The incredible mild Autumn continued throughout the month with the temp reaching 20C+ on 31st   Whilst there were a few days with some heavy showers there were only three days with gale force winds which included the remnants of at least two Atlantic storms.


With only 6 new species for the year, taking the total to 179 (c/f 2013 – 190,  2012 – 193), two of them yet again were patch ticks – COMMON CRANE and WHOOPER SWAN, other additions were BRENT GOOSE (pale bellied), SOOTY SHEARWATER, RED-BREASTED MERGANSER and RING OUZEL.   Total species recorded this month was only 112 (c/f 2013 – 118, 2012 – 130)


Good visible migration mornings were towards the end of the month, particularly 22nd, 25th, 28th and 31st.   The Garden Watch surveys carried out on 15 mornings ( I was on holiday in Cyprus for 7 days) the max daily total again 45 species with a monthly total of 69 species.


Significant sightings for the month:-




MUTE SWAN – Recorded on 2 days – on 10th 2 flew east and then 2 AD + 2 JV were on the sea.   On 22nd 1 AD flew around the marsh and continued SE up the valley.

WHOOPER SWAN – Whilst I was away Bob had 3 AD over South Huish Marsh on 14th (spent the next 2 days at Aveton Gifford).  On 19th we arrived back at 04.00 so it was a great surprise when at 09.30 I looked out of our window to find 2 AD and 3 JV on the back pool not more than 30 yards away.   They roosted on the Marsh usually arriving around 17.00 and leaving at 07.50-08.00 each morning.   Last seen at 07.45 on 25th.     Incredibly on 22nd an adult was with the MUTE SWAN that flew through.   A total of 9 birds recorded - a patch record.

CANADA GOOSE – Numbers built up to over 300 at the end of the month spending most time at South Huish Marsh during the day.

BRENT GOOSE (DARK BELLIED) – Recorded on 5 days highest totals being 10 on 7th and 18 on 9th – all flying east.

BRENT GOOSE (PALE BELLIED) – 2 flew in off the sea and up the valley on 30th first records for 2 years.




TEAL -  Present throughout the month on both marshes – highest totals were 60 on 7th, 45 on 19th and 40 on 25th.

SHELDUCK – Singles recorded on two dates 14th and 29th both on South Huish Marsh.

WIGEON – Only recorded on 6 days, passage birds were 6 on11th and 24 on 12th.

MALLARD – Highest total for the month were 106 on21st.

SHOVELER – A single JV on Thurlestone Marsh from 21st – 24th.

TUFTED DUCK – Highlight of one viz migrant watch on 22nd when a male flew around Thurlestone Marsh before continuing east.

COMMON SCOTER – Recorded on 6 days – highest total only 15 on12th.

RED-BREASTED MERGANSER – Highlight of a sea watch on 28th when a female flew east.



Only a single record of a RED- THROATED DIVER flying out of Hope Cove and going west on 1st.

LITTLE GREBE – A single bird on Thurlestone Marsh from 6th, two together on 30th.



SOOTY SHEARWATER- A single record of one flying east on 21st.

MANX SHEARWATER –Only one record, one flying east on 23rd.

BALEARIC SHEARWATER – Recorded on 3 days – singles on 6th and 8th and a record total of 28 flying east – largest flock was 7.

GANNET – recorded most days with significant counts of 180 on 3rd, 900 on 6th and 620 on 8th.

CORMORANT – noticeable increase to 12 birds on 7th.

SHAG – A total of 20 on 7th is the highest of the autumn.

LITTLE EGRET – Again present throughout the month, highest total was 8 on 10th.

GREAT WHITE EGRET – One watched by John King at 07.30 on 22nd on Thurlestone Marsh – second record this year and fourth for the patch.

COMMON CRANE – Late afternoon on Sunday 19th report received of a CRANE on South Huish Marsh, at first light on 20th it was standing no more than 30 yards from the car park amongst some CANADA GEESE.   Gave superb views to the many local birders until departing at around 11.15 a.m.

This is the third site record although these is some doubt that the previous two were never submitted to Devon Birds.



BUZZARD – Seen daily, a max of 5 on the 2nd.

SPARROWHAWK – At least two or three around the patch.   2 together flying SE early on 28th could have been migrants.

MARSH HARRIER – AJL had a JV/ Female over Thurlestone Marsh briefly.

KESTREL – At least two birds around the coast.

MERLIN – A female flew through South Huish Marsh on 2nd.

PEREGRINE – Recorded occasionally with sometimes 2 together.



WATER RAILS – Up to5 calling on South Milton Ley and 3 on Thurlestone Marsh.



A disappointing month with only 10 species recorded.

OYSTERCATCHER – Max 38 on 3rd.

RINGED PLOVER – A max of only 3.

GOLDEN PLOVER – Bob had one in off the sea on 12th.   A flock in fields near to Elston Farm contained 40 on 27th increasing to 76 on31st.

LAPWING – A single bird flew north on 22nd and 2 were with the PLOVER on 31st.

SANDERLING – A max of 3 on 8th

DUNLIN – Small numbers only up to the middle of the month with a max of 8 on 10th.

JACK SNIPE –  first returning bird flew into Thurlestone Marsh ,late afternoon of 27th.

SNIPE – Whilst present throughout the month – very low numbers max were 12 on 2nd and 10 on 26th.

BLACK- TAILED GODWIT – Recorded daily from 19th with a max of 6 on 22nd.

TURNSTONE – Just made it onto the monthly report with 2 on the rocks on 31st.



A single record of an ARCTIC SKUA (dark phase) east on 3rd.

KITTIWAKE – Max of 8 on 8th and 31st.

BLACK HEADED GULL – Max of 150on 9th.

LITTLE GULL – Two records of 3 on 7th and 1 on 9th.

MEDITERRANEAN GULL – Only recorded on 5 days, singles on3, 2 on 10thand 3 on 29th.

GREATER BLACK-BACKED GULL – 52 flew through on 10th whilst 75+ resting in a field on 21st (gale force winds).



Suprisingly no records of SANDWICH TERN at all.  

2 COMMON TERN on 8th and 4 ARCTIC TERN on 9th (Bob B)


KINGFISHER – Recorded on11th, 24th and 31st around Thurlestone Marsh.



The traditional WOOD PIGEON movements started from 25th all flying SE early morning – 1250 on 25th, 2300 on 28th and 3700 on 31st.

STOCK DOVE – Max of 35 flying SE on 31st.



2 GREAT SPOTTED in the copse on 10th.   A single GREEN flew SE on 31st.

JAY – Some autumn movement most of which are to and from the Hotel ground searching for acorns.   Highest numbers were 9 on 11th, 6 on 28th and 8 on 30th.


CORVIDS - Usual roost in trees near the Church in Thurlestone with at least 100 ROOK and 150 JACKDAW.  

CARRION CROW up to 10 and a few RAVEN around.


GOLDCREST – Very few records with 1 on 1st and 4 on 25th.   A couple were caught and ringed.



SAND MARTIN – Last records were singles on 8th and 11th.

SWALLOW – Last large flock was 240 on2nd.   Still 10 over the Marsh on 22nd.

HOUSE MARTIN – Last record 3 on 14th.



CETTIS WARBLER – Male calling on Thurlestone Marsh from 24th to end of month.

Only 1 female at South Milton Ley.

CHIFFCHAFF – Max 8 on12th.   Small numbers moving through up to the end of the month.

BLACKCAP – Up to 3 at South Milton Ley.   Bob had an Albino with pink bill on 22nd.

SEDGE AND REED WARBLER – Singles at South Milton Ley.



BLACKBIRD – Noticeable migrant increase on 28th when 20 recorded.

RING OUZEL – Alan Pomroy had one in hawthorn bushes with BLACKBIRDS at South Milton Ley on 12th.   Only the second record in last 11 years.

SONG THRUSH – Migrant passing through – 5 on 22nd and 2 on 31st.

REDWING – first autumn record was 7 on 22nd, 15 on 25th, 75 on 28th and 20 on 31st.

MISTLE THRUSH – Patch record count of 10on 5th and 6 on 15th all heading north.




SKYLARK –Some viz migrant counts 80 on 1st, 305 on 2nd, 91 on 3rd, 80 on 10th, 60 on 28th and 47 on 31st.

STONECHAT – Still recorded daily, max count of 10 on 5th.

BLACK REDSTART – first autumn migrant a JV at South Huish Marsh on 26th also 1 on 31st.

WHEATEAR – Recorded on 7 days, last records 2 on 18th and 1 on 20th.

PIED WAGTAIL – Max for some years a count of 300 on 12th.   Roost count of 110 on 27th.

GREY WAGTAIL – 3 recorded on 7th and 22nd.

MEADOW PIPIT – 170 on 2nd, 75 on 3rd around 40 on South Huish Marsh all month with 55 on 28th.

ROCK PIPIT – Up to 15 on the seaweed and rocks.



Some viz migrants, noticeable movements were:-

CHAFFINCH – 50on 12th, 127 on 22nd, 67 on 25th and 83 on 31st

GREENFINCH – 25 on 22nd, 43 on 31st.

GOLDFINCH – 285 on 22nd, 100 on 25th, 91 on 31st.

SISKIN – Very small passage movements this year – 12 on 22nd, 3 on 25th, 6 on 26thand 10 on 28th.

LINNET – Recorded throughout the month max 250 on 22nd.

REDPOLL – Alan Pomroy had 1 flyover the Ley on 12th.

BULLFINCH – 4 at the Ley on 25th, 1 through my garden 26th.

YELLOWHAMMER – Males recorded on 3 days.

CIRL BUNTING – Male in a local garden at the beginning of the month.

REED BUNTING – Viz migrants counts of 11 on 22nd and 9 on 25th.

STARLING – Noticeable increase of roost of 1000on 30th and 4750 on 31st.with a further 1315 from a viz mig watch.





Very little ringing undertaken.    Two very interesting controls to report.


  1.  SEDGE WARBLER – D643595 ringed at South Milton Ley on 12th August 2013 controlled at PLOMODIERM, FINISTERE, FRANCE on 20th August 2013 covering a

distance of 235Km in 8 days.

  1. SEDGE WARBLER – D433010 ringed at South Milton Ley on 28th April 2013 controlled on 12th July 2014 at LAGUNAS DE ATAPUERCA, BURGOS, SPAIN (in the San Sabastian region) a distance of 879 KM.

Not many of the SEDGE WARBLERS ringed at our two sites have been controlled in Spain.