After a really hot and sunny July, the month started with heavy rain on 1st, 2nd and 6th then on 10th remnants of hurricane Bertha passed through with winds that started South  F 6/7 then backed West F 8.   This heralded an unsettled pattern that continued until the end of the month.   Winds were mainly NW from 18th to 24th, however SE F 4 and F 5 on 26th and 27th did bring some good wader passage with 10 species on 27th.


New species for the year were:  PIED FLYCATCHER, KINGFISHER, CURLEW SANDPIPER, RED POLL AND BLACK TERN taking the total to 167 (c/f 177-2013 and 182 – 2012)    Monthly total species recorded was 118 (c/f 2013 and 2012 – 124)


Significant sightings for the month


First CANADA GOOSE back on Thurlestone Marsh on 15th with 52 which departed that evening.



TEAL – Numbers built up from 3 on 1st to a max of 22 on 31st on Thurlestone Marsh.

On 20th 4 flew east.

MALLARD – Post breeding moult numbers built up to 140+ on 29th on Thurlestone Marsh.

COMMON SCOTER – Recorded on 8 days – main passage occurred on 2nd-38, 10th – 36 and 27th – 21 .



MANX SHEARWATER – recorded on 9 days with counts in excess of 100 on 10th – 106, 19th 150+ (all feeding on a calm sea) 24th – 190+, 25th – 356, 26th – 188 and 31st – 302 (flew east in 40 mins)

BALEARIC SHEARWATER – Recorded on 5 days with 3 on 15th and a max of 8 on 31st.

Most of our SHEARWATERS pass well out in the Bay, to correctly ID, BALEARIC conditions need to be a calm sea with a reasonable light.

FULMAR – Recorded most days, passage numbers were 10th – 13, 19th – 10, 27th – 10.

GANNET – Another recorded most days, significant counts were – 6th – 250+, 10th – 385, 14th – 142.

KITTIWAKE – Very few recorded, first Juv was on 25th.

MED GULL – Only recorded on 5 days with a max of 2 Juv on 31st (Note up to 40 on Kingsbridge Est)

BLACK HEADED GULL – numbers in the Bay rarely exceeded 50 and no noticeable passage.

COMMON GULL – A Juv on 5th and 2 on 28th were the only records.

LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL – Only noticeable count was 14 on 27th.

GREAT BLACK BACKED GULL – 65+ moved through on 25th.

HERRING GULL – passage of mainly Juvs on 25th when 255 logged.

YELLOW LEGGED GULL – An adult on South Huish Marsh on 4th and a juv on 16th.

ARCTIC SKUA – 1 flew east on 25th.

GREAT SKUA – single on 10th and 2 on 18th.

BLACK TERN – a single flew east on 28th (AJL, MBP)

SANDWICH TERN – Only 3 records – 21st – 1, 25th – 2 and 28th – 3.

COMMON TERN – Single on 25th, 27th – 4, 28th – 16.

ARCTIC TERN – Single on 28th.

The build-up of TERNS around Berry Head, Start Bay, and Plymouth Sound on 26th-29th of many hundreds did not result in any influx here, although small amounts of Whitebait were washed up on the beach.

STORM PETREL – Strong S winds on 10th resulted in 1 flying east in the morning.



LITTLE EGRET – Usual maxima are 5 on Thurlestone Marsh, 3 on South Huish Marsh and 2 on the rocks so it was a surprise at 06.55 on 23rd when 20 were on Thurlestone Marsh (15 flew off at 07.00).   This is a patch record.

HERON – Up to 5 on both marshes.

WATER RAIL – Calling birds on Thurlestone Marsh from 3rd.  Only sighting was 1 on South Huish Marsh on 19th.

LITTLE GREBE – single on Thurlestone Marsh from 1st until 20th.



HOBBY –single on 1st and 8th were the only records

KESTREL – Our resident bird has departed, a Juv on 26th and 30th were the only records.

SPARROWHAWK – Seen regularly probably 2 or 3 birds.

PEREGRINE  -  In frequent sightings only.

BUZZARD – Up to 4 seen daily – plenty of our very pale birds around.


WADERS – A total of 17 species recorded with 10 on 27th a possible patch August day recorded.

OYSTERCATCHER – Max 27 on 16th.

RINGED PLOVER – recorded on 11 days, only reasonable counts were 1st – 11, 25th – 26 and an exceptional count on 27th of 163 (largest flocks of 40 and 32.

LITTLE RINGED PLOVER – Juvs on 6th, 23rd to 26th and 29th .

SANDERLING – Max was on 2nd – 25, otherwise only seen on 4 other days, 4 resting on South Huish Marsh on 25th was an unusual record.

CURLEW SANDPIPER – One briefly on the back pool at South Huish Marsh on 19th (AJL, MBP).

DUNLIN – Recorded almost daily mostly on South Huish marsh – counts in excess of 10 were – 15th – 10, 18th – 18, 17th – 16, 18th – 12, 25th – 12 and a max on 27th of 33.

SNIPE – Recorded on both marshes from 1 -16th with up to 2 birds Thurlestone Marsh had 4 on 20th and 3 on 23rd .

BAR TAILED GODWIT – 2 flew onto the rocks on 27th and next day they were on Yarmer Beach.

BLACK TAILED GODWIT – Only recorded on 7 days – all on South Huish Marsh with a max of 2

WHIMBREL – 2 on 2nd and singles on 7th and 28th

CURLEW – Singles on 17th and 20th.

COMMON SANDPIPER – Singles on 27th and 29th.

GREEN SANDPIPER – recorded on 5 days, singles apart from 2 on 8th.

WOOD SANDPIPER – Singles on South Huish Marsh on 16th and 25th/26th.

REDSHANK – More records than in previous years – single recorded on 7 days with a max of 3 (patch record!) on 6th.

GREENSHANK – Singles on 11th, 13th and 27th.

TURNSTONE – Single recorded on 2 days with a max of 5 on 27th.

WOODPECKERS AND KINGFISHER – Only 1 record of GREEN at South Milton Ley on 31st.

GREAT SPOTTED – Scarce only two records of singles.

KINGFISHER – Single bird by the footbridge on 8th and over Thurlestone Marsh on 30th.



SWIFT – Max were 22 over Huxton X on 6th latest was one over Thurlestone evening of 26th.

SWALLOW - No large roost this month,  not unusual to see up to 200 in a day.

SAND MARTIN – parties of up to 30 moving through towards the end of the month.

HOUSE MARTIN –up to 35 over Thurlestone Marsh / South Huish Marsh with a max roost at Thurlestone Marsh of 100+ on 22nd.


WARBLERS – Noticeable for birds passing through my garden in the morning as well as some records in the Copse and by the ringing team at South Milton Ley.

CETTIS WARBLER – Only at South Milton Ley with a max of 4 ringed on 4th.

CHIFFCHAFF – Daily through my garden, max were 18 on 15th, 15 on 16th, 11 on 23rd, 10 on 31st.  Max ringed was 11 on 20th.

WILLOW WARBLER – Max for garden watch – 12 on 15th otherwise up to 6.  Ringing team at South Milton Ley – 4th – 33, 15th – 23, 16th – 24, 20th – 42, 23rd – 36 (total 157).

BLACKCAP – Daily on Garden watch – max 8 on 23rd, max ringed were 5 on the same date.

GARDEN WARBLER – Single through my garden on 16th, ringing team 3 on 20th, singles on 4th and 15th.

WHITETHROAT – Up to 4 – through my garden.   Ringing team – 4th – 8, 7th - 3, 15th -7, 16th – 9, 20th – 11, 23rd – 7.

LESSER WHITETHROAT – single in my garden on31st.

GRASSHOPPER WARBLER – Single in my garden on 7th, another in corner of Thurlestone Marsh on 4th (G.Daw).   Ringing team 15th – 1. 20th – 2, 23rd – 2.

SEDGE WARBLER – Seen regularly around the Marshes particularly by the footbridge.   Ringing team max was 38 on 13th, 34 on 4th and 33 on 7th.  A total of 153 ringed all at South Milton Ley.

REED WARBLER – Again seen regularly around the marshes – Max day ringed was 24 on 4th and a total of 82.


THRUSHES – Whilst BLACKBIRD appear to have bred very successfully some concern over SONG THRUSH with only 1 confirmed sighting in the Copse.  Only sighting of MISTLE THRUSH was in the Hotel Gardens.



REDSTART – A Juv caught and ringed at South Milton Ley on 23rd.

SPOTTED FLYCATCHER – Recorded on 8 days with at least two family parties – 3 in a South Milton garden on 3rd, 4 together at South Milton Ley on 20th (3 ringed) otherwise singles in the Copse and my garden

PIED FLYCATCHER – Nick T had 1 in South Milton Village on 3rd.

WHINCHAT – first a Juv at Huxton X on 26th and another next day at South Huish Marsh.

STONECHAT – Several pairs still looking after fledged young – seen daily max 7 on 8th.

WHEATEAR – first returning bird was on 4th there after recorded on 8 days with 10 on 24th, 9 on 26th.



GREY WAGTAIL – single bird on 2nd with 3 on 17th – singles flying through on several other days.

PIED WAGTAIL – Plenty Juv birds at South Huish Marsh max count (inc adults) 40 on 16th.

WHITE WAGTAIL – A single on 20th with 3 on 23rd at South Huish marsh.

YELLOW WAGTAIL – first returning bird a single on 16th, regular from 21st, significant counts of 25 on 24th, 19 on 25th, 15 on 27th all South Huish Marsh and 30 coming into roost at Thurlestone Marsh on 31st.



HOUSE SPARROW – post breeding flocks noticeable throughout the month with a significant total of 175+ in fields at South Huish marsh on 8th.

MEADOW PIPIT – first returning birds 2 on 20th seen daily thereafter although not more than 10.

TREE PIPiT – 2 birds in bushes by the footbridge on 22nd, 3 over my garden on 28th and 1 at South Huish marsh on 29th.

BULLFINCH – Only a single record on 16th.

YELLOWHAMMER – One in lanes by Huxton X on 1st.

REED BUNTING – small numbers at South Milton Ley throughout.

GOLD FINCH – largest post breeding flock was 30 on 25th.

CHAFFINCH – first signs of viz migration 8 over my garden on 31st.

REDPOLL – single over my garden on 23rd.

LINNET – first noticeable flock was 25 on 29th at Huxton X.


With the culvert at Thurlestone Marsh blocked again by sand due to high tides mid-month, the back marsh filled up again, suddenly the MALLARD and TEAL began to increase, the mud churned up by the cattle looks good for September wader passage.