Thurlestone Bay is a bird rich area of the South Hams (part of devon). Although not having an estury the patch has several sites which produce a wide diversity of species.
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LA BRENNE visit June 2012
Have just posted a trip report of a recent visit to France. You will need to open up the page detailed on the header section above
Have posted the May archive today - slight problem with transferring data so it shows up to 13 June as well . Will try to solve this soon . Need to go on a computer course !
SUN 1 JULY 2012
A sp BLACK TAILED GODWIT arrived on Thurlestone Marsh overnight and spent the day feeding at the back pool.
A SANDWICH TERN was in the bay.
This afternoon a GREEN WOODPECKER flew over the garden ( has become scarce on the patch this year )
SAT 30 JUNE 2012
A sunny but quite breezy day, a visit to the bay this morning produced 2ad 1 1s
MED GULL and the BLACK NECKED GREBE. With a good strong breeze there were a number of wind/kite surfers in the bay which spooked the bird and could not be relocated when I left.
A flock of HERRING GULL came into Thurlestone Marsh at 15.00 and included 2 ad YELLOW LEG GULL. also at least 1 WATER RAIL calling - probably a returning bird as no proof of breeding
A WILLOW WARBLER in the garden this morning was proably a failed breeder from the moor.
At the half way point in the year the species list has reached 170 this is 10 ahead of last years total, having never reached the magical 200 in a year before will this be the one ?
FRI 29 JUNE 2012
Back on the patch this morning having arrived back from France late last night
(first time I have watched a major game on a ferry ) . Will be posting a trip report early next week -had a fabulous 5 days in La Brenne and then 2 days along the Loire Valley , managed to see 110 species inc Little Bittern, Purple Heron , Whiskered Tern, Short Toed Eagle, Black Kite Great Reed Wblr, Melodious and Bonnelli's Wblr,
4 species of Woodpecker, 3 sp of Harriers etc etc.
Very quiet morning until 11.35 when 2 ARCTIC SKUA flew east ( 1 lp, 1 dp ) the sp BLACK NECKED GREBE(170 ) still in the Bay off Bob's car park- I think this is the first summer record ( only my second in the last 8 years ).
At 13.45 5 Gulls flew down the valley over Thurlestone Marsh- 3 BLACK HEADED and 2 1s MED GULL .
News rec'd of a pair of SPOTTED FLYCATCHER with 3 young at nest in South Milton village.
Need to get some sunshine - Bob B has confirmed there are no young Reed /Sedge at South Milton Lay
TUES 19 JUNE 2012
Really started to feel like summer today. With little in the Bay deceided to do the West Buckland walk again, this was the first time in sunshine - and the birds did not let me down.
Having now done the walk 3 times i am starting to realise what i have been overlooking. The highlights were 4 species which are very difficult to pick up on the patch at this time of the year.
3 SPOTTED FLYCATCHER ( I could sit and watch them feeding for hours ) these were in different parts of the valley so hopefully they are all holding territory.
1 NUTHATCH, 1m BULLFINCH, 2 family of MISTLE THRUSH( 2ad + 4juv. )
In all 46 species recorded some of the others were - 5 SONG THRUSH,
12 BLACKCAP (4 juv ), 10 CHIFFCHAFF , 2 WHITETHROAT, 6 GOLDCREST (inc 4juv ) 3 GREAT SP WOODPECKER 1 COAL TIT .
The Goldcrest were a welcome surprise as they have become scarce on the patch this summer
This is the lst post for 10 days as I am taking ANNE for a birdwatching holiday
to La Brenne and the Loire valley . Might also manage some decent wine and food .
The patch watchers are on the lookout for any returning Waders and / Gulls
MON 18 JUNE 2012
Another very quiet day - on the rocks 2 TURNSTONE.
News from 2 local residents of sightings of adult and juv NUTHATCH on feeders , 1 in Thurlestone and the other in South Milton.
Have recently been given Bob B's original log of his records for the patch in 1970/71, interesting to see how species have changed - Partridge ( breeding ) Cuckoo all summer, Yellow Wagtail -breeding , Corn Bunting singing , Turtle Dove on a number of dates, 5 Roseate Tern in the bay , 1st summer Bluethroat ( caught and ringed) double figure counts of Tree Sparrow.
Of particular interest to me were the waders- a wintering flock of up to 22 Ruff, Kentish Plover and Spotted Redshank in the bay. Long tailed Duck over wintering also White Fronted Goose,
Marsh Warbler- summer visitor and Woodlark -winter visitor.
Spotted Crake, Temminck's Stint, Little Auk, , Hoopoe, Shorelark, Great Reed Warbler, Richard's Pipit , Serin , Snow Bunting all shown as Irregular / vagrant visitors
Will make some nice reading during those dark winter evenings
SUN 17 JUNE 2012
A relatively quiet weekend - offshore only GANNET and FULMAR . In the last week the proportion of sub - adults amongst the Gannets was around 60-70 %.
2 BLACK HEADED GULL were the first returning birds which quickly moved on.
A WATER RAIL heard on Thurlestone Marsh was probably a returning bird, .
The 3 SHELDUCK ducklings and 5 MUTE SWAN cygnets have managed to survive the poor weather, however we expect a disasterous breeding result for the Warblers
FRI 15 JUNE 2012
One of the best mornings sea watch this year - Wind F 7/8 SSW veering SW and 8 + after 10.30 and one of the first dry days it seems for a while.
Sat on the tip of Warren Pt from 07.30- 12.15- totals seen were
GANNET 295, FULMAR 22 , KITTIWAKE 11, COMMON TERN 12, SANDWICH TERN 1 , BONXIE 2, ARCTIC SKUA ( dp ) 3, POMARINE SKUA 1 , PUFFIN 1 , GUILLEMOT 6, BALEARIC SHEARWATER 2 , MANX SHEARWATER 2 . All birds flying east.
The Bonxie's went through first at 08.45, closely followed by the Puffin, Common Tern at 09.30, as well as the first Bal. S'water. 10.25 was a hive of activity with the second Bal S'water, 3 Arctic and the Pom Skuas .
Went back late pm but only a few Gannet in the glare .
THURS 14 JUNE 2012
In the Bay this morning another unusual record- A LITTLE GREBE on the sea never before in June. Also 3 SANDWICH TERN.
Wind increased late afternoon - could be worth a seawatch in the morning
WED 13 JUNE 2012
A nice fine sunny day with a mod S breeze, very good viz.
Day got off to a good start with a BLACK TAILED GODWIT on Thurlestone Marsh at 07.30 only stayed 30 mins. ( last year i had 2 on 15 June ), this was in first summer plumage . Also a female TEAL ( very early returning bird or more likely the one seen at the back end of May which has stayed over ). First SAND MARTIN for some weeks .
Bob B had the female MARSH HARRIER over South H Marsh - both agree this is not the Slapton bird
Seawatching from near Yarmer Beach from 09.30 proved very interesting- 270+ GANNET ( 2 big feeding flocks ), 27 MANX SHEARWATER, 6 FULMAR, 2 KITTIWAKE
3 SANDWICH TERN and at 11.25 a male NIGHTJAR ( 169 ) flew in off the sea at a height of 35 feet and passed only 20 yards to my right then flew east low over the Golf Course . I could not believe my eyes at first Last one on the patch was in Aug 2008 when one flew over my garden at 22.00.
TUES 12 JUNE 2012
A visit to the bay before the summer rain arrived resulted in 4 TURNSTONE on the rocks and a feeding party of GANNET which was in excess of 210.
This morning on Thurlestone Marsh first views of the MUTE SWAN with 4 cygnets , at 15.30 brief views of a female MARSH HARRIER .
MON 11 JUNE 2012
With calm winds and sunshine decided to have another visit to the West Buckland valley - yes got totally soaked again when is our usual June weather going to arrive ?
A total of 50 species recorded with the highlights being :-
2 GOLDCREST, 19 CHIFFCHAFF ( inc 4 young ), 10 BLACKCAP ( 2 juv ) 1 COAL TIT , 3 GREAT SPOTTED WOODY, 14 STOCK DOVE, 3 SONG THRUSH, 2juv MISTLE THRUSH ( a diificult bird to find on the patch )1m YELLOWHAMMER and a pair of SPOTTED FLYCATCHER by a nest ( the first breeding record I have had on the patch ).
Makes you realise there are birds worth the effort to go out and find
FRI 8 JUNE 2012
Ater 2 attempts to do some seawatching on Thursday- got very, very wet - there is no shelter on Warren Point, the scope was unusable.
totals were 200 GANNET, 2 MANX SHEARWATER, 3 FULMAR, 17 KITTIWAKE.
Main problem was the poor viz less than 250 yds in the afternoon.
Much better viz this morning - lack of birds- 10 GANNET, 2 FULMAR, 1 KITTIWAKE then at 09.10 a STORM PETREL (168 ) came into the Bay and fed only 50 yards off the car park. Nice addition to the year list as we missed out last year.
This morning there was more water on the Marsh than at any time over the winter, only new arrivals were a pair of GADWALL
TUES 5 JUNE 2012
Main reason for no postings over the weekend was a complete lack of birds .
On Sunday morning 40 GANNET, 1 FULMAR, 9 KITTIWAKE.
Monday morning took me some time to realise there was a passage of SWIFT ( even Portland couldn't work out if it was non - breeders or migrants ) By the time I realised the birds were moving through to the north I logged 115 over less than an hour - actual numbers moving through must have been much higher. This was the largest number recorded this spring.
Today the weather was abyismal- this morning a really wet WHIMBREL on South Huish Marsh was the only bird logged - tonight what a change , went down to the Bay at 16.30 just as the rain cleared - I spent the next 105 mins with one eye down the scope which produced:- 70 GANNET, 88 MANX SHEARWATER, 7 FULMAR, 12 KITTIWAKE 1 RAZORBILL + 7 AUKS , 6 SANDWICH TERN and a GREAT SKUA which flew east at 17.35
The winds are anticipated to increase by Thursday and still have an easterly direction, could be a good few days even if the temps suggest early March rather than June- how the fledglings will get on we will have to wait and see
Sat 2 JUNE 2012
After a fine morning the day got more overcast , however only a few showers by 17.00
Quite a surprise to find a GREYLAG GOOSE on the back marsh at 12.00, we had one spend some time on South Huish marsh in Jan/ Feb , whist there are 35 Canada Goose as well this is the first ' summer ' record for me.
In the bay were a KITTIWAKE a few GANNET and 6 WHIMBREL
FRI 1 JUNE 2012
June is traditionally the quietest bird month of the year- started out quite good on the patch today with 68 species recorded. Highlights were - Adult female MARSH HARRIER over the marsh from 06.30- 10.00( full tail ), 1 SANDERLING flew east, 7 WHIMBREL on the rocks along with 31 OYSTERCATCHER, 3 GUILLEMOT, 2 RAZORBILL, 23 GANNET, 1 YELLOWHAMMER, 2 GARDEN WARBLER, 1 GOLDCREST, 2 MANX SHEARWATER ( EAST ) 1 SPOTTED FLYCATCHER, 4 COMMON GULL
Photo of the GLOSSY IBIS which spent over 5 weeks on THurlestone Marsh -last seen at 17.15 0n 15 Feb