As the days go by it is getting more and more exciting on the reserve and we are starting to get some bumper sightings lists. I don't normally like to put up long lists on the blog but this will give you all an idea of what you are missing, so come along and see for yourselves. This is what was seen on Wednesday, with most being spotted on the regular 10am 'Wellies and Waders' walk http://www.rspb.org.uk/events/details.aspx?id=tcm:9-289699.
Goldcrest, treecreeper, great spotted woodpecker, nuthatch, raven, male hen harrier, marsh harrier, kestrel, avocet (40+), brent geese (400+), black tailed godwits, great crested grebe, green woodpecker, goldeneye, teal, wigeon, shoveler red breasted merganser, shelduck, curlew, dunlin, redshank, lapwing (40+), buzzard, oystercatcher, little egret, grey heron, meadow pipit, Dartford warbler (x2), mistle thrush, fieldfare, pied wagtail, yellow legged gull, great black backed gull and a 400+ mixed flock of goldfinch, greenfinch, linnet and chaffinch in the finch crop field.
It is good see more ducks joining the hundreds of teal and wigeon already here, especially one of my favourite duck the goldeneye which over winters in large numbers on the harbour.
The male hen harrier was spotted by Graham, one our roving volunteers at the Middlebere channel. There will be more of these spectacular birds of prey arriving over the next few weeks as they move down from upland moors to warmer coastal areas. The male is unmistakable with its grey back and wings, black wing tips and its prominent white rump.
This picture of a male hen harrier was taken by Dom on the middlebere channel last year.
Marsh harriers are putting on good displays as they hunt across the saltmarsh. We think there are several about and they appear to be females and juveniles. The marsh harrier is migatory with birds heading to north and west Africa after breeding. In recent years more and more inparticularly females are over wintering in this country. I am not sure why this is but it is certainly good news for us.
We are still getting sightings of firecrests in the car park and we got great views on Sunday when one of our visitor centre volunteers used the power of positive thinking and shouted out 'firecrest'. With in seconds two appeared in a bush a few feet away! 'Now That's Magic!'
This picture was taken a few days ago by Dave Larcombe. (Notice what I was saying in a previous blog about the black eye stripe compared to the white eye patch that goldcrests have.)
I hate to say it but Christmas will soon be with us and if you haven't already put our 'pull a pine' event in your diaries then here is your chance. Come down to the reserve on Saturday 3rd December and help us with our conservation work to remove small pines that threaten the heathland. The whole family can join in and there will be hot food and Christmas gifts for sale and then you take home your own Christmas tree as a thank you. http://www.rspb.org.uk/events/details.aspx?id=tcm:9-240420
If you have a bit more time to spare then why not help on one of our Sunday work parties on the heath? Have a go at scrub-bashing and pine pulling amongst other things and help the wildlife of the heath! The next date is this Sunday 13th November. For more details and dates check out http://www.rspb.org.uk/events/details.aspx?id=tcm:9-291488
Hurrah for hen harriers! Didn't see any mention on Dorset Birds.