Trip reports

RSPB Bowling Green Marsh & Darts Farm

Curlew standing on weed, County Cork, Ireland
Curlew, RSPB Image

Tuesday, 18 September 2018

Possibly the threat of ex-hurricane Helene, together with a yellow weather warning, put people off attending our first outdoor event of the new season as only four of us turned out on what as it happened to be a perfectly reasonable day weatherwise. Special mention should be made of the effort Andrew put in - he left home just after 5am, changed trains five times between Weymouth and Topsham and lastly caught a bus to get to Darts Farm on time. True dedication.

From Darts Farm we walked over to Goosemoor where at least 14 Greenshank, Redshank, Dunlin and Little Egret were on the exposed mud. From the hide at Bowling Green Marsh good numbers of duck and waders were on view including a few Pintail in eclipse plumage, Lapwing, Teal, Wigeon, Black-tailed Godwits and a Stock Dove.

Continuing on to the lookout over the Clyst, the water level was quite high with few birds on view but we did see distant Curlew and Oystercatcher. Looking across the Exe from beside Riversmeet House there were a couple of Shelduck, more waders including Dunlin, Ringed Plover and what we thought were Knot, but they were quite a distance away on the far shore. Rather unexpectedly a pair of Black Swans swam past us.

Retracing our route, another stop at the hide added a Ruff, Shoveler and some Bar-tailed Godwits and, back at Goosemore, there was a Snipe and even more Greenshank - we counted at least 30 this time. Few passerines were seen apart from the usual species, but a couple of Buzzards were calling overhead.

A picnic lunch back at Darts Farm (I did say the weather was fine didn't I?) and we then decided against driving around to Exminster Marshes but instead had a very pleasant walk over to the wetlands and bird hide on the farm. This produced another Snipe, four Green Sandpipers and a Jay plus some Starlings and Pied Wagtails amongst the cattle.

In total about 48 species were recorded, the highlight being the unusual high count of Greenshank.