Friday, 17 May 2013

Greylag Nursery

I am trying not to be too disappointed at Standlake Common Nature Reserve that we have no lapwings or redshanks nesting this year. Even the mute swan has given up. But we do seem to be the most des res for greylags. Eleven or twelve families are in full nursery mode and are a delightful sight to see as they move around the lake and shoreline.

I haven't yet seen where they nest, they just suddenly appear with their broods of 10+ chicks in tow.
I was feeling quite sorry for this couple as they only appeared to have two chicks left then I realised that the others had found a nice cosy shelter.

Soon afterwards they were off for some swimming practice.


Over the last few weeks I have been working with Luke Dawson, Assistant Field Officer with the Public Rights of Way (PRoW) service of Oxfordshire County Council ( to improve the footpaths around Northmoor.

This is a joint funded project between the OCC PRoW, National Trails ( and the LWVP to replace two bridges, replace five stiles with gates and to add waymarkers to clarify the route.  Once completed the work will significantly improve the route between the village and the Thames Path. Local people will benefit as the route will be more accessible for those with limited mobility and the village pub might find an increase in trade as people, either walking the Thames Path or using the river will be encouraged to stop off and visit the village on their travels. The next stage of the project will be to work with people in Northmoor to design a leaflet and web information about a circular route from the village to the Thames.

We met with the landowners and parish councillors Robert Florey and Graham Shelton to work out what needed to be done and how the work teams would access the different locations.

Then it was back to the office to decide on the order of work. The bridge replacement work is the most urgent so Luke has put the request through for that work do be done as soon as posible and it should be completed within the next five or six weeks.

The replacement of the stiles will go into the general work programme of the PRoW task team so we will probably have to wait until the autumn as, apart from urgent repairs, their summer is mostly taken up with mowing and soft vegetation clearance around the 2,600 miles (4,200km) of rights of way across Oxfordshire.