Plea to avoid Exe Estuary wildlife refuges as birds migrate to area

People have been urged to avoid wildlife refuges on the Exe Estuary as thousands of birds begin to migrate to the area.

Exmouth Local Nature Reserve will be off-limits from Tuesday, September 15, to December 31.

The Imperial Recreation Ground slipway can still be used to access the foreshore during this time.

However, everyone is being asked to turn left at the end of the slipway to avoid the refuge.

The Dawlish Warren National Nature Reserve is a no-go area all-year-round.

Each of the wildlife refuges is marked with yellow buoys with ‘WR’ in black letters printed on them.

Councillor Rachel Sutton, Exeter City Council lead for climate and culture said:

“The chance to see vast numbers of overwintering and migrating birds is one of the joys of visiting the Exe Estuary in the autumn.

“We hope that everyone will respect the wildlife refuges to avoid disturbing the birds at this important time.”

As breeding grounds in Siberia turn icy cold and food supplies there dwindle, this prompts an exhausting annual migration of thousands of water birds.

The rich food resources found in the Exe Estuary provide a welcome home to these birds, many of which travel in family groups.

Both the Exmouth and Dawlish Warren refuges continue to be monitored to understand the effects on wildlife.

The results of the second year of this are due to be reported to the South East Devon Habitat Regulations Executive Committee (SEDHREC) in November.

A report which considers how well the refuges are working is due to be completed in summer 2021.

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