Thursday, 7 February 2013

Budleigh & beyond

Yesterday was the DBWPS meeting at the Otter Estuary. We were showered on just after we arrived but after that it wasn't bad, just a bit windy.

When we were there in November, there was a large tree wedged in the White Bridge which has now been removed, although the bridge hasn't been repaired yet. The footpath to the coast that was partially washed away in the floods has been repaired, although the path is closed North of the bridge for works.

White Bridge in need of repair
There were reasonable numbers of Wigeon & Teal in the scrapes, along with quite a few Curlew, about 50 Snipe, a couple of Lapwings & Redshanks & a Knot.

Down at the front the only birds to be seen were 2 Brent Geese on the sea & a couple of Oystercatchers & a Turnstone on the rocks. It was difficult to look through the scopes as we were battered from behind by a strong wind. Jonathan's scope got blown over in the wind & broke in half! Luckily it turned out not to be as catastrophic as it at first appeared. The scope has a 'stay-on' cover &  presumably, over time, the front half had become unscrewed & falling over was just the last straw. When it was screwed back together, it worked perfectly!

Walking back along the rear of the reserve

A Chiffchaff was very obliging in the same spot as last year.
We followed the path North of South Farm Road for a little way, but it was very boggy & we didn't find anything. Time for lunch, then a few of us headed off to Ladram Bay sewage works. Us birders go to all the nicest places! It was really windy standing on the cliff edge, so I hung on tight to my scope. There were 19 Red-throated Divers in the bay, which I thought was Ladram Bay, but when I looked it up later it's actually Chiselbury Bay. I've never seen that many divers together before. There was also one Great Crested Grebe & a Guillemot on the water & a few Fulmars flying close to the cliff.

Looking East towards Ladram Bay

A windy sea watch

We checked out the bushes around the sewage works, but the only thing that moved was a Dunnock.
Another good day out & we didn't even freeze! I had 40 species on my list, 19 of which are going on my Patch List as I've finally managed to define my Patch for the year. I've drawn a 5km radius around home which takes in the bottom of the Otter Estuary, so the morning session was putting birds on the List, which is still truly pathetic at 42! I must admit that I haven't actually put in any effort yet, but that's about to change!
My Patch

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