Birdwatching Walk to the Lower Otter Restoration Project with Ranger, Rick Lockwood- Sunday February 11th 2024

S.Devon Branch Birdwatching Walk to the Lower Otter Restoration Project with Ranger, Rick Lockwood- Sunday February 11th 2024

On arrival at the new, South Farm road car park, the group of 13 birdwatchers were met by the ranger, Rick Lockwood, who interpreted the scene which lay before us. At first glance it appeared as if there had been a major flooding event, as the high tide, combined with the heavy showery rain filled the river valley. However, Rick was able to explain that this was now a twice-daily feature of the valley, as the brackish water pushed up the newly created river channel, creating a totally changed, tidal area, which will eventually become a new saltmarsh and estuarine habitat for wildlife.

Distant views of Avocet were a welcome sight, viewed from the new viewing blind, by the capped waste tip, as were the Mediterranean Gulls, complete with partial black head markings, in amongst the Black-headed Gull flock. Cetti’s Warblers joined the Spring-like song of Song Thrush on the walk up the River Otter, with the raucous cries of a sizeable Rookery colony. At the new viewing blinds at North Bank, the two Med Gulls appeared again, in the beautiful sunshine and two surprise new visitors were spotted, a male and female Cirl Bunting.

Further up the embankment path, a wealth of waterfowl was seen, including a flock of Little Egrets, Wigeon, Teal, Canada Geese and Shelduck. Water Pipits, though very elusive, were picked up by their call by Rick and up by the sewage works the group was rewarded by Stonechat, Fieldfare, Lapwing, Snipe and a Green Sandpiper.

By the end of the walk the group had a sizeable bird list of 48 species (see below).

Many thanks to Rick for his birding knowledge and sight interpretation.

Nick D’Agorne


Canada Goose

Mute Swan
Common Shelduck
Eurasian Wigeon
Eurasian/Green-winged Teal
Common Pheasant
Little Grebe
Common Woodpigeon
Common Moorhen
Pied Avocet
Northern Lapwing
Eurasian Curlew
Common Snipe

Green Sandpiper
Black-headed Gull
Mediterranean Gull
Herring Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Great Cormorant

Little Egret

Grey Heron
Common Buzzard

Great Spotted Woodpecker
Common Magpie
Eurasian Jackdaw
Carrion Crow
Eurasian Blue Tit
Great Tit
Cetti’s Warbler
Long-tailed Tit
Eurasian Wren
Song Thrush
Eurasian Blackbird
European Robin
European Stonechat

Grey Wagtail
Pied Wagtail
Meadow Pipit
Water Pipit
Common Chaffinch
European Goldfinch
Cirl Bunting
Common Reed Bunting