The winter work program for wildlife continues at great pace with the creation of a massive (check out the picture!) scrape at the northern end of Radipole Lake for waders. Only completed a couple of weeks ago it has already attracted grey heron, common sandpiper, flocks of black-headed gulls and loafing ducks. The next step is to link the scrape to the public trails and install a viewing area.
Scrape near North hide. Mark Singleton, RSPB
Also seen around the nature reserve in the last few weeks have been fantastic views of bittern, kingfishers, marsh harrier and lots of bearded tits. Extra special comes in the form of a female long-tailed duck in winter plumage which arrived on the 21 October and is still around now. It has been visible from the Discovery Centre window on numerous occasions, how very convenient! While munching on ploughman’s and wonderful cake and sipping coffee its amazing what you see from this huge picture window. Its a great place to watch wildlife on cold wet days and the cake's not bad either!
Long-tailed duck pictures. Luke Phillips, RSPB
Another much rarer visitor has been a white-winged black tern, this young bird seems to have been wandering around the south coast and popped into Radipole briefly before heading off again realising that it should be elsewhere!
Over at Lodmoor people have been enjoying the winter evenings of starling antics as a few thousand flock together and put on an aerial display to rival any air show.
Last week a great bustard was spotted flying over presumably one from the reintroduction programme on Salisbury Plain. People have also been enjoying views of marsh harrier, bittern and bearded tits.
Up coming events
Christmas Crafts for Grown-ups at Wild Weymouth Discovery Centre.
Fri 28, 11 am-1 pm
Try your hand at making something to decorate your home this Christmas. £3 per adult. Booking essential on 01305 778313.
Christmas Crafts for Children at Wild Weymouth Discovery Centre.
Sat 29 & Sun 30, between 11 am-3 pm
We’ll be using natural materials to make something a
little bit different for Christmas. Free.
Hello, I'm Stewart, one of the Wardens here in Dorset. The RSPB will be holding a week of scrub clearance at it's Lodmoor nature reserve.
The northern end, running parallel to 2 Mile Coppice, has become increasingly overgrown. With your help we are looking to clear some of this scrub and bramble to enable a new fence line to be put in and start grazing the area to increase its wildlife diversity.
What will we be doing?
We will be cutting down the scrub and bramble using bow-saws, loppers and (for the RSPB staff) chainsaws. We will then try to create some habitat piles where we can and have the odd fire or two to keep warm and tidy any mess left behind to allow plants to grow after.
When will it happen?
We will be there all week from Monday 17th November until the end of Friday 21st. Start time is 10am till 4pm.
Where will we meet?
Weymouth Mount Pleasant Park and Ride are letting us use their site, a ticket will be issued on arrival.
What should I bring?
Bring a packed lunch and sensible shoes and clothing for an outdoor day. We will provide tools and gloves and there will be tea, coffee and biscuits if you can beat me to them.
I hope you can come a long to help and have a fun day.
To find out more contact our team on 01305 778313 or email mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Radipole Lake has been hooching with birds lately, our fantastic bearded tit walk was fully booked and people got great views of an amazing 50 bearded tits erupting from the reed bed, its been a great year for them. We also saw chiffchaff (still here!), marsh harrier (magnificent!), reed bunting (always nice to see them) and kingfisher (dazzling colours). We are ringing bearded tits on site to find out where they end up. If you happen to be around when it’s going on it’s a great chance to see these birds in all their amazing minute detail and see some important science happening. Numbers of bearded tits will start to reduce as they disperse elsewhere, hopefully the science will tell us where!
Bearded tit in the hand. Picture credit: Luke Phillips, RSPB
Also turning up in big numbers are Mediterranean Gulls with 100 recently arrived and numbers growing every year. Hard to believe that only a few years ago these were a real rarity. Some of these birds are ringed and reading the colour combinations enables us to see a couple of regulars turning up like our favourite R13U or R2D2 as he is affectionately known! These rings tell part of his life story and its fascinating seeing where he has been hanging out. First ringed as a chick in Pas-de-Calais in northern France he seems to spend his autumn and winter at Radipole Lake/Lodmoor, obviously he really likes it here and summers in France. Very nice too.
Med Gull R2D2 to his friends. Picture credit: Luke Phillips, RSPB
On another science theme ‘birds eye view’ technologies are being used to survey and monitor habitats on our reserve at Lodmoor using the sci fi sounding ‘Drone’. These remote controlled GPS mini helicopters are great for surveying inaccessible habitats like marshes and reed beds producing high quality images of the site quickly, easily and with less disturbance to wildlife than traditional methods and they are fun to fly too!
Drone view of Lodmoor. Picture credit: Drone/Matt Self, RSPB
Other exciting bird news comes in the form of a bittern seen flying around the reserve and an appearance of an avocet for a time last week. Radipole Lake is also home to a Dorset plant rarity golden dock, we had spotted it growing on the Discovery Centre Island so Luke Phillips donned his waders and went to have a look and discovered 24 plants over there!
Golden dock, living up to its name. Picture credit: Naomi Bailey, RSPB
Half term fun
Mon 27-Thurs 30 Bird feeder making sessions at Wild Weymouth Discovery Centre 1-2 pm
This is a great time of year to start feeding the birds. The nights are drawing in and the temperatures starting to drop which means birds will be looking for extra food. Join us to make your very own feeder to take home for your garden. 50p per feeder. No need to book. Info: 01305 778313.
Fri 31 Halloween Trail at Radipole Lake 10 am-3 pm
Join us if you dare to venture out into the weird and wild world of Radipole Lake. There’ll be a spooky trail to follow but also keep your eye peeled for the wildlife peeking back at you from their hiding places deep within the reeds. Free – no booking required. Info: 01305 778313.
Fri 31 Halloween Party at the Wild Weymouth Discovery Centre 6–7.30 pm
Come along in your spooky wildlife themed costume to an evening full of apple bobbing, scary music, games and more. You might also get to meet the Wicked Witch of the Weymouth Wetlands! Prize for the best fancy dress. All children must be accompanied by a responsible adult. Free but booking essential on 01305 778313.