🕊Guided Bird Watching Review – Wednesday 20th February🕊

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A little chillier today than the mild days of late, mostly cloudy. A Grey Seal was close to Exmouth in the mouth of the estuary and another was hauled out on a pontoon off Dawlish Warren – it barely bothered to look up at us! The 3 immature drake Eiders were further upriver, off Starcross today. 3 Sanderlings were along the central sandbank fringe and we saw 5 Greenshanks, mostly off Powderham. A few Goldeneye (1 drake) were seen distantly in a channel towards Lympstone and about 20 Great Crested Grebes and maybe 30 Red-breasted Mergansers were scattered up the estuary, with over 200 Pintail again around the mouth of the Clyst. Grey Herons could be seen at their nests in the Turkey Oaks behind Starcross Yacht Club, and a Buzzard was flying near the Castle. Hundreds of Canada and then Brent Geese flew up from their grazing fields near Turf. The mudbanks around Turf-Topsham again held large numbers of waders, especially Black-tailed Godwits (1000?), Lapwings (1000?), Golden Plover (500?), Dunlin and Avocets affording us excellent views. Among them were smaller numbers of Bar-tailed Godwits, Knot and Grey Plover. A Sparrowhawk flew across the river at Topsham, where there were dozens of Teal mud in the gloopy mud. Gulls gathering to bathe and then rest on the mud included Lesser Black-backed and many Common Gulls. Perhaps a third Grey Seal spied us briefly off Starcross on the return, and the ‘resident’ Slavonian Grebe was off Cockwood, although we couldn’t see it on the way out!

Dave Smallshire