SAT 31 MAR 2012

The month ends as something of a damp squib- probably the quietest day so far. another day without Hirundines , nothing in the Bay a single TURNSTONE the only wader .


On Thurlestone Marsh 12 TEAL and 6 LITTLE EGRET .


Bob B ringed his first WILLOW WARBLER  of the year - with a wing length of 71mm ( max is 72 )   He also had very brief views of the LITTLE BUNTING which was being very elusive. One birder standing next to another missed out.


Looking foreward to April with hopefully some overshoots to whet the appetite

FRI 30 MAR 2012

Another fine sunny day again very quiet - no Hirundines for the third day.


Thurlestone Marsh held 20 TEAL, 5 LITTLE EGRET but the last WIGEON departed overnight. In the garden amale BLACKCAP and a surprise female BLACK REDSTART. Still 6 REED BUNTING on the feeders.


In the Bay 5 SANDWICH TERN 4 SHELDUCK and singles of GUILLEMOT and RAZORBILL. Waders were 2 RINGED PLOVER and a single CURLEW.


The surprise of the day was a flyover TREE PIPIT ( 136 ) an early date for the patch.


A LITTLE BUNTING was seen at the South Milton Ley feeding station at 8.00 and around 11.30 



THURS 29 MAR 2012

Apologies for a late update- although a very quiet day


Only 3 WIGEON left on the marsh this morning with 2 TEAL. In my garden 3 CHIFFCHAFF,a male BLACKCAP and my first WILLOW WARBLER


In the Bay 3 SANDWICH TERN and a GUILLEMOT. Copse by South Huish Marsh - a WILLOW WARBLER and 2 YELLOWHAMMER ( another Bunting for the list , they are not regular on the patch )


No sign of the LITTLE BUNTING this morning but Bob B did have a late REDWING

WED 28 MAR 2012

A red letter Bunting day on the patch.


An incredible second LITTLE BUNTING caught and ringed by Bob B at 9.00 this morning. This bird far more advanced towards summer plumage. In the last 9 days this site has produced the 10th and 11th mainland records in Devon.


At 12.40 Vic T and Nick T were sat near the cafe when a LAPLAND BUNTING (135 ) flew low over calling. There are very few records for this species over the  years.


Rest of the news seems very ordinary- 6 SAND MARTIN , 4 SANDWICH TERN , 2 RAZORBILL,  1m 2f PINTAIL flew into the Bay and landed on the sea.


On S H Marsh 30 SNIPE flushed , 1 WHEATEAR in the field.


At S M Ley a tristis type CHIFFCHAFF.


Mallards Lane  produced 4 CHIFFCHAFF, 1 WILLOW WARBLER, 1f BLACKCAP

SUN 25 MAR 2012

Another glorious sunny day - still E f4/5  with haze offshore restricting visablilty.


Thankfully the LITTLE BUNTING showed this morning and was seen by a number of visiting birders even if a wait of over an hour at times . The first WILLOW WARBLER (134 )   was reported.


At South Huish Marsh the LITTLE RINGED PLOVER still there mid morning., along with a BRENT GOOSE  (DB ) briefly before flying east. At least 5 WHEATEAR on the patch., also a WHITE WAGTAIL 


Offshore ( up to 10.30 ) were 65 Gannet, 15 SANDWICH TERN, 6 COMMON SCOTER, 9 WIGEON,  9 SHELDUCK , 4 MED GULL, 5 COMMON GULL 15 LESSER B B GULL.

A PUFFIN  (133) flew close inshore and then east at 08.30.



Only Hirundines were 3 SWALLOW and 3 SAND MARTIN. Small movement of MEADOW PIPIT and LINNET

SAT 24 MAR 2012

A good E/SE wind in Spring brings birds into the bay. Today was the best seawatching day of the year - even I was by the Cafe for 07.20 Result 3 patch year ticks by 12.00 .


The LITTLE BUNTING showed well -but only to visiting birders around 11.00- 12.00.

Early morning saw a passage of GANNET - 40, LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL  23 flew in and straight up the valley as did an ad MED GULL and 18 BLACK HEADED GULL.


Moving through the Bay were- 11 SANDWICH TERN,  4 WHIMBREL  ( 130), 17 COMMON SCOTER , 24 SHOVELER ( inc a flock of 17 largest i have recorded) ,5 GADWALL ( another 2 on the marsh )


At 09.15 a LITTLE RINGED PLOVER (131 ) flew into South Huish Marsh, there was 1WHEATEAR in the field. Still few Hirundines only 3 SWALLOW and 1 SAND MARTIN.


Late morning 7 BAR TAILED GODWIT  ( 132 ) flew through and up the valley.  Waders on the rocks were 2 RINGED PLOVER & 4 SANDERLING.


With E/SE winds forcast for the next 5 days  could be interesting.


A great ptch day


late update from Bob B -he and Alan Doidge saw the LITTLE BUNTING at the feeding station at 17.00. Also another 8 SANDWICH TERN in the Bay

FRI 23 MAR 2012

After the fog cleared a really beautiful day, plenty of sunshine and a light E wind.


Most of the news provide by Bob Burridge and visiting birders ( including someone from Worcs who covers one of  my old sites Upton Warren ) Pity I was tied up until late afternoon.


About 20 birders attended the informal opening of the new boardwalk at South Milton Ley.

The LITTLE BUNTING was seen by a few visitors around 10.00 after that it became very elusive .A BLACK REDSTART on the reserve  unusual.




In the fog this morning  a lone SISKIN (129 ) flew north - not a regular spring migrant here.


At least 50 MEADOW PIPIT and a few LINNET were by the cafe

THURS 22 MAR 2012

An ESE 4 wind  obscure horizon led to an expectation that spring passage would really start- no it didn't !


A 2hour seawatch up to 11.15 only produced 62 GANNET, 1 FULMAR, 2 COMMON SCOTER. 3 LINNET flew west.  7 TURNSTONE on the rocks.


At 17.15 the only sign of passage 11 SAND MARTIN flew over Thurlestone Marsh and up the valley. 

WED 21 MAR 2012

Whist a relatively quiet day , 2 more year ticks this morning.


Bob B confirmed the LITTLE BUNTING showing well at the feeding station at 08.00.


At 08.15 looking at the duck on Thurlestone Marsh -no change just TEAL & WIGEON when I found a male CIRL BUNTING  (127 ) in a nearby tree. This is my first Spring record ,they have not bred on the patch for some years. Also 2 CHIFFCHAFF.


Over at South Huish Marsh  2 WHEATEAR in the field. Met Terry Lakeman who was looking for divine insperation with his head looking skywards when a SWALLOW ( 128 ) flew over. 2 SHELDUCK on the marsh briefly.

No martins today

TUES 20 MAR 2012

Received news that at least 1 Birder managed to see the LITTLE BUNTING this morning although very elusive.


The Aveton Gifford  BEWICK'S SWAN ( 126)   has been reported on Slapton Ley as well recently , this morning it flew over South Milton Ley in the company of 3 MUTE SWAN, last seen flying back into the Avon Estury. Also on the Ley  BLACKCAP,  CHIFFCHAFF and a REDWING.


A GREAT NORTHERN DIVER in the Bay , this afternoon 8 TURNSTONE on the rocks.


4 SAND MARTIN over Thurlestone Marsh this pm


Have posted 3 record shots of the LITTLE BUNTING on the photos page. Looking through Birds of Devon- there have only been 9 other mainland records ,this is the fourth at this site- the last one in 1997


MON 19 MAR 2012

The old adage of if u dont look u can't see really came true this morning. Having  talked to Bob Burridge about what else he might get from his REED BUNTING ringing project we discussed the possibility of LITTLE BUNTING- only 4 records in the last 30 years.


At 08.50 this morning there was avery excited Bob on the phone to say a LITTLE BUNTING ( 125 ) .  in the net. A few quick phone calls then a dash to South MIlton Ley ( by the pumping station) for a master class of this diminutive bird in the hand. Very nice " tic " call when released into a corn field ,only flew 20 yards before dropping into the field


All the local team arrived within a few minutes and really enjoyed the occasion, many photos taken which will be posted Tuesday.

Another result of the generous bird food sponsorship by SOAR MILL SEEDS - many thanks


A patch ( and Devon ) life tick.


After that the rest of the day was back to normal-  Thurlestone Marsh - 10 WIGEON, 10 TEAL, 1 SNIPE and 1 WATER PIPIT. CHICHAFF and a JAY in my garden.


Over at South Huish Marsh 1 male GADWALL new in with the WHEATEAR still in the field

SUN 18 MAR 2012

A very spring like day - lots of sunshine, great visability but very little migrants.


Only 1 WHEATEAR at South Huish Marsh, a female MERLIN flew thru. Not even a GANNET offshore !


 On Thurlestone Marsh WIGEON increased to 10. The first CHIFFCHAFF was in the garden this morning

SAT 17 MAR 2012

 Sunshine at last with good visability.


Thurlestone Marsh still holding some Duck - 9 WIGEON , 11 TEAL, 2 SHELDUCK.


Over at South Huish Marsh 2 WIGEON, 2 TEAL, 6 SHELDUCK. 1 WHEATEAR,


In the bay 2 SANDWICH TERN.

Only waders on the beach were 5 SANDERLING.


Bob B had another successful ringing session this morning - another 7 new REED BUNTING. This is due to the generous donation of bird seed from Colin Mills of Soar Mill Seeds enabling food to be put out daily

FRI 16 MAR 2012

Very little to report today only 2 WHEATEAR around South Huish Marsh, 1 RINGED PLOVER on the rocks  nothing at all offshore !


This afternoon had to go over to Stover Country Park - got out of the car to hear a good chirping sound looked up and found a female CROSSBILL after many visits looking for them this was my first success.

THURS 15 MAR 2012

Whist more Spring migrants around the highlight today were a pair of POCHARD ( 123 )which spent the day on the front pool at Thurlestone Marsh. This is only the 4th patch record since 2001.


All the migrants were at South Huish Marsh - 2 SAND MARTIN and 2 WHEATEAR this morning. Bob B had a male WHITE WAGTAIL (124 ) also 5 SAND MARTIN at 14.00, by 16.30 this increased to 6, with another WHEATEAR  near the flats.


The female BLACK REDSTART still by the flats.


In the Bay a GREAT CRESTED GREBE , only waders seen were 2 DUNLIN.


Bob B ringed 14 REED BUNTING at South Milton Ley this morning ( includes 4 retraps and 1 control )

WED 14 MARCH 2012

Spring continues - the first WHEATEAR  (122 ) a male in the field behind the Cafe.


Evidence this am of some Wader movement -  7 SANDERLING, 5 DUNLIN, 3 RINGED PLOVER, 1 BLACK- TAILED GODWIT, 1 CURLEW and 3 REDSHANK.


On the sea 2 GADWALL, 1 SHELDUCK ( 2 more on each Marsh ) 


4 COMMON GULL and 3  BLACK HEADED GULL on the move up the valley.


A SHOVELER and a total of 17 WIGEON and 19 TEAL on both marshes.


Female BLACK REDSTART still on the rocks.


Offshore the first live DOLPHIN of the year

TUES 13 MARCH 2012

No posting for Monday as the fog rolled in at 08.30 and never lifted- I could not see the Marsh and on the coast visability was less than 100yds.


Slight improvement today especially this morning although a brisk E wind made it feel cold.


At long last some indication of migration- at 14.20 2 SAND MARTIN ( 121 ) flew through Thurlestone Marsh. Earlier there were  8 WIGEON, 4 SHELDUCK and 5 TEAL


On the rocks and beach were another female BLACK REDSTART ( this was not ringed )  7 SANDERLING, 4 RINGED PLOVER, 3 DUNLIN, 3 TURNSTONE and a single CURLEW. 2 REDSHANK flew over the bay and up the valley, a male SHOVELER flew arond the bay before settling on South Huish Marsh to join the 8 WIGEON and 3 TEAL. 6 TEAL landed on the sea before flying east .


A MUTE SWAN on the sea showed a yellow ring with black letters YU. 

SUN 11 MARCH 2012

Thick fog first thing and then sunny no wind with the fog returning at 16.00.


On Thurlestone Marsh  8 WIGEON, 2 SHELDUCK , 20 TEAL ,2 LITTLE EGRET.


On the rocks at Warren Pt 3 PURPLE SANDPIPER with a single RED - THROATED DIVER offshore were the only things worth recording

SAT 10 MARCH 2012

A cloudy morning gave way to  a very spring like afternoon .


WIGEON down to 5 this morning with  2 SHELDUCK and an increase in TEAL to 25.


A CETTIS WARBLER called infrequently.


A walk around the golf course started with both BLACKCAP and CHIFFCHAFF singing.

On rocks at Warren Pt the first PURPLE SANDPIPER for some weeks. Also a CURLEW briefly before flying west. On the beach still the wintering group of 7 SANDERLING.


STONECHATS have started collecting nest material today there were 4 pairs plus 2 singing males and thats only on approx half the patch.


This afternoon the regular BLACK- TAILED GODWIT  back feeding on the Marsh.

 Still no migrants ( or white winged gulls ! )

FRI 9 MARCH 2012

Really nothing worth reporting today - more duck had moved out overnight. A 2hour sea watch produced 2 KITTIWAKE , 1 FULMAR and another GREAT CRESTED GREBE this time close inshore.


Some interesting winds forecast for Monday onwards with higher temps- hopefully this will produce the first migrants


New aarivals on Thurlestone Marsh were 2 SHELDUCK at 08.00 .WIGEON reduced to 12 with TEAL only 10, this afternoon only 1 BLACK- TAILED GODWIT.


Bob B found a single WATER PIPIT on the marsh at 14.00.


 Short sea watch this morning produced the first GREAT CRESTED GREBE ( 120)

of the year slowly drifting towards Burgh Island. 3 SHELDUCK flew west. On the sea 12 WIGEON ( probably off one of the marshes ) 2 RAZORBILL. 2 KITTIWAKE, 4 FULMAR, and 3 GANNET  completed the list. .


This afternoon the BLACK REDSTART still by the flats with waders on the beach/ rocks 7 SANDERLING and 5 TURNSTONE 

WED 7 MARCH 2012

Little change on either marsh compared with Tuesday. An influx of LESSER BLACK BACKED GULLS 15 on Turlestone Marsh and 5 flew east.


A 2hr sea watch produced nothing more than a single COMMON SCOTER., single FULMAR and 14 GANNET.


Still no sign of any migrants


A nice sunny morning with a flat calm sea produced more birds on the sea than for some weeks-


The first SLAVONIAN  GREBE (119 ) of the winter was quickly followed by a RED THROATED DIVER, 2 COMMON SCOTER (f ), 3 GUILLEMOT , 20 RAZORBILL.


Later this afternoon a female BLACK REDSTART on the rocks in front of the flats

( ringed on rt leg ), waders on the beach 7 Sanderling, 4 RINGED PLOVER, 1 TURNSTONE.

A LAPWING on South Huish Marsh was a new arrival.


No change for Thurlestone Marsh apart from BLACK TAILED GODWIT which at 17.15 increased to 2


MON 5 MARCH 2012

 A sunny day with a brisk NW wind .

The large TEAL flock departed overnight leaving only 10 this morning along with 19 WIGEON


Offshore this morning 20 GANNET,  8 KITTIWAKE, 4 RAZORMOT and 1 FULMAR.

Waders on the beach were 7 SANDERLING, and 4 RINGED PLOVER .


This afternoon went over to Kingsmill Lake on the Tamar Est and after a short wait had good views of the LESSER YELLOWLEGSalong with 6 GREENSHANK, 1 AVOCET, 25 BLACK-TAILED GODWIT and a GREY PLOVER

SUN 4 MARCH 2012

Very heavy overnight rain produced some great water meadows which the dabbling ducks soon took advantage of - WIGEON reduced to 19 whilst TEAL increased to over 50. 2 GADWALL and a male SHOVELER also seen.


The BLACK TAILED GODWIT returned whilst 2 WATER PIPIT were new arrivals.

SAT 3 MARCH 2012

Still suffering with a severe head cold so only a brief visit to the Bay - really to remind myself what the Bay looks like with a clear horizen. Offshore 20 GANNET, 2 FULMAR, 3 RAZORMOTT.


On the beach/rocks 9 TURNSTONE 7 SANDERLING.

On Thurlestone Marsh no change in Duck numbers  but there are now 3 COOT and 3 LITTLE EGRET. 20 SNIPE flying around late afternoon.


The male PINTAIL still on South Huish Marsh with 20 WIGEON

FRI 2 MARCH 2012

Another day off site- brief  look over the Marsh this morning produced 2 GADWALL with WIGEON increasing to 35.


Had to go to EXETER so took Anne to her favourite pub for lunch (may not be really) but the SWANS NEST is next to Exminster marshes.

 Good view of the 5 BARNACLE GOOSE, the male AMERICAN WIGEON and a surprise in the form of a SPOONBILL


Late news from Arthur Livett- 5 EIDER  (118) 3 females & 2 imm males  in the Bay along with a female RED BREASTED MERGANSER


With viz down to 50 yards at 08.00 and only slight improvemnt to several 100 yds during the day the anticipation of  a good start for the month just didn't materialise.


Male PINTAIL on South Huish Marsh.


Waders on the beaches - 7 SANDERLING, 12 RINGED PLOVER, 4 TURNSTONE.




At Horswell House  wood  a flock of 60 CHAFFINCH- largest this year.


Around the patch at least 11 STONECHAT