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MAY 2020


With the Lockdown restrictions being eased during the month the ability to take unlimited walks and  if necessary to drive was very useful.


Only 1 day of rain with many days of sunshine and the last week of the month some unusually hot weather, which produced  far too many visitors to the coast.


A total of 112 species were recorded (c/f 2019 - 125, 2018 - 119) with 6 new species for the year taking the total to 167 (c/f 2019 - 168, 2018 - 176).   New birds were LITTLE GULL, BALEARIC SHEARWATER, SPOTTED FLYCATCHER, HOOPOE and LESSER WHITETHROAT.





BARNACLE GOOSE - the 2 birds from April last seen on South Huish Marsh on 2nd.

SHELDUCK - Max of 8 on. South Huish Marsh on 11th and 23rd.    One brood of 8 ducklings on the Marsh from 23rd.   On 29th off Warren Point a pair of adults with 10 Ducklings about 200 yards offshore swimming towards the Rock.   They would have bred in a rabbit burrow on the cliffs and jumped anything up to 30 feet into the Sea.

EIDER - A pair flew SE across the Bay on 8th (A rare May record)

COMMON SCOTER -few logged - Max of 7 on the sea on 21st and 26th

RED THROATED DIVER - 1 on the sea off Hope Cover on 1st.

GREAT NORTHERN DIVER - Singles in the Bay on 4th and 8th with 3 together on the sea off Yarmer Beach on 17th - 1 of which was in full summer plumage.



GANNET -  3 figure totals of 115 on 22nd and a max of 148 on 23rd.

FULMAR - Max of 13 on 23rd.

MANX SHEARWATERS - 60+ on 6th and 50 on 23rd.

BALEARIC SHEARWATER - 1 flew SE across the Bay on 22nd.



RED KITE - recorded on 4 days all singles - 6th at Hope Cove,


10th near Churchstow and 14th and 22nd at Aveton Gifford.

HOBBY - 5 sightings at 3 sites on the patch.

BARN OWL - 1 calling late evening of 25th over Thurlestone Marsh.


WADERS - Only 10 species recorded.

OYSTERCATCHERS - Max of 15 on 21st.

SANDERLING - Max of 17 on the beaches on 17th and 21st.

RINGED PLOVER - Max of only 5 on 14th.

DUNLIN - Max of 13 on 6th and 9 on 14th.

BLACK TAILED GODWIT -  Only record - a single bird on South Huish Marsh on 28th.

BAR TAILED GODWIT - 2 on 8th and singles on 17th and 21st were the only sightings.

WHIMBREL -A max of 29 on 5th in the Bay and at South Efford Marsh 16 on 14th.

GREENSHANK and REDSHANK - still present on the River Avon at the beginning of the month.

TURNSTONE - Only record of 2 in summer plumage on Yarmer Beach on 17th.



KITTIWAKE - Max of 30 off Hope Cover on 1st.

LITTLE GULL -  A first summer bird with the KITTIWAKES on 1st.

SANDWICH TERN - A max of 10in the Bay on 5th.

COMMON TERN - 1 flew SE on 23rd.

PUFFIN - A total of 7 flew SE on the early morning of 23rd - probably a day record count for the Bay.

ACTIC SKUA - Singles on 1st, 7th and 23rd off Hope Cove.   On 24th late morning 2 light phase flew up the Valley at Aveton Gifford.



SWIFT- Max of 29 on 7th, Local flocks in both Bantham and Thurlestone hopefully breeding.

SAND MARTIN - Local colony contained 15 birds on 13th.

SWALLOW - Max of 23 over the Marsh on 6th.

HOUSE MARTIN - At least 20 collecting mud at South Huish marsh on 23rd.  Small breeding colonies at 2 other local sites.



CETTIS WARBLERS - At least 3 males calling at South Milton Ley.

CHIFFCHAFF - Common throughout the patch.

WILLOW WARBLER - Male singing at Aveton Gifford.

BLACKCAP - Plenty of males singing around the patch.

GARDEN WARBLER - 2 at Aveton Gifford on 4th.

LESSER WHITETHROAT - Male in Hedgerow at Aveton Gifford on 17th.

WHITETHROAT - 3 at Aveton Gifford on 4th, at least 6 around the coast path.

SEDGE WARBLER -Up to 8 at South Milton Ley, 4 at South Huish Marsh and 5 at Thurlestone Marsh.

REED WARBLER - Only present at South Milton Ley and Thurlestone Marsh.

SPOTTED FLYCATCHER -  First was at Aveton Gifford on 3rd with 2 on 18th.  On 13th 1 watched at Hatch Bridge - ironically in the same tree and the same date as last year.

STONECHAT - At least 4 pairs breeding  on the patch with up to 6 fledged young late in the month.

WHEATEAR - Last migrant logged on 7th.


SURPRISES! - HOOPOE - A report received of 1 on the 14th green of the Golf Course on the 6th,on 10th one was photographed in a large garden near West Buckland - first patch record for at least 20 years.


RED BACKED SHRIKE - A female on a wire fence briefly at 09.25 at South Huish Marsh - flew off when a fox walked underneath the fence.   Only the 3rd patch record in the last 18 years.


June is usually the quietest month of the year - plenty of southerly winds may result in some overshoot migrants.