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An unprecedented month for weather – very cold from 1st – 4th with lying snow and blocked access roads, followed by periods of heavy rain and then another disruption caused by snow on 19th.  One of the wettest March on record. Winds predominated from East.

Cold weather movements produced an influx of DUCK, WADERS and THRUSHES.

19 new birds for the year – including POCHARD, RED BREASTED,MERGANSER, GARGANEY, AVOCET, MANX SHEARWATER, WOODCOCK, ICELAND GULL, GLAUCOUS GULL and early spring migrants of LITTLE RINGED PLOVER, SAND MARTIN and WHEATEAR.   Total for the year 141 (c/f 2017 – 142, 2016 – 130)


A total of 125 species recorded during the month.


Main Highlights


BRENT GOOSE  - D.B. – One joined the CANADA flock at South Huish Marsh from 19th with 2 on 24.

BRENT GOOSE – P.B. – One flew past Bolt tail on 25th.

WIGEON – Max at South Huish Marsh. 130 on 5th when also 80+ at South Efford Marsh.

HYBRID AMERICAN WIGEON/WIGEON – Present at South Huish Marsh up to 10th.

TEAL -  On Thurlestone Marsh 32 on 3rd was a year high/. On South Huish Marsh max of 65 on 4th and 5th whilst at South Efford Marsh 50+ on 5th.

PINTAIL – On 4th a pair on South Huish Marsh when also a male on South Efford Marsh.

GARGANEY – On 4th 2 males on South Efford Marsh whilst also a pair on South Huish Marsh stayed until 6th.    This is the earliest Devon record for this specie.

SHOVELER – 2 onThurlestone Marsh on 2nd when also 5M 2F on the sea.   On South Huish Marsh 4on 4th, 3 on 6th with 2 females arriving on 27th.

POCHARD – A male on South Huish marsh from 3rd to 8th and a pair on South Efford Marsh on 4th – These are only the 3rd  records in the last 5 years

COMMON SCOTER – 8 on 6th and 4 on 29th only records.

RED BREASTED MERGANSER – A male in the Bay on 25th is the first spring record in

 the last 10 years.

RED THROATED DIVER – 1 on sea on 6th, 2 m 22nd, 1 on 24th and 2 on 26th.

BLACK THROATED DIVER – Only record 1 on 23rd.

GREAT NORTHERN DIVER – 1 flew east on 3rd , 2 on sea on 6th, 3 on 22nd and 1 on 24th.

GREAT CRESTED GREBE – 2 on the Bay on 6th, 3 on 9th and 10th and 1 on 31st.

LITTLE GREBE – Last sighting on South Huish Marsh was 2 on 6th.



MANX SHEARWATER – An early spring record of 1 flying east on 25th.

CATTLE EGRET – 2 on 2nd reduced to a single up to 11th.  Not recorded after the second fall of snow.

LITTLE EGRET – Up to 6 around the Marshes.

SPOONBILL – The bird which has overwintered seen regularly at both South Huish and South Efford Marshes.   On 4th at South Huish Marsh whilst the regular bird asleep another watched flying south out to sea.

WADERS – A total of 21 species recorded during the month compared with 14 on 2017 – A new  Marsh record.

OYSTERCATCHER – Max 10 on 8th.

AVOCET – A flock of 8 briefly on South Huish Marsh on 26th.

LITTLE RINGED PLOVER – Singles on  24th and 25th on South Huish Marsh.

RINGED PLOVER – Max 6 on 3rd.

GOLDEN PLOVER – Cold weather movement saw 90 on Thurlestone Marsh on 2nd when a flock also at South Huish Marsh.  On 19th 50 around South Huish Marsh.

GREY PLOVER – 3 on 3rd, 4 on 4th with 2 remaining until 8th at South Huish Marsh on 5th.

LAPWING- Another cold weather movement specie – 150 on South Huish Marsh on 3rd with a max of 275+ on 6th.   At South Efford Marsh 120+ on 5th

KNOT – A single on South Huish Marsh on 4th.

DUNLIN – Max 15 on 3rd

RUFF – At South Huish Marsh – 1 on 3rd with 2 on 4th and 6th.   1 at South Efford Marsh on 4th

JACK SNIPE – 1 watched feeding on South Huish Marsh on 4th.

SNIPE -Cold weather brought 30 to Thurlestone Marsh on 1st. Max at South Huish Marsh 35+ on 6th.

WOODCOCK -  2 in garden at Aveton Gifford on 1st.

BLACK TAILED GODWIT – Up to 6 at South Huish Marsh throughout a flock of 12 flew into roast on 30th.

BAR TAILED GODWIT – 3 on South Huish Marsh from 3rd to 6th.

CURLEW – Up to 20 on South Efford Marsh.

COMMON SANDPIPER – Up to 3 along the tidal road at Aveton Gifford throughout the month.

GREEN SANDPIPER – 2 on north marsh at South Efford on 7th and 8th.

GREENSHANK – Max 3 along the tidal road on 8th.

REDSHANK – Max 4 along the tidal road on 8th, 1on South Huish Marsh on 19th.

TURNSTONE – Max of 12 on the rocks on 5th.



MEDITERRANEAN GULL -  Max of 16 on South Huish Marsh on 10th.

BLACK HEADED GULL – 400+ on South Huish Marsh on 10th.

LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL – 100+ on 5th increased to 150+ on 8th at South Huish Marsh.

HERRING GULL – 600+ on South Huish Marsh 10th.

COMMON GULL – Max of 35 on 10th on South Huish Marsh is a record count for recent years.

GREATER BLACK BACKED GULL – Max of 35 on 10th.

ICELAND GULL – An adult flew E across the Bay on 6th.

GLAUCOUS GULL – A 1st W roosted at South Huish Marsh on 24th and seen daily to 30th.

SANDWICH TERN – 1 amongst the GULLS on South Huish Marsh on 4th. 2 on 23rd and 3 on 28th were spring migrants.


SPRING MIGRANTS – Due to the very cold weather very few records.

SAND MARTIN -  first at South Huish Marsh on 24th.

CHIFFCHAFF -  most perished in the 2 periods of cold weather.

WILLOW WARBLER -  A male singing at South Milton Ley on 25th.

WHEATEAR – 3 on 19th were the first with 3 on 20th and 24th all around South Huish Marsh area.



Cold weather movement produced the largest totals for some THRUSHES in the last 5 years.

FIELDFARE – In Thurlestone a total of 835 logged on 2nd and 105 on 3rd.

REDWING – Over Thurlestone  2500+ logged on 2nd.   At South Huish Marsh 250 on 3rd and 200 on 4th.

SONG THRUSH – Max of 16 in Thurlestone on 2nd

BLACKBIRD – max of 9 on Thurlestone on 2nd.

MISTLE THRUSH – 1 over Thurlestone on 2nd.

WOODLARK – 2 spring records – very scarce at this time of the year, 1 flew north at South HuishMarsh on 11th and 1 at Hope Cove on 19th.

SKYLARK – A flock of 60+ flew over Thurlestone Marsh on 3rd.

WATER PIPIT – 4 onThurlestone Marsh on 2nd, singles regularly at South Huish Marsh.

BRAMBLING – 4 in a garden at Aveton Gifford on 2nd, 3 in a Thurlestone  Garden on 3rd  and singles on  8th and  28th.

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

YELLOW HAMMER – 2 in a garden at Aveton Gifford on 2nd.   A male on hedgerows in the lanes on 6th.

REED  BUNTING – Max of 9 in a Thurlestone Garden on 1st.

STARLING – 270  logged on Thurlestone Marsh on 3rd.

BLACK REDSTART -  A female in a Thurlestone Garden on 3rd.


A poor weather conditions have continued into the first few days of April with few spring migrants recorded so far.


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