Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Birders homeward bound. 12.3.2012.

Fog , rather than mist , as we carefully found our way down to Exminster Marshes again, hoping we'd find the Water Pipit using its favourite area ( we didn't ), and even the confiding ducks had to be identified on silhouette. Undeterred we moved on through Lympstone to the east where an entry to the SW Coastal Path  took us alongside the estuary for a mile or so to a copse of Holm Oak. The weather was improving and our quarry, a Yellow-browed Warbler, provided good views feeding out on some , as yet , exposed branches. A local cat adopted us and a few good viewing sessions were spoiled by extensive areas of orange fur suddenly appearing right in front of us as it balanced its way alongside the path's boundary fence!! I suspect the visits of birders have provided it with an unexpected diversion in what was a very nice location ( well if you ignored the nearby trains and weren't mown down by the succession of very earnest looking cyclists! ).

Previous to visiting the Axe Estuary we located, by chance, a good breakfast van ( a 7, if not an 8 ) within which  stopping time the weather improved and the mist disappeared. Seaton Marshes and the Axe yielded a few waders and duck ( including a tagged Black-tailed Godwit ) , a couple of Peregrine chasing a hapless feral pigeon, but despite there being countless gulls of various varieties and plumages, the reported Caspian Gull appeared to have moved. (Some impressive reedbeds in the upper reaches of the marshes made us wonder if these saw ringing activities conducted there in autumn and if Aquatic Warblers had ever been recorded).

And so our somewhat intensive birding trip had drawn to a close and we set off northwards, with time in hand so as to miss the worst of the afternoon traffic, amidst ever improving weather. En route, a tick of a different kind, was to see an Ecotricity topping up facility for any electric car enthusiast. Don't they need to be a bit more  regular given the mileage capacity is fairly low?  I guess much of the advent of such vehicles is still in its infancy, but are they not really better employed in urban circumstances? Conscious of exhibiting a bit of ignorance on this one! We'd reached Sheffield by early evening with thanks going to Matthew for his sterling efforts in driving throughout.