Guided Bird Watching – Saturday 25th November

We set off from Exmouth quay in glorious sunshine and cruised the calm waters between Exmouth
beach and Pole sands where many Herring gulls, Oyster Catchers, Brent Geese and a few Curlew
were feeding.

Shortly after we started sailing up the estuary some visitors were able to enjoy a very mobile
Kingfisher which landed briefly on the front of a small boat beside the Exmouth mudflats.
A Little Egret was feeding in the shallows on the North side of Dawlish warren just outside the bight.
As we sailed past the Dawlish Warren wildlife refuge we watched good numbers of Dark bellied
Brent geese, Oyster Catchers, Wigeon and Curlew feeding.

3 Grey seals were seen sunbathing on a raft in the middle of the channel and Jake took the time to
ensure all visitors on the boat had good views of these extremely relaxed looking seals.
Shags were diving around the boat and as we sailed towards Starcross we saw both Shags and
Cormorants wings outstretched in the sun so we could see the difference in size and features of
these two similar species. Several Swans were swimming in the waters from Cockwood Harbour to
Starcross. A number of Redshank were seen feeding along the shoreline around Starcross along with
more Little Egrets and Oystercatchers. 2 Great Crested grebes and a Red-breasted merganser were
diving in the waters just off Starcross.

A Greenshank was bathing and preening among the gulls at the River Kenn outlet by Powderham
Castle estate and a large group of over 20 Mallard ducks were swimming in front of Starcross Yacht

2 Common seals were relaxing on the sandbank just off Starcross Yacht Club and one was a
delightful juvenile which looked very much like it wanted to play!

As we sailed North through the tranquil waters of the estuary, and looking towards Lympstone we
had views of a further 20 Great Crested Grebes in a close group and 6 Red-breasted mergansers
swimming together, of which 5 were males. There were around 200 Pintail in the distance and a few
took to the air coming close enough for visitors to see these elegant ducks in flight.

As we approached Turf hotel a flock of circa 200 Golden Plover gave us a fabulous flight display,
glistening like jewels in the sunlit blue sky and repeatedly flying over the boat; then whirling down to
the muds before taking to the air again. A further 100 Golden Plover were rested on the muds with
circa 200 Lapwings, also looking gorgeous in their sunlit iridescent plumage. A single Ruff landed on
the water’s edge close to the boat giving us excellent views.

As we sailed past Turf hotel towards the confluence of the Clyst we soon started seeing hundreds of
Avocets and Black-tailed godwits scattered all over the mudflats on both sides of the boat. Grey
Plover and Knot were also seen. The Lapwings took to the air along with a couple of flocks of Dunlin
which gave us chance to see the way they turn over in flight repeatedly and in unison to
confuse/evade predators.

As we approached Topsham we had close views of the two resident ‘wild’ Black swans, more
Redshanks, Avocets and Black-tailed godwits. A few Teal were seen just off Topsham quay.

On the return trip we saw 3 more Red-breasted mergansers on the Starcross side of the estuary and
noted the same group of 6 we had seen earlier were still on the Lympstone side. A lone female
Shoveler duck swam close to the boat. As we continued sailing back towards Exmouth with the tide
rising, hundreds of Oyster catchers were gathering to roost both on Bull hill sandbank and Dawlish
warren finger point, whilst a Sanderling was seen feeding along the shoreline at Dawlish warren.

Thank you to all who joined us for this absolutely gorgeous cruise and thank you to Jo King for her excellent guidance as usual and wonderful selection of photos!

Posted in

Stuart Line Cruises


Get To Know Us!

Sign up to our newsletter for monthly highlights, entertaining anecdotes and details of upcoming cruises and events!