Tuesday 5 March 2013

River Exe - 2nd March 2013

I decided to end my birding week as I started it with a trip to Topsham on the River Exe. It was a cold and grey day again with poor light but at least it was dry.

Arriving by train in Topsham and I wandered down to the Passge House Inn to look for the recently reported waxwings but with no luck. Heading along to The Quay I checked the River at a very high tide for the long staying long tailed duck but again with no luck and I didn't find it off The Goatwalk either.

The viewing platform overlooking the River Clyst drew a blank as the tide was so high but a pair of bullfinches and a pair of stock doves in the nearby hedges were nice to see. The hide at Bowling Green Marsh was packed full with standing room only at the back so views were very restricted. A large flock of waders were roosting at the back of The Marsh - avocets, dunlins, black tailed godwits, bar tailed godwits, lapwings, redshanks, curlews and a lone grey plover. The curlew sandpiper had been seen by some of the birders but the resticted views and the constant movement around the Marsh of the dunlins meant I dipped out on seeing it too. Other birds of note were a pair of pintail, a little grebe, 4 male and 2 female pochard and a male and 3 female shoveler.

 Lapwing at Bowling Green Marsh
 Male Shoveler at Bowling Green Marsh
Male Shoveler showing shovel shaped bill

I headed back to the viewing platform as the tide receded and the long tailed duck was eventually called feeding downriver with a male and 7 female goldeneyes, a little distant but nice to see. I checked out all the dunlins too but couldn't find the curlew sandpiper amongst them.

Heading off to Darts Farm I saw 3 flyover water pipits on the Marsh by the footbridge, flying over silently and showing very white underparts. At Darts Farm the male American wigeon showed amongst the feeding flock of wigeon, brief views as it showed its head above the other birds before continuing to feed and occassionally giving full views when gaps in the flock appeared. A lone black tailed godwit eventually flew off towards Bowling Green Marsh. 3 male and a female reed bunting were on the bird feeders by the hide and fieldfares were feeding in the nearby field.

Some Spring time colour on a very grey day

Walking back to Topsham I noticed some familiar shapes perched in the treetops near the Passage House Inn and was delighted to see they were 45 waxings trilling away and regularly flying into gardens behing the Inn to feed on cottoneaster berries. They had attracted quite a crowd of birders and non-birders and were lovely to watch but eventually I had to tear myself away and head off home, having had another excellent days birding.

Some of the 45 Waxwings by The Passage House Inn in Topsham

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