• Andrew's First Blog

    Hi, my name is Andrew and I am a part time volunteer at the Exe Estuary Reserve. Having spent 6 months with the National Trust I’ve built up a good background in the practical side of woodland conservation and estate maintenance.  Moving to the RSPB has been an exciting change for me, as I was hoping to work more closely with nature, while gaining experience of surveying and managing a different kind of habitat.

    • 7 Jul 2016
  • Nicks First Blog

    Hello everyone, my name is Nick, another of the new residential volunteers here at Exe Estuary. My background is in tropical conservation of mainly marine species, so the RSPB is a bit of a diversion for me but excellent experience in UK conservation and species management, and a thoroughly worthwhile cause to get involved in.

    Learning the ropes has been hard work, with a varied array of tasks to be performed each…

    • 1 Jul 2016
  • Hannah's First Blog

    So just to start with an introduction, my name is Hannah and I am one of the new Residential Volunteers here at the Exe Estuary. I have always been interested in nature and wanted to work within conservation and will be working with the RSPB for the next six months to increase my knowledge and skills within the field. My first week is drawing to an end and so far it has been wet, muddy and tiring but wonderful. Just like…

    • 24 Jun 2016
  • Steve's Mid June Blog

     Well, the end of our first week without Ryan and Phill, our long term residential volunteers. So I am on my own in the house for a few days. However, exciting times are ahead with three new volunteers starting up with us in the next couple of weeks, so I wish them all well.

    This last week has been mainly taken up by infrastructure works on Exminster marshes, with the ongoing fence and gate repairs which have been damaged…

    • 17 Jun 2016
  • Joshua's First (and Last!) Blog Post

    Hi everyone! My name is Joshua and I’ve been volunteering for almost two weeks now, making the most of my summer break from university to help out with all the hard work going on at this time of year at the Exe estuary sites.

    My first taste of wildlife conservation work has been action-packed and educational – on my first day getting stuck in with lapwing monitoring over on Powderham Marsh. I’d never seen lapwing…

    • 10 Jun 2016
  • Steve's June Blog

    Well, the end of an era is upon us........ Two of our residential volunteers (Phillip Catton and Ryan Woodcock) are away to pastures new, both having got jobs with the R.S.P.B. in other parts of the country. Phill is away to Islay with a full time contract and Ryan is away to West Sedgemoor for a six month contract initially with a possibility of extension. So I wish them both well in their new careers.  This week, again…

    • 3 Jun 2016
  • Ryans Bank Holiday Blog


    Well this week has been a busy and eventful one, with some of our workforce over at lab bay to control the ragwort on four days. Whilst we were there we had a chance to admire the abundance of flowers which have really begun bursting into colour now with early purple orchids the stars of the show.

    My day on Monday was spent with Tom as we did some work over at Bowling Green. We replaced a solar panel used to charge…

    • 27 May 2016
  • Morning Folks.....

    This week has been a good one with regards to the weather. Dry and bright with good spells of sunshine. This has enabled us to continue with varying works on the reserve Such as, footpath maintenance, weed wiping, gate and fence repairs and varying surveys.

    Foot path maintenance was carried out using the quad bike and mower to cut the majority of the paths, this was then followed along by myself an Phill using brushcutters…

    • 20 May 2016
  • She’s got spies

    In the hallowed pages of these blogs, we often write about the practical work we are undertaking, but this is only half the story.  We obviously spend a lot of time and effort managing the reserve to maintain and improve the habitat for particular species, but in order to judge how successful we are being we need to carry out surveys.

    Spring is an important period in the survey calendar as breeding success is a useful…

    • 13 May 2016
  • Steves May Blog

    Over on Powderham marshes we are getting close to completeing the step refurbishment into the viewing platform field, putting up the handrails is proving more tricky than thought! Inside the predator exclusion fence some of the lapwing  are sitting on nests and we now have several proud Lapwing parents on the reserve. As you may be aware, we have a feeding station on the Powderham side, predominantly for the  Cirl Bunting…

    • 6 May 2016
  • Size of a Cow

    Yep, the cows, or to be correct, cattle, are back on Exminster Marsh and I have been brushing up on my bovine terminology.


    Do you know your heifers from your cows and your yearlings from your calves? If not, read on.

    Bos Taurus, domesticated cattle, have been traced back to the Neolithic period and origins in the Taurus mountains.  Their importance in human culture is wide and diverse, from food, clothing and tools…

    • 29 Apr 2016
  • Steves April Blog

    Considerable progress has been made in the renovation of the steps on the Powderham side of the reserve with the main structure up in situ and just waiting on the hand rails to be fitted.

    We also went to Labrador bay with our volunteers work party and have installed a new step by the gate leading into the field off the car park, and re-hung a kissing gate on the Southwest coast path. The resident ponies will be moved…

    • 22 Apr 2016
  • Improvement Works Commence at RSPB Bowling Green Hide

    The RSPB will begin improvement works this month at their Bowling Green Hide in Topsham, Devon. Using funding from Viridor Credits Environmental Company, electricity, lighting, heating and new flooring will be installed. All or part of the hide will be closed at points to accommodate the improvement works. See below for dates and full details.

    Morwenna Alldis, spokesperson for the RSPB South West said: “Last month we…

    • 21 Apr 2016
  • Nesting Time Is Here!

    It’s just about the time of year for nesting birds and I have become slightly obsessed with a lamppost on the roundabout at beginning of Station Road as I have seen a Great Tit entering with what appeared to be a beak stuffed with nesting material. It has disappeared into the top of the tube twice now and I want one more sighting to be sure it’s nesting there. Birds can have a habit of nesting in places that seem peculiar…

    • 15 Apr 2016
  • Who let the dogs out...

    Well, I have to say a lot has changed in a relatively short time. It has been four months since I last had the pleasure of taking a walk around Exminster Marsh and I can see that the team have been busy over the winter.

    There are the new viewing screens at the end of Turf Path, near the Discovery Area, which look very smart and offer a great vantage point to look across almost the entire length of the reserve. Turf Path…

    • 8 Apr 2016
  • Update from the Exe

    Exminster Reserves : The Lapwing monitoring on the Powderham side of the reserve is now coming into full swing with time being set aside for checking on the birds at least three times a week. We have a lot of displaying taking place with the characteristic flights, scraping and material throwing a regular occurrence. Some birds are also clearly starting to sit on the nest. The Cirl Bunting on the reserve are in full singing…

    • 1 Apr 2016
  • Living Lawnmowers

    The week began with some Lapwing monitoring, things were a tad cold and despite there being some birds about they were not as active as last week. Today is looking warmer and hopefully when we go out to monitor later we will find Lapwing displaying again in earnest.

    Most of the rest of this week has been spent at Labrador Bay eradicating Ragwort from some of our fields there. We use ponies at Labrador Bay as a kind…

    • 18 Mar 2016
  • In Between Seasons

    After having the tracked tractor on the reserve last week the work has been having a good effect drawing in Lapwing, monitoring at the beginning of this week showed they are beginning to prospect and display and hopefully the results will be some cute furry little chicks protected by our electrified predator exclusion fence in the near future.


    In this time of transition between winter and spring there is a shift of…

    • 11 Mar 2016
  • Steves first blog

    Monday was my first day with the Exe estuary team, we were out  spraying the docks on the Powderham side of the  reserve. We were spraying the docks with Roundup, killing the plant to the root, to stop the weed spreading across these fields in the future whilst also making it easier to monitor the breeding Lapwing over the season. This was made rather tricky by the terrain which consisted of ploughed fields and rather sticky…

    • 4 Mar 2016
  • Tingly Spring Feeling

    Well it has been two weeks since my last blog as I had a much deserved day off last Friday and it’s all starting to kick off.

    On my way into work this morning, as I was walking along muttering to myself I was stopped in my tracks as the sound of a chiffchaff singing caught my attention. This was undoubtedly an overwintering bird, I have been catching snippets of their call since I have been here but this was the…

    • 26 Feb 2016
  • Down My Neck of the Woods

    Whilst at the workshop early in the week I heard a familiar sound that took me a while to place. As my brain clicked into gear it dawned on me it was a chaffinch singing.....badly. I feel I should not criticise the little fella too harshly. It is still incredibly early in the year for this type of shenanigans and he was struggling to get his song into full flow but, it was terrible! There was some discussion that maybe…

    • 12 Feb 2016
  • Short-eared but long winged

    This week started on a good note as Cirl Bunting monitoring with Chris showed good numbers of individuals on our feeders in Powderham. Our fields there are managed specifically for these birds with stubbly arable crops left as feed to keep them going over winter and two feeders stocked with a seed mix especially designed for them. It’s good to see the work done here having a positive impact. If you have never seen one…

    • 5 Feb 2016
  • Is it spring already?

    I spent last Sunday taking advantage of being able to stroll around Exminster and the marshes without pesky work getting in the way. As much as I love working in conservation nothing beats being able to switch off and just take in all the amazing wildlife around you.

    Along my travels there was activity everywhere even from the off, a woodpecker drumming, great tits singing, green shoots on blackthorn, skylark up and…

    • 29 Jan 2016
  • Respect to the Goldcrest

    Waking up to rain hammering against my bedroom window on Monday morning it seemed like it was going to be a tough week but I made it to the office (just about) on time. I was rewarded for dragging myself out of bed however as whilst out on a morning’s litterpick along station road I was treated to some brilliant close up views of goldcrest, the UK’s smallest bird is one of the liveliest. A high pitched whistle betrayed…

    • 22 Jan 2016
  • Hedge your bets!

    The week for me began with being sent off to Powderham on a bright and sunny day to get on with some more willow coppicing and crafting willow stakes for the upcoming hedge laying work. I ended up being so hot I was down to just a t-shirt (and trousers obviously) within ten minutes. That shouldn’t be happening in January surely!

    The weather has been more like I’d expect the rest of this week with cold crisp days…

    • 15 Jan 2016