Learn to identify Axe estuary birds

Birds for beginners course under way at Seaton reserve

HELP is at hand for people who get in a flap trying to identify the different birds that visit the Axe estuary.

Starting today (Thursday) and over the next few weeks experts will be holding classes there to help them distinguish a redshank from a ruff – or Sandpiper from a Snipe.

The ‘birds for beginners’ course will take place every Thursday until October 27.

Experienced bird watchers will be based in one of the hides at the reserve from 10am until 12 noon, to help visitors identify the birds in view.

Meg Knowles, assistant education ranger with East Devon District Council, said: “This isn’t just about what the bird looks or sounds like, it is also about that hard-to-define quality, its general impression.

“The Axe Estuary Wetlands now boasts a selection of five covered bird hides, with the newest additions of the Tower and Island hides, which were completed during the early spring of 2011, proving to be very popular with local families and wildlife enthusiasts. Hides provide an ideal, sheltered location where birds can be viewed without disturbing them.”

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The entrance to the reserve is next to Axe Vale Caravan Park, behind Seaton Football club. Birds for Beginners will be taking place in either the Island or Tower Hides overlooking Black Hole Marsh. These hides can be accessed by following the footpath next to the entrance to Seaton cemetery. Parking is available in the Axe Estuary Wetlands car park, accessed through Seaton cemetery.

Added Meg: “Spending time with knowledgeable bird watchers is such a valuable way to learn more about bird identification. It’s something that you just can’t get from pictures in bird books.”