The Urban Birder at Dawlish Warren, DevonIt chucked it down with rain last night, so much so that I thought that today - the day I was traveling to Exeter - was going to be a complete washout. As it happened, by around 8.30am it was looking decidedly sunny. So, instead of hitting the motorway to get to Devon in good time, I popped over to The Scrubs in the vain hope of finding a wayward Ring Ouzel.
No such luck, although I did encounter a male Northern Wheatear (the 5th this spring) and most surprisingly, a Weasel that scampered across my path near the embankment into the nearby bramble patch. This is one animal that I certainly do not associate with cities.
I eventually left for Devon at 12.30pm and arrived in the Exeter area at around 4.15pm. I by-passed my hotel and headed directly for Dawlish Warren Nature Reserve, a place that I have always read about but never visited. Situated about 8 miles outside Exeter, I never expected it to be placed on the edge of a caravan park nor near so much habitation. Whilst birding the area I bumped into Kevin Rylands, co-author of The Birds Of Dawlish Warren and keen patchwatcher. He filled me in about this interesting coastal reserve, but check it out at: www.dawlishwarren.co.uk
Knackered, I drove back to my posh hotel that was sussed out for me by the Tourist Board to rest my weary head. The plan tomorrow is to hook up with the local RSPB man who will guide around the avian delights that Exeter has to offer - hopefully including some lovely Cirl Buntings.