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Exe Estuary cruise 4th February
Two immature Spoonbills were feeding off Mudbank Lane late morning, before today’s Stuart Line cruise departed. No sign of the G N Diver today, but still 15+ G C Grebes and c15 Mergansers; dozens of Pintail and huge numbers of Black-headed Gulls were around the mouth of the Clyst, while around Topsham there were 1500+ Lapwings and 1000+ Golden Plovers on the mudflats, plus masses of Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits and Dunlin, and smaller numbers of Bar-tailed Godwits. The wintering Spotted Redshank at Topsham gave excellent views, a flock of Canada Geese over Exminster Marshes contained a Snow Goose, and the wintering Ruff was feeding on the mud near Turf. A pair of Egyptian Geese flew into Powderham Park. Also, there were an exceptional 7 seals in the estuary today: three Grey Seals on a pontoon off Dawlish Warren, including an almost completely black bull, and a third young Harbour (Common) Seal had joined the adult on a sandbank off Exton.
Greenfinches Old Torrington Road Barnstaple
The greenfinch count this afternoon was 40+. Where they all come from and where they all go is a mystery. Two years ago it was goldfinches. Last year it was jackdaws. Very strange.
Pair of Goosanders, four male Pochards and two Wigeon on the lake this afternoon.
On the moor during Ten Tors training a lovely male Merlin near Great Mis Tor, c80 Golden plover over, 2 Buzzards.
Late morning on the Down: c40 Golden Plovers, 2 Ravens, 2 Buzzards 3 GBBG’s on TWL.
Riverside Country Park above Countess Weir
Countess Weir, Exeter this morning. Green and Common Sandpiper. 28 Wigeon, 15 Teal, 25 Meadow Pipit, 2 singing Song Thrush, 4 Redwing, 2 Stonechat, 5 Bullfinch, Chiffchaff, Green Woodpecker.
Male Black Redstart still present this morning at the sewage outlet pipe, also, 2 Chiffchaffand a Shag on the rocks.
Valley of Rocks . Lynton.
About 15 Fulmars inspecting nesting sites with a few on the ledges in pairs. 2 Goldcrest in Lynton and 6 Stonechat down in the Valley.
One of the Spoonbills was on the scrape at Wrafton at 09.30, and stayed for a couple of hours. Little Egret there too, along with 8 Black-tailed Godwits. In the reserve, Goldcrest and at last, a sighting of Tawny Owl, Plenty of rather flighty Redwings.
Darwin Crescent, Plymouth
- Black Redstart again on the house roof before flying down the road.
Close to Kennick Reservoir Dartmoor
Forgot to post the Redpoll image.
Close to Kennick Reservoir Dartmoor
Today while working near Kennick Reservoir, Dartmoor I spotted some Siskins c12, Redpolls (four) two Bramblings, Fieldfare (50+) and a few Blue and Great tits.
Exe Estuary cruise 3rd February
Another fantastic Stuart Line Cruise, where the highlights were an immature Great Northern Diver near Cockwood; the immature Spoonbill by the River Kenn outflow; over 20 Great Crested Grebes; 2 Egyptian Geese in Powderham Park; estimates of 500+ Avocets, 1500 Lapwing, 650 Golden Plover, 1000+ Black-tailed Godwits and 70 Knot; single Spotted Redshank and Ruff at Topsham; and an immature Marsh Harrier over Topsham Reedbed. The Brent Goose flocks must have totalled well over 1000 and included the leucistic bird and a Barnacle Goose. A pair of Grey Herons sat next to what appeared to be a nest in a willow beside Exeter Canal. A sandbank off Exton today had 3 Harbour (Common) Seals hauled out: yesterday’s adult and rufous youngster plus another slightly larger individual. There were also 2 Grey Seals near the Warren, one resting on a pontoon.
Devon Goosander Count
The third synchronised Devon Goosander roost count of the winter took place mainly at dawn on 28 January, with three sites counted at dusk on the 27th. Of the twenty-four sites covered, 16 held at least one roosting bird. The total of 169 (60 males) was almost identical to the that obtained in both January and December 2022, and included 50 on Dartmoor. The main sites were Lower Tamar Lake with 41, followed by Meeth (23), Avon Dam (22), Blackhill Quarry (21) , Venford (19) and Shobrooke (15). The total should be regarded as a (slight?) underestimate to allow for birds present in the county, but not roosting at one of the known sites on 27/28 January. Thanks to all who took part.
Old Torrington Road Barnstaple
The greenfinches were back again this afternoon, up to 40 gathered before suddenly flying off. Had 50+ lapwing fly over this morning heading for the river. 4 long tailed tits, a coal tit and a male blackcap were a change from the usual garden birds.
Plym Estuary & Saltram
On today’s walk: Great Crested & 3+ Little Grebes, 6+ Goosanders (1 drake), 44 Wigeon, Grey Plover, 19 Turnstones, Common Sandpiper, Firecrest, a pair of Bullfinches, Grey Wagtail & 7 Roe Deer.
Escot Park – Goosanders
This morning 5 Goosanders (2 drakes) on the lake, present to 1100am at least. Also Little Egret, Bullfinch and a singing Mistle Thrush.
Lower Tamar Lake
This morning at the lake.
3 Whooper Swans at (07:00), 3 Willow Tits, 2 Marsh Tits, 1 Great Crested Grebe, 2 Nuthatch, 7 Coot,
3 Tawney Owls calling.
Ref: John’s note on the footpath, the car Park and path should be open this afternoon, but I haven’t heard anything official.
6 Fulmar seemingly colonising cliff face to the west of Tunnel Beaches.
Exminster Marshes quiet this morning – plenty of Wigeon and Lapwing plus a pair of nice Pintail and one Ruff.