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28 January 2018

Sunday

Had a great day out today doing things I love doing with some great people. The morning was spent out on a boat trip and the afternoon was spent at Buckfast Abbey with the bees.

After picking up a takeaway Coffee and Bacon Sarnie I met up with the rest of the group which had been organised by Nigel S and being skipperd by Nigel L on the "Optimist" and compared with the last trip the weather was great.

We went from the harbour to off Berry Head, then past the Mussel Farm along the coast to Torquay Marina then back to Brixham.

In the Harbour there was lots of Black-headed Gulls with a few Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls, Shags, Cormorants, Turnstones, Redshank, Purple Sandpipers Carrion Crows, Feral Pigeons and a Kingfisher on the Golden Hind.

When we got out of the harbour we went towards Berry Head there was 300+ Gannets diving into the water as well as 11 Common Dolphins feeding on something. Lots Guillemots and Razorbills in rafts on the water with Herring, Great-black Backed and Black-headed Gulls with a couple of Kittiwakes. Cormorants and a Great-northern Diver also seen.

Back towards Brixham and past the Mussel Farm and a circular route back to the harbour via Torquay Marina, more Seals seen on the rocks with plenty of Grey Herons as well, Cormorants, Shags, Little Egret, Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls, Fulmars on the water as well as sat on the cliffs, Kittiwakes flying around as well as a raft of 21 birds sat out to sea, Guillemots, Razorbill, Gannet, Great Crested Grebes, Black Necked Grebe, 4 Scoter and a Peregrine. We also saw 6 sightings of Great Northern Divers around the bay, because we did a circular route some of these might have been the same bird.

After the boat trip, back to Dawlish to pick something up and off to Buckfastliegh to meet up the some Beekeepers, quick check of the community Apery and back to the barn for Tea, Biscuits and talking about Bee stuff!

Had a great day out with some great people, feel very lucky!



21 January 2018

new Scope

I treated myself to a new scope this weekend as a birthday present to myself. I got it from Darts Farm RSPB shop, yes I could have got it cheaper somewhere else such as on line but thought I would add to the coffers of the RSPB and the money towards something positive. I got a "avocet" 80mm 20-80X and I tried it out a couple of times over the weekend, I felt like a "proper birder!" hahahahha.

Don't think I will be carrying around all the time but watching on places like the River Exe will be a positive asset

Spent time today at the Cockwood steps and lots of birds here with Redshank, Greenshank, Dunlin, Oystercatchers, Godwits, Curlew, Turnstone, Red-breasted Mergansers, Little Egrets, Cormorants, Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Shelduck and Carrion Crows.

Had a good conversation with one of the guys that digs for bait, he's got 200 pots for crabs on the exe. He's full of knowledge on what's about especially the birds and very proud of the area that he works in.



14 January 2018

Torbay Boat Trip

Went around Torbay today on a boat trip organised by Nigel S on the boat "Optimist" skippered by Nigel L. In the harbour it was flat calm but out of the harbour it was very "Lumpy" and difficult at times to stand up and defiantly not the best environment to take pictures.

In the harbour there was loads of Shag and Cormorant, Turnstone, Great-black, Herring and Black-headed Gulls, 3 Purple Sandpipers and a large haul of 16 Grey Seals.

Out of the harbour we went past the Mussel farm, there was very large numbers of Cormorants and Gulls. There must have been 300+ Cormorants seen on the day, there was 50+ on the cliffs by the Mussel Farm alone and large numbers seen flying around. Gull numbers were also large over the day, 1000+ easy, on rocks, flying and in the water. Good variety as well with Great-black Backed, Herring, Black-headed and Common Gull as well as Kittiwake and Fulmar seen. Also saw a few Gannets but not large numbers, around the cliffs also saw Shag, Grey Heron, Peregrine, Jackdaw and Carrion Crow.

On the water it was very difficult due to the swell to pick up and positively Id birds on the water, a nice surprise was 3 Brent geese! We also picked up 12 Great Northern Divers but there must have been more, Great-crested Grebes dotted all over the place as well as Guillemots singles and several small rafts of 30+ birds. A couple of small Grebes seen but unable to id as quickly lost in the swell. We had a fly over Black-throated Diver and a single Male Scooter.

Back to Brixham and walked around the harbour after getting off the boat, plenty of Turnstone and a single Redshank in the harbour also saw the electric blue of a Kingfisher flying between the small boats, plenty of Feral Pigeons, Gulls, Cormorants, Shags, Blackbird, Robin, Pied Wagtail and a Rock Pipit. Had a look from the sea wall and plenty of birds in the water, Gulls, Cormorants and a couple of Great Northern Divers were a bonus.

Spent a great morning with a great bunch of people!



06 January 2018

Topsham

In the Exeter area today and took the opportunity to walk around Goosemoor and BGM, although it was clear it was cold and windy.

A few birds in the hedges when I parked up, the best being a Bullfinch, also Robin, Blackbird, Dunnock, House Sparrow, Jackdaw, Wood Pigeon and a few Herring Gulls.

Not many birds down the cycle track, Jackdaw, Great and Blue Tit, Blackbird, Robin and a Buzzard flew down over the creek which apart from a Little Egret was empty.

Goosemoor was full of water and because of the wind all the birds were sheltering in the far corner, Mallard, Teal, Widgeon, Curlew, Godwits, Redshank and Greenshank on view.

Along the road and in the Reserve there was Widgeon, Teal, Mallard, Shoveler, Tufted, Pintail and Shelduck, Coot, Mallard, Cormorant, Curlew, Godwits, Redshank, Dunlin, Lapwing, Snipe, Canada Geese, Greylag, Starling, Pied Wagtail, Blackbird, Wren, Robin, Great Tit, Dunnock, Jackdaw, Carrion Crow, Magpie and Woodpigeon.

Also saw this duck which when I first saw it at a distance thought it was the White Cheeked Pintail, an escapee which had been seen in Torbay but looks more like a Widgeon X.

Along to the platform but not for very long, tide on its way out and the mud flats had plenty of Waders on with Avocet, Curlew, Godwits, Dunlin, Grey Plover, Redshank and Greenshank.

Saw lots of people out today all wrapped up to the nines!



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