The Exe Estuary - South Devon.
Species seen 52.
Today leaving our campsite we passed over 300 plus Golden Plover on the pitch and putt golf course which is a good start to any days birding. Heading for Exeter, my first stop was the Darts Farm Wetlands and hide where there have been recent sightings was an American Wigeon. Unfortunately it was nowhere to be seen. I did however see Eurasian Wigeon, Shelduck, Canada Geese, Moorhen, Teal and Mallard along with Greenfinch, Wren, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Chiffchaff in the surrounding trees. Reports of a Firecrest had me scanning all the trees in search of this fabulous little bird, sadly however it didn’t show either!
|Darts Farm Bird Hide|
After a while here we moved on the six miles to Exmouth, where we took a cruise down the estuary aboard a Stuart Line vessel. From here notables seen were good numbers of Merganser, Oystercatcher, Cormorant, Shag, Dunlin and Brent Geese.
The trip lasted over an hour and was most enjoyable as the sun shone all day and the weather temperature was up to 10 degrees. The skipper gave a very interesting commentary as we cruised the estuary and this also led to Fallow Deer sightings as we passed the Duke of Devon’s estate.
Once back on dry land, I made my way back to Topsham and walked down to the RSPB hide at Bowling Green Marsh. Before entering the hide I could see through the hedgerows that there was well over 200 plus Wigeon feeding on the grassed banks, once at the hide a gentleman kindly informed us that the recently sighted American Wigeon was within the large wigeon flock. It took only a few minutes to locate it and this gave me a very welcome big “tick” for the day! Other birds seen here were Mute Swan, Pied Wagtail, Teal, Black Tailed Godwit, Shelduck, Moorhen and Shoveler. On the far side of the field were two Red Foxes laying basking in the sunshine, presumably well fed as they didn’t bother any of the surrounding birds or rabbits!
|Spot the Yank?|
After some coffee and lunch, I headed further towards the estuary to walk along what’s called “Goats path” this is a raised path forming part of the tidal wall, here there are a good number of benches to sit and look out over the estuary. As it was low tide there were many Redshank, Bar Tailed and Black tailed Godwit, Curlew, Avocet and a lot more Shelduck. This really is a great place to stop and take in the waders at reasonably close quarters.
A great day was spent here and I look forward to booking in one of the bird watching special cruises when I’m down here at the end of the year.