morning not conducive to birdwatching , heavy rain until 11.00 and then showers . A w f3 wind . Spent most of the time watching from the car
On South Huish Marsh no change in the range of species from yesterday. the 2 WHITE FRONTED GOOSE still showing well.
On the rocks 22 TURNSTONE ( highest count this year )and the 1w m BLACK REDSTART
Offshore only 4 GANNET flew through .
In the fields near Horswell House back to 5 CATTLE EGRET and
2 LITTLE EGRET
DESERT WHEATEAR still showing on Leasfoot Beach
SUN 5 MAR
After another night with heavy rain , a morning of sunny periods and later heavy hail showers. A W gale F 8 gusting 9.
Over the w/end the DESERT WHEATEAR showing well on Leasfoot Beach also nearby a BLACK REDSTART
On Sat Dave Pakes had the BARNACLE GOOSE on the North Marsh ., also along the R Avon a DIPPER ( 128 )
In the Horswell House field this morning could only locate 4 CATTLE EGRET with 2 LITTLE EGRET. A NUTHATCH calling loudly from nearby trees .
On South Huish Marsh - 85 WIGEON, 20 TEAL, 6 SHELDUCK,
1m SHOVELER, 1 LITTLE GREBE, 2 COOT, 1 WATER PIPIT . The
2 WHITE FRONTED GOOSE feeding with a small group of CANADAS .
In one of the fields the GULL flock included 100 + LESSER B B GULL.
A Short seawatch produced the highlight of the morning - at 11.00 2 BALEARIC SHEARWATER ( 129 ) flew west . Also-
7 GANNET, 5 FULMAR, 1 KITTIWAKE . A PEREGRINE flew through .
On the rocks 11 TURNSTONE and 24 OYSTERCATCHER
FRI 3 MAR
After a night of heavy rain and strong winds the weather improved by 09.00 but still a f5/6 S wind
Found the DESERT WHEATEAR on Leasfoot Beach this time at the far end .
Information from Paul Bouldon cofirms at 116 days this is the longest stayer in UK - beats 115 days in 2012/13 in Scotland and 114 days 1994/5 in Cornwall .
Offshore - 32 GANNET, 1ad MED GULL, 1 KITTIWAKE , 1 FULMAR all flew east, also 11 RAZORBILL
On the rocks 9 TURNSTONE
On South Huish Marsh the WIGEON had reduced to 70 whilst SHELDUCK increased to 8 .the WATER PIPIT still , also the 2 WHITE FRONTED GOOSE .
In the field near Horswell House still 5 CATTLE EGRET and
1 LITTLE EGRET,also 3 REDWING and 1 FIELDFARE
THURS 2 MAR
A sunny morning with a F5/6 WSW wind , stormy conditions overnight , rough sea .
Offshore -little activity - 21 GANNET, 4 KITTIWAKE, 4 ad MED GULL flew east , 1ad COMMON GULL, a few GUILLEMOT and RAZORBILL. On the rocks 4 TURNSTONE
On South Huish Marsh - 107 WIGEON, 2 SHOVELER, 4 SHELDUCK, 20 TEAL, 20 L B B GULL, 1 BLACK T GODWIT. The 2 WHITE FRONTED GOOSE feeding in the field next to the marsh .
In the field near Horswell House I could only locate 4 CATTLE EGRET. In the lanes a f SPARROWHAWK
A drive along the tidal road at Aveton Gifford at 11.30 produced - 3 REDSHANK, 2 GREENSHANK, 2 BLACK T GODWIT, 2 COMMON SANDPIPER and CURLEW , 1 LITTLE GREBE
At the top end of north marsh Dave P had the BARNACLE GOOSE with the CANADA flock
WED 1 MAR
A dismal weather day for the start of March - heavy rain , low cloud and poor viz .
A 30 min garden watch only produced 20 species the highlight being 4 SONG THRUSH .
First stop this morning was Leasfoot Beach , despite the awful weather the DESERT WHEATEAR still showing ., only 7 more days and it will have been here for 4 months !
Short visit to South Milton Ley produced 30+ CHIFFY, 2 GREAT Sp WOODY, BULLFINCH, REDWING .
On South Huish Marsh the 2 WHITE FRONTED GOOSE feeding with the CANADAS , 115 WIGEON, 40 TEAL, 3 SHELDUCK, 2 SHOVELER, 1 LITTLE GREBE , 2 COOT, 7 SNIPE
On the rocks 8 TURNSTONE .
Offshore only 3 GANNET.
In the field near Horswell House at 09.30 5 CATTLE EGRET , at 11.30 could only find 1 .
At Huxton Cross a mixed flock of 300 finches contained - LINNET, CHAFFINCH, GREENFINCH, YELLOWHAMMER and atleast 1 BRAMBLING
In Buckland Valley a TREE CREEPER, COAL TIT, GOLDCREST , RAVEN and MISTLE THRUSH
A total of 66 species recorded
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