Sunday 3 May 2015

The Big (Wet) Day

Yesterday I had a go at trying to see/hear as many species as possible on the Teign patch i.e. within 1km of the tidal limit, despite the forecast for rain for much of the day. I began just before 5am at Hackney Marshes, where all the anticipated species joined in the dawn chorus and a flyover Kestrel was an unexpected bonus - they've been scarce here this year. Nearby a lone female Wheatear and two Stock Doves were on the racecourse.

On to Teignmouth for the first seawatch of the day, and despite the moderate easterly and rain it was pretty dire with just a Great Northern Diver being the highlight although Gannet, Kittiwake, Sandwich Tern, Fulmar, Shag and Guillemot wee all added to the day list. I gave it an hour before heading to Flow Point, where three Teal were on the lagoon behind the railway and a male Red-breasted Merganser was still present. Two Swifts were picked up high over Bishopsteignton, three Linnets showed well on the saltmarsh and a Whimbrel flew down the estuary.

Decoy Country Park was the next stop, where around 30 Swallows were foraging low over the lake, joined by a couple of House Martins. On the water were 5 Tufted Ducks alongside an ever increasing selection of hybrid waterfowl. The surrounding woodland produced Coal Tit, Jay and Green Woodpecker though I was unable to locate Nuthatch or Treecreeper. By now the rain was getting quite heavy so I went home for an hour's rest and a chance to dry out.

After lunch the rain had begun to clear and I headed out to the farmland surrounding Bishopsteignton, where a singing male Cirl Bunting was quickly located and a Whitethroat gave its scratchy song from a bramble patch. A second seawatch off Teignmouth followed, and although conditions had improved nothing better than three Manx Shearwaters were seen in over an hour. Afterwards three Turnstones and a Lesser Black-backed Gull were added to the day list at nearby Polly Steps.

The final port of call was Passage House, where on the rising tide a reasonable (for the Teign) selection of waders were present including three Whimbrel, two Common Sandpipers, the year's first Bar-tailed Godwit and best of all a pair of Little Ringed Plovers. I ended the day with a decent total of 75 species; the full list is below.

Mute SwanGreat Crested GrebeBlack-headed GullGoldcrestBlackbird
Canada GooseBuzzardLesser Black-backed GullBlue TitSong Thrush
ShelduckKestrelHerring GullGreat TitMistle Thrush
TealMoorhenGreat Black-backed GullCoal TitRobin
MallardCootFeral PigeonSkylarkWheatear
Tufted DuckOystercatcherStock DoveSwallowDunnock
Red-breasted MerganserLittle Ringed PloverWoodpigeonHouse MartinHouse Sparrow
Great Northern DiverWhimbrelCollared DoveCetti's WarblerPied Wagtail
FulmarCurlewSwiftLong-tailed TitChaffinch
Manx ShearwaterBar-tailed GodwitGreen WoodpeckerChiffchaffGreenfinch
CormorantCommon SandpiperJayWhitethroatLinnet
ShagGuillemotJackdawReed WarblerBullfinch
Little EgretSandwich TernRookWrenCirl Bunting
Grey HeronKittiwakeCarrion CrowStarlingReed Bunting

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