Trip reports

Group trip to Bowling Green Marsh and the Exe

Group trip to Bowling Green Marsh and the Exe
David Osborn/RSPB Images

Saturday, 7 February 2015

The 4 hour Avocet Cruises that we normally go on are not taking place this year due to boat problems and although there are some 90 minute cruises from Topsham, none were timed to suit a trip up from Cornwall. So we did 'plan B' which was a trip to the RSPB reserve at Bowling Green Marsh, near Topsham, to see the birds on the high tide roost.
All went well and we got to the hide about 50 minutes before high tide and had a good couple of hours there, enjoying some very close views of birds we are used to seeing from much further away. Barred and black-tailed godwits, dunlins, avocets and lots of lapwings made for a wonderful spectacle. The meadows were covered with breeding plumaged widgeon and teal and all this was viewed from the wonderful new RSPB hide, only opened in May 2014.
Further along Bowling Green Lane is the mouth of the River Clyst at the point where it joins the Exe itself. From the new viewing platform there we enjoyed a stunning pair of red-breasted mergansers we ourselves were watched by a grey seal just off-shore.
From Bowling Green we went over the road to view the RSPB reserve next to Dart's Farm (home to the RSPB shop). Just two days before our trip 3 penduline tits were seen for the last time in bulrushes by the viewing screens but unluckily for us they were not seen on the weekend of our visit.
After a spot of lunch we decided to head for the western bank of the Exe, at Powderham, to see if we could find the male snow bunting that had been around for a couple of weeks. Not a 'biggie' like penduline tit but still a new bird for some on the trip, the bunting was duly found and typically for the species seemed totally unconcerned about the attention he was getting. Many of us got a photo and he is shown with this article.
Having enjoyed another hour or so of waders coming back on the estuary, along with hundreds of brent geese and a few common gulls (which are not common!) we made our way back to the mini-bus and to start the 2 hour drive home after a great day out amongst the birds of the glorious Exe estuary.