Fifty thousand birds can’t be bad!
Leaving Eastwood by people carrier at 8.45am, we drive south to the WWT Slimbridge reserve, where 30,000 wild birds flock to spend each winter. We shall spend the day here birding from the hides which overlook the Severn estuary, on the look out for Bittern, White-fronted Geese, Water Rail, Peregrine, Kingfisher and hopefully one or two rarities, while the afternoon swan feed in front of a heated hide guarantees close views of Bewick’s Swans. Continuing our journey south to the old town of Topsham, we settle in at The Globe Hotel, a comfortable 2 star sixteenth century coaching inn near the Exe waterfront. It’s so welcoming that this will be our fourth group stay. On Thursday we begin with a visit to the RSPB Bowling Green Marsh reserve, within walking distance of our hotel, where our previous visits have notched up some impressive sightings such as Spotted Redshank, Pale-bellied Brent Goose, Glossy Ibis and even a transatlantic Long-billed Dowitcher! At noon, we depart Exmouth Marina, with a packed lunch, on board a river boat for a three hour birdwatching cruise along the River Exe, in the company of one of Devon’s foremost ornithologists. Timed to coincide with a low tide, as many as forty species of wildfowl and waders totalling 20,000 plus birds can be expected, including Little Egret, Dark-bellied Brent Geese, Pintail, Wigeon, Goldeneye, Red-breasted Merganser, Greenshank, Grey and Golden Plovers, both Godwits, Slavonian Grebe in handsome monochrome winter plumage and of course hundreds of elegant Avocets. On a previous cruise we have also seen Spoonbills. On the last day, we revisit Bowling Green Marsh and then return north via the coast at Stert Point on Bridgwater Bay, where thousands of Shelduck and waders like Dunlin, Knot, Curlew, Redshank and Oystercatcher feed on the mud flats, again attracting raptors. On previous visits here we have seen Peregrine, Merlin, and both Barn and Short-eared Owls. After a final roll call of the birds seen today, we leave the area around 3pm and so we should be back in Eastwood by 6pm, with an exceedingly good bird list.
What the price includes:
Return transport from the Nottingham area, two nights half board en-suite accommodation, river cruise, bird checklist and the services of your guide, but not reserve entrance fees.