With an unseasonably mild and still morning we were set to have a great cruise up the estuary. Before we left the mooring two Grey Seals popped up in front of the boat watching us cast off. The mouth end of the estuary had plenty for the visitors to see with Oystercatcher and turnstone in good numbers towards Dawlish Warren Wildlife refuge. DB Brent Geese seam to be everywhere across the estuary with a few juveniles spotted amongst the adults. Our first sightings of 7 Red Breasted Merganser were seen off Starcross and 4 near Bull Hill sandbank. More Turnstone were in evidence along the Starcross side of the estuary. Shelduck showed well all the way to Topsham. Our first views of 6 Great Crested Grebe off Lympstone was a precursor to the larger flock of 34+ near the Clyst Confluence. Over 40 Great Crested Grebe is a record for me on the Exe Estuary. Widgeon, Pintail Mallard and Teal were present in this same area with our first Black-Tail and Bar-tail Godwit also around the Exton Area. In the Clyst channel were our first Avocets along with the two Black Swans. As we arrived at the Turf Lock area Avocets became more numerous with 200+ seen to Topsham. Plenty of Dunlin, Lapwing with Redshank included were on both banks. I think the highlight for most visitors were the shear number of Golden Plover roosting on the canal side of the channel and with the afternoon sun showing their beauty everyone commented what a fabulous sight they were. I would estimate approximately 1000+ birds in the roost. To top this the Golden plover took off in unison and displayed in front of the boat. What a great spectacle, and what a fabulous cruise…
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