We are well into autumn now and the sika deer rut is in full swing. It is well worth coming along to have a look especially in the farm fields. There is often one dominant stag in each of the fields surrounded by a number of hinds and immature males. Although there is a good chance of seeing stags battling with each other the most extraordinary thing about the rut is the noise. Today as I was walking around the reserve I was accompanied by the sound of roaring stags. It is a really eerie noise that sounds like a squeaky door and if you haven't heard it before you may wonder what on earth it could be coming from. The stags use the call as a challenge to other males in the vicinity and to demonstrate their dominance.
This impessive stag was taken by Nikon4pete
Today I saw my first Dartford warbler for quite a while and also on the heath where a couple of stonechats and lots of meadow pipits. There are lots of curlews on the salt marsh and hundreds of cormorants out on the harbour. Spoonbills are still about and large numbers of waders such as black tailed godwits can be best seen as the tide starts to come in. Today I watched a couple of grey seals swimming off of Shipstal beach in front of Long Island.
On the reserve we are preparing 'Arne's Autumn Forage festival' which is on Saturday 22 October. This exciting event celebrates local producers, autumn food and traditional crafts from around Dorset. This promises to be a great family day out with a local produce market with food stores, forage walks, games and craft demonstrations plus hands-on bush craft activities. For full details check out our event page http://www.rspb.org.uk/events/details.aspx?id=tcm:9-261875
Thanks for info.Michael, still working this time of night?! Not seen a DW for ages.I read an article about next week's festival in Dorset magazine which also said there would be music too and Rob might be playing the watering can - is this true?
An RSPB Information Assistant never sleeps! And yes it's true, I think Rob can play most household objects, so come along and see for yourselves!
Thanks Michael my Son and I will be there tomorrow for the day so hoping for some photo's
Hi Michael, Chris (from Studland hide) here!
Are you sure they were grey seals you saw?
Hi Chris, they were a bit of a distance away - head looked more grey seal shaped - do you think differently?
I only asked as it's 'usually' common seals in the harbour. The ones I've seen around Swanage have been Greys though. Just interested...
I may have to pop along to Arne soon to get my seal fix as I'm a bit of a seal fan! Is high or low tide best do you think?
If you get a moment, check out this seal photo I took in the Scillies recently!
Thanks for the info Chris, was looking at a seal picture brought in by a visitor today but again it was a bit of distance a way to tell what it was. I like your photo, wasn't expecting that when it came on the screen, thats pretty impressive!
I can confirm that my band will be playing on the weekend pudweena. I'm not sure if that will encourage people to come to the event or run far far away...
Chrisrobs....that is a pretty impressive snap, how did your camera look after the seal had a taste? Down off Shipstal Point we tend to get grey seal more commonly than common seal confusingly, but it's always worth a closer look.
Looking forward to it Rob, shall I bring my shaky egg?!