Wild things

Round & About

On Saturday, 14th July, enjoy an afternoon of wildlife discovery, writes Peter Anderson

Big cats? Perhaps not. But experts and enthusiasts will be on hand with a variety of bats, bugs, bees, butterflies, moths, reptiles and small mammals; animals you’d only normally see on television.

Head to a free Wildlife Discovery Day, 2-4.30pm, organised by the conservation group and Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust (BBOWT), at Letcombe Valley Nature Reserve OX12 9JU.

The event is suitable for all ages, (under-18s must be accompanied by a responsible adult). There will also be den building, nature craft and mud kitchens along with a chance to make a bird box or even your own fossil.

Letcombe Valley is a rare habitat; the brook is one of Oxfordshire two chalk streams (there are about 150 across the country). The clear waters are home to unusual, interesting wildlife including water vole and fish such as brown trout and brook lamprey.

The nature reserve has a café and gift shop, from which you can take self-guided tours of the reserve and discover what to find where. This is your chance to watch kingfishers hunt across the valley, flashing blue as their piercing call echoes all around. Then, silent and still like statues at the streamside, herons and egrets wait for their own tasty treats. Return at dusk and the kingfishers are replaced by Daubenton’s bat skimming the water, gorging on the insects found in the surrounding lakes.

Any donations enable BBOWT to not only put on magnificent events like this, but also to aid their work as custodians of cherished parts of our countryside so generations to come will still be able to enjoy it. For further information on this event and others, visit www.bbowt.org.uk