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SEATON: Early birds catch the dawn chorus

Thursday, 01 May 2014

HAPPY?HUNTING | Jan Uden and Orla Nunn (aged 5) starting off on the egg trail

HAPPY?HUNTING | Jan Uden and Orla Nunn (aged 5) starting off on the egg trail

Steve Waite, the County Bird Recorder for Devon, led an enjoyable ‘Dawn Chorus Walk’ on the Axe Estuary Wetlands on Saturday, April 19th. Seventeen early risers spent a pleasant hour-and-a-half walking around Stafford Marsh and Colyford Common where still but cold conditions gave plenty of bird song. Steve said: “Robins, blackbirds, wrens and wood pigeons were all singing from 5:30, with great tit, chiffchaff and dunnock joining them by 6am. “Then blackcaps, greenfinch, chaffinch, reed warbler, sedge warbler, reed bunting and song thrush joined in. “A water rail was a nice bonus calling several times from the reed bed at the north end of the Common”. Hot drinks The human early risers were warmed by bacon butties and hot drinks at the Wetlands Information Centre after the walk, and were able to see a number of birds, including a Lesser Whitethroat, up close as they were being ringed by the Axe Estuary Ringing Group. n There was an eggstra special start to the Easter weekend when around 100 people came to the Axe Estuary Wetlands to take part in a series of egg themed activities in glorious spring sunshine. Families explored the reserve while taking part in an Easter egg hunt with a difference, using a map to find pictures of native birds’ eggs dotted around the site and using a key to identifying which bird had ‘laid’ each egg. They then challenged their nature detective skills further with a nest and egg quiz. There were also opportunities for the children to get crafty with the education rangers, and most left with beautiful leaf-print dyed eggs and a gift for the birds back home in their gardens in the form of a hanging nesting materials holder stuffed with sheep’s fleece, feathers and other natural fibres. Highlights One of the highlights for the groups, including many of the highly competitive parents who couldn’t resist joining in, was to use the equipment provided (from sticks to tea strainers) to design a launcher to throw their egg. The egg which travelled the furthest, winning the launcher’s team the prize, amazed everyone by flying over 45m before coming to a rather messy end! After the event had finished many families decided to stay behind to enjoy their picnics and spend more time exploring the area. For more information on Countryside events or educational opportunities with the Countryside team, call 01395 517557 or email

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