Friday, August 30, 2013
Rain-lashed start to the two-day festival - but things soon brightened up for a great weekend on the Axe Estuary
A two-day ‘Wet ‘n’ Wild Festival’ at the Axe Estuary lived up to its name for the first event.
Horizontal rain, a lively breeze and gloomy skies greeted visitors at the moth and bird ringing breakfast.
But early risers were rewarded with a good array of moths trapped the previous evening. And over the course of the two days more than 50 species were identified before being released unharmed.
Improving weather meant visitors had plenty of opportunities for creativity with willow weaving and various art and craft activities for children.
There was face painting, storytelling and balloon animal making with Professor Twist.
Meet the Bats proved a popular event on both evenings, with nearly 100 participants learning how to use an electronic detector.
Expert bat workers Fiona Mathews and Adrian Bayley were also on hand to put out some harp traps and mist nets which caught a couple of pipistrelle bats to view up close.
Saturday morning proved fruitful for the Axe Estuary Ringing Group.
Spectators were fortunate enough to see a Whitethroat up close, as well as Willow Warblers, Sedge Warblers and Chiffchaffs, and helped to release the birds after rings had been attached and measurements taken. The catch indicated healthy numbers of migrant birds visiting the Wetlands.
A handsome grass snake stole the show on Saturday afternoon, discovered under one of the reptile felts.
Another interesting visitor to the festival was a cuckoo, which spent some time sitting on a telegraph pole near the Island Hide.
The festival also provided fun for foodies. Bacon butties sustained the early risers while locally-sourced meat was served from the barbecue at lunch time and homemade cakes and Devon cream teas were on offer throughout the afternoon.
More than 300 visited the event and organisers thanked the ‘incredible’ team of volunteers for making it possible.