Spoon on the Teign

It was a surprisingly pleasant morning along the Teign. My timing was perfect ( i.e. complete luck). A band of showers had just passed over, and there was sunny gap of a couple of hours before the next arrived.


It was nearly high tide so the winter waders were scattered about the fringes of the estuary relaxing, waiting for the water to drop again to make their food accessible. They look for somewhere away from disturbance by people and, more importantly, dogs. They clearly don’t need somewhere which is quiet.

These Oystercatchers are hunkered down on an embankment beside the main SW railway line. perfect!

Oystercatchers and Hitachi hybrid
Oystecatchers asleep

There was a nice variety of other waterbirds resting beside the water…..

Curlew and Shelduck:

Curlew and Shelduck


and a scenic mix of winter waders. Here the Redshank’s legs are much more red than the Greenshank’s legs are green. Although actually they’re more orange than red.

Curlew, Redshank and Greenshank

I was very surprised to see a drake Common Scoter swimming strongly up the middle of the estuary. Scoters are proper sea ducks and are usually seen far out to sea or along the open coast. It’s not often that they venture into enclosed waters. This one clearly wan’t used to swimming in the proximity of a railway track, because every time a train went past it spooked, and dived.

Lovely to see it in the early morning sun…they are the classic ‘black duck’ and it”s exceptional to get close enough to see any colour (although there’s not alot to see)

Common Scoter

Right at the top of the estuary near the Newton Abbott road bridge, I could hardly believe my eyes when I saw a Spoonbill in amongst a flock of roosting gulls. My closest view of one ever, by quite a long way. Too close in fact, and I paddled away as fast but as unsplashily as possible, because it looked like it was about to fly off.




It did, but it settled down again a hundred yards away.

It was excellent to observe this extraordinary and charismatic bird feeling relaxed enough to have a bit of a spruce up before tucking the spoon away for a snooze.

What a fab bird!

Teign Spoonbill

2 thoughts on “Spoon on the Teign

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