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  • Dining for two??

    Firstly a quick update on recent sightings. Autumn migration is in full swing and there’s lots to be excited about here at Arne. The car parks been alive with the calls of Firecrest, even this morning in the rain and wind. Flocks of finches including Redpoll and Crossbill have been traveling overhead. Warblers such as Chiffchaffs and Blackcaps are on the move and joining them yesterday was this lovely little critter.


    Yellow-browed Warbler, Joe Stockwell (Arne information assistant)

    Yellow-browed Warblers have been invading the country on mass over the last week or two and after a possible on site last Thursday it was only a matter of time before one gave itself up. These tiny warblers travel all the way from Siberia and after the recent easterly winds, the migration route gets shifted which has resulted in hundreds reaching the UK instead of heading to tropical south east Asia for the winter. Well done to Joe for getting a picture! Hopefully this is the first of a few more this autumn?

    Wader numbers are on the up. Last week we had 525 Avocet and 750 Black-tailed Godwit in Middlebeare, both a good counts for the time of year. Brent Geese are starting to arrive too. It will be very exciting when the first large flock arrives in the next few days.

    Dining for two?

    Water Voles are still performing to the crowds. This incredible sight unfolded last week whilst Tony Cox was at Shipstal Ponds with his camera. Tony came back to tell us about a Water Vole eating a Dragonfly which is a great thing to have witnessed but when we saw the photos we realised that a Raft Spider was already enjoying the Dragonfly for its own lunch! Surely a once in a lifetime photograph.

    Thanks Tony for sending in the photos! They are amazing.

  • Introducing our new ‘Hire a Guide’ service at Arne Nature Reserve!

    Guided walks are always a popular way to discover more about a place like Arne. Some species can be tricky to see and someone with lots of experience can be invaluable when trying to spot something like a Dartford Warbler or separating those pesky waders. Our well attended Wednesday ‘Discover Arne’ walks are good but often in a larger group spotting everything can be tricky. That’s why this Autumn/Winter you can hire your very own guide to experience Arne at its best.

    This is the deal... For £50 you get a guide who’s well equipped with a vast knowledge of Arne and it’s wildlife, for a two hour tour of Arne. We can have groups of up to 6 people and it’s pretty much up to you how your visit will pan out. If you’d love to see a Dartford Warbler, that will be our focus. If you wanted to explore the WW2 gun emplacement, that’s what we’ll do. If you’d like to experience the sight of thousands of wading birds wheeling around the sky? You’ve guessed it, that’s what we’ll do. Of course, birds being birds, we can’t guarantee anything but we love a challenge at Arne!

    Here’s a suggestion... It could make an incredible birthday gift which is not only a brilliant day out but the money will go back into conservation!

    Arne is over 550 hectares of prime wildlife habitat waiting to be explored. To arrange a guide for yourself, a relative or friend or a small group, give us a ring on 01929 553360 or email

    Dartford Warbler by Luke Phillips

  • A few autumnal sightings

    Autumn is well and truly here! Days are getting shorter and somewhat cooler which means birds are on the move big time. Wader numbers are continuing grow with Black-tailed Godwit now the most numerous wader. There are probably over 800 around the Arne peninsular at the moment. Dunlin numbers are on the up and this is a good time of year to scan through carefully as there could be something a little more exciting amongst the flock such as a Curlew Sandpiper or a Little Stint. A group of 4 Curlew Sandpiper were seen for a couple of days recently in the Middlebeare Channel which is by far the best place to check out the waders. The first Brent Good appeared in the harbour this morning which will be the first of many.

    Ospreys are still featuring in our daily sightings but numbers are starting to slope off. The next week or two could be your chance to see your final Osprey of 2015. The new raptor trail which I’m sure some of you have explored already is still open and will be for at least the next couple of months. Hobby and Marsh Harrier are being seen regularly from this trail.

    Marsh Harrier by Luke Phillips


    Spoonbill number are also growing. 15 yesterday from Shipstal Hide plus over 20 on Brownsea Island yesterday takes the harbour total over 30. Won’t be long before we’ll find out whether the harbour record of 49 will be broken?!

     Spoonbill by Keith Rogers.

    This mornings stroll from the office to the visitor hut revealed that Meadow Pipits are starting their migration on mass. This species can be seen in their hundreds passing over during the next few weeks. Listen out for their sweeping calls overhead.

     Meadow Pipit by Luke Phillips

    Swallows are also moving in numbers as are Siskin. Large numbers have gone through so far this year. They’ve had a good breeding season by the looks of it!

    Also around the visitor hut this morning were our Firecrests. These have been a real feature of the car park in past winters. Hopefully this year will be a good one!

    To finish just a quick note to say that there are still a few places on this Saturdays 50th anniversary event which starts at 11am with a guided walk around all the best bits of Arne followed by talks from various people including our Director of Conservation, Dr Martin Harper. There’ll also be birthday cake, drinks and a buffet supplied by the Salt Pig in Wareham who do incredible grub! Give us a ring on 01929 553360. Cost is £20 per person which includes all refreshments and buffet lunch.