Thursday, 12 February 2009

Thursday 5th February 2009

Lunchtime Walk

As my wife had the car today, I spent my lunchtime taking a walk down to Exton, where I had a good look from the station platform, then carried on along Riverside to the railway crossing. It was probably the dullest day imaginable, with low heavy grey cloud which was stationary due to there being no breeze. It was also coldish which added to the depressive feel to things. The tide was right up, so most of the waders seen were just passing over, so to speak. There were 6 Goldeneye dotted about the estuary (there may have been more, but I was restricted to binoculars-only birding today). I noticed in the distance, across the other side of the estuary that something had spooked the waders on Exminster Marshes, and subsequently some of those birds flew over to my side! There plenty of Curlew and Black-tailed Godwits, a few Dunlin and Redshank, and a nice flock of Golden Plover, which wheeled around a couple of times before settling back down again. I reached the railway crossing to be greeted by the call of a Green Woodpecker.
A few Oystercatcher and a couple of Turnstone had passed me whilst walking alongside the estuary, but the best wader was found when I returned to the station platform. Just south of the station, a small pebbly promontary sticks out into the estuary just a few metres. This is used as a high-tide roost by a very small number of waders and usually, a couple of Cormorants, and sometimes the odd Grey Heron or Little Egret. Today however, there was a Whimbrel there walking around! This was my second one this year. There is one overwintering (again) at Budleigh Salterton, and there have been reports of one from Dawlish Warren as well earlier in the year, so maybe this is the Warren bird. It eventually strolled slowly over the pebble ridge and didn't return, so it probably decided to rest there over the high tide. I then returned to work, passing a Grey Wagtail in damp fields alongside the railway line.

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