As you enter the reserve you are greeted by an ancient broadleaved forest, carpeted at this time of year in a purple blanket of fragrant bluebells. A Nuthatch sang above us, and we watched for a minute as it flitted about from Oak to Ash.
Take a left and you come into an area of limestone grassland. A team of BBOWT volunteers were hard at work here as we walked by, cutting back shrubs and getting rid of invasive weeds to reduce competition for the hundreds of native plant species which have been recorded there. Brimstones, Peacocks and Speckled Woods were among the Butterflies we encountered, basking on the ground in the afternoon sun.
|The Bluebells at Sydlings Copse|
|A Speckled Wood Butterfly, basking in the sun.|
|We found all sorts of tracks along the banks of this stream, which runs right through the reserve|
A Buzzard soared over us as we walked, carried high by the thermals. Meanwhile high-pitched squeaking noises were emanating from the dead bracken around us. At first we thought it might have been coming from a bird's nest, hidden in the undergrowth, but upon closer inspection we realised that we had stumbled into a war zone. Common Shrews are notoriously territorial and the ones around our feet had taken an obvious dislike to each other, erupting into fierce shouting matches and frantically chasing each other through the bracken.
|A section of the 'Wildlife Trail', at Sydlings Copse nature reserve in Oxfordshire|
|A 'Snail anvil'- used by Song Thrushes to smash open Snail shells against|