The Milford Conservation Volunteers (MCV) who manage the new Bird Observatory at Keyhaven, will open their gates to families every first Saturday in the month from May to September between 10am and Noon.
Knowledgeable bird enthusiasts from the group will be on hand with spare telescopes and binoculars to point out the various birds to the youngsters visiting the Observatory. The Pans is a wetland nature reserve on private land owned by J & D Edgar Ltd.
Conservation Officer for the MCV – Keith Metcalf explained that, under the terms of their agreement, ‘We are able to use the building and decking area to watch and record the birds and wildlife using The Pans and Avon Water. The terms of our agreement stipulate that we have to control access. We do this for keen birdwatchers by operating a key-fob purchase system, which enables each key-fob owner to use the facility 365-days a year between the hours of 8am and 8pm’.
MCV is also arranging with the local Guide and Scout Association leaders for them to bring their ‘packs’ to the Observatory to receive guidance on how the youngsters can best watch, identify and record the numerous wildfowl using the reserve.
The adjacent farmland is managed by Simeon Morgan Farming under a European Higher-Level Stewardship agreement with Natural England. The reserve is a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and is designated for its large number of wintering wildfowl, including the dark-bellied Brent Geese of which the Solent holds between 10 and 13% of the world population and 30% of all Brent’s visiting the Solent during the winter. The site also holds many wild duck species, including Shoveler, Gadwall, Teal, Tufted Duck and Shelduck and several wader species such as Black-tailed Godwit, Redshank and Spotted Redshank.
During the quieter summer months, the site has breeding Marsh Harrier, Bearded Tit, Water Rail, Kingfisher, Reed Warbler, Reed Bunting and Cetti’s Warbler. While nearby, Dartford Warbler and Little Owl also nest and the group also expect that one of these days Bittern will raise their young in the extensive reedbed.
The Keyhaven coastal area is a mecca for birdwatchers from all over the country and Keith said, ‘Working alongside one of our sponsors, the Cameron Bespolka Trust, we will open the Observatory each month for families to walk in and enjoy the facility. Our MCV bird enthusiasts will be on hand to help parents who wish to encourage their children to become interested in nature. We will help them to identify each bird seen’.
The MCV is also seeking unwanted second-hand binoculars or telescopes from anyone who no longer has a need for them. Members will arrange collection from anywhere in the New Forest.
For further information, contact Keith Metcalf at:
Milford Conservation Volunteers (MCV)
Keith Metcalf - Conservation Officer
(01590) 645825 - Mobile (07771) 918449
DIRECTIONS TO THE BIRD OBSERVATORY
From Milford village, turn left at the bottom of the green towards Keyhaven. Pass the Keyhaven War Memorial green on your left and The Gun on your right. Turn left into the NFDC car park. Pay and park and walk towards the track that leads round the northern part of the quay towards the coastal footpath and Iley Lane. After about four hundred metres, you will see the Bird Observatory gate and Welcome sign on your left.
FAMILY OPEN MORNING DATES AT THE OBSERVATORY
(10 am to Noon)
4th August and
1st September 2018