A beautiful start to a very Special Double 60th Birthday celebration Birding Cruise for Rosie and Mark. The sun was shining with very little wind the sea was flat with hardly a ripple. We sailed along the Seafront with Polesands exposed our first few birds were Oystercatchers a few DB Brent Geese and a couple of Curlew foraging amongst the gravels.
Visibility was perfect to see down the coast to Berry Head. As we entered the mouth of the River Exe DB Brent Geese and a few Oystercatchers were the first to be seen at Shelley beach area and in good numbers throughout the estuary moving to different areas and feeding on the Eel Grass and aquatic weed on both sides of the lower and Mid Estuary.
Shag and a few Cormorant were seen as we headed towards Starcross the size shape and diving technique were witnessed by everyone. Again Large flock of Widgeon plenty of DB Brent Geese were feeding a few Curlew 3 Grey Heron and Little Egret were seen within the Wildlife Refuge area on the Shutterton basin. Plenty of Shelduck were also seen here along with Mute Swans. Again like yesterdays cruise a couple Little Egrets Oystercatchers were seen upstream of Starcross with a few Turnstone fly past.
A family of 3 Grey Seals were spotted on a pontoon off Starcross a Large male a female and youngster plus another individual in the water.
Looking towards Lympstone 9 GC Grebe were seen and good numbers of Shelduck along with dunlin and several Pintail in flight DB Brent Geese were feeding on the Eel Grass good numbers of Bar-tailed Godwit and plenty of Pintail feeding were also seen in this area. Several Avocet were feeding in the Shallows, as we cruised nearer they took off and headed upstream.
Redshank and Curlew were seen as we headed towards Starcross Yacht club Several Mallard were seen near the Yacht Club slipway. Great numbers of DB Brent Geese Black Tailed Godwits Little Egret a few Curlew were seen between Exton and the Clyst confluence. As we turned for the straight towards Turf several Curlew Common Cormorants were close to the boat great exciting here to as 3 Common Seals, a female and two pups were lazing on the sandbar many saw these beautiful animals up close for a photo opportunity.
On the other side was the Clyst confluence where again good numbers of Black Tailed Godwits and a few Wigeon and Pintail were seen lingering both sides of the Clyst Confluence. Also along this stretch Curlew and a nice group of Dunlin on the mudbank above the Clyst confluence.
As we turned Turf corner Curlew were in good numbers here with Dunlin in flight and good numbers of Avocets were on the mudflats one both sides of the channel there were birds across this area. The highlight was At least 400+ Golden Plover were on the mudflats then took off towards the boat with there Golden Hue showing in the evening sunlight. A Mesmerising and beautiful sight was had by all. Groups of Avocets were towards the bend near Goat Walk Topsham and several groups were seen along the stretch to Topsham Quay. 4 Red Breasted Merganser was spotted in close proximity to the boat as we turned and showed really well.
With the sun now setting the Estuary was looking beautiful with the tide making and the reflections of birds and the landscape. Lapwing was spotted towards Exminster Marsh and one Canada Goose at a distance. As the sun went down on our return back to Exmouth several large flocks of Black-tailed Godwits were seen flying upstream to a high tide roost possibly Bowling Green Marsh. Birds were now gathering on the Sandbanks at Lympston and Dawlish Warren nature reserve with very good numbers of Oystercatchers, Shelduck DB Brent Geese Dunlin in their respected groups.
As we approached Bull Hill Sandbar juvenile Cormorants were drying their wings and further along this spit a flock of Common Gulls were roosting until the tide pushed them all off the bar. The general consensus was the whole of the party members thoroughly enjoyed this very special Birthday Cruise for Rosie and Mark.
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