APRIL 2018


Another cool month which resulted in very or passage of passerines, particularly WARBLERS and WHEATEAR.  Some good SE winds on several days produced some very good sea watching.


A total of 28 new birds for the year took the total to 169 (c/f 2017 - 174, 2016 - 147) - these included a patch first for me SCUAP, SPOTTED CRAKE (first Spring record).   LESSER WHITETHROAT, RED KITE, CURLEW SANDPIPER ( rare here in Spring).


Total species recorded in the month were 139 (c/f 2017 - 143, 2016 - 130)


Main highlights



BLACK SWAN -  One arrived on South Huish Marsh on 10th and remained until the end of the month.

SHELDUCK - Max of 24 on South Efford Marsh on 19th.

GADWALL - A female flew into the Bay on 17th.

TEAL - Max of 25 on South Huish Marsh on 1st with a max of 35 at South Efford Marsh of 35 on 8th.

PINTAIL -7 flew E with a further 2 on the sea on 2nd.

GARGANEY - A flock of 6 flew into the Bay landing on the sea on 6th.

SHOVELER - An impressive 65 flew through the Bay in 2 hours late afternoon of 18th.

TUFTED DUCK - A male on the Marsh on 8th.

SCAUP - 2 m 1f on the sea on 18th.   This is only the 2nd and 3rd patch record, first for over 20 years.

EIDER -  A 1W male on the sea on 14th.

COMMON SCOTER - Some impressive totals flying east - 227 on 2nd, 248 on 17th and a max of 415 on 6th

VELVET SCOTER - 2 records both singles flying E with COMMON SCOTERS on 6th and 17th.

RED THROATED DIVER - Recorded on 8 days mostly singles with a max of 3 on 26th.

BLACK THROATED DIVER -A single on the sea on 16th.

GREAT NORTHERN DIVER -  Singles recorded on 5 days.

GREAT CRESTED GREBE - One in the Bay on 1st and 2nd.




MANX SHEARWATER - Max totals were 990 east on 15th and a very impressive 1456 east in 1 hour on 26th.

BALEARIC SHEARWATER -One identified flying east on 17th.

FULMAR - Max 11 on 15th.

GANNET - Max of 360 on 6th,

CATTLE EGRET - One still in with cattle at South Huish Marsh from 8th.

SPOONBILL - The overwhelming bird recorded regularly at both Marshes.   On 11th another bird flew down the Avon Valley late afternoon.

SPOTTED CRAKE -One heard calling at South Milton Ley from 5th to 8th.




RED KITE - A total of 4 recorded around the patch on 22nd also1 on Avon Valley on 30th.

MARSH HARRIER - A female in Hope Cover on 25th.

HOBBY - An early migrant 1 in off the sea on 15th.


WADERS - A total of 15 species recorded.

OYSTERCATCHERS -Max of 18 on 20th.

RINGED PLOVER - A single on13th only record.

GOLDEN PLOVER - 2 flew in off the sea on 18th.

GREY PLOVER - 1 Flew in amongst a flock of WHIMBREL on 17th.

CURLEW SANDPIPER - Scarce here in Spring so 1 in partial summer plumage on South Huish Marsh on 30th.

GREENSHANK - Max at South Efford Marsh 6 on 19th.

REDSHANK -Max at South Efford Marsh 5 on 11th.

TURNSTONE - Only one record a single on 2nd.

DUNLIN -Max of 17 on South Huish Marsh on 30th.

SNIPE - 2 on South Efford Marsh on 8th.

BLACK T. GODWIT - Max 4 at south Huish Marsh on 30th.

WHIMBREL - First was 1 at South Huish Marsh on 10th highest counts - 168 on 17th and 260 on 18th.

CURLEW - Last record at South Efford Marsh 1 on 12th.

COMMON SANDPIPER- 1 on South Huish Marsh on 29th and 30th.



Skua passage one of the best in recent years with a total of 70 birds logged.

POMARINE SKUA -Singles flew East on 17th and 24th.

ARCTIC SKUA - A total of 32 recorded, max were 13 on 15th and 9 on 17th.

GREAT SKUA - A total of 36 recorded - an impressive 15 on17th and 8 on 24th.

KITTIWAKE - Max of 35 on 15th.

LITTLE GULLS - Singles on 15th and 17th.


YELLOW L. GULL -   An adult on South Huish Marsh on 30th.

ICELAND GULL - A 2W on south Huish Marsh on 1st, 3rd and 7th.

GLAUCOUS GULL - A 1W on South Huish Marsh on 3rd and 5th.

LITTLE TERN - Singles in the Bay on 17th and 26th.

SANDWICH TERN - An impressive 275 flew East on2nd, also 72 on 12th.

COMMON TERN - Recorded on 4 days best counts 9 on 2nd and 14 on 20th.

ARCTIC TERN - Only recorded on 2 days with4 on 12th and 2 on 27th.

PUFFIN - 1 flew east on14th.




SWIFTS - first were 3 over South Huish Marsh on 26th.

SWALLOW - Max of 135 flew North on 7th.

HOUSE MARTIN - first was 1 on 4th, max 15 on 28th.

SAND MARTIN - Only recorded on 3 days, max of 5 on 7th.




GETTIS WARBLER -  First of the year was 1 on Thurlestone Marsh on 1st.

CHIFFY - 14 ringed at South Milton Ley on 8th.

WILLOW WARBLER -Scarce Spring migrant this year - first 2 on 3rd at South Milton Ley.

BLACKCAP - 8 ringed at South Milton Ley on 8th.   An interesting ringing recovery - ringed South Milton Lee on16.09.17 .  Controlled near Cadiz, Spain 22.11.17.

GARDEN WARBLER - Singles at South Milton Ley on 19th and one in the bushes by South HuishMarsh on 29th.

LESSER WHITETHROAT - A scarce Spring migrant here so 1 at  South Efford Marsh on 28th was unexpected.

WHITETHROAT -First 1 at South Milton Ley on 18th.

SEDGE WARBLER - first 1 at South Huish Marsh on 8th.

REED WARBLER - First at South Milton Ley on 19th.




WHEATEAR - A very scarce migrant this Spring with 5 on 29th and 1 on 30th.

WHINCHAT - A female at South Huish Marsh on 29th.

YELLOWHAMMER  - Single recorded in the lanes on several dates.

CIRL BUNTING - A pair regularly visiting a Thurlestone garden throughout the month.

REED BUNTING -Up to 3 visiting a Thurlestone Garden.

LINNET -A flock of 60+ at South Milton Ley was largest of the year.


Already May has produced an early highlight a PECTORAL SANDPIPER found on South Huish Marsh on 1st - this is only the 5th Spring record for Devon - the last at the same site was in  April 2014. 







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