THURLESTONE BAY BIRDS JULY 2017   Some unseasonal weather in the second half of the month, heavy rain on 18th, 21st and coupled with SW gales of F8+ produced some good sea passage particularly SHEARWATERS and SKUAS.   A total of 113 species recorded (c/f 2016-95, 2015-104) 3 year ticks – GREAT SHEARWATER, CORYS SHEARWATER, LITTLE STINT taking the total to 188 (c/f 2016 – 170, 2015 – 169)   Adults in breeding plumage had been seen at South Huish Marsh and late evening and early morning flying to/from the Avon Estuary. Juveniles first seen on 13th at South Efford Marsh (photographed) and then on 15th at South Huish Marsh.   On 21st 4 juveniles observed together on South Efford Marsh.   Birds seen daily up to 31st.  Consensus of opinion that 2 pairs fledged 4 young.   Main Highlights DUCKS WIGEON – 3 male on South Huish Marsh on 23rd and a F on South Efford Marsh on 31st were very early returning birds COMMON SCOTER – Max 100 flew through on 18th.   SHEARWATER, FULMAR, GANNET AND SKUAS CORYS SHEARWATER  - 1 flew east close offshore on 21st. GREAT SHEARWATER – 1 flew into the Bay from west on 21st and landed on the sea. SOOTY SHEARWATER – One flew east on 18th, early evening of 28th 12 flew east in an hour of excellent sea passage before a period of heavy rain with F8+ SW winds. BALEARIC SHEARWATER  - 2 recorded on both 18th and 21st with at least 20 on the afternoon of the 28th. MANX SHEARWATER – On 28th 1020 recorded flying east. FULMAR - Highest numbers of the year on 28th when 75 recorded flying east. GANNET- Largest total of the year 625 on 28th. ARCTIC SKUA – A total of 7 east on 28th. POMARINE SKUA – 2 flew west on morning of 28th.   EGRETS LITTLE EGRET – A max of 4 on South Efford Marsh.   At a local roost a total of 25 on 17th. CATTLE EGRET – Confirmation of local breeding with 3 juvs from 13th and a max of 4 on 21st.  Up to 4 Adults recorded during the month at both South Huish Marsh and South Efford Marsh.  A first breeding record for Devon.   WADERS A total of 13 species recorded OYSTERCATCHER – Max 20 on 4th. LITTLE RINGED PLOVER – A Juv in South Huish Marsh on 15th. RINGED PLOVER – Max 7 on 31st. SANDERLING – A mixed flock of 20 including DUNLINS on 4th, otherwise a max of 5 on 19th. LITTLE STILT – A moulting adult on South Huish marsh on 29th – 31st was the earliest autumn patch record. DUNLIN – Max 28 in off the sea on 12th, on South Huish Marsh max of 19 on 31st. BLACKTAILED GODWIT – Max 8 on 30th. WHIMBREL – 3 on the rocks from 23rd, 2 on South Efford Marsh from 3rd. CURLEW – Max at South Efford Marsh 27 on 23rd. COMMON SANDPIPER – Up to 3 on Avon Estuary all month. GREEN SANDPIPER – Singles on 27th and 29th on South Huish marsh with 2 on South Efford Marsh on 29th. GREENSHANK – Recorded on South Efford Marsh all month with a max of 4 on 29th. REDSHANK – Max of 3 at South Efford Marsh on 29th and 31st.   GULLS AND TERNS LITTLE GULL – 1 flew east on 27th. MEDITERRANEAN GULL – Low numbers this year with a max of 4 on 3rd. YELLOW LEGGED GULL – first juvenile of the year a South Huish Marsh on 31st. LITTLE TERN – 3 flew west on 4th. SANDWICH TERN – A max of 11 on 18th otherwise occasional singles. COMMIC TERN – 4 flew west on the morning of 28th.   HIRUNDINES AND SWIFT SWALLOW – to noticeable totals over Thurlestone of 86 early on 6th and 115 in an hour afternoon of 25th. HOUSE MARTIN – 30 over Thurlestone on afternoon of 25th. SAND MARTIN – Max 6 on4th over South Huish Marsh SWIFT – 125 over Thurlestone in an hour on 25th.   WARBLERS Some early morning movement through a Thurlestone garden with CHIFFCHAFF 5 on 4th regularly up to 4, BLACKCAP 6 on 5th and 5 on 14th. Ringing at South Milton Ley total were   CHIFFCHAFF             51 (5 sessions)          REED WARBLER                  40 SEDGEWARBLER    44                                BLACK CAP                           6 WILLOW WARBLER 12                                 GARDEN WARBLER             1   FLYCATCHERS, WAGTAIL, FINCHES AND BUNTING SPOTTED FLYCATCHERS – Reported from 2 sites. YELLOW WAGTAILS – Singles at South Huish Marsh from 17 with 3 Juv at South Efford Marsh on 23rd. LINNET – Good breeding season with a flock of up to 70 around local farm fields/coastal path. CIRL BUNTING – Regularly recorded at several sites.   Looking forward to the returning Wader passage in August and possibility of some interesting sea passage.   Mike Passman          

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