Autumn Wildlife Spectacle

Monday, October 31, 2022

Autumn is a really exciting time for people and wildlife all across the Exe Estuary and at Dawlish Warren. At this time of year many thousands of birds migrate here for the winter months, coming to rest and feed and avoid the harsh arctic winter. If you're keen to find out more it's a great opportunity to spot some really special wildlife whilst you're out on your winter dog walks. You don't need to be an expert, with just a little bit of information, some patience and some binoculars (if you have them) you can spot and enjoy watching some of these incredible birds. Birds that you're most likely to spot include Dark Bellied Brent Geese, Widgeon, Godwit, Oystercatcher and Curlew. You can check out our quick ID guide here. Of course, when you're out looking for wildlife, especially with your dog, it's really important not to disturb the birds. It's worth knowing that a lot of these birds travel from the artcic where they are predated on by Arctic Fox, so when the birds spot a dog (even a quiet, friendly one) they panic and stop feeding and often fly away, wasting their precious energy and fat reserves. To prevent this, make sure that you read and follow any signs whilst you're out around the estuary and keep out of the Wildlife Refuges at Exmouth (15th Sept - 31st Dec) and Dawlish Warren (all year round). We're lucky to have some great dog walking spots where you can view wildlife without getting too close. These include the Exe Trail on both sides of the estuary and the canal path through Exminster Marshes, great for looking down across the nature reserve. You can also spot lots of birds at this time of year from the Goat Walk in Topsham and from behind the flood wall at the Wildlife Refuge on the Duckpond at Exmouth. The best time to be here is about 2 hours after high tide, when often the highest numbers of birds are feeding. You can also access the bird hide at Darts Farm with your dog, just make sure to be quiet and don't disturb the fishermen on the ponds.


Lots of Oystercatcher, Knot and Brent Geese at Dawlish Warren