Saturday, 10 January 2009

Wednesday 7th January 2009

Even Colder!

It was even colder today - large amounts of the slow-moving rivers around the area had frozen over and waders were forced to forage for food in fields. It was grey and overcast with an easterly breeze blowing just to add to the general gloom. I popped up to Trews Weir in Exeter at lunchtime. Several Mallard and Teal were frequenting the river below the weir, which was unfrozen due to the rapid movement of water. Crossing the suspension bridge to the west side, I noted several Common Redshank looking for food. A drake Shoveler was bombing around. Walking alongside the ditches which were ice-free in parts, revealed c. 20 Common Snipe and another yeartick in the form of a Jack Snipe. A Great Spotted Woodpecker flew from a nearby tree. I met Exeter birder Brian Heasman who kindly told me about another yeartick downstream. I drove down to Countess Wear and parked near the swing bridge. A few paces up on to the roadbridge, and I was watching a couple of 'brownhead' Goosanders on the river. On the way back to work, I stopped briefly at Topsham recreation ground where a Common Sandpiper was foraging around some debris on the riverbank top for food.
A late afternoon visit to the Shelly Beach area of Exmouth produced 2 Pale-bellied Brent Goose, a Bar-tailed Godwit (the latter being a local patch yeartick), several Red-breasted Mergansers, a few Grey Plover, a good number of Knot (105 to be precise!) and 20 Sanderlings. The female Black Redstart was seen again around the appartment blocks.
Yearticks today in order of appearance:
Jack Snipe, Goosander, Common Sandpiper, Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Sanderling & Knot.
The Common Sandpiper was my 100th species this year!

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