THURLESTONE BAY BIRDS
A month with some indifferent periods of weather - from mid month cloudy with some days of poor visibility - rain on 12th and 16th. Only 2 days with strong S/SW winds up to F8.
5 species added to the year list. - WOOD SANDPIPER, SPOTTED REDSHANK, WOOD WARBLER, TREE PIPIT and questionable SNOW GOOSE, taking the total to 186 (c/f 2017 -191, 2-16 -173).
A total of 123 species recorded during the month. (c/f 2017 -128, 2016 -120)
A special mention must be made of CATTLE EGRET. Having been recorded in every month from Jan 2017 to April 2018, the very cold weather at the end of March saw the last bird recorded on 8th April.
At South Efford Marsh a single bird recorded on the mornings of 25th, 27th and 29th. However 28th August will be remembered as one of those days when the motto of ‘expect the unexpected’ really did come alive .
At 11.05 Graham Daw and myself were looking over South Efford Marsh when we picked up a flock of white birds flying down the Valley which we both estimated 50 birds.
They landed in an adjacent field occupied by a large herd of Frisian Cows. A 10 minute walk round to the field found a total of 51 CATTLE EGRET spread out amongst the cattle. Looking through the flock at least 2 birds still had all Black bills which is indicative of young juveniles.
This is a Devon County record count for this species and as far as I can ascertain is a UK National Record. The flock was seen to depart to the NNW at around 15.00 - there have been no further reports of this large flock although 8 were recorded on 30th - 31st at West Charleston Marsh a distance of 8 miles to the East.
Another remarkable re cord for the site and also a example of local patch birding providing results.
Other highlights were:-
SHELDUCK - 2 flying west on 17th were the first offshore since Spring.
TEAL - Max of 55+ at South Efford Marsh on 30th.
COMMON SCOTER - Only recorded on 3 days with a max of 20 flying west on 31st.
SHEARWATER AND GANNET
FULMAR - Max of 5 on 26th.
CORYS SHEARWATER - 1 flew east on 26th.
SOOTY SHEARWATER - Single 10th and 11th with 2 on 12th.
MANX SHEARWATER -3 days with totals of 200+ with a max of 255 on 10th
BALEARIC SHEARWATER - recorded on 4 days with a max of 8 on 12th.
GANNET - big passage of 700+ on 12th.
LITTLE EGRET - recorded on both marshes with a max of 10 on 2nd.
WATER RAIL - first returning bird at South Milton Levy heard on 31st.
MARSH HARRIER - A Juv hunting over South Milton Levy on 9th and 14th.
HOBBY - 1 at South Huish Marsh on 28th.
OSPREY - 1 2 cy at Aveton Gifford daily from 16th. Ring shows T7 which was one of 3 Chicks hatched at Rutland Water in June 2016.
WADERS - 17 species recorded -
OYSTERCATCHER - A max of 26 on 27th.
RINGED PLOVER - Numbers rapidly increased towards the end of the month with a max on Yarmer Beach of 100+ on 28th.
GREY PLOVER - 1 flew east on 11th.
SANDERLING - Max of 40 on13th.
DUNLIN -A max of 132 on Yarmer Beach on 28th.
RUFF - 1 at South Huish Marsh on 11th.
SNIPE - A max of 5 at South Huish Marsh on 16th.
BLACK TAILED GODWIT - Recorded at both Marshes with a max of 24 at South Efford Marsh on 29th and 30th.
WHIMBREL - Max of 3 at South Efford Marsh on 28th.
CURLEW -Max of 3 at South Efford Marsh on 2nd.
COMMON SANDPIPER - Max at South Efford Marsh 9 on 2nd
GREEN SANDPIPER - Recorded on both Marshes with a max of 5 at South Efford Marsh on 17th.
WOOD SANDPIPER - 2 at South Huish Marsh on 1st an d1 on 30th.
GREENSHANK - Max of 8 at South Efford Marsh on 29th and 30th.
REDSHANK - Max of 4 at South Efford Marsh on 27th.
SPOTTED REDSHANK - A Juv at South Efford Marsh on 29th and 30th.
Only the 3rd patch record in the last 10 years.
TURNSTONE - 6 on 11th were the first returning birds.
SKUAS, GULLS and TERNS
ARCTIC SKUA - Singles seen from Hope Cove on 10th, 11th and 12th.
GREAT SKUA - 1 seen flying east from Hope Cove on 11th.
KITTIWAKE - A max of 15 east on 13th.
BLACK HEADED GULL - 250+ on 9th in the Bay included 50+ Juveniles .
MEDITERRANEAN GULL - Record count of 30 in the Bay on 9th only lasted 3 days when a count of 40 on 12th.
LESSER B.B. GULL -A flock of 150 resting in a local field on 12th.
GREAT B.B. GULL - On 12th over 100 flew east.
HERRING GULL - Highest count of the year on 9th when over 4000 logged.
YELLOW LEGGED GULL - Singles recorded on several dates.
SANDWICH TERN -A single on 11th was the only record.
COMMON TERN - a single flew east on the 27th.
ACTIC TERN -1 flew east on 12th.
SWIFT - last recorded was 1 on 28th
WARBLERS - Details of birds ringed detailed at the end of this report.
CETTIS WARBLER - 1 at South Milton Ley on 28th.
WOOD WARBLER - A very rare Autumn record of 1 in the copse on 15th.
BLACKCAP- Seenu daily in a Thurlestone garden with a max of 6 on 7th and 31st.
WHITETHROAT - 4 on coastal path on 31st.
GROPPA - 1 on Thurlestone Marsh on 17th, Adult + 3 Young at South Milton Ley on 31st.
SEDGE WARBLER -Max in a Thurlestone Garden 6 on 25th.
FLYCATCHER, CHATS, PIPITS, BUNTINGS and WAGTAILS
SPOTTED FLY - 4 (inc 3 Juv) in a South Milton garden on 4th.
Singles at 3 other sites.
STONECHAT - At least 12 June recorded moving around the patch best breeding results for a few years
WHINCHAT - A female along the coast path on 31st.
WHEATEAR - Only singles recorded.
TREE PIPIT - On 17th 12 were ringed at South Milton Levy with at least another 25 on site.
CIRL BUNTING - recorded at 4 sites within the patch.
REED BUNTING -Up to 3 visiting garden feeders on a regular basis.
ROOK PIPIT - Up to 20 feeding on rotting seaweed.
YELLOW WAGTAIL - Only singles apart from 2 on 24th and 30th at South Huish Marsh.
9 DAYS SESSIONS
Chiffy - 9
Willow Warbler - 96
Blackcap. - 60
Garden Warbler - 5
Whitethroat - 9
Groppa - 2
Sedge Warbler - 150
Reed Warbler - 75
Song Thrush - 4
Bullfinch. - 3
Tree Pipit - 14
Kingfisher. - 1
September is usually one of the outstanding months of a year so expectations are high for some very interesting records