THURLESTONE BAY BIRDS
Despite lockdown regulations being in force for the whole month local patch birding with 8 regular contributors produced some impressive records.
During the month there were only 2 days of gales, 1 day with a frost and a predominately dry month.
A record total of 129 species for the month was recorded beating the previous highest total of 128 in 2017 (c/f 2020 - 125, 2019 - 114). The years total was increased by 19 species to 139 which is the same as in the previous 2 years.
Outstanding new species were GARGANEY, LONG TAILED DUCK, GREAT SKUA, AVOCET, YELLOW LEGGED GULL, LITTLE GULL, ICELAND GULL, GLAUCOUS GULL and WRYNECK.
A first ever March record for SEDGE WARBLER with 2 birds being found on 31st.
SWANS, GOOSE, DUCK and GREBE
BLACK SWAN - One returned to join up with the MUTE SWANS on the Avon Estuary from 17th.
BRENT GOOSE DB - Single on 1st and 25th.
SHELDUCK - Spring build up noticeable from 17th when 5 on South Huish Marsh and 21st with 15 on South Efford Marsh.
WIGEON - 25 on South Huish Marsh on 1st reduced to 2 by 31st. On South Efford Marsh 70 on 6th with still 50 on 21st.
TEAL - Max on South Huish Marsh 65 on 9th with 30 on South Efford Marsh on 21st.
PINTAIL - 2 on the sea on 3rd, 1 male on 18th and 1 female flew SE on 24th.
GARGANEY - A memorable start to the month with 4 male on South Huish Marsh on 1st - earliest spring record.
MANDARIN - The male still on the Avon Estuary up to 17th.
SHOVELER - On South Huish Marsh a max on 3 on 3rd, offshore records of 2 male on 19th and a pair on 30th.
LONG TAILED DUCK -A female flew SE with 6 COMMON SCOTER and a female PINTAIL on 24th, first record since Jan 2019.
COMMON SCOTER - Only recorded on 8 days with a max of 49 on 23rd.
GREAT CRESTED GREBE - Singles in the Bay on 3rd, 17th and 31st.
DIVERS - An outstanding month with record daily totals.
RED THROATED - Recorded on 22 days with a total of 145 logged. New daily record with 18 on 8th, also double figure counts of 17 on25th, 16 on 28th, 15 on 7th and 12 on 24th.
BLACK THROATED - A total of 10 logged on 6 days with a max of 3 on 28th.
GREAT NORTHERN - A total of 14 logged on 6 days with 5 on 26th, 4 on 28th and 2 on 29th.
A total of 169 birds logged is by far a record monthly total.
GANNET, SHEARWATERS and SPOONBILL
GANNET - Highest daily totals were 274 on 28th and 354 on 30th.
FULMAR - A max of 5 on 28th.
MAX SHEARWATER - First of the year on 23rd with 16 on 24th and 24 on 28th.
SPOONBILL - 1 on South Huish Marsh afternoon of 2nd and 1 flew over Aveton Gifford on 16th.
WATERS - A total of 16 species recorded.
OYSTERCATCHER - A max 15 on 16th.
AVOCET - 1 on South Efford Marsh on 6th.
RINGED PLOVER - 2 on the rocks at the beginning of the month.
GREY PLOVER - 1 on the rocks on 28th.
LAPWING - 30 at South Efford Marsh on 4th.
DUNLIN - Max of 3 on the beach/rocks on 3rd.
SNIPE - Max of 35 on South Huish Marsh on 7th.
WOODCOCK - 1 flushed at South Milton Ley on 2nd.
BLACK TAILED GODWIT - A max of 7 on South Huish Marsh on 19th.
CURLEW - Max of 8 on South Efford Marsh on 7th, passage birds on South Huish Marsh with a max of 4 on 25th.
COMMON SANDPIPER - 1 along the tidal road throughout the month.
GREEN SANDPIPER - 1 on North Marsh on 17th and 1 flew over Tidal Road on 24th.
GREENSHANK - Up to 2 reported along the tidal road all month.
REDSHANK - A max of 8 along the tidal road on 1st.
LESSER YELLOWLEGS - Present for another month along the tidal road.
TURNSTONE - 21 on the rocks on 28th is the highest count this year.
SKUA, GULLS and TERNS
GREAT SKUA- Early spring records with singles on 13th and 28th. A total of 11 species of GULL were recorded, highlights were -
KITTIWAKE - 18 in the Bay on 28th.
LITTLE GULL - Up to 8 in the Bay on 23rd with 1 on 24th.
MEDITERRANEAN GULL - Passage birds up to the 11th with 8 on 2nd, 7 on 3rd and 6 on 7th.
COMMON GULL - A total of 6 offshore on 25th is the highest count for some years.
YELLOW-LEGGED GULL - An adult on South Huish Marsh on 18th.
ICELAND GULL - One flew SE on 25th.
GLAUCOUS GULL - A 2W passed Hope on 19th.
SANDWICH TERN - First spring record were 2 on 23rd with a max of 26 on 30th.
HIRUNDINES, CREST, WARBLERS and WRYNECK
SAND MARTIN - Late arriving this year with 3 over North Marsh on 22nd and a max of 10on 29th.
SWALLOW - 2 over South Huish Marsh on 29th were the first.
CETTIS WARBLER - 1 on South Huish Marsh on 3rd and up to 3 males on South Miltyon Ley all month.
CHIFFCHAFF - 10+ at South Milton Ley all month,regularly reported from 4 other sites as well.
WILLOW WARBLER - First of the year at South Milton Ley on 29th.
BLACKCAP - Mostly single males singing at 5 sites.
SEDGE WARBLER - First record for March with singles on 31st at South Huish Marsh and North Marsh.
FIRECREST. -Singles at Aveton Gifford on 4th and 12th.
BLACK REDSTART - A female on the rocks on3rd and a pair in a local garden on 25th.
WRYNECK - A superb find on 31st on the Coast path adjacent to the Golf Club - A first spring record for the patch.
THRUSHES,BUNTINGS, PIPITS and MISC
FIELDFARE - Last were 2 at south Milton Ley on 8th.
REDWING - Last were 5 at South Milton Ley on 8th.
WHEATEAR - Only 2 spring records - both singles on the beach on 28th and 30th.
WATER PIPIT - Several birds at South Huish Marsh starting to show signs of summer plumage, max were 6 on 23rd.
CIRL BUNTING - reported from 3 sites.
April is one of those months when spring migration gets into full swing, expectation is high hopefully it will be achieved.