29th of March 2013.

RSPB Isley Marsh & River Taw Estuary.

Species seen 39.

After weeks of bad weather in the midlands, a holiday in the West Country is just what’s needed. Today started with sunshine that lasted nearly all day, it was a little on the cold side, however a beautiful spring day was enjoyed walking along the River Taw Estuary.

Starting at the RSPB Isley Marsh Reserve just off the Tarka Trail, my walk began checking out the sandbanks, as usual they held a great many Shelduck, more than 50, Oystercatchers numbers were over 200 and Curlew over 30. The Little Egret population grows from strength to strength with many birds seen at numerous locations along the estuary.

Taking time to scan the water’s edge, the first birds of note were Turnstone, Sanderling, Redshank and Black Tailed Godwit.  As I walked along the path above the rocky break waters, a single Rock Pipit was seen moving briskly around the main drain area. Looking out over the water, a male Red Breasted Merganser and two females were spotted off shore.

Spring visitors seen today were Wheatear in the grassed areas and a Chiffchaff within the trees lining the Tarka trail.

Stopping for a coffee by the small freshwater pool near to the Yelland quay, a single Water Rail was heard from the far side reeds, hiding within the reeds also stood the statue like figure of a Grey Heron which didn’t move an inch while I scanned the area for the Water Rail. Sadly it didn’t show. 

However, moving on, I spotted a very rapid moving bird, as it flew closer the bird was clearly a small falcon; a Merlin tick for North Devon is a first for me!

My complete list of sighting is as follows, 

Shelduck, Widgeon, Teal, Red Breasted Merganser, Cormorant, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Buzzard, Kestrel, Merlin, Water Rail (heard), Moorhen, Oystercatcher, Redshank, Sanderling, Black Tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Herring Gull, Yellow Legged Gull, Lesser Black Backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Rook, Magpie, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Chiffchaff, Reed Warbler, Robin, Wheatear, Blackbird, Song Thrush, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Rock Pipit and Turnstone.

On the way back, this is one of the reasons, I come to Devon often, it's not just the superb wildlife!

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