THURLESTONE BAY BIRDS JANUARY 2017   After finally managing to have more than 200 (actually 202) species recorded on the patch for the first time in 2016 it was back to Zero with the New Year.   Got off to a flying start with    115 Species recorded – (c/f 2016 – 110, 2015 – 101).   Weather – Month mostly mild and very dry only frosts were on 3rd and 23rd, although a biting wind on 26th made it the coldest day.   High pressure systems dominated resulting in some nice sunny days as well as predominately easterly winds.   No gales. Rain only on 16th with showers on 3 other days. Last few days windy and wet.   Highlights – The DESERT WHEATEAR spent all month on its favoured part of Leasfoot Beach to the delight of many birders who came to visit.  CATTLE EGRET in the slurry fields from 23rd (with 2 on 24th and 25th).   A GOOSANDER  on the River Avon.   Main sightings SWANS AND GOOSE MUTE SWAN – Resident pair on South Huish Marsh all month.  Up to 30 on River Avon. GREYLAG GOOSE – A dodgy looking individual with the CANADA flock on 20th. CANADA GOOSE – Max of 150+ on 20th around South Huish Marsh. BRENT GOOSE – Report of 3 in the Bay on 22nd.   DUCKS SHELDUCK – Singles on South Huish Marsh on 8th and 17th. WIGEON – Max on South Huish Marsh 120 on 19th.   On South Efford Marsh 120 on 2nd when also 97 on South Huish Marsh. GADWALL – A pair on South Huish Marsh from 2nd until 10th. TEAL  - Very low numbers this month – Max on South Huish Marsh only 25 on11th and on South East Marsh 35 on 22nd. SHOVELER – An imm male on South Huish Marsh from 2nd joined by a female mid mouth.   On 23rd 3m and 2f on the sea for 1 hour before flying E COMMON SCOTER – Only recorded on 7 days with a max of 20 flew east on 20th. GOOSANDER – Red Bone had 1 on River Avon on 20th.   DIVERS AND GREBES RED THROATED DIVER – Singles in the Bay on 5th, 8th and 10th. BLACK THROATED DIVER – 2 in the Bay on 20th. GREAT NORTHERN DIVER-  2 on 10th and singles on 17th and 19th. LITTLE GREBE – One on South Huish Marsh all month.  Up to 2 on River Avon. SLAVONIAN GREBE – One briefly in the Bay on 20th.   GANNET, FULMAR, EGRETS, HERONS AND RAILS GANNET – Recorded in the Bay daily with a max of 70 on 5th. FULMAR – Only record was 1 flying east on 19th. CATTLE EGRET – 1 feeding in a slurry Field by South Huish Marsh on 23rd with 2 on 24th and 25th. LITTLE EGRET – Up to 5 seen regularly. HERON – Max 4 on South Huish Marsh. WATER RAIL – Recorded on South Huish Marsh and up to 3 at South Milton Ley.   RAPTORS BUZZARD – Seen daily at least 8 different birds at 5 sites. KESTREL – 2 birds on the coast and singles at 2 other sites. SPARROWHAWK – Recorded from 4 sites with a max of 2 on 25th. MERLIN – A female at Huxton Cross on 17th. PEREGRINE – Recorded in the Bay and at Huxton Cross. BARN OWL – Recorded around the Marshes at Aveton Gifford. TAWNY OWL – Heard calling at 4 sites.   WADERS – 14 species recorded. OYSTERCATCHER – Max 29 around the Bay on 4th. RINGED PLOVER – Up to 8 wintering on the rocks all month. GOLDEN PLOVER – 7 flew west over Huxton Cross on 25th. BLACK TAILED GODWIT – Up to 3 on South Huish Marsh and 3 on South Efford  Marsh all month LAPWING – Max of 30 on South Huish Marsh on 17th. PURPLE SANDPIPER – 2 on rocks at Warren Point on 18th DUNLIN – 1 on South Huish marsh all month. COMMON SANDPIPER – Up to 2 on River Avon most of the month. SNIPE – Max 45 on South Huish marsh on 8th. WOODCOCK – Dave Pakes had 1 fly out of South Milton Ley on 19th. CURLEW – Up to 35 at South Efford Marsh all month. GREENSHANK – Up to 3 on River Avon. REDSHANK  - Up to 4 on River Avon. TURNSTONE – Max on the rocks – 20 on 26th.   GULLS KITTIWAKE – Max of 11 flying east on 17th. MEDITERRANEAN GULL – An adult and 2 2w recorded on South Huish Marsh. BLACK HEADED GULL – 135 on the seaweed on 10th and 150+ in slurry fields on 23rd. COMMON GULL – 3 ad on South Huish Marsh on 20th otherwise just singles on a few days. YELLOW LEGGED GULL – 1 1st w on South Huish Marsh on 11t GLAUCOUS GULL – Rob Macklin had a 1w fly past Bolt Tail and across the Bay on 17th.   AUKS RAZORBILL – calm sea enabled may groups to be picked out max 165 on 17th and 160 on 19th. GUILLEMOT – Max of 5 on sea on 8th and 17th. AUKS – Max passage of 80+ on 17th – too far out to be positively identified.   MISCELLANEOUS, WOODPECKERS AND CRESTS RED LEGGED PARTRIDGE – 3 in field at Thurlestone on 1st. GREEN WOODY – Singles in Thurlestone garden on 3rd and 26th. GREAT SPOTTED WOODY – Recorded at 3 sites. JAY – Singles at 3 sites. KINGFISHER – Recorded on several days by the footbridge at South Milton Ley. GOLDCREST – Recorded at 4 sites. FIRECREST – Singles at South Milton Ley on 4th, 1 male ringed on 18th and 1 male in an Aveton Gifford garden also on 18th. NUTHATCH – Recorded in Aveton Gifford and at Huxton Cross. TREE CREEPER – Singles at West Buckland and Aveton Gifford.   WARBLERS CHIFFCHAFF – Numbers built up at the sewage works with a max of 50+ on 18th, with 15 ringed 8th and 8 on 18th.   Several around Aveton Gifford, Thurlestone Gardens and South Huish Marsh copse. SIBERIAN CHIFFCHAFF – On 18+ Alan P. ringed 3 and retrapped 1 at the sewage works at South Milton Ley. BLACKCAP – A male and a female in Aveton Gifford on several days. YELLOW BROWED WARBLER – 1 in trees at the carpark at Aveton Gifford on 8th. CETTIS WARBLER – 1 singing on North Marsh at Aveton Gifford on 6th.   PIPITS MEADOW PIPIT – 50+ in fields at Thurlestone on 18th, similar numbers at South Huish Marsh on several dates. ROCK PIPIT – 20+ on the rocks and seaweed on several dates. WATER PIPIT – Max 5 on South Efford Marsh on 2nd, 1 on South Huish Marsh  on several dates.   THRUSHES, LARKS AND BUNTINGS A large flock of mixed species has built up during the month in stubble fields at Huxton Cross – max numbers were SKYLARK – 50+ on 25th. MISTLE THRUSH – 1 on 23rd – also singles at 3 other sites. SONG THRUSH  - 2 on 25th, max 9 at South Huish Marsh on 9th with at least 20 at Aveton Gifford on same date. REDWING – 40+ on 10th at Thurlestone 100+ to roost on 23rd and 100+ at Horswell House Woods on 26th. FIELDFARE – Max 55 on 24th, also recorded from 3 other sites. CHAFFINCH – 250+ on 20th, with 150+ on most other days BRAMBLING – 3m 1f on 23rd and 2 on 24th. BULLFINCH – 4 on 25th, 10 at Aveton Gifford on 2nd also recorded at 3 other sites. YELLOWHAMMER – 8 on 10th and 17th with lower numbers on other dates LINNET – Max 450+ on 23rd with in excess of 200 on most other dates. CIRL BUNTING – Singles on 5th and 25th,also at 3 other sites. REED BUNTING – A female on 25th – 2 ringed at South Milton on 8th also recorded on several dates in Thurlestone Gardens. SISKIN – Only recorded was in Aveton Gifford on 6th. GOLDFINCH – 5 on 25th. Up to 20 by South Huish Marsh on several dates. STARLING – Up to 500 in the fields on several dates, max roost was 1500+ on 25th.   STARTS AND CHATS BLACK REDSTARTS – At least 4 different birds on the patch, 3 on the flats/rocks –an adult male, 1w male, female .   Also 1 female in a local garden. STONECHAT – Up to 6 around the patch.   DESERT WHEATEAR – Surprised to report the 1w male still showing very well on Leasfoot Beach, coping well with our winter weather, dog walkers, repair work with mechanical digger and generator to the flood defence systems.   This has to be the most photographed bird ever – even made the Golf Club Newsletter.   Thanks due to the Golf Club for allowing visitors to park in their top Car Park   February is usually one of the quietest months of the year hopefully we may have a few more records of scarce birds on the patch.     Mike Passman        

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