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 makes it a special place for Nature in this part of the world

Things have been busy on the marshes and good progress is being made these last couple weeks; Contractors have been topping and bailing several of the Exminster marsh fields, Volunteers have been keeping ditch edges short (and Rush free!). Works on Matford marsh continue, these efforts will lead to what will hopefully be an exciting area for Wetland Wildlife in the future. Gate and predator fence repairs are ongoing, whilst footpath clearance around Exminster and Powderham Marshes have left the pathways wide and clear for visitors to come and enjoy the wildlife on offer all around the marshes.

We’ve also been out to Labrador bay RSPB this week too, undertaking Trough checks. Whilst we were there it was fantastic to see over 15 Cirl bunting on the steep coastal paths and headlands, darting about the hedgerows. These included 3 singing Males, some still in summer plumage. This was my first visit to the bay and the views across the sea from the top of the reserve were tremendous; Gannets, Shag, Common scoter and Fulmar flew below on the ebbing tide, whilst in the sheltered downs and meadows Bush crickets sang, Clouded yellows fluttered by and Carline thistle continued to bloom.

 

As a birder, whilst out and about it’s always nice to catch up with a few decent birds around the reserve, for instance Yellow wagtails on Exminster marshes the other day, Spotted flycatcher on Powderham marsh and a whole plethora of autumn waders on the estuary and at Bowling green.

But what I’ve really enjoyed since I arrived is the bounty of late-summer invertebrate life on site, and in abundance. British Insect-life, and Butterflies in particular, are a great passion of mine, so to be able to see things like Jersey tigers, Clouded yellow, Brown argus, Beautiful and Banded demoiselle, and Short and Long-winged coneheads (relatives of the Cricket family) popping up all over the place is a real treat! Especially nice to find was at least one local Purple hairstreak whizzing around the mature Oak trees along Powderham path – keep an eye out if you’re heading this way, they peak in numbers mid-August...

 

It’s also been really cool finding some of the local areas speciality Plant life, like Flowering rush and Frogbit. And even a few Reptiles thrown in there for good measure; dozens of Common lizard being seen as well as Slow worms and a beautiful Grass snake.

 

At Bowling green marsh, the new scrape in front of the hide is proving very popular with the waders and wildfowl (already!), as we progress into Autumn (in the birding calendar). Visitors and Volunteers alike have been granted fantastic views of some amazing waders on the move like the Wood sandpipers, which not only stayed for a few weeks but showed incredibly closeup in front of the hide, and other passage goodies like Green sandpipers, Spotted redshank, large flocks of Black-tailed godwit and even a fleeting visit by the White-winged black tern which has taken up temporary residence on the Exe estuary at the moment.

We’ve loads of great acitivities still going on down at the Lookout, so make sure to pop by and see what’s taking place this week

For more information on Activities at the hide over the coming Months, click the following link>> https://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves-and-events/find-a-reserve/reserves-a-z/reserves-by-name/b/bowlinggreenmarsh/events.aspx

Also last but not least, our next Big Wild SleepOut will be on Friday 1st September at Aylesbeare common RSPB. This is a must for any families wanting to get out and discover nature at night!

 

Nick Patel

(Exe estuary residential team)

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