Sunday 18 February – River Exe Coach Trip Leader: Gordon Youdale

The weather for this trip was warm, dry and with a little sunshine, a change from usually expected conditions. The first part of the trip took us on a walk from Exminster to Powderham. Looking across the RSPB marshes we could see many species of wildfowl with Canada and Brent Geese, Wigeon, Shoveler, Pintail, Teal and Lapwing. A Water Rail ran along one of the road ditches. In the wet fields there were good numbers of Curlews, with Oystercatchers feeding, the hedges along the roads gave us Goldfinch, Siskin, Goldcrest, a Cetti’s Warbler singing and Chiffchaff in full song. Skylarks were singing overhead as we made our way down the canal towpath to the Turf Hotel, where we took time to look out over the River Exe to Topsham. This is where the majority of
waders could be seen, large numbers of Avocet, Dunlin, Knot, Golden and Grey Plover, Bar-tailed and Blacktailed Godwits, Lapwing, also a Greenshank and seven Red-breasted Mergansers. As we walked along the footpath towards Powderham Church to meet up with the coach, in a field with sheep we could see many Cattle Egret (possibly 30) and also 20 Little Egret. This first part of the walk produced 62 species. Moving on to Dawlish Warren we first took a look at the sea from the lifeguard station, here we managed to see Shag, Cormorant, Great Crested Grebe and Gannets but no divers. A few decided to take a walk up the beach to see what else we could find, the best being an Eider Duck resting on one of the sand banks. As we walked back towards the coach we had a look around the lake and nature reserve area near the visitors’ centre where we saw Greenfinch, Stonechat, Long-tailed Tit, Goldcrest and Goldfinch with good views of two Cirl Buntings finishing the day off nicely. This part of the walk produced 28 species. (Thanks to Judy for organising the trip and Gordon for leading) Gordon Youdale