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 the season to feed on seeds and insects in amongst the stubble left on arable fields.


It’s certainly worth a visit to RSPB Labrador bay reserve, near Shaldon, to spot these impressive little birds singing by the car park and amongst the hedgerows. Look out for gannets, peregrine falcons and butterflies, or simply enjoy the stunning coastal views.       

We’re running our popular RSPB Avocet cruises at Topsham, Devon again this year where you can enjoy stunning views of the Exe estuary in winter and observe thousands of birds which travel from across Europe to feed on worms, snails and crustaceans at this internationally important site for wintering wildfowl. Join us at dawn to enjoy this amazing wildlife spectacle or on our photography cruise to photograph the stunning birds and this wonderful landscape. For more information please visit to book on to a cruise.       

The Lookout at RSPB Bowling green marsh reserve is open every weekend Saturday and Sunday 11am-1pm and 2pm- 4pm, serving fresh tea and coffee throughout the summer, autumn and winter months. Come along for excellent views of wading birds, discover wildlife or simply enjoy the dramatic views over the Exe estuary.

Helen Williams

Residential Volunteer, RSPB Exe Estuary Reserves