Phil Stevens writes: “12 members attended the Plymouth group’s first meeting of 2017 on January 8th. We met at the Sewage works on Marsh Lane in West Charleton and were led by Lesley Goonesekerra. The works provided the first highlight with up to 10 Chiffchaff feeding on the gravel bed and then skilfully hopping over the arms of the machine when they were suddenly switched on.
Both Pied and Grey Wagtails were also enjoying the feast.
A slow walk down to the hide produced Teal in the first pond, Wigeon by the second pond and several Stonechat. There were enough smaller birds around to interest a hungry Sparrowhawk.
At the hide a Water Rail was seen by those looking back over the marsh as it skulked away under the small bridge. Looking in the other direction across the estuary on a rising tide, a male Red-breasted Merganser gave us good views alongside large groups of Wigeon. Many more Wildfowl were present on the far side of the estuary but too distant for definite ID.
The usual Shorebirds were here with the incoming tide allowing easier views of the well camouflaged Snipe [probably 4 in total].
The weather was still and relatively mild with occasional sunny moments adding to the ambiance of the lunch stop in the hide. A very pleasant start to the year’s birding with 32 species seen.”