Taw/Torridge field trip report, for February 2013

Posted February 25th, 2013 at 11:08 am by Steve Waite

Nine members met at the Skern, Northam Burrows wrapped up against the cold north wind, and gathered to scan the salt marsh.  The sun shone highlighting 100+ Golden Plover as they rested on the marsh, 200+ Dark-bellied Brent Goose grazed on the shore line with Oystercatcher and several Grey Plover.  Walking towards the point, where the two rivers meet the sea, a Great-crested Grebe showed in the estuary and 100+ Wigeon and 50 Shelduck feeding along the shore. Skylarks were heard reminding us that spring is just around the corner. Instow cricket club was our next stop, to check a near-by barn where Little Owl is sometimes seen, but no luck on this occasion!  A short walk to the river bank produced several Grey Plover, 200+ roosting Oystercatcher, 150 Lapwing and 8 Sanderling.

After lunch we headed to Yelland and RSPB reserve, Isley Marsh.  Two Mistle Thrush were seen in the adjacent meadows with a Kestrel overhead.  Just offshore at Isley we spotted 5 Spoonbill sleeping on a mud bank with Curlew, Wigeon, Redshank, Teal and 2 Ruff.  A lone Snipe was spotted by Andy Cudmore, and a debate was had about a possible Jack, although views were not good enough to verify.  Other Snipe flew as a low flying helicopter came over sending large flocks of Lapwing, Dunlin and Golden Plover into the sky, and as they wheeled in the air catching the sun it was a beautiful spectacle to end the day.  52 species seen.

Jackie Bosley