A great start to 2017 with finding the Cattle Egret in the fields North of the A3052 near Colyton Village along the Axe River, present with Cattle showing distantly from the main road. We carried onwards back towards Bowling Green Marsh in the hope of seeing some nice waders & wildfowl to start up the 2017 Year List. Despite wet weather throughout the day, I located the 1st winter drake AMERICAN WIGEON with 1000+ Eurasian Wigeon on Matford's Pool near Countess Wear off the Matford Roundabout mid-morning. Also present on the pools included 3 Gadwall, 2 Little Egret, 1 Water Rail, Mistle Thrush and some Fieldfare in the neighbouring fields.
Onto Bowling Green Marsh afterward good views of the American Wigeon (See record shots below), from the hide & estuary counts produced 1 Spotted Redshank, 200+ Avocet, Greylag Goose, 1 Pintail, 100's of Teal, Wigeon, Brent Geese, Blackwit & Barwits. Large numbers of Knot, Dunlin, Golden Plover, Redshank and more Avocet out on the Exe Estuary near Topsham.
Further down the Estuary near Dawlish Warren produced 2 Slavonian Grebes from Star Cross, Curlew, Turnstone, Lapwing, Oystercatcher, Great-black backed Gull, Buzzard & Kestrel.
A very wet walk out to the hide at Dawlish Warren and a 1hour seawatch off the dunes was very productive with 50+ Great crested Grebe, 15+ Gannet, 3 Little Grebe, singles of Red-throated Diver, Great Northern Diver, Guillemot, Razorbill, 4 Eider, 20+ Common Scoter and a drake Long-tailed Duck. The walk out to hide turned up Linnet, Greenfinch, Meadow Pipit and very unexpectantly a male Dartford Warbler, found by Hannah near visitor centre in gorse scrub!!!
From the hide produced mixed variety of waders including a wintering Common Sandpiper, 10 Red-breasted Merganser, 15 Grey Plover, Sanderling, Ringed Plover, Knot, Redshank and the usual wildfowl, gulls and waders. No sign of the Bonaparte's Gull.
A fantastic start to the New Year with 95 species recorded and Cattle Egret & American Wigeon expectantly seen today. I'm certainly looking forward to this years birding.