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RSPB RESERVES DEVON
Aylesbeare
Isley Marsh
Chapel Wood
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OTHER GOOD SPOTS FOR NORTH DEVON BIRD WATCHING
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FOCUS ON THE RSPB RESERVES IN DEVON

Isley Marsh is made up of saltmarsh and intertidal mudflats on the southern edge of the Taw Torridge estuary and lies largely within the estuary SSSI. As it is mostly underwater at high tide, no management is carried out and no birds breed. However, it is an important haven in the busy estuary for undisturbed feeding and resting birds, especially the wintering flocks of ducks such as teal and waders including significant numbers of curlew, greenshank and dunlin. In recent years, numbers of little egret have increased and, in winter, it is often possible to see spoonbills. An active group of local volunteer wardens monitor the birds and try to keep disturbance to a minimum. Visitor access is restricted to public footpaths, largely outside the reserve itself, but allowing expansive views across the estuary and the surrounding farmland. There is no public parking within two miles, although the Tarka Trail runs along the south side of the reserve, allowing easy foot and cycle access along this former railway track.
Chapel Wood is a typical north Devon broadleaved woodland, sited on a steep hillside, crowned by an Iron-Age hill fort, with a stream running down either side. Management consists largely of the gradual removal on non-native species planted during the last century and their replacement with native trees. The wood takes its name from the remains of Spreacombe Chapel and well, a scheduled Ancient monument dating from 1270. The site was donated to the RSPB in 1951 and was the first reserve owned in south-west England. There are an impressive variety of birds, with occasional nesting pied flycatchers and ravens in recent years. Other regular nesting species include tawny owls, nuthatches, and great spotted and green woodpeckers. In winter, large flocks of thrushes use the surrounding fields and shelter in the wood. Spring brings a beautiful display of primroses and snowdrops on the margins of the rides, followed by a sea of bluebells on the higher areas. Red deer, badgers and brown hares are frequent visitors and dormice are resident.
Exe - The Exe Estuary nature reserve is two areas of coastal grazing marsh that are on opposite sides of the river, not far from the historic city of Exeter. One side of the estuary is Exminster Marshes and the other side is Bowling Green Marsh. In spring, you can see lapwings and redshanks and listen for rare Cetti's warblers. In winter, during floods or around high tide, there are thousands of waterbirds including black-tailed godwits and wigeons.
Aylesbeare - You can enjoy a walk along firm paths over quiet heathland here and have a chance of seeing Dartford warblers and stonechats in summer. The woodland fringes, streams and ponds abound with butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies. Stay late on a summer evening to see nightjars at dusk.

Spring is just around the Corner!
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All photos copyright Pat Adams
Photos in this slide show have been taken by Pat Adams with contributions from Brett Adams (©Copyright 2014 all rights reserved)
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HERE COME THE BIRDS
MAY 2012
2 Swallows Horns Cross 2nd
APRIL 2012
Swift Horns Cross 30th
6 Swallows Hartland Abbey 29th
Peregrine Falcon Horns Cross 10th
8 Goldfinch on a wire Horns Cross 8th
FEBRUARY 2012
9 Lapwing Horns Cross 11th
3 Grey Partridge Hartland Abbey 12th
Flock Fieldfare Horns Cross 13th
Large Flock Starlings Horns Cross 14th
JANUARY 2012
1st Fieldfare, Redwing Horns Cross 16th
NOVEMBER 2011
Sparrowhawk on hedgerow Horns Cross 4th
Starlings massing Horns Cross 5th
Sparrowhawk on Cherry Tree, Horns Cross 13th
OCTOBER 2011
Grey Heron in the field Horns Cross 22nd
Sparrowhawk aloft Horns Cross 22nd
Cormorant Peppercombe 17th
Starlings massing Horns Cross 15th
OCTOBER 2010
Sparrowhawk on hedge Horns Cross 11th
JANUARY 2010
Peregrine Falcon in the field Horns Cross January 1st
Flock of Lapwings Horns Cross just after first snow flurry January 2nd 2.30pm
Male and Female Bullfinch Horns Cross January 3rd 10.45
FEBRUARY 2009
After snow storms, two Lapwing spotted wandering field at Horn Cross 2nd February 2pm
MARCH 2009
Spoonbill spotted by Daphne Chun feeding in the River Taw, Tarka Mills restaurant car park, Braunton Road, Barnstaple on the 31st March2009 @ 6.30pm.
APRIL 2009
Four swans dipping their beaks in the Torridge at Bideford Quay Sunday 19th April 2009
Gulls nesting in the nooks and crannies of the lime kiln at Bucks Mills beach 20th April 2009
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