THURLESTONE BAY BIRDS FEBRUARY 2017 Another very good month with 115 species recorded (c/f 2016 – 104, 2015 – 98) 12 new species for the year taking the total to 127 (c/f 2016 -119, 2015 – 110) particularly good for GEESE – RUSSIAN WHITE FRONTED, BARNACLE and EGYPTIAN. COOT returned on 6th, PINTAIL, JACK SNIPE, GREEN SANDPIPER, GREY PARTRIDGE, LITTLE GULL, ICELAND GULL, MARSH HARRIER and WHITE WAGTAIL.   Weather – Only a few really wet days, most of the heavy showers occurred overnight.  Cold spell mid month with frost on 3days.   Gales of 8/9 W on 23rd and several days of F7 mainly W.   Highlights – The DESERT WHEATEAR continued to show very well to the increasing number of visitors to Leasfoot Beach.   Now been present since 8th November 2016.   Having been recorded on the 3rd March it became the longest UK stayer at 116 days passing the 115 days of a bird in Scotland.  2012/13 and 114 days down in Cornwall 1994/95.   GEESE WHITE FRONTED GOOSE – 2 of the Russian sub species found on 3rd, fed with the CANADA flock, still present at the end of the month. BARNACLE GOOSE – 1 with the CANADAS at Aveton Gifford from 5th until the end of the month. EGYPTIAN GOOSE – 1 on the River Avon from 2nd. BRENT GOOSE – 4DB flew into the Bay and landed on the sea on 15th.   DUCKS SHELDUCK – present all month max of 4 on South Huish Marsh. WIGEON – Max on South Huish Marsh160on 16th, At South Efford Marsh 150 on 14th. GADWALL – A male on South Huish Marsh from 8th. TEAL – South Huish Max 60 on 22nd, on South Efford Marsh max 70on 14th. PINTAIL – On South Huish Marsh a F on 10th. On North Marsh 2m 2f on 13th. MALLARD – Max of 50 on South Huish Marsh , 40 of which were males. SHOVELER – A pair on South Huish Marsh from 7th. COMMON SCOTER – Only recorded on 5 days max 25 – east on 9th.   DIVERS, GREBES AND COOT Records between 10th and 19th as follows RED THROATED – 2Eon 12th and 1 on 15th. BLACK THROATED – 1E on 10th and 2 E on 15th GREAT NORTHERN – 1 on 12th, 3 on 15 and 3 on sea on 19th. LITTLE GREBE – Up to 2 on South Huish Marsh and on River Avon throughout. COOT – first seen on South Huish Marsh on 6th with 2 from 12th.   GANNET, FULMAR, EGRETS, HERONS and RAILS GANNET – Observed daily, highest totals were 75 on 7th, 145+ flew east on 15th. FULMAR – Max 4 flew E on 15th. HERON – At least 6 on the 2 Marshes. LITTLE EGRET – Up to 8 on the Marshes, rocks and local fields. CATTLE EGRET – A barren kale field with Cattle near Horswell House saw numbers build up from 2 on 5th, 4 on 21st and 5 from 26th – latter is a site record.  Remarkable series of records throughout Devon with  a total in excess of 25. WATER RAIL – Max of 4 at south Milton Ley on 9th. RAPTORS and OWLS MARSH HARRIER – A female photographed over South Milton Ley on 23rd. PEREGRINE – At least 2 recorded on the patch. SPARROWHAWK – Recorded from 4 sites. BUZZARD and KESTREL – No change in status. BARN OWL – Recorded from Aveton Gifford and South Milton Ley.   WADERS – 14 species recorded OYSTERCATCHER – Max 26 on 27th RINGED PLOVER – Max 8 on the rocks on 7th. GOLDEN PLOVER – Large flock of 200+ in the distance at South Huish Marsh on 7th. LAPWING – Numbers built up at South Huish Marsh to 150 on 7th down to 3 by 28th. DUNLIN – 1 on South Huish Marsh up to 26th. BLACK HEADED GODWIT – Up to 3 on South Huish Marsh and 2 at South Efford Marsh all month. JACK SNIPE – 2 watched feeding on South Huish Marsh on 10th. SNIPE – At South Huish Marsh  max 100+ on 12th, at North Marsh max 76 on 7th. COMMON SANDPIPER – 2 on River Avon all month. CURLEW – 2 briefly on South Huish Marsh on 21st – Winter flock of up to 30 on River Avon all month. GREEN SANDPIPER – Rod Bone flushed one on North Marsh on 12th. GREENSHANK – Up to 3 on River Avon all month. REDSHANK – Max 5 on 15th on South Efford Marsh. TURNSTONE – Max 19 on the rocks on 27th.   GULLS KITTIWAKE – Max of 14 east on 15th. LITTLE GULL – A 1W flew east close inshore on 15th. MEDITERRANEAN GULL – 4 Ad on 7th, 3 ad on 15th and 2 on 23rd. ICELAND GULL – 3 Records – A 2W briefly on South Huish Marsh on 7th and a 1W on 20th and 26th. LESSER BLACK BACK GULL – a total of 100 on South Huish Marsh on 23rd was a high count.   AUKS Best passage on 15th when a total of 120 flew east.   MISCELLANEOUS, WOODPECKERS, CRESTS and CHATS GREY PARTRIDGE - - One walking along the road near South Milton Ley on 10th. RED LEGGED PARTRIDGE – 3 at Huxton Cross on 14th. GREEN WOODPECKER – Recorded in West Buckland Valley. GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER – Recorded from at least 5 sites. KINGFISHER – Recorded at South Huish Marsh and South Milton Ley. GOLDCREST – Found on at least 4 sites. FIRECREST – Dave Pakes recorded 1 at South Milton Ley. NUTHATCH – Heard calling at Aveton Gifford. BLACK REDSTART – A 1 W male on the rocks throughout the month.   WARBLERS CHIFFCHAFF – Recorded from 5 sites max at South Milton Ley of at least 50 on 9th. SIBERIAN CHIFFY – Up to 3 at South Milton Ley. BLACKCAP – Max of 4 in an Aveton Gifford garden YELLOW BROWED WARBLER – Dave Pakes reported 1 by the entrance gate to South Efford Marsh. CETTIS WARBLER – One singing on North Marsh. PIPITS and THRUSHES WATER PIPIT – one on South Huish Marsh all month. FIELDFARE – Max of 25 at Huxton Cross on 5th and 30 over a Thurlestone Garden on 19th. REDWING – Max 32 at South Milton Ley on 16th. MISTLE THRUSH – Recorded from 3 sites.   CORVIDS A flock of over 750 ROOK, CARRION CROW and JACKDAW in stubble field near Huxton Cross on 9th.   FINCH FLOCK Throughout the month a flock of up to 500 in stubble fields at Huxton Cross – max numbers were LINNET 300, CHAFFINCH 200 CIRL BUNTING 4, GOLDFINCH 30+, REED BUNTNG GREENFINCH and at least 1 BRAMBLING, 20+ SKYLARK.   March is the month for the start of Spring passage hopefully bring the first of our summer migrants.     Mike Passman  

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