Help needed monitoring bird life at Slapton Ley Nature Reserve

Slapton Field Study Centre and Devon Birds has worked together for many years to help inform management of the reserve through monitoring birds breeding, wintering and on passage, giving advice on how habitats should be treated and what considerations should be to look after the special wildlife of the area.

The Society has had a role to play in monitoring birds at Slapton since the early 1960’s but over time that presence has gradually dwindled to a few individuals. The surveyors living in the area have been doing an excellent job have gradually moved on and there’s an opportunity for new people to come along and make a valuable contribution to understanding what’s happening to the bird populations at this important site.

The reserve is designated as Site of Special Scientific Interest and in terms of birds it is notified for its:


  • breeding population of Cetti’s warbler
  • assemblage of breeding birds of  lowland open waters and their margins, and
  • non-breeding passage birds, particularly hirundines, wintering bittern


Cetti’s warbler are monitored by recording singing males to identify Apparently Occupied Territories.

Hirundines roosts are counted on a regular basis during the late summer/autumn  evenings (usually roosting at Torcross) at least once a week.

Open water and margin/fen/reedbed species to be monitored by counting nests or identifying numbers of pairs.

If you would like to become involved in monitoring the bird life at one of Devon’s premier sites please contact Nik Ward to discuss.

Nik Ward 36 Shaftesbury Road St Thomas Exeter Ex2 9BR

01392 424270     mob 079527 84440