As summer comes to a close the reserves wildlife’s starting hot up! There’s no doubt that this time of year most of the attention goes to the Ospreys. In the last week we’ve had up to 5 around the Arne peninsular with the area off Coombe Heath (Middlebere) being by far the best spot to watch for them. Best be there a few hours before high tide as this will give you a good chance of seeing them fishing. A visit out to the raptor hide might also give you good views of the Ospreys as well as Hobby and maybe even a Kingfisher.
The autumn sunshine around the reserve is bringing out some late butterflies and dragonflies. Other insects such as the Raft Spiders and the Wasp Spiders have been attracting lots of attention.
Perhaps the best sighting in recent weeks was a juvenile Nightjar which was visible on bank holiday Monday! Lots of people got a chance to see this normally elusive species. It’s likely we’ll have to wait until next May to get our next view of a Nightjar but what a way to end the season! Check out this picture.
Fingers crossed the weather stays fine for the next few weeks as the autumn migration really kicks off!
To keep in touch for the latest sightings and news from Arne check out our twitter account www.twitter.com/rspbarne
There’s lots to catch up on since our last blog. Continuing the theme from last time, moths are building in numbers and the trap is being run most night. Do pop into the hut first thing in the mornings to see what we’ve caught. Morning visits are being quite productive at the moment with the occasional Cuckoo being heard along with very good numbers of Dartford Warbler and other regular heathland species such as Meadow Pipits and Linnets. We were very excited to hear about the first ‘churring’ Nightjar of the year was back this week. One was heard Tuesday (3rd) evening. Perfect timing for the start of our summer Nightjar Walks which kick off on the 18th May. Spaces are available so give us a ring on 01929 553360 to book a place. All the details can be found here - http://www.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/seenature/events/details.aspx?id=tcm:9-398085
The warmer weather this week has brought out the insects with butterflies being seen in good numbers today. In just a few minutes in our shop and cafe gardens we saw Orange-tip, Small White, Large White and several stunning Brimestone. This one was photographed near the visitor hut yesterday.
Reptiles have also been a big feature this week. Common Lizards are living up to their name and are certainly the most commonly seen but Sand Lizards are close behind. Excitingly we’ve had a few reports of Adder at Arne this week. Hopefully a sign of them increasing as we do work to improve their habitat. This picture of a Sand Lizard was sent in this week by Chris Lucas.
If you happen to take any nice pics whilst visiting us we’ve love to see them. Either email them across to firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a tweet @RSPBArne. You can also facebook us at https://www.facebook.com/RSPBEastDorset/ .
Exciting times here at Arne as finally, after the clear and crisp nights of the winter months, humidity and clouds have returned once again to our night skies. This means one thing and one thing only... Moths! The traps have been dusted off, bulbs replaced where needed, and dodgy electrics ignored by tactical application of plastic bags. We're ready to go. After a couple reconnaissance sessions we've found there are an abundance of things flying around already, albeit still distinctly brown, but nevertheless exciting and a taste of things to come. Arne is host to a huge variety of Lepidoptera due to the diverse range of habitats found throughout the reserve, which means, when coupled with our location on the south coast, you never quite know what will show up.
Emperor moths are the current catch of choice, on the wing from April to May, this stunning creature is widely common throughout Britain. Yet due to its immense size and appearance there'd certainly be no dismissing of one if it turned up in the trap. The likelihood of this happening is particularly good too as aside from bramble its food of choice is heather, something Arne isn't in short supply of. They were even spotted flying regularly on our summer Nightjar Walks last year (the first of this season beginning from May 18th onwards) so we have consequential proof they're out there!
Female Emperor moth - Female flies by night and the male by day
But even if this fantastic noctuid proves elusive to light there's still a wealth of potential out there. Given the mild winter we've had many species will be out and about earlier than usual. Scalloped Hook-tip was caught only two days ago, a delicate and expertly disguised little moth that you'd expect out towards the end of April rather than mid.
Weather permitting we'll aim to have at least one trap on every night. We'll then sift through our findings at the visitor hut upon opening at 9am, so feel free to come along and have a nose through as well. As the season progresses we may even look to run special trapping events at Arne, as ultimately that's when you get the real excitement of being there as and when the creatures drop in. It's something the visitor team here at Arne are passionate about and so if there's an audience for it we'll do it.
So leave the porch light on, keep an eye on your street lights and conveniently forget to bring in any white sheets from the washing line, as our often overlooked, night-time loving friends are starting to come out again.