Guided Bird Watching – 7th March 2024

There was a fresh ESE wind today, but mostly sunny conditions. Groups of Brent Geese were feeding in the Wildlife Refuge area at Dawlish Warren, the first of maybe a thousand seen today! A dozen or more Shags were scattered around the outer part of the estuary, several sporting their breeding crests which blew around in the wind. Some of the white birds among the distant herds of cattle at Eastdon and behind Starcross were likely to have been Cattle Egrets. Several Greenshanks were in their favoured spots around Powderham, where a Little Egret was feeding in the calm shallows by a wreck and at least one Grey Heron was sitting tightly on its nest behind the sailing club.

Red-Breasted Merganser

A large flock of Brent Geese were taking a break near Turf, where a distant tight flock of waders proved to be Golden Plovers. Around the river bends towards Topsham were lots of Common Gulls, both godwit species, including hundreds of Black-tailed, maybe a hundred Avocets and hundreds of Dunlins, Curlews and Redshanks scattered across the mud. A solitary Turnstone was rather out of place on the mud. Some nice views of Red-breasted Mergansers and Teal were had at Topsham.

Golden Plovers

A smart Great Crested Grebe in breeding plumage seen on the return to Exmouth was one of several seen today. A few Sanderlings were spotted scurrying along the edges of the sandbanks, but unfortunately for us, the small flock of wintering Eiders didn’t venture into the estuary today, presumably remaining on the ‘wrong’ side of Dawlish Warren.

As usual, the crew did an amazing job navigating the waters to give us all some great views of the birds that call the Estuary their Winter home!

Dave Smallshire

Stuart Line Cruises


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