Good news from Radipole! For the 8th year running our resident Marsh Harriers have successfully nested, and the three youngsters were seen in flight yesterday with mum and dad in attendance. So you could potentially see 5 of these magnificent birds of prey, right here in the centre of Weymouth.
To help a bit I have posted a couple of pictures, one of a juvenile from 2011, note the creamy orange head, and one of the breeding pair (again from 2011), note the female is larger than the male.
Were all really excited about this, and are hoping for further good news, as there are a pair of harriers nesting at Lodmoor as well. Now is the perfect time to come to Radipole and take a walk up to North Hide (open between 8.30 and 4.30 every day), which is currently the best place to look for the new arrivals. But don't delay, because they won't stay around for long.
Now is the prime time to see Scarlet Tiger Moths, one of our more striking invertebrates, two were seen on Radipole this morning. Their glossy black fore-wings with blobs of white and yellow and their scarlet hind wings make them easily identifiable at rest. Their strong presence on the reserves is due to the profusion of their caterpillar's food plants - Comfrey, Hemp Agrimony, Nettle, Bramble, Meadowsweet and Sallow - most of which thrive here due to careful management on the verges and elsewhere.
Today's photo of our Brown Bee Orchid. The count so far is 5 Bee Orchids including the Brown Bee and 28 Southern Marsh Orchids.
For more information on the Marsh Harriers and for the orchid locations, 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
Lodmoor had the best of the recent sightings. A booming Bittern was there from 8th May although it's gone quiet now. Other highlights include up to 10 species of waders including Black Winged Stilt (10th May), summer plumage Knot and Grey Plover, Little Stint, lots of Whimbrel and a couple of Avocet. A Bee Eater, Hoopoe and Red Rumped Swallow were the standout species but also Short Eared Owl, Turtle Dove, Garganey, Cattle Egret and Spoonbill are all worth mentioning. There is another pair of Marsh Harriers nesting at Lodmoor and the Common Terns are getting off to a late start on the islands but the Canada Geees are making it difficult for them. Little Terns have been seen fishing at both sites. Mammals are also showing well with the discovery of a Badger sett on site and up to 4 bat species (Pipistrelle, Noctule, Serotine and Daubenton's) emerging from nearby and hunting over the reserve.
Radipole Lake's best of the spring migrants were a Red Backed Shrike, Garganey, Little Gull, Hobby, Wood Warbler and Red Kite. The Marsh Harrier pair have nested again, fledglings expected soon but Cetti's Warblers have been the bird of the month with in excess of 80 pairs nesting. The birds have been easy to hear and see lately. A Bittern has been sighted on Buddleia Loop recently. Water Voles have also been seen at the locked gate bridge, Smooth Newt is a new species for the pond dipping area and Bee and Southern Marsh Orchids are starting to come into flower. On Sunday 12th June an Arctic Skua flew over Radipole and on Wednesday 15th June, Great White Egrets were seen at Lodmoor and Radipole Lake.
Notable insects include on both sites include the rare spider Hyposinga heri, Painted Lady, Brimstone, Orange Tip, Holly Blue Butterflies and the Banded and Beautiful Demoiselle Damselflies.
For the latest sightings and orchid locations, contact Radipole Lake Discovery Centre, details below, or pop in and see us. Hot and cold refreshments, snacks and ice creams available.
The Brown Bee Orchid is back with us again this year! It was found a few days ago a short distance away from last year's plants. I took these photos on the Buddleia Loop this morning.
I counted 4 Bee Orchids this morning, all with different markings on the lower lip. Southern Marsh Orchids are up to 4 plants in the hedgerow on the way down to the North Hide. The numbers of both orchids are expected to increase over the next two weeks.
As I arrived at the Discovery Centre this morning, a flock of 10 Mediterranean Gulls circled overhead and settled down for a short while on the lake in front of the Centre window. All looking splendid in their summer plumage. There was also good views of the Marsh Harriers at the North Hide. Other birds about include Oystercatcher, Little Egret, Gadwall, Bearded Tits, Cetti's, Reed and Sedge Warblers. Also young families of Mallard, Coot and Mute Swans seen around the Discovery Centre. Over on Lodmoor the Bitter has still been sighted along with sightings of the Marsh Harriers.