SAT 31 OCT
One of the finest autumn days you could ask for , once the cloud cover cleared fine sunny with a light S breeze
Started at 07.45 with anhours Garden Watch with another 30 min from 09.45 . A total of 37 species with very little viz mig. Started off with 2 BLACK REDSTART ( courtyard ), 10 BLACKBIRD , 1 SONG THRUSH,
7 CHAFFINCH, 28 GOLDFINCH, 6 GREENFINCH, 5 JAY, , 6 SNIPE,
1 WATER RAIL, 1 CETTIS WARBLER, 1 STONECHAT, 30 SKYLARK,
Around South Huish Marsh - 60 TEAL, 1 BLACK T GODWIT, 1 MUTE SWAN, with 105 CANADA GOOSE 1 GREYLAG GOOSE, 6 GOLDCREST,
2 LONG T TIT, 1 BLACK REDSTART ( on flats ).
4 RINGED PLOVER - rocks with 6 more on Yarmer Beach.
Alan Pomroy ringed at South Milton Ley - 15 GOLDCREST, 1 FIRECREST, 6 CHICHAFF with on site 20 REDWING, 8 SISKIN
Late news from Richard of 2 LITTLE GREBE on South Huish Marsh( first for some months )
FRI 30 OCT
Another very wet and stormy night there is now some lying pools of water on T'stone marsh which enticed 25 TEAL, 1 MALLARD, 2 SNIPE and 2 LITTLE EGRET.
Once the rain and poor viz cleared did a seawatch from 11.00- 12.40 .logged - 130 + GANNET -east, 65 + GREAT BLACK B GULL ( most east - normal total in the Bay would be 5 ), 1 BONXIE flew east at 11.15 followed at 11.45 by a GREAT NORTHERN DIVER. On the sea a male PINTAIL
Reports from South Huish Marsh - 3 BLACK T GODWIT, 2 DUNLIN,
70 TEAL, 1 BLACK REDSTART ( by the flats ) and a HOBBY near T'stone Village
THURS 29 OCT
After a wet and stormy night , the morning gradually improved .
Today was BLACK REDSTART day - at 08.50 there were 4 in my courtyard - 1m, 1f, 2,1stw- 2 of them still on site at 16.50 . 2 more F / 1st w were on houses along Shrike lane . 6 on the patch in one day is unprecented.
Stood by the copse gate for an hour hoping the YBW would appear - it didn't , however did watch a FIRECREST, 8 GOLDCREST, 6 LONG T TIT,
3 CHIFFCHAFF, 1 MISTLE THRUSH, 2 SISKIN flew over, and a nice Stoat
On the Marsh - 70 TEAL, 14 MALLARD, 165 CANADA GOOSE flew in,
4 BLACK T GODWIT still, 4 STONECHAT, 35 MIPIT, 1 GREY WAGTAIL
By the footbridge a SPARROWHAWK and a REED BUNTING
WED 28 OCT.
After yesterdays miserable weather the morning was sunny with initially only a light breeze.
Activity today restricted to a Garden Watch from 07.50-09.00and 1010- 10.50. A total of 39 species recorded ( dont like to think what it could have been if the Marsh was unchanged ). , nevertheless some good records and best viz mig of the autumn -
Standing out was a FIRECREST and a Continental COAL TIT - both are garden firsts .Other highlights - MUTE SWAN ( flew west ), 3 MALLARD , 2 BLACK T GODWIT ( in the stubble field ), 2 LITTLE EGRET,
136 CANADA GOOSE ( flying over east ), 2 GOLDCREST, 10 BLACKBIRD , 2 LONG T TIT, 8 GREAT TIT, 7 JAY, 150+ STARLING, 1m BLACKCAP,
1 CETTIS WBLR, 43 CHAFFINCH, 12 GOLDFINCH, 15 MIPIT, 58 SKYLARK 4 PIED WAGTAIL, 1 STONECHAT.
Richard Stafford has heard a YELLOW BROWED WARBLER in the South Huish copse - same place as the one on Monday
TUES 27 OCT
A night and morning of heavy rain with light winds .
Highlight of the day was in Arthur's garden at 08.15 - a male BLACK REDSTART ( first of the autumn ), later also 3 GOLDCREST . My garden returns were 2 CHIFFCHAFF and 2 JAY.
Eric is todays big contributer- On South Efford Marsh this pm -
6 GREENSHANK , 5 REDSHANK, 30 CURLEW, 15 LAPWING, 2 SNIPE, 100+ TEAL and a COMMON GULL. In his garden at 15.30 a FIRECREST
MON 26 OCT
Joined up with Graham for a seawatch and walk round South Huish Marsh - Offshore 150 GANNET , 1 KITTIWAKE, 1 GREAT N DIVER ( flew west at 11.20,)
3 GUILLEMOT -E , 6 DOLPHIN moving towards Bigbury Bay.
On the rocks - 1 KINGFISHER, , 6 RINGED PLOVER, 1 TURNSTONE,
On the Marsh - 4 BLACK T GODWIT, 35 TEAL, 140 CANADA GOOSE,
In the Copse a YELLOW BROWED WARBLER (183 ),( picked up at 11.00 on call, could not locate ) 2 GOLDCREST, 2 LONG T TIT,
1 SPARROWHAWK, 1 COAL TIT , 1 GREY WAGTAIL, 6 SKYLARK,
SUN 25 OCT
A lovely autumnal day with very light breeze. First sign of frost with a white covering on the grass at 07.45
An hours Garden Watch from 07.45 produced a good total of 36 species -2 MUTE SWAN ( flew E ), 10 SKYLARK -W, 10 CHAFFINCH - E ,
1 COAL TIT, 1 REED BUNTING, 2 TEAL, 1 BLACK T GODWIT ( feeding in the stubble field ) 2 JAY, 1 CHIFFCHAFF, 1 STONECHAT
Around South Huish Marsh - nice to see Bob out - 4 BLACK T GODWIT, 20 TEAL, 1 GREAT Sp WOODY., 1 CHIFFCHAFF, 2 GOLDCREST, 3 SWALLOW, 1 YELLOWHAMMER
SAT 24 OCT
A dismal morning with rain then drizzle .
Confined to a 45 min Garden Watch from 09.45 which produced 28 species the highlight of which were 2 FIELDFARE which flew across the Marsh and landed on the wires , my first of the autumn
FRI 23 OCT
A cloudy and overcast day with a F2/3 SSW wind.
A 40 min Garden watch from 08.20 produced 30 species, 1 REED BUNTING, 8 TEAL, 10 MALLARD , 1 SNIPE ( all flew through )
1 WATER RAIL, 1 SPARROW HAWK and a JAY
On /around South Huish Marsh - 45 TEAL, 22 MALLARD ( largest count for weeks ), 4 BLACK T GODWIT, 1 SNIPE 25 GOLDFINCH,
1 SPARROWHAWK, 1m BLACKCAP , 1 SEDGE WARBLER, 1 CHIFFCHAFF,
8 WREN., 4 LONG T TIT
On the rocks the KINGFISHER again
Richard ( of Shrike fame ) had a pair of BRAMBLING in the copse, 4 GOLDCREST, . A BARN OWL sat on a post recently
THURS 22 OCT
A cloudy morning with a brisk NW F4/5 wind
A 50 min Garden watch from 07.50 produced 27 species - the only Marsh regulars were a LITTLE EGRET and a WATER RAIL, Small movement of Finches etc - 28 GOLDFINCH, 12 CHAFFINCH, 2 GREENFINCH, 18 MIPIT, 16 SKYLARK and the first decent flock of REDWING -30 flew NW.
Offshore only 65 GANNET and a male COMMON SCOTER, on the rocks -
7 RINGED PLOVER and a KINGFISHER.
On the Marsh - 1 MUTE SWAN, 20 TEAL, 4 BLACK T GODWIT, a SPARROWHAWK flew over.
News rec'd of a BARN OWL over the Marsh last night
WED 21 OCT
A real change in the weather - heavy rain o/night, drizzle this morning, 100% cloud cover and aF5/6 W wind
First sea watch for what seems weeks , not that good - 70 GANNET,
10 COMMON SCOTER flew east , 10 AUKS, 1 KITTIWAKE -west ( first since Aug ). Amongst a flock of 105 BLACK H GULL 2 MED GULL ( ad + 1stw ).on the rocks 6 RINGED PLOVER, 14 OYSTERCATCHER
On South Huish marsh - 4 BLACK T GODWIT, 1 DUNLIN, 25 TEAL
TUES 20 OCT
A lovely autumnal morning clear skies and sunny, probably the last day of this extended spell of fine weather
Started with a 40 min Garden watch at 08.10- 30 species recorded. Main interest was a passage of Finches , small numbers of CHAFFINCH, GREENFINCH, GOLDFINCH and at 08.40 a female BRAMBLING (182 ) picked up initially on call but then landed in a nearby tree . Also GOLDCREST, COAL TIT, 2 CHIFFCHAFF
Stopped at Huxton Cross to find 25 SKYLARK and a REDWING
On arriving at South Huish marsh there were a few long faces as the SHRIKE had not been seen by 10.30 . I left at 12.20 and still no sighting. Ironical that the bird at Sherringham ( Norfolk ) has also not been seen today .
On the Marsh 2 BLACK T GODWIT, 1 SNIPE , 65 TEAL, 4 LITTLE EGRET. In the copse a FIRECREST and a CHIFFCHAFF
Offshore 2 COMMON SCOTER flew west
MON 19 OCT
A cloudy morning with a cool F3/4 ENE wind .
Again only 35 GANNET offshore - even GULLS were few and far between . Graham had a GUILLEMOT fly east. A 1stw MED GULL flew in and joined some BLACK H GULLS on the Marsh .
A 40 min Garden Watch produced 29 species - inc 13 PIED WAGTAIL
1 SISKIN, 2 SKYLARK and 6 MIPIT , KESTREL , SPARROWHAWK .
On the beach / rocks - 7 DUNLIN , 1 RINGED PLOVEER.
On South Huish Marsh - 46 TEAL, 1f WIGEON, 1 m PINTAIL, 5 BLACK T GODWIT, 5 STONECHAT.15 SWALLOW
The star attraction the ISABELLINE SHRIKE still putting on a good display for the 6th Day. It now qualifies as the most photographed and watched bird on the patch
SUN 18 OCT
Another cloudy morning with some sunny periods by 11.00
All sightings relate to the South Huish Marsh area where the continued presence of the ISABELLINE SHRIKE continues to attract visitors . Probably the most since 2002 when the LEAST SANDPIPER was found.
On the Marsh 37 TEAL, 4 BLACK T GODWIT, KINGFISHER.In the bushes - 1 REDWING, 1 GOLDCREST, 2 SONG THRUSH,. Overhead 17 SWALLOW and by the carpark a WHEATEAR
On Wed Andy Plumb reported a WATER RAIL and 4 BLACK T GODWIT
SAT 17 OCT
A mostly cloudy day ., with only light NE breezes .
The ISABELLINE SHRIKE showed on and off for most of the day, it has now been present for 5 days .
An hours Garden watch from 09.45 produced 33 species - 1m STONECHAT, 2 CHIFFCHAFF, , 14 MIPIT, 2 SNIPE, SONG THRUSH, RAVEN, 4 SKYLARK, 1 GREAT Sp WOODY.1 HOUSE MARTIN
A walk around the Golf Course only came up with 1 WHEATEAR and 3 FERAL PIGEON.
It seems very likely that T'stone Marsh will almost cease to exist . The Farmer wants to drain it so that he can use it for his cattle. Drainage work been carried all week with the result that the 2 front pools ( only ones that can be seen ) are now dry .
This mornings watch is one of the few in recent weeks that no Duck have been reported, even the flocks of CANADA GEESE decided not to land .! and no squeeling WATER RAIL.
FRI 16 OCT
With more visitors coming to see the Shrike reports of other birds filter through - Yesterday - 1 FIELDFARE ( first of the autumn ), 2 FIRECREST, some CHIFFCHAFF and GOLDCREST
High cloud early morning soon broke up to leave another suuny am, more cloud this afternoon,. Wind still Ne 3/4
As usual started off with a Garden Watch for 50 mins from 07.55, also late afternoon for 45 mins from 17.00.Total species recorded 37 , morning highlights - 35 + TEAL, 1 BLACK T GODWIT, 4 SNIPE. Some Thrush movement - 1 MISTLE , 4 SONG, 4 BLACKBIRD . 1 COAL TIT
42 SKYLARK ( largest flocks 16, 12 ) 5 CHAFFINCH, 1 REED BUNTING , 14 ALBA WAGTAIL.
This afternoon, 2 BUZZARD, 1 KESTREL, 1 SPARROWHAWK , 1 f MERLIN, 2 JAY
The ISABELLINE SHRIKE has showed very well throughout the day from 10.00. At 10.40 a SHORT EARED OWL flew over towards Hope Cove.
Reports from the Marsh - 60 TEAL, 42 WIGEON, 20 TEAL, 1 PEREGRINE , 6 BLACK T GODWIT, 1 WHEATEAR, 1 REED BUNTING, 3 STONECHAT,
On the rocks 6 RINGED PLOVER . Offshore a few GANNET and 4 AUKS flew east
THURS 15 OCT
First late news from last night -
Doug had 2 SHELDUCK in the Bay .
At T'stone marsh the roosts at 18.15 were - 500 STARLING,
85 ALBA WAGTAIL and surprisingly 2 SAND MARTIN.
A fine sunny day - cool morning with a brisk NE breeze.
Did a 30min Garden Watch which produced 27 species , surprise was no Thrush species considering how many were reported in other parts of Devon , 9 GOLDFINCH, 2 BLACK T GODWIT , 10 TEAL, 1 COAL TIT incresed numbers of both BLUE & GREAT TIT, 1 CHIFFCHAFF.
Arrived at South Huish Marsh at 09.15 to be informed no sighting of the ISABELLINE SHRIKE ( DAURIAN ), thankfully normal service returned by 09.45 with again great views of it on the wires in front of the White House.
Only other birds to report were 20 TEAL and 1 BLACK T GODWIT on the Marsh
WED 14 OCT
Another of those fantastic local patch finds -
Arrived home late afternoon yesterday, looking through my email at 18.00 was a photo and comment from Richard Stafford ( his father Peter owned the land at South Huish Marsh before gifting it to the National Trust .) which he thought was a RED B SHRIKE . Looking at the photos it was possibly something even rarer .
After an exchange of phone calls decision made that Alan, Nick and myself would be on site at 07.45 to try and find and ID the bird - Shrikes have a habit of being a one day bird here so our expectations were
only hopeful. By 08.15 with a couple of good sightings and some photos in the bag we were certain it was an IBERIAN SHRIKE ( 181 ) form L Isabellinus ( DAURIAN SHRIKE ) a mega patch first .A 1st Winter bird which throughout the morning gave fantastic views down to 15 Feet , watched feeding on wasps etc and flying back to its favourite feeding perch - the phone wire opposite The White House.
Alan D returned home to put the news out ( impossible to get a mobile signal here ) By 12.15 at least a dozen birders had seen the bird
There are only 4 previous records for DEVON , - 1984 & 1997 at BERRY HEAD, 1987 WEMBURY ( all 1st w ) and an ad on LUNDY in 2001.
They breed in SW and Central Asia usually wintering in SW Indian sub continent, East Africa, & Arabia . The only other UK record this year was found in Norfolk last Sun and is described by this weeks Bird Guide review as the 'bird of the week'
A superb patch and life tick for me
Other birds around-
32 TEAL, 50 + SWALLOW, 7 CHAFFINCH, 100 + MIPIT, 3 STOCK DOVE, 1 GREY WAGTAIL and following a party of LONG T TIT a FIRECREST
If you visit tomorrow please park in the NT car park and walk along the lane where the road bends to the left the first house on the left is The White House , please do not enter any of the private gardens it will be on the wires every 10 mins or so
Big thanks to Richard Stafford for sending me the original photo.Some of the great shots will be posted later
TUES 6 OCT- TUES 13 OCT
Whilst I was away enjoying some nice birding in Majorca. Bob , Alan Pomroy and Doug Stannard kept an eye on the patch -
8 OCT -Ringing returns from South Milton Ley -
2 CETTIS WBLR, 10 CHIFFCHAFF. 2 BLACKCAP, 6 GOLDCREST ( inc 1 UK control ) Around the site - 1 SISKIN, 1 REDWING ( first for the autumn ) , 6 WATER RAIL
In addition to the REDWING Doug also had -
250+ SWALLOW, 5 HOUSE MARTIN, 170 MIPIT, 20+ SKYLARK,
1 BLACK T GODWIT, 1 LAPWING, 2 SNIPE, 26 TEAL, 1 WIGEON,
1f SHOVELER, 7 CHIFFCHAFF, 8 BLACKCAP, 7 GOLDCREST
9 OCT - Doug again- 7 BLACK T GODWIT, 25 TEAL, 1 f SHOVELER,
11 OCT - Bob & Chris had a m YELLOW WAGTAIL at S H Marsh
13 OCT - Alan carried out another ringing session which produced -
7 CHIFFCHAFF, 9 BLACKCAP, 1 CETTIS WBLR ( UK control )
5 GOLDCREST, 1 BULLFINCH and a FIRECREST.
Flying over - 5 REDWING, 10 SISKIN, 10 SWALLOW 5 HOUSE MARTIN .
A relative quiet week was about to be turned on its head !
MON 5 OCT
The weather changed to typical autumnal overnight- strong winds and lots of rain.
Did not manage a Garden Watch due to the heavy rain .Joined today by Grahan & Martin Daw.
Only birds offshore were 45 GANNET and a flock of Gulls - BLACK HEADED and HERRING , also 1 1stw MED GULL
Around South Huish Marsh -25 TEAL, 1 BLACK T GODWIT and a surprise in the form of 2 m MALLARD ( first for over 4 weeks ! )1 GOLDCREST,
3 WHEATEAR, 4STONECHAT, 1f REED BUNTING , 1 CHIFFCHAFF ,
1 WHINCHAT, 75 + SWALLOW ( over )
Sighting confirmed by Robert ( farmer ) of a BARN OWL at 19.00 on SAT .
On T'stone Marsh - 30 TEAL, 8 BLACK T GODWIT .
Next update Wed 14 th
SUN 4 OCT
A cloudy day brightend up by a walk round the patch with Chris Bond and Bob.
Only a few GANNET offshore . Around South Huish Marsh - 1 HOBBY,
1 PEREGRINE, 2 KESTREL, 30 TEAL, 1 BLACK T GODWIT, 1 SNIPE,
2 WHEATEAR, 1juv WHINCHAT, 1 GOLDCREST, 1 GREY WAGTAIL, Overhead - 250+ SWALLOW, 1 HOUSE MARTIN, 4 SKYLARK
On T'stone Marsh - 30 + TEAL.
SAT 3 OCT
This spell of fine weather just goes on- another fine sunny day with hardly a breeze .
An hours Garden Watch from 08.10 produced 34 species . Compared with recent mornings only 26 SWALLOW, 2 BLACKCAP, 1 CHIFFCHAFF,
8 BLACK T GODWIT, 1juv STONECHAT, 4 WIGEON flew westwith 1 TEAL, 1 GREAT Sp WOODY
A walk around the Golf Course - 2 COAL TIT, 70 + MIPIT, 5 SKYLARK,
4 WHEATEAR, 8 STONECHAT, 10 LINNET, 4 WIGEON -east, 10 COMMON SCOTER - east, 45 OYSTERCATCHER ( on rocks )1 MUTE SWAN - west
FRI 2 OCT
Another fine sunny day with a F4/5 ENE wind.
A 45 min Garden Watch from 07.50 whilst only producing 29 species did
provide some interesting counts - 400+ SWALLOW flew SE with only 5 HOUSE MARTIN, through the garden were a total of 19 BLACKBIRD ( most flew SE ), 1 SONG THRUSH, 5 CHIFFCHAFF, 4 BLACKCAP,
1 CETTIS WARBLER, 5 DUNNOCK, 8 GOLDFINCH, 8 GREENFINCH,
3m CHAFFINCH, 8 BLACK T GODWIT, 3 SNIPE, 1 WATER RAIL.
Joined today by Doug for a short seawatch and walk around South Huish Marsh -
3 WIGEON, 30 TEAL, 1 LAPWING, 1 BLACK T GODWIT, 1 SNIPE,
10 WHEATEAR, 10 LONG T TIT, 1 GREY WAGTAIL, 1 fstw COMMON GULL
7 LITTLE EGRET, 20 SKYLARK, 2 REED BUNTING, 5 CHIFFCHAFF,
1 BLACKCAP, 2 KESTREL, 7 BUZZARD ( flew in from Bolt Tail ) + 2 local birds , 110 SWALLOW, 5 HOUSE MARTIN, 7 SAND MARTIN , 70+ MIPIT
4 RINGED PLOVER (flew thru ) and offshore around 25 GANNET
On T'stone Marsh front pool - 45 TEAL, 3 WIGEON, 1f SHOVELER, 3 BLACK T GODWIT
Nick T had a KINGFISHER at the back of his garden
Roosts worth reporting at 18.20 T'stone Marsh - 300+ SWALLOW,
1 SAND MARTIN, 80+ MIPIT, 350+ STARLING
THURS 1 OCT
A really good autumnal day both in terms of the weather and birds, only a light ENE breeze .
Garden Watch from 07.50 produced 42 species ( one of the highest of the year ) - highlights 8 BLACK T GODWIT, 1 SNIPE, 1 CETTIS WBLR ( first for some weeks )4 BLACKCAP, 2 CHIFFCHAFF, KESTREL,
70 CANADA GOOSE , WATER RAIL, 5 SISKIN, 1 SONG THRUSH . However the 2 big surprises were - a total of 6 COAL TIT moving up the valley ,usually only 2 or 3 records a year thru the garden and a nice year tick at 08.45 when a WOODLARK (180 ) flew overhead calling ( also a garden tick )
On T'stone Marsh - 60 TEAL, 2 f WIGEON.
Offshore -- 15 GANNET, 1m COMMON SCOTER - east and 4 on the sea, 3 PINTAIL flew east, 7 WIGEON - east , 4 AUKS.
On South Huish Marsh - 1f SHOVELER, 25 TEAL, 1 BLACK T GODWIT,
1 WHITE WAGTAIL, 2 STONECHAT ,2 WHEATEAR
On the rocks 1 DUNLIN, 1 RINGED PLOVER, 21 OYSTERCATCHER
At Huxton Cross - 2 BUZZARD , 2 STOCK DOVE ,
Buckland Valley - 1 JAY, GOLDCREST, 2 SISKIN.
Late news fropm Nick T- SPOTTED FLY in his garden and along the coast path PEREGRINE and SPARROWHAWK
Total species recorded - 71, which is the highest opening count this year