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MARCH 2016

A typical range of March weather, some calm days also some SW/NW gales and plenty of rain early and late in the month.  Middle of the month E winds.


11 new species added to the year list – 8 of them Spring migrants.   Unexpected additions were  WHOOPER SWAN and MARSH TIT.   Total for the year now 130 (c/f 2015-120, 2014 – 120).

Total species recorded during the month 107 (c/f 2015-103, 2014 – 105)


Highlights this month



MUTE SWAN – pairs holding territory on both Marshes.

WHOOPER SWAN – On the morning of 12th 1 briefly on South Huish Marsh by Andy Smith.



SHELDUCK – Numbers on South Huish Marsh built up to a max of 20 on 30th.

RUDDY SHELDUCK – Seen regularly up to 24th.

WIGEON – Max 15 on 2nd down on 3rd to 2.   A male remained on the Marsh at the end of the month.

TEAL – Max 97 on 5th reducing to 20 on 31st.

PINTAIL – a pair on the sea on 13th.

SHOVELER – 5 on the sea with PINTAIL on 13th, moved onto the Marsh with 2 remaining until 31st.

TUFTED DUCK – A remarkable couple of records of birds on the sea –

On 14th a male flew east with COMMON SCOTER, next day 2 pairs landed on the sea before continuing east.

COMMON SCOTER – Only recorded on 4 days – max 29 flying east on 14th.



RED LEGGED PARTRIDGE  - Escapes from Baron Banthams shooting estate 4 at Buckland Valley on 8th – I finally caught up with 1 on 11th and 2 at South Huish Marsh on 12th.



RED-THROATED DIVER – 2 on 8th and 1 on 14th.

GREAT NORTHERN DIVER – singles on 4 days.

FULMAR – Max only 3 on 13th and 30th.

GANNET – Some days none were recorded, max 67 on 26th



LITTLE EGRET – Up to 5 on South Huish Marsh and 2 regularly on Thurlestone Marsh.

HERON – Up to 4/5 around both Marshes.



LITTLE GREBE – Last seen on South Huish Marsh on 1st.

GREAT CRESTED GREBE – first in the Bay a single on 5th increasing to a max of 4 on 12th.




MARSH HARRIER – Immature bird, probably from Slapton, seen on 10th, 14th and 15th.

MERLIN – singles around the patch 4th , 21st and 31st.


WADERS – 9 species recorded.

OYSTERCATCHER – Max 27 on 25th.

LITTLE RINGED PLOVER – first (and only) a single on 21st on South Huish Marsh (AJL).

RINGED PLOVER – Max 3 on the rocks on 4th.

LAPWING – Single on the Marsh on 1st.

KNOT – 1 with a flock of BAR TAILED GODWIT in off the sea and straight up the Valley on 15th.

DUNLIN – Only record 1 on 11th.

SNIPE – Max 10 on 11th.

BAR-TAILED GODWIT – A flock of 30 in off the sea on 15th was unexpected, normally passage starts in mid April

TURNSTONE – Up to 8 regularly on the rocks.


GULLS – some very large flocks particularly sheltering on South Huish marsh .

KITTIWAKE – Max only 12 on 4th.

BLACK HEADED GULL – 150 on the Marsh on 2nd increased to 200 on 4th when another 145 flew in off the sea in flocks of up to 30.

MEDITERRANEAN GULL – Passage birds – 5 on 3rd, 7 on 4th and 3 on 5th all on the Marsh.

COMMON GULL – A max of  4 on 3rd could well be a patch record!

LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL – 210 counted on the Marsh on 2nd is another potential patch record.

HERRING GULL – Again on 2nd over 1200 on the Marsh.

YELLOW LEGGED GULL – Adults on 8th and 11th.

GREAT BLACK BACKED GULL – 40 on the Marsh on 2nd



SANDWICH TERN – First were 4 flying east on 26th, single on 28th and 2 on 30th.


KINGFISHER – last recorded on the Marsh on 8th.



FIRECREST – Single in West Buckland Valley on 3rd and one trapped at South Milton Ley on 22nd had been ringed late last year.

COAL TIT – Visiting feeders in South Milton Gardens, also in the Buckland Valley

MARSH TIT – One found by AJL in Mallards Lane on 10th.   A rare record for the patch.



SWALLOW – First were 2 on 24th at South Huish Marsh (Julia and James from Hope Cove).

SAND MARTIN – first 1 over Thurlestone Marsh on 25th.

WARBLERS – Late Marsh is when the first migrants arrive.

CHIFFCHAFF – South Milton Ley still the main site with 25 on 11th, 20 on 15th and 10 on 29th.

SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF – 1 at South Milton Ley throughout with 2 on15th.

WILLOW WARBLER – first one in sub song at South Milton Ley on 29th and first ringed there on 31st.

BLACKCAP – 2 at South Milton Ley on 31st in song.






FIELDFARE – 5 at Upton Cross on3rd only record.

REDWING – 30 with the FIELDFARE on 3rd.   9 at South Milton Ley on 15th.

SONG THRUSH – Recorded at 5 sites mostly singles.

MISTLE THRUSH – 1 at South Milton Ley on 1st.

STARLING – Have complexly disappeared from the patch = only record were 2 at South Milton Ley on 19th (AJL)



NUTHATCH – 1 regularly visiting Feeders at a South Milton garden.

BLACK REDSTART – Only 1 record an im at South Huish marsh on 22nd (AJL)

STONECHAT – Up to 3 pairs around the patch.

WHEATEAR – First a male at South Huish Marsh on 19th (AJL) a single on21st and a pair on 27th and 30th.



PIED WAGTAIL – passage noticed in the early part of the month.

WHITE WAGTAIL – First 1 on 1st and another on 14th.

GREY WAGTAIL – 1 at South Milton Ley on1st.



MEADOW PIPIT – max 50+ moving through South Huish Marsh on 8th.

ROCK PIPIT – A few around the several rocky headlands.

WATER PIPIT – Present at South Huish Marsh on 4 days – max 3 on 30th.

LINNET – Largest flock so far this year 70+ at South Milton Ley on 22nd.

BULLFINCH – 2 in a Thurlestone Garden on 12th and 13th, also at South Milton ley

CIRL BUNTING – Recorded at 2 sites.

REED BUNTING – 3 visiting feeders at a Thurlestone Garden also recorded at 2 other sites.


April has always been one of the two months that the largest n  total of species is recorded.   Will be very interesting to see what can be found on the patch this year.

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