Monday 3 March 2014

Wembury and the River Exe

February 25th and I decided to have a quick walk at Wembury, somewhere I have surprisingly only visited twice since October, mainly due to the awful weather. It was very muddy as expected with more slips along the coast path cliffs and damage around the main beach.

Damage to the Main Beach at Wembury

Bird wise it was quiet with a pair of cirl buntings, 2 curlew with oystercatchers, 3 pairs of mallard, a pair of Canada geese and a little egret being the best bird sightings. A lot of flotsam and jetsam has been washed up along the beach and having a look through it I found a dead guillemot, a green sea urchin and lots of small lumps that looked like insulation foam but seemed to be some sort of sponge or soft coral. Bizarre sight was a dead conger eel being eyed up by a pair of great black backed gulls and carrion crows.

 Cirl Buntings
 Male Cirl Bunting
 Dead Guillemot - one of many washed up along Devon beaches due to the severe gales of late
 Washed up Fan Coral
 Fan Coral
 Washed up Sea Urchin
 Sea Urchin and Sponge/ Soft Coral lump
 Conger Eel
 Conger Eel
Conger Eel

A common lizard sunning itself at the bus stop along with three cornered leeks coming in to flower were a hint of Spring to come, very welcome after what has been a wet and windy and mild winter.

Common Lizard, Wembury Bus Stop

Thursday 27th February and it was time for my annual boat trip along the River Exe with Mavis and Mike and after a cooked breakfast at the cafĂ© in Exmouth we headed off in the sunshine and heavy showers. We were on the small boat this time and there is no shelter or protection on the top deck so we did get soaked in the showers but it wasn't too bad. This years trip was later than usual and we only saw about 20 avocets as most have departed back to their breeding grounds but we did see a male goldeneye, lots of red breasted mergansers, a bar tailed godwit with black tailed godwits including a very smart summer plumaged bird very close to the boat, and a spotted redshank with 3 greenshank at Powderham. Best of all were around 300 brent geese on the mudflats near Turf, their gentle honking being heard as we sailed along the river through them. A common seal was resting on the sandbank as we headed upriver but was gone on the return trip.

We stopped at Bowling Green Marsh on the way home where there were frequent rainbows due to all the showers. The damage to The Goatwalk was quite extensive and the viewing platform was closed but from the hide we saw a pair of pintail, a pair of tufted duck, a little grebe, 3 male and 2 female pochard, lots of shoveler, a little egret with lovely breeding plumes and a lone lapwing. As the tide came in waders arrived to roost with 25 avocets, dunlin, redshank, curlew and bar- and black tailed godwits being seen. And as we left a stock dove was in display flight over the trees, ending a very enjoyable day out.

 Bowling Green Marsh from the Hide with Rainbow
 Double Rainbow over Bowling Green Marsh

Roosting Avocets and a male Shoveler, Bowling Green Marsh

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