Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Monday 9th February 2009

And I thought it rained enough yesterday!

.........but it was truly awful today. There was a cold easterly wind blowing, and it poured with heavy rain on and off all day. Now, as well as hating being cooped up all day indoors, I also have to get away from work at lunchtimes, otherwise I would go insane! There was only one place to go lunchtime today, given the weather - the hide at Bowling Green Marsh! It was that sort of weather. Anywhere else in Britain if there was a bitter cold wind blowing from the east, and precipitation was great, it would SNOW like the blazes. Not here around the Exe! Yes, we get bitter cold wind, but the salty sea air makes sure that what would cover the country with a thick blanket of snow only falls as RAIN here! This makes it doubly unpleasant. Cold wind and heavy rain - roll on the spring! As I was passing Darts Farm a Sparrowhawk dashed across the road in front of me. I duly arrived at Bowling Green Marsh and kitted up, making the hide my first port of call. The wind was doing its best to blow big spots of rain through the slats into the hide. I had to position one of the benches a little way back from the "windows", set up my 'scope on its tripod and view as best I could. There were a large number of ducks present - Shelduck, Mallard, Teal, Wigeon, Pintail and Shoveler all tried their best to make the day seem a little more colourful. Black-tailed Godwit and Redshank walked across the grass, probing in the very wet ground for food. On the main pool, a Little Grebe, 6 Pochard and a female Goldeneye were diving for their food. A few Dark-bellied Brent Geese were seen. I then decided to brave the elements, as the heavy rain had abated somewhat, leaving just a steady veil of rain. I wandered down to the viewing platform. Here were the obligatory Grey Plover, Curlew and Dunlin. This was more exposed than I would have wished for, so I quickly moved on round to the Goat Walk to view the upper Exe estuary. It was a little more sheltered here from the easterly wind and rain, and plenty of Avocets were feeding right in front of me. I then retraced my steps, seeing a nice flock of House Sparrows in the laneside hedgerow opposite Riversmeet. They may be dwindling in numbers but there always seems to be a regularly little flock here. I got back to the car, quite wet and starting to feel a bit on the chilly side, so headed back to work to warm up!

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