Walks

Social distancing rules will be important to abide by on all of the current walks and watches

With over 40 years’ experience as a birdwatcher Mike’s knowledge of birds around Torbay is unparalleled. He leads walks for Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust & Sharpham Trust (usually during the spring and Summer).

The walks vary from general natural history walks to walks concentrating on particular bird groups or species; most cater for birdwatchers of any ability. Places are always limited – booking is essential.

For more information or to book places go the events pages and scroll through the months at:

You can also book onto Mike’s own walks, places are strictly limited – booking is essential:

Dart Estuary Wildlife Cruise       

(FULL) Monday  30th November               Time: 10am-12.30/1pm          

Cost: £35 – places limited to 8 people, booking essential on this special trip.

Contact Mike for more information or to book a place.

A specially chartered leisurely wildlife cruise up and down the Dart Estuary on a small/medium charter boat Our Joel . The Dart is a notoriously difficult river to access for wildlife watching, much of the surrounding land is private so the only way to see it properly is by boat. This trip is time to coincide with a low tide offering the best wildlife watching opportunities.

We will first head down river to the offshore Shag Stone and Mew Stone rocks checking the shoreline on the way, there’s a chance of Grey Seals, Harbour Porpoise, Peregrine and rocky shore waders. Learn how to get to grips with Cormorant and Shag identification once and for all!

We then head back up the estuary via the scenic town of Dartmouth and Kingswear, past Agatha Christies summer home of Greenway and village of Dittisham looking for wildlife. Grey and the much rarer Common Seals are possible here. On the estuary mud flats Grey Heron and Little Egrets join Shelducks, Oystercatchers, Curlew and Redshank with luck we’ll find a Greenshank and possibly Red-breasted Merganser and grebes.   

The upper stretches of the Dart Estuary can be good during the winter for Kingfishers, Canada Geese  more grey seals and plenty of Gull species. Over the steep wooded estuary sides we’ll look out for birds of prey and Raven. 

Weather conditions will determine the actual itinerary of the cruise but the Dart Estuary is normally very sheltered. 

What to Bring: Clothing to suit the weather (remember the weather in November can quickly change), binoculars, camera if you have one.

Where to Meet:  At the entrance to the Dart Marina, Kinswear. Parking available in the dart Marina car park approx £3.30 for 3 hours.

Meeting point »

Contact Mike for more information or to book a place.

Winter estuary Birds – Powderham, Exe Estuary      

(FULL) Friday  11th December Time: 10am-1pm           

Cost: £12 adults (under 18’s £5) – places limited to 8 people, booking essential

Contact Mike for more information or to book a place.

The vast expanses of mud on the Exe Estuary provides feeding for thousands of waders including Avocets and Black-tailed Godwits. Among them there should be Red and Greenshank, Knot, Dunlin, Ringed Plover Bar-tailed Godwits, Grey and perhaps Golden Plover.

In the estuary channels we’ll look out for Ducks including Red-breasted Merganser and on the surrounding fields we should find Curlew and plenty of noisy cackling Brent Geese. If we are lucky we might see several species of birds of prey – perhaps a Peregrine trying its luck  stooping on the massed flocks of waders.

It will be a rising tide that should force the waders up the mud banks giving us closer views. Come along and learn how to pick out some of the more tricky to identify waders in the flocks.

This walk is weather dependant and will be cancelled if heavy rain is predicted.

Walk distance: approximately 2.5 – 3 miles

What to Bring: Sturdy walking shoes or boots, clothing to suit the weather (remember the weather in December can quickly change), binoculars, telescope if you have one. Bring a hot drink and a snack/lunch.

Where to Meet:  10am at the Parish Church parking area at Powderham Church

Meeting point »

Contact Mike for more information or to book a place.

Autumn Migration watch – Berry Head       

(FULL) Saturday  7thth November               Time: 07.30-10.30am           

Cost: £10 adults (under 18’s £5) – places limited to 8 people, booking essential

Contact Mike for more information or to book a place.

A birding stroll around Berry Head during the usually busy migration period of early November.

Early November can produce some of the most spectacular overhead movements of birds and given the right conditions thousands of birds could be on the move in huge flocks, Redwings and Fieldfare freshly arriving back from their breeding grounds of Scandinavia are joined by loose flocks of Wood Pigeons. There should also be a supporting cast of finches and pipits that Mike will help you to identify. You just never know what else might turn up, previous November walks have produced late Swallows and House Martins, Merlin, Woodcock, Great Northern Diver and Bramblings.

Weather conditions will determine the actual itinerary of the morning, if it’s calm the top of the headland can be buzzing with activity – but if there’s a breeze the woods and quarry will be watched. 

This walk is weather dependant and will be cancelled if heavy rain is predicted.

What to Bring: Sturdy walking shoes or boots, clothing to suit the weather (remember the weather in November can quickly change), binoculars, telescope if you have one.

Where to Meet:  At the picnic tables next to the Torbay Coast and Countryside Trust Car park fee payable on exit of the car park (free parking for members of the Trust) .

Meeting point »

Contact Mike for more information or to book a place.

Wildfowl and Warblers – Clennon Lakes

(FULL) Saturday 14th November          Time: 9.30-11.30am               
£8 adults ( Members of Friends of Clennon Lakes and under 18’s £5) – places limited to 10  people, booking essential  

Contact Mike for more information or to book a place.

The sheltered lakes in Clennon Valley are home to birds found nowhere else in Tobay. Little Grebe, Teal, Gadwall are regular winter visitors with Snipe and Water Rail skulking in the dense  lake fringes, sometimes something more unusual turns up too.

Being so near to the coast, at sea level and in the relatively mild winter climate of Devon insectivorous warblers are able to survive the winter months. Chiffchaffs that should be in Africa are regularly seen with Goldcrests and Long-tailed Tits. In previous years Firecrests have been found feeding in the willows and ivy and even rare Yellow-browed Warblers have overwintered.

Colourful Kingfishers are everyone’s favourite and the lakes often boast 2-3 birds during the early autumn. With a supporting cast of perhaps Little Egret, Grey Heron and many other wildfowl at close range Clennon is a great place to learn more about their identification and calls.

The event will be cancelled if heavy rain forecast.

What to bring: Sturdy walking shoes or boots, clothing to suit the weather (remember the weather in October can quickly change), binoculars.

Where to Meet: At 9.30am at the entrance to the Torbay Velopark (cycle track) just below  Torbay Leisure Centre car park.

Meeting point »

Contact Mike for more information or to book a place.