I had a busy day birding yesterday. I started off at the RSPB’s Powderham Marsh reserve in search of 3 European White-fronted Geese that had been reported on Birdguides. It was only my second visit, & the first time I only went half way in. There is no circular route, but a 1200m walk to a viewpoint through fields of grass, stubble & dead sunflowers! The hedges & trees were full of Reed Buntings, Chaffinches & Linnets, & Linnets also lined the telephone wires.
The viewpoint is at the top of a bank beside the road & gives a great view over scrapes & across the railway lines to Exminster Marsh. I scanned the scrapes & it didn’t take long to find the White-fronted Geese, although there were only 2 & a Barnacle Goose in amongst a flock of Canada geese beside the railway. There were also quite a few waders including 4 Ruff. With the 2 geese that made 3 new Year List species.
|Powderham Marsh from the viewpoint|
On my way back out, a Skylark was twittering away overhead, another first of the year. I was watching a flock of about 40 Redwing by the entrance when a Pied Wagtail joined them, although a closer look revealed it to be a White Wagtail, a sub-species from the continent. We haven’t decided how to treat Sub-species in the Year List Race yet i.e. whether it is to be counted as just another species, ½ a species, or only come into play in case of a tie.
Off to Dawlish Warren to check the sea for Black & Red-necked Grebe, although I stopped off at Cockwood on my way, crossing the railway line to check the estuary. There were lots of Red-breasted Mergansers, but no Goldeneye, a duck I need for the List.
|Up the Exe from Cockwood|
|Exmouth from Cockwood|
At Dawlish Warren I had lunch before heading for the sea wall. The wind was getting up although it was still fairly mild. I found the Surf Scoter in it’s usual spot near Langstone Rock, along with quite a few Common Scoter & about 20 Great Crested Grebe. I had a brief view of what I think was a Red-throated Diver, but it disappeared behind the rock before I got a good look. I spoke to a chap that had seen a Slavonian Grebe in the bay beyond the rock, so I went for a look but only found lots more Great-crested ones. I decided to wait a while to see if anything would turn up as it was a bit windy to walk round to the hide. Last time I did that my bins & scope got covered in sand despite my efforts to shield them & they crunched for days every time I focused.
|Langstone Rock on the seafront at Dawlish Warren|
Only a couple of Razorbills turned up, so I headed for home. I couldn’t resist stopping at Cockwood for another crack at the Goldeneye. The tide was now out, but I managed to find 2 distant juvenile Goldeneye. That made it 5 new Year List species & a sub-species for the day!
|Up the Exe from Cockwood.....spot the difference!|
|and across to Exmouth|
On my travels during the day I encountered this lovely chap.....
|Spot the Long-eared Owl|
Year List 127 & 1 sub-species.