THURLESTONE BAY BIRDS
After a very wet start to the year the only heavy rainfall occurred overnight of the 9/10th. No gale force winds but rather more with an easterly content than normal.
We left for a 2 week holiday in Cyprus on 13th so only detailed records up to that date and on 28th.
Best bird of the year (so far) was found on South Huish Marsh by Nick Townsend on the morning of 20th – a SPOONBILL (113). Only our third record in the last 5 years. Whilst I missed the bird, modern computer systems meant I could look at a photograph by Alan Doidge in Cyprus.
A total of 96 species were recorded (cf 106 in 2012). New birds for the year were PURPLE SANDPIPER (109), BEWICKS SWAN (110), MERLIN (111). BRAMBLING (112)
Significant sightings for the month were:-
BEWICKS SWAN – Early on the morning of 5th a first winter landed on Thurlestone Marsh and was immediately challenged by the resident MUTE SWAN and then flew off west.
SHELDUCK – 11 on 5th and 6 on 28th – a pair took up residence on Thurlestone Marsh from 5th.
WIGEON – still in excess of 100 up to 7th with a max of 145 on 6th.
TEAL – Around 100 all month – max 155 on 2nd.
GADWALL – present until 9th max 11 on 6th.
SHOVELER – present all month with a max of 22 on 9th.
COMMON SCOTER – Only 2 records – 5 on 7th and 3 on 10th.
RED-THROATED DIVER – singles on 4th and 5th, 3 on 7th and 2 on 9th.
BLACK-THROATED DIVER – single on the sea on 6th.
GREAT NORTHERN DIVER – singles on 4 dates.
LITTLE GREBE – 1 on Thurlestone Marsh on 3rd.
GREAT CRESTED GREBE – singles on the sea on 8th and 28th.
MARSH HARRIER – the female recorded on 8th, 11th and 17th.
MERLIN – A female flew through South Huish Marsh on 10th.
WADERS – The RUFF was on South Huish Marsh from 1st to 10th.
A single DUNLIN on 24th. First PURPLE SANDPIPER on Warren Point rocks on 2nd with 4 on 3rd, single JACK SNIPE on 8th and 12th.
Otherwise maxima were:
OYSTERCATCHER – 30 on 3rd, RINGED PLOVER – 13 on 10th,
SANDERLING – 4 on 6th and 10th, LAPWING – 4 on the marshes but 56 at Huxton Cross on 1st.
SNIPE – 100 on South Huish Marsh on 9th/10th, TURNSTONE – 9 on 6th.
Some KITTIWAKE movement with 78 east on 5th and 60 on 11th. FULMAR – 7 east on 5th,
An Adult MEDITERRANEAN GULL with the BLACK HEADED flock on 4th and 8th.
Some passage of AUKS and on the sea but never more than 75.
Only one record of FIELDFARE – 5 on 8th small flocks of REDWING noted max 60 on 8th.
MISTLE THRUSH – 3 in the West Buckland Valley on 8th.
BLACK REDSTART – single recorded on 6th, 8th and 9th (two different birds)
A female BRAMBLING in trees near the village on 12th.
5 SISKIN at West Buckland on 2nd also BULLFINCH.
Both male and female BLACKCAP in local gardens, whilst Nick Townsend feeders continue to attract COAL TIT and NUTHATCH. At least 2 GREEN WOODPECKER on the patch.
REED BUNTING on my feeders never exceeded 10.
With Bob B now semi-resident in Thailand (due back at the end of March) there is no ringing report.