Thursday 23 December 2021

Bean Outta Exmouth

Mudbank in heavy drizzle this morning - 1 Goldeneye, 1 Spoonbill, 25 Great Crested Grebes, 1 Bar-tailed Godwit and 115+ Pintail.
This afternoon I was tempted out of Exmouth, once again, for a nice collection of wildfowl on Exminster Marshes. I managed to combine it with a trip to Mum's. Unfortunately it was all a bit distant but nevertheless good to see 1 Tundra Bean Goose, 1 adult Russian White-fronted Goose, 3 Whooper Swans, 1 Pale-bellied Brent Goose with c3/400+ Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 5 Bullfinches, 1 Pink-footed Goose, c240 Avocets and 1 Marsh Harrier. Seeing all this involved walking a few miles in old wellies so my feet are hurting a bit now.
Good to see Bob, Martin, Brian, Ken, Kev, Dave Stone, Dave Land, Rob and Steph.

Colour-ringed Dunlin - Mudbank. Left tarsus : blue ring with white lettering. Right tarsus : red ring above silver. Couldn't read the lettering. A quick internet search suggests this was ringed by the Devon and Cornwall Wader Ringing Group.

Three Whooper Swans - Exminster Marshes. I resisted the urge to twitch these when they first turned up yesterday, so was feeling a bit smug to catch up with them today, along with the Pink-foot, Tundra Bean and White-front. Just occasionally a little restraint pays off.

Unfortunately this Tundra Bean Goose remained mostly hidden in vegetation. I made the effort this afternoon because it's been a long while since I've seen this species in Devon. I may well be missing some but a quick trawl through my old records suggests the last one I saw in Devon was a 'self-found' on Bowling Green on 8/5/05! Prior to that I saw one (with 6 White-fronts and 25 Barnacles) on South Huish Marsh, on 19/12/95, and before that - 2 birds on Exminster Marshes on 2/1/92 (and again the following day).

A chance for me to show off my incredible photography skills - Russian White-front left, Tundra Bean right.

Pink-footed Goose - Turf.


  1. Some good wildfowl for your part of the world. Am hoping we get no extra restrictions in the New Year as it would be good to have our annual Norfolk long weekend in late January which we had to miss last year. Always a great goose festival there.

  2. Hi Neil - yep, all the geese are very scarce in Devon, as are the Whoopers. To have them assembled in one spot was too good to ignore. I haven't been to Norfolk in about twenty years but remember the spectacle of all the geese very fondly. Fingers crossed you make it there this year! Have a good Christmas. Matt

  3. Thanks Matt. Hope you had a good Xmas. Been very wet here after some fairly dry weeks.