I started off by walking upriver from the Plympton road bridge at Marsh Mills, getting some nice views of 8 male and 5 female mandarin ducks with a mute swan and a pair of mallard right by the bridge. The mandarins were quite vocal and were displaying and jostling with each other and were also appreciative of bread being thrown into the water by 2 old ladies with a neurotic dog.
Male Mandarin Duck
A look around the woods in Saltram Park again failed to provide any treecreeper sightings and I only found goldcrests and no firecrests before I headed back to Blaxton Meadow for a look as the tide (and birds) came in. It was nice to see the wintering flock of 100+ dunlin arrive to roost with redshanks, curlews and 3 greenshanks and the male wigeon also appeared with shelducks along with gulls and a little egret. 2 stock doves flew over and I found a male red breasted merganser on the river (my first of the winter on the Plym) before the weather started to deteriorate and I headed home, arriving just as the forecast rain began to fall.
Male Lesser Scaup (left)
Lesser Scaup (left)
Lesser Scaup (left) with Tufted Duck
Lesser Scaup (front left)
And so not a bad end to my week off work despite the less than ideal weather at times - desert wheatear, white fronted goose, lesser- and greater scaup, black necked grebe, water pipit, harbour porpoise, roe deer, grey seal and a humpback whale all within 50 miles of my home - not bad at all.