If you like nothing better that photographing nature or watching for rare birds, Dawlish Warren could be an ideal destination for you.
Let me explain why…
A unique landscape of outstanding natural beauty
Dawlish Warren is a very special place for birdwatchers and photographers to visit.
Set on the ever-changing Exe Estuary, Dawlish Warren Nature Reserve contains around 500 acres of unspoilt natural landscape. In fact, this landscape is so unique that it’s a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest.
Centred around a 1 ½ mile long sand and gravel spit (which curls into the beautiful Exe Estuary), this changing landscape is continually moulded by the fluctuating tides.
And where the Exe meets the sea, a unique blend of habitats has formed, which attract a wide array of local Devon wildlife.
Ranging from the blue flag family-friendly beach, to sand dunes and mudflats, to stretches of unspoilt grassland, the reserve is a wildlife haven.
Take a closer look, and you’ll find migrating birds and other wildlife taking shelter in the salt marshes, freshwater ponds, woodlands and wet meadows. As a result, Dawlish Warren is a perfect place to spot a rare species, or capture that elusive shot of a bird in its natural habitat.
And the birds come – in their thousands…
Attracted by food and shelter, each year up to 23,000 wildfowl and wading birds descend on the warren.
For the birds, the estuary mud is as rich as a rainforest! Chock-full of clams, tiny snails, and worms, according to a local RSPB reserves’ warden, “A cubic metre of estuary mud contains the same calorific value as 14 Mars Bars.”
As a result, the Warren is an attractive resting point for the thousands of birds who migrate south each year to find a warmer place to spend the winter.
A haven for bird spotters
If you get your timing right, keen birdwatchers will be able to record tens of bird species.
One of the best times to visit is during the autumn. That’s because late August through until late March is peak time for the arrival of the wildfowl and waders.
If it’s waders you want to see, you’ll find that a few hours before and after high tide is the best time. During these hours, the mudflats are exposed and birds enjoy a “feeding frenzy!”
Popular mudflat sightings include Dunlin, Oystercatchers, Grey Plovers and Bar Tailed Godwits.
But the flats aren’t the only place to observe…
Look further inshore and you could spot birds such as Brent Geese, Teals and Wigeons. Then on the sand dunes and wetlands, keep an eye out for Willow Warblers and Whitethroat.
As you can imagine, this short list of birds is just a small selection of the species that seek shelter in Dawlish Warren. The Dawlish Warren Bird List records all the species that have recently been spotted. As you’ll see, there are many.
What will you spot?
Enjoy a close encounter at the bird hide
The Warren is well equipped to welcome birdwatchers and photographers. In fact, a large number head here each year.
You’ll find a spacious bird hide from which you can observe the wildlife. The hide offers fantastic views across the estuary mudflats and is a great spot to watch for waders. For example, you could spot a flock of oystercatchers hunting for mussels.
From the hide, you’ll also see graceful swans, Brent Geese from Siberia, and even herons making the most of the estuary and its rich food source.
It’s all about the light…
And if photography is more your thing, you can set up your tripod in the hide, or take a stroll around the warren to find that elusive spot. In addition to the bird life, you could spot the native rabbits as well as a rich selection of plant life and rare flowers.
In addition to nature shots, Dawlish Warren offers plenty of landscape scenes. For example, there’s always an array of vessels on the estuary. Alternatively, you could take some beautiful shots from the beach. Or why not have an early start and capture the sunset, or watch the sun go down with a warm hot chocolate?
Call us biased, but the local Devon wildlife in and around Dawlish Warren is beautiful!
So why not book a Dawlish Warren holiday and come and see for yourself? You’ll receive a warm Devon welcome, and enjoy one of your favourite hobbies in what we think is a perfect location.