Sunday, 18 December 2011

Exe Estuary area

A mainly sunny day, providing excellent light for the WeBS count this morning. In my estuary section, between Starcross and Dawlish Warren Golf Course, the American Wigeon gave excellent views. Although mainly seeming to be unpaired, at times it displayed, called and followed closely a female Wigeon, which was within the range of plumage colours exhibited by Eurasian Wigeon (I never saw its axillaries though!) - see digiscope image. The count also included 7 Little, 4 Great Crested and the usual Slavonian Grebe, 400+ Brents, 1 Shoveler and 27 Mergansers, with Whimbrel, Water Rail and 3 Reed Buntings in the saltmarsh.

A quick look at the sea from Langstone produced Great Northern Diver, Slavonian Grebe, Eider and the female Surf Scoter.

At Exminster Marshes in late afternoon, the Red-breasted Goose was with Brents near the M5 and at least 2 Short-eared Owls were hunting.

As I was driving over Haldon Hill as darkness fell (16:50), a Woodcock flew over the A38.