From left to right: East Devon Countryside Ranger, Dave Palmer Volunteer, Pete Clarke Volunteer, Lesley Clarke Volunteer, Doug Rudge East Devon Countryside Team Leader (Sites), James Chubb

Volunteers and Countryside rangers welcome nesting kestrels to Seaton's local nature reserve

In the spirit of spring cleaning, the East Devon District Council Countryside team, with the support of three volunteers, has replaced a kestrel box at Seaton Wetlands.

Seaton Wetlands is a popular breeding ground for kestrels and has several boxes located across the reserve. These boxes are mounted high on poles and are therefore challenging to check, clean and repair.

Site Manager for Seaton Wetlands, James Chubb said:

Each year checking the kestrel boxes is a tough task, so I set out to find an easier way to access them and came across a great example in America of kestrel boxes attached to a winch.

With the help of three volunteers, the Countryside rangers have taken down one of the old boxes and replaced it with a new box, which was made by the Seaton Wetlands volunteers.

The new box, which is attached to a winch, is much easier and safer to access, enabling the bird-box volunteers to attach nest-cams to the box and to bring the box down for cleaning at the end of the nesting season.

James continued:

Seaton Wetlands provides a great habitat for hungry kestrels and their chicks. It's a species that has suffered dramatic population declines in recent years.

The new design of kestrel box makes checking for evidence of kestrels and their chicks much more straight forward and we’re looking forward to installing a nest-cam and hopefully sharing lots of nesting and feeding activity with visitors to the Wetlands.

The Countryside team manages Seaton Wetlands Local Nature Reserve with the help of a dedicated team of volunteers, who open the Discovery Hut from Saturday to Monday (10am to 4pm) during the summer months when nest-cam footage will be played.

To find out more about the work of the Countryside team, volunteering and nature reserves including Seaton Wetlands, visit: wildeastdevon.co.uk.