A blustery afternoon with sunny periods and occasional showers for the last birdwatching cruise of the season. A Peregrine flew from the estuary past us to land on Exmouth church tower. Kite surfers were again busy offshore and only about 100 Brent Geese stayed put (more or less). A Grey Seal was hauled out on a pontoon near Dawlish Warren and the ‘resident’ Slavonian Grebe was off Cockwood, as usual. We passed 2 immature drake Eiders off Starcross, while the third was out on a sandbank nearby. About 30 Red-breasted Mergansers and 20 Great Crested Grebes were scattered up the estuary. Small numbers of Sanderlings were on the fringes of the central sandbanks and also on the mudbanks nearer Topsham. 3 Greenshanks were off Powderham. Pintail were again around the mouth of the Clyst, 150-200 of them. About 500 roosting Golden Plover, some in breeding plumage, were on the mud off Turf, with 27 Knot nearby. Quite a few of the hundreds of Black-tailed Godwits were already in their orange breeding plumage, and one group contained the Ruff that has wintered at Bowling Green Marsh. At least one Bar-tailed Godwit was also in its brick-red summer finery. As we approached Topsham, we eventually saw Avocets, though barely 30 were left of the wintering flock.
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