Radipole Lake

Weymouth wetlands

Weymouth wetlands
Do you love our nature reserves at Radipole Lake and Lodmoor? Share your thoughts with the community. Or if you're thinking about visiting and would like to find out more, ask away!

Radipole Lake

  • The reeds are alive with the sound of bird song

    They really are! All this warm sunny weather always helps to speed up the arrival of migrant birds and at the moment, they can’t get here quickly enough! Sand martins, house martins and swallows are streaming across the skies and the reed beds are filling up with reed and sedge warblers from Africa, to join the already resident Cetti’s warblers and bearded tits. Cetti’s warblers in particular are a bit easier to see at the moment. Don’t worry about going to look for them as they will find you! With their explosive loud call you cannot miss them. They are dark red-brown, whiter beneath with short wings but a full rounded tail. They liked it so much they stayed after breeding here in the UK for the first time in 1973. Cetti’s warbler, photo credit: Chris Gomersall.

    Along the hedgerows the blackthorn flowers are just fading as the hawthorn begins to bloom. At this time of year its easy to tell these two hedgerow friends apart as the blackthorn flowers first then come into leaf and the hawthorn gets its leaf first and then comes into flower usually in time for May day and hence its other name, ‘May.’ Hawthorn in bloom, photo credit: Naomi Bailey

     

     

    Marsh harriers are a regular feature of the sky line in Weymouth at the moment, with a fantastic 5 or 6 birds in residence and people have had spectacular views of them in flight, on the path up to the north hide, in fact if you are in the hide you may well miss the action! Harrier antic’s above Weymouth, photo credit: RSPB

     

    Over on Lodmoor two avocet have also put in an appearance which is unusual for the time of year and we are keeping our fingers crossed for the bitterns!

     

    Join in the Easter Fun!

    Fri 18 & Sat 19 April    Easter Fun Trail at Wild Weymouth Discovery Centre   10 am–3 pm

    See if you can answer all the questions on our trail and win a chocolatey reward.

    50p per child – no booking required. Info: 01305 778313.

  • One swallow doesn’t make a summer...

     but actually we have had a steady stream of swallows skimming across the skies of Radipole heading for unknown destinations across the UK. It never ceases to amaze me of the incredible journey these small birds take from the heat of South Africa to the temperate climes of Britain to breed. Swallow. Photo credit: Chris Gomerall (rspb-images.com).

    This spring we are also playing host to 15 or so shovelers who are extending their winter break into spring. These ducks have fantastic spatula shaped beaks that they use at the surface of the water to filter small insects and plants. As usual the males get all the colourful feathers with dark green heads, white breasts and chestnut flanks while the females are beautifully mottled brown. They are a key bird for Radipole Lake and it is great news that we have such good numbers at this time of year.

    The first cuckoo flower also known as ladies smock are out along the paths for those of you eagle eyed enough to spot their pale pink flowers amongst the green mass of spring growth.

    Over at Lodmoor the bitterns continue to boom and marsh harriers at Radipole continue to entertain everyone. What a great time of year.

    Upcoming events

    5 – 21   April                Easter Fun at Wild Weymouth Discovery Centre                 10 am–3 pm

    During the Easter holiday there will be crafts, pond dipping and other activities at the centre. Free family fun for all ages. Come along any day to take part. Free – no booking required.

     

    Thurs 10 April             Discover Radipole Walk                                                  10 am–12 noon

    This friendly walk is suitable for those who wish to find out more about our beautiful nature reserve in the heart of Weymouth and how the RSPB looks after it. Free binocular hire included.    Free – no booking required.

     

    Fri 18 & Sat 19 April    Easter Fun Trail at Wild Weymouth Discovery Centre  10 am–3 pm

    See if you can answer all the questions on our trail and win a chocolatey reward. 50p per child – no booking required.

  • Booming bittern!

    The hugely exciting news from our Lodmoor nature reserve is that we have a booming bittern. The crazy deep sound like someone blowing over the top of a bottle has been heard for over a week, coming from the reeds. Bitterns are shy herons and males ‘boom’ like this to attract females. We have had bitterns booming in the past but never for this length of time so we are hoping that they will breed.

    We have worked hard to get the reed bed into a healthy state at both Radipole Lake and Lodmoor including creating more ditches and open water and at Lodmoor installing an eel pass to allow eels into the waterways which happen to be to bitterns what chocolate is to humans.

    Bitterns are beautifully marked with brown and black streaky feathers, making them blend into the reeds superbly. Photo credit: RSPB

      

    Bitterns were nearing extinction in Britain 20 years ago, when only 11 pairs were recorded by the RSPB in England.  Since then, thanks to conservation projects in areas like the Avalon Marshes, the bittern has made a remarkable come-back and it would be wonderful if Lodmoor and Radipole Lake could play a part in the recovery success story of the bittern.

    Lodmoor has also been on the flight path of our migrating birds with swallow, osprey and wheatear passing through this week. Might be a good time to get down to Lodmoor!

    At Radipole Lake its all about the Marsh with Marsh harriers showing well in the skies and Marsh marigolds also known as Kingcup like yellow gold out in flower on the path up to the north hide amongst the reeds. They cheer up the dullest day.

     

    Marsh marigold in flower. Photo credit: Naomi Bailey

     

    Upcoming events

    Sun 30 March       Mother’s day special offer

    A half price cream tea for all Mother’s today.

    Come and relax in the Discovery Centre, or take a walk around the nature reserve. Today only we will be giving all Mums a half price cream tea!