Stay­ing out for the sum­mer

What does our wet­land wildlife get up to in the sum­mer? Wendy To­bitt finds out

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - GREEN SPACES - Wendy Tob­bit is the Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust me­dia manager. Her col­umn ap­pears reg­u­larly

YES, sum­mer has ar­rived at last and sud­denly we’re en­joy­ing the long­est days and short­est nights of the year!

If you’ve en­joyed watch­ing Spring­watch on TV this month, then come along to Buck­ing­hamshire’s prime na­ture re­serve for wet­land wildlife.

The Wildlife Trust’s Col­lege Lake na­ture re­serve is one of the best places in the county to make the most of the longer days, and the re­serve is open ev­ery day, what­ever the weather!

Bring your binoc­u­lars and cam­era so that you can spend time in one of the many bird hides fo­cussing on the nat­u­ral spec­ta­cles across the lake.

More than 1,000 species of wildlife have been recorded at Col­lege Lake since the site e was re­claimed ed by na­ture af­ter many years as Swallow chalk pit op­er­ated by ce­ment-mak­ing com­pa­nies.

Wad­ing birds in­clud­ing lap­wing, red­shank and, oc­ca­sion­ally, oys­ter­catch­ers can be seen on the lakes.

Among the birds of prey vis­it­ing the re­serve are hobby, barn owl and pere­grine fal­con. They vie for your at­ten­tion with the swal­lows and house martins whose amaz­ing aerial ac­ro­bat­ics as they swerve and swoop across the wa­ter catch­ing in­sects are fas­ci­nat­ing to watch.

Re­cently we’ve cre­ated spe­cial shin­gle is­lands for com­mon terns; th­ese pretty sea birds with their bright or­ange-red beak and legs are sum­mer vis­i­tors to our shores. Like the swal­lows they use their forked tails to swoop and soar across their is­land nest­ing sites where they breed in groups pro­tected from preda­tors.

This is a great time of the year to see noc­tur­nal wildlife too. On Sun­day June 21 we’re hold­ing a spe­cial evening Sol­stice event at Col­lege Lake with a stroll around the na­ture re­serve be­tween 6 and 8.30pm led by the re­serve’s war­den Owain He­garty and his team.

Us­ing the bat de­tec­tion kits you’ll be able to hear the dif­fer­ences be­tween dif­fer­ent types of bats in­clud­ing brown long-eared, and com­mon and so­prano pip­istrelle as they fly along the trees near the lake for­ag­ing for in­sects.

Visit­serves/col­lege-lake to plan your visit.

Mar­garet Hol­land

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