Birdwatching Report - 8/9/19
Birdwatching Tram Report – 8/9/19
A glorious autumn morning without a breath of wind ensured splendid conditions for the Birdwatching special that departed Seaton Station at 9am. The guide started the trip optimistic of at least a glimpse of the Osprey that had been fishing sporadically on the Axe Estuary for the past few weeks, but the group were treated to far more than just a glimpse!
Osprey over the Wetlands
After seeing this stunning and huge bird of prey in flight just a few minutes into the trip, it was relocated a short while later perched on a post at the top end of the Estuary. Fifteen minutes on and it took to the air, flew downriver, and shortly after whilst everyone was watching plunged into the water with an almighty splash. Up it came with a sizeable fish, and then kindly flew back past the tram as it headed off to a distant woodland to devour its catch. A truly thrilling experience for everyone on board.
Large numbers of Curlew, Black-tailed Godwits and Redshank were on Black Hole Marsh and the Estuary, along with smaller numbers of Dunlin, Ringed Plover, Oystercatcher and Lapwing, plus singles of Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Snipe and Bar-tailed Godwit. Teal were present in good numbers on Black Hole Marsh and on Colyford Marsh a Greylag Goose grazed alone, staying separate to the 70+ Canada Geese that were also present (and noisy!).
The still and relatively warm weather encouraged small birds to be active, with the reeds alive with the calls of Reed and Sedge Warblers, and even a Cetti’s Warbler in full song! Several calling Chiffchaffs could be seen in track side vegetation along with a lone Blackcap, and at least eight Wheatears were seen at various points during the trip plus a brief Whinchat. A close herd of cattle just south of Tower Hide were accompanied by a small flock of Yellow Wagtails - a typical autumn scene with the wagtails picking flies from around the feet of the cows. Grey and Pied Wagtails were also recorded, meaning the full complement of UK wagtails were seen during the two-hour trip.
Sadly not all birds showed well enough for everyone to see them. Only a few passengers happened to be looking in the right place at the right time when a Kingfisher zipped past the tram, and again a short while later when a Water Rail took flight briefly among a close reedbed.
In all 62 species of birds were recorded during the two-hour trip. The Axe Estuary and Seaton Wetlands at their autumnal best.