THURLESTONE BAY BIRDS
A very different start to the New Year than we all expected. 3rd Lockdown introduced from 9th resulting in a limit on the amount of time that could be spent birdwatching, particularly with regard to sea watching. A cold start through to the 10th with easterly winds, Marsh mostly frozen over on 25, following storms with F8/9 winds on 20th a very wet end to the month.
A total of 107 species recorded (c/f 2020 - 113, 2019 - 116)
GEESE, DUCKS, DIVERS and GREBES
BRENT GOOSE - DB - 3 flew across the Bay on 16th with 7 flying SE on 21st.
SHELDUCK - First bird arrived on South Huish Marsh on 26th followed by 1 on 28th.
WIGEON - Max on South Huish Marsh/Sea on 28th - 266.
TEAL - Max on South Huish Marsh of 125 on 14th.
PINTAIL - 8 flew west on 17th.
MANDARIN - A male along the tidal road at Aveton Gifford all month.
SHOVELER - 4 on 1st on. South Huish Marsh increasing to 8 from 14th.
COMMON SCOOTER - Unusually only 1 record of a male flying SE on 11th.
RED THROATED DIVER - Recorded on 6 days -singles on 17th and 25th, 4 on 8th and 26th, 9 on 1st and a max of. 12 on 7th.
BLACK THROATED DIVER - Singles on 7th and 8th.
GREAT NORTHERN DIVER - 2 on1st and 2 on 16th.
LITTLE GREBE - Present on South Huish Marsh all month with a max of 3 on 3rd.
GANNET AND FULMAR
GANNET - An exceptional winter feeding flock of around 1000 in the Bay on 2nd.
FULMAR - Recorded on 3 days - 1 on 21st, 2 on 26th and 1 on 28th.
RAPTORS and OWLS
MERLIN - Recorded at Huxton Cross/South Milton Ley on 19th and 25th.
No change in status of SPARROWHAWK, KESTREL or BUZZARD.
BARN OWL - reported from 2 sites.
TAWNY OWL - reported calling from at least 3 sites.
WADERS - 15 species recorded.
OYSTERCATCHER - Max of 35 on 18th.
RINGED PLOVER - Up to 8 recorded throughout the month.
GOLDEN PLOVER - 2 over South Huish Marsh on 3rd, 25+ in a field near Churchstow on 28th.
LAPWING - Only recorded on 4 days with a max of 8 on 28th in field with the GOLDEN PLOVER.
SANDERLING - A single bird with the RINGED PLOVER from 3rd until 21st.
JACK SNIPE - Singles on South Huish Marsh on 5th and 7th.
SNIPE - Max of 35 on South Huish Marsh on 7th.
BLACK TAILED GODWIT - present throughout the month a max of 10 at South Efford Marsh on 1st and 7 on South Huish Marsh on 14th.
CURLEW - Winter flock up to 25 at South Efford Marsh all month, 1 on rocks at Warren Point on 10th.
COMMON SANDPIPER - One bird regularly reported along the tidal road throughout the month.
GREEN SANDPIPER - One record of 3 on North Marsh at Aveton Gifford on 27th.
GREENSHANK - Max of 4 all month along the tidal road.
REDSHANK - Max of 7 on 2nd along the tidal road.
LESSER YELLOWLEGS - Reported from the tidal road throughout the month. This rare visitor from N.America first reported on 14th October 2020 now been present for over
TURNSTONE- A max of 7 on the rocks on 11th.
BLACK HEADED GULL - Max of over 600 on South Huish marsh on 18th.
MEDITERRANEAN GULL - Regularly amongst the BLACK HEADED GULLS on South Huish Marsh - a max of 10 on 19th.
COMMON GULL - A max of 10 on South Huish Marsh on 19th.
LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL - A max on South Huish Marsh of 22 on 29th.
KINGFISHER - 2 present on South Efford Marsh and 1 on South Huish Marsh throughout - also watched diving onto rock pools for food.
CRESTS, CHATS and WARBLERS
GOLDCREST - Up to 4 at South Milton Ley all month.
FIRECREST - Recorded from 5 sites, 1 in a Thurlestone Garden was unusual on 24th, max was 3 at Hope Wood on 27th.
CETTIS WARBLER - Heard singing at Thurlestone Marsh on 18th.
CHIFFCHAFF - Reported from at least 5 sites, as expected South Milton Ley with 30+ on 7th was the main site.
SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF - 1 photographed at South Milton Ley on23rd.
BLACKCAP - present in garden at Aveton Gifford, South Milton and Thurlestone usually singles.
BLACK REDSTART - present at 3 sites - 2 at Aveton Gifford, 2 at South Huish Marsh and 1in a Thurlestone Garden.
STONECHAT - present at 3 sites with up to 4 at South Huish Marsh.
THRUSHES, LARKS, PIPITS, FINCHES and BUNTINGS
BLACKBIRD - Noticeable increase in cold weather with up to 15 around various gardens.
SONG THRUSH - recorded at 5 sites with a max of 9 at Huxton Cross on 22nd.
FIELDFARE -Flocks of 30 at Huxton Cross area on 6th and 25th.
REDWING - A max of 40 at South Milton Ley on 15th.
MISTLE THRUSH - Reported from 3 sites.
ROCK PIPIT - Up to 25 on the beach at high tide.
WATER PIPIT - Singles at South Huish Marsh on 3rd, 6th and 7th.
CHAFFINCH - Largest flock was 30 at Huxton Cross on 6th.
BRAMBLING - A male on 22nd and a female on 23rd at Huxton Cross
GREENFINCH - More common this winter - with flocks of 16 on 7th and 10 on 30th at South Huish Marsh.
SISKIN - Just 1 record of a female in a Thurlestone Garden on 13th.
LINNET - Only winter flock around Huxton Cross with a max of 45 on 22nd.
YELLOWHAMMER -The max recorded at Huxton Cross area was 40 on 23rd.
REED BUNTING - Max was 50+ on 23rd at Huxton Cross.
CIRL BUNTING - A male regularly visiting a Thurlestone Garden, 2 amongst the flock of BUNTINGS at Huxton Cross on 23rd.
SKYLARK - In the fields around Huxton Cross a max of 200+ on 19th.
LITTLE BUNTING - the outstanding bird at Huxton Cross found by a local birder on 18th. First record since 2 were present at South Milton Ley in April 2012.
An interesting start to the year hopefully February will provide some interest particularly if we get a good cold spell.
One nice ringing control - A CHIFFCHAFF ringed at South Milton Ley. On 4th August 2020
Was controlled on 16th October 2020 at La Rochelle in France.