Sunday, 27 January 2013

The Axe Estuary

Last Thursday (24th) I went to my first DBWPS meeting of the year at Seaton. We met up by the bridge & went in search of the Black Redstart that's been frequenting the yacht club & front. It wasn't long before it was sighted & we all had a good look as it hopped along the drives & walls of the houses along the front. Out to sea was a Red-throated Diver which spent most of its time under water.

We then walked up the estuary to Coronation Corner. We were quite a large group so it was pretty cosy!
Playing sardines on the platform; David & Wally formed a breakaway group!
We added quite a few birds to the list including Black & Bar-tailed Godwits, Dunlin, a Ringed Plover, Lesser & Great Black-backed Gulls & Common Gull.

Then lunch in the car park at Black Hole Marsh before visiting the Tower Hide, where we added a rather nice Med Gull to the list. As a couple of us lagging behind passed the viewing platform near the field studies centre, a wader flew off which we managed to identify it as a Green Sandpiper. We all had a better look on the way back when we found it lurking in the far corner.

Snowy hills from the Tower Hide
Work was in full swing by the field studies centre where they're building a new & rather impressive looking Sand Martin & bat wall. We were also impressed by the new artwork inside the centre.

Sand Martin/ bat wall under construction
Admiring some of the art work
A slightly smaller group of us continued on to the hide at Colyford Common, where we added Greylag Goose to the list. It wasn't until later when I read some of the local blogs that I discovered that this is actually quite a good bird for the Axe. We also added Rock Pipit, Stonechat & Golden Plover to the list.

It was all a bit boggy & slippery underfoot. This was evidenced by Ian who ended up head first in a ditch! Luckily he was uninjured, as were his optics....although he did have a soggy bottom!

 Bob helps Ian out of the ditch whilst Jonathan takes care of the scope
In the car park as we were getting ready to leave we saw an impressive flock of about 1000 Golden Plover flying above the estuary. A good way to end the day.

As usual, it had been an enjoyable trip. I ended up with 50 species on my list, and I missed a few, including a Peregrine & a Sparrowhawk.

Last year this was my inaugural trip with the Devon Birders Group. It's useful to visit new places with people who know the area...I'm sure there were quite a few birds on my 2012 list that wouldn't have been there  if I hadn't joined up.  And, more importantly, the trips are always a good day out with a very friendly bunch!

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