The first of the Weymouth Wetland’s Reserves orchids have started flowering with the Early Purples Orchids at the north of Lodmoor. This morning 26 plants were counted. Last year Lodmoor’s Early Purple population were all in full flower on 1st May. This year they are two weeks behind.
Other plants in area in bloom this morning were Hedge Mustard, Hawthorn, Blackthorn, Pendulous Sedge and Bugle. Cow Parsley is also coming into flower along the footpaths on both reserves.
The first hogweed of the year was found flowering at Radipole Lake this morning along with comfrey.
Well several actually! In the lovely sunshine today the sand martin wall is really beginning to take shape as the front rows of nesting holes were installed and, for the first time, you can get a real feel for how it will look. There is still a little way to go, but perhaps the sand martins that were flying overhead as the guys were laying the blocks gave us a taste of the not too distant future when they make their homes there.
Elsewhere on the reserve the bearded tit nest boxes have been installed as well. These also have cameras in them and we hope will prove as popular as they have on other reserves, allowing us to beam live pictures back to the visitor centre, our very own spring watch!
No, plants can't sing but warblers can and that was exactly what they were doing this morning. Sedge Warblers have been around for a few days now but Reed Warblers are now starting to make an appearance. Due to their songs being similar it’s always tricky trying to differentiate between the two when you haven’t heard one for over 6 months! But it was very nice to remind myself this morning whilst walking to the visitor centre.
It’s also worth mentioning that Osprey was seen over Lodmoor yesterday and a stunning male Redstart was seen at Radipole Lunchtime today. Both signs that migration is in full swing!
One of the highlights of a job like mine are the random encounters with wildlife whilst doing often rather mundane tasks.
This includes flushing a bittern from a few feet away whilst checking for wobbly fence posts and seeing the first 3 swallows of the year at Lodmoor whilst litter picking.
Today's highlight has been a red kite flying over the Swannery car park as Dan and I were loading cardboard destined for recycling into the car.
Dan's cry of 'that's not a buzzard!' sent us running for the binoculars and a hurried phone call to the office to hopefully make everyone else's day too.
So that was my first Dorset red kite, I wonder what tomorrow will bring?!
Some readers might have read in certain newspapers about the exploits of our formerly resident Hooded Merganser, ‘Hoody’. As well as looking rather handsome, it appears he can read as well!
The story goes like this. He went missing about three weeks ago which you might think is normal for a duck but Hoody hasn’t left Radipole since his arrival in June 2008 except for a day trip to Abbotsbury swannery. All the staff at the Weymouth Wetlands were getting a little worried and we decided to put out a press release appealing for information as to his where abouts. We send out the release last Thursday and who should turn up on Friday? Hoody of course!
I can only assume he read it in a newspaper that we were all missing him and decided to return ‘home’ where he is now back enjoying the company of his tufted duck entourage.
I'd suggest paying him a visit before he goes off on his next exploration. He's usually found around the visitor centre, so ask a member of staff where he is and i am sure we can find for you.