Dawlish Warren a haven for wild (feathered) birds!

On the doorstep of Hazelwood Holiday Park you will find Dawlish Warren Nature Reserve an area of international importance for wildlife and especially bird life. It has featured many times on BBC’s Country File and Spring Watch. The Warren is designated as a Special Area of Conservation to keep it safe for generations to come.

The beach is a major attraction for many bird watchers who can see a large number and variety of wading birds all at one time. At the right time of year it is possible to view thousands of birds from the bird hide, up to 30 species. In spring and autumn the Exe Estuary becomes a resting place for migrating birds. Some of the birds have traveled from their northern breeding grounds as far away as Greenland and Russia. Around 180 different bird species are recorded each year.

The Visitor Centre, situated at the back of the beach, has lots of interesting displays and information about the nature reserve and its visitors. It has loads of leaflets and handouts too. The Centre is open most days from April to September and on weekends only from October to March. There are guided walks and events for all ages throughout the year – ask a Ranger or check their website for details.

How many can you spot at Hazelwood Holiday Park?

As we’re so close to the beach we’re lucky that some of the birds visit us too. Here is a quick guide to some of the bird life you can spot at Hazelwood Holiday Park. All the birds are wild and choose to live here. Remember it’s great to enjoy the bird life at Hazelwood Holiday Park but please don’t feed them. Bread is a really bad for them and they’re much better off eating their proper diet.

The Mallard Duck

A common native bird that likes to nest in wetland areas. Their eggs take about 28 days to hatch and the ducklings stay in the nest for at least ten hours while they dry and get used to using their legs. Then, usually in the early morning, their mother leads them to water. They like to eat seeds, acorns, berries and insects.

The Mute Swan

Numbers of Swans have increased in recent years due to the fact that it became an offence to harm a Swan it’s nest with eggs in 1981. The Queen has a right to all Swans in England and Wales. One of the jobs of the Royal Swan Keeper is to despatch Swans all over the world, sent as gifts by the Queen.

Canada Goose

Originally from Northern America the Canada Goose has successfully set up home in most of the UK. Our flock of geese like to travel around the local area and can sometimes be seen at Cockwood harbour and on Starcross Golf Course.


The Moorhen is another bird which likes to be close to water. they are often hiding in the grass reeds and when startled they let out a loud high-pitched clucking. Moorhen chicks look like little black fluffy balls with long spindly legs. they like to eat water plants, seeds, fruit, grasses, insects, snails and worms.

Grey Heron

The Heron is a very good fisherman. He stands very, very still waiting for a fish to get close and then uses his long beak to quickly catch it. They like to stay on the bank in the reeds but sometimes they venture out into shallow water with their long legs.

Little Egret

Considered quite a rare breed in this country the little Egrets have colonised areas Britain on the south coast from northern France. Like the Heron this bird likes to eat fish and can also be seen on the Nature Reserve at Warren beach. We are lucky to see this bird on our park and we are glad they like to come to visit us.


As it’s name suggests this bird likes to eat shellfish but will make do with worms when they are inland. The Oystercatcher along with many other estuary wading birds can also be seen at the Nature reserve at Warren beach. There you will find a Visitor Centre to help you identify all the birds.

For more information on British birds go to www.rspb.org.uk, here you can identify birds and even listen to their calls.