Big Bird Year challenge in Banbury was a hit

A common tern pictured at Grimsbury Reservoir. Picture by Mike Pollard NNL-160128-110827001
A common tern pictured at Grimsbury Reservoir. Picture by Mike Pollard NNL-160128-110827001

Banbury Ornithological Society (BOS) have said the Big Bird Year challenge at Grimsbury Reservoir and adjoining Cherwell Valley was a great success.

A total of 126 different bird species were recorded by dozens of observers though the year and that 2015 was a record year, with twelve more species seen compared to 2014.

A female grey wagtail taken at Grimsbury Reservoir. Picture by Mike Pollard. NNL-160128-110816001

A female grey wagtail taken at Grimsbury Reservoir. Picture by Mike Pollard. NNL-160128-110816001

Mike Pollard, convservation officer at Banbury Ornithological Society, said: “Several birds were seen for the first time in the area, including wood sandpiper, ring-necked parakeet and marsh harrier.

“Many people enjoyed great views of kingfishers, grey herons, dunlins and little ringed plovers. A lucky few also saw a small flock of black terns, an osprey a sanderling and a brent goose. Otters were seen on a couple of occasions and they now seem to be well established along the River Cherwell.”

Mr Pollard added that 2016 has got off to a good start too, with 69 species seen as of Sunday - most recently a drake goldeneye duck.

And with plans taking shape for the new country park in the Cherwell Valley, the society is inputting to proposals to make the Cherwell Valley even better for wildlife.

Mr Pollard said: “Currently, we are getting good views of goosanders, willow tits and kingfishers – so definitely worth a visit if you have an hour to spare.

“We can certainly attract more birds to the area with sympathetic management of the wetlands and woodlands. There also needs to be the right balance between creating new footpaths for people to expore the park, whilst retaining quieter undisturbed areas in which wildlife can flourish.”

Anyone interested in learning more about wild birds in the local area is invited to join BOS, who offer a full programme of indoor meetings, field trips and enjoyable bird surveys.

Visit banburyornithologicalsociety.org.uk.