Guided Bird Watching – Saturday 11th November

A Two Minute silence was observed by all at 11:00 to remember those who lost their lives in WW1 and WW2 for our freedom…

What a beautiful start to our Birding Cruises today the sun was shining and light winds, the estuary was like a mill pond and was set for a great cruise and it didn’t disappoint it stayed dry and sunny for the whole cruise showing the birds at their very beautiful best. When it came to beauty this was a “Kingfisher cruise” with 5 seen throughout this cruise.

As usual we entered the mouth of the River Exe straight off and the DB Brent Geese 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 Cormorant were plentiful as we headed towards Starcross the size shape and diving technique were witnessed by our visitors.

Again Large flock of Widgeon plenty of Brent Geese Dark Bellied and also Pale Bellied Brent Geese were feeding a close view of a Grey Heron a couple of Turnstone a few Curlew and Little Egret were seen within the Wildlife Refuge area on the Shutterton basin In front of this area is the remains of the Pacific Oyster cages, sat on one was our first Kingfisher of the day.

Again like yesterdays cruise roughly 10 Great Crested Grebe a couple Little Egrets Oystercatchers 2 Greenshank a couple of Grey Herons were seen upstream of Starcross and with great excitement another Kingfisher was spotted fishing from one of the wrecks in this same area and a couple of Greenshank.

A Grey Seal was spotted near by. Looking towards Lympstone good numbers of Shelduck along with dunlin in flight and DB Brent Geese were feeding on the Eel Grass. Redshank and Greenshank 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.

A couple of 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 briefly between Lympstone and Exton. As we turned for the straight towards Turf several Curlew Common Cormorants were close to the boat and on the Mud flats a juvenile Common Seal was posing for all to see.

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 5 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 Avocets were on the mudflats one side and on the other 200+ Golden Plover were resting before moving on to Exminster Marsh.

A Red Breasted Merganser was spotted in close proximity to the boat and showed really well. A small group of Avocets were towards the bend near Goat Walk Topsham and another couple of 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.

Another Kingfisher was spotted here and viewed flying to various fishing vantage points one being a Yacht rigging where in front of  everyone it took off and hovered for several seconds before moving on. Lapwing was spotted towards Exminster Marsh and Canada Geese at a distance. 5 Snipe was viewed taking off from the reedbeds and flying south.

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 Lympstone and Dawlish Warren nature reserve with good numbers of Oystercatchers, Shelduck DB Brent Geese Dunlin in their respected groups a group of at least 7 Sanderling was spotted.

As we approached Bull Hill Sandbar Great Black backed Gulls and a Lesser Blacked Gull was seen close together 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 seen was had by all.  

Derek Carter
Photos: Jo King

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Stuart Line Cruises


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