Bowling Green Marsh
Just occasionally I like to vary my lunchtime from day to day. It was dry but cloudy, after a spell of light rain this morning, and fairly mild. I decided on the spur of the moment to visit Bowling Green Marsh, Topsham, despite it being low tide. I arrived, parked up the top of Bowling Green Lane and ambled quietly down the road, taking note of some Long-tailed Tits feeding with a couple of Goldcrests, near the railway arch. They soon moved on, so I scanned over the wooden gates to the main pool. Most of the birds seemed to be on the south side of the pool, so I carried on to the hide. Wigeon numbers were fairly normal for the time of year, as were Teal and Shoveler. Amongst these were 5 Pintail and on the pool, two pairs of Pochard. A couple of Greylag Geese were with the tiny Canada flock. A Buzzard was noted in the distance. 3 Common Snipe were located amongst the grassy tussocks bordering the small pool nearest the hide. A couple of Jays carried acorns over the marsh.
After getting 'bum cramp', it was time to move on along the lane. Lots of small birds were present in the hedgerows. Several Redwing and Blackbirds showed themselves. More Long-tailed Tits called noisily accompanied by Great and Blue Tits, another Goldcrest and many Goldfinches. A Grey Heron was tucked in a corner. I ambled slowly down the track to the viewing platform to look over the River Clyst. The tide was right out, but Avocet, Redshank, Dunlin and Grey Plover were well spread out across the mudflats. A single Knot was seen. Little Egrets were dotted about the estuary. A couple of Red-breasted Mergansers were diving in the channel. 62 Dark-bellied Brent Geese were feeding in the field, adjacent to the viewing platform, along with a few Wigeon and Teal.
I then made my way back, studying the bushes closely along the track, as they were full of birds, including many Goldfinches, attracted to the alder trees, Greenfinches, more Long-tailed Tits, Redwings and a couple of Goldcrests, and, a Firecrest which flew into my field of view for a few moments. It soon dropped back down into cover, and try as I might, I couldn't see it again.
Making my way back along the lane I encountered a male Stonechat and another acorn-carrying Jay flew over. Then I returned to work. Another very pleasant lunchtime's birding!