A beautiful sunny day and another excellent cruise, despite much human presence around Exmouth. We started with a nice comparison of Cormorant and Shag perched together on a buoy and soon after were watching a Great Northern Diver near Cockwood. A Kingfisher sat on one of the wrecks near Starcross, while a few Greenshanks were feeding in the shallows nearby. Over 100 Pintail were feeding around the mouth of the Clyst and thousands of Black-headed Gulls were scattered across the mud and in the water. The three young Harbour (Common) Seals were hauled out on a nearby sandbank, having lost the adult present in previous days. We had nice views of Red-breasted Mergansers, Brent Geese, Grey Plovers, Knot and Black-tailed Godwits as we approached Turf Lock, plus the first of many Avocets. Large flocks of Lapwings and Golden Plovers rested on the mudflats, presumably having spent a moonlight night feeding on Exminster Marshes; the former sported beautiful glossy green upperparts and the latter shined golden in the sun. Bar-tailed Godwits and Teal also lined the riverbank towards Topsham, where the wintering Spotted Redshank – one of only two birds wintering in Devon – again gave us excellent views. A Marsh Harrier was seen hunting over Topsham Reedbed, but we were too far downriver to locate the 8 Bearded Tits seen there in the morning! Returning back towards Dawlish Warren we found several Sanderlings running along the edge of the sandbanks.
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