Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Tuesday 30th December 2008

Exmouth bathed in sunshine!

Yes, we had wall to wall sunshine for the day, but looking over to the other side of the estuary and where the Haldon Hills should have been, it was seemingly foggy and cloudy! Apparently Exmouth is the sunniest and driest spot in Devon, and from some of the days we've had over recent years, it must be partially true. I remember working in Exeter some years ago. The children were small. I used to work in an office in central Exeter and there were days when it rained nearly all day. I'd return home to my family and find out from my good lady that she had been out sat in the garden with the children in warm sunshine practically all day! A look out from my conservatory very early afternoon produced the female Blackcap again, skulking around the hawthorn hedge, popping in and out of the large ivy clumps which have grown up what is left of the trees that the previous incumbents of our home deemed necessary to have felled to a height of 10 feet.
This afternoon I had to pop in to town. Once I had got the necessary shopping out of the way, I drove round to the Shelly Beach area, and walked round by the appartments, around the 'marina', and a little way along the seafront and back. The tide was right out, being a distant silver thread over towards Starcross and Cockwood. There were the usual hordes of Dark-bellied Brent Geese and dog-walkers swarming over the mudflats, the latter scattering any resting birds as soon as was humanly possible. Despite the human and canine mayhem, a few Little Egrets could be seen, along with the usual masses of panicking Oystercatchers and Curlews. Red-breasted Mergansers spent more time under water than above (who could blame them?) and even the gulls seemed jumpy. I found the female Black Redstart hopping around on the low walls of the appartment 'gardens' adjoining Shelly Beach. I'm glad this bird shows so well, she should provide me with a good year tick in a couple of days' time or so!
I moved on round to Mudbank Lane as the light started to fade and the sun had disappeared into the foggy mass the west side of the Exe estuary. A Kingfisher was seen flying over the mudflats close in to the railway line before plonking itself down on a muddy clump right on the edge of the stream which cuts through the mudbanks at low tide here. This stream is actually Withycombe Brook, which flows down through the 'village' of Withycombe, which although now being a part of Exmouth, many years ago used to be a separate entity to the town of Exmouth. Thank goodness, the Pintail had returned here too in numbers (at least 100). I then returned home to warm up.

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