A small group of members braved the elements on February 5th for a winter visit to the Axe Valley Wetlands – Seaton. The weather was somewhat mixed – chilly with bright, almost sunny spells and intermittent wintry showers of rain, sleet,hail and snow. However, when it really got unpleasant we were able to take refuge in the bird hides or visitor centre.
Doug Rudge from East Devon council met us at the cemetery carpark and gave us a clear explanation of how the area had been developed so far and what was still planned. We then moved on to visit the two hides in Black Hole Marsh for a bit of bird watching. Our guide was able to help with identification, but we failed to spot anything unusual. We hoped to see a Kingfisher or a Water Vole, but no luck. The latter have been reintroduced to the area a few years ago. We were also shown the elaborate system for controlling the water level in the Marsh and maintaining the correct salinity.
After spending some time in the hides, we moved on to the main visitor centre for a welcome hot drink and to be told about the ambitious project for the next marsh development by Seaton. We were also shown the Sand Martin wall that is being constructed at the moment with the help of numerous volunteers. It is hoped that it will be ready for this summer and will be used not only by Sand Martins, but also bats and even nesting Kingfishers. Anyone interested in volunteering on the Wetlands would be most welcome. Contact (01395) 517557
It was a very interesting visit, thanks to all the explanations by our guide. Much of the access is very good and there are several buildings with seats so that on a sunny day people can just go down and watch what is going on.