Weather conditions certainly did not improve with the start of a New Year.   This month can be described as Wet, Wet, Wet Windy Wet!   I only logged 3 days of sunshine but still mild with a hard white over frost on 20th.   6 days of gales all from a West direction, only 3 days (19th - 21st) of East direction.


The year has started exceptional well with a total of 110 species recorded whichis the highest January total since these detailed reports started in 2011. (c/f 2015 – 101, 2014 – 98)  A good team effort from all the regular observers.


Highlights this month.



MUTE SWAN – A pair holding territory on South Huish Marsh, any new arrivals soon seen off.

GREYLAG GOOSE – One with the CANADA Flock on 18th.

BRENT GOOSE – DB -  Nick had one with the CANADA flock on 21st.



MALLARD – A low max of around 45 from both marshes.

SHELDUCK   - Max 5 on 15th.

RUDDY SHELDUCK – Present all month, mainly accompanying the CANADA flock, although Nick added it to his garden list  when it turned up on the pool at the bottom of his garden in South Milton.

WIGEON – Max of 85 on South Huish Marsh on 24th.

TEAL – Total around the 100 mark throughout with a max of 115 on 20th.

SHOVELER – Very few records this year with a max of 5 on 5th.

TUFTED DUCK – A male on South Huish Marsh from 4th – 8th.

COMMON SCOTER – Only recorded on 1 day – 25th when 5 flew W and a male close in shore flew east.



RED LEGGED –many released for Baron Banthams shooting parties around West Buckland.

GREY – A pair near the sewage works at South Milton Ley on 5th again certainly a locally released pair.



RED THROATED DIVER – Only one record – single in the Bay on 22nd.

BLACK THROATED DIVER – Again only one recorded, flying east on 22nd.

GREAT NORTHERN DIVER – Singles in the Bay on 7th, 19th and 22nd.

GANNET – Max only 25 on 6th.

FULMAR – First record on 20th.



GLOSSY IBIS – 1 found early morning of 5th on Thurlestone Marsh, then recorded on South Huish Marsh until 13th.

LITTLE EGRET – Up to 6 on both marshes

HERON – A total of 6 on Thurlestone Marsh on 25th.

WATER RAIL – 3 at South Milton Ley on 6th.

LITTLE GREBE – 2 on South Huish Marsh all month.




MARSH HARRIER – Arthur had a immature female over Thurlestone Marsh on 19th.

MERLIN – A male near the sewage works on 25th.


BARN OWL   - Alan had one near South Milton Village on 7th.

TAWNY OWL – Several reported during the month.


WADERS – 12 Species recorded

OYSTERCATCHER – Max 50 on 15th often up to 30 feeding on South Huish Marsh.

RINGED PLOVER – Max of 7 on the rocks on 19th.

GOLDEN PLOVER – Alan had a flock of around 6 – 800 near South Milton same day that Eric reported 200+ near Elston Farm

LAPWING – Max of 35 on South Huish Marsh on 20th/21st

PURPLE SANDPIPER – Arthur had 2 on Warren Point Rocks on 15th/

DUNLIN – Alan reported 1 on South Huish Marsh on 6th.

SNIPE – Very low numbers this year – a max of 60 on 20th (only frosty morning)

BLACK TAILED GODWIT -             Arthur had a single fly through on 15th.

BAR-TAILED GODWIT – A rare winter record, a single on South Huish Marsh from16th to 18th.

CURLEW – 4 flew over Thurlestone Marsh at dusk on 4th

TURNSTONE – Max of 11 on the rocks on 21st.

GREY PHALAROPE – A rare January record of a bird flying east close in shore over the rocks on 8th.



GREAT SKUA – Arthur had 1 flying east on 6th.

KITTIWAKE – Max 40 east on 8th.

LITTLE GULL – Nick had an adult over South Huish Marsh afternoon of 19th.

MEDITERRANEAN GULL – A second winter on several dates, with a max of 3 Ad on South Huish Marsh on 24th.

YELLOW LEGGED GULL – A 1st W on the Marsh on 19th, with an adult reported by Alan on 28th.



LITTLE AUK – Arthur had 1 on the sea close inshore in Leasfoot Bay on 6th (His first for the patch)

GUILLEMOT/RAZORBILL – On 8th up to 100 on the sea feeding.


KINGFISHER – 1 around the marshes and often on the rocks.



GREEN WOODPECKER – A single in West Buckland Valley on 19th.

GREAT SPOTTED WOODY – Reported from South Milton, Halwell Wood, West Buckland Valley.

JAY – Reported from South Milton Village gardens and West Buckland Valley.

GOLDCREST – Reported from at least 4 sites around the patch.

FIRECREST – 2 birds ringed at South Milton Ley, 1 in Mallards Lane on 11th.



CETIS WARBLER – Only 1 record from South Milton Ley.

CHIFFCHAFF – 9 ringed at South Milton Ley with a regular sighting of at least 10 birds.

SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF – 2 birds ringed plus sighting a further bird on 25th.

BLACKCAP – A male regularly reported in a Thurlestone Garden.

NUTHATCH – Nick had one on his garden feeders on 19th.

TREE CREEPER – One on 7th and 19th at Grove Corner, West Buckland.



FIELDFARE – Only 1 record by Nick near South Milton on 20th.

REDWING – A flock of 50 near South Milton on 6th, 10 in the lanes on the 20th, 25 at South Milton Ley 15th.

SONG THRUSH – Singles reported from 4 sites, much less common now.

MISTLE THRUSH – Singles from 2 sites and 2 from 1.


BLACK REDSTART – Only a single record of female at West Buckland on 7th.



WATER PIPIT – Up to 2 at South Huish Marsh.

SISKIN – A flock of 15 at West Buckland on 28th is the largest winter flock recorded.

BULLFINCH – 3 near South Milton Ley on 25th.

SKYLARK – Max 20 at South Milton Ley on 6th.

CHAFFINCH – Largest flock 50+ in the lanes on 7th

GOLDFINCH – 2 flocks of up to 25 at Thurlestone and South Huish Marsh regularly.

GREENFINCH – Up to 20 at South Huish Marsh.

REED BUNTING – Max of 2 at garden feeders in Thurlestone.


With little prospect of any cold weather difficult to think what conditions will be required to bring any influx of birds in February.


Mike Passman