THURLESTONE BAY BIRDS
A month of very little rain (heavy showers 26th-29th) very warm spell from mid-month and only significant winds were SE on 6th and 9th and SSW on 10th barely reaching Force 6.
Monthly total of species recorded was 93 c/f 98 – 2013 (joint lowest with Feb 2014 over the last 4 years) . Three main reasons for this, I was away from the patch for a total of 15 days. Nick was in Thailand until 20th and there was no ringing undertaken at all.
Only two new species for the year – STORM PETREL and HOBBY brings the 2014 total to 160 (c/f 164 – 2013)
Mention must be made of the changes taking place at Thurlestone Marsh – as the work carried out by the Golf Club in clearing the culvert and drainage work by the Farmer the water levels have dropped considerably. The back marsh is no more and from my balcony I cannot see any of the 3 remaining pools. Will certainly have an impact on my migrating wader and autumnal duck records. Whether the status quo will return in winter remains to be seen.
Significant sightings for the month.:
MUTE SWAN – Still 3 cygnets on Thurlestone Marsh – hopefully the low water levels won’t impact on their development.
CANADA GOOSE – Last of the local birds left for their moulting site were 6 on 1st. None of the goslings reached fledging status.
TEAL – for the first time in many years a male summered on South Huish Marsh
AJL recorded 3 M 1 F on 16th, 2 M from 18th. Female flew into Thurlestone Marsh on 28th.
MALLARD – A number of the ducklings have reached fully fledged status, although estimated at less than 5% of eggs hatched. Still day old ducklings on 29th. Max on Thurlestone marsh 60 on 22nd (compares with up to 200+ last year) GREAT BLACK BACKED
COMMON SCOTER – recorded on 8 days with high numbers of 25 on 1st, 24 on 6th, 28 on 23rd and a max of 60 on 25th.
DIVERS – A GREAT NORTHERN DIVER in full breeding plumage very close inshore in Leasfoot Bay on 6th and unusually 2 RED THROATED DIVERS in summer plumage on 10th.
SEA BIRDS AND GULLS
FULMAR – Max 10 on 6th, MANX SHEARWATER – Only recorded on 5 days with a maxima of 55 on 25th and 72 on 30th. BALEARIC SHEARWATER – A single record of 1 flying east on 27th. STORM PETREL – Only record of 1 flying east on the day of strongest winds – 10th. GANNET – Days with strongest winds produced 220 on 6th and 300 on 10th.
KITTIWAKE – 90 on 10th and 55 on 23rd were notable totals.
BLACK HEADED GULL – first returning bird on 18th and only a max of 5 on 30th.
GREAT BLACK BACKED GULL – 38 moving east on 6th.
MISC: Single record of COOT on 15th and SPOONBILL – 1 flew into Thurlestone Marsh around 08.30 on 16th (Both AJL)
LITTLE EGRET – Max 4 on both marshes. MOORHEN – 2 pairs bred on South Huish Marsh, one juv predated..
TERNS AND SKUAS
SANDWICH TERN – recorded on 3 days max 5 on 2nd, 2 on 27th first returning birds.
COMMON TERN - a single flock of 8th flew east on 9th.
ARCTIC SKUA – recorded on 3 days – 2 on 2nd and singles on 6th and 10th.
GREAT SKUA – One flew east on 2nd.
RAPTORS – Highlight was the 2nd record of RED KITE which AFD saw over South Milton village on 14th. SPARROWHAWK only recorded on 24th, 29th and 30th.
First HOBBY of the year over South Huish marsh on 30th.
WADERS – Sparse fare this month. OYSTERCATCHER – max 15 on 25th.
DUNLIN – only 2 records, single on 1st and 3 on 3rd. WHIMBREL – 3 on the beach on 3rd were the last recorded. CURLEW – 1 on rocks on 25th. REDSHANK – 1 on the rocks on 25th.
HIRUNDINES – SAND MARTIN – 10 on 18th and 22nd max 50 on 23rd.
SWALLOW – First large roost at Thurlestone Marsh was 50 on 19th with 500+ on 30th the max. HOUSE MARTIN – Breeding birds around Thurlestone and South Huish marsh.
SWIFT – max 6 on 5th. Recorded entering possible nesting sites in Thurlestone and South Huish marsh (flats).
WARBLERS – With no ringing returns the recorded numbers much lower.
Good breeding returns for, CHIFFCHAFF, BLACKCAP, WHITETHROAT, SEDGE and REED WARBLERS.
TITS – Lots of young birds through the gardens and copse areas of BLUE, GREAT and LONG TAILED. At least 3 pairs of COAL TIT have bred.
BLACKBIRDS have had a good breeding year with lots of young noticed. More records of SONG THRUSH than usual and MISTLE THRUSH in West Buckland.
CHAT, FLYCATCHERS and FINCHES – 2 sites where SPOTTED FLYCATCHER recorded.
STONECHAT – At least 5 pairs have bred with good success.
BULLFINCH – recorded at South Milton Ley and Village, YELLOWHAMMER recorded in the hedgerows, REED BUNTING – bred on both marshes. CIRL BUNTING – recorded on the patch.
PIED WAGTAIL – Good breeding success – max roost at Thurlestone Marsh 20+ on 19TH.
STARLING – Another good breeding year –roost of 200+ on 3rd and 350 on 22nd.
No ringing report, controls or recoveries this month.