Monday, 1 February 2016
A Wader and An Owl, Exe Estuary, Devon.
Saturday 30th January fresh W sunny, short shower PM
To Teignmouth seafront and a search for the Bonaparte's gull I missed earlier in the month first today. The tide is high and the sun is shining; such a contrast to yesterday.
No sign of the gull, lots of herring gulls.
Same again at Dawlish, I continue to Dawlish Warren and after seeing nothing other than two great-crested grebes and a single great northern diver on the sea, I continue around to the bay by the hide. Waders are still roosting there due to the high tide and amongst a fair number of oystercatchers and curlew are some bar-tailed godwits.
I walk all around the point opposite Exmouth and back along the beach, picking up plastic rubbish as I go.
Golden syrup on chips, actually quite nice, are bought from Chippy Chaps Fish Bar by the railway tunnel and eaten for lunch. An unusual combination I know but it seems to work when vinegar is added.
Along the excellent Exe Estuary cycle path once more, the weather is beautiful if a bit colder than of late. Just north of Exminster Marshes RSPB reserve's car park I see a woman with raised binoculars on the pathway above the level of the cycle path. I ask here if she has seen the reported short-eared owl and she tells me that it is in the field in front of us. The bird is obscured by a large hawthorn bush from my view but I soon have a sight of it.
The woman's name is Helen Hawke and she asks me how I am getting on as she saw me on Springwatch last year and knows of my quest. She asks a young coouple to take a photograph of us both and puts some money as a donation into the charity box. Thanks Helen.
To Matford Marsh RSPB reserve next but I can't see the dodgy small Canada goose. I had been warned that it is difficult to see as it stays amongst the bullrush and sedges.
Late in the afternoon I reach Topsham and Bowling Green RSPB reserve. The water level of the pools in front of the hide is a lot lower than when I was here previously and duck numbers are reduced.
As darkness falls I nsider how superb the Exe Estuary is for Green Birding. It has a superb cycle track around it's perimeter, some fabulous RSPB reserves with masses of birds, particularly brent geese and waders, the latter amass at Bowling Green when the tide is high. Then there is Dawlish Warren and it's dune system and the sea. Nearby there are woodland and hedgerows with cirl buntings amongst the commoner birds. Altogether it is the perfect area for a great day cycling and birding.
The Green Year list now stands at 146, seventeen more than this time last year.
21.69 miles 905 feet elevation up 884 feet elevation down