Another bitter cold day, with a biting cold easterly breeze. At lunchtime, I popped down to Budleigh Salterton, as a few seaduck had been reported off the mouth of the River Otter. I parked on the seafront, and wandered up to the war memorial to gain some height advantage. I scanned through my 'scope and soon found a raft of c.50 Common Scoter bobbing about on the waves. I could find no sign of any Long-tailed Ducks, one of which had been reported yesterday. A distant diver sp. flew west, probably a Red-throated but I could not be sure. Scanning closer in and getting colder by the minute, I found a Great Crested Grebe. Shortly afterwards I moved my attention to the sea right at the river's exit. Here was a female Eider, showing very well. By now I was chilled to the marrow, and worse still my eyes were beginning to water badly. I strode down to Lime Kilns car park, and walked briskly up the Otter estuary to the first viewing -platform. There were several Common Snipe feeding on the cricket pitch, and a couple of Dunlin. 4 Common Redshank were seen on the estuary, together with a further 2 Dunlin. The next field up produced a Black-tailed Godwit and a Curlew. There were plenty of gulls on the estuary, but nothing unusual.
Warmed up a little from my fast walking, I decided to brave the exposed seafront again. I wandered back along the main path and stopped in the white-painted shelter. This time a 'scope scan found 3 Red-throated Divers flying west together. After noting a Common Chiffchaff briefly by the toilet block, I realised that I had better 'pay a visit' myself. Bleddy cold weather! Ambling back to the car, I saw 4 Ringed Plover on the beach, and a pair of Buzzard were flying together over the seafront itself.
After work, I visited Hayes Barton and Yettington to search the fields before the light faded completely. I eventually came across a covey of 5 Red-legged Partridges on the eastern outskirts of the last-named location.
Yearticks today in order of appearance:
Common Scoter, Great Crested Grebe, Eider, Red-throated Diver, Common Chiffchaff & Red-legged Partridge.
Needless to say, Exeter City's game this evening was called off due to the still-frozen pitch!