Saturday 25th February 2017
A group of 19 people came for a visit to the Tice’s Meadow Nature Reserve, which was ably led by Richard Horton, with the help of other members from the Tice’s Meadow group.
The weather had settled a bit from the storm of two days previously but it was still a little windy, and those who have been to this site will know that it is always blowing when you are viewing from Horton’s Mound.
Most of the small birds were keeping their heads down but Great Tits were singing and Robins, Dunnock, Blackbird and House Sparrow were among the birds seen, or heard, in the scrubby areas.
As we moved along the tracks Richard explained some of the work which goes into maintaining this reserve for the benefit of a great many species of birds, along with the other animals and plants, while still allowing public access to along the tracks. The knowledge from the members was passed on so that we would know where and when to look out for some of the special birds that occur throughout the year.
The prime viewing site of the reserve is Horton’s Mound, which
overlooks the largest water areas and meadows. Because of the distances it was good to be able to share the members’ and Trust’s telescopes, because these, or powerful binoculars, were needed to see the four Buzzards over distant Crooksbury Hill.
Many wintering duck were visible and help was given to identify the various species. Male ducks such as the Shoveler, Tufted Duck and Pochard are relatively easy but others, particularly the females, can be tricky to distinguish. Guided by the experts we soon got to spot Gadwall and Teal and pick out the Lapwing, which were amongst the many gulls. Mute Swans were easy but seeing the Common Sandpiper proved a little more difficult, with it never staying in one place for long.
As we came back along the river a Little Egret flew up and landed further along the track; it is always nice to see this smaller cousin of the Grey Heron which was seen earlier.
Altogether it was a very pleasant way to spend a couple of hours, in convivial company, while enjoying this part of the Blackwater Valley.
Many thanks to Richard and his colleagues for their help on this outing.
Bernard Baverstock, Trustee