<< New heading >THURLESTONE BAY BIRDS FEBRUARY 2020 The wettest February on record - South Huish Marsh transformed into a Lake - Gales up to F12 on occasions with strong winds almost daily, however overall a very mild month with only a light frost on 2 mornings. Only downside was the lack of variety of birds!  Just 5 new species for the year - CASPIAN GULL, BRENT GOOSE, KNOT, PURPLE SANDPIPER, MERLIN, taking the total to 118 (c/f 2019 - 128, 2018 - 128). Species for the month only totalled 102 (c/f 2019 - 109, 2018 - 108). Highlights:- SWAN, GOOSE, DUCKS, DIVERS and GREBES BLACK SWAN - Moved to the far end of North Marsh at Aveton Gifford all month. GREYLAG GOOSE -  One on South Huish Marsh all month. BRENT GOOSE DB -One flew NW on 7th. SHELDUCK - 5 at South Efford Marsh on 1st and a max of 5 on South Huish Marsh on 19th. WIGEON -Max at South Efford Marsh 250 on 18th, at South Huish Marsh a max of 150 on 2nd. TEAL - A max of 100+ at South Efford Marsh on 18th with 72 at South Huish Marsh on 14th. COMMON SCOTER - A max of only 4 in the Bay on 7th. RED THROATED DIVER -A total of 13 logged on 6 days with a max of 3 on 12th and 14th. BLACK THROATED DIVER - A single on 7th with 3 on 27th. GREAT NORTHERN DIVER - Singles on 7th and 26th. LITTLE GREBE - Present on South Huish marsh and River Avon at Aveton Gifford. GANNET, FULMAR and SHAG GANNET - A max of 121 on 14th. FULMAR - 5 on 14th and 26th moving South East. SHAG - A max of 5 in the Bay on 23rd. RAPTORS MERLIN - A male flew over South Huish Marsh on 17th. WADERS- 13 species recorded. OYSTERCATCHER - A max of 21 on 18th. RINGED PLOVER - Over wintering group of 10 until 15th reducing to 6 on 27th. LAPWING - Only 1 sighting a flock of 40 at Aveton Gifford on 10th. PURPLE SANDPIPER - Single bird on the Rocks on 8th and 12th. DUNLIN - Singles on South Huish Marsh on 16th and 27th. KNOT - One on South Huish Marsh on 27th. SNIPE - Highest counts at South Huish Marsh of 55 on 4th and 32 on 14th. BLACK TAILED GODWIT - Up to 3 at South Huish Marsh all month. CURLEW - 20 on South Efford Marsh on 1st.  A flock of 7 flew into South Huish Marsh on 28th. COMMON SANDPIPER - 1 on the River Avon throughout the month. GREENSHANK - A max of 5 on River Avon on 21st. REDSHANK - A max of 7 on River Avon on 1st. TURNSTONE -Max on the rocks 15 on 12th. GULLS KITTIWAKE - Largest passage was on 26th when 13 logged. MEDITERRANEAN GULL - Surprisingly few - a max of 3 on 12th and 21st flying South East LESSER BLACK BACKED GULL - A total of 80 sheltering at South Huish Marsh on 24th. HERRING GULL - highest total 300+ on South Huish Marsh on 24th. YELLOW LEGGED GULL - A 1W at South Huish Marsh on 25th with an adult on River Avon on 26th. CASPIAN GULL - A1W on South Huish Marsh on 4th later seen at Bantham same day. AUKS - Highest total of 170 flying SE on 7th, on the same date 35 on the sea were all RAZORBILL. CRESTS, WARBLERS, THRUSHES FIRECREST - reported  from 3 sites with 2 at south Milton Ley and 2 at Aveton Gifford on 8th. GOLDCREST - Reported from 3 sites - no more than 3 birds at 1 site. CHIFFCHAFF - Over wintering flock at South Milton Ley, a max of 12 reported on 3rd. FIELDFARE - 8 at Huxton Cross on 8th,15 at South Huish Marsh on 25th. REDWING - A max of 20 at South Milton Ley on15th. MISTLE THRUSH. - Reported from 2 sites with a max of 3 at South Milton Ley on 16th. CETTIS WARBLER - On 26th, 1 at South Milton Ley and 1 at South Efford Marsh. BLACKCAP - A female at Aveton Gifford on 8th was the only record. STARLING - Only record was 2 returning to a breeding site at Aveton Gifford on 15th. FINCHES, BUNTING and PIPIT No large wintering FINCH flocks this year. BULLFINCH - A male in a Thurlestone Garden on a few days. CIRL BUNTING - A male visiting a Thurlestone Garden on 12th and 13th. REED BUNTING- 3 regularly visiting feeders at Aveton Gifford WATER PIPIT - 1 at South Huish Marsh on 11th. STONECHAT -  at least 2 pairs around South Huish Marsh. RINGING RINGED PLOVER - On 16th at South Huish Marsh a bird with coloured rings was photographed - it was ringed at its breeding site on 1st June 2019 at BELTRINGHARDER KOOS, GERMANY - last recorded there on 9th July, 2019.   Next sighting was on 19th November at PORTHLOO, ST MARYS, ISLES OF SCILLY where it stayed until 22nd January, 2020, followed by its arrival here on 16th February.  The wet weather and strong winds has continued into the beginning of March - difficult to think we will be reporting the first of the Spring migrants in the next 2 weeks  mikepassman@modbury.me.uk thurlestonebaybirds.co.uk STOP PRESS - 9 th March- A patch first - an adult ROSS’S GULL present on South Huish Marsh from 12.15 to 15.00, only the 6th record for Devon . Photos and report on my website