27th January – Lyme Regis and the Exe   Leave a comment

Ewan’s shift pattern gives him three days off and six days on, so we have plenty of opportunities for mid-week birding For the third time this month I tried for the Spotted Sandpiper at Lyme Regis and after a short while we found it on a wall adjacent to the Cobb. After Sunday’s dip I was glad to see this bird and indeed, had I dipped again I intended to drive straight to Plymouth where another one of these American waders is wintering.



This picture shows, the yellower legs,, shorter tail, less marked coverts, unmarked tertials and stronger supercillium compared to the closely related Common Sandpiper.


Then we headed into Devon and the Exe estuary. At Exminster Marshes the Long-eared Owl was still in the same tree. Our quarry however was the Red-breasted Goose that I missed on my last visit. we walked along the Exeter Ship Canal as far as Turf Lock  and found a big flock of Brent Geese but the RBG wasn’t with them. We later tried the golf course at Starcross (three times!) searching through the many Brents, before heading to Dawlish Warren.


Although obscured by vegetation there was better light on this Long-eared Owl than on my last visit.



The picturesque Turf Lock and Turf Hotel on the Exeter Ship Canal, the estuary is just to the left of this photo.



There was about 600 Brent and 100 Canada Geese on the Starcross golf course but the Red-breasted that was there yesterday was AWOL.


Our first attempt at seawatching at Dawlish Warren was thwarted by a heavy hail storm that had us running to the car for cover. Later we found the Surf Scoter about half a mile out, but this was close compared to the Eider, Common Scoter, Red-throated Diver, Slavonian and Great Crested Grebes and that were so far out that we could only just identify them.

The hail storm



With the hail heading out to sea we resumed our seabird search.



We returned to Starcross and Powderham were we still couldn’t find the Red-breast so as the day drew to a close we tried Topsham and Bowling Green Marsh on the eastern side of the estuary. Again we failed, but later found out that our quarry was only about a mile away at Dart’s Farm! So ended a long day, it was great to catch up with the Spot Sand at last but this Red-breasted Goose is proving to be a very frustrating bird!


The Exe estuary from Topsham


Of course I have seen double rainbows before but I have never seen the vertical 'rainbow spike' that can just be seen above the left hand tree.








Posted January 28, 2012 by gryllosblog in Uncategorized

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