THURLESTONE BAY BIRDS
After the ferocious storms and rain of February a month which turned out relatively mild with only a slight frost on two mornings, no gale force winds, and rain on only a few days (more occurred overnight).
Sixteen new birds added for the year with the first spring migrants being SAND MARTIN on 8th. WHITE WINGED GULLS continued to be seen particularly towards the end of the month. Noticeable reduction in species of DUCK and WADERS compared with previous year also very few winter thrushes – first year I can remember not having recorded a FIELDFARE.
Total species recorded was 105 (c/f 121 in 2013) whilst the years total has reached 120 (well down on 132 for March 2013)
Significant sightings for the month –
MUTE SWAN – pairs on territory on both marshes, some passage movement with totals of 15 on 9th and 16 on 13th.
GEESE – A single record of a DB BRENT GOOSE flying east on 30th and a surprise on 27th when 4 EGYPTIAN GOOSE arrived on South Huish Marsh (first record for 4 years) staying until the month end.
MALLARD – first brood of duckling were 9 on 29th, all predated by 31st
SHELDUCK – 8 regularly on South Huish Marsh, maxima were 16 on 17th and 15 on 27th.
WIGEON - Many birds departed early with a max of 16 on 6th and the last a pair on 14th.
TEAL – Numbers on the marshes fairly constant throughout with a max of 45 on 17th. Some evidence of passage with 33 moving east on two dates.
PINTAIL – Only a single record of a pair on the sea with TEALon 9th.
SHOVELER – 10 on the sea on 9th with only 3 other records of up to 6 on the marshes.
GADWALL – Not been recorded since January – have they all gone to Slapton.
TUFTED DUCK – Normally up to 3 records a year, recorded in each month so far with a male on the marsh on 8th and 3 male and 1 female on the sea on 29th.
COMMON SCOTER – recorded on 10 days, 36 on 11th was the highest until 31st when 271 logged flying east – a site day record for March.
GOOSANDER – Doug Stannard was the observer who watched 3 male and 5 female fly over the Bay on 8th.
All 3 common species recorded –
RED-THROATED singles on 3 dates and 4 on 20th,
BLACK THROATED singles on 13th, 20th and 31st.
GREAT NORTHERN – singles on 5 dates with 2 on 20th.
GREBES and MISC
A single record of GREAT CRESTED on the sea on 9th.
FULMAR passage max of 15 on 24th, and 8 on 31st.
First MANX SHEARWATER watched flying east on 31st (G and M Daw, Bob B)
Max GANNET were 42 on 24th.
A 1st summer MARSH HARRIER on Thurlestone Marsh early evening of 12th.
A male MERLIN over the same marsh on 17th.
SPARROWHAWK, KESTREL, BUZZARD and PEREGRINE all recorded.
RAILS AND COOT
WATER RAIL on both marshes probably no more than 4.
COOT returned to South Huish Marsh on 17th with 3 noted on 28th.
MOORHEN – big increase with both marshes holding up to 20 in total.
OYSTERCATCHER – max were 21 on 8th.
AVOCET – 5 flew round the Bay before departing up the valley on 30th. This is the second Spring recording the last 10 years.
RINGED PLOVER – Max 6 on 9th.
SANDERLING – a single record on 9th.
SNIPE – max 10 on 13th (very low counts)
BLACK TAILED GODWIT – first of the year were 3 on South Huish Marsh on 13th.
CURLEW – another species with only a few records a year. Evidence of passage with 10 flying through on 8th, followed by 9 on 9th and 2 on 14th.
TURNSTONE – max were 9 on 8th.
GULLS and TERNS – 10 species recorded during the month.
KITTIWAKE – 17 on 31st max.
MEDITERRANEAN GULL – single on 6th, 2 on 8th and 2 on 31st.
LESSER BLACK BACKED – 45 on 21st max.
YELLOW LEGGED GULL – A single 2 cy recorded on 29th (VRT and EW) .
ICELAND GULL – a 2w in fields near South Huish Marsh on 29th.
GLAUCOUS GULL – A 2w on 18th, adult on 23rd and 24th and a 1w on 31st.
SANDWICH TERN – first were 3 flying east on 24th and then a max of 74 in 7 hours on 31st – a March day record.
A WOODLARK in the field behind the Café on 25th.
SANDMARTIN – Doug Stannard recorded the first on 8th followed by singles on 13th and 17th. Months max was 100 on 29th.
SWALLOW – late this year – visitors recorded 2 on 29th.
HOUSE MARTIN – 2 watched by G and M Daw on 17th (possibly the earliest ever site record)
CHIFFCHAFF numbers built up from 6 on 12th to 19 on 26th and a max of 20 on 30th.
SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF – A very grey bird well watched at the sewage works on 30th.
WILLOW WARBLER – first were 2 on 29th with 4 on 30th.
BLACKCAP – first of the year a male singing in a local garden on 19th (June Huggins)
First WHEATEAR were 5 males on 13th, first female on 26th and a max of 12 on 27th.
Passage of ALBA WAGTAILS noticeable from 9th when 40 on site included 2 WHITE. A max of 7 WHITE on 25th.
WATER PIPIT – Only record were 4 on South Huish Marsh on 8th (VRT)
Largest MIPIT passage 30 on 14th, otherwise no more than usual for ROCK PIPIT,
FINCHES and REED BUNTING.