Trip to Lyhner Estuary, 7 December 2019

A group of Devon Birds members gathered by Wacker Quay on the Lyhner in South East Cornwall.  The weather and light produced excellent viewing conditions. From a viewpoint in the layby above Wacker, we had views right across the Lyhner Estuary.  Shelduck were plentiful and at least 100 Avocets were seen, as were Grey Plovers, Great Crested Grebes, Wigeon, Grey Heron and a few Little Egrets, and a few distant godwits.  On going down to Wacker Quay and looking up the creek, Redshank were common and a Spotted Redshank could be identified at the far end.  Then a Great Northern Diver swam in and dived around immediately in front of the group.  Some members spent time carefully checking through the flock of several hundred teal, in a fruitless search for the male Green-Winged Teal that had been reported from this site.  A short walk through the woods took the group to a more extensive saltmarsh with open views down the estuary.  Curlew, Cormorants and a few Dunlin were seen and one person glimpsed a couple of flying Greenshank.  On return to Wacker, three Roe deer were grazing just over the creek.

Great Northern Diver with crab, Dave Easter

Teal, Dave Batten

On moving on to Torpoint, and looking out over St John’s Lake the tide was now well up, but the pier by the boatyard held a good selection of gulls including Common Gull and Mediterranean Gull.  Most of the waterfowl were on the far side, but Shelduck, Wigeon and a small group of Pale-bellied Brent Geese were to be observed on or around the island.  Finally, as the group prepared to leave an unafraid Rock Pipit was poking around on the beach below us.

Redwing, Dave Batten

A good day in most favourable weather produced a favourable total of 47 species of birds.

The list was Wacker Quay – Grey Heron, Little Egret, Goldcrest, Blackbird, Redwing, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Black-headed Gull, Shelduck, Wigeon , Teal, Mallard, Grey Plover, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Avocet, Coot, Crow, Robin, Wood Pigeon, Dunlin, Cormorant , Canada Goose, Great Northern Diver, Spotted Redshank, Redshank, Greenshank, Buzzard, Pheasant (including one white), Dunnock, Blue Tit, Wren, Greater Spotted Woodpecker and Long-tailed Tit.  Additional species found at St John’s Lake – Magpie, Mediterranean Gull, Common Gull, House Sparrow, Feral Pigeon, Mute Swan, Little Grebe, Turnstone, Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Jackdaw, Starling and Rock Pipit.

Douglas Herdson