THURLESTONE BAY BIRDS
A typical range of March weather, some calm days also some SW/NW gales and plenty of rain early and late in the month. Middle of the month E winds.
11 new species added to the year list – 8 of them Spring migrants. Unexpected additions were WHOOPER SWAN and MARSH TIT. Total for the year now 130 (c/f 2015-120, 2014 – 120).
Total species recorded during the month 107 (c/f 2015-103, 2014 – 105)
Highlights this month
MUTE SWAN – pairs holding territory on both Marshes.
WHOOPER SWAN – On the morning of 12th 1 briefly on South Huish Marsh by Andy Smith.
SHELDUCK – Numbers on South Huish Marsh built up to a max of 20 on 30th.
RUDDY SHELDUCK – Seen regularly up to 24th.
WIGEON – Max 15 on 2nd down on 3rd to 2. A male remained on the Marsh at the end of the month.
TEAL – Max 97 on 5th reducing to 20 on 31st.
PINTAIL – a pair on the sea on 13th.
SHOVELER – 5 on the sea with PINTAIL on 13th, moved onto the Marsh with 2 remaining until 31st.
TUFTED DUCK – A remarkable couple of records of birds on the sea –
On 14th a male flew east with COMMON SCOTER, next day 2 pairs landed on the sea before continuing east.
COMMON SCOTER – Only recorded on 4 days – max 29 flying east on 14th.
RED LEGGED PARTRIDGE - Escapes from Baron Banthams shooting estate 4 at Buckland Valley on 8th – I finally caught up with 1 on 11th and 2 at South Huish Marsh on 12th.
DIVERS, FULMAR and GANNET
RED-THROATED DIVER – 2 on 8th and 1 on 14th.
GREAT NORTHERN DIVER – singles on 4 days.
FULMAR – Max only 3 on 13th and 30th.
GANNET – Some days none were recorded, max 67 on 26th
EGRETS AND HERON
LITTLE EGRET – Up to 5 on South Huish Marsh and 2 regularly on Thurlestone Marsh.
HERON – Up to 4/5 around both Marshes.
LITTLE GREBE – Last seen on South Huish Marsh on 1st.
GREAT CRESTED GREBE – first in the Bay a single on 5th increasing to a max of 4 on 12th.
MARSH HARRIER – Immature bird, probably from Slapton, seen on 10th, 14th and 15th.
MERLIN – singles around the patch 4th , 21st and 31st.
BUZZARD, KESTREL, SPARROWHAWK, PEREGRINE all recorded. Both BARN OWL and TAWNY OWL recorded.
WADERS – 9 species recorded.
OYSTERCATCHER – Max 27 on 25th.
LITTLE RINGED PLOVER – first (and only) a single on 21st on South Huish Marsh (AJL).
RINGED PLOVER – Max 3 on the rocks on 4th.
LAPWING – Single on the Marsh on 1st.
KNOT – 1 with a flock of BAR TAILED GODWIT in off the sea and straight up the Valley on 15th.
DUNLIN – Only record 1 on 11th.
SNIPE – Max 10 on 11th.
BAR-TAILED GODWIT – A flock of 30 in off the sea on 15th was unexpected, normally passage starts in mid April
TURNSTONE – Up to 8 regularly on the rocks.
GULLS – some very large flocks particularly sheltering on South Huish marsh .
KITTIWAKE – Max only 12 on 4th.
BLACK HEADED GULL – 150 on the Marsh on 2nd increased to 200 on 4th when another 145 flew in off the sea in flocks of up to 30.
MEDITERRANEAN GULL – Passage birds – 5 on 3rd, 7 on 4th and 3 on 5th all on the Marsh.
COMMON GULL – A max of 4 on 3rd could well be a patch record!
LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL – 210 counted on the Marsh on 2nd is another potential patch record.
HERRING GULL – Again on 2nd over 1200 on the Marsh.
YELLOW LEGGED GULL – Adults on 8th and 11th.
GREAT BLACK BACKED GULL – 40 on the Marsh on 2nd
SANDWICH TERN – First were 4 flying east on 26th, single on 28th and 2 on 30th.
KINGFISHER – last recorded on the Marsh on 8th.
CRESTS AND TITS
FIRECREST – Single in West Buckland Valley on 3rd and one trapped at South Milton Ley on 22nd had been ringed late last year.
COAL TIT – Visiting feeders in South Milton Gardens, also in the Buckland Valley
MARSH TIT – One found by AJL in Mallards Lane on 10th. A rare record for the patch.
SWALLOW – First were 2 on 24th at South Huish Marsh (Julia and James from Hope Cove).
SAND MARTIN – first 1 over Thurlestone Marsh on 25th.
WARBLERS – Late Marsh is when the first migrants arrive.
CHIFFCHAFF – South Milton Ley still the main site with 25 on 11th, 20 on 15th and 10 on 29th.
SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF – 1 at South Milton Ley throughout with 2 on15th.
WILLOW WARBLER – first one in sub song at South Milton Ley on 29th and first ringed there on 31st.
BLACKCAP – 2 at South Milton Ley on 31st in song.
FIELDFARE – 5 at Upton Cross on3rd only record.
REDWING – 30 with the FIELDFARE on 3rd. 9 at South Milton Ley on 15th.
SONG THRUSH – Recorded at 5 sites mostly singles.
MISTLE THRUSH – 1 at South Milton Ley on 1st.
STARLING – Have complexly disappeared from the patch = only record were 2 at South Milton Ley on 19th (AJL)
NUTHATCH, STARTS, CHATS and WHEATEAR
NUTHATCH – 1 regularly visiting Feeders at a South Milton garden.
BLACK REDSTART – Only 1 record an im at South Huish marsh on 22nd (AJL)
STONECHAT – Up to 3 pairs around the patch.
WHEATEAR – First a male at South Huish Marsh on 19th (AJL) a single on21st and a pair on 27th and 30th.
PIED WAGTAIL – passage noticed in the early part of the month.
WHITE WAGTAIL – First 1 on 1st and another on 14th.
GREY WAGTAIL – 1 at South Milton Ley on1st.
PIPITS, FINCHES AND BUNTINGS
MEADOW PIPIT – max 50+ moving through South Huish Marsh on 8th.
ROCK PIPIT – A few around the several rocky headlands.
WATER PIPIT – Present at South Huish Marsh on 4 days – max 3 on 30th.
LINNET – Largest flock so far this year 70+ at South Milton Ley on 22nd.
BULLFINCH – 2 in a Thurlestone Garden on 12th and 13th, also at South Milton ley
CIRL BUNTING – Recorded at 2 sites.
REED BUNTING – 3 visiting feeders at a Thurlestone Garden also recorded at 2 other sites.
April has always been one of the two months that the largest n total of species is recorded. Will be very interesting to see what can be found on the patch this year.
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