Axe Wetlands to host winter bird festival

Countryside rangers will help visitors identify the birds who come to stay each winter

FEATHERED visitors who call the Axe Estuary Wetlands home during the winter will be the focus of celebrations later this month.

East Devon District Council’s Countryside Service is staging a winter bird festival on Saturday, February 25, based around the Black Hole Marsh and Colyford Common areas.

The day kicks off at 8am with a bird ringing breakfast where visitors will have the chance to enjoy bacon butties whilst watching the Axe Ringing Group in action as they catch, measure, weigh and then safely release some of the wetlands’ smaller birds, such as blackbird, blue tit, goldfinch and wren.

Family events get underway at 10am, and run until 4pm, with a range of craft activities including making bird mobiles, bird feeders and badges as well as some wildlife games and quizzes.

Throughout the day there will also be “Guides in the Hides” to help visitors identify the 20 or more species of birds regularly seen on the wetlands, including little grebe, redshank, wigeon and grey heron.

There will be two guided walks, both led by Fraser Rush, the Axe Estuary Wetlands Officer, starting at 11am and 2pm.

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He will be giving visitors an account of the history of the Wetlands as well as the future plans for the site.

Admission to the bird festival is free as is parking, which is accessed via Seaton Cemetery. From there it is a 10-minute walk to the field studies base from where all the events and activities take place.

The advice is: “Wrap up warm as the Wetlands can be chilly!”

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