BBC's Countryfile comes to Heath and Reach to film Rushmere Park's herons

Trust says they are overwhelmed with visitors and is encouraging the public to watch birds online

Thursday, 1st April 2021, 1:44 pm
Updated Thursday, 1st April 2021, 3:00 pm

Rushmere Park's amazing Spring visitors are back in residence and the BBC's Countryfile featured the herons on Sunday's show.

The programme is always on the look out for interesting items to include and the Greensand Trust's facilities and activities development manager Paul Hirst sent them a number of initiatives the Trust is involved in at various sites it manages across the area.

A Trust spokesman said: "They decided to focus on volunteering projects along the Greensand Ridge and selected our herons and the dedicated work of our Heron Watch volunteers who monitor the birds each year as they return to the heronry to nest each Spring.

Herons at Rushmere

"Their sightings are recorded with the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) are regularly added to our online blog https://www.greensandtrust.org/Blogs/heron-watch.

"We were delighted to see Rushmere featured with some stunning aerial photography and particular thanks go to our volunteer Judith Knight who demonstrated her vast knowledge of the herons to presenter Joe Crowley and appeared as a natural on the TV."

Visitors are not able to view the herons from the outdoor terrace this year due to the pandemic, but the Trust is bringing Heron Watch to the public digitally. Watch from now until June as they lay their eggs and raise their young.

Some of the nests are fitted with a camera which feeds live images through to a TV screen in the atrium, taking you inside the nest from the first egg to feeding chicks and the first flight.

You can see footage online at https://www.greensandtrust.org/Event/heron-watch-21Although the BBC's interest is welcomed in helping to communicate the importance of the site for wildlife, Rushmere is currently overwhelmed with visitors, particularly during the school holiday, and the Trust is keen to emphasise this and encourage people to view the herons remotely and avoid visiting the site at peak times.

The spokesman added: "Summer opening hours begin from Saturday, April 3 when the park will open 9am to 8pm daily. We urge visitors not to queue on Linslade Road when the FULL sign is illuminated and to drive on to avoid causing a nuisance to local residents."

Watch the Countryfile episode here. https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000tqm