Hi Tom, Cirl bunting and Dartford warbler would be rather nice! Forgot to mention best sites for hare ......Hi Amelia!
Do you have any particular target species in mind, bird-wise?
As to mammals, hopefully someone more local than me can help, though failing that, I think the DWT have a special bit about the Beavers on their site [and if not, a google search should pick up something better than my 'around Otterton Mill'..!].
Thanks so much for all that info. Much appreciated. Yes, we have a car so that's all very helpful. Haven't been down to Devon since I was around 6 years old so really looking forward to the trip. The fact that I had great difficulty finding anywhere to stay suggests it's going to be busy 🙁Ah, the classics!
Now we come to the next question; how mobile will you be? Access to a car would be quite helpful, though not vital.
Both your targets are Schedule 1, which means I am limited in what I can say, but at Budleigh you are very close to RSPB Aylesbeare - reachable by bus, in fact! - which is the 'official' site for Dartfords. Also probably the best place to see them, too.
The official Cirl site is RSPB Labrador Bay, which is the other side of both rivers Exe and Teign, and while also on a bus route, is a bit of a journey from Budleigh on public transport and at least a half-day trip in a car.
Cirls are expanding all through Devon and have crossed the Exe, which means you could find them in suitable habitat even close by, though they are thin on the ground. They are by far most common down south; a car trip to the Prawle area is a long day, but the closest to nailed-on you can get. Pick a sunny not too windy day.
Also the same advice for Hares, though to the west of Salcombe [The Bolt] is where I've seen most. Other hopefully know more.
Thank you John. Very helpfulI would endorse Labrador Bay for Cirl Bunting and its not a difficult drive from Exeter area if you are early so avoid the holiday crowds.
For Beaver ideally park in Otterton (but it also gets very crowded!) walk West across the River Otter and explore the river North and South of the road. I've tended to score North but I believe lately sightings may have been more reliable South. They can show at any time of the day but perhaps more expected evening. Look for fresh signs of foraging - paths in and out of riverside vegetation, recently gnawed tree trunks, hanging twiggage above the river clipped off consistently some inches above water level. Ask the locals, too, they will often know the in-use haulouts.
Otters are less consistent in their appearances, working long distances up and down the river, which also has Grey Wagtails and Dippers.
Thanks for your reply. Helpful tips. Really looking forward to visiting this area for the first timeYes, parking at Prawle Point can be a nightmare because (a) the road is about a mile long and largely single track (though with some places to pass) and (b) the car park is small. It's very popular, so getting there early is best, as Tom said. You can park in the village, but you'd then have about a mile to walk. I've only been to Labrador Bay once, but I had no problem seeing two or three Cirls there (with a little persistence). It's quite a steep landscape if you want to explore it fully, but I stayed in the top part because I have mobility issues, so it's certainly possible to score there.
Used to be good and straightforward. Not sure what the current situation is. There is a major habitat restoration scheme getting under way, but it looks as though they have postponed the vegetation clearance so access may still be possible.What is the access/path like along the river
The Beavers are further up than the tidal part of the river where the works are taking place and both below and above Otterton the riverside path is good for foot traffic - there might be one or two places where a mobility scooter might struggle with flood damaged banks I think.Used to be good and straightforward. Not sure what the current situation is. There is a major habitat restoration scheme getting under way, but it looks as though they have postponed the vegetation clearance so access may still be possible.
Where did you spot them and what time of day please? We weren't lucky unfortunately ☹Stayed at otterton a few nights back. The beavers were incredibly easy to see. Helped obviously by the presence of an organised tour but once we were in the right stretch at the right time the activity was easy to spot from most gaps in the vegetation.
beavers active from about 7 and at least two adults and several kits seen.
Also dipper. Grey wag and kingfisher.
Thanks so much Owene. Great info. Can't wait to go back!Sorry couldn’t attach this to the private message for some reason. The north end of the shaded area is a bit vague from memory but there’s a bridge just south of the shaded area and once we’d got to that we didn’t see anything. There are only maybe a half dozen places in that area where you can actually view the river