Thurlestone Bay Birds

October 2021


An interesting start to Autumn, although total number of species were down this was primarily due to me being away on holiday for 2 weeks.   Thankfully the Marsh water levels were back to normal towards the end of the month.


A total of 112 species recorded (c/f 2020 - 121,  2019 - 131).

5 new species for the year were recorded - RUFF, GREAT WHITE EGRET, HONEY BUZZARD and QUAIL taking the total to 192 (c/f 2020 - 190, 2019 - 196).




BARNACLE GOOSE - 1 with the CANADA flock at South Efford Marsh in the last week of the month.

WIGEON - Still small numbers max 10 at South Huish Marsh on 27th.

TEAL - Over 100 at South Efford Marsh on 7th max at South Huish Marsh 80 on 29th.

COMMON SCOTER - Max of 10 on 1st.

MANX SHEARWATER - 2 flew through the Bay on 4th.

BALEARIC SHEARWATER - 19 on 4th with final sighting of 6 on 27th.

GANNET -Some good totals - mostly feeding flocks - 700 on 9th (80% were sub adult) 750+ on 6th on 6th, 850 on 29th.



LITTLE EGRET -A total of 3 at South Huish Marsh most of the month.

CATTLE EGRET - 1 on South Efford Marsh on 21st.

GREAT WHITE EGRET - 1 watched by the pool at South Milton Ley on 11th was also seen later that morning at South Efford Marsh.

WATER RAIL - At least 2 birds calling at Thurlestone Marsh and South Milton Ley.

QUAIL - 1 watched moving in and out of scrub land at the back of the Golf Course on 6th.


WADERS - 14 species recorded - still low totals.

OYSTERCATCHER - Max of 31 on the rocks/beaches on 28th.

RINGED PLOVER - Max of 18 on Yarmer Beach on 11th.

LAPWING - Recorded on 3 days with a flock of 35/40 in fields by Churchstow roundabout on 29th.

SANDERLING - 2 on Yarmer Beach from 22nd.

DUNLIN - Surprisingly only 2 records 5 on Yarmer Beach on 11th and 5 in off the sea and up the Valley on 24th.

RUFF - 1 on South Huish Marsh on 1st.

SNIPE - Max of 15 on South Huish Marsh on 24th.

BLACK TAILED GODWIT - 3 on South Efford Marsh on 7th.

CURLEW - Flock up to 30 on South Efford Marsh all month.

COMMON SANDPIPER - 1 along the tidal road on 5th.

GREEN SANDPIPER -  3 on 5th in one of the creeks by tidal road.

GREENSHANK - Max along the tidal road 6 on 7th.

REDSHANK -  Max of 3 along the tidal road on 7th.

TURNSTONE - Numbers built up to12 on the rocks on 22nd and 29th.



ARCTIC SKUA - 2 on 4th and singles on 28th and 29th.

GREAT SKUA - Singles on 1st and 28th.

BLACK HEADED GULL - Some large numbers this month with 350 on 6th and 265 on 28th.

MEDITERRANEAN GULL - A max of only 3 on 14th.

KITTIWAKE - Strong winds from 27th produced some impressive numbers from 90 (18 1w) on 27th, 390 (56 1w) on 28th to 1150 (only 1 1w) on 31st.

LITTLE GULL - The 2w bird from last month last recorded on 4th.

YELLOW LEGGED GULL - A 1w on the Marsh on 24th.

HERRING GULL - An impressive 4000+ feeding in the Bay on 5th and 6th.



GOLDCREST-  Very few recorded - 6 at Aveton Gifford on 4th, 2 ringed at South Milton Ley on 22nd.

FIRECREST - Singles at Aveton Gifford on 6th, 1 ringed at South Milton Ley on 22nd.

SKYLARK -  Visible Migration totals of 56 on 6th, 54 on 13th, 230 on 14th and 111 on 25th.

SWALLOW - Max of 50 over Thurlestone Marsh evening of 5th, last a single over Thurlestone on 29th.



CETTIS WARBLER - 1 at South Huish Marsh on 12th, 2 ringed at South Milton Ley on 22nd.

CHIFFCHAFF -A max of 6 ringed at South Milton Ley on 22nd.   Regularly recorded from 4 other sites.

WILLOW WARBLER - Last was 1 at Aveton Gifford on 1st.

BLACKCAP - Very few records this month.

SONG THRUSH -  Large influx from 26th when 5 at Aveton Gifford with 15/20 there on 30th - 

REDWING - At Aveton Gifford 40+ on 26th and 20 on 30th.

FIELDFARE - 5 at Aveton Gifford on 30th.

MISTLE THRUSH - At Aveton Gifford 10 on 26th and 2 on 30th, also singles at 3 other sites.

BLACK REDSTART - A male at Aveton Gifford on 19th and 25th/26th, a Female in a Thurlestone Garden on 29th.

WHINCHAT- 1 on the Golf Course on 6th.

STONECHAT - 9 around the Golf Course on 6th.

WHEATEAR - Singles on 1st and 11th with at least 5 on Warren Point on 22nd.

TREE PIPIT - 1 over the Golf Course on 6th.

MEADOW PIPIT - Visible Migration totals - 258 on 6th, 205 on 11th and 65 on 14th.

WATER PIPIT - 1 returned to South Huish Marsh from 26th.



CHAFFINCH - Max of 38 on 25th.

GREENFINCH - flock of 15 at South Huish Marsh on 24th.

GOLDFINCH - 127 recorded on 6th, 60+ at Aveton Gifford on 26th.

SISKIN - 6 recorded over Golf Course on 6th.

PIED WAGTAIL - Over the Golf Course 93 on 6th and 152 on 11th.


With 2 months of the year left going to be difficult to reach our target of 200 species unless a cold snap occurs in December.  Need an influx of winter Ducks.