THURLESTONE BAY BIRDS MAY 2017   A mixture of weather – some warm sunny days, some with heavy rain and towards the end of the month some coastal fog.  Winds generally light. A total of 126 species recorded (c/f 2016 – 121, 2015 – 106) with 6 new species – AVOCET, CURLEW SANDPIPER, PURPLE HERON, POMARINE SKUA, BLUE HEADED WAGTAIL, SPOTTED FLYCATCHER taking the year total to an impressive 180 – (c/f 2016 – 167, 2015 – 161) Again passage of WADERS, TERNS, in particular Divers and Skuas was poor in relation to previous years.   Main highlights were: DUCKS AND DIVERS TEAL – A male on 30th was a late arrival, max were 8 on 2nd. GARGANEY – A male on South Huish Marsh from 12th to 14th, 1 also on 17th one of the best springs for this specie in recent years. SHOVELER – A pair on South Huish Marsh on 5th. COMMON SCOTER – no big passage movements this year max 17 on 12th and then 60 east 30th. GREAT NORTHERN DIVER – On 12th 1 flew east.   GANNET, FULMAR, SHEARWATER, EGRETS and HERONS GANNET – Max passage of 205 on 13th. MANX SHEARWATER – Limited numbers apart from 130 on 2nd and 66 on 17th. BALEARIC SHEARWATER – 2 flew west on 16th. FULMAR – Max of 15 on 25th. CATTLE EGRET – The most surprising year with patch records continually being reset – present throughout the month with 6 on South Huish Marsh on 1st increasing to a new patch record of 11 on 9th (Nick T) reduced to 2 on 17th with at least one still present on 31st.  Also singles recorded over Thurlestone Marsh and at South Efford Marsh. PURPLE HERON – James K found one on South Huish Marsh late afternoon of 11th seen by a number of observers throughout the evening.   RAPTORS RED KITE – Rob B had 1 over North Marsh at Aveton Gifford on 23rd also 1 over Thurlestone Village on 25th (MBP) HOBBY – 1 over South Huish Marsh on 5th. BUZZARD, SPARROWHAWK, KESTREL and PEREGRINE all recorded during the month.   WADERS – 16 species recorded with numbers low compared to precious years (apart from SANDERLING and GREY PLOVER) OYSTERCATCHER – Max 23 on 25th. RINGED PLOVER – Max 8 on 5th. GREY PLOVER – A new patch day record of 57 flying through on 5th. LAPWING – A rare May record of 1 on 2nd. SANDERLING – Steady passage produced 10 on 14th and a max of 41 on 18th. CURLEW SANDPIPER – A first spring record for many years – 1 found by Nick T on South Huish Marsh  late afternoon of 2nd. DUNLIN – generally low numbers – max of 30 on 5th. AVOCET – first records for 3 years, started with 4 on 1st, 3 briefly on 10th and then a single from 11th to 14th all on South Huish Marsh. BLACK TAILED GODWIT – A single on 31st was the only record. BAR TAILED GODWIT – Very poor passage this year, recorded on 3 days – singles on 1st  and 13th with a max of 5 on 12th. WHIMBREL – Another species with poor passage counts – 36 on1st, 27 on 2nd, 21 on 12th and 19 on 10th. CURLEW – Some of the wintering flock at South Efford Marsh still present. COMMON SANDPIPER – Small numbers on the River Avon at Aveton Gifford. GREENSHANK – 2 on South Efford Marsh on 1st, with a single on South Huish Marsh on 6th and 7th. REDSHANK – 1 on 18th on beach with the TURNSTONE. TURNSTONE – 12 on 5th, 10 on6th and a max of 18 on 18th.   SKUAS, GULLS AND TERNS POMARINE SKUA – recorded on 3 days – 1 on 12th, 2 on 14th and 1 on 16th all showed well with full spoons. ARCTIC SKUA – only recorded on 4 days with 3 on 12th, 1 on 13th, 2 on 14th and 1 on 28th. GREAT SKUA – Only record was of 2 on 13th. KITTIWAKE – 2 good passage days of 32 on 13th and 41 on 26th. MEDITERRANEAN GULL – 2 on 13th. ICELAND GULL – Eric reported a  2 cy on South Efford Marsh on 2nd. SANDWICH TERN – Very poor passage with 7 on 6th and 12th being the max. COMMON TERN – 2 on 12th and 3 on 15th only records. COMMIC TERN – 4 flew west on 16th – to far out to positively ID.   AUKS RAZORBILL/GUILLEMOT – Small numbers  flying east several days. PUFFIN – One flew east on 13th and 2 on 25th.   CUCKOO – Heard in West Buckland Valley on 1st and also on North Marsh on19th.   SWIFT AND HIRUNDINES SWIFT – Max of 30 at South Milton Ley on 10th, and 20 over Thurlestone Marsh on 17th. SAND MARTIN – Max of 20 on 11th. HOUSE MARTIN – Max of 30 on 19th at South Huish Marsh up to 24 collecting nest building material towards the end of the month. SWALLOW – Max of 60 on 23rd.   WOODPECKERS GREEN WOODY – 3 in West Buckland Valley on 23rd, also present around Thurlestone Village. GREAT SPOTTED WOODY – 3 in West Buckland Valley on 23rd, also present at 4 other sites around the patch.   WARBLERS CHIFFCHAFF = plenty of birds singing throughout the patch. WILLOW WARBLER – Only 1 bird heard singing, only known to breed at one location. BLACKCAP – Up to 15 singing at various sites. GARDEN WARBLER – 1 singing in Buckland Valley on 18th. WHITE THROAT – More numerous than in recent years at least 15 around the patch. SEDGE WARBLER – singing at four locations, 7 were ringed at South Milton Lay on 19th. REED WARBLER – singing at three locations, 13 were ringed on 19th   FLYCATCHER, CHATS, WAGTAILS SPOTTED FLYCATCHER – One at Aveton Gifford 13th, and 2 in Buckland Valley on 23rd were only records WHINCHAT- A male at South Huish Marsh on 6th and 7th. STONECHAT – At least 8 pairs around the patch with fledged young by the 18th. WHEATEAR – females on 2nd and 14th at South Huish Marsh. YELLOW WAGTAIL – worst spring passage for years – only recorded on 3 days – at South Huish marsh, 2 on 11th and 12th and 2 on South Efford Marsh on13th. BLUE HEADED WAGTAIL – A female at South Huish marsh on 11th and 12th. WHITE WAGTAIL – 1 on South Huish Marsh on 2nd. GREY WAGTAIL – along the River Avon on North Marsh.   BUNTINGS REED BUNTING – present in small numbers at 3 sites YELLOW HAMMER – Birds seen along the lanes throughout the month. CIRL BUNTING -  present in four locations BULLFINCH – Recorded at four sites.   Early June has started very quietly, this usually is the month with the lowest specie count in the year.  

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