THURLESTONE BAY BIRDS
High temperatures , lots of sunshine and little rain until the last 5 days of the month. Easterly winds from 8th, no gales recorded, some days with poor visibility due to a combination of low cloud and sea mist.
Monthly species recorded a respectable 111 (cf 107 2012). Two new species for the year on unseasonal drake POCHARD and a juv CUCKOO. My highlights were the first patch record for AVOCET in July (also only 4th record in 9 years) and a site record of 16 MED GULL.. Some good sea passage towards the end of the month.
SHELDUCK – On 2nd 2 adult and 6 day old chicks watched swimming across the Bay off Warren Point. 3 broods on the Marshes totalled 15 of which 11 fully fledged – this is the best breeding result in recent years.
TEAL – present throughout the month with a max of 4 on 15th and 20th.
GARGANEY – An eclipse male arrived with 3 TEAL on South Huish Marsh on 12th and remained until 23rd.
POCHARD – Bob B found a male near the footbridge on the evening of 10th – first for the year.
TUFTED DUCK – In the same place as the POCHARD a male overnight 14th/15th.
COMMON SCOTER – After a poor spring passage – returning birds from 5th when 23, with 42 on 7th and max of 105 on 8th.70 on 11th and 60 on 27th.
Good numbers at the beginning of the month with years max towards the end.
MANX SHEARWATER – 156 on 2nd, 445 on 23rd, 250 on 26th and the years max of 905 on 27th.
SOOTY SHEARWATER – One flew east on 27th – only 250 yards off shore.
BALEARIC SHEARWATER – Singles on 22nd and 27th.
GANNET – A feeding frenzy on 3rd brought 480 birds into the Bay. 3 figure counts on 5 other days.
LITTLE GREBE – One on Thurlestone Marsh on 1st.
LITTLE EGRET – Up to 4 on the marshes, however a flock of 16 watched flying down South Milton Valley in the evening of 1st.
HOBBY – 1 over South Milton Ley on 18th.
COOT – 2 on South Milton Ley up to 10th.
WATER RAIL – first returning bird on 29th.
WADERS – Good mixture with evidence of return passage commencing.
OYSTERCATCHER – Max of 19 on 27th.
AVOCET – 3 on the beach/rocks on 21st was the first ever July record. One of the local PEREGRINES took a keen interest – some great aerial displays. Only the 4th site record in the last 9 years (2 of which are this year!).
LITTLE RINGED PLOVER – Juv on 10th and 11th and a flyover on 26th.
RINGED PLOVER – One in the Bay on 25th.
LAPWING – Singles on South Huish marsh on 1st and 8th.
SANDERLING – first returning birds were 4 on 11th with 11 on 12th. Months max 20 on 21st.
DUNLIN – 11 on 11th months max – up to 8 on 5 other days.
BLACK-TAILED GODWIT – A single on South Huish Marsh from 26th-28th.
WHIMBREL – 1 on 18th and 3 on 21st.
CURLEW – Recorded on3 days – single on 1st, max 3 on 27th.
COMMON SANDPIPER – singles on12th and 14th.
GREEN SANDPIPER – Singles on South Huish Marsh on 16th, 20th, 26th and 30th.
GREENSHANK – One flew across the Bay on 14th.
REDSHANK – Singles on 8th and 22nd.
TURNSTONE – Nick T reported one on the rocks mid month.
ARCTIC SKUA – 3 July records – 2 on 5th, 3 on 26th and 1 on 27th.
GREAT SKUA – 1 flew east on 23rd.
KITTIWAKE – Usually no more than 20 recorded so 110 east on 2nd was noteworthy.
BLACK HEADED GULL – first returning birds were 3 on 5th, up to 55 by the end of the month with some juveniles.
MEDITERRANEAN GULL – 1 on 8th, 2 on 29th and a site record of 16 on 30th consisted of 6 Juv, 6 Ad and 4 Sub ad. Largest numbers of Juveniles.
YELLOW LEGGED GULL –first on 11th and 2 on 20th
SANDWICH TERN – Again only a few birds recorded up to 3, apart from 4 on 26th which included the first Juv.
COMMON TERN – One on the rocks early evening of 31st.
CUCKOO – A juv caught at South Milton Ley on 10th – first of the year.
SWIFT – passage from 9th with a max of 85 on 12th
SAND MARTIN – 145 on 9th, increased to 400 on 11th – many resting on the sand dunes by the footbridge, 175 moved through on 12th.
SWALLOW – Roost at Thurlestone Marsh built up from 800 on 9th, 1500 on 11th, 2000+ 23th/25th and 2500 on 30th..
HOUSE MARTIN – Up to 40 over both marshes towards the end of the month.
Bob B ringed the first Juv WILLOW WARBLER on11th (about 10 days earlier than normal). As they don’t breed in the area must have moved down from the moors.
CHIFFCHAFF – Local breeding and birds moving through with a max of 20 on 11th.
GRASSHOPPER WARBLER – first Juv of the year on 27th.
BLACKCAP, SEDGE AND REED WARBLER and WHITETHROAT all bred locally.
MISTLE THRUSH – 8 Juv on 1st confirmed breeding in West Buckland Valley.
WHEATEAR – first Juv to move through was a single on 30th.
YELLOW WAGTAIL – Single on 20th was an early record.
GREY WAGTAIL – passage birds moving through from 13th.
YELLOWHAMMER – Several pairs in the hedgerows along the lanes
As we come to the end of the breeding season the total of species confirmed or probable breeders is 61 – regrettably no SPOTTED FLYCATCHER this year.
The years total is now 166 somewhat behind the 171 at the same stage last year. Hopefully the August wader passage is good we can soon make up that shortfall.