Slapton Ley

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Slapton Ley photograph
Slapton Ley

Slapton Ley

Slapton Ley is the largest natural lake in south-west England. Although it is only separated from the sea by a narrow shingle bar, it is entirely freshwater. The lake is surrounded by reedbeds, marshes and woodland habitats.In winter there are spectacular murmerations of starlings, regular firecrest and bittern.The sea of Start Bay attracts small groups of scoter, passing gannets, and, at times, all the British grebes and divers.From February, herons and ravens breed in the Ley-side woods.
Migrant birds appear from March, with sand martins over the Ley, sandwich terns patrolling the sea shore and wheatears on the shingle ridge. In April listen for singing reed and sedge warblers in the reed beds. Resident Cetti's warblers (pictured) call loudly from the fringes and there may be grasshopper warbler, willow warbler and garden warbler in the scrub.

In early May, swifts arrive off the sea, whitethroats and cirl buntings appear in hedges and hobbies circle the inland valleys. The occasional marsh harrier stays around the reed bed.
In September thousands of swallows fly low over the Ley and roost in the reed bed at Torcross. Autumn migration brings less common birds to the Ley or the shingle ridge, including Osprey, black terns, little gull, Mediterranean gull and Dartford warbler.



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The Birder's Market | Resource | Birding locations | Birding sites England | Birding sites Devon |  Slapton Ley

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