“Pebbles” is a luxury bed and breakfast just a few metres from the famous pebble beach at the lovely seaside town of Budleigh Salterton in East Devon. Pebbles Bed and Breakfast By The Beach is included the Guardian's list of ten of the best hotels and B&B's in South Devon. An ideal location for a Winter Birding Break, located just a short walk from the River Otter where you can see Kingfisher, Cetti's Warbler, Little Egret and lots more river and estuary birds and if you're lucky you might even see the famous Otter Beavers!
Just five miles east of Pebbles is the Exe Estuary and Exe Marshes, a wetland area of international renown where thousands of waders, wildfowl and other birds gather in the winter months including large numbers of the iconic Avocet.
Budleigh Salterton is also just a few minutes away from the East Devon Pebblebed Heaths internationally important for wildlife where Dartford Warbler, Yellowhammer, Nightjar, Woodcock, Stonechat, Merlin and other Heathland speciality birds can be seen depending on the season.
Why not join us on one of our 3 night birding breaks?
Enjoy the spectacle of hundreds Avocets, Black-tailed Godwits and Brent Geese on the nearby Exe Estuary, get to grips with Divers, Grebes and Sea Duck in Torbay and see small winter flocks of Cirl Buntings. You will be based at Pebbles Bed and Breakfast by the Beach where not only can you seawatch from the comfort of your room you can also enjoy Pebbles' famous Lemon Drizzle Cake- not to be missed!
Day 1: Check-in at Pebbles at 4pm for tea and homemade cake and a briefing from your local bird guide, Chris Townend. Chris lives in Budleigh Salterton and has been birding since he was knee high! Chris will be your bird guide for the whole of your birding break.
Day 2: A delicious AGA cooked breakfast to start the day and then off to Torbay where we will spend some time checking the various bays and headlands for species such as Great Northern, Black-throated and Red-throated Divers, Black-necked Grebe and maybe even a Red-necked Grebe as well as Common Scoter and Eider. At this time of year winter flocks of Cirl Buntings gather at a feeding station, allowing some close views of this very special and localised species. After lunch we shall head towards the small fishing town of Brixham where we can usually find Purple Sandpiper and a check of the local gulls might produce a Mediterranean Gull or perhaps something more unusual like an Iceland Gull. If time allows, we can return via the Teign Estuary to look for waders and gulls.
Day 3: After another Pebbles breakfast we will stay more local and visit the Exe Estuary. The estuary is an internationally important site for various waders and wildfowl and is a magnet for birds at this time of year. We shall focus our time on waders and should easily find hundreds of Avocets and Black-tailed Godwits as well as smaller numbers of species like Dunlin, Greenshank, Knot and Grey Plover. Ducks will also be in abundance with large groups of Wigeon and the beautiful Pintail and Teal. We should also get some good views of the striking male Red-breasted Merganser and Goldeneye as well as seeing the spectacle of hundreds of noisy Brent Geese as they busily feed on Eel Grass.
After lunch, we shall spend the rest of the day around the Pebblebed Heaths just a stone’s throw from Pebbles. Here, we shall spend some time searching for Dartford Warbler and Woodcock and if we wait until dusk, we might get lucky with a Merlin or Hen Harrier!
Day 4: After a good nights sleep savour another delicious breakfast whilst enjoying the stunning sea views over Lyme Bay. Recent sightings from the garden at Pebbles have included gannets, shelduck, eider, sandwich terns, rock pipit, raven, various gulls and dolphins. An ideal place for some sea watching!
Leader: Chris Townend
Chris lives in Devon with his partner Helen. He currently sits on the Devon Birds Rarities Committe and when not overseas, he is often to be found on his local patch, the Otter Estuary looking for rarities. Chris has travelled throughout Europe, North and South America and his favourite continent, Africa, all following his birding interest, as well as wildlife and conservation. Employed by the RSPB for seven years and based at the RSPB’s HQ at Sandy for most of that time, in the species protection department. Here he was part of a team working to combat bird of prey persecution, illegal trade in birds and egg collecting. He then moved to the South West and worked on cirl buntings for three years including a year spent managing the cirl bunting re-introduction project.
Chris now works as a freelance bird guide and ornithological consultant. He has led numerous birding holidays for a number of well known bird tour companies during the last 12 years. Chris has a great passion first and foremost for birds, but this is very closely followed by the larger mammals of the world, particularly the cats! He is a people person keen to share his knowledge and ensure that bird tours are full of wildlife and humour!
The above Itinerary may need to vary due to adverse weather conditions or other local issues, any changes will be made to make the best use of our time available in the field.
The Break will include some easy walking at a relatively slow pace on flat and hilly ground and will include some time spent in hides.
Waterproof clothing and footwear and warm layers will be essential.
Included in the Birding Break:
The cost includes 3 nights accommodation and breakfast at Pebbles Bed and Breakfast by the Beach, two full days guided birding and transport with packed lunches provided by Pebbles. Evening meals are not included.
£375 per person based on 2 people sharing a double or twin room. Single person £435.