A very wet and windy cruise today: not very spring-like at all! Kite surfers were having a great time off Exmouth, but had effectively cleared the area of birds. A Peregrine showed briefly around Exmouth church tower and the ‘resident’ Slavonian Grebe was near the wreck off Cockwood, where we saw the first of at least 30 Red-breasted Mergansers. Great Crested Grebes were present in good numbers, a group of 19 together contributing to a total of at least 26. The 3 immature drake Eiders were out on a sandbank near Starcross today and 4 Goldeneye were seen nearby. Several groups of Sanderlings were on the fringes of the central sandbanks, culminating in 25 together. At least 4 Greenshanks were off Powderham (and another later flew past us at Topsham). Perhaps 200 Pintail were again around the mouth of the Clyst. Brent Geese were grazing in fields near Turf, some of them heading that way from the estuary as we passed by, and a Grey Seal eyed us briefly. The mudbanks around Turf-Topsham held some 300 roosting Golden Plover, lots of feeding Dunlin and small numbers of Knot, Bar-tailed Godwits and Grey Plover. Most of the Black-tailed Godwits must have been feeding in the rain-sodden fields, as only about 100 were on the mud. As we approached Topsham, we got nice views of Avocets, though it seems that many have departed for breeding areas during the fine weather in recent weeks.
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