Topsham Lock Cottage


Wild birds on the Exe estuary (Photos: David J Glaves)

Topsham Lock Cottage occupies a unique location on the west bank of the estuary between two nature reserves — one operated by the Devon Wildlife Trust and the other by the RSPB.

The Exe Estuary is an important conservation area. It is reckoned that over 10,000 wild fowl and 20,000 waders spend the winter here, including the avocet, black-tailed godwit, dark bellied Brent goose, ringed plover and wigeon.

Some of the latest bird sightings in the area are listed below. Further sightings can be found at

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Wednesday 17th October 2018
Dawlish WarrenCetti's Warbler, Yellow-browed Warbler, 23 Blue Tit, 13 Long-tailed Tit, seven Chiffchaff, 230 Wood Pigeon, 63 Skylark, 45 Meadow Pipit, 15 Jackdaw, six Rook, five Siskin, two Grey Wagtail, Mistle Thrush, 175 Goldfinch, 110 Linnet, three Wheatear, two Eider, Curlew Sandpiper, 267 Redshank, 70 Dunlin, 23 Bar-tailed Godwit, 15 Grey, 14 Ringed Plover, 12 Sanderling, nine Brent Geese, nine Greenshank, seven Sandwich, Common Tern, Slavonian Grebe (More…)
Sunday 14th October 2018
Dawlish Warren399 Wigeon, 213 Curlew, 172 Redshank, 147 Teal, 127 Brent Geese, 114 Dunlin, 29 Ringed, 21 Grey Plover, eight Greenshank, eight Bar, four Black-tailed Godwit, four Pintail, four Sandwich, Common Tern, two Red-breasted Merganser, Slavonian Grebe, Eider (More…)
Saturday 13th October 2018
Dawlish WarrenThe fresh mild southerly drew focus towards the sea again but whereas yesterday’s 1½ hours early morning effort produced just one Gannet, today paid dividends with a Long-tailed Skua slowly through south at 09:15. Also south went 66 Gannet, 17 Kittiwake, 13 Common Scoter, nine Great Skua (including one out of the estuary), five Fulmar, four Great Northern Diver (plus a diver sp.), three Razorbill (plus 5 auk sp.), an Arctic Skua (plus two skua sp.) and one of the semi-resident Eider.A selection of counts during high tide in The Bight, Warren Point and near estuary included 87 Dunlin, 66 Dark-bellied Brent Goose, 26 Ringed Plover, 20 Grey Plover, 16 Bar-tailed Godwit, five Mediterranean Gull (one at sea), four Great Crested Grebe (two at sea), four Sandwich Tern (one at sea), three Shelduck, two Sanderling, the Slavonian Grebe, and single Red-breasted Merganser, Greenshank, Knot, juv Curlew Sandpiper and Common Tern. An Osprey disturbed all the gulls late lunchtime, hanging high in the wind for a time over the estuary.Dark-bellied Brent Geese - Simon Thurgood Slavonian Grebe - Lee Collins. Herbert has been resident for the last 11 years.Refugee gulls were abundant and of 276 Great Black-backed Gull, 70 made to out south during the morning. Among those that remained, largely on Finger Point, they were joined for 20 minutes by an adult presumed Baltic Gull. It’s distinctly velvety and blacker upperparts stood out against the backdrop of Great Black-backed Gulls, emphasised by the absence of white primary tips; a single mirror in P10 and generally delayed moult except for dropped inner primaries, and its long attenuated appearance all made for a good candidate. Notwithstanding conjecture about its actual identify, this was a beautiful gull.Presumed Baltic GullElsewhere, the bushes were blown out and offered little more than 28 Goldfinch and 7 Chiffchaff. Three Raven seemed to be enjoying the breezy conditions, but 13 Skylark ardently pressing into the headwind not so much. (More…)
Thursday 11th October 2018
Dawlish WarrenThree Gannet, Fulmar, 93 Brent Geese, 16 Shelduck, 260 Wigeon, 120 Teal, nine Sandwich Tern, Red-breasted Merganser, Slavonian Grebe, 50+ Dunlin, 10 Grey, six Ringed Plover, five Greenshank, three Black-tailed Godwit (More…)

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