Saturday, 25 January 2014

An hour's birding.......

Managed to get away from the domestic chores that were necessary this morning and spent some time down on the seafront and also looking over the Exe estuary from the Imperial Ground. Now, when I go down on the seafront and set up my 'scope I usually get two types of folk try to speak to me. The first is fairly polite and normally asks what ships I can see out in the bay. To these I politely point out that I haven't got the slightest interest in any ships unless the Titanic has moored out off Torbay or suchlike, but also point out that I am birding and tell them about the interesting species I have seen and ask them if they would like to see them through my 'scope! The response is usually quite good and people are genuinely interested. The second type is some bleddy moron who comes up and asks some crackpot (and totally unoriginal) question like 'Seen any good birds on the beach eh? Bet they're not wearing much. You know, the two-legged ones haw haw..'. I used to rudely tell them that all birds have got two legs, and then tell them to p*** off, but nowadays I just ignore them. Sometimes you get one or two other equally inane comments before they drift off, but most thankfully move on. Today I was spared any interuptions to my grilling the bay for birds, and was soon watching a Great Northern Diver close in. This kept diving and gradually drifted out to sea. A few more minutes and another diving bird popped up in almost the same place. This turned out to be my second Red-necked Grebe of the year and my first for my 2014 Exmouth list! As my eyes became more accustomed to the sea conditions I realised that two fairly distant ducks were indeed two Long-tailed Ducks, again new for my Exmouth list this year. The sun was shining on the sea and as it slowly moved round to the west, I had difficulty in picking much out due to the glare. This was the cue for me to move on, so I paid a very brief visit to the Imperial Ground and looked up the estuary to Shelly Bank, a large sand bar that was still above the tideline despite the tide having only turned an hour before. Amongst the many resting Curlew, Oystercatcher and Dunlin were about 35 Knot, my first for 2014.

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