Monday, 7 March 2011

Exe Estuary Boat Trip

I was hoping to write this post yesterday at the latest, but this is the first chance I've had. I should really be out looking for a Sand Martin - but can't face the disappointment of not seeing one - some would say "how pessimistic!", I say "just being realistic!"

Before I write about Saturday afternoon, the night before was the first night of the Garden Moth Scheme. I woke up to a car with a layer of ice over the windows, and a sharp frost on the lawns, so I was somewhat surprised to find five moths in the trap! Four were Common Quakers, but the fifth was another new species for the garden...

March Moth; the female is flight-less

Saturday afternoon, as the post title suggests I joined my old man who provides the commentary for the Stuart Line bird watching cruises on the River Exe. The skies were grey, but it wasn't as cold as expected and I had a thouroughly enjoyable three plus hours on board the Tudor Rose.

I'll use photos to tell the tale of the trip....

The 'Tudor Rose' is the smaller boat used by Stuart Line, they usually use the larger 'Pride of Exmouth' for these trips. She is currently undergoing a service on the edge of the Estuary...


The Tudor Rose is still a lovely vessel though...


With a very comfortable and warm downstairs...


Complete with a very complete bar...


As I was with the 'expert guide', we boarded the boat first. Here are all the punters excitably waiting to join us...


Then they were allowed on, full house...


We set sail from Exmouth Docks at 13:30, and headed south to the river mouth...


And we carried on going south along Exmouth sea front...


The tide was crazily low, so we spent a fair bit of time down the lower part of the Estuary/the sea! There were vast sand bars and mussle beds exposed becuase of the low tide, this is looking NORTH towards Dawlish Warren. Yes, this could normally be described as 'the sea'...


And whilst out here, we had our first glimpse of the 'rivals'. The RSPB also do these Exe Estuary cruises, and funnily enough Saturday's one was being lead by my mate Ed...


We turned around, then began heading back north, passing Dawlish Warren sea front...


Then Warren Point...


And along past the Bite and Dawlish Warren hide...


Here we started noticing waders, with flocks of Bar-tailed Godwits on the shore along with a few Turnstone and Sanderling, and on the water good numbers of Shags...


Heading up past Starcross and Cockwood, about six Greenshank fed on the edge of the Estuary, and I picked out the wintering Long-tailed Duck with a couple of female Goldeneye though the trio remained very distant. We then passed the very grand Powderham Castle...


A decent flock of Brent Geese were here on the water's edge, though soon flew over towards Exminster Marshes...


As we approached Turf Lock...


A nice Slav Grebe popped up next to the boat...


And gave the opportunity of taking a photo of a Slav Grebe and a Curlew in the same frame, something I have always dreamed of!!?!...


When we got to the area where the Clyst Estuary flows into the Exe...


A cracking female Scaup offered good views...


Red-breasted Merganers were common throughout the trip, so had to take at least one photo of some...


It was from here that we started seeing really good numbers of waders, including plenty of 'the bird' many people come on this boat to see...


Grey Plovers, Dunlin, and Black-tailed Godwit were the most numerous waders up here, though surprisingly few Knot. A large flock of Blackwits were feeding in an area of cut reeds...


We got to Topsham, where the turn around point is...


Then headed back down river, and docked back in at Exmouth at 16:50. A very enjoyable trip, it was great to see so many places I've been birding before from a different perspective!

Well I hope this post hasn't bored you too much, and maybe it has inspired you to try this trip out for yourself. If you do STILL need convincing though, I have four words that just may do just that... home made minestrone soup! :-)

6 comments:

  1. Looks like you had a FAb trip Steve.
    We love Birding at Exmouth,always turn up good birds.
    John.

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  2. It was brilliant John, and as I said - great to see the area in a different way!

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  3. Thank you for a brilliant review Steve, I have put a link on our website to your blog

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  4. No worries - I had a great time. I will put up a link to Stuart Line in my favourites.

    Cheers

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  5. That is indeed a great adventure. I've tried corryvreckan boat trips and it's been memorable.

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  6. What a terrific account and wonderful photos. Hope you don't mind but I've linked it to Starcross News on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/starcrossnews

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