Follow in Nigel's Footsteps

Monday, 27 January 2014

Dawlish Warren

The opportunity for my first proper birding since Christmas presented itself on Saturday. It feels like such a long time since I've actually got in the car to go somewhere off patch. It was a toss up between going to West Bexington to see the adult glaucous gull or heading to Dawlish Warren in the hope of seeing a few more birds. Much as I love gulls and would liked to have connected with the glaucous, Dawlish beckoned with the chance of getting the Bonaparte's gull, long-tailed duck, velvet scoter and maybe something else too. So Dave Helliar, Andy Grinter and myself set off for south-east Devon.

There were plenty of red-throated divers, a couple of great-northern divers, loads of brent geese, a few velvet scoter, common scoter and red-breasted mergansers off the sea wall but no sign of the Bonaparte's or a long-tailed duck seen the day before unfortunately. We headed back to Starcross to try and see the resident slavonian grebe and managed to add that to our list for the day. Just as we were leaving another birder informed us that a black brant was just up the road with a large flock of dark-bellied brents. Dave soon picked it out near the back of the flock and it showed quite well though distant.
Black Brant with Dark-bellied Brents: R. Harris


After watching the black brant for some time, we drove to the other side of Starcross to look for a spotted redshank which frequents the river Exe here each winter. As it was approaching high tide we decided to check the flooded field opposite the river and it was soon found picking it's way between a flock of curlew, a real beauty too but too far for a photo.

When I got home this fine male sparrowhawk was sitting on the back fence contemplating where he'd gone wrong and missed his lunch...nice contribution to the Garden Bird Survey though nothing else present as a result.

Male Sparrowhawk: R. Harris

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