Otmoor RSPB Nature Reserve

Otmoor RSPB Nature Reserve

Date of Adventure: 1 Nov, 2023

Otmoor, you are quite spectacular!

File this one for late November/ December and into January when the starlings will descend in their thousands to roost in the trees and you will be privy to the most breath-taking murmuration. Between 80 – 100k will come to roost at Otmoor during the winter months – this gives you an idea of the scale – and it has to be on your bucket list because it is one of nature’s highlights and is a full on sensory experience. The flocks will arrive en masse from all different directions in the build up to dusk and twist and turn themselves into a variety of shapes before they descend into the trees. There are various viewpoints to watch the murmuration, which are clearly signed, but you’ll often find people just lined up against the fence overlooking the reedbeds, and there are sometimes RSPB wardens on hand to guide you. Our advice: arrive early as the car park is tiny, leave enough time to walk to the viewing area (20 – 30 minutes plus), wear wellies and wrap up seriously warm as you’ll be walking back after dusk when it’s freezing!

Outside of the murmuration season (late November – January) Otmoor is still worth a visit for the diversity of wildlife, particularly birds. You may be lucky enough to spot a peregrine falcon – the fastest bird on the planet – or a marsh harrier, but even if you don’t there is enough to see to make the visit exciting; do visit the Wetlands Watch hide and screens as they are a fabulous vantage points and supplementary food is left by the Wetland Watch in the winter so you are guaranteed to see something. If your children own a pair of binoculars bring those too for an authentic birding experience.

Every time we have visited we have learned something new by talking to somebody from the birding community who we have always found to be friendly and generous with their knowledge. I’ll update this post with my murmuration pictures when I visit  – I’m excited to share them with you; do tag Little Oxplorers in any of your posts about Otmoor, we love to see your pictures too!

 

AT A GLANCE

Free
Dawn to Dusk
No booking required
No cafe
Not accessible due to terrain
10 minutes from Headington roundabout
Nearest bus is H5 to Beckley Turn and you can then access Otmoor via Church Street and a path
Small car park where parking costs £2 via an honesty system
The details

Website

Otmoor Ln, Oxford OX3 9UR

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Tracey Emin’s first British exhibition since 1997 was at Modern Art Oxford in 2002 and drew together the artist's now iconic neon wall hangings, drawings, etchings, film works, and a large scale sculpture installation of a pier and shack made from reclaimed timber.

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