This was my first cruise since last winter, and it was good to be back! Still recovering from a recent illness, I was hoping that my body would hold out for the duration … thankfully it did!
As passengers were boarding in Exmouth at 10:00 am, several flocks of Woodpigeons headed roughly NW up the Estuary, presumably turning inland after coasting west from East Devon. Where DO they come from, WHERE are they going, and WHY??? Nobody bothers to ring or radio track Woodpigeons, so this remains a mystery!
The wind direction was strong northerly for today’s cruise, creating quite a chill in the air. Eleven Great Crested Grebes off Cockwood was a good number for this part of the Estuary (a couple more were seen further up). They had a backcloth of hundreds of Brent Geese, many more of which were grazing the algae further up, especially off Lympstone; at Topsham, close views of Brents produced a good proportion of juveniles.
An egret with cattle near Cockwood was assumed to a Cattle Egret (but a tiny proportion of the astonishing 143 that were in a flooded field at Starcross earlier, after leaving their roost at Powderham). Half a dozen Greenshank were scattered as usual between Cockwood and Powderham.
Most waterfowl were concentrated around Topsham: maybe 300 Avocets, 1000 Black-tailed and 50+ Bar-tailed Godwits, 40 Knot and, last but not least, 2 Black Swans.
Thank you to those who joined my first cruise of the season.
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