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Exe Estuary
A Special Protection Area, Site of Special Scientific Interest and a wetland of international importance
An aerial photograph of the Exe Estuary (c) Still Imaging

The avocet is an elegant pied wader with a distinctive upturned bill and blue legs. They are the unmistakable emblem of our partner organisation, the RSPB, for good reason.

Back in the 19th century their numbers crashed and the Avocet went extinct in the UK.  Since then, many conservation efforts have been made, land has been restored to saltmarsh and avocet populations are making a comeback. After much anticipation, the first avocet chicks hatched in East Devon (since extinction) in June 2023 - another exciting milestone for this iconic species! 

A photo of parent and chick Avocets at Seaton Wetlands, East Devon. Credit: Sue Smith

Avocet parents and chicks at Seaton Wetlands, East Devon. Credit: Sue Smith.

On the Exe Estuary we have nearly a third of the UK's overwintering population. From late October through the winter, Avocet congregate between Turf Inn and Topsham. Bowling green marsh hide is also a great spot at high tide to see these birds.

Classified in the UK as Amber under the Birds of Conservation Concern 5: the Red List for Birds (2021).