Friday 1st February, 2019
With yesterday evening’s snow still visible down to sea level, it was a cold journey up the estuary this morning. A Great Northern Diver was off Exmouth sea front, where a Grey Seal popped up briefly to look us over and several flocks of Redwings and Fieldfares passed over from the east: a classic hard weather movement. Off Cockwood, the ‘resident’ Slavonian Grebe was a bit closer to the boat than usual, and 2 immature drake Eiders were even closer. Here also was the first of maybe 20 Great Crested Grebes. 2 Greenshanks were feeding at the Ken outlet near Powderham and at least 200 Pintail were around the mouth of the Clyst. Several flocks of Brent Geese included a large group near Turf, where the first of many Avocets were feeding. Rather strangely, a group of about 30 Knot were asleep, rather than busily feeding as would be usual for them. In contrast to the previous batch of cruises, only a few Lapwings and about 100 Golden Plover were on the mudbanks around Turf-Topsham. Black-tailed Godwits were numerous here, as usual, and about 130 Bar-tails were off the Goat Walk at Topsham. A Sparrowhawk flew over the river, disturbing the waders briefly, and a group of Greylag Geese walked across the mud. Returning to Exmouth, I was dismayed to see 2 Cormorants standing on buoys – a habit I’ve always associated with Shags in the outer part of the estuary!