A visit to Budleigh Salterton today, as the wind was strong and coming in from the south. The sea was quite rough, and on arrival, it was obvious that quite a lot of seabirds were passing south-west. A Fulmar passed by, as were lots of Razorbills and Guillemots. Small numbers of Kittiwakes were on the move too. The female Eider was still just off the River Otter mouth, as were a group of 25 Common Scoter. 2 Red-throated Divers were also watched passing south-west. After standing under the seafront shelter for quite a time, I was still having to cope with the wind blasting more or less straight at me, although the shelter did give me some form of protection. I decided it was the right moment to take a break from this onslaught and wander up alongside the Otter estuary. A couple of Little Egrets were seen, as were a couple of Common Redshank. A small group of Curlew were feeding on the cricket pitch. Luckily, with them was the overwintering Whimbrel! I wandered on up to White Bridge, then turned round and came back.
I was aware of lots of gulls, especially Black-headed, drifting slowly westwards fairly high over the estuary. I decided to stop and scan these for a while (to be honest I didn't fancy braving the elements on the seafront just yet!). Plenty of Black-headed, several Herring and a few Common Gulls drifted over. "Hang on, what's that?", I thought, noticing a flash of white wing-tips. Thorough scrutiny revealed an adult Mediterranean Gull gradually working its way west, sometimes briefly circling with the flock.
It disappeared into the distance towards the Exe and I disappeared back towards the seafront. The Whimbrel was still showing well on the cricket pitch as I passed. On reaching the seafront, there were still plenty of auks passing south-west, but after a few minutes of wind torture, I gave up and returned to the car.
Yearticks in order today: Fulmar, Kittiwake, Guillemot, Whimbrel & Mediterranean Gull.