Yesterday (Friday) I attended my first Devon Bird Watching & Preservation Society meeting. We met in the lay by near to the bridge by the harbour. There were about 20 people there & luckily they were a nice friendly bunch.
We started off with a spot of sea watching. It was fairly quiet, but there were a few Great-crested Grebe, a distant Red-throated Diver & equally distant Fulmar over by Seaton Hole. I particularly liked the Fulmar as I needed that for my Year List.
Next stop was the bridge where we had a rather nice view of a Kingfisher sitting on a pole in the sunshine. There were a few ducks & distant waders but nothing too exciting. Then off to Black Hole Marsh where there's a nice new car park beside the cemetery. I came to the marsh once before, back in October 2010 when I came for the Solitary Sandpiper. Since then there has been a lot of work done, with the addition of nice new paths & hides. We walked North and had a look at the new field study centre & hide before continuing on to the hide & viewing platform at Colyford Common. There are several pools, lots of marsh & grassland, as well as the estuary itself.
|Colyford Common from the viewing platform|
|The group looking for an elusive Bullfinch|
Sandwiches in the car park, then back to the Tower Hide which gives good views across the estuary. The estuary that was covered in gulls, deep joy! I was hoping for a Mediterranean Gull, and having been watching the blog of an Axe Estuary local, I knew there should be some about. So, time for some serious scanning. There were a few Lesser Back-backed Gulls which I needed for the Year List, so that spurred me on to inspect the masses of Black-headed Gulls in search of a Med.
Dave, one of the group experts found one! Great. I was sitting beside him at the time & got to have a look down his scope. Despite several attempts at following his directions, I just couldn't see it behind the 2 Herring Gulls.....I think there was a queue waiting for a look, so I'm sure I wasn't very popular, especially when the flock flew! Not a good start at my first meeting!
|View from the Tower Hide. The Med Gull is out there somewhere!|
That was it for the meeting, but it was still fairly early so I thought I'd try out another site before heading home. I was going to head for Seaton Hole but then found that a few of the chaps were heading to Seaton Marsh, another section of the West bank of the Axe just South of the section we'd already done. I tagged along & got a few extra species for the day.
When we finished there, it wasn't quite dark so I paid another quick visit to the bridge & sea front, after all you just never know........
I enjoyed my day's birding. Its a great area to explore & it made a pleasant change not to be by myself. And the 3 Year List birds helped too!