THURLESTONE BAY BIRDS
A month with some significant rainfall, particularly from 13th to 23rd with South Huish Marsh flooded and South Milton Ley at a record high, until it broke through the sand bank on 28th. Stormy conditions on 14th, 16th and 19th.
A disappointing end to a frustrating year - no new species recorded in the month with only 100 species recorded (c/f 2019 - 110, 2018 - 108) . Total species for the year 194 (c/f 2019 - 203, 2018 - 205) the second lowest in the last 10 years.
DUCKS, DIVERS and GREBES
WIGEON - At South Huish Marsh was 136 on 4th whilst at South Efford Marsh a max of 300 + on 9th.
TEAL - Max at South Huish Marsh 60 on 3rd, at South Efford Marsh 150 on 9th.
COMMON SCOTER - Only recorded on 4 days - highest were 3 on 13th and 4 on 31st.
MANDARIN - A male present all month on the Avon Estuary.
RED THROATED DIVER - Recorded on 5 days - apart from singles 4 on 29th with 9 on 30th which included a flock of 7 flying NW.
BLACK THROATED DIVER - A single on the sea on 29th.
GREAT NORTHERN DIVER - Singles on 2 days, 2 on 1st and 17th with 3 on 6th.
LITTLE GREBE - 1 on South Huish Marsh all month with a max of 3 on River Avon on 14th.
GANNET and FULMAR
GANNET - Significant totals were 165 on 10th and 171 on 15th.
FULMAR - First returning bird a single on 16th.
MERLIN - Single around the coast on 14th and 23rd.
Otherwise no change in status for other species.
WADERS - 12 Species recorded.
OYSTERCATCHER - Max of 29 on 20th.
RINGED PLOVER - 8 on the rocks throughout the month.
DUNLIN - 1 with the PLOVERS until 29th.
LAPWING - 3 over River Avon on 2nd.
SNIPE - A max of 14 on South Huish Marsh on 1st and 7th.
BLACK TAILED GODWIT - At South Efford Marsh 6 throughout the month.
CURLEW - Winter flock of up to 30 on South Efford Marsh.
COMMON SANDPIPER - 1 regularly reported along the River Avon tidal road.
GREENSHANK - Max of 2 on River Avon all month.
REDSHANK - Max of 7 on River Avon on 14th.
LESSER YELLOWLEGS - Present throughout the month on South Efford Marsh however on 23rd it spent the morning on South Huish Marsh assumed to be due to the flooded marsh - this was a first record for this site.
TURNSTONE - Max on the rocks of 16 on15th.
SKUAS and GULLS
GREAT SKUA - A rare December record of 1 flying across the Bay on 14th in stormy conditions.
KITTIWAKE - Stormy conditions produced a max of 170 on 15th.
BLACK HEADED GULL - On 1st a total of over 500 in the Bay/South Huish Marsh.
MEDITERRANEAN GULL - Up to 4 recorded throughout.
HERRING GULL - On the afternoon of 3rd, 1700 logged flying down the Valley to roost in the Bay.
GREBES and WARBLERS
GOLDCREST - 6 in an Aveton Gifford garden on 27th with a FIRECREST amongst them. One of the latter ringed at South Milton Ley on 1st.
CHIFFCHAFF - 16 ringed at South Milton Ley on 1st together with 1 SIBERIAN CHIFFY, also present at 3 other sites in small numbers.
BLACKCAP - Singles over wintering in gardens in Aveton Gifford and Thurlestone.
CETTIS WARBLER - 3 ringed at South Milton Ley on 1st, 1 on Thurlestone Marsh on 2nd.
THRUSHES, CHATS, PIPITS and FINCHES
FIELDFARE - Only record were 6 at Aveton Gifford on 1st.
REDWING - 1 in roadside trees near Thurlestone on 8th.
SONG THRUSH- Noticeable increase towards the end of the month as the colder weather arrived - record in at least 5 sites.
MISTLE THRUSH - reported from 2 sites.
BLACK REDSTART - 1F at Aveton Gifford on several dates. At South Huish Marsh, 2F most of the month were joined by a 1st winter male on 14th.
STONECHAT -Up to 6 around South Huish Marsh throughout.
ROCK PIPIT - Over 20 feeding on mound of seaweed on 1st.
WATER PIPIT - Singles at South Huish Marsh on 8th and 9th.
BULLFINCH - A Male in a Thurlestone Garden on 2nd.
CIRL BUNTING - Just 1 record a male in a Thurlestone Garden on 9th.
YELLOWHAMMER - 3 at Huxton Cross on 29th.
SISKIN - 6 at Aveton Gifford.
Writing this on 6th January and finding that we are subject to strict lockdown regulations, for the next 3 months looks as though activities will be very local with only limited time allowed outside our homes.