With Spring now in full flow, our team here at Arne have been kept busy over the past few weeks with some final tree felling and hedge laying.
Hedge laying provides huge benefits for nesting birds and other wildlife including small mammals. Over the past few weeks we have been laying a hedge of Blackthorn, which was planted over ten years ago. We have chosen traditional methods, armed only with hand tools such as bill hooks and loppers, we started by reducing the thickness of the upright by cutting away the wood on one side of the stem, each remaining stem was then laid down towards the horizontal, along the length of the hedge. Creating a denser and thicker hedge, this provides plenty of cover and then can continue to regenerate.
Running alongside the hedge laying we have also been spending time at one of our other reserves Lodmoor in Weymouth. Lodmoor is very close to Radipole Lake near Weymouth’s town centre. It is a summer hotspot for breeding Common Terns.
We have been clearing the island in readiness for their arrival in April. This has involved us boating out on to the Tern islands, carefully clearing vegetation and recovering the islands with fresh shingle/gravel to slow down the re-growth of vegetation. We have also provided the Terns with a safe retreat and shelter from predators.
Be sure to check out Lodmoor around late April.
We are very excited (or should that be eggscited...) to announce our 1st ever Arne Easter Egg Hunt!
I must admit that I’m struggling to think of a better setting for an Easter egg hunt. Beautiful old trees, sweet smelling gorse on the heaths and loads of birds singing away. What could be better?
You're almost certainly desperate to know when this is happening? Well, it's on Thursday 9th April.
The trail will be open between 11am and 3pm with activities to do, questions to answer and even an egg at the end. Suitable for little kids up to big kids and the trail will be buggy friendly. There’s a small charge which will help us continue to run future events. It’s just £1 for RSPB (Wildlife Explorer) members and £2 for non members.
Look forward to seeing you and if you like, give us a tweet @rsbparne to let us know you’re on your way!
There is a definite sense of spring being in the air here at Arne, with the evenings becoming lighter and the temperatures creeping up. It’s an interesting time of year with lots things starting to arrive, as well as many of our winter visitors disappearing. You can still see a few brent geese, teal and wigeon although they are now starting to leave for their breeding grounds, and all our avocet have left.
Our first wheatear of the year was spotted at Arne last week, and news hot off the press is that the first swallows have also arrived! Chiffchaffs, woodlark and blackcap have also been seen on the reserve, and there is currently nest building action on our three nest cameras which can be viewed in the visitor centre. We expect it won’t be long before eggs are laid so pop into the hut to catch up with what is happening with our resident barn owls, kestrels and buzzards.
Swallows by Hammerchewer
Reptiles have begun to emerge here, and can be seen basking on sunny days. Common lizard, sand lizard and adder have been spotted so far, (an excellent view of a sand lizard was enjoyed by lots of visitors on yesterday's free Discover Arne walk) as well as some frogs and newts in the pond! We’ve had a few butterflies around when the sun has been shining, with brimstone being the most plentiful.
Other regular bird species seen this week include; spoonbill, dartford warbler, stonechat, meadow pipit, curlew, redshank, black-tailed godwit, oystercatcher redwing, siskin, treecreeper, red breasted merganser, jay, peregrine and raven.
Follow us on twitter @RSPBArne and we’d love to see pictures posted of your visits to the reserve!
Enjoy Spring, and Happy Easter!