Spring has been slow starting this year but we are now getting reports of cygnets and ducklings on both reserves. The Cetti's and Reed Warblers are continuing to be noisy in the reedbeds and butterflies are starting to be seen more frequently. Today's sightings include the Common Blue, Holly, Blue Speckled Wood and Brimstone. Orange Tips have been frequently seen in the past week. A Blue-tailed Damselfly was seen this morning. Grey Mullet have been mating and spawning in the lake making it look like the water is coming to the boil in places.
The reserve is now becoming more colourful. The Cow Parsley is blooming at its peak and Hemlock Water Dropwort and Hogweed are coming into flower. Common Vetch, Hedgerow Cranesbill, Cut-Leaved Cranesbill, Comfrey, Common Sorrel, Marsh Marigold, Buckthorn and Guelder Rose are adding splashes of colour along the paths.
During the past week there have been some notable bird sightings on both reserves.
Friday 13th May - a male Garganey was seen over on Lodmoor and at Radipole the first mallard ducklings were seen
Saturday 14th May - a Bee-Eater and a Red Rumped Swallow were seen over on Lodmoor
Monday 16th May - 2 Great White Egrets were seen at the North Hide on Radipole Lake throughout the day
Tuesday 17th May - the first swan cygnets were seen at Radipole Lake
Wednesday 18th May - a peregrine and 3 Marsh Harriers were seen over at Lodmoor
Thursday 19th May - Common Tern numbers increased to 30+ but not nesting just yet
The most notable event is a Bittern booming over at Lodmoor for the past 2 weeks. It's even been heard booming as far away as Radipole Lake. To date there's no evidence that its attracted a female, but we wish him good luck.
For the latest sightings and further information on the above, contact Radipole Lake Discovery Centre, details blow, or pop in and see us. Hot and cold refreshments and snacks available.
Telephone: 01305 778313
It is waderfest over at Lodmoor now! A number of species are can seen including up to 100 Dunlin, Knot, Grey Plover, Common and Green Sandpiper, Bar Tailed Godwits and Whimbrel. The waders are now looking their best in their stunning summer plumage. The Terns have arrived including the rarer Little Tern and the Oystercatchers are also now nesting. I actually saw an Oystercatcher on the train tracks at Weymouth station this morning! In addition the Bittern has been reported to be booming.
On Tuesday, a single Black Winged Stilt spent the day at Lodmoor. The Stilt is part of the Avocet family and lives mainly in freshwater and saltwater marshes, mudflats, shallow lakes and coastal lagoons.
It feeds in shallow water, wading and catching prey on or near the surface. It picks up its food from sand or water using its long thin needle shaped bill. The Black-winged Stilt feeds on aquatic insects, worms, tadpoles, water bugs and beetles and fly larvae, molluscs and spiders. Its very long legs allow it to walk in deeper water than other waders.
The Black-winged Stilt has rapid direct flight, with steady wing-beats. Legs are projected behind the tail of up to 20 cm, and neck is slightly held.
For the latest sightings, contact Radipole Lake Discovery Centre or pop in and see us. Hot and cold refreshments and snacks available.
The reed beds were alive with the sound of birdsong as I walked around Radipole Lake this gorgeous sunny morning. I could see and hear Cetti's, Reed and Sedge Warblers chirping away. Swifts were screaming overhead along with Swallows and Sand Martins. The hedgerows are becoming more colourful now, plants coming into flower now include Cow Parsley, Hemlock Water Dropwort, Common Vetch, Common Comfrey, Common and Meadow Buttercups. Pale Flax, Ox Eye Daisy and Common Corn-salad were flowering just outside the reserve. Also about on the wing were Orange Tip and Small White Butterflies.
Outside the Discovery Centre on the island were Oystercatchers, Common Sandpipers, a Black Tailed Godwit, Gadwall, Tufted Duck, Pochards and several Little Egrets. Our resident Hooded Merganser was also on the island having a morning nap. Danny, Senior Assistant in the Discover Centre reported a large flock of Swifts arriving over at Lodmoor last weekend.
Amongst the latest arrivals are the Common Terns, two could be seen this morning on the island and others can be seen over at Lodmoor looking for suitable nesting sites. The Sandwich Terns have also arrived at Lodmoor but nest over on Brownsea Island. Lastly the Little Terns have arrived down at Chesil Beach. These are the terns that you are mostly likely to see in the Weymouth area, pictures below will help you to identify these beautiful birds.
The Little Tern is a delightful chattering seabird is the UK's smallest tern. It is short-tailed and has a fast flight. Its bill is a distinctive yellow with a black tip. It is noisy at its breeding colony where courtship starts with an aerial display involving the male calling and carrying a fish to attract a mate which chases him up high before he descends, gliding with wings in a 'V'. Its vulnerable nesting sites and its decline in Europe make it an Amber List species.
Common Terns are delightful silvery-grey and white birds have long tails which have earned them the nickname 'sea-swallow'. They have a buoyant, graceful flight and frequently hover over water before plunging down for a fish. They are often noisy in company and breed in colonies.
The Sandwich tern is a very white tern, with a black cap on its head, a long black bill with a yellow tip and short black legs. In flight it shows grey wedges on its wings tips and it has a short forked tail. In the UK, many of the important colonies survive because they are on nature reserves.
Water voles occur mainly along well vegetated banks of slow flowing rivers, ditches, dykes and lakes. Our Discovery Centre Manager, Lindsey Death saw a Water Vole, on the reserve a few days ago and managed to capture a photo. Water voles tend to be active more during the day than at night so you are more likely to see them than the more elusive otter which are also on the reserve.
For more information on any of the above, contact Radipole Lake Discovery Centre or pop in and see us. Hot and cold refreshments and snacks available.