The good news of the week was that the railway line between Newton Abbot and Exeter was reopening on the 4th April and with an originally favourable weather forecast for Saturday 5th April a trip to Dawlish Warren was something to help get me through a particularly shitty week at work. However the 5th April dawned and it was cold and misty and with occasional rain but I headed off anyway.
Arriving at Dawlish Warren I first checked out the sea from the seawall but seeing nothing in the mist I headed off to the hide for the high tide roost. On the golf course a lone brent goose was resting while a party of 9 were feeding along the shoreline of The Bight with another bird seen feeding in front of the hide. Amongst the roosting oystercatchers and herring gulls and great black backed gulls were a very smart looking adult lesser black backed gull, a few common gulls, 4 knot, 7 grey plover, 7 ringed plover and 2 dunlin. Out in the estuary a pair of red breasted mergansers were bathing before drifting upriver and a common seal poked its snout out of the water a few times before disappearing below the water again. Sandwich terns, my first of the year, were busily flying up and down the river and over The Bight to the sea, very mobile and noisy and a little late this year as I normally see them in March. It was difficult to work out how many were present but I did see 7 together at one point.
I had a walk out to Warren Point, somewhere I rarely go when I visit the Warren, seeing a pair of stonechat, a meadow pipit, linnets and songflighting skylarks along the way. At the Point I had a look across to Exmouth Quay for the reported 2nd Winter glaucous gull but there was no sign of it until some walkers flushed a flock of roosting gulls by the waters edge at Warren Point and I caught sight of it flying across the river, very pale looking and a brute of a bird. It eventually landed on the roof of a house near the Quay where it had a preen, having been hassled by herring gulls as it flew across the river. A very nice bird to see and my 3rd bird of this winter.
Heading back to the railway station and a gannet in the mist was all I could find on a quick look at the sea along with a few gulls and Sandwich terns. Around the pond 5 Canada geese were seen and 2 little grebes were heard trilling. A great spotted woodpecker was feeding on the peanut feeder with greenfinch and blue and great tits, and 2 chiffchaffs were heard singing nearby. Unfortunately with the lack of sunshine the sand crocus blooms were closed but despite the weather and getting soaked I had had a pretty good day out.