There can be no gripes over snipes

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - GREENSPACES -

BUNDLING up in my new scarf and lac­ing up my walk­ing boots gives me the boost of warmth and ex­cite­ment I need to go out and ex­plore na­ture re­serves, and I hope that you do too!

Jan­uary is a mar­vel­lous time to turn your at­ten­tion (and your feet!) to­wards Col­lege Lake. When you ar­rive at the re­serve check the no­tice­board in the Vis­i­tor Cen­tre for the lat­est bird sight­ings, and ask the BBOWT vol­un­teers which hides have the best views.

Now the win­ter wild­fowl are com­fort­ably in situ, this is a good time to take a restora­tive am­ble to spot the res­i­dent and vis­it­ing species. Stop for a few mo­ments in one of the 11 lake-side hides to watch the birds pottering about, feed­ing, fly­ing and glid­ing in their nat­u­ral el­e­ments.

Col­lege Lake war­den Owain He­garty rec­om­mends watch­ing the waders at the lake’s edge. “I love watch­ing snipe at this time of year. They’re stripey brown wad­ing birds that love pud­dling about in the muddy mar­gins, us­ing their long bills to probe the wet soil for in­sects.”

It’s not just the won­der­ful species that draw vis­i­tors here, says Vis­i­tor Cen­tre man­ager Toyah Baulk. “The Out­look Inn sit­u­ated op­po­site the Barn of­fers a fan­tas­tic hands-on ex­pe­ri­ence for chil­dren and adults alike.

“There are plenty of trea­sures to be found in there in­clud­ing fos­sils, an­i­mal skele­tons and other won­der­fully weird arte­facts from a fas­ci­nat­ing va­ri­ety of na­tive UK species.”

There’s al­ways a warm wel­come, hot drinks, cakes and snacks in the café, with its floor to ceil­ing win­dows look­ing onto the re­serve.

A brac­ing walk, stun­ning views, and the op­por­tu­nity for a tasty lunch will hope­fully give your en­ergy lev­els the boost they might need in the New Year too!

The Vis­i­tor Cen­tre at Col­lege Lake is open from 9.30am to 4pm and the café serves food and hot drinks from 9.30am to 3pm.

Visit to book for walks and other events.

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