• Crisp wintery mornings, peregrine falcon aerial acrobatics, work party antics and Avocet Cruises

    With the marshes filling up, and the winter species moving in, these cold crisp mornings provide fantastic conditions to be out on the marshes. After desert like conditions all summer long, with cracked mud and yellow grass, the last week’s rain has created a very different landscape; and with that a change in kit has been required: the wellies have been retrieved from the cupboard and the waterproofs firmly donned!…

    • 19 Oct 2018
  • Autumns in the air and were getting ready for the exciting arrivals

    With the evening light shortening and the mornings feeling a little chillier, signs that autumn is approaching are beginning. We are eagerly anticipating the autumn/winter migrants; over the next few weeks and months the marsh should regain its marsh qualities and with it thousands of geese, ducks and waders. It’s hard to imagine, after such a dry summer of parched, cracked desert like mud, that the marshes will become…

    • 7 Sep 2018
  • John O’Groats to Land’s End, Over 900 miles in 10 days, for the RSPB and Ecosystem Impact’s Salur Valley Bird Conservation Programme

    On September the 17th my mum and I are cycling over 900 miles, from John O’Groats to Land’s End, in just 10 days. By doing this cycle ride, we aim to raise money for two incredible causes: the RSPB (UK) and Ecosystem Impact’s Salur Valley Bird Conservation Programme (Indonesia).

    As part of the RSPB community, I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how great they are! But, having worked for the RSPB for…

    • 21 Aug 2018
  • Marsh harriers on the marshes, and why not come play in our discovery area!

    Differing greatly from the high speed predation techniques of hobby’s, peregrines and sparrow hawks, marsh harriers are often seen gently soaring across the skyline and can appear to be flying in slow motion. We have had a marsh harrier hanging around Bowling Green, Exminster and Powederham Marsh for quite a few days now and I was lucky enough to get my first sighting early this week.
    With a distinctive slim shape…

    • 11 Aug 2018
  • Tis the season for butterflies, moths and blackberries… and very productive work party days!

    This job is fantastic for inspiring you to learn what you have previously not given to time to. The quad-bike seems to be rather good at disturbing butterflies, so that when driving it around the reserve, one is often surrounded by multi-coloured beating wings. This provides the perfect mode of transport for butterfly identification practice, but not so much butterfly photography. All I have managed, after a week of trying…

    • 31 Jul 2018
  • We've gone bumblebee mad... and a good days ragwort pulling

    Anyone that has spent time in conservation or farming will most likely shudder when the words ragwort and pulling enter the same sentence. Not known to be the most enjoyable job, ragwort pulling involves uprooting these unwanted plants using a specially designed fork; turning often rather yellow fields, not so yellow. Part of the management plan for Labrador Bay, is that Dartmoor ponies are grazed periodically throughout…

    • 14 Jul 2018
  • Osprey Passage Migration Excitement, Productive Work Party Days and Upcoming Events

    There was a real buzz around the reserve this week as we had an osprey pass through. There were quite a few people out peering through binoculars and scopes at pylons as this appeared to be her preferred vantage point (the females are larger than the males, and this was rather a large one!). It was the first time I had seen one in this country, so you can imagine my excitement as she flow overhead as I was pootling around…

    • 6 Jul 2018
  • Labrador Bay Fencing and Exminster Water Control

    It was Labrador Bay’s turn for some attention this week. Labrador Bay is an RSPB reserve situated between Shaldon and Torquay along the A379, close to Maidencombe. A perfect example of traditionally managed South Devon agricultural land with rolling hills right down to the sea, the reserve is absolutely stunning. The steep fields are left with plenty of wild meadow areas, providing the perfect habitat for insects. This…

    • 29 Jun 2018
  • Orchids, Iris and a Busy Work Party Day

    There are some beautiful flowers in bloom on the marshes at the moment. The southern marsh orchid is quite possibly one of the country’s most striking orchids, and can be seen on both Exminster and Powderham Marshes. Another really nice one, is the yellow iris which produce vibrant yellow flowers . These flowers produce the second highest nectar per day, so are loved by insects! As both these plants love damp and boggy…

    • 22 Jun 2018
  • Insects Everywhere

    When out on the reserves at the moment, it’s impossible not to notice the fantastic amount of insects; be it buzzing in the air, crawling through the grass, swimming in the water, or hanging suspended by silk, life is everywhere you look! And of course, this means there’s a great deal of food for all the species that enjoy feasting on insects. This week it seems we have had an influx of beautiful damselflies and dragonflies…

    • 8 Jun 2018
  • Encounters with Lapwing, Heron, and Moths and Lessons from Farmers

    When asked what your ideal job would be, what would your answer be? I would imagine mine would go something like: “well, spending all day outside in beautiful surroundings, participating in work I felt was truly positive for the environment, whilst being able to engage with other likeminded folk and maybe inspire others to engage with nature”. The last three weeks have provided just this!

    Saw quite the spectacle…

    • 1 Jun 2018
  • My first week with the rspb

    After having just finished my first week of being a residential volunteer with the rspb, I can safely say it’s one of the most rewarding and enjoyable things I’ve done to date. Having grown up in south Devon, the Ex Estuary is a special place to me; it certainly played a substantial role in shaping my love for wildlife. I can distinctly remember the first time I heard oyster catchers, saw the outline of a lapwing in flight…

    • 25 May 2018
  • Helens Blog

    This week we’ve been to Labrador bay cutting along the public footpaths and listening to the distinctive call of cirl buntings which are a charming relative of the yellow hammer.

    Male birds have a distinctive black facial mask and bright yellow chest feathers, whilst the female has a mixture of brown and sandy yellow colouration. They can have up to three broods a year, forming wintering flocks later on in…

    • 4 Sep 2017
  • August on the Exe Estuary and my first two weeks!

    Hello from sunny Exminster marshes! Nick Patel here, Exe estuary RSPB's newest residential :)

    Just coming to the end of my second week here on the marshes and it’s been a great introduction to the reserves so far. Looking forward to spending the coming months, seeing how the landscape comes into its own over the Autumn/Winter seasons, watching Bird’s leave and arrive, and learning how the management of the reserve…

    • 19 Aug 2017
  • Summer on the EXE!!! (Part 2)

    Hello everyone!!!

    I hope everyone is enjoying their summer.

    As some of our visitors might have realized, we’ve fenced some of the WW2 structures inside our reserve. We had some maintenance work around them which disturbed the soil; until the grass recovers we want to keep the cattle out of there, hence the posts and barbed wire. These changes have been highly welcomed by the cattle which enjoys of a good scratch against…

    • 14 Aug 2017
  • Summer on the Exe

    Hello everyone,

    Apologies for the lack of updates on the blog - we've been spending a lot of time out on the reserves and I’ve forgotten how this technology stuff works! Where to start?? Our wildlife at this time of year run a very active schedule and here on the Exe, we like to do the same; so let’s start with our breeding bird populations.

    During the last three months we have conducted three breeding bird…

    • 30 Jun 2017
  • Hello from the newest residential volunteer

    Milder days and sunshine are meaning that it’s starting to feel like spring for wildlife, staff and volunteers at the Exe estuary reserves.

    January and February have been busy months as we have been actively retaining as much rainwater on both our Exminster Marsh and Powderham sites as possible. However, with the beginnings of spring in the air, we are now seeing lower numbers of wintering wildfowl and waders, as…

    • 6 Mar 2017
  • Welcome back to the blog

    Written by Andrew Clanfield

    Happy New Year! Whatever your view on the many events of 2016 there is no denying it was a year of change. Here at the RSPB Exe Estuary it’s been no different, with CHANGE the keyword for us as well.

    If you’ve been keeping up with goings on at our reserves you’ll know we have created a new look Wildlife Garden at Bowling Green Marsh and updated part of the hide. We’ve worked hard to…

    • 6 Jan 2017
  • Autumn on the Exe?

    As we move from summer into Autumn, here on the Exe estuary we’ve just begun to welcome our returning wildfowl that will spend the next six months with us. The first wigeon and teal are already present on the reserve and we have begun raising water levels around the marshes to provide them with ideal habitat for the duration of their stay. However, it’s not just wildlife that we’ll be welcoming as we’re also looking forward…

    • 4 Oct 2016
  • Help needed for the Bee Hotel

    Hello everyone, quite a short post on this occasion and something of a request also. As many of you will know the landscape garden at the Bowling Green hide will include a Bee and bug hotel, which is currently under construction.

    Work is moving along at a steady pace but at this point we need a little help from you in order to furnish the hotel with all manner of different materials for our multi-legged friends to…

    • 15 Sep 2016
  • Time for baling

    Hi there everyone,

    Thanks to a beautiful sunny Bank Holiday Monday, we have had a fairly short 4-day week here at the Exe Estuary Reserves. However, there is always plenty to do and we have enjoyed several long days in the sunshine on the reserves. Cutting and baling continues along the and we are making good progress in terms of this grassland management. One of the main things with cutting and baling is drying out…

    • 2 Sep 2016
  • Just passing through

    Even though the rain is starting to creep back more and more regularly, we’re still enjoying a good deal of sunshine here on the Exe. The blackberries are still sprouting for anyone looking to get one last crumble in before the school term begins again. Our host of Dragonflies are still enjoying the sun and we frequently see them darting in and out of the ditches hunting small flying insects, but occasionally even these…

    • 26 Aug 2016
  • Last of the Summer Blackberries

    So summer is gradually drawing to an end here on the Exe Estuary, the temperature has started to drop and the rain has begun to move back in. Spirits are still high however as several of our projects are nearing completion with a few more exciting ones in the pipeline. The keen birdwatchers amongst you will be happy to hear that the new fence around the hide at Bowling Green Marsh is finally completed. It’s been a long…

    • 19 Aug 2016
  • Changes on the Exe

    This week, our reserves are undergoing some changes and receiving some fancy summer makeovers. From our car parks to our fields, everything seems to be getting spruced up and upgraded. One of the main changes we are making across Exminster and Powderham is cutting and baling among our fields.

    Cutting and baling is seen across the country and can be a great way of managing grassland for wildlife when carried out responsibly…

    • 12 Aug 2016
  • New Learning Experiences.......

    This week has almost felt like going back to school in terms of learning. Here at the RSPB, volunteers have the opportunity to undertake a variety of training workshops and courses to improve their skills and knowledge in the field of conservation. This week, all of our volunteers have been busy brushing up on previous skills and learning completely new ones. So far we have whizzed around on quad bikes (safely and slowly…

    • 22 Jul 2016