Tuesday, 3 February 2015

River Tamar Boat Trip

Sunday February 1st and it was time for my annual birding boat trip along the River Tamar and River Lynher, this year with Mike for company as well as Mavis. It was a beautiful day, very cold and sunny but with a biting wind and topped off with lovely views of a snow covered Dartmoor in the distance.

The small wood under the Tamer Bridge had a pair of bullfinches along with the usual species but again no blackcaps or redwings, I haven't seen them here since the wood was tidied up a couple of years ago.

We boarded the boat at Saltash and headed up the Tamar. It was very quiet birdwise, presumably due to the recent mild autumn and the days cold weather, with a greenshank, 5 black tailed godwit, 3 great crested grebe, 5 flyover stock doves and a redwing feeding on ivy berries in trees along the shoreline being the best sightings. 2 foxes together along the foreshore was a nice surprise. On reaching the point of the river past Weirquay where the boat could go no further due to the low tide we finally found around 150 avocets resting in a flock along the water line - usually we see them much lower down the river. They gave some lovely views in the sunshine and a common sandpiper was also found nearby while we were watching them.

 Avocets, River Tamar



We headed back down the Tamar to Saltash before sailing up the Lynher, seeing around 30 dunlin flying past and 2 little grebes diving for fish as we entered the river mouth. The tide had come in quite a way by this time and passing Rat Island we found the 3 wintering spoonbills doing what spoonbills always do - sleep with their bills tucked under their wings! The views were a little distant and the birds surprisingly difficult to pick out against the pebbles in the bright sunlight.

 Spoonbills, Rat Island, River Lynher

3 Roosting Spoonbills

Also seen along the Lynher were 5 red breasted mergansers (2 males, 3 females), at least 3 great crested grebes, a small flock of around 50 avocets flying upriver and out of sight, lots of shelducks, 2 jays flying amongst the trees along the foreshore and another 2 foxes basking in the sunshine in a grassy field overlooking the river.

Arriving back at Saltash and I was glad to be heading off home to warm up after a very cold but very enjoyable trip.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Stuart,
    Saw your entry on Devon Birds today. 05/01/15 Did you notice the Water Pipit was pretty tailless? [Unless there are 2!] One has been there since 16th December now. See my Blog: http://seaandskybirding.blogspot.co.uk/ Think I met you at the Semi-P [not] twitch]! Regards Graham