After a couple of short, sharp showers, we had a relatively warm cruise with excellent visibility. A Great Northern Diver off Exmouth seafront was followed by the ‘resident’ Slavonian Grebe off Cockwood and 3 immature drake Eiders resting on Bull Hill. Shags at close range revealed their bottle green plumage and some had breeding crests. At least 22 Sanderlings were scattered along the sandbank fringes and at least 6 Greenshanks, mostly off Powderham. Five Goldeneye (2 drakes) were seen distantly in a channel towards Lympstone and around a dozen Great Crested Grebes and maybe 30 Red-breasted Mergansers were scattered up the estuary, with over 200 Pintail mostly around the mouth of the Clyst. Several Grey Herons could be seen at their nests in the Turkey Oaks behind Starcross Yacht Club. The mudbanks around Turf-Topsham again held large numbers of waders, especially Black-tailed Godwits (1000+?), Lapwings (1500+), Golden Plover (700), Dunlin and Avocets affording us excellent views. Among them were smaller numbers of Bar-tailed Godwits, Knot and Grey Plover. Gulls gathering to bathe and then rest on the mud included at least 10 Lesser Black-backed and many Common Gulls.
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