The main three sites I visit . . . Otmoor RSPB Reserve Otmoor RSPB reserve is a combination of reedbeds and wet meadows about a mile from the village of Beckley, which is accessed from the B4027.  Once in the village just beyond the ‘Abingdon Arms’ PH take the dead end that leads into Otmoor Lane.  At the end of which is the reserve entrance and car park.  The reserve has a hide and two viewing screens. Birds - The reserve is particularly good for Warblers; Turtle Doves; raptors including Red Kites, Buzzards, Hobbies, Marsh Harriers also Short-eared Owls and Hen Harriers frequently overwintering.  Recently a pair of Marsh Harriers & Bitterns have successfully bred on the reserve.  Also a young pair of Cranes have attempted to breed.  During the winter months there are large numbers of wildfowl and impressive starling murmurations (anything up to 30,000 birds) can be seen. Other Nature - It is also an excellent site for a wide range of insects particularly damselflies; dragonflies,  including the Hairy dragonfly;  butterflies, including Silver-washed fritillary, Black, Brown and Purple Hairstreaks. Farmoor Resevoir The reservoir is situated next to the River Thames approximately five miles to the west of Oxford City. Thames Water manage the site and the public entrance is via Gate 3 on the B4017, Cumnor Road.  NB there is a parking fee. A tarmac road runs around the perimeter and over the causeway.  In addition there is a four mile countryside walk that includes woodland, riverside meadows and wetland reserves, ‘Pinkhill’ and ‘Shrike’ Meadows.  There are hides at the wetland reserves and couple around the reservoir. Birds - It is particularly good during the spring and autumn migration and is well known for attracting the occasional rare vagrant.  The Reservoir provides the opportunity to photograph birds relatively close-up,  mainly passage waders stopping off for a break.  Between August and mid-April there is also a large gull roost Bernwood Forest and Meadows Bernwood Forest and Meadows is approximately eight miles northeast of Oxford. Shabbington Wood of Bernwood Forest is managed by the Forestry Commission. Bernwood Meadows is a BBOWT (Berks, Bucks & Oxon Wildlife Trust) reserve. Entrances, along with the car parks, to both sites are accessed from the road between Stanton St John and Oakley and are situated either side of the Horton-cum-Studley junction.  Heading from Stanton St John the entrance for Bernwood Meadows is about  ¾ of a mile before the Horton-cum-Studley junction.  The entrance for Shabbington Wood is a further mile towards Oakley (about 400 yards beyond the junction). Both sites provide ideal habitat for butterflies,  with Shabbington Wood recognised as one of the most important butterfly sites in the UK.
Local Sites visited