Some Nice Relaxing Birding
Exactly what I did early this afternoon! I parked up opposite Littleham church and wandered down Elm Road to the footpath that goes across the field to Green Farm. After the rain we've had, the ground was very squelchy underfoot. Good job I had my wellies on then! Today there was a cold north-westerly wind blowing, but for the most part it stayed sunny. A Raven was a nice surprise, stood alongside the brook which runs through the meadow. 2 Little Egrets were feeding in a field by the farm with lots of gulls - an unusual place to see them. Mind you they tend to be everywhere nowadays! I passed the farm and carried on down into Maer Vale, where a pair of hunting Sparrowhawks were seen on and off during the walk.
Eventually I reached the set-aside field which lies adjacent to the footpath connecting Maer Farm with Douglas Avenue. In here was my first Stock Dove of the year for my local patch. I crossed Littleham Brook by the ford - there's a tiny stone footbridge here thank goodness, and was soon watching a Common Chiffchaff feeding in a hedgerow within a few feet of me. This was also my first in Exmouth this year. Carrying on up the muddy track (seemingly slipping back 3 paces for every forward two I took!) I arrived in Maer Lane. On reaching Prattshayes Farm (some wonderful poetic farm names round these parts!) I noticed a few thrushes in the field next to the lane. Peering through a convenient gap in the hedge, I had stunning close views of 6 Fieldfares, 3 Mistle Thrushes and a solitary Redwing. The Fieldfare were my first on my local patch this year too!
I then followed the lane along into Littleham village and wandered around the churchyard. I sheltered from the cold wind, behind the walls there, and a few birds were doing the same, including a Green Woodpecker which was probing the ground for food amongst the tombstones and a couple of female Bullfinches which were sat in a low bush. I then pottered over the road to my car and left the area.