Reed Warbler, image by North East Wildlife

Awe and amazement at the thousands of miles travelled by little Reed Warbler

Thanks to a tiny ring on its leg, a Reed Warbler caught by the Axe Estuary Ringing Group on the East Devon District Council Nature Reserve last week, revealed it has travelled to Africa and back at least nine times!

The group ring birds for conservation monitoring purposes and have been active on the Axe Estuary reserves for more than ten years. The code on the Reed Warbler’s ring revealed that it was first caught on Seaton Wetlands as an adult in 2009, and has since been caught four times in the reed beds at Colyford Common.

East Devon District Council, Nature reserves manager James Chubb said:

It is remarkable that this tiny little bird has made such an incredible journey not just once, but at least nine times and each time we can be sure she is returning to the same small patch of reeds at Seaton Wetlands to feed and breed!

The Axe Estuary Ringing Group run regular public bird ringing sessions from the Discovery Hut and the data they gather is helping to piece together some of the stories behind the huge array of birds we see on site.

Bird ringing sessions at Seaton Wetlands are open to spectators and a full programme can be viewed on the Axe Estuary Ringing Groups website.

On Saturday 17 June from 9am to 11am, the ringing group and Countryside team are running ‘Close encounters of the bird kind’, a VIP bird ringing event where participants will have behind the scenes access to the ringing process. Spaces are £10 per person and can be booked online at

The Discovery Hut at Seaton Wetlands is open from 11am to 1pm daily, and 10am to 4pm from Saturday to Monday. In the Discovery Hut you can watch kestrel chicks on the kestrel cam and watch progress on a Reed Warbler nest which is being screened live.

For more information on the work of the Countryside team please visit or contact the team via email: or call: 01395 517557.