Firstly, the adult male Blackcap showed well again out the back of our house, just before 10am. Following a report of an alledged 6 Waxwings at Ide yesterday, Julia and I decided we would combine a trip to the garden centre at Cowley near Exeter with a bit of birding. We covered the area in and around Ide to start with, we couldn't even find a berry bush, yet alone a Waxwing! Just north-west of Ide we located a yeartick - Pheasant. In fact there were several in the area. Waxwingless, we headed on to Dunchideock, where we enjoyed good 'scope views of the resident Little Owl, opposite the village hall, another good yeartick. We pulled over for our picnic lunch on the edge of Ide again, taken in the car due to the freezing conditions outside! Whilst eating lunch, the birds came to us. A Grey Heron flew up from a weedy field. Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers showed themselves in trees around the car, and a Bullfinch provided another yeartick. A couple of Buzzards were seen very close, from the car.
We then trundled over to Bernaville Nurseries at Cowley and warmed up a bit. Later we headed towards home, but decided to stop at Topsham. We headed down to the antiques centre on the quay, where Mrs Smith headed inside, whilst I spent a very cold half hour watching the gulls flying down river to roost. Little Egret, Grey Heron, Avocet and Wigeon were present, and after checking through about 750 fly-past gulls, I spotted my first Lesser Black-backed Gull of 2009, an adult. After that I soon took shelter in the Antiques Centre!