Thurlestone Bay is a bird rich area of the South Hams (part of Devon). Although not having an estuary the patch has several sites which produce a wide diversity of species.


Any comments you wish to make can be entered in the guestbook.

Those of you who are keen eyed will have noticed we have a new header- Glossy Ibis on South Huish Marsh in September .If you look closely you can see a fly through raptor ! Photo from Alan Doidge

Have also had a training course in transferring photos - first two are Purple Sandpiper and Little Gull, hopefully this will add more interest to the site

Have also added 3 more direct links to other sites that I follow

Have just posted the FEBRUARY monthly review and also transferred the FEBRUARY  sightings to the archive 2014 section. Details of some controls received from the BTO are posted  in the RINGING REPORT section.



The PECTORAL SANDPIPER showed very well from 08.25, still feeding around the island. Best viewing points are at the far end of the Nat Trust car park or from the high ground nearest the cafe .

1 s GLAUCOUS GULL reported on the rocks, 2 SANDWICH TERN offshore , a WHEATEAR in the field . 60+ SWALLOW flew through

AJL reports 4+ BLACKCAP around the Hotel grounds. 4 SNIPE on T'stone marsh


Whilst driving to Salcombe Alan D had a flyover RED KITE near Malborough- although not on the patch it must have been quite close.

FRi 11 APR

Pectoral Sandpiper at South Huish marsh 10 April 2014

A mixture of sunny periods and 60% cloud cover , light variable winds and a flat sea .

08.00 on T'stone marsh first morning of chorus with WILLOW WARBLER , CHIFFCHAFF, BLACKCAP, REED WARBLER and the first SEDGE WARBLER (126 ). 6 TEAL and a SHELDUCK also 2 SWALLOW over .

Over at South Huish Marsh no sign of the Pec Sand . Small passage over included 25 SWALLOW , 1 HOUSE MARTIN, 2 TREE PIPIT ( 127 )  2 WHITE WAGTAIL

Offshore 2 SANDWICH TERN, also a DUNLIN flew through.

At 12.00 the 1w GLAUCOUS GULL flew over- last seen on 1 April.

2ad & 2juv RAVEN in flight

Late update - the PEC SAND reported by 2 visitors as showing early evening, also a WATER PIPIT


Lunchtime update - First spring record for the site - a PECTORAL SANDPIPER  ( 125 ) on South Huish Marsh this morning showing well. More details and photos to be posted later. This is only the 6th or 7th spring record for Devon. Still showing at 15.30 , however when I went down again at 16,00 could not be found .

The morning had started out good with the 2nd record this year of a WOODLARK - flying over 'Bob's ' car park at 09.00. A GREAT N DIVER flew west at 09.05 and a m COMMON SCOTER on the sea .

SWALLOW passage picked up after 11.00 total c50 . also 15 SAND MARTIN. On the Marsh Vic T had 5 WHIMBREL through, Bob B had 1 on the rocks . amongst a flock of 20 ALBA WAGTAIL were 2 WHITE ( both males ). A REED WARBLER singing this morning, a YELLOW L GULL this pm

AJL had at South Milton Ley - 3 BLACKCAP, 10 + CHIFFCHAFF , 4 WILLOW WARBLER, and a GREY WAGTAIL


Waiting for photos of the Pec Sand


The best weather morning of the year and the quietest for birds. Great viz flat sea and no wind.

Highlights restricted to - 3 COMMON SCOTER on the sea and a CURLEW over.

3 TURNSTONE on the rocks .

Behind the houses near Bob's car park a calling NUTHATCH ( 124 )

Nick's garden held 2 JAY and a male BLACKCAP

Short visit to West Buckland  provided 2 m BLACKCAP, COAL TIT and 2 CHIFFCHAFF.

Will update later if any late interest at T'stone Marsh


A bright clear day with a cold WNW wind up to F5/6, good viz but very few birds.

On the rocks at 08.50 the first WHIMBREL (122 ) of the year. Offshore 53 GANNET,


 Nick T had 4 RINGED PLOVER and a WHEATEAR on the beach

A short visit to South Milton Ley at 16.50 produced the first REED WARBLER (123 ) singing by the board walk , also a CETTI'S, 1m BLACKCAP, 8 CHIFFCHAFF


Incoming High pressure from France might push some migrants to make the effort to cross the Channel.

Late evening update - 19.30 - T'stone marsh - 40 ALBA WAGTAIL roost, 20 SWALLOW , 2 SAND MARTIN, 12 TEAL and a REED WARBLER singing


Another dire morning poor viz which got worse when the heavy showers went through  .Wind SSW F 6.

Offshore 10 SANDWICH TERN and a KITTIWAKE flew east

On South Huish marsh - The 4 EGYPTIAN GOOSE seem to have taken up residence, 8 SHELDUCK. Heavy showers brought hirundines in 80+ SWALLOW and 20 SAND MARTIN

A short visit at 16.30 only produced a few more SWALLOW and a flock of 25 BLACK HEADED GULL resting on the sea.

Late update - 18.00  T'stone Marsh and my garden - 10 SWALLOW, 4 SAND MARTIN, 16 TEAL, 1 SNIPE, 3 WILLOW WARBLER and 2 CHIFFCHAFF


At South Efford Marsh Eric reports - 50+ Swallow, 1 House Martin and a pair of Pintail

( his first for the site )


A really miserable Spring day , very poor viz , constant drizzle and some heavy showers, wind SSW F 6 +.

On T'stone Marsh -  20 SWALLOW ( at last ), 6 SAND MARTIN,  2 SNIPE, 4 TEAL,

3 LITTLE EGRET , both CHIFFCHAFF and WILLOW WARBLER singing.45 + LESSER B B GULL on the water .

On South H Marsh 4 EGYPTIAN GOOSE still.

Offshore nothing until a short brief break in the rain at 12.30 then in the next 45 mins 21 SANDWICH TERN , 3 FULMAR , 1 GANNET and an ad LITTLE GULL all flew east.

As the weather improves this week hopefully so will the migrant tally .


1 APR - Before heading off to Bedford managed to spend from 08.00 - 10.00 on the patch - Another record for TUFTED DUCK with a male on South H Marsh. Offshore 15 GANNET , 3 FULMAR and 5 SANDWICH TERN all flew east. AJL had the GLAUCOUS GULL again


Little of note reported whilst I was away apart from   a scattering of SWALLOW, SAND MARTIN and a BLACKCAP

Nick Treturned on Thurs afternoon and found the bird of the month so far with a GREAT WHITE EGRET ( 121 ) trying to land on his garden pond- that is the same one that had a BITTERN 2 years ago- cracking couple of garden ticks for him . This is the 3rd record for the patch ( all in the last 2 years )

 On Sat walking round the coast he had 3 each of TURNSTONE and RINGED PLOVER on the beach .

Whilst staying  in Ampthill ( near Bedford ) managed to have a short visit to Fen Drayton Lakes in Cambridgeshire, never having been before thanks to some of the local guys for pointing me to the hot spots - target bird showed very well - male BAIKAL TEAL ( a lifer for me ), 1m SMEW ( never seen this specie in April brfore ) and a male GARGANEY . , still plenty of WIGEON , GOLDENEYE , POCHARD SHOVELER and GADWALL. on the lakes


An overcast morning with light showers in the afternoon. Wind still SE but only up to F4 . Calm sea .

All the activity was offshore, Bay watched from 09.15 to 16.15 , joined by Graham & Martin Daw with visits from Bob B , Vic T and Tony,.

Steady passage of birds during the day produced totals of - 271 COMMON SCOTER

( largest flocks 40 ) 74 SANDWICH TERN ( largest flock 14 ) 24 GANNET, 8 FULMAR,  17 KITTIWAKE , 2 BLACK H GULL, 2 MED GULL ( 2s, 1s ) 1 COMMON GULL,

1 1s GLAUCOUS GULL ( sat on the sea for 2hrs ), a total of 8 species of Gull.

A MANX SHEARWATER ( 120 )  flew east at 13.45 and a BLACK THROATED DIVER on the sea briefly. 5 AUKS noted .

Hirundines limited to a single SAND MARTIN.

3 TURNSTONE on the rocks .

At South Milton Ley 1 WILLOW WARBLER a number of CHIFFCHAFF and 2 BULLFINCH.

The 4 EGYPTION GOOSE still present.

Have to go and look after Grandaughter in Bedfordshire no more updates until next week

The impressive numbers of Scoter and Terns are possibly record day totals for March, the Manx is also our earliest record

Some cracking photos on the Devon Birds web site of yesterdays Avocets

Late news from SAT a visitor reported a SWALLOW ( 118 ) and also a YELLOW LEGGED GULL ( 2cy ).

The expected flow of hirundines did not arrive , stiil a cool brisk SE f4 wind  , if you could shelter from the wind a nice mild day with sunny periods .

Standing near Rock Flats so that both the Marsh and the sea could be watched really did pay dividends when at 11.45 a small flock of 5 AVOCET ( 119 ) flew in from the west. They did 2 loops around the Bay/ Marsh before at 11.55 flying up the valley . This is only our 2nd Spring record in the last 10 years.

Also offshore a RED T DIVER, 20 COMMON SCOTER and a single BRENT GOOSE -all flew east. Waders on the rocks - 5 TURNSTONE, 1 SANDERLING.



Last day of March hopefully can continue our recent good run of birds - there must be some Terns out there.


Still cool with a F5 ESE wind , amostly overcast day.

On T'stone Marsh the first sign of spring with mother MALLARD and 9 recently hatched ducklings.also 12 TEAL, 1 SHELDUCK and 3 CHIFFCHAFF.

A quick visit to South Milton Ley found 10 CHIFFCHAFF and 2 WILLOW WARBLER ( 117 )also 2 GOLDCREST and a JAY.

On South Huish Marsh the 4 EGYPTION GOOSE still present along with 8 SHELDUCK, 16 TEAL. and a m SHOVELER.   From 10.30 until 12.00 a steady stream of SAND MARTIN  flying through, although the largest flock only 15 the total was at least 100.

A CURLEW flew in off the sea and straight up the valley.

At 12.00 3m 1 F TUFTED DUCK were on the sea- surprisingly we have had more records of Tufties this year than Gadwall.

Driving back towards South Milton a field on the right has some cattle feeding in it, amongst a small group of Gulls was 2cy ICELAND GULL - continuing what is the best year ever for white winged gulls on the patch .

Left early to go to DBWPRS AGM with Nick T when we arrived the meeting had been cancelled  due to a double booking of the venue. Another visit to S H Marsh could only produce 3 COMMON SCOTER - east, 1 SAND MARTIN, 20 PIED and 3 WHITE WAGTAIL


A very cold day with frequent heavy showers and again little evidence of spring passage.

On South Huish Marsh the 4 EGYPTION GOOSE still in residence, 32 TEAL,


A 3hr seawatch came up with - 1 RED T DIVER -east, 2 COMMON SCOTER -east, 10 GANNET, 4 FULMAR, 4 HERON flying high west ( + 2in the Bay ) 4 BLACK HEADED GULL AND A COMMON GULL in off, 1 RINGED PLOVER in and straight  up the  valley .

Not a Hirundine in sight


Despite a ESE wind and clear conditions very little to report .

On South Huish Marsh at 08.30 were 4 EGYPTION GOOSE ( 116 ) first patch record for 3 years.also 7 m WHEATEAR. Nick T went back to the marsh at 11.30 when another 3m & 2 f flew in .



At South Efford Marsh Eric reports - 2 Little Ringed Plover a singing Willow Warbler and 2 Swallow flew thru.


A cloudy but clear morning with a light N wind and still very little evidence of migrants .

At 08.00 T'stone Marsh had 15 TEAL, 7 SNIPE.

At South Huish marsh 2 WHEATEAR ( 1m and the first F this year )  17 TEAL,


Offshore the only highlight was a RED T DIVER on the sea and a TURNSTONE on the rocks .

A quick visit to the pumping station at South Milton Ley found at least 15 CHIFFCHAFF and a YELLOWHAMMER .

Hopefully the predicted E/SE winds over the next few days will herald the arrival of migrants ..

A milestone for the blog today for reaching 100.000 hits since it started in Jan 2012.

Hope you will continue to enjoy reading about this fantastic ( at times ) patch , whoever you are


A fine spring morning feeling quite warm when the sun shone.

Early morning on T'stone Marsh -28 TEAL, 3 LITTLE EGRET, 2 SHELDUCK and 2 singing CHIFFCHAFF.

In the fields behind the cafe Graham Daw picked up a WOODLARK ( 115 ), unfortunately at that moment the farmer came into the field to move some of the sheep and the bird could not be relocated . We had good if brief views of the supercillia and the face patch Not an annual bird here .

On the field on the left hand side after crossing the footbridge a recent spreading of liquid manure attracted at least 20 WAGTAILS of which 7 were WHITE, also 20 + MIPIT. 2 CHIIFCHAFF calling

On the marsh 2 m WHEATEAR , 8 SHELDUCK and only 7 TEAL

Offshore 14 SHAG on Thurlestone Rock and 2 pods of Dolphin close in off Warren Pt. One had a distinctive white edge to its fin.


A cloudy morning with a SSE F5/6 wind and a rough sea. The anticipted rain held off unti 11. 30.

On T'stone Marsh 15 TEAL, 2 SHELDUCK

Some passage offshore 09.00-11.30  First SANDWICH TERNS of the year (114 ) , 2 flew east at 09.20 and 1 @10.35. No calls just straight thru.1 GREAT N DIVER west ULMAR, 42 GANNET, 2 RAZORBILL, 1 GUILLEMOT , 3 AUK sp all east.10 COMMON SCOTER -east, 1m on sea. 2 SHELDUCK west. GLAUCOUS GULL sat on sea with some G B B GULL@ 10.40

On the rocks 5 TURNSTONE

On South Huish Marsh -28 TEAL, 6 SHELDUCK, 1 m WHEATEAR, 2 SNIPE, 2 COOT.



I was unable to visit the patch, only information received was  another GLAUCOUS GULL seen by Nick T and Terry G. G N DIVER still in the Bay

At least 25 TEAL on T'stone marsh


A nice sunny day with a cold F6/7 SW wind.  Very little activity and still no  numbers of migrants, only a single male WHEATEAR this morning.  GREAT N DIVER still in the Bay

Offshore 2 m COMMON SCOTER and 2 FULMAR east. On the Marsh 12 TEAL, 8 SHELDUCK 2 COOT and a flock of LESSES B B GULL which built up late morning to total 45 by 12.30

Showers of rain this afternoon, went down again and found even less than this morning .

Big family and friends meeting to celebrate this w/end so unlikely to be any update until Monday


A cloudy morning with an increasing F 5/6 SSW wind, rough sea , rain held off until the afternoon.

All the action was offshore, over a 3hr seawatch from the Cafe - 2 GREAT NORTHERN DIVER ( on sea ) 4 RED THROATED DIVER ( 1 on sea , 3 E ) and finally at 12.15 a BLACK THROATED DIVER ( on sea ). This is a good day total for the Bay and some time since all 3 species seen on the same day. 6 FULMAR flew east and a single GANNET east.

On South H Marsh - 22 TEAL, 8 SHELDUCK and 2 COOT .

No hiundines or passerines.


Another cold windy and almost birdless day.The main excitement was finding 2 COOT , 17 TEAL , and 6 SHELDUCK on South Huish Marsh

Offshore only 2 GANNET and a FULMAR

After 2hours of looking at waves gave up and went over to South Milton Ley a total of 7 CHIFFCFAFF ( 2 singing )  5 STOCK DOVE, 5 LONG T TIT, 5 BLUE TIT , 3 GREAT TIT and 4 CHAFFINCH was the total !


Highlight of the morning was visiting June Huggins  to deliver the Feb  monthly report, she informed me of a male BLACKCAP ( 113 ) singing in her garden


A cloudy morning cold with a F5 WSW wind and a rough sea . Little activity.

Offshore a RED THROATED DIVER flew east at 10.00. 8 FULMAR, 6 GANNET and a RAZORBILL on the sea.

A male WHEATEAR in the field behind the cafe. On South Huish marsh  a 2w GLAUCOUS GULL flew in at 11.10, spent 15 mins preening before flying out to sea ,

( not relocated ). As it is more than 2 weeks since the last 2w recorded highly likely this is another bird. 6 SHELDUCK. No TEAL - the 24 from yesterday must have departed

In West Buckland valley a singing CHIFFCHAFF and 2 MISTLE THRUSH


A cloudy morning, little wind and a flat calm sea. Joined this am by Nick T , Graham & Martin Daw. Between us we managed to confirm that spring migration was starting !

In the Bay was a GREAT N DIVER, 7m COMMON SCOTER flew west. Late afternoon 15 TEAL landed on the sea before flying east .

On South H Marsh - 22 TEAL, 8 SHELDUCK, 1 COOT, 1 SNIPE. A male WHEATEAR behind the cafe. 4 STOCK DOVE in a recently ploughed field .


Best activity took place between 13.00 - 13.30. Whist driving home a male MERLIN

( 111 ) flew over T'stone Marsh and on towards the Golf Club . Graham & Martin were eating lunch on the seat at ' Bob's ' car park when 2 HOUSE MARTIN ( 112 ) flew over, later they had a SAND MARTIN over the Golf Course.

This is the earliest patch record for House Martin in recent years. First occasion they have been recorded before Swallow


A weekend with expectations that turned into one of the quietest of the year to date . Today plenty of sunshine and a brisk ( cold) NW wind.

Offshore this morning a GREAT NORTHERN DIVER ( AJL had a BLCK THROATED as well at 0815 ), 4 m COMMON SCOTER on the sea

On South Huish marsh - 4 TEAL , 4 SHELDUCK .

Only 2 OYSTERCATCHER on the rocks.


A large number of HERRING GULL and LESSER B B GULL moving through- 135 & 10 .

This afternoon 100 + HERRING and 20 LESSER BB GULL on T'stone Marsh along with 10 TEAL


Gives you some idea of how quiet it was.

Oh , yesterdays star bird was a KESTREL !

Hopefully the coming week will bring some of the anticipated migrants


A day completely spoilt by the fog and mist with a light wind .


On South Huish Marsh - only 10 TEAL, 2 WIGEON, 4 SHELDUCK. In the fields 30 + MIPIT, 10 ALBA WAGTAIL,  2 CHIFFCHAFF ( singing ) and the first coastal migrants of LINNET -party of 5 .

Only bird of note over T'stone Marsh was a CURLEW over at 14.00


A fine and sunny day - thankfully we missed the early morning fog. Only a liitle breeze and a flat calm sea . Spring migrants arrived .

On the sea a juv BLACK THROATED DIVER feeding on crabs by the white bhouy. 9 MUTE SWAN swam across the Bay, earlier 7 had flown over T'stone Marsh , assumed these were the same birds. 12 BLACK HEADED GULL flew in and then up the valley ( first for a few days )

On and around South Huish Marsh this am - 2 m WHEATEAR (109 )- Alann D had1 last night !. A SAND MARTIN flew through. 10 SNIPE, 1 CURLEW over.

Went back down at 15.45 to find 3 m WHEATEAR, TEAL now 45, 2 WIGEON,

8 SHELDUCK, 3 HERON, 3 LITTLE EGRET, 3 BLACK TAILED GODWIT ( 110 ) were on the back of the Marsh


An overcast morning which eventually cleared to provide some weak sunshine, a light E breeze. Flat calm sea unfortunately very few birds.

When the highlight in the Bay was 5 MUTE SWAN swimming across the Bay you start to realise how bad it was. 8 LESSER B B GULL in off the sea. Waders on the rocks -

1 CURLEW, 1 TURNSTONE and a small flock of 6 birds ( probably Ringed Plover )

On South Huish marsh -25 TEAL, 6 SHELDUCK, 2 WIGEON and a PEREGRINE on a kill .

A short visit to South Milton Ley produced 6 CHIFFCHAFF ( several in song )  and  a GREY WAGTAIL.

However the day finished on a very high note with a 1st w MARSH HARRIER  ( 108 ) over T'stone Marsh at 16.30- seen to land in the reeds . and 12 TEAL, 2 SHELDUCK


Unfortunately the cloud did not break up which with a brisk ENE wind made it feel very cold. Result was a poor days birding

On South Huish Marsh - a pair of WIGEON, 9 SHELDUCK, 10 TEAL. A CHIFFCHAFF singing in the copse area.

Offshore  were 6 GANNET, 36 COMMON SCOTER ( flew east largest flock 20 ),


On the rocks 2 TURNSTONE.

A pair of SHOVELER on T'stone Marsh were new arrivals , also 8 TEAL


Another spring like day with only a light S breeze. Most of the activity took place offshore, particularly late morning.

Duck on the sea were - 10 SHOVELER, 2 PINTAIL, 33 TEAL, also a GREAT CRESTED GREBE and 9 CURLEW flying around . 13 MUTE SWAN passed through, with 5 on South Huish Marsh and 2 on T'stone Marsh gave a patch total of 20, my highest day count. One of them had a Green dorvic ring - 9 A 1.

On the rocks waders were - 6 RINGED PLOVER, 6 TURNSTONE, 1 SANDERLING.

Single GANNET and FULMAR flew east.

On South Huish Marsh 1f WIGEON and a few TEAL, 8 SHELDUCK. An increase in ALBA WAGTAIL - at least 40 moving through, inc at least 2 WHITE ( 107 ). 20 MEADOW PIPIT around .

 Late news for Sat from Vic T- 3 WATER PIPIT and another SAND MARTIN at South Huish Marsh.

Next update will be on Tuesday - I have to attend a funeral in Sutton Coldfild on Monday


Spring seems to have arrived and a SSE F4/5 once again produces movement offshore and the first Spring Migrant .

A 2 hr seawatch from the flats produced - 9 GANNET, 4 FULMAR, 2ad MED GULL _E ,

30 TEAL -E ( another 3 later )   14m 1 f COMMON SCOTER -E ( small groups -8 max ) Small goups of CURLEW moving thru -total 10 (max 5 together ) this is more than was recorded during all 2013. 1 GUILLEMOT, 9 TURNSTONE on the rocks .

On SOUTH HUISH Marsh - 1m TUFTED DUCK was a new arrival, 8 SHELDUCK and a small no of TEAL. At 13.40 Doug Stannard had the first migrant a SAND MARTIN (105) flew thru. He also had a record count of GOOSANDER (106 ) for the patch  3m &5 f flew arond the Bay before continuing east


T'stone Marsh held only 25 TEAL and a SNIPE.

Roll on Sunday !


After the clouds cleared away at 10.30 became a nice spring like day - unfortunately no migrants yet .

On T'stone Marsh - 15 TEAL, 1 SNIPE , 1 SPARROWHAWK .

On South Huish Marsh  WIGEON reduced to just 1 female , 6 TEAL, 6 SHELDUCK. An increase in ALBA  WAGTAILS  ( all PIED ).

Offshore 2 KITTIWAKE , 1 FULMAR, 1 RAZORBILL. 4 TURNSTONE on the rocks .

At West Buckland were 2 MISTLE THRUSH and a BULLFINCH.

Settleed weather over the next week should produce the first migrants .


Got back at 13.00, after empting the car managed to go down to South Huish Marsh at 15.00.. 16 WIGEON, 20 TEAL, 2 LITTLE EGRET and 6 SHELDUCK all that was on site.

Offshore a tired looking RAZORBILL, FULMAR and a KITTIWAKE

Very little on T'stone Marsh - a few TEAL , WATER RAIL calling.

Doesn't appear to have been much on the patch whilst I was away - GLAUCOUS GULL reported Sat / SUN.

Birds on BOA VISTA ( part of the Cape Verde Islands ) few and far between, managed 35 species  in the week , which included a few life ticks, will post a report next week , did manage to see all the target birds I was hoping for though.


Nick T reports 3 RINGED PLOVER and a SANDERLING on the rocks . JAY and COAL TIT in his garden


Adult Glaucous Gull (note slight oil patch ) All photos Alan Doidge