We were delighted to welcome Jo King aboard for her first cruise during which she delivered the Guided Commentary, alongside Derek. Jo offered an excellent insight into the feeding habits, behaviours and species found during the cruise and we look forward to welcoming her back again soon.
Again, like yesterday the weather was set in a showery mode at the start but with great surprise it stayed dry for the whole cruise. Across Pole Sands several Curlews were seen foraging a few Herring Gulls and Greater Black Backed Gulls were seen here to. Again as we entered the mouth of the River Exe and the Estuary DB Brent Geese were seen in good numbers and were numerous throughout the estuary moving to different areas and feeding on the Eel Grass on both sides of the lower and Mid Estuary. Again Shag and Cormorant were plentiful as we headed towards Starcross the size shape and diving technique were witnessed by our visitors. Widgeon Curlew and Little Egret were seen within the Wildlife Refuge area on the Shutterton basin.
Little Egrets Oystercatchers Greenshank a couple of Grey Herons were seen and a nice flock of Turnstone were foraging amongst the sea weed off of Starcross. Like yesterday looking towards Lympstone good numbers of Shelduck along with dunlin in flight and DB Brent Geese were feeding on the Eel Grass. A couple of Great Crested Grebe were also seen in this area . 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 Kenn were Redshank and a couple of Greenshank. Mallard and Widgeon were seen at the Yacht Club slipway.
Great aerial displays were witness by our visitors of mainly Dunlin towards Exton and our first sighting of a couple of Avocet in this area. At the same mudbank as yesterday great excitement was had by all viewing a young Grey Seal on the straight towards Turf Lock we’re training it well!! Also along this stretch Grey Plover, Curlew and a nice group of Dunlin on the mudbank above the Clyst confluence. A couple of Oystercatchers were seen close-up on the flood wall one was ringed it was suggested it was ringed on the Exe to be confirmed. As we turned Turf corner a few Avocets and Curlew were in good numbers here with Dunlin with the first views of the stunning little Sanderling. A small group of Knot were seen in the same area. Avocets were growing in numbers towards Topsham and with the sun now shining showing off a “grace” of 164 Avocets on the left side of the boat 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 and “ Voila” we found it between the Quay and the Goat Walk and great views were had by most of the visitors.
As we turned just above Topsham Quay a Common Sandpiper was found feeding near the footbridge to the pontoon, a nice close-up encounter thanks to Captain Jake getting the “Pride of Exmouth” really close to this bonus bird for the visitor to see feeding on the mud. On our way back to Exmouth good views of the Avocets again.
A close encounter of an Adult Grey Seal was seen on the vessel Can Doo just passed Starcross. As we passed Dawlish Warren Oystercatcher, Cormorants and DB Brent Geese were gathering 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.
For any readers interested in learning more about the Ringed Oystercatcher history, you can do so via the Devon and Cornwall Wader Ringing Group website.
Thank you for taking the time to read our write-up of this cruise.
Derek Carter and Jo King
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