Working the Local Patch
I popped down to the Shelly beach area of Exmouth again at lunchtime, after a fruitless look at Mudbank Lane. The tide was out, but there was plenty to see. Just off the beach in a channel between the beach and a raised musselbed was a Little Grebe, a local patch yeartick. 5 Goldeneye were also just offshore together with the usual Red-breasted Mergansers. In the distance across the other side of the estuary I could see the Spoonbill again, at Starcross. A cold northerly wind was blowing down the estuary, but a little sunshine now and then brightened things up a bit.
Later on I paid a visit to Withycombe Raleigh Common, where I had very close views of one of the local Buzzards and the sun was shining continuously until it set. With the sun going down, a few birds dropped into the area to roost. A few Linnets were watched flying in. Best of all though was a female Crossbill, which flew over calling, before dropping in to Bystock Reserve, albeit some distance from where I was standing on WRC. Five minutes later a pair of Yellowhammers dropped into the gorse and heather, also calling as they approached. The latter were my first of the year anywhere!