Monday, 24 November 2008

Monday 24th November 2008

A quick look round the mouth of the Exe

I spent lunchtime in Exmouth today. Firstly I went to Mudbank Lane. It was quite cold with a north-easterly wind blowing, but thankfully dry. The tide was some way out, but was starting to come in a bit. There were the usual thousands of birds out on the estuary, with numerous Wigeon, Pintail, gulls and Dark-bellied Brent Geese. After scanning through the hordes for quite some time, I found 5 Pale-bellied Brent Geese amongst the wildfowl, out on the tideline. There were lots of Oystercatcher, Curlew, Dunlin and Redshank, interspersed with a few Grey Plover and Turnstone, and 2 each of Greenshank and Knot. In the fields behind the lane, a Grey Heron and 5 Little Egret stood in the lee of a hedge, sheltering from the cold wind. A good flock of House Sparrows were noisy from deep in the laneside hedgerow. We are lucky in that we still seem to have plenty of these little birds in our area. I know that they are fast disappearing from our cities and towns!
Next stop was the seafront, which was cold and exposed and mainly birdless! I noted a single Gannet out in the bay, but nothing much else. I always find that with the wind blowing off the land here, most of the birds are nowhere to be seen.
Just time for a quick trudge round the old docks area then (I still can't get used to calling it the marina - it sounds too posh and also reminds me of those awful cars that were churned out by British Leyland back in the 70's!). There were plenty of Dark-bellied Brent Geese off Shelley Beach and a few Red-breasted Merganser in the channel. A Rock Pipit was keeping low out of the cold wind and I suspect the wind was the reason I saw no sign of any Black Redstarts! I then headed back to work.

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