The two highlights of this afternoon’s rather damp cruise were close views of an immature Spoonbill feeding in the river at Topsham (yesterday’s bird was an adult) and a single Black-necked Grebe between Cockwood and Starcross (maybe one of the two seen there until recently?). Waders and wildfowl were much as in the previous two days’ cruises, although about 200 Pintail were in three flocks between Lympstone and Powderham mudbank. Avocets and Dunlins were well-scattered across the mudbanks, but several large flocks of Black-tailed Godwits were in close groups and as usual the Spotted Redshank had no friends on its favoured patch at Topsham. About 40 Lesser Black-backed Gulls were on Bull Hill sandbank as we returned, indicating birds returning from winter in Iberia or West Africa. A Pied Wagtail again joined us off Exmouth Marina and two came on the boat as soon as passengers cleared the upper deck – they did a good job of cleaning up the pasty crumbs! This was my last cruise of the season – I’m already looking forward to the next in November!
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