Posted: Thursday 26th January 2017 by bbowtblog
Snowdrops by Andy Fairbairn
With nearly 90 nature reserves to choose from in our three counties, which are the best to visit this month?
Here are our top reserves in Berks, Bucks and Oxon to visit during February. Why not make a day of it and take one of our Wild Walks to explore our reserves and the surrounding countryside. Or come along to a guided walk at some of the reserves and learn more about the wildlife and our work.
Click on the photos below to go to the reserve webpage for more information and how to get there.
Blow the cobwebs away with a walk across the common. Did you know Greenham and Crookham Commons now form the largest continuous tract of open heath in Berkshire. Why not join our monthly bird walk around Greenham Common to learn more about the special heathland birds you can find here. The next walk is on Wednesday 8 February.
Bowdown Woods is close to Greenham Common and another lovely reserve to explore in the winter, maybe on one of our Wild Walks. Wild Walk One combines Bowdown Woods and Greenham Common. We're holding a bird walk at the woods on Saturday 18 February, a perfect chance to learn more about woodland birds and the fascinating history of the site.
Discover the micro-world of moss at Greenham Common on our moss walk led by local expert Peter Creed on Sunday 26 February.
This tranquil haven for wildlife includes woodland and ponds as well as open heathland. A number of heathland birds such as Dartford warbler, tree pipit, stonechat and woodlark are either resident or breed here. Why not see which you can spot on a walk that includes Padworth Common and the Kennet Valley. The common is nestled on the upper plateau of the valley and can form part of a walk down to the River Kennet and back, past a Norman church, Padworth College, and the Kennet and Avon Canal.
Calvert Jubilee is a haven for birdwatchers, with tufted ducks, pochard, goosander and goldeneye all seen from time to time through the winter. You may even be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a bittern skulking in the reeds. Steve Hall shared this amazing photo of a bittern at Calvert Jubilee in our Flickr group. We'd love to see your photos of wildlife and our reserves, do share them with us!
College Lake is a fantastic site to visit all year round. Before heading out for a walk, pop into the bird hide outside the visitor centre to see what's on our new wildlife sightings board; and remember to add any new sightings when you've finished your walk!
After a stroll, return to the visitor centre to warm up with a hot drink and explore our new Geology Rocks exhibition. The displays tell the history of the site from the time when it was covered by a warm, tropical sea to the present day with its precious wildlife.
Learn more about College Lake, the wildlife and our work at the site on one of our monthly guided walks. The next one is Sunday 19 February.
Nestled in the Chilterns, Warburg Nature Reserve is an atmospheric reserve to visit at any time of year, whether shrouded in frost or bathed in sun. In late winter months listen out for the woodland birds in the beech woods. Why not explore the reserve as part of a walk from Nettlebed or Maidensgrove?
Whitecross Green Wood straddles the Bucks and Oxon border. This area has been wooded since at least 1600. The part of the reserve that lies in Bucks once formed part of the ancient Royal Forest of Bernwood, along with Finemere Wood and Rushbeds Wood nature reserves.
The reserve has undergone many changes in recent years as plantation conifers are removed to allow the site to return to native broadleaved woodland. The developing areas of trees and scrub attract birds such as long-tailed tits, bullfinches and blackcap. Listen out for great spotted woodpeckers drumming on trees and look out for signs of spring as woodland flowers begin to appear.
Things to do
- Read our top 10 wildlife sightings for February, how many will you see before the month is out?
- Find a nature reserve near you with the Wildilfe Trusts' Nature Finder app for iphone and Android
- Share your photos of our reserves with us on Twitter and Facebook or upload them to our Flickr gallery
- Oxfordshire photographer Andrew Marshall's book Photographing wildlife in the UK (published by Fotovue) includes advice on how to take great wildlife photographs. The book includes top locations for photographing wildlife and some images that were taken on BBOWT nature reserves (Greenham Common, Chimney Meadows, Foxholes and College Lake).
- Our experts work with over 1,400 volunteers to look after over 80 nature reserves, five education centres and run hundreds of amazing events. We rely on the generosity of individuals, charitable trusts and businesses. Help us look after these precious places for your local wildlife by donating today.
- Sign up to our newsletter to stay up to date with wildlife news.