**Cancelled as viewing platform is closed**

The grey herons are back at Rushmere Country Park bringing the return of Heron Watch, where visitors can view the herons nesting, clearly visible from the visitor centre's deck, and generous volunteers give up their time to share their expert knowledge with visitors, helping them make the most of their Heron Watch experience.

Local people first spotted herons building their nests in the tall pine trees south of the visitor centre back in 2010. The Greensand Trust established Heron Watch in 2012 to help visitors get more out of this annual spectacle, providing viewing devices to see up close together with a team of volunteers on hand to inform visitors of what’s going on and, more recently, live feeds from the nests using HD cameras to TV screens to capture all the action. Last year our volunteers engaged with around 5,500 visitors who were interested to see the herons.

We need your support

The Greensand Trust, which runs the park on a not for profit basis, is raising funds to look after the binoculars and telescope used by visitors, as well as the in-nest cameras which have to be cleaned each year - no easy feat considering the height of the nests! The first egg was laid on Tuesday 4th February - around three weeks earlier than usual - spotted thanks to the in-nest camera.

We hope to see the first chick possibly by the end of the month. Last year ten of the nests were occupied and we estimate around 15 chicks reached the fledgling stage. We've been keeping records since 2014 when we witnessed around 30 chicks hatch. The herons stay at the park until mid-June.

With your support we can ensure that our equipment used to enhance the Heron Watch experience is well maintained and we'd like to purchase additional HD cameras to place in more nests to add to the experience - please donate to help us keep Heron Watch at the park this year and beyond. 

Chief Executive Gill Welham commented:

"We are very fortunate to have the herons return to Rushmere year after year, providing visitors with an opportunity to view all the activity up close. We're grateful to Opticron for donating our optical devices but these require regular maintenance and replacement. We invested in HD in-nest cameras last year which have really made a difference to the quality of the live feed, and we further support a whole team of volunteers who really add to the experience of visitors. Any assistance with our appeal would be most appreciated."

Heron Watch volunteers are on hand subject to availability daily from 10am to 4pm.

Could you support our Heron Watch Appeal?

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