Today was grey and claggy, with persistent drizzle through the morning and early afternoon. I headed out regardless determined to get some birding in, but to be honest it was more of a field test of my gear. My feet were warm and dry thanks to the continued great performance of SealSkinz socks combined with wellies, the waterproof bins stayed clear and useable, and even the foppish built-in pack-a-mac on the camera case did a good job (and I thought it was a completely unnecessary adournment on an otherwise good case when I bought it). Even the now aging CragHoppers aquadry coat held up. The only failure was the exposed denim between the bottom of my coat and the top of my wellies .....
Firstly I headed to a place I'd been to years ago - Velator Quay near to Braunton Marsh & Burrows. I was looking for the reserve that I'd seen mentioned on the Devon News blog but I think it's on the other side of the river and couldn't see how to get across. I could see the still partly frozen Wrafton Lake (or at least I presume that's what it was). Plenty of Wigeon and Canada Geese about, but aside from a few pipits and wagtails nothing to get excited about. I enjoyed the walk along the river bank though - but everything external was soaked by the time I got back to the car.
Next I headed back to Northam Burrows and Westward Ho! determined to get a few shots. Still plenty of Curlew about in the grassy enclosure at the entrance to the Golf Course which afforded a few shots, and a few other bits around the burrows but again nothing exciting.
Later this afternoon, after the kids had been bowling, I had a quick walk along the Taw Estuary cycle path between the Pottington Industrial Estate and Barnstaple. The tide was out which was perfect as the exposed mud was alive with waders. A good couple of hundred Dunlin were actively feeding, along with fewer Oystercatchers, Curlew, Lapwing and Redshank and a couple of Grey Plovers and Barwits. Also on the water was 8 Goosanders - 4 drakes and 4 redheads.