A bird hide key can be bought from the Lower Windrush Valley Project for a one-off payment of £15. The key gives access to the bird hide and screen at Rushy Common Nature Reserve and the two hides at Standlake Common Nature Reserve.
Please note that in order to comply with government guidance regarding coronavirus (COVID-19), the bird hides may be closed for periods of time. For up to date information regarding the bird hides, please contact the Lower Windrush Valley Project.
How to apply
You can visit the Red Lion pub at Northmoor where Ian and Lisa have kindly agreed to keep some key packs for sale. Please check opening hours before you travel. Stop off for a drink or a meal while you pick up your key pack. They will take cash or a cheque made payable to 'Oxfordshire County Council'.
Complete the form below and send £15 to the Lower Windrush Valley Project via bank transfer. Once your form and payment have been received we will post you the key. Please allow up to a week for the key to be delivered.
Transfer Amount: £15
Sort code: 30-80-12
Account name. Oxfordshire County Council
Account number: 13600260
Payment reference: LWVP Your Surname
Blue Badge holders
If you hold a current Blue Badge, we can send you the code for access to the Standlake Common Nature Reserve car park. Have your Blue Badge number handy when you complete the form.
About the sites
Both sites have a variety of habitats with a central large body of open water but also ponds, ditches, hedges and scrub and grassland that add to the variety of wildlife on show.
The bird species record list at Rushy Common is 120 with 165 being the total seen at Standlake since 2000. At times there are significant numbers of individual species such as lapwing, coot and tufted duck.
Every year we hope for successful breeding from a few pairs of redshank and lapwing but sadly they are usually defeated by the weather or predators. However, other species breed in good numbers and the young are a delight to watch especially the great crested grebes in their ‘stripy pyjamas’ and the tufted ducks ‘little chocolate brown bundles of fluff’.
The lakes provide a great feeding and watering rest stop for migrating birds and you can often see huge numbers of hirundines and swifts in spring as they arrive from the continent or stocking up in the autumn before they fly south again.
The varied habitats also support a diverse range of invertebrates with the dragonflies and damselflies giving fantastic displays in the summer months. A stunning sight is to be had when the mayflies hatch from the water which appears to be boiling as the flies take to the air for their brief adult phase of life.
You may be lucky enough to see the fish jumping and the acrobatics of many birds as they feed on this fantastic food source. Mammals are generally less easy to see but you may get occasional glimpses of deer, foxes and other small mammals.
Even on a quiet day when there is not much about you will enjoy the tranquil settings, the shifting light and changing seasons at both of these delightful sites. And you never know just what is going to zoom into sight just as you are packing up to go home.