THURLESTONE BAY BIRDS
A relatively mild month, only days with a frosty morning were 19th and 23rd. Rainfall appeared lower than normal certainly when compared with 2014. Gale force winds recorded on 6 days – particularly 12th – 15th with gusts on the latter reaching F.11+ direction was almost all between SSW and NW.
Noticeably lack of numbers (and species) of DUCK and DIVERS also a very quiet month for garden birds. Still managed to achieve a total of 101 species (c/f 2014 98) with a couple of outstanding records – sites second RINGED BILLED GULL and first January record for KNOT in the last 12 years. Both RUDDY SHELDUCK and GLOSSY IBIS remained from December. A GREAT SKUA January record only the 2nd in recent years.
Significant sightings for the marsh –
SWANS AND GEESE
MUTE SWAN – Pairs took up residence on both Marshes making sure any new arrivals soon went on their way.
BRENT GOOSE – a flock of 15 flew East early on 12th (largest January record in last 12 years).
CANADA GOOSE – Flocks flying in from roosting on both Marshes max around 200.
SHELDUCK – Started returning from 8th with a max of 6 on 26th and 27th.
RUDDY SHELDUCK – On South Huish Marsh until at least the 19th
WIGEON – With a site max of 80 on 19th considerably below recent years numbers. Almost no records for Thurlestone Marsh.
TEAL – 3 figure totals on only 4 days with a max of 145 on 9th.
SHOVELER – A female on 1st and then 3 on 23rd – 26th all on South Huish Marsh. In previous years totals of 20+.
COMMON SCOTER – only a single record of 2 east on 7th.
DIVERS GREBES – COOT AND MOORHEN
Very few Divers this year – Single GREAT NORTHERN on 26th single BLACK THROATED on 8th and single RED THROATED on 19th and 26th.
COOT – Single on 8th increased to 2 from 13th.
MOORHEN – 15 on South Huish Marsh most of the month.
LITTLE GREBE – 1 regularly seen on Thurlestone Marsh.
GANNET EGRETS AND IBIS
GANNET – Max 62 on 7th. Towards to the end of the month numbers reduced to less than 10 some days.
LITTLE EGRET - Appear to have a resident 5 which move between the marshes and rocks.
HERON –Up to 6 around the marshes.
GLOSSY IBIS –Although elusive at times seen most days on South Huish Marsh, last recorded on 10th.
RAPTORS AND OWLS
MERLIN – 1 flew through South Huish marsh on 23rd.
PEREGRINE – Several records throughout the month.
BUZZARD – Up to 8 around the patch.
KESTREL – 2 sites where regular.
SPARROWHAWK – Must be 3 or 4 birds covering the patch.
BARN OWL – 1 flushed from a tree at South Milton Ley ON 4TH.
TAWNY OWL – Calling birds at 3 locations.
WATER RAIL – Regularly heard screaming at the 3 main sites could be up to 6 birds.
WADERS – A good total for a January of 11 species.
OYSTERCATCHER – Max 22 on 26th.
LAPWING – Max 55 on 26th on South Huish marsh.
RINGED PLOVER – 5 on rocks on 23rd.
SANDERLING – 1 with the PLOVERS from 23rd.
SNIPE – Max 145 total from both marshes on 19th.
PURPLE SANDPIPER – Singles on the rocks on 8th and 27th.
KNOT – 1 flew across the Bay and landed on South Huish marsh on 19th – a first January site record in last 12 years.
GREY PLOVER – Alan D found 1 on South Huish Marsh on 25th.
CURLEW – Single bird again at South Huish marsh on 23rd.
WOODCOCK – Robert the farmer flushed 2 at the back of South Huish marsh on 25th/26th.
TURNSTONE – Max 9 on the rocks on 8th.
GULLS AND SKUA
RING BILLED GULL – An adult amongst a large flock of GULLS on South Huish Marsh on 3rd, only the second site record –Watched for 15 mins before the flock spooked by a RAPTOR and could not be located.
My 240th species for the period since 2002.
BLACK HEADED GULL – Max was 400 on the Marsh on21st along with 700+ HERRING GULL, 4 COMMON GULL and some LESSER BLACK BACKED and 2 Ad MEDITERRANEAN GULL.
All these had come onto the Marsh from surrounding fields which had been sprayed with liquid manure.
KITTIWAKE – Very few this month – a max of 11 on 26th.
GREAT SKUA – One close in shore at 15.15 on 1st was a great start to the year. Only my second January record in the last 12 years.
AUKS – Only noticeable movement was 50+ on 7th – all flying east.
KINGFISHER – 1 by the footbridge from 23rd.
WOODPECKERS AND JAY
GREEN WOODPECKER – 1 in Buckland Valley on 23rd.
GREAT SPOTTED WOODPECKER – Recorded at 3 sites around the patch.
JAY – Recorded at South Milton Ley, Buckland Valley and surprisingly 4 in my garden on 21st.
CETTIS WARBLER – only one heard at South Milton ley
CHIFFCHAFF – whilst recorded at four sites, still the largest count at the Pumping Station with a max of 30.
SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF – Up to 3 around the Pumping Station 2 of which were ringed there.
BLACKCAP – Only 2 records both in Village Gardens – female on 18th and 21st.
TITS AND CRESTS
A movement through my garden on 21st produced totals of BLUE 20+, GREAT 15+, LONG TEAILED 4.
GOLDCREST – 4 in Buckland Valley on 23rd, also in Mallards Lane and South Milton Ley.
REDSTARTS AND CHATS
BLACK REDSTART – Only recorded around Village Gardens with at least 1 Ad male and a female recorded regularly.
STONECHAT – At least 6 birds wintering around the patch.
BLACKBIRD – Noticeable increase on 18th when a total 18 recorded.
SONG THRUSH – A max of 4 on 23rd.
MISTLE THRUSH – A record total of 13 on 23rd including a group of 10 in one field.
REDWING – Scarce this winter with a max of 20 on 23rd at Uptons Cross.
FINCHES BUNTINGS and PIPITS
No large winter flocks so far – Numbers of GOLDFINCH 25+.
GREENFINCH 20+, YELLOWHAMMER 2 on 4th, SISKIN 8 (Buckland Valley)
CIRL BUNTING – Recorded in Village Gardens with 4 on 3rd and 2 m, 1 f on 21st.
REED BUNTING – Up to 6 visiting feeders and around 25 at South Milton Ley
MEADOW PIPIT – Good numbers up to 50 at both South Milton Ley and South Huish marsh.
ROCK PIPIT – Up to 15/20 on the beach.
WATER PIPIT – 1 on South Huish Marsh on 13th.
A good start for 2015 – only need 99 species to reach that quest of 200 in a year.