MARCH 2015



In comparison with recent years March will be remembered for being very dry and quite sunny.   Easterly winds were noticeable however the strongest winds were on 31st NW 7/8.


A low monthly species count of 103 (c/f 2014 – 105, 2013 – 121) with the year’s total increasing to 120 (c/f 2014 – 120, 2013 – 132) with the addition of 10 new species – highlighted by GARGANEY, LITTLE RINGED PLOVER, and the first patch record for KUMLIENS GULL.

After a brief influx of spring migrants around the middle of the month passage petered out. The first March I can remember when we did not record a SWALLOW or a SANDWICH TERN.


Significant sightings for the month:-


WHITE FRONTED GEESE – the two birds from February were last seen on the 5th.


GREYLAG GOOSE – 3 arrived on South Huish Marsh on 22nd with 2 remaining until 31st.   First record for many years of more than a single (usually in with the CANADA flocks).

MUTE SWAN – Pairs nest building on both marshes.  Birds looking for a territory don’t stay very long.



SHELDUCK – Whilst present for most of the month a surprising build up  from 25th when 8, 26th – 21, 28th – 30.   This latter count is a  patch record.

RUDDY SHELDUCK – Remained on South Huish Marsh all month.

GADWALL – A male on 1st.

TEAL – Max on the Marshes 68 on 8th.

MALLARD – Large number of unattached males still hoping for a  female to arrive.   No chicks recorded this year..

GARGANEY – A male watched arriving from the sea on 17th by Graham and Nick, later found on South Huish Marsh to the delight of a number of Devon birders.

WIGEON – Last record were 22 on 6th.

SHOVELER – A pair on South Huish on 2nd..

COMMON SCOTER – Only two records to report 3 on 3rd and 9 on 22nd.



Very few Diver records this year only 3 singles.

RED THROATED – 1 on 19th.



LITTLE GREBE – 1 – 2 Feeding on Thurlestone Marsh during the month.

GREAT CRESTED GREBE –Singles in the Bay on 9thand 17th.

COOT –One on Thurlestone Marsh on 9th.

WATER RAIL – Always difficult, to calculate how many birds on the patch – probably at least 8-10 .  One gave very good views on several days at South Huish Marsh.



GANNET – No large movements during the month with a max of c 60.

LITTLE EGRET – Up to 4 on Thurlestone Marsh, 3 on South Huish Marsh plus birds feeding on the rocks gives a patch total of 10.

FULMAR – Present most of the month max4 on 31st.

HERON – Up to 6 on both Marshes.



BUZZARD – Not unusual to see up to 6 on the patch, however on 10th, Graham Daw and myself realised birds were arriving from Bolt Tail in groups of between 3 and 5, gaining height and heading East up the valley between 10.30 – 14.00 a total of 33, on that day 3 local birds gave a patch total of 36.


MERLIN – A single over South Huish Marsh on 24th.

SPARROWHAWK – Up to 3 on the patch.

KESTREL – 1 bird on the cast, also 1 In Buckland Valley.

PEREGRINE – Regularly sighted.


WADERS – Only 9 species recorded.

OYSTERCATCHER – Max 12 on 8th.

LITTLE RINGED PLOVER – First was a single from 18th – 20th with another on 31st.

RINGED PLOVER – 3 on 9th.

GOLDEN PLOVER – Small flock near South Milton on 15th.

PURPLE SANDPIPER – singles on the rocks on 4th and 9th.

DUNLIN – 2 on 9th were the first for the year!

SNIPE – Rapidly reduced numbers max 5 on 6th.

CURLEW – Single on 17th and 2 on 25th.

TURNSTONE – Max 8 on 14th.



Highlight of the year so far was the arrival of an adult.

KUMLIENS GULL – first found by Mike Langman on 15th but only positively identified from photos by Alan Doidge on 28th both occasions at South Huish Marsh.

KITTIWAKE – Max 10 on  2nd.

BLACK HEADED GULL – Max 60 on 14th.

MEDITERRANEAN  GULL –Only record a 1st w on 17th (AFD)

LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL – 2 large flocks on South Huish Marsh, 65 on 2nd and 50+ on 29th.



SAND MARTIN – traditionally the first to arrive – this year again a single over Thurlestone Marsh on 8th (my earliest date) with 5 on 12th, 40+ on 17th then very few up to 31st.

WHEATEAR – first were 2 on 12th, a fall with 30+ on 17th  and 9 on 19th then sparse numbers



CHIFFCHAFF – Max 18 at South Milton Ley on 10th.

SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF – At least 1 still on site during the month.

CETTIS WARBLER – At least 2 males on Thurlestone Marsh most of the month.



GOLDCREST – Only small numbers recorded at South Milton Ley and Buckland Valley.

FIRECREST – A first for the year was ringed by Alan Pomroy on 10th.

BLACK REDSTART – a male and a female recorded on several dates in gardens in Thurlestone Village, last on 20th.



PIED WAGTAIL – Spring passage noted with roosts on Thurlestone Marsh of 100+ on 6th and 40+ on 8th.

WHITE WAGTAIL – Small numbers recorded, first was a single on 4th.

WATER PIPIT – A max of 4 on 19th at South Huish Marsh.



JAY – 3 around Thurlestone Marsh on 19th, singles in South Milton Village and Buckland Valley.

KINGFISHER – Single on Thurlestone Marsh on 8th.

BULLFINCH – 5 in Nicks Garden on 17th.

CIRL BUNTING – Both Males and Females visiting gardens in Thurlestone.

MISTLE THRUSH – 2 in Buckland Valley on 25th.

REDWING – 3 at South Milton Village on 17th.


April is always a Birders month of the year – passage migrants and the possibility of some overshoots can bring the unexpected.