Guided Bird Watching – Tuesday 23rd January

Another day, another named storm! Today was Storm Jocelyn, which brought strong winds to the estuary again.

A Great Northern Diver was soon spotted off Shelley Beach (and on the return it was in mid-channel), with ones, twos and small groups of Great Crested Grebes and Red-breasted Mergansers between there and Cockwood, with a female Goldeneye close to the mudbank. A Spoonbill was feeding near the entrance to Cockwood Harbour, later flying up the estuary; possibly the same bird was feeding in the Clyst Estuary later.

Our first Avocets were feeding at Powderham, where we could just see many Fallow Deer over the sea wall.

Groups of Pintail were in the shallows towards Lympstone, while between there and Turf we were entertained by a Peregrine and a Carrion Crow flying around the boat, hassling each other – it was great to get such close and prolonged views of the falcon. A little later the Peregrine disturbed flocks of Brent Geese, Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits and other waders, including a flock of Lapwings.

As we progressed from Turf to Topsham there seemed to be birds everywhere!

Tight flocks of Black- and Bar-tailed Godwits, dozens of Shelduck, Grey and Golden Plovers, Knot and hundreds of Avocets and Dunlins were feeding across the mudflats and by the river channel.

Mergansers gave us good fly-past views and Teal fed along the river bank. We disturbed three Snipe from the edge of the saltmarsh.

Returning to Exmouth, a group of five female Eiders were mid-channel, walking out onto a sandbank – a lovely end to an exciting cruise!

Dave Smallshire

Posted in

Stuart Line Cruises


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