Friday, 23 January 2015

Snow Bunting, River Exe

A snow bunting has been showing very well along the River Exe wall near Powderham and on my bird cruise on the 18th January we saw a group of birders with huge camera lenses trained on the rocky slope of the wall as we sailed by. The boat was too distant from the wall to see any birds but I did see a small and pale bird fly up to the wall top before flying back down to the rocks which may or may not have been the snow bunting.

Having dipped snow buntings in North Norfolk and Suffolk in November last year and having only seen snow buntings 3 times before I decided to make the most of a sunny day and headed off to have a look for it on Monday 19th January.

We parked up near Starcross yacht club, apparently the oldest in the UK, and walked to the new, monstrous looking cycle bridge over the railway line - a nice bridge but it really doesn't sit well in the landscape. A few birders were milling around on the river wall path towards Turf but there had not been any sighting of the bunting so we walked to Turf Lock, admiring brent geese, black tailed godwits, red breasted mergansers and lapwings along the way as well as watching  the efforts of 2 cormorants eventually swallowing large flat fish that they had caught.

Heading back to the bridge and I had resigned myself to yet another snow bunting dip when a couple arrived and said they had seen the bunting earlier that morning to the south of the bridge - and on heading south along the path towards the yacht club the snow bunting suddenly appeared a few feet away. It gave some great and very close views but was always moblie and active and a little wary at times. A beautiful bird and my first Devon sighting.

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