This morning was slightly overcast with a light breeze and river conditions near perfect for the Saturday 15th January birdwatching cruise everything was set fair for a great few hours. Plenty of DB Brent Geese around Shelley Beach and several showing really close to the boat proved there were plenty to be seen across the estuary. Red Breasted Mergansers were on show around Cockwood and Starcross but the stars of the show in this area was the two Black Neck Grebes which were viewed by all on board. Greenshank and a showy Kingfisher was seen on one of the wrecks just past Starcross. This Kingfisher followed us and showed well just before Starcross sailing club where it was joined by our first sighting of Avocets.This was the second Kingfisher seen on todays cruise. In the field near cycle bridge on the Exminster side at least 2 Cattle Egrets was seen with a few grazing bullocks. A few Pintail were seen with 100+ Black-Tail Godwit near the Clyst confluence and to the left on the mudbank opposite Turf Locks were at least 500+ Golden Plover. Just up from on the Canal side were a nice flock of 100+ Lapwing that came in to land. Other birds seen along this stretch included Great Crested Grebe, Teal, Cormorant, plenty of Dunlin, Knot, Grey Plover, Red Breasted Mergansers, Common Gull and Bar-tail Godwit. As we approached Topsham Goatwalk a male Goldeneye flew passed the boat and heading downstream then circled back towards the north end of Topsham, this was the star sighting for me. Plenty of Avocets seen here and topping off the cruise was the Spotted Redshank at Topsham.
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