Even though I have an impressive head cold which should have seen me stay in bed, this morning as planned, dosed up with Lemsip, I hoofed it down to Bowling Green Marsh for a spot of birding. And I'm so glad I did, even if as I write this at 6pm, I'm feeling a bit groggy.
On my walk down to the Marsh I noticed a drive up to a house was carpeted with snowdrops, which boded well for the day.
This was the distant view of the Marsh as I came around the corner. In the far distance was a white line at the far waters edge. Thinking these would be some form of gulls, up with the binoculars which gave me a bit of a start....
This male Pintail was about the only bird which came close enough for shot, even when we walked up to the viewing platform. The tide was well in by now, and the Exe Estuary was like a millpond, not a ripple to be had, and sadly no birds either !! But it did allow for a couple of arty shots.
Lunch was rapidly approaching and Mr Mike also of the party had his heart set on fish and chips in Starcross over the other side of the estuary. At the well named Battered by Barry or something like that. When we got there Barry seemed to be getting a good battering and was on the floor, half in half out the door. Until we realised they were closed and this was some form of refurbishment. Disaster.
Onwards to Dawlish Warren then, bound to be F&C there. But there wasn't, so in desperation after paying 90p to park when we need not have done, we all partaked in a culinary feast of Burger and Chips, fizzy pop and all for a masterly £4.95. Birding doesn't get much tougher than this.
Well it did say, no glasses beyond here so I left my bins at the gate.
I was quite satisfied with my Chicken burger and chips, however Jenny (L) and Mike (the thinking woman's Bill Oddie, middle) needed a pudding, so an incriminating photo with Ed had to be taken. Kids!!
Entertainment over, back to the birding.........................
Retracing our steps, on a golf course near Starcross, a couple of hundred Dark Bellied Brent Geese were grazing the 18th fairway next to the golf balls, along with Oystercatcher, Curlew and Lapwing.
Ed said it was unfair that the blogging community never get to see a star in the making, and maintaining this blog's inability to create a star, this odd looking bloke seems to have got on here. Apparently it was taken because the Geese were in the background, but I think it was taken for a Police photo-fit. I had a cold, that's my excuse for the three chins, which seem to have appeared under the recently removed beard.
Back at Starcross, we hopped over the railway bridge and scanned the estuary. 3 Little Grebe, a Shag, a good number of Red Breast Mergansers, a Little Egret, some Redshank, 3 Greenshank all made up a canny additional score and ticked off the must see list.
But I'll leave the last bit of birding to the Turnstones. At first we saw a few, then some more and more and more and in the end we estimated about 100, all bathing in the shallows or feeding along the strand line. I've never ever seen this many in one place, a very special end to a grand old day out.
What a day. Time to go home guys.... sorry Jenny, Ed's off to New Zealand for a month on Saturday, the wildlife won't be anything like as good there as in Devon - I bet !!