Monday, 24 March 2014

Full day on patch

A day off work and a chance to spend most of the day birding around the Teign. I started with an early morning walk from The Ness to Bundle Head, where five Chiffchaffs and a Blackcap were in song and a Buzzard drifted high south mobbed by gulls. With little else in the bushes or overhead I didn't linger for long and decided to head to the fields south of Bishopsteignton, where I finally saw my first patch Stock Dove of the year and a scan of the estuary produced a good count of 21 Red-breasted Mergansers.

Onto Passage House, which I viewed from the bottom of Hackney Lane. Surprisingly, Greenshanks outnumbered Redshanks by 10 to 7, and Curlew numbers were down to just 39. Twenty Little Egrets were feeding along the edge of the rising tide with four more nearby, and two Common Sandpipers flew upriver. Next stop was Flow Point, where 8 Teal and 3 Snipe were on the lagoon behind the railway and 58 Oystercatchers roosted on the edge of the saltmarsh. A brief look around Polly Steps, Teignmouth produced 8 Turnstones.

In increasingly wet and blustery conditions early afternoon, I called into Decoy Lake which held 5 Great Crested Grebes and 7 Tufted Ducks but little else of note. After stopping for petrol at Tesco I had a glance through the gates into Rackerhayes where half a dozen Sand Martins were feeding over the nearest pond. Lastly, seawatching from Teignmouth from 15:30 until 16:10 produced 5 Sandwich Terns, a Red-throated Diver and 8 Fulmars all heading south.

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