Spent the weekend in the wonderful county of Devon celebrating the engagement and blessing of one of Dee's childhood friends. An excellent day with Devon cream teas, sandwiches and cakes, plus wonderful company. Not too mention the odd cider or two!
This of course gave us the opportunity to visit a few descent birding haunts and even catching up with a Warwickshire local when amazingly Jim Timms and his wife wondered into the hide while we were visiting RSPB Bowling Green Marsh on Saturday morning. A good selection of waders to be had here which included of note: Summer plumage Grey Plover, Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank, Curlew Sandpiper, Whimbrel, Greenshank, huge numbers of Curlew and the odd Sandwich Tern along the estuary.
|Despite taking us by surprise, I managed to snap this as the 'Union' passed through!
Before heading home Sunday we made our way south along the coast and stopped first at RSPB Exminster Marshes to catch up with a juvenile White-winged Black Tern. This also produced another very pleasant surprise, in the form of an A4 class steam-train 'The Union Of South Africa, which was hauling the 'Royal Duchy Excursion' and passed us unexpectedly as we made our way along the footpath! Eat your heart out Richard Mays!! We eventually caught up with the tern, a smart looking little bird, which despite spending a lot of it's time on the Exeter Canal was fishing on a small pool on the opposite side during our stay.
|Long staying Slavonian Grebe in Cockwood harbour
Moving further south to Dawlish Warren, stopping off at Cockwood, where a long staying Slavonian Grebe has been residing in the harbour. Although locating the bird pretty easily the tide was way out and the only views available were distant, hence the above heavily cropped image. Over fifty or so Ringed Plover, along with smaller numbers of Dunlin and Curlew were also feeding around the harbour, four Bar-tailed Godwit, Rock Pipit and a single Little Egret were also noted.
|Cirl Buntings in Teignmouth!
Devon is also a great place to see Cirl Buntings and with time moving on we decided on foregoing Labrador Bay, the usual spot and instead headed up the hill at Teignmouth to another known hotspot.
|Cirl Bunting - Always a pleasure to see!
After parking at the community school we'd literally only gone a few yards when Dee dropped onto one. We enjoyed a short time observing these smart looking Buntings before heading off back home and I must say a very surprising and painless drive back up the M5 ended a top weekend!