This was our first full day in Devon and part of a 3-day mini break with Tarnia (my wife), Laura, Charlie, Fin (3 of my children) and Amelia (my granddaughter).
We decided to visit Bowling Green Marsh and Darts Farm RSPB nature reserves for the first time, on this cloudy day. Both reserves are located near Topsham in Devon, and close to the estuary of the River Exe.
We began the trip at Bowling Green Marsh. Parking was restricted, but we managed to find a spot at the top of Bowling Green Road and then walked down to the hide. The hide looked new and well equipped, with a classroom attached. We had an excellent view of wildfowl and waders, including Redshank (1), Lapwing (30), Wigeon (2), Teal (20), Mallard (6), Heron (4) and Kingfisher (1).
I’m sure the species count would have been higher, if we had stuck around ‘til high-tide, when the birds tend to be pushed off the mudflats of the estuary and onto the River Clyst in front of the hide.
The children were keen to move to visit Darts Farm, which has a good play area, toilets and cafe for a warming drink, so we duly obliged.
Darts Farm is located on farmland, which is surrounded by wetlands. The farmland is home to a large variety of birds and the wetlands attract hundreds of duck, geese and other waders in the winter.
In recent weeks, several Penduline Tits have been regular visitors to the farm, but not today unfortunately.
After taking onboard some hot food and drink, and before heading off, we did see Grey Wagtail (1), Fieldfare(1), Mistle Thrush (1) and Pied Wagtails (6) from the large viewing screen at the farm.
On the way back to our holiday cottage (Lyme Regis), we stopped off to catch-up with the Readmans (my niece Marianne, her husband Mark, their two boys, James and Ollie, and Buster, their springer spaniel). The rugby was on the TV, which was a real bonus, and we also caught sight of a female Bullfinch in their garden.