disclosure: we were provided with an RSPB media pass but as entry was free we didn’t need to use it.
You know that moment when you find a hidden gem on your doorstep, that was how I felt after our recent visit to Otmoor Nature Reserve. The reserve is run by the RSPB who had kindly sent us a pass and a DK Books Spot the Bird for our adventure. The book is really comprehensive and has stickers so you can mark off each bird as you’ve spotted it – my son was going to love that idea.
I’d looked on the RSPB website to see which nature reserves were close to us and Otmoor Nature Reserve looked like a good option. The entry is free (donations are gratefully received though), I worked out our route, dusted off our wellies, found my binoculars and off we went.
I will be totally honest, I was slightly apprehensive. I love woodland walks and the like, but when it’s just the two of us, I feel very insecure and tend to avoid these situations. Safety in numbers etc. Anyway, the website gave clear instructions and the Sat Nav got us to the car park. I was quite reassured to see a decent number of cars in the car park.
My next concern was how other visitors would take to a less than quiet little boy traipsing through the undergrowth. I had said to him that he might need to quieten down so as not to scare the birds off – he took zero notice of that advice!
So off we went on our first Otmoor Nature Reserve adventure.
Looks like we would have lots to occupy us …..
Wow! All that wildlife spotted last month. We started on the ‘Visitor Trail’, my son finding a few muddy puddles to jump in as we walked. We saw lots of different leaves, some different mini beasts and stopped every so often to pick and eat blackberries – yum.
My concerns about how people would react to him being with me melted away within minutes. Everyone we came across on our adventure, stopped and chatted to us. Everyone seemed really pleased to have a little adventurer in their midst. People were really generous – pointing out specific insects, telling us about birds they’d seen, what we might see and so on. We were made to feel really welcome and I felt we were in a safe environment.
Even the weather behaved. We didn’t see a lot of birds ourselves. We made it to the Hide and did see a Kestrel, and some waterfowl. There was a White Egret lurking behind a bank but he just didn’t want to say hello to us. The other people in the hide were great with my son, they offered him their binoculars but he was a bit unsure. They shared their knowledge and were very good about him being in their midst.
I emailed the mini beast photos to Guru Gramps for identification – our family bible!
We had a lovely few hours exploring, the path was easy to follow and in fact, you could manage it easily with a pram or buggy too – maybe not after a lot of heavy rain, but otherwise manageable.
We’ll definitely be back to explore the reserve in more detail now we have our bearings, and it’s given me the confidence to explore further afield now.
Look here for more information on the RSPB and locations for their reserves. It’s not just about spotting birds – wonderful nature walks, being outside, exploring the countryside – got to be worth it!