THURLESTONE BAY BIRDS
Only one cool morning with some of the sunny days more representative of April.
One very stormy day on 13th with gusts up F11 accompanied by a period of heavy rain.
Mostly winds from the West, a couple of days were Southerly and 4 days Easterly
9 new species for the year increased the total to 188 (c/f 2013 – 194, 2012 – 197) two of which were patch ticks:-
RUDDY SHELDUCK, LONG TAILED DUCK, LITTLE AUK, PURPLE SANDPIPER, LITTLE OWL OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT, FIELDFARE, FIRECREST and YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER.
Total species recorded this month was 113 (c/f 2013 – 114, 2012 – 108)
Some good mornings of visible migration with high counts on 5th and 9th.
Significant sightings for the month:-
SWANS and GEESE
MUTE SWAN – First returning bird to Thurlestone Marsh on 16th. 2 others tried to take the territory on the 22nd, which resulted in the cobs having a real fight.
CANADA GOOSE – Max count 300+ on 19th.
BRENT GOOSE – DB – 6 flew east on 1st, 4 on 11th, 2 on 12th, 9 on 18th, 5 on 22nd and a max of 14 east on 28th. Amongst the 9 on 18th were 2 PALE-BELLIED birds.
WIGEON – Much lower numbers this year – very little passage, max 15 on 18th, 14 on 28th.
SHELDUCK – Only record 5 on South Huish Marsh on 16th.
GADWALL – A female on 20th was the first returning bird, a pair on South Huish Marsh from 27th to 31st.
TEAL – Numbers built up during the month to 65 on11th, 70 on 19th and a max of 80 on 27th.
MALLARD – Max 55 on 21st.
RUDDY SHELDUCK – A first for the patch arrived on Thurlestone Marsh on 17th, appears attached to a small group of CANADA GOOSE, still on South Huish Marsh on 31st. Almost certainly this is the same bird that spent some time on the Plym Estuary earlier in the Autumn.
PINTAIL – 2 records both males – One flew up the valley early on 5th and the other on the sea on 26th.
SHOVELER – Present throughout the month on both marshes max 6 on 25th.
LONG- TAILED DUCK – first for a couple of years – a female/imm spent most of 26th in the Bay, at times very close inshore.
COMMON SCOTER – Recorded on 6 days, numbers low with a max of 15 on 8th.
DIVERS AND GREBES
RED-THROATED DIVER – 2 flew east on 12th, 1 on 25th and 1 on 28th.
BLACK- THROATED DIVER – Single on 19th, 2 together on 28th flew high round the Bay before going inland up the valley.
GREAT NORTHERN DIVER – Singles on the sea on 4th, 12th and 26th/27th.
LITTLE GREBE – Single on Thurlestone Marsh all month, with 2 on 10th and 3 on 17th.
GANNET AND EGRETS
GANNET – Days with passage totalling over 100 were – 205 on 8th, 130 on 21st, and 380 on 25th.
LITTLE EGRET – Present throughout the month, max of 7 on 19th.
GREAT WHITE EGRET – One flew north over Thurlestone Marsh at dusk on 31st. Third record this year and only 5th for the patch.
MERLIN – 1 over South Huish Marsh on 10th. Usual resident numbers of BUZZARD, SPARROWHAWK, KESTREL AND PEREGRINE.
WATER RAIL – Several calling regularly on the Ley and Marshes total estimated at least 10 birds.
COOT – 1 on Thurlestone Marsh on 20th.
WADERS – 14 species recorded.
OYSTERCATCHER- Max 25 on 28th.
RINGED PLOVER – Max 8 on 6th and 27th.
GOLDEN PLOVER – A flock of 120 in the fields on 1st.
GREY PLOVER – 1 attempted to find land during the stormy morning of 13th.
LAPWING – Max 40 on 18th.
SANDERLING – A lone bird on the rocks on 2nd.
PURPLE SANDPIPER – Early returning birds were 2 on 12th, also seen again on 18th.
DUNLIN – Recorded on 3 days max 5 on 11th.
JACK SNIPE – singles on 11th and 22nd.
SNIPE – Present all month, actual numbers only known when a RAPTOR causes mayhem – max 50 on South Huish marsh on 9th and 21st with 60 on Thurlestone Marsh on 27th.
WOODCOCK – Farmer reported 4 at the back of South Huish marsh on 30th.
BLACK-TAILED GODWIT – Record on 3 days with a max of 3 on 6th.
CURLEW – Two records – 3 on 18th and 1 on 19th flew up the valley.
TURNSTONE – Regular on the rocks on rising tides – max 12 on12th.
SKUA, GULLS AND KINGFISHER
POMARINE SKUA – Good passage at most Devon headlands did not materialise here – only record was a single.
KITTIWAKE – Significant passage records of 65 on 7th and 50 on 19th.
BLACKHEADED GULL – Max was 200+ on 8th.
LITTLE GULL – A first winter at the back of Thurlestone Marsh early morning of 18th.
MEDITERRANEAN GULL – Record on 7 days with a max of 3 on 16th.
GREAT BLACK-BACKED GULL – Significant passage of 42 on 13th and 83 on 19th.
LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL – A count of 16 on 19th was the max.
KINGFISHER – One on the patch all month – interesting to watch it fishing in the rock pools at low tide.
AUKS- small numbers passing max 21 east on 12th.
LITTLE AUK – Whilst large numbers recorded on the East Coast only a few made it down to the West Country – on 12th 1 flew east at 11.45 quite close in.
PIGEONS AND OWLS
WOOD PIGEON – Highest numbers on the 5th when 17650 flew SE and 2170 NW. Next highest count was 1800 on 18th.
STOCK DOVE – Small numbers on several days with a max of 24 on 24th.
TAWNY OWL – On 23rd at least 7 heard calling at South Milton and Thurlestone Marsh.
LITTLE OWL – Roger Short reported 1 by the old ruined cottage at South Milton Ley on 9th.
CORVIDS AND JAY
CORVID – Big movement of ROOK on 5th when 550 flew west in 1 hour. There is still a large roost in trees near Thurlestone Church.
RAVEN – Again on the 5th – 8 birds, flew west.
JAY – 3 recorded flying over Thurlestone Marsh on both 1st and 5th.
CRESTS AND LARKS
GOLDCREST – Small numbers at least 3 sites on the patch, A total of 12 caught and ringed.
FIRECREST – Bob managed to find one at South Milton Ley on 9th.
SKYLARK – Some viz mig on several days with a max of 34 on 5th.
SWALLOW – Recorded on 4 days with a notable 3 on 29th and 1 on 30th over Thurlestone Marsh.
CETTIS WARBLER – Males recorded on Thurlestone Marsh during the month.
YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER – Bob picked one up near Piers Cottage on 1st.
BLACKCAP – Singles recorded on 4 days moving through my garden.
SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF – One in my garden on 14th.
CHIFFCHAFF – Numbers built up particularly from 23rd with a max of 15 on 24th at South Milton Ley, no more than 2 or 3 on single days through my garden and up to 2 in the copse at South Huish Marsh.
Only when I receive the returns from the Ringing Team do you start to realise just how many birds are moving through. A record for November of 60 were ringed.
BLACKBIRD – On 5th – 19 moved north in just over an hour. Noticeable increase throughout the patch.
SONG THRUSH – Whilst only 1 on 5th a total of 6 on 18th.
MISTLE THRUSH – A max of 3 on both 10th and 14th.
FIELDFARE – First for the year were 17 on 10th with a max of 67 on15th.
REDWING – Started with 29 on 1st, with large totals of 150 on 9th and 160 on 15th. A total of 19 were caught and ringed at South Milton Ley.
ROBIN – REDSTART, CHATS AND WAGTAILS
ROBIN – Noticeable increase around the patch from 9th when at least 15 recorded.
BLACK REDSTART – Recorded on 5 days, singles on 4 with 2 on 19th.
STONECHAT – Again the 9th was the day when a max of 7 recorded.
PIED WAGTAIL – Plenty of birds around all month. The largest roost count was on 28th when 150 logged.
GREY WAGTAIL – Mostly singles recorded throughout the month.
PIPITS AND FINCHES
MEADOW PIPIT – Common particularly around South Huish Marsh. Viz mig max count was 31 on 5th.
ROCK PIPIT – Up to 20 around the various beaches.
WATER PIPIT – A single on 14th was the only record.
OLIVE-BACKED PIPIT – Report received from visiting birders of a bird at the back of a private garden in Buckland Valley, on 9th. Despite a thorough search of the 10th the bird could not be relocated. If accepted by Devon Birds Rarities Committee this will be a patch first.
CHAFFINCH – Max viz mig on 5th when 28 recorded.
GREENFINCH – Viz mig on 5th – 26 max was a flock by South Huish Marsh on 16th when 70 recorded (mixed flock with GOLDFINCH).