A beautiful day at Radipole Lake today with sunshine and blue skies. Though many of us are still walking around with our T-shirts and sandals there is a distinctly autumnal feel to the reserve. The days are getting shorter and cooler in the evenings. The autumnal chill in the air is becoming more noticeable as we approach the last week of September.
On my way down to the hide, I noticed that there are less flowers around but the hedgerows are becoming abundant with the fruit bringing some welcome colour. Summer flowers still with us are the Hemp Agrimony, Hedgerow Cranesbill, Stone Parsley, Wild Parsnip and Hogweed.
Plants currently fruiting are the Hawthorn, Dogwood and Guelder Rose. We have several apple trees, a pear tree and a plum tree fruiting on Radipole. Their arrival here is likely to be from people's discarded cores or fruit stones.
While the bramble is becoming heavily laden with blackberries, welcome snacks for birds and the smaller furry animals like the wood mouse.
On the way back to the Discovery Centre, I saw a number of dragonflies and a very obliging Red Darter Dragonfly allowed me to get close enough for a photo-shoot. I also saw Red Admirals, Speckled Woods and Small Whites butterflies making the most of the autumnal sunshine.
Other autumnal plants coming into flower now are Mugwort and Clematis.
For me, a sure sign that it's now Autumn is the Ivy coming into flower. Ivy starts fruiting in late October and this plant is invaluable to birds when food starts becoming more scarce as winter approaches.
My visit to the North Hide was rewarded with a Green Sandpiper flying in with two Black Tailed Godwits and a Little Egret. Other recent Autumn bird sightings include: A Citrine Wagtail was briefly at Radipole on 1st September. Yellow Wagtails roost on Radipole in the Autumn, and a peak count (so far) of 650 was recorded on 5th September. A long staying juvenile Garganey has been seen regularly since August and may still be present at time of writing. Finally another mega, in the form of a Spotted Crake was seen on 20th September.
For the latest sightings, contact Radipole Lake Discovery Centre, details below or pop in and see us. Hot and cold refreshments, snacks and ice creams available.
Telephone: 01305 778313
Saturday 17 September and Sunday 18 September
10.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m.
Do you want to see Kingfishers in the heart of Weymouth? It's the best time of year to see them so drop into our Discovery Centre over our Kingfisher weekend. We'll have volunteers on hand to direct you to the best view points and telescopes will be set up for you to have a great view.
Photo Credit: Rachel H
In addition there will be kingfisher quizzes, craft activities and loads more fun on this special, free family fun day.
Back in 1976:
Yes folks! 40 years ago this year Radipole Lake became the RSPB's latest addition! A birthday party was held in the Discovery Centre in Radipole Lake's honour to celebrate, attended by RSPB staff and volunteers.
Photo Credit: David Morphew
The fabulous birthday cake was made by Marion Podsiches of Marion Bakes. Marion supplies all our Discovery Centre cakes as well as supplying local cafes and businesses in Weymouth.
The party is in full swing and a visit from Michelle Trafford, former Discovery Centre Manager, here having a celebratory drink and catching up on the latest news with centre staff, Dan Bartlett.
Dan enthusiastically introducing Nick Bruce-White, RSPB's South West Regional Director to the party goers.
Nick saying a few words about Radipole Lake's successes over the past 40 years and more recent achievements. The key highlights from Nick's message are below:
Visitor statistics – since re-developing the Visitor Centre into its current form as a Discovery Centre with a small catering offer in 2012;
After the speech, Nick presents volunteer, Geoff Carey, with the 15 year Service Award. One of Geoff's roles has been the opening and closing of the North Hide.
Next the RSPB staff assemble for the official Cutting of the Birthday Cake . Left to right: Lindsey Death - Discovery Centre Manager, Dante Munns - Dorset and Wiltshire Team Manager, Nick Bruce-White - South West Regional Director, Dan Bartlett - Visitor Experience Assistant
Our South West Regional Director has the honour of cutting the birthday cake.
Happy 40th Birthday Radipole Lake! Folks, raise a glass of bubbly to the next 40 years!