My first month as the new warden at Warburg Nature Reserve, nestled away in the Chilterns near Henley-on-Thames, has been absolutely delightful!
I started just before Christmas, so during my first two weeks, in between wandering around the 107 hectare site with a map trying to orient myself and bribing the livestock to love me with food, I was lucky enough to meet the Tuesday and Wednesday volunteer groups at their Christmas meals (after a busy morning of scrub bashing of course!).
Starting the job, I was not prepared for the fantastic sounds of Warburg. You can wander around and enjoy the quietness, hearing no traffic or people, really feeling like you are in the wilderness.
Instead of traffic and people, there is a gentle, constant chorus of birdsong - the sound of wrens chattering from the bushes, a raven from afar, and towards the end of the day a tawny owl hooting from the woods whilst a red kite soars above you.
It really is a very special place.
One of my favourite daily rituals is watching the bird feeder right outside my office window. As I am typing, I can hear the squeaky-door call of a bullfinch and observe various species of tit jostling for prime position on the feeder, only to all dash off into hiding as the nuthatch or even a great spotted woodpecker decide it’s time for their breakfast.
To my delight, we had also had a couple of exciting visitors, who were not easy to spot at first! My colleague told me “I’ve seen a bird….” She wasn’t sure what it was but described it as a small bird with an orange breast – “but definitely not a robin.”
After watching out the window for this mysterious bird all lunchtime, we finally saw the culprit – brambling! More than one of them!