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Devon-The Exe Estuary 11 January 2011

Red-breasted Goose among the Brents

Avocets roosting at the mouth of the Clyst

Devon- A day out around the Exe
11 January 2011

We set off on a rather blustery day at 0700, seeing a Little Egret on the way and stopping at Exeter Services, we made a quick search of a local industrial estate for Waxwings that had been reported earlier in the week. We did not find any so headed for RSPB Exminster Marshes. A search from the railway bridge revealed many common wetland and hedgerow passerines but the 8 European. White-fronted Geese were most notable as they are scarce in Devon. This ‘lost’ flock was associating with Canada Geese. We walked along the crop laden part of the reserve searching for Cirl Buntings but the wind was gusting and this forced the passerines, mostly Chaffinch and Linnet to move rapidly between deep cover and the crops.

We abandoned our search and headed for the estuary. Our first stop was to look over Shutterton Creek where 2-3 Slavonian Gebes were quickly located, one showed very close with a Little Grebe near the wreck and a distant Black-necked Grebe. A party of 7 Greater Scaup were also present, an adult male, a first winter male and five female/imms. Shags, Bar-tailed Godwits, Dunlin, Dark-bellied Brent, Oystercatcher and c20 Red-breasted Merganser were all showing nicely. A distant female Goldeneye was also noted.

Moving on toward Dawlish Warren we saw a Greenshank in the Cockwood harbour along with a Redshank. After a lunch stop at Dawlish Warren we did a sea-watch at the seawall which was productive, 3 Red-throated Diver, two on the water on flew west, a female Common Scoter flew in and joined an Eider. A further three Eider were near Warren Point and another single was offshore making five. A stunning male Common Scoter few by and landed on the sea. A close Slavonian Grebe was nice and we noted 9 Great Crested Grebe. A single Guillemot and 5 Razorbill were added as well as a Fulmar, Kittiwake and Gannets. All in all it was not bad for a windy day.

Back at Starcross we searched through the Brents and Ruth spotted the Red-breasted Goose. Curlew and Oystercatcher were also feeding on the turf.

Our last port of call was at Topsham for the tide. The viewing platform on the Clyst Estuary commanded views as the tide dropped and we watched a flock of Avocet and a couple of Black-tailed Godwit among the gulls. A Short-eared Owl was picked up flying over the estuary heading for Exminster but it was intercepted by the gulls and continued to circle high over the estuary. Moving to the Exe we watched huge numbers of Avocet and other waders. Back at the hide at Bowling Green Marsh RSPB we sifted through the Wigeon and Teal, a Pintail and Spotted Redshank were spotted. We spent awhile watching the common birds and finished with a Goldcrest as is got dark.

Filed under: Trip Reports


at 9:39 pm

1-31 January 2011 sightings and blog

 15-31 January 2011 In pics…some fine birds noted, most of my birding has been at WWT. Jack Snipe, Water Pipit, Green-winged Teal, Lesser and Greater Scaups, a wintering Marsh Harrier, one day with a Hen Harrier, a male and female Merlin, Pink-footed Goose, Barnacle Goose and more reported species like Bittern, not bad.

Green-winged Teal among it’s mates
On the Top New Piece at WWT Slimbridge

The Lesser Scaup

Marsh Harrier over the Tack Piece

8-14 January 2011 The wetter warmer weather has restored the fantastic winter spectacle of sheer numbers of birds and variety at WWT. The ‘scaups’ are still attracting attention.

Lesser Scaup-first winter female

Greater Scaups-first winter males

Interesting Wigeon
A male with extensive green on the head (we have known these to be called as American) and a female with a white eye ring.

7 January 2011 A damp and grey day, no birding just catching up with some Anser office work and finalising things for the forthcoming book.

4-6 January 2011 More Lesser and Greater Scaup watching plus a few year birds added. The adult Pink-footed Goose remains among the White-fronts. The Coot are happy to run around on the swans backs at feeds!

3 January 2011 After much searching of the site NRS and I finally re-located the Lesser Scaup on the Centre Lake (old Big Pen) among the 300 Tufted Ducks. Also I nearly forgot the Waxwing that I saw and heard flying around the centre this morning!

First winter female Lesser Scaup WWT Slimbridge (First record for the reserve)

Closest bird is a captive adult female. The wild bird is top for comparison.

2 January 2011 The first winter female Lesser Scaup appeared on the Rushy again late afternoon today and was spotted by JSL and NW.

1 January 2011
Happy New Year and best birding to you all.

As I was visiting family in Bournemouth I spent just under an hour at the Sandbanks Ferry in Poole Harbour, Dorset today. Some great birds were viewable such as Great Northern Diver, 2 Eider, a Purple Sandpiper, 100+ Red-breasted Merganser, 30 Goldeneye, 40 DB Brents, Sanderling, Grey Plover, Black and Bar-tailed Godwits and more, a good start to the year.

The first winter female Lesser Scaup that I saw on the Rushy on 27 December 2010 and was glimpsed by JSL and MG (Martin Garner) on 30th but flew off and was seen on the South Lake on 1st by Chris Stone.

Filed under: Birdwatching Diary


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