Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Exe Estuary area

On Exminster Marshes this morning the Hen Harrier was sunbathing on a fence post, wings spread and white rump gleaming. A Bittern walked in the open across grass to the reedy ditch below the lagoon embankment, soon after which my attention was drawn to a second Bittern nearby amongst rushes. While watching the latter, what was presumably the original bird flew by - two Bitterns in the scope together! Also 8 White-fronts, 6 Greylags, Water Rail and a Water Pipit in the area. Cetti's conspicuous by their absence, and even Wrens seems very scarce.

The bird seed crops at Powderham Marshes only held c100 Linnets, a few dozen Chaffinches and c30 Skylarks, plus the odd Yellowhammer and Reed Bunting and a pair of Peregrines on one of the pylons. A male Stonechat was my first of the year.

Between Powderham and Cockwood: 1 Slavonian, 2 Great Crested and 5 Little Grebes (plus another in P. Park), c20 Shags, 4 Little Egrets (in field with cattle), 2 Herons at a nest in P. Park, 16 Goldeneye (including 11 towards Exmouth), 8 Avocets, 2 Greenshank, c80 Turnstones, 2 Rock Pipits, good numbers of Common Gulls (>100).

Finished the day with a scan from the bridge at Langstone (13 Eiders, few Common Scoters etc, but light had gone), where a Green Woodpeecker called and 2 Goldcrests came to roost in an evergreen bush. At 5.30pm, 1 Woodcock leaving the edge of Haldon heading for Chudleigh.