Dec 2016SAT 31 DEC A fitting end to the year , the DESERT WHEATEAR showing well on Leasfoot Beach at 14.30, and Eric had a YELLOW BROWED WARBLER in the car park at AVETON GIFFORD at 14.00- not so long ago that would have been 2 B B rarities on the patch in one day Off to enjoy a family celebration and our 51st wedding anniversary - here's looking forward to 2017 HAPPY NEW YEAR to all of you FRI 30 DEC The spell of calm and sunny weather just continues whilst many parts of Devon were foggy here in Thurlestone it was a beautiful day . An hours Garden watch from 08.00 only produced 23 species but included - RAVEN , REED BUNTING, 5 SONG THRUSH, 3 LONG T TIT Offshore around 20 GANNET, 30 AUKS ( on the sea ) 2 KITTIWAKE , 5 WIGEON flew east South Huish Marsh very similar to yesterday - 2 LITTLE GREBE, 1 SHELDUCK, 7 SONG THRUSH , a PREREGRINE flew over, a F BLACK REDSTART on one of the blocks of flats A 14.00 on Leasfoot Beach the DESERT WHEATEAR still coping with the disturbace and showing well.Also , on the beach 15 TURNSTONE By the village shop in Avtn Gifford Eric had a FIRECREST and a NUTHATCH. Next update will be Jan 2 - meanwhile enjoy your New Year festivities ready for an  action packed start to 2017  THURS 29 DEC Another fantastic day for birding once the frost had gone, very light breeze from E. Sunny until after lunch . Did a garden watch for 45min from 08.05 24 species recorded, best were - 1 GOLDCREST, 1 REED BUNTING, 2 SONG THRUSH, 5 LONG T TIT , 2 TEAL. First stop was Leasfoot Beach at 09.20- The DESERT WHEATEAR still showing well, hopefully it will stay on its favourite portion of the beach , really has not moved for almost 6 weeks . Offshore only a few GANNET and AUKS  On the rocks / beach - 6 RINGED PLOVER, 3 TURNSTONE . On South Huish Marsh - 75 WIGEON, 40 TEAL, 2 GADWALL, 1imm SHOVELER, 5db BRENT GOOSE, 1 LITTLE GREBE, 8 LAPWING, 35 SNIPE , 1 BLACK T GODWIT, 1 RINGED PLOVER,and very good views of a WATER RAIL, around the copse 8 SONG THRUSH, 1 REDWING, 1 MISTLE THRUSH. 2 Visits to Huxton Cross proved very worthwhile- at 12.30 - 150 + CHAFFINCH, 35 LINNET, 30 GREENFINCH, 2m BRAMBLING, 1m YELLOWHAMMER, 15 STOCK DOVE,  3 REDWING, 1 FIELDFARE 1 SPARROWHAWK. Returning at 15.00 for 30 mins had a WOODCOCK fly over, amongst the finch flock at least 10 YELLOWHAMMER, 22 FIELDFARE. The usual winter SKYLARK flock ( can be 200+ ) is absent this winter , anyone else missing this  bird ? At South Efford Marsh Eric reports - 120 TEAL, 80 WIGEON, REDSHANK, GREENSHANK, COMMON SANDPIPER, 5 BULLFINCH, 5 WATER PIPIT    Have just completed a short review of the year, covering the scarce / rare species recorded on the patch , also details of 4 memorable days seawatching , will post this over the weekend WED 28 DEC A lovely sunny calm morning with only a light frost at dawn . An hours seawatching from 09.15 based in the car park produved - A male VELVET SCOTER flying east  ( only my 4th record in 10 years , although a visitor reported one on 8 Dec ), 4 db BRENT GOOSE flew east at 09.45 , 4 KITTIWAKE , At least 200 GANNET ( at one time 150+ were sat on the sea ), 90 AUKS either on the sea or flying east . By the rocks a f BLACK REDSTART On South Huish marsh - 75 WIGEON, 35 TEAL, 1 LITTLE GREBE , 2 GADWALL, 28 SNIPE, 8 LAPWING, 2 BLACK T GODWIT., 1 ad COMMON GULL . At 11.30 5 BRENT GOOSE dp flew in off the sea and landed on the marsh . This afternoon 2 CHIFFY in my garden and a m BULLFINCH along the lanes TUES 27 DEC An overcast morning with light N breeze , a keen frost around dawn. After spending Xmas with family at Wallingford - commonest bird - RED KITE, back on the patch this morning. First stop was Leasfoot Beach where the DESERT WHEATEAR was still showing well even with increased visitors on the beach , also 2 TURNSTONE Offshore 20+ GANNET and 18 AUKS flying east . A pod of around 6 Harbour Porpoise feeding offshore. On South Huish Marsh - 85 WIGEON, 45 TEAL, 2 SHELDUCK, 1 SHOVELER, 2 GADWALL, 1 LITTLE GREBE, 8 SNIPE, 7 LAPWING, 1 BLACK T GODWIT. In the copse 3 SONG THRUSH. A quick visit to the sewage works produced 15+ CHIFFY . At Huxton Cross the finch flock contained - 100+ CHAFFINCH, 30 LINNET, 1 YELLOWHAMMER and 1 SISKIN   Merry Xmas to all birders who log into the blog . Hope you have had a very enjoyable years birding, we certainly have in Thurlestone . Only 8 more days to the start of 2017 when all the year lists start with plenty of enthusiasm. Will try and post an update after 27 Dec ., meanwhile relax and enjoy the festive season Chers Mike WED 21 DEC 100%  cloud cover this morning with a F5 SW wind. Offshore  some GANNET, AUKS , 1 KITTIWAKE and at 10.10 2 GREAT N DIVER flew west . On the rocks 11 TURNSTONE. South Huish Marsh held - 72 WIGEON, 35 TEAL, 7 LAPWING , 1 BLACK T GODWIT . This afternoon a drive along the tidal road at Aveton Gifford with Eric produced - GREENSHANK, REDSHANK, COMMON SANDPIPER, BULLFINCH, NUTHATCH, TREE CREEPER , GOLDCREST and 2 CHIFFY.   TUES 20 DEC An overcast morning after rain o/night with a light SE breeze. At 09.15 the DESERT WHEATEAR showing well by the boat on Leasfoot Beach. It has now been on the patch for 43 days, will be interesting to see how it copes with the spell of gales and rain forcast for the Xmas w/end Offshore this morning - 36 AUKS , 3 KITTIWAKE, 1 BLACK T DIVER ( flew east @ 09.50), 1m TEAL in off and 30 GANNET, at 11.50 picked up a feeding frenzy of 500+ GANNET well offshore . On the rocks 7 TURNSTONE On South Huish marsh - 60 WIGEON, 50+ TEAL, 1 SHOVELER, 2 BLACK T GODWIT,5 LAPWING, 3 SNIPE . The finch and thrush flocks at Huxton X / Wood were - 120 FIELDFARE, 60+ REDWING, 1 JAY, 100+ CHAFFINCH, 30 LINNET and a MERLIN Through my garden this morning - 4 LONG T TIT, 7 REDWING, 2 CHIFFY, 1 GREAT SP WOODY In Eric's garden at 16.30 a TAWNY OWL calling MON 19 DEC Ringing at South Milton Ley on Sun Roger and Helen ringed - 9 CHIFFY, 1 GOLDCREST, 5 REDWING, 2 REED BUNTING, 3 GREENFINCH . A couple of interesting controls to report - A SEDGE WARBLER ringed 14 AUG 2016 at TEFI MARSH CEREDIGION  controlled at S M Ley on 28 AUG 2016 A REED WARBLER ringed at UTRECHT Holland, on 21 JULY 2016 controlled at S M LEY on 23 AUG 2016 - an intersting post breeding dispersal. A SEDGE WARBLER ringed on 8 AUG 2015 at DONGES LOIRE ATLANTIQUE FRANCE controlled at S M LEY on 23 AUG 2016 . Today very cloudy , only a light breeze with a flat sea . Joined by Graham this morning On South Huish Marsh - 62 WIGEON, 40 TEAL, 1imm SHOVELER, 1 LITTLE GREBE, 4 LAPWING, 3 BLACK T GODWIT, 11 SNIPE The DESERT WHEATEAR reported on Leasfoot Beach at 09.10 . On the rocks - 9 RINGED PLOVER, 15 TURNSTONE, 1f BLACK REDSTART A 90 min seawatch produced 6 DIVERS - 1 GREAT N , 3 RED T, 1 BLACK T ( on sea ) and 1 DIVER Sp ( flew west -toofar out to ID ) 16 COMMON SCOTER, 48 AUKS, 32 GANNET, 1 KITTIWAKE   SAT 17 DEC Alan Pomroy was ringing at South Milton Ley , trapped and ringed were - 7 CHIFFCHAFF, 2 SIBERIAN CHIFFY, 2 REED BUNTING . This now makes 4 SIBERIAN CHIFFY ringed this month , he also had 2 unringed birds on site today , a total of 6 in a month  is a site record .Also on site this morning were 3  WATER RAIL and 20 REDWING .  Report also rec'd that the DESERT WHEATEAR and a BLACK REDSTART are still showing well on Leasfoot Beach . THURS 15 DEC An overcast and cloudy morning with a light shower, wind f3 SSE. Some movement of birds offshore- 2hr seawatch from 09.30 from Rock flats- 7 Divers flew west between 10.08 and 10.45 - 3 single GREAT N DIVER, 2 BLACK T DIVER ( together ) and 1 RED T DIVER . A total of 82 AUKS logged ( most were GUILLEMOT ) , 41 GANNET, 21 KITTIWAKE ( inc 1 juv ), 2 FULMAR , 1 PEREGRINE flew east. On the rocks were 22 TURNSTONE, 7 RINGED PLOVER On South Huish Marsh - 48 WIGEON, 45 TEAL, 2 GADWALL, 1 SHELDUCK, 2 LAPWING, 1 SNIPE In Aveton Gifford village ( by the shop ) Eric had 25 SISKIN and 6 REDPOLL WED 14 DEC Looking out of our bedroom window at 07.35  at a wonderful dawn surprised to watch a BITTERN (202 ) fly up the valley , first record for a few years will have to keep a lookout over the next few days to see if it reappears - typical BITTERN dawn flight off to a feeding site . Also the 5 RED L PARTRIDGE still in the field opposite . On Leasfoot Beach the DESERT WHEATEAR still feeding around the upturned boat and posing for 2 photographers at 09.15  Offshore 25 + GANNET, 30 AUKS ( mostly flying east ), 1 GREAT N DIVER feeding only 30 feet off the shore . On the rocks 7 RINGED PLOVER, 12 TURNSTONE and a F BLACK REDSTART On South Huish Marsh little change from Monday . In stubble fields near Huxton Cross the first big Finch flock of the winter - 150+ CHAFFINCH, 100+ LINNET, 10 YELLOWHAMMER ( highest count this year ) and 3 CIRL BUNTING   TUES 13 DEC Only time for a short visit this morning - amongst the 85 BLACK H GULL on the rocks were an ad MED GULL and an ad COMMON GULL MON 12 DEC Very low cloud , showers  and a brisk W wind . Joined by Graham this morning The DESERT WHEATEAR showing well, even in the rain , on Leasfoot Beach Offshore - 75+ GANNET, 2 KITTIWAKE, 2 COMMON SCOTER ( flew east ), 1 GREAT N DIVER  on sea , another flew east at 11.50 , 50 WIGEON on sea . On South Huish Marsh - 50+ TEAL, 38 WIGEON, 1 imm SHOVELER, 2 GADWALL., 1 SHELDUCK flew up the valley , 2 LITTLE GREBE, 5 LAPWING, 35 SNIPE, 1 DUNLIN, 1 BLACK T GODWIT . Most of the Duck and waders were spooked by a working party from Nat Trust who were replacing boundry fence posts . The Wigeon moved on to the sea and were joined by another small flock to total 50 In fields opposite my house 5 RED L PARTRIDGE SUN 11 DEC After yesterdays wet and dank conditions nice to find a sunny, almost windless day . The DESERT WHEATEAR continued to pose for the photographers on Leasfoot Beach, also there 2 BLACK REDSTART( imm male , and a female ) Offshore only 15 GANNET, 4 AUKS, .On the rocks - 8 RINGED PLOVER, 15 TURNSTONE, a MERLIN flew through. By the flats an ad male and a female BLACK REDSTART. On South Huish Marsh -80 TEAL, 25 WIGEON, 2 GADWALL, 1 LAPWING, 1 DUNLIN, 1 BLACK T GODWIT, 15 SNIPE, 1 GREY WAGTAIL, 1 WATER PIPIT, 1 PEREGRINE and a SPARROWHAWK over, . At South Milton Ley Roger and Helen had a quiet morning - on site - 3 TAWNY OWL, 200 REDWING, 6 BULLFINCH, 20 CHIFFY , 1 CIRL BUNTING. In my garden this pm 2 CHIFFY and 2 MISTLE THRUSH flew over . Eric had the bird of the day on South Efford Marsh - 2 WHITE FRONTED GOOSE ( 201) flew from the marsh down the estuary, also 4 BLACK T GODWIT, 3 GREENSHANK, 3 REDSHANK, 2 COMMON SANDPIPER, 4 CHIFFY, 8 BULLFINCH, 20 LONG T TIT and a GOLDCREST. FRI 9 DEC A 40 min Garden watch from 07.50  only produced 24 species but did include - 1 NUTHATCH, 1m BLACKCAP, 4 CHIFFY. On Leasfoot Beach at 09.10 the DESERT WHEATEAR was still showing well - mostly around the upturned boat . It has now been on the patch since the 8 OCT. On South Huish marsh - 25 WIGEON, 65 TEAL, 2 MUTE SWAN, 2 LITTLE GREBE, 1 BLACK T GODWIT ,1 LAPWING, 1 DUNLIN, 9 OYSTERCATCHER. 40 GOLDFINCH, 10 GREENFINCH.   By the Flats 1 ad Male and 1 F BLACK REDSTART, on the rocks  22 TURNSTONE . Offshore at least 150 GANNET, 2 AUKS flew east At South Efford marsh Eric reports very little change over the last 2 weeks , up to 8 WATER PIPIT, 4 BLACK T GODWIT, 2 COMMON SANDPIPER, 3 GREENSHANK, 2 REDSHANK, 30 CURLEW, 1 LAPWING . Numbers of Wigeon and TEAL have reduced THURS 8 DEC The 200th specie was recorded today at 13.00 - a VELVET SCOTER. Anyone who follows this blog will be aware of my attempts to reach this toal having failed in the last 4 years only reaching 198 in 2011 and 2012. Still the rest of December to see if the total can be increased. Whilst I was away some records received for the patch - DESERT WHEATEAR -daily , up to 3 BLACK REDSTARTS ( inc an ad Male ), a MERLIN, . Alan P held 2 ringing sessions - 1st Dec- 3 CETTIS WARBLER, 17 CHIFFY, 2 REED BUNTING, 2 BULLFINCH, 1 GREAT SP WOODY , 6 DEC - 1 FIRECREST, 1 GOLDCREST, 9 CHIFFY, 2 SIB CHIFFY, 1 REED BUNTING, 2 BULLFINCH, also on site -3 MISTLE THRUSH, 58 LAPWING, 1 PEREGRINE MON 5 DEC -LANZAROTE UPDATE 2  Only managed to add 2 new species - a pair of TUFTED DUCK flew onto the salt pan lake and a juv MARSH HARRIER flew over the scrub land at Soo. waders at the salt pans on our last 2 visits much less numerous , BLACK WINGERD STILT up to 40, RUDDY SHELDUCK 13 , the BLACK NECKED GREBE FLOCK UP TO 50 . Last day with the car  saw us driving to the north of the island very few birds , one area described a few years ago as the best site on the island for waders was completely dried out. Finished up driving to the arrears of scrub and desert land around Soo, the site where we found the HOUBARAS was quiet apart from a flock of up to 20 BERTHELOTS PIPIT and a few SHORT TOED LARK . Next stop the area where the STONE CURLEW were, today a flock of 50 provided great views down to 25 feet. Driving along one of the scrub tracks was where the MARSH HARRIER flew through, whilst watching it hunting it disturbed 2 HOUBARA BUSTARD which then flew over us at a height of 20 feet landing nearby, superb views of a pair both inflight and feeding on the ground . Over the next dune a flock of 7 CREAM COLOURED COURSER watched for 30 mins viewed at 30-50 yards  Whilst LANZAROTE will never produce a range of species to match other holiday trips it has been very rewarding , it may have taken several hours of scanning the scrubland but the results made it worthwhile .It is a long time since i had 4 life ticks in such a short time and still in Europe   SAT 3 DEC - LANZAROTE UPDATE  Local walks along the coast paths only produced 15 species by thursday , best of which was a SPOTTED SANDPIPER on the rocks . Collected a car on Fri morning which transformed the week, first stop was the nearby Saltpans - a great site for waders -35 BLACK WINGED STILT, 8 REDSHANK, 2 GREENSHANK,3 AVOCET,25 + KENTISH PLOVER, 2 RINGED PLOVER, 30 SANDERLING, 8 TURNSTONE, 2 LITTLE STINT, 1 CURLEW SANDPIPER, On one of the main pools a flock of 42 BLACK NECKED GREBE, 11 RUDDY SHELDUCK , 2 MALLARD and a BLACK H GULL. In nearby scrubland , 2 SOUTHERN GREY SHRIKE, 2 BERTHOLET PIPITS, 1 WHITE WAGTAIL. Taking a small track off-road came across s large flock of birds comprising - 60+ LINNET, 10 TRUMPETER FINCH, 5 LESSER SHORT TOED LARK. By the camel station 50+ ROCK DOVE . Next searching for the Bustards - unsigned sand based tracks had to be negotiated , we did mange to find a flock of 17 CREAM COLOURED COURSER ( great views )2 SOUTHERN GREY SHRIKE, 15 LESSER SHORT TOED LARK, 10 BERTHOLETS PIPIT and 3 CATTLE EGRET  Species list up to 33  This morning heavy rain and low cloud - made our way to SOO, over breakfast 3 GANNET feeding in the Bay . Near SOO found a flock of 20 CATTLE EGRET, Looking  at them realized hidden amongst the bushes were at least 45 STONE CURLEW. Again spent a couple of hours looking for the Bustard , another 25 CATTLE EGRET seen, then at 11.55 managed to pick up a large bird running through some bushe s , after a few minutes scoping the area found 4 HOUBARA BUSTARD with some good in flight views of 1. So far 4 life ticks , largest flocks of B N GREBE, CC COURSER and STONE CURLEW . Off for another look around the saltpans . Photos of the DESERT WHEATEAR 13 Nov 2016 from Alan Doidge

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