Thursday, 20 October 2011

Nature watch on West Country winter breaks…

Take a break in the West Country over the next few months and you could be taking part in your very own nature watch.

Birdwatchers visiting the Exmouth area are in for an extra special treat - every winter, over 40,000 birds, including hundreds of avocets, black-tailed godwits, Brent geese and red-breasted mergansers, flock to the Exe Estuary from as far afield as Siberia and Greenland. The RSPB offer a number of Avocet Cruises from November through to February, so see if you can spot the distinctive black-and-white plumage, and the slender, curved bills of the many avocets that frequent the area. Preen your feathers at Beach Cottage.

Twitchers visiting Dorset can see birds on the move as swallows and house martins continue to pass through on their way south, and flocks of meadow pipits and skylarks follow suit. Linnets, greenfinches and goldfinches are gathering into larger flocks and the goldfinches in particular are showing up on the birdfeeders. You can get lots more useful birdwatching information from the Dorset Wildlife Trust. Migrate your flock to The Old Manor House.

If you’re quick, you’ll be in with a chance of catching deer rutting season, when male deer stags and bucks full of testosterone show off their strength in a bid to attract the females of the herd. A great place to see this is Powderham Castle, with its own herd of around 600 fallow deer and a Deer Rut Safari & Cream Tea on Thursday 27th October. Rest your antlers at The Manor House.

If watching isn’t enough, you can get actively involved to help protect wildlife by helping out with one of the Cornwall Wildlife Trust’s initiatives. The Chyenhal moor work party, Penwith, aims to clear willow scrub on this Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) on 5th November. Take a deserved rest at Mural Cottage.

Browse through our holiday cottages with availability this winter and use our ‘Explore the Area’ map to find places to visit near your favourite holiday cottage.