Although the weather conspired against us on Sunday morning and we were forced to cancel our 'Dawn Chorus' Walk, don't panic because there is another opportunity to listen to the fantastic morning bird song at Arne and this time you can do it from the comfort of your own living room! For one day only on Sunday May 6th at 6am we are going to switch our webcam over to an area on the heath and you be able to listen to the tranquil sounds of the Arne dawn chorus!
Robin singing at Arne by Jon
To give you all a bit of an idea of what its all about I have included our press release promoting this event
Dawn chorus goes global at RSPB’s Arne Nature Reserve
The RSPB will be bringing the dawn chorus live into the living rooms and bedrooms across the world in a unique webcast event set to coincide with International Dawn Chorus Day.
Sunday 6th of May heralds International Dawn Chorus day, the annual celebration of this natural daily miracle, which can be heard across the UK’s woodlands, parks and gardens during springtime.
This year the RSPB will be hosting a live webcast from its flagship Arne nature reserve in Dorset.
Mark Singleton, who’s organizing the webcast for the RSPB said that the idea came to him after an early morning viewing of a buzzard’s nest; “We have been streaming live images of a buzzards nest and in my eagerness to see the elusive birds in their early stages of nest building I put the camera on my phone after waking up early one morning.
“The disappointment of not seeing the buzzard was soon surpassed by the sounds of singing birds brought straight into my bedroom … without realising it I stumbled across the perfect way to start the day.”
The RSPB believes that this one of the few times a live webcast of the dawn chorus has been tried and has the potential to not only reach waking Britain but many different time zones across the planet, showcasing one of nature’s true spectacles.
Mr. Singleton added; “The RSPB carry out many dawn chorus walks and all prove to be extremely popular, the idea behind the live webcast is to bring the sounds of a spring woodland directly into people’s homes.
“Not everybody can reach our reserves and spaces are limited on walks, this way we can bring the simple pleasures of bird song to the masses.”
Those of you who are real early risers will be able to tune in from sunrise on Sunday the 6th of May by going to www.rspb.org.uk/dawn. The idea is to make the birdsong the star of the show but we will be presenting on the day highlighting different species that come to the forefront from 06:00am to 09:00am.
More information about international Dawn Chorus Day can be found at http://www.idcd.info/index.asp
Blimey! Three blog posts in one day but it has been an exciting day at Arne! Not only did I announce the winners of the 'Picture Arne' competition but it has been a good day for wildlife as well! Despite a bit of a ropey start the weather did improve a bit and there were some decent sightings out on the heath. We have only had a handfull of wheatears reported so far this year but it was a bit of a bumper day today with loads being seen all over the heath! I think they may have come in on the weather fronts we are experiencing at the momment and Arne is always a favourite stop off point before they disperse to there upland breeding grounds.
The males are looking really smart at the momment and I think that they have a slightly exotic look about them. One sub-species of the wheatear amazingly migrates from Africa all the up to Greenland to breed which makes this one of the longest bird migrations in the world. Infact it has to make a 30 hour non stop journey across the Atlantic which is just remarkable for such a tiny bird!
There were lots of goldfinches and siskins on the niger feeders today and the firecrests are still around the car park which is great news! We also had a fox seen out in day light today and a few excited visitors reported a white sika deer. There are a few white sika deer out there but they always seem to cause excitement when they are spotted. They are a white morph rather than true albinos as they don't have pink eyes! Check out my 'Picture Arne' blog from earlier today to see the smart young stag in the photo that won the competition.
I think the highlight of the day must have been the first hobby of the year out on Coombe heath. It is a little bit early but they have started to arrive in the country so keep a look out for this elegant little falcon. Coombe heath is always a good place to watch them hunting and last year we got some brilliant views in the evenings as they chased dragonflies!
A hobby on Coombe heath last year by Dom Greves
Earlier in the week we changed our live web cam over from the buzzards nest (looks like the pair have moved to another site) to our kestrel family. For those of you familiar with reserve you will remember the excitement of last year when we had four chick successfully fledge. This year the female is sitting on five eggs again and we are wondering how many will hatch. We aren't quite sure when the eggs were layed but they are at least two weeks earlier than last year. They are incubated for 28 days and I am keeping my fingers crossed that the weather improves a bit before they hatch! http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/a/arne/webcam.aspx
Unfortunately due to the really bad forecast at the weekend we have decided to cancel the 4:30 am Dawn Chorus walk. It is a shame and we do this very rarely but heavy rain and wind are not the best combination for singing birds.
Sorry for any dissapointment caused but look out on the blog next week for news of a special live Dawn Chorus webcast we are planning. And you will be able to do this from the comfort of your own living room!
Well - here we are again! After six months of stiff competition and over 300 entries again Chris Packham has kindly taken time out of his busy shedule for the 2nd year in a row to judge all of your great pictures. Again the standards were really high and there were some cracking shots. We had lots of wildlife photos but because of fewer entries in the landscape and people catergories we decided to combine the 2 as one catergory and have an extra wildlife picture as a runner up!
Thanks for all of the amazing entries and all of us at Arne really enjoyed looking through them.
So here goes
WINNER OF WILDLIFE CATERGORY AND OVERALL WINNER!
Blondie by Dom
LANDSCAPE AND PEOPLE WINNER - 2nd Prize overall
Sunflowers at Arne by Adamant
WILDLIFE RUNNER UP and 3rd prize
Young Squirrel by Birdman64
As last year, Chris has picked the three winners but has also picked a few more photos for special mention!
HIGHLY COMMENDED PICTURES
Avocet cascade By Yogi Bear
Hatching a new Adventure by Lucy4359
Spoonbill Success - Gordon Mac
Slime mould by Becki91
Wood Ants by A P Read
Reflections of Arne by Yogi Bear
I think you will agree that these are all great pictures and well done to everybody who entered. A big thank you again to everyone for making this another great competition. Remember that you can still see all of the pictures that were entered on our forum so go and have a browse. Pop into the visitor centre and you can see some of the entries on our rolling screen!!
I have contacted the winners by email so I am looking forward from hearing from you to claim your prizes!
For those of you who don't know, the Dorset RSPB team manages a fantastic piece of ancient woodland called Garston Wood in the north of the county near the village of Sixpenny Handley. This time of year it is an absolute picture as the woodland floor is carpeted with bluebells, wild garlic and wood anemones. The woodland comes alive with the sound of bird song and the drumming of the great spotted woodpecker. Roe and fallow deer can occasional be seen through the trees and the woodland is home to the elusive dormouse.
To celebrate spring at Garston wood we are holding a special open day on Sunday 29th April and this is your chance to come and explore some of the wonders of this hidden gem! There will be guided walks through out the day to show you some of the special plants and other wildlife that call Garston wood their home. The Ancient Technology Centre from Cranborne will also be there to show off some historial traditions and crafts and tea and coffee will be available.
The day starts at 10am and finishes at 4pm it is free of charge to join in. So if you fancy something a little bit different this Sunday come along to Garston wood and find out what the fuss is about!!
To find out more about Garston wood go the web page http://www.rspb.org.uk/reserves/guide/g/garstonwood/