Tuesday, 16 February 2010

We have been on a Cruise.

No! we have not won the lottery. inherited any money or sold the dog...in fact we only cruised up and down the River Tamar.

I did not really expect to add to my life list as this year we have really plugged the Divers, Ducks and Wildfowl gaps but things do not always turn out the way you expect them to.
The trip was well worth it to observe the Avocets that generally can be seen during the early months Also a Spoonbill added to the year list with a Scaup at Wacker's Quay completing the trio of Year Ticks and it was also a Life Tick for me.

After staying overnight in Devon I was determined to do a tour of the counties Nature Reserves with a couple of my own thrown in for good measures.
The intended list was as follows.
1. Aylebeare Common RSPB Reserve
2. Bowling Green Marsh.
3. Exminster Marshes.
4. Powderham Castle Estate.
5. Cockwoods
6. Dawlish Warren Nature Reserve
7. East Dartmoor Woods and Heath NNR

The good and bad news.
The first three reserves were somewhat disappointing..the first the tracks were covered in mud and doggie do-dar and even though it looked a great place for Dartfords I felt it was to early in the year ..so we moved on.
Bowling Green Marsh was even more frustrating as we did not quite find what we were looking for although we saw enough to realise the potential of the site.
The Exminster Marshes were another let down..Angie said it was teeming with Warblers but they never showed at all and we left with just Geese, Wildfowl and a Heron in the notebook.

Off to the Castle where we have been a couple of times before . The Castle was closed so we walked down the lane seeing Redwings galore in the fields. A Nuthatch was missed by me in the treetop although I probably did see it with the other silhouettes I will not count it for a Year tick. Incidentally the same thing happened on the Cruise with a Merlin...failed to locate it. Two year ticks missed.
We sighted Deer that were in the fields adjacent to the Castle.... close to where we hoped to see the Tree Creepers that we saw on our last visit .
A Coal Tit played on the bark of a large tree raising my hopes but we left without adding the Tree Creeper to the list.
Numerous Pheasants were recorded on the Estate.

Off to Cockwood which is a great place with lots of waders and seabirds around. I had two Year ticks with Brent Goose and Whimbrel .
Redshank, Greenshank, Curlew, Barwhit, R.B Merganser, Goldeneye, Med Gull, Oystercatcher and Little Egret were added to the day list plus others I have probably forgotten to mention.

The time was getting on and I had the feeling the Dartmoor trip was now off the cards. (Pity because I remember J. Rowe saying it was one of his favourte sites)

Dawlish Warren has always been good to us and I do enjoy walking around the dunes and seashore.
A very helpful couple told us where to expect to see the Surf Scoter in the Bay and also pointed out Black Redstarts were around the Site Information Lodge.
Angie soon found the Surf Scoter and took a while watching, eventually deciding it was a female.
Divers and Shags were also seen .
The Black Redstarts were soon found close to the Lodge and photographed but not at close range.

Life Ticks.
Surf Scoter

Year Ticks
Brent Goose
Black Redstart
Surf Scoter

Angie said the days total Bird count was seventy eight..which is our record so far. So in conclusion... if you want that bird list up and running...follow the WANDERING WATCHER. Q.E.D

This post also appears on A&T Birding


  1. Great ticks Trevor,Darmoor can wait another day.
    You did well.

  2. You have spotted some of the birds that I would love to photograph, ah, I will wait a bit longer!

  3. Superb post, there are reserves in your list I want to visit.

  4. Hi John and Sue.

    It may have been a blessing in disguise as we would have had a limited amount of time.. which would have most certainly been insufficient to do justice to the three adjacent sites..Yarner Wood,Trendlebere Down and Bovey Valley.
    Another day beckons.

  5. Hi Bob.
    I confess I would have liked to have got some better shots of the birds....Still you have to see them first .then cross everything and hope you get that photograph you are after.

  6. Hello Sam and Lisa

    Cockwoods and Dawlish Warren are two very good sites and are always worth a visit if you are in Devon and around that area.
    Bowling Green Marsh looked to me as if it has a lot to offer but we never quite got our bearings on that one.
    If you do decide to go especially Cockwoods you will probably need a little extra information..so drop me an email and I will point you in the right direction.


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