For all that Blashford Lakes is a nature reserve at the forefront of delivering Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trusts educational aims and objectives alongside those of conservation, we do recognise and appreciate that some (not all) of our other visitors would rather not visit the nature reserve at such times when our work is very much geared towards its educational aspects!
Therefore please make a note in your diary that the Trust is absolutely delighted to be working with Hampshire Ornithological Society to host the newly resurrected Bird Trail event for children and young people on Sunday 25th September.
The Bird Trail was originally an event organised by HOS and the RSPB and held at Boldrewood in the New Forest where it met annually for many years until a few years ago when, finding that Boldrewood would not be available, the Trust was approached by HOS and we agreed to host a variation of the event at Blashford Lakes that year. The mix of habitats and additional activities were greatly appreciated by both the visiting groups and the volunteers involved and henceforth the Bird Trail then alternated between its “traditional” Boldrewood site and Blashford Lakes for a few years until last year when sadly the event was cancelled at relatively short notice due to structural changes within the RSPB.
Fast forward to early spring this year and HOS approached HIWWT with the idea of revitalising what had been a very popular and successful event and here we are! Largely due to the hard work put in by Dr. Patricia Brown (HOS volunteer) and Dawn O’Malley (HIWWT Education Officer) the event is now fully booked with groups from across Hampshire (and just over the border in Dorset) and ranging from schools to scout groups to Wildlife Watch and Natural History groups joining us for a bird watching / wildlife extravaganza and team challenge to see as many birds as possible on the nature reserve.
With expert birders in the guise of HOS volunteers, a static display of birds of prey provided by Liberty’s Owl, Raptor and Reptile Centre, bird ringing demonstrations by BTO ringers from the Christchurch Harbour Ornitholigical Group, bird sound recording demonstrations by the Birds of Poole Harbour and pond and river dipping, owl pellet dissection, moth trap “rummaging” and a tree fact and identification trail by us, there will be plenty to keep the expected 120 or so young people and their leaders busy and informed!
Participants will be arriving for the event from 9am on Sunday 25th September and it is not due to finish until after the prize giving ceremony being held mid-afternoon. Other visitors should note that the trail encompasses all the hides but Lapwing Hide and that there will be no parking on the Education Centre side of the reserve throughout the day – all visitors, including participants, will be parking in the main car park near Tern Hide.
Bird watchers not involved in the Bird Trail are advised to visit on another day for a more tranquil experience – the day before should be quiet!
HOS and HIWWT would like to thank The Blashford Partnership (Bournemouth Water, New Forest District Council and Wessex Water) and the following sponsors for supporting the event:
It’s going to be a great day and I’ll let you know how it has gone after the event!