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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 Exe Estuary is designated as a Special Protection Area (SPA) in recognition of it's international importance as a wintering ground for a diverse community of over 20,000 waterbirds.

Waders including Black-tailed Godwit, Dunlin, Redshank and Lapwing flock to the habitat these nature reserves provide. The eelgrass bed between Exmouth and Lympstone provides feeding grounds for thousands of Dark-bellied Brent geese and Wigeon. And at Dawlish Warren, the Wildlife Refuge and secluded bight provide winter sanctuary for Oystercatcher, Dunlin and Grey Plover.

Dark-bellied Brent Goose

These charming monochromatic birds spend their breeding season on the boggy arctic tundra of northern Siberia...

A photo of a male Wigeon


Wigeon are grazing ducks, feeding on grass or mud-flat plants - a feeding habit usually associated with geese. However, they do also feed in water and go "end-up" in a more duck-like fashion

Black-tailed Godwit

Along with the Avocet, the black-tailed godwit is one of the few species re-established in the UK as breeding birds - in 1953 there were as few as four breeding pairs recorded!