Guided Bird Watching – Monday 27th November

Another beautiful start to our Birding Cruises today the sun was shining but with a stiff northerly winds, and a few showers were forecast.

We sailed along the Seafront with Polesands exposed our first few birds were Oystercatchers DB Brent Geese and a couple of Curlew foraging amongst the gravels. 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.

Shag and a few Cormorant were seen as we headed towards Starcross the size shape and diving technique were witnessed by our visitors. Again Large flock of Widgeon plenty of  DB Brent Geese were feeding a few Curlew and Little Egret were seen within the Wildlife Refuge area on the Shutterton basin.

Plenty of Shelduck were also seen here along with Mute Swans. Again like yesterdays cruise roughly a couple of Great Crested Grebe our first Red Breasted Merganser a couple Little Egrets Oystercatchers were seen upstream of Starcross and with great excitement a Kingfisher was spotted fishing from one of the wrecks. 2 Grey Seals were spotted near by one really light grey which I hadn’t seen before in the estuary it was a very striking individual.

Dark Bellied Brent Geese and Wigeon

Looking towards Lympstone we had a fantastic rainbow as we had a shower and the sun shone through the rainbow another 9 GC Grebe were seen and good numbers of Shelduck along with dunlin in flight and DB Brent Geese were feeding on the Eel Grass good numbers of Bar-tailed Godwit and plenty of Pintail were also seen in this area.

Redshank and Curlew  were seen as we headed towards Starcross Yacht club a mixed flock of Black Headed and Herring Gulls were bathing as usual in the River Kenn mainly Black Headed, and Herring with a couple of Greater Black Backed Gulls showing well here to. Several Mallard were seen near the Yacht Club slipway. 

Great numbers of DB Brent Geese Black Tailed Godwits Little Egret a few Curlew and our first Avocets 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. On the other side was the Clyst confluence where again good numbers of Black Tailed Godwits were seen lingering both sides of the Clyst Confluence and above them 12 Knot were seen briefly. Also along this stretch Curlew and a nice group of Dunlin on the mudbank above the Clyst confluence.

As we turned Turf corner 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. At least 300+ Golden Plover were in flight above the reed beds before moving on to the mudflats in front of the Reed-bed and the Canal  4 Red Breasted Merganser was spotted in close proximity to the boat and showed really well.

Groups of Avocets were towards the bend near Goat Walk Topsham and several  groups were seen along the stretch to Topsham Quay. With the sun now shining it really showed off the beauty of these gorgeous birds on the left side of the boat several took flight and flew past us to pitch in further down stream showing how graceful they are. Again today Dunlin and Redshank were numerous and flighty to the Quay.

Lapwing was spotted towards Exminster Marsh and one Canada Goose at a distance. As we turned to head home someone reported a Marsh Harrier was seen quartering the reedbeds towards the M5 flyover.

A pair of Teal was spotted near the Quay. On our return back to Exmouth several large flocks of Black-tailed Godwits were seen flying upstream to a high tide roost possibly Bowling Green Marsh. Birds were now gathering on the Sandbanks at Lympston and Dawlish Warren nature reserve with very good numbers of Oystercatchers, Shelduck DB Brent Geese Dunlin in their respected groups we were desperate to see a Sanderling but alas we were not successful this time.

As we approached Bull Hill Sandbar juvenile Cormorants were drying their wings and further along this spit a flock of Common Gulls were roosting until the tide pushed them all off the bar. Another Great Cruise with an abundant of birds enjoyed by all.

Derek Carter

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Stuart Line Cruises


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