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Avocet On November - 16 - 2010

We were blessed with some lovely weather; a mild autumn day with light winds and excellent visibility. After leaving Saltash, our skipper Ray, navigated close to mudflats on the Devon shore where there were good number of Oystercatcher, Grey Herons and Little Egret. Nearing the confluence with the Tavy there were large numbers of gulls, cormorants and here the first Avocets and Black-tailed Godwits were seen. We continued slowly upsteam as the tide was very low and at times there was only a foot of water under the boat. Plenty of Curlew were probing for lugworms, and Shelduck were also noted. As the river narrowed past Cargreen, another dozen or so Avocets were feeding at the waters edge and close enough for some excellent pictures to be taken – thanks Tony.

Avocets near Cargreen

We turned back downstream as a Raven flew overhead and made for the Tamar Bridges and the River Lynher.

Here we had good sightings of Wigeon, a Greenshank and more Shelduck and then as we approached Wacker Quay the Spoonbills were sighted; two at first, then a third and a fourth. One took off and flew away from us, a juvenile with pink bill and black wing tips and then another flew downriver towards their roost at Rat Island off Jupiter Point. The tide was well up by now and so we returned to Rat Island to find all 4 Spoonbills at roost.

We we able to see that one of the birds was ringed but was it the right or left leg? The other leg was tucked up under its body so we couldn’t see if that had rings also.

I have contacted the Dutch co-ordinator for European Spoonbill ringing but he is unable to specifically identify this bird from the information available. The ring combination looks as though it is yellow over green over red but the yellow could be lime green or even a silver metal ring. The other leg may also have rings so hopefully future trips will allow us better views to enable conclusive identification of this bird. Thanks to Tony and David for their Spoonbill photos which show the ring combinations.

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