Sunday, 5 January 2014

Another year, another list

On Friday I thought it was about time I kicked off my 2014 Year List. I started keeping a list last year, but didn't get beyond February. Hopefully I'll have more staying power this year. I decided to try a spot of sea-watching as it's ages since I've been and the weather was looking good for it, i.e. bad. I collected Libby at first light & we went to Budleigh to use the shelters. Lots of auks and one diver flew by, but we weren't good enough to work out which ones as they were quite distant. Libby thought she may have seen a Long-tailed Duck fly by, but I missed it. Other than that, there were lots of Gannets quite close in, a few Brent Geese, and a Kittiwake. Not the best list, but it was spectacular watching the rough sea and the birds were a bonus! Much more practise required.

We then wandered down to the estuary & were shocked...
... just about everything was under water
The weather was showery, we got hailed on & soaked as we left
Unfortunately the cricket pitch & pavilion haven't fared too well... again
Alan normally organisers a 'Bird Count' for New Year's Day, the goal being to see as many birds as possible during the day. This year the count was postponed due to bad weather and rescheduled for yesterday. Five of us started the day at Bowling Green Marsh at 9am, starting in the hide where we had good views of the Long-tailed Duck that's been about for a while.  We paid a quick visit to the estuary viewing platform & Goat Walk where the water was amazingly still, but unfortunately virtually devoid of birds!
Another very high tide from the viewing platform
The Team: Alan, Libby, Chris & Annabelle
Misty and atmospheric on the Goat Walk
All very still....and birdless!
We stopped off in the hide again on the way back to the cars, which was just as well as Keith, the local patch expert pointed out a Spotted Redshank sleeping on the marsh, and Chris caught up on the Water Rail which he'd missed on the earlier visit.

We had a quick look at Goosemoor before we left, but that was very disappointing. The only birds we added there were Little Egret & Meadow Pipit.

Next stop, Dart's Farm. Unfortunately the feeders were empty, so no flocks of finches & Reed Buntings. Only added 5 species to the list and I missed the Collared Dove, which was a shame as we didn't see another all day! Libby headed off, leaving 4 of us for the next stop....
The field in front of the hide was flooded
The hide is uncomfortable to use....the heights are all wrong for normal sized people!
On Woodbury Common Alan had us yomping across the vegetation, although he insisted that it was actually a path. We had a probable Dartford Warbler, but none of us got a good enough look to be sure, and I heard a Raven, but other than that it was bird-free.
Woodbury Common
The last stop was the Otter at Budleigh, where we were joined by Mike. We started with some sea watching. We had a distant diver species which was occasionally visible above the waves, but which we couldn't identify. There were a couple of Great Crested Grebes, some Gannet, and 3 Guillemots sitting on the sea.

On Budleigh beach
We walked up the estuary to the White Bridge. The cricket pitch & scrapes were still flooded. We had a disappointing total of about 62 when we got to the bridge, and the light was beginning to go. We suddenly had a bit of a flurry of birds and within about half an hour we'd added Reed Bunting, Long-tailed Tit, Goldcrest, Chiffchaff, Cetti's Warbler, Mute Swan, Kestrel, Pheasant & Red-legged Partridge.
The water levels in the estuary had dropped 
The fields by the White Bridge were still flooded
The Otter at the White Bridge
I thought my final total was 69, but having checked my list I realised that I'd missed off Gannet & Moorhen, so my total for the day was 71. Not a particularly good number, but we'd had an enjoyable day looking.

The day list: 71 (73 for the Team)
BGM: Robin, Great Tit, Wren, Dunnock, Blue Tit, Pintail, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Long-tailed Duck, Black-headed Gull, Tufted Duck, Mallard, Greylag Goose, Canada Goose, Redshank, Snipe, Avocet, Bar-tailed Godwit, Black-tailed Godwit, Pied Wagtail, Grey Heron, Lapwing, Curlew, Blackbird, Crow, Little Grebe, Buzzard, Stock Dove, Woodpigeon, Pochard, Magpie, Song Thrush, Water Rail, Goldfinch, Jay, Chaffinch, Shelduck, Red-breasted Merganser, Common Gull, Spotted Redshank, House Sparrow, Starling, Moorhen.
Goosemoor: Little Egret, Meadow Pipit
Dart's Farm: Kingfisher, Jackdaw, Herring Gull, Rook, Redwing, Greenfinch, (Collared Dove)
Woodbury Common: Raven
Budleigh Salterton: Gannet, Great Black-backed Gull, Rock Pipit, Great Crested Grebe, Cormorant, Shag, Oystercatcher, Guillemot, Turnstone, Pheasant, Reed Bunting, Mute Swan, Chiffchaff, Cetti's Warbler, Long-tailed Tit, Goldcrest, Kestrel, Red-legged Partridge (Common Scoter)

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