Had a great day on Sunday 18th November with the South Somerset RSPB group at Dawlish Warren Nature Reserve. Brilliant weather, blue skies and sun all day, no wind and good birding too!
We met at 10.30am timing our visit for high tide in the Exe estuary as the views from the hide overlooking the estuary are best for the birds which come to feed on the mud then.
We walked through the reserve through the dunes, alongside the golf course, spotting a pair of beautiful Stonechats en route to the hide. The mud was just exposed as we arrived and we were delighted to see plenty of birds busily feeding, or in some cases just hanging about resting before fore mud was exposed. This estuary is protected as a reserve by RAMSAR and is home in the winter to thousands of waders and wildfowl.
It is also a good spot for interesting vagrants from America and most of the group were very pleased to be able to see the Bonaparte's Gull which has been hanging around, using the wooden groynes to rest up. On the day we visited ther was a lot of disturbance as the weather encouraged more people than usual for the time of hear to walk on the beach. Fortunately, this who did not see it at the beginning of the morning caught up with it feeding along the shore towards Langstone Cliff later in the afternoon.
Birds seen from the hide included Oystercatchers, Curlew, Redshank, Dunlin, Turnstone, Little Egret,Shelduck and Red breasted Merganser. or a full list see the group website.
Unfortunately I did not take my camera along so have no bird close-ups but used my phone for some views. See below.
Exe estuary looking upstream from Dawlish Warren