I collected 10 members of the CENTRAL LONDON RSPB GROUP AT 13:15 AT HONITON train station, it was raining and quite windy.
We drove for about 30 minutes and arrived at our first birding venue, Aylesbeare Common. This RSPB nature reserve supports a good number of Dartford Warblers on extensive managed heathland.
It was blowing a gale on this exposed hilltop but the rain eased a little. We saw Common Stonechat and had very brief glimpses of the target bird the Dartford Warbler before we gave up.
|All wrapped up for winter the ten members of Central London RSPB Group|
Next we moved onto the another section of heathland and the site of a Iron Age hill fort at Woodbury Castle. The whole site is now covered by mature woodland of Beech trees where a huge flock of Common Chaffinches were feeding. We were hoping for a few Brambling in with the flock but we never found one. During an hour long walk we also saw: Blue, Great and Coal Tits, European Robin, Dunnock, Eurasian Nuthatch and Goldfinch.
We finished the afternoon at Budleigh Salterton where a large open tidal marsh forms at the mouth of the river Otter (recently in the national news because a family of Beavers were discovered!) The shingle bank along the sea-shore rose 15 metres above the sea and provided a good vantage point from where to watch over the marsh and the sea. The sky had cleared but a very cold wind blew from the west.
A fair number of species were seen in an hour-long vigil: on the marsh during this high tide period we saw: Eurasian Curlew, Common Redshank, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal, Brent Goose, Herring Gull and a small flock of Eurasian Skylark. Out at sea we fared a little better with sightings of: Red-throated Diver, Common Scoter, Northern Gannet, Razorbill, Fulmar, European Shag, Great Cormorant and Great-crested Grebe,
We called it a day at 16:45 and drove to our hotel near Topsham, we ate a superb dinner before retiring for the night.