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28 November 2019

Out and About

Spent the last couple of days around Exminster Marshes, the River Exe and Holden.

Walked up from Powderham Church to Turf yesterday, plenty of waders on the mud as the tide was out with Shelduck, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Mute Swan, Grey Heron and Little Egret adding to Grey and Golden Plover, Avocet, Knot, Dunlin, Lapwing, Curlew, Godwit and Redshanks spread over the mud flats. Gulls in good numbers but mainly Black-headed, Cormorants, Carrion Crows and Jackdaws to add to the list.

Plenty of small birds around the path and sea wall with flocks of Goldfinch, Starling and Chaffinch, also Robin, Wren, Meadow Pipit, Dunnock, Pied Wagtail and Blackbird. Closer to Turf also Song Thrush, Redwing and Fieldfare on the berry bushes.

Today I spent the morning at Holden and plenty of birds to see with Buzzard, Long-tailed, Great and Blue Tits, Wren, Blackbird, Robin, Stonechat, Dunnock, Crossbill, Woodpigeon, Carrion Crow, Magpie, Jackdaw and some Hawfinch.

Seeing the Hawfinch was just great, they were quite close but also frustrating as there was always a twig or branch in the way, I knew if I moved from my cover they would fly, but luckily for me one bird moved up to the top of the tree giving me a good view and picture.

I spent the afternoon at Exminster Marshes, parking up at the RSPB car park and doing a circular walk via Turf. I started off down the road which was flooded by the middle car park, although close to the top of my wellies I was able to get around. Plenty of birds on view with Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Curlew, Snipe, Lapwing, Canada and the Snow Goose, Mute Swan, Moorhen, Coot, Little Egret, Black-headed Gulls, Peregrine Falcon eating dinner on a Pylon, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tits, Stonechat, Bullfinch, Blackbird, Robin, Wren, Goldfinch, Chaffinch and Pied Wagtails.

At Turf the birds were at a distance and all the normal waders were there to be seen. Further down the Estuary there was a group of Birders looking for the female Bluethroat which I believe they found later.

Good couple of days out and the bird count seems to be going up, just need some cold weather and hopefully get some Waxwings down here?



23 November 2019

Exminster Marshes

Went to Exminster Marshes today, very wet and lots of water on the Marshes.

Defiantly wellie time, the back path flooded in several places and passable with care. The road to the Fishermans Car Park under water and not usable for normal cars, luckily for me I had my waterproofs on as it was above my wellies and flowing quite fast.

Although plenty of water and duck numbers rising still not the numbers I've seen in the past, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Tufted, Shoveler spread over the Reserve. Canada and Brent Geese in good numbers with Curlew, Godwits, Snipe, Lapwing, Moorhen, Coot, Mute Swan, Little Egret, Cormorant, Grey Heron were the main water birds seen with Rook, Raven, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Magpie, Woodpigeon, Starling, Dunnock, Robin, Blackbird, Reed Bunting, Chaffinch, Bullfinch, Goldfinch, Cettis W, Long-tailed Tit, Great and Blue Tits with a Goldcrest seen along the road.

At Turf the Tide was on the way out but not many birds close to the Pub, did see Red-breasted Merganser, Mute Swan, Brent Geese, Redshank, Grey and Golden Plovers, Dunlin, Avocet, Curlew and Godwits. a few Gulls, mainly Black-headed with the odd Herring Gull.

Not many other humans about, probably down to the weather, good to be out though.



19 November 2019

Dawlish Sea Wall

The guys seem to be cracking on with it and only a very short section left to complete with the foundations before the uprights start to be put in place.

Its been fun watching them trying to fight the tide as well as lay concrete!



16 November 2019

Out and About

In between work and the bad weather managed to get and visit a few places. Stover, Exminster Marshes, Turf, Powderham Church, River Kenn and the outflow, Starcross Golf Course, Cockwood Steps and the Harbour.

Haven't been to Stover for a while and was presently surprised by the Duck numbers with Mallard, Tufted, Mandarin and a smart Pochard in the middle of the lake. The water looks a lot cleaner after all the work they have done. Also Mute Swan, Cormorant, Moorhen, Coot and Black-headed Gulls on the water. Plenty of small birds about with Long-tailed, Blue, Great and Coal Tits, Blackbird, Robin, Nuthatch, Wren and Chaffinch.

Starcross Golf course is starting to get busy at high tide with growing numbers of Brent and Canada Geese as well as Curlew, Oystercatchers and Redshank the main waders but also Lapwing and Godwits also seen.

Cockwood Harbour showed a few Red and Greenshanks with Black-headed and Herring Gulls, Mute Swan and the odd Little Egret. I passed here several time and at was completely empty of birds for no real reason which was a surprise , normally there is something there?

The River Kenn outflow and Cockwood Steps saw Black-headed, Herring and Great-black Backed Gulls of all ages, Mute Swans, Cormorants, Grey Heron, Red and Greenshanks, Oystercatchers and Turnstones. Did also see a Rock Pipit at The River Kenn on the wall.

The River Kenn had a good number of ducks with Mallard, Teal and Wigeon. Good numbers of Grey Heron stood on the bank with Mute Swans on the water.

Off Powderham by the cycle bridge double figures of Shelduck on the River Exe with Redshank, Curlew, Dunlin, Knott and Grey Plover.

Around Exminster Marshes, Peregrine, Kestrel, Buzzard and Marsh Harrier seen, Canada Geese, Mute Swan, Greylag Geese, Grey Heron, Little Egret, Moorhen, Coot, Mallard, Shoveler, Teal , Wigeon, Lapwing, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Rook, Stonechat, Song Thrush, Blackbird, Woodpigeon, Kingfisher, Goldfinch, Bullfinch, Chaffinch, Dunnock, Starling, Meadow Pipit, Reed Bunting, Robin, Great, Blue and Long-tailed Tit, Magpie, Jay, Pied Wagtail, Pheasant and Wren.

At Turf plenty to see, Herring, Black-headed and Great-black Backed Gulls of all ages, Avocet, Golden and Grey Plovers, Godwits, Curlew, Redshank, Dunlin, Grey Heron, Cormorants, Shelduck, Mute Swan, Lapwing, Little Egret and Oystercatchers.

Several times the sky was full of waders put up by something but never quite worked out by what, didn't see any Raptors anyway.

Met lots of great people, normal and Birders, great to catch up with Patrick H at Stover as well as meeting up with Karen, Dave S, Dave B and Simon at Turf and the Marshes, there were others but iam crap with names! Anyway plenty of nice humans about which always is good!



06 November 2019

Death flies over

Had a great couple of days out, unfortunately didn't get out as early as wanted but life keeps getting in the way.

Tuesday ended up at Holden looking for some Hawfinch, it was a beautiful morning and plenty of birds singing, all the usual stuff you would expect, but Hawfinch, Siskins or Crossbills very thin on the ground. I was quite well hidden but a good view of some Hornbeam that I had seen them on before, then it all kicked off! First a couple of Hawfinch appeared on top of a tree just in front of me, ideal and the sun was shinning on them. Just as I was going to take the shot 6 Fallow Deer came crashing through the wood, not sure what had spooked them but they went flying by me, I dont even think they saw me. After I composed myself I went to take the pics and as you guessed the Hawfinch had gone, all the crash bang wallop had frightened them off.

So I decided to move on, after about couple of minutes for some reason I looked around at where I had been and above was a Raptor coming over the trees, I realized it was a Goshawk, how cool was that! It circled a bit then went into a dive and disappeared behind some trees. Such a privilege to see such a bird.

After all the excitement I went off to Exminster Marshes to see if after all this rain how the new scrapes were doing, defiantly more surface water on the Marshes and many of the older, more Northerly scrapes are full. The newer ones are a long way off and will take a lot more rain yet.

Bird wise nothing out of the ordinary and Turf was quiet with many waders up river close to Topsham.

Today I spent time close to the River Exe paying visits to Cockwood Steps, Harbour, Starcross Golf Course, River Kenn outflow, Powderham Estate and then over to Topsham.

The tide was coming in and not that much about, surprised by the lack of Ducks and Brent Geese about?

At Topsham, parked up close to Bowling Green and visits to Goose moor, The Hide, Platform and Goat Walk and it was quite quiet, the tide wasn't as high leaving areas of mud on the River Exe, especially close to Turf where large numbers of Waders could be seen from Goat Walk at High Tide. The Long-billed Dowetcher was seen earlier on and a Little Stint had flown in as added entertainment.

As usual met lots of great people, some Birders and lots of "Normal" people out enjoying the fresh air and our beautiful countryside.



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