OTTERNHOE KNOLLS IS
Tsituated on a northern outcrop of the Chiltern Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty overlooking checkerboard arable farmland of the Vale of Aylesbury to the west. With such commanding views it was an obvious site for a medieval motte and bailey style castle, the remnants of which are still existent today. The county Wildlife Trust and TOP TIP An early morning visit for visible migration is worthwhile National Trust are both involved in managing the knolls, primarily for plants and insects, via a programme of scrub control. A Beech hangar, arable farmland, paddocks, hedgerows and green lanes all provide a diversity of habitats suitable for both resident and passage migrants throughout the walk. Take the opportunity to scan the skies wherever possible; around dawn is best for passerines on the move overhead and from midmorning for soaring raptors. Pay particular attention to the many buzzards as September is prime Honey Buzzard passage period, while Red Kites are now commonplace along this section of the Chilterns. Take your dog, too.
The Beech hangar attracts common woodland birds, typically tits, thrushes, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Nuthatch, Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Jay and Tawny Owl. Another good view point for observing visible migration.
23Open farmland still supports a few Sky Lark, Meadow Pipit, Grey and Red-legged Partridges and Corn Bunting, plus the chance of a passage Wheatear, Whinchat or Stonechat. The likes of Linnet, Yellowhammer and Lesser Whitethroat frequent surrounding hedgerows. Ploughed fields may briefly attract passing Lapwings, gulls and corvids to feed.
Lesser Whitethroat Red Kite