TUES 31 DEC 2013

I was in Cornwall most of the day , no reports from any of the local observers .

Despite the the recent storms the year fizzled out like a damp squib. The year total finished on 196 ( c/f 2012 - 198, 2011- 198 ) so marginally behind previous years.

 Will prepare a review of the year over the next few weeks .

Only hours to 2014 and all the expectations that traditionally a New Year brings .Looking forward to hours in the field and getting the 2014 list off to a great start.


Happy New Year to everyone reading the blog

Cheers Mike

MON 30 DEC 2013

Overnight heavy rain and F9/10 winds - thankfully the morning started to clear up around 10.00. Walked round the patch with Graham Daw - all the activity was on South H Marsh- 170 + TEAL, 70 WIGEON, 75 MALLARD, 8 SHOVELER, 4 SNIPE. Amongst a large flock of HERRING GULL were at least 30 GREAT B B GULL and 5 LESSER B B GULL. A flock of 110 LAPWING flew over. 

Graham  later in the day reported  65 COMMON SCOTER and 4 KITTIWAKE

In the afternoon T'stone Marsh had 25 TEAL, 3 SHOVELER and 3 LAPWING

SUN 29 DEC 2013

With family still with us could only manage a 2hr walk around the Bay this morning , significant numbers of Duck have moved on leaving on South Huish Marsh -


In the Bay only 1 GANNET and only 1 OYSTERCATCHER.

T'stone Marsh  only 25 TEAL.

Bob had the best bird of the day/week at South M. Ley - a KINGFISHER , also 6 CHIFFCHAFF ( 1 Tristis type ).

A report of 3 CIRL BUNTING in a local garden

SAT 28 DEC 2013

Little of note to report- on T'stone Marsh - 5 SHOVELER, 25 TEAL, 1 LAPWING, 5 REED BUNTING ( on my feeders )

Earlier this morning Bob had 2 MISTLE THRUSH and 100 CHAFFINCH at Huxton Cross.

THURS 26 DEC 2013

Due to family visiting could only manage a quick visit  to the bay at 12.00 - Big influx of Duck on South Huish Marsh- 140 + TEAL, 130 WIGEON, 15 SHOVELER,, 1f TUFTED DUCK , offshore a flock of 30 COMMON SCOTER flew west .

This morning T'stone Marsh had - 20 TEAL, 4 SHOVELER ( that makes 19 on the patch today ) 7 LAPWING , 25 SNIPE.

MON 24 DEC 2013

Nothing worth mentioning today . Thought you would like a couple of 'seasonal' birds from Alan Doidge's portfolio

Snow Bunting - Bolberry 10 Nov 2013

Arctic Tern at T'stone Bay on 4 Oct 2013

SUN 22 DEC 2013

Have spent the last 2 days indoors trying to shake off the worst cough & cold I have had for a few years - can't be man flu I have had the injection . However still managed to keep a watch on T'stone marsh-

 TEAL increased to 30, 1 LITTLE GREBE and an interesting movement of LAPWING between 10.00 and 11.30 - flocks of 80, 30, 100, & 19 making a total of 229 usually flocks like this are associated with cold weather movement . A lone Snipe also moved through.

With our family arriving Monday also likely to be another day of very heavy rain and up to F 10 gales ( at least the water levels are rising ) my activities are going to be put on hold for a few days - unless something turns up on the back pool here 

.Can I wish everyone who reads the blog a very Merry Christmas and  a Happy New Year - looks like we will finish the year on 196 species , will be looking forward now to 2014, what surprises are awaiting us ?

FRI 20 DEC 2013

A sunny morning with an increasing SW wind 4/5.

In the Bay little change from yesterday except for our first returning FULMER, otherwise singles of GREAT N DIVER, RED T DIVER, SLAVONIAN GREBE, a F PEREGRINE flew through. The Grebe was feeding amongst the rock pools and showing well down to 20 yards. 6 TURNSTONE on the rocks.

No change to ducks on South Huish Marsh .

Some improvementto ducks on T'stone marsh - 5 SHOVELER ( 2m ), 20 TEAL.

Omitted to mention the record count of OYSTERCATCHER found by Nick T on Wed afternoon - 60 on the beach ( f10 winds at the time )

THURS 19 DEC 2013

After an evening of strongest winds experienced for some time and an increase in water levels particularly at South Huish Marsh., morning started with a heavy Hail shower- very seasonal .

 In the Bay- 20+ GANNET, 3 COMMON SCOTER (east ) , the resident GREAT N DIVER on the sea and another flew east, also a RED T DIVER flew east. The SLAVONIAN GREBE still present close inshore . 10 TURNSTONE on the rocks .

Increase in duck on S H Marsh - 90+ WIGEON , 95 TEAL, 3 SHOVELER, 1 m PINTAIL,


Still little evidence of duck returning to T'stone Marsh - only 12 TEAL and 30 MALLARD

WED 18 DEC 2013

Today very much a forerunner of what we can expect weather wise over the next 7 days - Gales ( up to 75mph gusts ) Heavy rain and an almost total absence of that yellow object . Xmas eve & morning looks the worst - hope Santa doesn't get blown off course !

Managed  1.5 hrs seawatching from a rocking car - GREAT N DIVER in the Bay, 20 GANNET east and at 09.45 a lone BALEARIC SHEARWATER flew east .

Excuse for returning home was to meet up with Doug & Debbie Stannard for a decent lunch ( limited Beer ) and a good chinwag covering lots of topics but mainly birding reviews and holidays . Finished in candle light at the Tutley Corn Mill due to a power cut

TUES 17 DEC 2013

A cloudy morning with little wind and only brief spells of drizzle .

In the Bay - a SLAVONIAN GREBE ( only the 2nd record this year ) close in by the white bouy giving great views, GREAT N DIVER, 3 COMMON SCOTER flew east , at 12.00 5 db BRENT GOOSE flew in from the west and landed on the sea . On the rocks 10 TURNSTONE .

On South H Marsh -40 WIGEON, 120 TEAL, 1m SHOVELER, 30 SNIPE.

T'stone Marsh held - 12 TEAL and 2 SHOVELER

A great shot from Alan D taken nearby to the patch

MON 16 DEC 2013

Weather did not turn out as bad as forecast, only a couple of light showers , vis slightly better. Usual Mon walk around the patch with Graham Daw , joined by AJL for part of the time .

In the Bay - a GREAT N DIVER, 5 f COMMON SCOTER, 1 COMMON GULL, BLACK H GULL numbers down to 120 . Only 5 GANNET. A PEREGRINE flew through.

Waders -15 OYSTERCATCHER and 18 TURNSTONE ( 15.30 )

With the recent heavy rain South H Marsh filling up nicely resulting in a significant increase in Duck - 120 TEAL, 40 WIGEON, 40 MALLARD , 1 f TUFTED DUCK, 8 SNIPE.

On T'stone Marsh 12 TEAL, 6 MALLARD and 3 LITTLE EGRET

SUN 15 DEC 2013

Had to drive up to Bristol for 13.00 so an early start , down by South H Marsh for 08.15- really shouldn't have bothered- heavy rain and very poor vis. On the sea a vey close inshore GREAT N DIVER , 1 TURNSTONE and amongst a flock of 75 BLACK H GULL an ad MED GULL.

The f TUFTED DUCK still on the Marsh

SAT 14 DEC 2013

An increasingly stormy day with the wind reaching F7/8 W by 13.00 Very rough seas .

AJL made the find of the month - a GREAT WHITE EGRET ( 196 ) he flushed from one of the ringing rides at South Milton Ley, this is only the second ever patch record after the first in May 2012.

Late afternoon news from Bob B & Alan D a first w LITTLE GULL in amongst the flock of 500 BLACK H GULL on the beach - also an ad & 2w MED GULL , 5 COMMON SCOTER on the sea

 At Huxton Cross 70 LAPWING

With tonights storms could be an interesting Sunday morning


News from Eric at South Efford Marsh- 6 WATER PIPIT, 5 REDSHANK, 2 GREENSHANK , 2 SHOVELER

Little Gull photgraphed today in the Bay -AFD

FRI 13 DEC 2013

Gave up this morning after getting soaked - vis in the heavy showers very poor.

The BLACK H GULL flock was est at 800 only for another 400 to fly down the valley at 10.15, on the way home another flock of over 200  in with the  cattle by T'stone Marsh - making a patch total of 1400 + . at 12.30 0ver 300 HERRING GULL flew down the valley and over T'stone Marsh

On South H Marsh 20 WIGEON, 60 TEAL, 1m SHOVELER, 1 f TUFTED DUCK.

Resident f COMMON SCOTER in the Bay


Looking at the next 7 days  weather f/cast looks as though we are in for some wet and very windy days .

THURS 12 DEC 2013

A cloudy morning with only a brief glimpse of the sun around 12.00, Wind SSE f3 , .

Another morning of Gull records this time a flock of arond 600 BLACK H GULL on the rocks and sea. A local farmer is spraying liquid manure on fields behind South H Marsh, amongst them were 3ad COMMON GULL, 2 MED GULL ( 1 ad 1 2w ). 4 KITTIWAKE flew east , only 11 GANNET recorded.

On the rocks 7 TURNSTONE and the female BLACK REDSTART still.

The 'resident ' f COMMON SCOTER on the sea

On South Huish Marsh -25 TEAL, 14 WIGEON , 30 MALLARD and a f TUFTED DUCK

( looks the same one as recored last month )

Nick T reports 3 JAY in his garden- cannot find one anywhere else on the patch


The Gull flock is by far the largest of 2013, Bob B remembers lager flocks in previous years , I have only been on the patch full time for over 5 years , I am sure this a record for me

WED 11 DEC 2013

A nice morning with hazy sunshine and a f3 SE wind. Visablity at sea only moderate .

Having parked in the car park and started looking for any Divers offshore I soon became aware of Gulls flying east - only in groups of up to 3 , you can tell how quiet it is when you start logging Gulls, however over the next 2 hrs 47 HERRING and 38 GREAT B B GULL all flew east- none of these stopped to join the resident birds in the local fields , only 2 KITTIWAKE picked up today and an ad MED GULL ( only one which flew west ) The Gull monotony was broken by a RED T DIVER flying east at 09.55. During this period only logged 17 GANNET -all east.

Over the last few days our TEAL numbers have falled substantially only 25 on both marshes today. 17 WIGEON and 3 SHOVELER were on South Huish Marsh along with


On the rocks by the flats a 1w f BLACK REDSTART- a very pale bird , the 3rd different bird in the last week .

Birds through my garden were 3 L T TIT, 8 REED BUNTING ( at feeders ) and a f GOLDCREST

TUES 10 DEC 2013

A cloudy morning with a brisk S wind.

A great start to the day  and bird of the month ( so far ) when a 2w ICELAND GULL(195 ) flew through at 09.30 . Picked it up just over the golf course , very nice when they fly almost overhead, cotinued east very close to the shore- last seen in Hope Cove making over Bolt Tail. A patch year tick and the first since April 2011.

Otherwise very little else- BLACK H GULLS on the sea reached 75, 10 KITTIWAKE still feeding offshore and pf course our long staying F COMMON SCOTER still around .

Waders on the rocks - 7 TURNSTONE. Robert ( farmer ) confirmed he flushed a WOODCOCK this am in the valley..

At Huxton Cross the LAPWING flock has increased to 135.

MON 9 DEC 2013

A very nice sunny morning for a walk around the Bay - however not too much on offer   50 + KITTIWAKE, 1GREAT N DIVER flew west, 1 f COMMON SCOTER, 1 TURNSTONE

The WATER PIPIT by the footbridge gave great views .

On South H Marsh - 37 WIGEON, 45 TEAL, 1 SNIPE

Looks as though we are in for a few days of S winds up gale force , hopefully this might bring some new arrivals

Nice to see Vic Tucker back visiting us after recovering from his recent illness

SUN 8 DEC 2013

Some very heavy showers around 09.30., a F5/6 W wind with a rough sea .

Not very much to report - Offshore 20+ KITTIWAKE, 50+ GANNET , 3 COMMON SCOTER - east..

On South H Marsh - 32 WIGEON, 30 TEAL, 1 f SHOVELER.


Over at South Milton Ley a WATER PIPIT ( by the footbridge ) a flock of c110 LAPWING flying high - probably the Huxton Cross birds .


News from Aveton Gifford / South Efford marsh from Eric-

3 WATER PIPIT, amonst the flock of CURLEW a WHIMBREL both seen and heard, 2 GREENSHANK, 1 REDSHANK, 4 COMMON SANDPIPER. Flying over the north part of the flooded marsh a ringtail HEN HARRIER

SAT 7 DEC 2013

Report from Alan D of 3 PURPLE SANDPIPER on the rocks at Warren Pt .also 2 RED T DIVER flew west

My activities restricted - did pick up 10 REDWING around the Hotel. Finch flock in the  fields at the back of the Church cotained 50 + CHAFFINCH , 2 REED BUNTING, a few LINNET and 3 STONECHAT .

15 SNIPE flushed in T'stone Marsh

Bob Has just rung to report amongst the flock of 70 GREENFICH by South H Marsh, 10 LINNET and a flyover SISKIN

FRI 6 DEC 2013

A very nice day to be out and about, sunshine and little wind .

Offshore this morning -15 KITTIWAKE, 20 GANNET, 1 RED T DIVER ( flew east at 11.50 ) 1f COMMON SCOTER. 2 AUKS

Waders on the rocks - 1 PURPLE SANDPIPER,  1 RINGED PLOVER, 2 TURNSTONE. Also by the flats  a f BLACK REDSTART.

On South H Marsh - 65 TEAL, 35 WIGEON, 6 SNIPE, 1 LAPWING .



Went up to Huxton Cross at 15.30 and found a flock of 95 LAPWING


Eric W reports at South Efford Marsh 6 WATER PIPIT

THURS 5 DEC 2013

Looks as though we will get away lightly from the second major storm to hit the UK this autumn .

A W gale force wind at 12.30 made a significant change to the sea conditions - A GREAT N DIVER and a f COMMON SCOTER were soon on their way when the wind surfers arrived !

Counts of 35 TEAL and 6 SHOVELER on T'stone marsh were the only items to repot

WED 4 DEC 2013

A cloudy morning with a few showers and a f4/5 NW wind , change in wind riection resulted in choppy seas and no sign of the Divers .

Only changes were a reduction to 25 TEAL and an increase to 25 WIGEON both at South H Marsh.

Standing by the rocks near the flats watching 2 RINGED PLOVER when noticed a male BLACK REDSTART on the poles supporting the dunes.

In my garden at 12.30 a stunning male BULLFINCH- early spring since the last one passed through

TUES 3 DEC 2013

Calm but cloudy conditions again .

In the Bay this morning 2 GREAT N DIVER were joined by our first BLACK T DIVER of the winter, the f COMMON SCOTER still on the sea whilst 3 more flew east. At 09.30 a surprise to pick up in the scope a lone BALEARIC SHEARWATER flying east, certainly my latest record. 10 KITTIWAKE and 20 GANNET feeding.

Waders on the beach/rocks - 3 RINGED PLOVER and 3 TURNSTONE . A flock of 150 BLACK H GULL feeding by the rock pools.

On South H Marsh  a reduction in numbers of Duck - 40 TEAL, 9 WIGEON,


On T'stone Marsh only 20 TEAL and 6 SHOVELER (3pairs )

A short visit to West Buckland at 12.15 produced - GREEN and GREAT Sp WOODPECKER, 2 MISTLE THRUSH, 2 GOLDCREST, 1 BULLFINCH, 1 GREY WAGTAIL and a REDWING.


Eric W reports fron South Efford Marsh 60 TEAL, 2 BAT T GODWIT, 4 WATER PIPIT

News form Harry & June  - a f BLACKCAP in their garden today - one that we could not find on the patch in Nov

MON 2 DEC 2013

No change in weather coditions , NE light breeze. Joined by Graham Daw this morning.

4 GREAT N DIVER this morning - 3 on sea and 1 east, 2 f COMMON SCOTER,

4 GADWALL ( 2 west and 2 on sea ) , 25 GANNET, 1 COMMON GULL.

Waders on the beaches/ rocks - 12 TURNSTONE, 6 RINGED PLOVER, 2 SANDERLING , 1 DUNLIN

On S H Marsh - 65 TEAL, 17 WIGEON, 2f SHOVELER, 5 SNIPE .By the footbridge a WATER PIPIT

On T'stone marsh  9.am - 30 TEAL, 1f WIGEON, 1 LITTLE GREBE. Late afternoon visit by Bob 2m 2f SHOVELER, 100+ SNIPE, 1 JACK SNIPE,  4 WATER RAIL, 2 CETTIS WARBLER. 2000 STARLING to roost

Around Huxton Cross - CHAFFINCH flock now up to 300+, 6 YELLOWHAMMER, 1 PEREGRINE, 100 LAPWING

SUN 1 DEC 2013

Start of the final month of 2013- how quickly time flies by ! First day of winter started with a frost with  the Marsh iced over- 100% cloud cover but no wind meant a flat calm sea  with not very good viz for scoping.

On T'stone marsh this morning 30 TEAL, 2f SHOVELER, 1 LAPWING and then at 12.45 a rintail HEN HARRIER flew through ( this follows up one I saw driving down the lanes on Thurs )

In the Bay were 2 GREAT N DIVER and the f COMMON SCOTER, distantly I picked up 3 GREBES which because of the distance and poor vis I could not ID. Thankfully later in the day they came closer inshore and were picked up by Chris Bond & Bob - 3 GREAT CRESTED ( the first of the autumn/winter ), a few GANNET and a lone KITTIWAKE .

Waders on the rocks were 4 TURNSTONE and 2 RINGED PLOVER.

Lower numbers of Duck on South H. Marsh - 45 TEAL, 12 WIGEON, 1 f SHOVELER and 7 SNIPE

In the copse a male CIRL BUNTING  first for some months .

Around Huxton Cross Bob had the first big Finch flock - over 200 CHAFFINCH, 8 REDWING, 1 FIELDFARE, 4 YELLOWHAMMER.


6 WATER RAIL ( 1 ringed ) and at least 6 CHIFFCHAFF