Sunday, 23 July 2017

BOS Bicester Wetland Reserve :: 23 July 2017

Got in touch with the BOS Warden for the Bicester Wetland Reserve and he offered to show me round this morning. A good result, other than meeting at 8.30am - this week's lie in gone :-)

Disturbance to the reserve is kept to a minimum by viewing from hide or screen. Bicester Wetland Reserve is managed by the BOS on behalf of Thames Water. This is a member-only site due to the hazardous nature of the site, heavy moving equipment and hazardous areas. Created in 1999, Bicester Wetland Reserve was the result of an agreement between the BOS and Thames Water. The 7ha site was previously used for the disposal of sewage sludge from the nearby sewage treatment works. Channels and scrapes were excavated with supporting bunds and water control mechanisms.

Arrived on the dot and met Alan Peters at the foot of the Tower Hide. Reed warblerWe climbed the steps and he explained how the key system worked. We watched as 7 green sandpiper fed at a distance. We had a fly-by from a kingfisher and then Alan spotted a snipe wading from an island to the bank.

Alan then took me across a stile and onto the rest of the reserve. We passed a swallow nesting tower which has, as yet, not been used. A number of goldfinch, dunnock and whitethroat flew ahead of us and onto the left fencing as we went.

We reached a field with a kestrel nest box on the left and crossed to a new gate and fence, running alongside the train tracks. Alan explained that they are going to plant a large number of whips along this boundary to replace hedging removed when the train line improvements were done - this should provide a screened access to the new hide at the end of the field.

A pheasant briefly caused some excitement. Green sandpiperThe farmer, who grazes 8 cattle in the field for management purposes, joined us in the hide for 5 minutes or so and chatted about the little owls seen along the far hedge. Alan was running a tight schedule so we left and returned to the cars. We drove to the gate where I was instructed on the padlock system used. Alan then left and I returned to the Tower Hide for half an hour. Had good sights of wren, reed warbler, blue and great tits plus a noisy arrival from a dozen canada geese.

A pleasant first visit and now that I have a key, I'll be back.

Sightings (22) were: blackbird, blue tit, carrion crow, dunnock, goldfinch, great tit, green sandpiper, grey heron, house martin, kingfisher, little egret, magpie, mallard, moorhen, pheasant, reed warbler, robin, snipe, tufted duck, whitethroat, woodpigeon and wren.

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