THURLESTONE BAY BIRDS
Another month of superb weather with only one day of heavy rain which comprised thunderstorms on the morning of 24th.
Sunshine hours must have been well in excess of the July average and providing some hot days for at least a week towards the end of the month. No significant winds recorded, mainly from the West or North West and hardly exceeding Force 3-4.
Without any strong winds and inclement weather the monthly total of species recorded was only 101 (c/f 111 in 2013)
Only two new species for the year GREEN SANDPIPER and WOOD SANDPIPER taking the years total to 162 (c/f 166 in 2013 and 171 in 2012)
Significant sightings for the month:-
SWANS and GEESE
MUTE SWAN – the pair on Thurlestone Marsh left towards the end of the month taking their 2 surviving cygnets with them. Left early this year probably due to the low water level.
First returning birds were 11 on 20th which also departed on 24th.
TEAL – 2 on South Huish Marsh on 1st and singles on 24th and 31st.
MALLARD – Still several broads of ducklings – these later birds seen to be having a greater success reaching fully fledge status. Post breeding moult numbers increasing to 50 on 31st.
COMMON SCOTER - Surprising total of 115 flying east on 1st thereafter only a single male on 21st.
SHEARWATERS, GANNET, GULLS, SKUAS and TERNS
FULMAR – 3 on 4th was the months max.
MANX SHEARWATER – Very light passage with 2 figures counts of 15 on 1st, 21 on 22nd and 10 on 22nd.
BALEARIC SHEARWATER – Scarce this year,2 on 4th only record.
GANNET – Small numbers recorded regularly, max were 65 on 1st and 60 on 28th (local fishermen reporting very few Mackerel this year)
ARCTIC SKUA – only 1 recorded a DP on 20th.
KITTIWAKE – only record 3 on 2nd.
MEDITERRANEAN GULL – slow to arrive this year – singles on 3 days with the first Juv on 22nd.
BLACK HEADED GULL – Again slow build up of birds returning from their breeding grounds – max only 42 on 30th.
COMMON GULL – 3 Juv on 26th were noteworthy.
YELLOW LEGGED GULL – first Juv recorded on 10th with an adult on 30th.
SANDWICH TERN – only recorded on 3 days – singles on 4th and 26th with 3 (inc first Juv) on 23rd.
EGRETS, HERONS, RAILS and GREBES
LITTLE EGRET – With breeding nearby on the River Avon numbers increased to a max of 5 on Thurlestone Marsh on 20th with up to 3 on South Huish Marsh.
HERON – Up to 4 on both marshes.
LITTLE GREBE – After being absent since February a single bird arrived on Thurlestone Marsh on 27th, still present on 31st.
WATER RAIL – first returning bird heard on Thurlestone marsh on 23rd.
HOBBY – singles over Thurlestone Marsh on 20th and 29th.
BUZZARD – Some very pale young birds around.
SPARROWHAWK, KESTREL regularly record.
PEREGRINE – flying through occasionally.
A total of 13 species recorded with first returning birds towards the end of the month.
OYSTERCATCHER – Max 23 on 28th.
RINGED PLOVER – singles on 24th and 28th.
SANDERLING – 2 on 24th, 5 on 25th and 11 on 29th.
DUNLIN – although recorded on 11 days max were only 6 on 1st and 10th.
SNIPE – South Huish Marsh bird all month with 2 on 28th.
BLACK-TAILED GODWIT – single on 26th with 2 on 27th.
WHIMBREL – returning birds from 20th max 7 on 21st.
CURLEW – 4 over Thurlestone Marsh late evening of 1st.
COMMON SANDPIPER – singles on the rocks on 10th and 21st.
GREEN SANDPIPER – first record a single on 16th with 2 on 23rd and 25th and singles on 2 other days.
WOOD SANDPIPER – a single bird on South Huish Marsh from 25th to 27th gave very good close views.
GREENSHANK – single flew over Thurlestone Marsh calling early morning of 24th.
TURNSTONE – Only record a single on 22nd.
WOODPECKERS – GREEN WOODY – scarce this year a juv on 1st and an adult on 3rd at West Buckland.
GREAT SPOTTED WOODY – only two records on 3rd and a Juv on the copse on11th.
HIRUNDINES AND SWIFT
SWIFT – Some good passage numbers recorded with 68 on 1st and a large flock over South Huish Marsh of 210 on 3rd . Single flock of 22 fleweast on 30th.
SAND MARTIN – small numbers throughout the month, however 170 on 3rd and 60 on 9th were significant.
SWALLOW – Max passage birds were 400 on 20th. Breeding success must be very high this year as the numbers coming in to roost at Thurlestone Marsh were impressive – started with 1500 on 1st, 2200 on 8th, 5000 on 20th, 8000 on 22nd and a max of 10000 on 24th and finally 2500 on 30th.
HOUSE MARTIN – No outstanding numbers – max of 30 on South Huish Marsh.
Several visits by the Ringing Team of Helen, Roger and Pete to South Milton Ley just confirms what we had been missing.
CETTIS WARBLER – 4 ringed, CHIFFCHAFF 30+ on 2nd and 10 on 27th a total of 99 ringed.
WILLOW WARBLER – first Juv on 20+, 10 through my garden on 30th – a total of 68 ringed.
BLACKCAP – 3 on 27th and 5 on 30th total ringed 17.
GARDEN WARBLER – 1 ringed on 27th.
WHITETHROAT – 5 on 28 max, 18 ringed,
GROPPA – 1 on 27th,
SEDGE WARBLER – 3 on 29th – 47 ringed. REEDWARBLER – max 8 on 29th – total of 64 ringed.
STARLING – Numbers coming in to roost at Thurlestone Marsh max 100 on 1st and 75 on 21st.
MISTLE THRUSH – bred at West Buckland.
SPOTTED FLYCATCHER – 1 pair breeding on the patch, an adult and 3 Juv in a South Milton garden on21st.
STONECHAT – Several pairs now fledging 2nd /3rd broods.
GREY WAGTAIL – first was 1 on 6th towards the end of the month by the footbridge 4 on 29th and 6 on 31st , 2 were ringed.
PIED WAGTAIL – good breeding success with up to 20 on South Huish marsh.
BULL FINCH – family party at South Huish Ley.
YELLOWHAMMER – several pairs in the lanes.
REED BUNTING – few recorded but 7 ringed.
CIRL BUNTING – only 1 bird coming to feedings.
With early August weather continuing the warm and settled spell we need some good F 6/7 winds and overnight rain to bring the birds onto the marshes and improve the sea watching.