Sunday, 28 February 2010

Hide and Seek at the Axe Estuary

This weekend I treated myself to something new, a visit to the Seaton Marshes bird hide. Now I'm not much of a birder as you may have noted from earlier blogs, I specialise in insects, small mammals and flora. So in the interests of my educational aspirations I have to take the leap and explore more aspects of the natural environment and it's contents, first learning for myself and then passing this knowledge on.
Well I can quite confidently say that this was a particuarly good decision, on entering the hide I was greeted by plenty of seating and viewing ports as well as a highly informative wall of images and information about the likely birds I would see. First up was a Curlew foraging in the mud flats exposed by the receding tide, I did not need the ID wall for this one as it has a particuarly unique bill shape giving rise to its name no doubt! surrounding the Curlew were several Dunlin - I did need to refer to the ID wall for this one!, a Redshank, then  a Little Egret made and appearance as well as a host of Gulls, Mallards, Grebes, Sandpipers and Widgeon, whilst overhead, flocks of Lapwings scooted across the sky.
One particular species absent, though normally numerable on the site was Shelduck, this was due to, as I discovered later, that 53 had been ringed in the morning session by local ringers, this done the ducks obviously went of to sulk for a while and did not reappear until I was at the point of leaving. The site has much to offer as well as two purpose built hides it is possible to watch the estuay from the roadside leading from Axemouth to Seaton. There are also some bird feeders nearby to attract the large passerine bird population as well, with gangs of Greenfinches and Goldfinches, pairs of Blue Tits, Great Tits also troops of Long Tailed Tits feeding reguarly by the hide, but also feeding there, as any good opportunist would, was a rather plump Brown Rat!
So having had my time filled with many observations of a whole host of birds, some entirely new to me, some rather more common to my own garden feeder, I left the hide sated and happy, I will of course be going back reguarly now - with a thermos of Tea! On the way back to the car, Springs upcoming arrival was being signalled by the onset of flowers on the trees such as Birch, the greening up of the surroundings and the warmth of the sun beating upon my back.

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