Hi guys, I’m Lindsey and new to the team here at Arne! You’ll find me hanging out in the hut this winter, and I’m really thrilled to be here. I’ve recently finished a post working in Salisbury as Community Engagement Officer of the Wessex Stone-curlew Recovery Project, and have also worked on projects on the Somerset levels, Isles of Scilly and London for the RSPB, but am really looking forward to my first chance to work full time on one of our nature reserves, and find out about the things that live here.
Stone-curlew on Salisbury Plain by Andy Hay RSPB Images
There was a good turnout today for the Remembrance walk on Saturday who was telling visitors about Arne’s significant role in WWII, unfortunately monsoon conditions struck shortly after the walk started ensuring that everyone on the reserve was soaked to the skin. If you’d like to find out more about the military history of Arne, please ask at the visitor centre!
Path to Coombe Heath by Lindsey Death
A brief respite from the downpours on Sunday morning gave me a good chance to explore Coombe Heath and the fantastic Dartford Warbler habitat. I’d been hearing about how the heath is managed particularly for spiders, so that the Dartford Warblers have plenty to eat during the winter. With the gorse covered in morning dew and catching the sunlight, the vast numbers of spider webs really stood out and it’s great to know that the management is really working to attract and support these vulnerable birds.
Spider web on Coombe Heath Lindsey Death
Hi I'm Stewart one of the RSPB Dorset Wardens,
I'm responsible for the practical management of our 9 fantastic Dorset reserves. As you can imagine we have our hands full.
On Sunday 2nd November we're holding one of our first practical volunteering days at RSPB Arne; our 'Heathland Bash'.
The event runs from 10am - 3pm, all tools and training will be provided (as well as some hot drinks and biscuits). The events are a fantastic way to help wildlife and also meet others with the same interests and throughout the year we will be carrying out a variety of different tasks around the reserve.
Our Heathland Bash events are the 1st Sunday of every month until March, but what will we be up to this November?
We've got two tasks this month:
1) We're very happy that we have finally secured some generous funding through the Coastal Communities Fund to acquire and renovate the old Toy Museum by the Arne car park. Before the main work begins however there is a important task to do. There is a substantial growth of the UK conservationists worst nightmare: Rhododendron! This needs to be removed in the right way to stop it spreading and is notoriously hard to get rid of for good, although it's a very satisfying job when you get it right.
We'll have a nice warming fire (not that we seem to need it this Autumn) and the task will include lots of sawing and chopping.
2) Once we've tackled the Rhododendron we'll be headed just round the corner to our Invertebrate bank
The picture above shows it the last time we cleared it and it is now overgrowing on the edges and so we'll need to bash some scrub and scrape some rotten humus off the surface making it perfect for burrowing bees and wasps.
Some nice sightings recently around the reserve; plenty of firecrest around the car park (so we may be lucky enough to have some for company on Sunday), a Great White Egret is putting in appearances from Coombe heath and hen harrier numbers are growing in the harbour.
Hope to see plenty of you at Arne on Sunday! We'll meet at the visitor hut in the carpark.
Spoonbills have become a regular feature at Arne in the colder months but this year has been exceptional. A British record flock of 49 is currently in the harbour! Being very social birds they are spending much of the time as a large flock but also split into smaller flocks. We had at least 5 birds spend the summer in the harbour this year; how long before they breed in Dorset? They can often be seen roosting at shipstal or feeding in Middlebere Lake when the tide is going out. What is the collective noun for spoonbills?
Spoonbills by Keith Rogers
We had great excitement last Sunday – a ring ouzel at the farm! It’s rare to get these stunning thrushes on the reserve but we do get the odd one drop in on migration. The farm is obviously where the rarer species hang out; there were 3 firecrests there on Monday too. Brent geese have arrived; there have been up to 40 near Shipstal so far, we're looking forward to seeing large flocks of these attractive geese in the coming weeks.
It is noticeably colder on clear mornings now but there are still red admirals and clouded yellows on the wing. Raft spiders and dragonflies can still be seen around the ponds – common darters, southern hawkers and migrant hawkers are clinging on.
The sika deer rut is underway with the eerie ‘creaking door’ calls of the stags heard mostly at dawn. The milder weather has meant another late start to rutting this year but with colder weather this week we expect activity to increase. Big Wood is where the greatest activity is so far. Keep a safe distance from the testosterone fuelled stags though!
Firecrest by Paul Morton from last year's Forage Festival
This Saturday is our 5th annual Forage Festival from 11am-4pm - Celebrate Autumns arrival with a fun packed day for all the family! There will be an assortment of traditional craft stalls, local traders and food producers offering products to buy. There will be a bird ringing demonstration from 11-2. Try your hands at bush craft with the Ancient Technology Centre, archery, forage walks and wildlife themed crafts to make and take home, plus much more.