Saturday, 17 October 2020

Pauline Flick Nature Reserve :: 17 October 2020

Her indoors had decided to join a 10km walk for MIND, the mental health charity, so I decided to have a walk around a local Nature Reserve that I've not visited before - the Pauline Flick Nature Reserve near Great Rollright (Chipping Norton).

Pauline Flick Nature Reserve

The old Banbury to Chipping Norton Railway line was dismantled in the early 1960s. This section of the old railway was donated to the Banbury Ornithological Society who manages the site for the benefit of wildlife.

Many species of plant, bird, mamamal and insect have become established and the Society aims to maintain and enhance the diversity of wild species while providing access to the general public.

I parked across from the entrance in a spot between two gates that didn't block access to either. Despite ocassional rain over the last week the ground wasn't muddy but I donned walking boots anyway - they would just get wet from the grass. I could hear great and blue tits, blackbird and wrens but nothing of significant note. There were blue, great and coal tits on the feeders and a walk-by pheasant below them.


At the old crossing I looked across the field and saw three buzzards soaring with a single red kite.

I turned to look back along the track and noticed a moth struggling to get away from a wasp. I watched and filmed the wasp subdue then disect the moth. Quite a sight at miniture scale.

Continuing on, a buzzard was resting in the treetops but must have heard me coming as it took to the air and headed away from me and down the path. I could hear buzzards calling to my left and wondered if it was my bird now interacting with the others I'd seen earlier.

I heard some birds calling and looking up saw eight fieldfare over; two split off and diverted over the path and out to distant trees.

I reached the end of the path by the blocked tunnel and to the "rigs excavation". This western end of the reserve is more natural with the underlying rock structure remaining partially exposed.

The natural bedrock of this area is layered limestone dating from the Jurasic period. This natural geology has been exposed and given a R.I.G.S. designation (Regionally Important Geological Site).

Limestone is common in the area, including at some special local sites. Situated on a high ridge separating the counties of Oxfordshire and Warwickshire, the Rollright Stones, a worn and weathered local Oolitic limestone, are arranged in an almost exact circle. The Rollright Stones site not only consists of a stone circle, but also associated with the complex is a standing stone over the road in Warwickshire called the King Stone - close to an unexcavated Bronze Age barrow, and a collection of stones - the remains of a burial chamber called the Whispering Knights.

I didn't add anything of significance on the return. Sightings included: blackbird, blue tit, buzzard, carrion crow, chaffinch, coal tit, fieldfare, great tit, magpie, pheasant, red kite, robin, woodpigeon and wren.

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