Guided Bird Watching – Monday 11th December

What a beautiful morning the sun was shining with very little wind the sea was flat.  As we sailed along the Seafront with Polesands exposed our first few birds were Oystercatchers a few DB Brent Geese and a couple of Curlew plenty of Herring Gulls and an odd Greater Black Backed Gull. Visibility was good with a bit of haze as we looked along the coast towards Berry Head, it could have been mid summer! 

As we entered the mouth of the River Exe DB Brent Geese and a few Oystercatchers were the first to be seen at Shelley beach area and in good numbers throughout the estuary moving to different areas and feeding on the Eel Grass and aquatic weed on both sides of the lower and Mid Estuary.

Grey Heron

We caught a glimpse of a Red Breasted Merganser and Great Crested Grebe off Shelly Beach. Several Shag and a few Cormorant were seen as we headed towards Dawlish Warren the size shape and diving technique were witnessed by everyone. Several Turstone were seen foraging on the inside of Dawlish Warren and a Large flock of Widgeon with plenty of  DB Brent Geese were feeding on Eel Grass a few Curlew 2 Grey Heron and Little Egret were seen within the Wildlife Refuge area on the Shutterton basin.

Peregrine Falcon 

Several Shelduck were also seen here along with Mute Swans. Turning towards Bull Hill Sandbank a nice flock of Dunlin fly left to right  as someone shouted Peregrine I managed to get on the bird which flew towards the boat the veered away and pitched on the sandbar further down towards Dawlish Warren.

A couple Little Egrets and more Oystercatchers were seen upstream of Starcross. As we approached the two wrecks great excitement was had by all as a kingfisher was successfully fishing from the wheelhouse window. Two Grey Seals were spotted on a pontoon off Starcross plus another individual in the water.

Looking towards Lympstone 3 GC Grebe were seen and good numbers of Shelduck along with dunlin and good numbers of Pintail in flight DB Brent Geese were feeding on the Eel Grass good numbers of Bar-tailed Godwit and plenty of Pintail feeding were also seen in this area. Our first sighting of several Avocet feeding in the Shallows, as we cruised nearer they took off and headed upstream.  

Redshank and Curlew  were seen as we headed towards Starcross Yacht club Several Mallard were seen near the Yacht Club slipway. Great numbers of Avocets DB Brent Geese Black Tailed Godwits Little Egret a few Curlew were seen between Exton and the Clyst confluence. As we turned for the straight towards Turf several Curlew Common Cormorants were close to the boat great exciting here to as 3 Common Seals, a female and two pups were lazing on the sandbar many saw these beautiful animals up close for a photo opportunity.

Bar-Tailed Godwit and Dunlin

On the other side was the Clyst confluence where again good numbers of Black Tailed Godwits and Avocets in the Clyst Confluence. Also along this stretch Curlew and a nice group of Dunlin on the mudbank above the Clyst confluence. As we turned Turf corner a lovely group of Bar-tailed Godwits and Curlew were in good numbers here with Dunlin in flight and good numbers of Avocets were on the mudflats one both sides of the channel there were birds across this area. A couple of Grey Plover were with a Dunlin flock and a single Sanderling was seen on the mud flats along with good numbers of Lapwing were seen then took off and circled the mudflats.

The highlight was at least 400+ Golden Plover were on the mudflats with their Golden Hue showing in the afternoon sunlight.  Groups of Avocets were towards the bend near Goat Walk Topsham and several  groups were seen along the stretch to Topsham Quay. 6 Red Breasted Merganser was spotted in close proximity to the boat as we turned and showed really well.

As we turned at Topsham a few Teal were seen towards the M5 bridge.  As we headed back from Topsham the 400+ Golden Plover had taken off and were seen high in the blue sky the sun catching their golden colour as they turned into the light, a totally Mesmerising and beautiful sight was had by all as the birds flew over the boat, it seamed the sky was full of birds.

Canada Geese Flyby

Lapwing was spotted towards Exminster Marsh and a flyby from Canada Geese. As we headed back to Exmouth several large flocks of Brent Geese Dunlin and Black tailed Godwits were seen flying upstream to a high tide roost possibly Bowling Green Marsh And Darts Farm.

Birds were now gathering on the Sandbanks at Lympstone and Dawlish Warren nature reserve with very good numbers of Oystercatchers, DB Brent Geese Dunlin in their respected groups, two Sanderling were seen with another two were spotted as we approached Bull Hill Sandbar. Another Sanderling along with a flock of Oystercatcher was seen at Dawlish Warren. Another great cruise was enjoyed by all.

Derek Carter

Posted in

Stuart Line Cruises


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