Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Friday 19th December 2008

A High Tide at Topsham

Today I visited the reserve at Bowling Green Marsh, Topsham, timing my trip to coincide with a very high tide! There was a little sun early on, but it clouded over. There was a slight south-west breeze, but mercifully again it stayed dry. I first spotted a Great Spotted Woodpecker flying over the reserve, calling. Two Greylag Geese were close in to the fence, and regarded me with their usual farmyard-goose-like stare! Settling in to the hide, I found myself looking out at a large mass of waders on the far-edge of the pool, tightly-packed together for the duration of the high tide roost. 5 Pochard were diving on the main pool and 10 Pintail were dotted about the marsh. Large numbers of Wigeon and Teal were scattered all over the marsh. I could only find 6 Golden Plover amongst the larger numbers of Lapwing though. Right, time to count all those Avocets! I was pleased to find there were 355 of them, obviously showing off for the benefit of the RSPB who run the reserve! 6 Common Snipe were lurking around the sedge clumps near the hide.
I wandered out of the hide and strolled down to the viewing platform, seeing the obligatory flock of Long-tailed Tits on the way. When I reached the platform I realised that the tide WAS high! There wasn't a single speck of mud to be seen. Another Great Spotted Woodpecker flew out from Riversmeet Wood. A couple of Little Grebes were diving in the Clyst just off the platform, whilst a couple of Red-breasted Mergansers were busy diving for food a little further downstream. A distant Buzzard was circling over the Exton area. I left the spot and headed back along the lane. As I approached the 'log layby' a Common Chiffchaff flitted around the hedgerow, and a female Stonechat was perched on a convenient hedgetop. I then returned to the car.

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