Monday 27 January 2020

Red-necked Grebe

I popped down to Shelly Beach this afternoon, after work, primarily to look through the gulls coming in to roost on Bull Hill. This Red-necked Grebe was a very pleasant surprise, being the first I've seen in Exmouth since January 18th 2014! There's no question it's a very scarce bird in these parts these days - gone the same way as many formerly quite regular species. I watched it, joined by Derek and Dave, until nearly dark. It was never close but scope views were more than adequate. The Slavonian Grebe was fishing off Starcross with a Great Crested Grebe and a small number of Red-breasted Mergansers were present. Otherwise a Peregrine over with a wader 'kill' and at least 25 Cattle Egrets gathered on a mud-spit north of Starcross.
Yesterday I reckon there were 32 Cattle Egrets on the aforementioned mud-spit, late afternoon, and 10+ Lesser Back-backed Gulls were on Bull Hill. Earlier, just after dawn, 3 Red-throated Divers flew in to the bay past Orcombe Point and 1 Common Scoter was off there. A flock of 35 Curlew flew over towards Maer Valley.
My favourite of the grebes but sadly one I rarely see. Just love the dark crown, white cheeks and dusky neck contributing to a distinctive jizz, even at range.

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