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Avocet On December - 21 - 2012

Another good turn out. Over 50 people on board and we took our normal route up the River Tamar. Colin, our skipper took a leisurely course that enabled us to have some good views of the Avocets and usual species. The Black tailed Godwit were feeding opposite Saltash, much further downstream than usual. It is interesting how the whole estuary is used at different times and what exactly dictates where the birds feed. The 3 Spoonbills that had been reported the previous week were feeding at the confluence of the Tavy and the Tamar so were quite distant. The water is shallow here and it’s not possible to get the boat any closer without fear of running aground. ¬†an hour or so later on our return they had moved down towards Ernesettle. We managed to get a good way up the Lynher on this trip with more good views of Avocets, Greenshank and Wigeon. As we returned to Saltash the Spoonbills had crossed the river and were roosting on Rat Island. Tony’s excellent photos show they were two adults and a young bird (the one with the pink bill), possibly a family party. None were ringed but its probable that these birds had come from the Netherlands breeding population. Hopefully they’ll remain for the winter.

Derek Julian has once again provided a list of the birds seen. His diligent counting provides a useful tool in monitoring the numbers of birds that use the estuaries complex. The 218 Avocet was slightly down on the 5 year December mean. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the day and see you again in February.

Tamar Estuary; 9 Mute Swan, 38 Herring Gull, 352 Black-headed Gull, 8 Cormorant, 82 Oystercatcher, 105 Shelduck, 85 Black-tailed Godwit, 59 Curlew, 13 Great Black-backed Gull, 4 Little Egret, 9 Heron, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 35 Dunlin, 108 Wigeon, 194 Avocet, 3 Spoonbill, 7 Great Crested Grebe, 50 Mallard, 35 Redshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 1 Greenshank, 1 Common Gull, 1 Buzzard, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Mallard hybrid.

Lynher Estuary; 27 Cormorant, 4 Heron, 62 Mallard, 104 Curlew, 98 Herring Gull, 55 Oystercatcher, 163 Black-headed Gull, 5 Little Egret, 25 Redshank, 5 Little Grebe, 8 Great Crested Grebe, 4 Greenshank, 122 Wigeon, 1 Common Gull, 217 Shelduck, 4 Black-tailed Godwit, 24 Avocet, 10 Great Black-backed Gull, 164 Teal, 1 Buzzard, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull, 8 Dunlin, 3 Spoonbill roosted at Rat Island.

Boat Trip Total; 9 Mute Swan, 136 Herring Gull, 515 Black-headed Gull, 35 Cormorant, 137 Oystercatcher, 322 Shelduck, 89 Black-tailed Godwit, 163 Curlew, 23 Great Black-backed Gull, 9 Little Egret, 13 Hern, 3 Red-breasted Merganser, 43 Dunlin, 230 Wigeon, 218 Avocet, 3 Spoonbill, 15 Great Crested Grebe, 112 Mallard, 60 Redshank, 1 Spotted Redshank, 5 Greenshank, 2 Common Gull, 2 Buzzard, 1 Common Sandpiper, 1 Mallard hybrid, 5 Little Grebe, 164 Teal, 5 Lesser Black-backed Gull.
All photos with many thanks to Tony Jones.

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