Well, to describe the conditions to be perfect is an understatement for today’s cruise. Light variable winds, lighting for photography perfect, water like glass, sailing up and back was truly amazing with plenty to see. I personally must class this as in my top three for showing off our estuary in all its winter beauty, and for viewing the birds, perfection with visibility crystal clear. Turnstones off the Warren showed well for visitor to see how camouflaged they can be amongst the seaweed. A grey seal feeding on a flatfish was spotted near the wreck off Cockwood, this was a bonus for the visitors as this seal was not present in the estuary over the weekend. DB Brent Geese were again numerous throughout the Estuary from Exmouth to Topsham. Red Breasted Mergansers were seen throughout the cruise with at least 15+ seen in total. Kingfishers were spotted and great views were had at two locations above Starcross. The two Black-Necked Grebe didn’t disappoint with the lighting helping to show off the markings and their red eyes. Grey Herons were in evidence near Starcross Sailing club with birds near their nests amongst the deciduous oaks. Avocets were seen in good numbers from this area all the way to Topsham and plenty of Avocets and Pintail above the Clyst confluence towards the railway bridge near Bowling Green Marsh. The 500+ Golden Plover were airborne over Topsham as we headed towards Turf Lock. As we turned the bend the Golden plover formed formation overhead and landed on the mudbank opposite Turf Lock. A mixed flock of Black-Tailed Godwit, Golden Plover and Knot were viewed near the waters edge with plenty of Curlew, Dunlin a few Lapwing and Bar-Tailed Godwit on the mudbanks with plenty of mixed gull flocks to Topsham. Avocets and Black-Tailed Godwits again around the Goat walk area of Topsham. The finale was the Spotted Redshank feeding near the pontoon area upstream from the Goat Walk. And, if that wasn’t enough for one trip we also spotted 5 Greenshank. As we turned for home the Estuary views towards Exmouth was very special with the water like glass. More views of the Golden Plover were enjoyed by the visitors as we passed which took on a more golden hue from the late afternoon sun. A very special cruise was had by all.
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