THURLESTONE BAY BIRDS NOVEMBER 2015   After a fairly calm Autumn considerable change in the weather pattern for November – very little sunshine, 9 days of rain and in the second half of the month 5 days of gales with storm force conditions on 29th and 30th. Another very mild month with some overnight temperatures no dropping below 12 degrees. Only one morning – 23rd with a light frost.   A remarkable total of 122 species recorded – joint highest with November 2011 (c/f 2014 – 113, 2013 – 114) with 3 new species for the year – POCHARD, RED-BREASTED MERGANSER and BRENT GOOSE (Pale bellied) to the total to 186  (c/f 2014 -188, 2013 – 194).   Highlights are:   SWANS AND GEESE MUTE SWAN – A pair all month on South Huish Marsh. CANADA GOOSE – Max total 250 on the Marsh. GREYLAG GOOSE – Up to 2 with the CANADAS. BRENT GOOSE – DARK BELLIED – 2 on the sea on 18th were the first of the Autumn, a single on 21st BRENT GOOSE – PALE BELIED – Arthur had a single bird off the rocks on 22nd.   DUCK  MALLARD – Although present all month max was 35 on 9th. SHELDUCK – Recorded on 4 days, max 3 flying west on 22nd. RUDDY SHELDUCK – A big surprise to find the bird last seen in April returning to South Huish Marsh with a small flock of CANADA GEESE, on 23rd – (it arrived on 17th November 2014).  No reports of it in the intervening months present up to 30th. WIGEON – Offshore 48 on 11th, 15 flew west on 16th.   On the marsh, max only 3 on 25th. TEAL – Combined total from both marshes peaked at 175 on6th. SHOVELER – Max 4 on 3rd. POCHARD -  first of the year were 2 males flying over the Marsh on 2nd. TUFTED DUCK – a scare bird here, 2 males flew east on 11th and a male on the marsh on 23rd. RED-BREASTED MERGANSER – first of the year – a male flying west on 3rd.. COMMON SCOTER – only 4 records with a max of 15 west on 24th.   DIVERS, GANNET, SHEARWATERS AND TERN RED THROATED DIVER – singles recorded on 4 days – 1 on 23rd, 25th and 26th probably the same bird. BLACK-THROATED DIVER – One joined a RED-THROATED in the Bay close in shore on 26th. GREAT NORTHERN DIVER – 1 on13th, 2 on the sea on 26th and singles on29th and 30th. FULMAR – One flew east on 13th. MANX SHEARWATER – 1 flew east in gales on 27th. BALEARIC SHEARWATER – 1 flew east in gales on 18th and 27th. GANNET – Recorded daily max 90 on 6th and 85 on 11th. SANDWICH TERN – A late record 1 flew west on 9th.   IBIS, EGRETS, GREBES AND RAILS GLOSSY IBIS -  One found on South Huish marsh on 18th, last recorded early morning of 24th.  The second record this year. LITTLE EGRET – Present all month – max 7 on 2nd. LITTLE GREBE – One on South Huish Marsh on 21st with 2 thereafter up to month end. WATER RAIL – Heard regularly at Thurlestone Marsh and South Milton Ley.   WADERS – 12 species recorded this month. OYSTERCATCHER – Max 27 on 9th. RINGED PLOVER – Seen regularly on the rocks max 9 on  2nd  GREY PLOVER – 1 on the rocks from 11th and 13th, and 1 flew over my house up the Valley on 21st (A garden tick!)  LAPWING – Recorded on 4 dates, max 41 on 22nd. SANDERLING – Only record were 2 on the rocks on 11th. PURPLE SANDPIPER – 2 on the rocks on 2nd. DUNLIN – Only 3 records , max 2 on 22nd. JACK SNIPE – Singles on Thurlestone Marsh on 11th and on South Huish Marsh on 24th. SNIPE – Max 29 on both marshes on 24th Unusual to see2 on the rocks on 23rd WOODCOCK – 1 flew into Thurlestone Marsh early on 9th. BLACK-TAILED GODWIT – on South Huish marsh max 4 on 1st, 1 still there up to 21st. TURNSTONE – Regularly on the rocks max 9 on 2nd and 3rd.   RAPTORS Nothing unusual this month regular sightings of KESTREL, SPARROW HAWK, PEREGRINE AND BUZZARD. At least 3 TAWNY OWL calling outside my house on 3rd, also present at 3 other sites. BARN OWL – 1at South Huish Marsh on 22nd.   GULLS BLACK HEADED GULL – Max in the Bay 150+ on 29th. MEDITERRANEAN GULL – Record on 3 dates last 2 on 25th. LITTLE GULL – 2 flew east through the Bay on 25th. COMMON GULL – On south Huish Marsh 1 on12th and 3 on 25th. KITTIWAKE – max 30 on 15th. LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL – Max 70 on 15th on South Huish marsh. GREAT BLACK BACKED GULL – Max 40 on 6th.   PIGEON, DOVES, KINGFISHER. WOOD PIGEON – Clear cloudless skies required for picking up the migration – late this year – 46,500 flew through on 21st with max flock size of 6,000 On 22nd 22,500 recorded and on 23rd 10,000. STOCK DOVE – max 15 on 21st. KINGFISHER – Recorded throughout the month with at least 2 birds on the marshes and 1 regularly on the rocks.   CRESTS AND HIRUNDINES FIRECREST – 1 in the copse at South Huish marsh on 2nd. GOLDCREST – Present at four sites, max 10 in the copse on 3rd. SWALLOW – Last record were at least 2 at South Huish marsh on 21st. HOUSE MARTIN – the latest record for the patch were found by Terry Goddard at South Huish Marsh on 26th (mean latest date for Devon is 4th November)               WARBLERS CHIFFCHAFF – At South Milton Ley Alan and Bob ringed 17 on 22nd and 5 on 26th SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF – 1 at South Milton Ley on 22nd was caught and ringed on 26th. BLACKCAP – Recorded in both South Milton and Thurlestone gardens. CETTIS WARBLER – One calling regularly at South Milton ley and Thurlestone Marsh.   NUTHATCH and BLACK REDSTART. NUTHATCH  - recorded in Village gardens on 23rd and 24th. BLACK REDSTART – Recorded on 9 dates – up to 3 in Thurlestone Village gardens throughout. STONECHAT – Up to 5 at regular sites around the patch.   STARLINGS AND THRUSHES STARLING – on two roosts at Thurlestone marsh – max 3,500 on 10th.– Singles recorded at 3 sites. SONG THRUSH – Singles recorded at 3 sites. REDWING – Passage of 40 on 20th, 43 on 21st and 60 on 23rd. FIELDFARE – Recorded on 5 days – max 45 on 21st and 25 on 25th. MISTLE THRUSH – Max 4 on 21st. JAY – Max 3 on 20th.   PIPITS, BUNTING, FINCHES AND LARKS SKYLARK  – Max 35 on 10th. MEADOW PIPIT – Max 50+ on 5th. WATER PIPIT – 1 on Thurlestone Marsh on 3rd.  Singles at South Huish Marsh, 19th – 22nd with 2 on 23rd. ROCK PIPIT – Up to 15 on the beach/rocks. CHAFFINCH – passage max 45 on 1st and 32 on 21st. BRAMBLING – Singles over Thurlestone Marsh on 16th and 17th. GREENFINCH – flocks of up to 30 around South Huish marsh. GOLDFINCH – Max 25 on 10th. SISKIN – 15 on 1st, 5 on 10th and 26th. REDPOLL – 1 ringed on 22nd and lower South Huish Marsh on 23rd. BULLFINCH – Max 2 in a garden on 20th. CIRL BUNTING – Singles on1st and 23rd.  3 at South Milton Ley on 26th (2 juv F were ringed). REED BUNTING – Regularly at Thurlestone Marsh – also visiting feeders.  Writing this on 1st December so only 31 days to the end of the year.  Unless there is a really cold snap unlikely to finish this year on more than 190 species.   Have an enjoyable festive season and some great December birding.     Mike Passman