Mudbank Lane & Shelly Beach
A lunchtime visit back to Exmouth took in both these excellent locations. It was cloudy with a north-westerly breeze and fairly mild. I arrived first at Mudbank Lane adjacent to the railway line and alongside the eastern edge of the Exe estuary. As usual, there were hundreds of birds present including nice numbers of Dark-bellied Brent Geese, Wigeon and Pintail. A few Little Egrets were feeding on the mud, with lots of gulls loafing around. Scurrying amongst all these were Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Grey Plover, Dunlin, Common Redshank and a single Greenshank, the latter being close in to the railway line. Curlew were dotted about, and the usual House Sparrow flock were as ever, noisy in the hedgerow!
I then moved round to Camperdown Terrace, parked the car and wandered around the new appartment blocks, skirting along the edge of Shelly Beach, and then the marina. The female Black Redstart was still present, lurking amongst the dinghies on the top of Shelly Beach, behind the Exe sailing club. Again, the male was nowhere to be seen over the other side of the marina. This bird is very elusive, only ever briefly showing on the rooftops. It must spend a lot of time in hidden gardens, grovelling around for insects down low. Red-breasted Mergansers were again showing themselves in the channel and I counted 30 Ringed Plover on a nearby exposed sandbar whilst the usual Rock Pipit was hopping around the walls of the appartment table-cloth-sized gardens! All good things come to an end eventually, and it was soon time to zip back to work!