Guided Bird Watching – Tuesday 22nd November

With the weather set in a showery mode it was surprising a few showers were had at the start of todays cruise with some fantastic Rainbows on view across the estuary. Across Pole Sands several Curlews were seen foraging. As we entered the mouth of the River Exe and the Estuary DB Brent Geese were seen in numbers and were numerous throughout the estuary moving to different areas and feeding on the Eel Grass on both sides of the lower Estuary. Shag and Cormorant were plentiful as we headed towards Starcross with Widgeon Grey Plover and Turnstone within the Wildlife Refuge area on the Shutterton basin. Mute Swans, Little Egrets, a couple of Grey Herons and a nice flock of Turnstone were foraging off of Starcross. Looking towards Lympstone good numbers of Shelduck along with dunlin and DB Brent Geese were feeding on the Eel Grass and in the water in front of this group of Birds a lovely flock of at least 14 Great Crested Grebe were seen fishing then in flight showing off their black and white winter plumage.

As we headed towards Starcross Yacht club a mixed flock of Gulls were bathing in the River Kenn mainly Black Headed, Common and Herring with a couple of Greater Black Backed Gulls showing well here to. In the River were Greenshank and Redshank feeding with 3 more Greenshank feeding on the mud in this area. Mallard and Widgeon were seen at the slipway along with our first sighting of a Kingfisher tho’ brief several saw it. Great aerial displays were witness by our visitors of Dunlin and distant Black-Tailed Godwit and our first sighting of a couple of Avocet in this area. Great excitement was had by all viewing a young Grey Seal or was it a Common Seal!!? on the straight towards Turf Lock. A brief sighting of Cattle Egret with Cattle between the flood wall and Railway line along this stretch with Grey Plover, Curlew Dunlin and a nice group of Ringed Plover with the first views of the stunning Sanderling on the mudbank above the Clyst confluence.

As we turned Turf corner another Kingfisher was spotted on the ladder rung by the Lock. Redshank were seen in good numbers along Turf straight in the distance a large flock of Golden Plover were roosting near the reed beds by the Canal bank. Avocets were growing in numbers towards Topsham and with the sun now shining showing off a “grace” of well over 150 Avocets on the left side of the “Pride of Exmouth” then taking off and flying past us to pitch in further down stream. A nice group of 5 Red Breasted Mergansers were seen close to the boat and a lot more Redshank lined the channel to Topsham Quay. Again Avocets and Dunlin were seen along this stretch with anticipation to find the Spotted Redshank in the Topsham Area, a few thought they saw it but unconfirmed.

On our way back to Exmouth good views of the Avocets again and a lovely flypast by Knot was seen towards Turf. As we past Dawlish Warren Oystercatcher, Cormorants and DB Brent Geese were gather for the high tide roost and along the shoreline several Sanderling and Turnstone were seen at the waters edge. Another great Birdwatching cruise was had by all as we docked at the Exmouth Marina.

Derek Carter and Jo King

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Stuart Line Cruises

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