Wet N Wild weekend at Axe Valley wetlands

From bats to voles, pond dipping and birdwatching, Axe Estuary Wetlands summer festival has plenty to offer

WITH the completion of the purpose-built field studies base in the hear of the Axe Valley wetlands, the 2011 Axe Estuary Wetlands Summer Festival promises to be a Wet N Wild, affair.

The fun-packed weekend of events and activities on the marshes runs from Friday, August 19 to Sunday, August 21.

During this time people can drop in to the wetlands to take part in pond and stream dipping, bug treasure hunts, guided birdwatching and wetland art and craft.

Each of the days has a special programme of guided walks and events as well, timetabled to make the most of the site from dawn until dusk.

East Devon Countryside Service’s water vole volunteer co-ordinator, James Hunter, and local mammologist, Adrian Bailey, offer a guided tour from 10am next Friday, to meet some of the furry critters living at the local nature reserve.

Later that evening, the mammal theme continues from 8pm with a night-time walk to watch and listen for bats.

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Saturday morning kicks off at 8am with a moth breakfast, where bacon or egg rolls will be on the menu – not the moths.

Get there early as the rolls fly off the griddle rather quickly.

That afternoon there will be a chance to see Black Hole Marsh lagoon from an unusual angle, with a guided wade through its brackish waters.

Another 8am start on Sunday morning with breakfast rolls and a demonstration by Axe Estuary Ringing Group on the science behind bird ringing.

This is a chance for close encounters with such wetlands birds as sedge warblers and kingfishers.

A senses walk heads off at 11am, to encourage people to be aware of and use all their senses when exploring the reserve, while a guided walk to introduce the management of Colyford Common saltmarsh heads out to wrap up the weekend’s fun that afternoon at 2pm.