THURLESTONE BAY BIRDS
Another cool month which resulted in very or passage of passerines, particularly WARBLERS and WHEATEAR. Some good SE winds on several days produced some very good sea watching.
A total of 28 new birds for the year took the total to 169 (c/f 2017 - 174, 2016 - 147) - these included a patch first for me SCUAP, SPOTTED CRAKE (first Spring record). LESSER WHITETHROAT, RED KITE, CURLEW SANDPIPER ( rare here in Spring).
Total species recorded in the month were 139 (c/f 2017 - 143, 2016 - 130)
SWANS, DUCKS, DIVERS and GREBES
BLACK SWAN - One arrived on South Huish Marsh on 10th and remained until the end of the month.
SHELDUCK - Max of 24 on South Efford Marsh on 19th.
GADWALL - A female flew into the Bay on 17th.
TEAL - Max of 25 on South Huish Marsh on 1st with a max of 35 at South Efford Marsh of 35 on 8th.
PINTAIL -7 flew E with a further 2 on the sea on 2nd.
GARGANEY - A flock of 6 flew into the Bay landing on the sea on 6th.
SHOVELER - An impressive 65 flew through the Bay in 2 hours late afternoon of 18th.
TUFTED DUCK - A male on the Marsh on 8th.
SCAUP - 2 m 1f on the sea on 18th. This is only the 2nd and 3rd patch record, first for over 20 years.
EIDER - A 1W male on the sea on 14th.
COMMON SCOTER - Some impressive totals flying east - 227 on 2nd, 248 on 17th and a max of 415 on 6th
VELVET SCOTER - 2 records both singles flying E with COMMON SCOTERS on 6th and 17th.
RED THROATED DIVER - Recorded on 8 days mostly singles with a max of 3 on 26th.
BLACK THROATED DIVER -A single on the sea on 16th.
GREAT NORTHERN DIVER - Singles recorded on 5 days.
GREAT CRESTED GREBE - One in the Bay on 1st and 2nd.
SHEARWATERS, GANNET, EGRET, SPOONBILL and CRAKE
MANX SHEARWATER - Max totals were 990 east on 15th and a very impressive 1456 east in 1 hour on 26th.
BALEARIC SHEARWATER -One identified flying east on 17th.
FULMAR - Max 11 on 15th.
GANNET - Max of 360 on 6th,
CATTLE EGRET - One still in with cattle at South Huish Marsh from 8th.
SPOONBILL - The overwhelming bird recorded regularly at both Marshes. On 11th another bird flew down the Avon Valley late afternoon.
SPOTTED CRAKE -One heard calling at South Milton Ley from 5th to 8th.
RED KITE - A total of 4 recorded around the patch on 22nd also1 on Avon Valley on 30th.
MARSH HARRIER - A female in Hope Cover on 25th.
HOBBY - An early migrant 1 in off the sea on 15th.
WADERS - A total of 15 species recorded.
OYSTERCATCHERS -Max of 18 on 20th.
RINGED PLOVER - A single on13th only record.
GOLDEN PLOVER - 2 flew in off the sea on 18th.
GREY PLOVER - 1 Flew in amongst a flock of WHIMBREL on 17th.
CURLEW SANDPIPER - Scarce here in Spring so 1 in partial summer plumage on South Huish Marsh on 30th.
GREENSHANK - Max at South Efford Marsh 6 on 19th.
REDSHANK -Max at South Efford Marsh 5 on 11th.
TURNSTONE - Only one record a single on 2nd.
DUNLIN -Max of 17 on South Huish Marsh on 30th.
SNIPE - 2 on South Efford Marsh on 8th.
BLACK T. GODWIT - Max 4 at south Huish Marsh on 30th.
WHIMBREL - First was 1 at South Huish Marsh on 10th highest counts - 168 on 17th and 260 on 18th.
CURLEW - Last record at South Efford Marsh 1 on 12th.
COMMON SANDPIPER- 1 on South Huish Marsh on 29th and 30th.
SKUAS, GULLS TERNS and AUKS
Skua passage one of the best in recent years with a total of 70 birds logged.
POMARINE SKUA -Singles flew East on 17th and 24th.
ARCTIC SKUA - A total of 32 recorded, max were 13 on 15th and 9 on 17th.
GREAT SKUA - A total of 36 recorded - an impressive 15 on17th and 8 on 24th.
KITTIWAKE - Max of 35 on 15th.
LITTLE GULLS - Singles on 15th and 17th.
MEDITERRANEAN GULL - Max 5 on 15th
YELLOW L. GULL - An adult on South Huish Marsh on 30th.
ICELAND GULL - A 2W on south Huish Marsh on 1st, 3rd and 7th.
GLAUCOUS GULL - A 1W on South Huish Marsh on 3rd and 5th.
LITTLE TERN - Singles in the Bay on 17th and 26th.
SANDWICH TERN - An impressive 275 flew East on2nd, also 72 on 12th.
COMMON TERN - Recorded on 4 days best counts 9 on 2nd and 14 on 20th.
ARCTIC TERN - Only recorded on 2 days with4 on 12th and 2 on 27th.
PUFFIN - 1 flew east on14th.
SWIFTS - first were 3 over South Huish Marsh on 26th.
SWALLOW - Max of 135 flew North on 7th.
HOUSE MARTIN - first was 1 on 4th, max 15 on 28th.
SAND MARTIN - Only recorded on 3 days, max of 5 on 7th.
GETTIS WARBLER - First of the year was 1 on Thurlestone Marsh on 1st.
CHIFFY - 14 ringed at South Milton Ley on 8th.
WILLOW WARBLER -Scarce Spring migrant this year - first 2 on 3rd at South Milton Ley.
BLACKCAP - 8 ringed at South Milton Ley on 8th. An interesting ringing recovery - ringed South Milton Lee on16.09.17 . Controlled near Cadiz, Spain 22.11.17.
GARDEN WARBLER - Singles at South Milton Ley on 19th and one in the bushes by South HuishMarsh on 29th.
LESSER WHITETHROAT - A scarce Spring migrant here so 1 at South Efford Marsh on 28th was unexpected.
WHITETHROAT -First 1 at South Milton Ley on 18th.
SEDGE WARBLER - first 1 at South Huish Marsh on 8th.
REED WARBLER - First at South Milton Ley on 19th.
WHEATEAR, CHATS, BUNTINGS
WHEATEAR - A very scarce migrant this Spring with 5 on 29th and 1 on 30th.
WHINCHAT - A female at South Huish Marsh on 29th.
YELLOWHAMMER - Single recorded in the lanes on several dates.
CIRL BUNTING - A pair regularly visiting a Thurlestone garden throughout the month.
REED BUNTING -Up to 3 visiting a Thurlestone Garden.
LINNET -A flock of 60+ at South Milton Ley was largest of the year.
Already May has produced an early highlight a PECTORAL SANDPIPER found on South Huish Marsh on 1st - this is only the 5th Spring record for Devon - the last at the same site was in April 2014.
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