Birdwatching Report - 30/3
14 people joined the trams leader Steve Waite, as they slowly made their way up and back down the Axe Valley on what proved a gorgeous clear blue morning – even if it were a bit cold first thing!
During the two hours a total of 67 species were recorded from the tram, with two species in particular causing great excitement. Late March often sees the arrival of some of the early summer migrants into the UK, having spent the winter in South Africa, and we were lucky enough to see two of these; Wheatear and Sand Martin (six in total) during the trip. The Wheatear was accompanied by a male Stonechat too, which posed nicely on the tram overhead wires for all to enjoy.
In keeping with the spring theme, there was lots of bird song to be heard too, with many of the usual local species including Wren, Chiffchaff and Reed Bunting in song, along with a couple of Meadow Pipits displaying proudly over Colyford Marsh.
What is always the added bonus of late March is that as well as these signs of spring, we still have some of our wintering birds with us, these included a small flock of Wigeon, numerous Teal and two male Shoveler. Wading birds were also well represented, a lone Dunlin showed well by Seaton Marshes hide, with a Greenshank alongside 30 Redshank on Black Hole Marsh allowing excellent comparison. As always there were good numbers of Curlew and Black-tailed Godwits to be seen, and a Snipe was briefly glimpsed in flight.
The five species of gull on show helped bring up the species count, with nice views of Great and Lesser Black-backed Gulls among the usual Herring, Black-headed and Common Gulls.
It was such an enjoyable trip that it was a real shame when it had to come to an end. We just need to try and arrange the same weather conditions for the next one as well…