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Avocet On August - 23 - 2012

Today I led a group of three clients on a birding trip in the lower Tamar valley. Meeting them from the Cremyll Ferry we immediately started with an adult Mediterranean Gull, firstly sitting on the river and then in flight. Our first stop was Millbrook Lake. As it was high tide the waders, all Redshank, were roosting on the island together with several Little Egret and 4 Cormorant. Plenty of Black-headed and Herring Gulls and a single Little Grebe.

We then drove to the China Fleet Club at Saltash. The plan was to get to the hides overlooking the Tamar and Kingsmill Lake in time for the waders leaving their roost. Walking alongside the golf course the path took us through a nice belt of woodland. In the spring it would have been alive with singing birds but today all was quiet.  The first hide gave us limited views of the estuary. The tide had started to ebb but there was not yet any exposed mud. All we saw was a Cormorant fishing just off shore and numerous distant gulls. No Osprey today!

By the time we reached the second hide over looking Kingsmill Lake there were still plenty of waders roosting on the saltmarsh. Good numbers of Curlew and Redshank were partly concealed amongst the vegetation and a couple of summer plumaged Black-tailed Godwit were resplendent in their chestnut plumage. Twenty or more Dunlin were ‘stitching’ along the water’s edge and single Oystercatcher and Shelduck  were added to the day list. As the water receded several Greenshank flew upstream to feed in the exposed creeks, their evocative ‘chew-chew-chew’ calls echoing across the marsh.

We set off back to the ferry at Cremyll stopping off for lunch at Wacker Quay. Twenty or so Redshank and then a Common Sandpiper flew in and landed briefly on top of the mud before dropping down into a creek. Then something spooked the numerous Black-headed Gulls – a Sparrowhawk glided over the river. At St Johns Lake, a Swift soared overhead and a Little Egret was busy foot-tapping to disturb invertebrates and small fish from the mud.

Finally were drove past Millbrook creek. By now the the tide had fallen exposing plenty of mud. Still more Redshank and then on the nearside of the creek a Whimbrel – excellent view and out came the camera. We had 5  minutes to catch the the ferry so leaving the Whimbrel we made off to Cremyll.  A successful day out – nice birds and good company.

Categories: News, Trips, Uncategorized

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