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Nesting season has now finished and it's a good time to clear the island in front of the Discovery Centre which becomes overgrown during the summer. The main common plants found on the island are Stinging Nettles, Curled Dock, Redshank, Purple Loosestrife, Hemp Agrimony and Mugwort. However one of Radipole's, rarities the Golden Dock (more info on previous blogs) has also made the island one it's homes. So a couple of weeks ago, Danny our intrepid DC staff, waded across to the island to mark out the Golden Dock plants with sticks so that they could be left. I had to abandon my attempt to visit the island due to very leaky waders :(.
Earlier this week Monday's Volunteer Group made the journey across to the island to begin the clearing. A small punt was taken out to the island by two of the volunteers.
The rest of the group slowly made their way over in their waders.
Leader of the group Bob gave us a wave before he disappeared into the reeds to make his way across. Everyone made it without any wet mishaps and gave the DC a wave back from the island.
After clearing half the island, the punt was loaded up and gently made its way back to the DC.
Other clearing which has taken place during the last week is by the patio and pond dipping area. Works are currently underway to extend the size of the current patio. This will enhance the RSPB experience for visitors and get closer to the birds while having a nice cuppa.
For further information contact the Weymouth Wetlands Discovery Centre on 01305 778313.
Posted by Angelica
Autumn is one of the best times to see Bearded Tits at RSPB Radipole Lake. Its when they migrate and when they start to erupt. Intrigued? If you've never seen one, or would like to find out more about these beautiful birds, then join our guided walks with an expert.
Bearded Tit Walk Dates:
Wednesday 30th September - 8:00 to 10:30 a.m.
Friday 2nd October - 8:00 to 10:30 a.m.
Meet at the Wild Weymouth Discovery Centre, RSPB members £6, non members £8, children half price. BOOKING ESSENTIAL.
For further information and to book your place contact the Discovery Centre on 01305 778313.
Did you know that otters breed right here in the middle of Weymouth? Otters have been sighted at Radipole for the past 10 years. There is a resident female that breeds every year.
Join us for the evening as we try to track down some signs of these elusive creatures like footprints and smelly spraint (poo) and perhaps if we're extremely lucky, even catch a glimpse of a real otter! This is also an opportunity to visit the conservation area at the north of the reserve.
Meet at the Discovery Centre. The event runs from 5 pm - 7 pm. Arrive at 4:30 pm if you would like a hot drink before the walk. You can also see a recording from Ottercam.
Otter Evening Dates:
Friday 30th October
Friday 6th November
Friday 13th November
Friday 20th November
Friday 27th November
Friday 4th December
Appropriate dress and wellies are essential as we will be off the beaten track.
Price: £6 RSPB members, £8 non members, half price for children. BOOKING ESSENTIAL. For further information and to book your place either contact the Discovery Centre on 01305 778313 or e-mail email@example.com
This morning I was fortunate enough to see a Kingfisher at the North Hide. This Kingfisher sat for a long time on a branch preening itself giving visitors good views. Kingfishers were also seen throughout the day by visitors at the Discovery Centre.
Today's sightings are very welcome news for the forthcoming Kingfisher Weekend the Discovery Centre are holding in two weeks time. Details below:
Kingfisher Weekend 19th & 20th Sept 10:00 am - 4:00 pm
September is one of the best months to look for Kingfishers at RSPB Radipole Lake. Why not come to this special FREE weekend event. There will be staff positioned around the reserve to help you locate these beautiful birds. There will be a Kingfisher quiz for the kids, and Kingfisher cakes on sale in the Discovery Centre. Just come in to the Wild Weymouth Discovery Centre between 10:00 am and 4:00 pm on either day, and staff will direct you from there. We can even hire you a pair of Binoculars. Tel 01305 778313 for details.
Great Crested Grebe Chicks can still been seen on Radipole Lake this late in summer. A couple of weeks ago RSPB volunteer David Jones took these photos of a pair of proud Great Crested Grebe parents and their two chicks. When the chicks hatch, they ride on their parents back for the first few weeks. The chicks are vulnerable to predators in the water and so hitching a lift in this way offers them some safety. Unlike their parents the chicks are striped all over with red patches on their heads. The stripes remain until winter when their new plumage appears.
Great Crested Grebes can have an extended breeding season. Sometimes they can be on eggs as early as mid February, so it is possible for them to have two broods a year. Another possibility is this pair may have bred earlier but had been unsuccessful in rearing the young, perhaps due to the weather, so started again late. Either way they are rather cute!
For bird updates and recent sightings, contact the Discover Centre on 01305 778313.
I have not previously blogged about the Golden Dock as it tends to appear in the conservation areas which are not accessible to the public. Not this year! I am pleased to report the Golden Dock has appeared in very public part of the reserve right next door to the Discovery Centre and under the noses of the DC staff!
This a Dorset Rarity. It has long been known at what was it's only site over at Lodmoor. In 2009 a further 50 plants were discovered at Overcombe when several members of the Dorset Group and myself surveyed the area.
In the winter of 2007 the ditches at Radipole were cleared. In August of 2008 our former Site Manager, Nick Tomlinson, found some plants at the edges of one of the ditches that had been cleared. This was the first time the Golden Dock had been recorded at Radipole since 1960. More plants were subsequently found on ground which had been disturbed during the restoration of the North End of the reserve. The RSPB are the custodians of the only sites in Dorset where this scarce dock appears.
Last year I was delighted to discover the Golden Dock on the island in front of the Discovery Centre while I was looking through the telescope. It was September and the Dock has turned bright gold as its seed heads had ripened making it easy to spot. Today I again look through the telescope looking for signs of its presence but none were obvious. While Danny was filling up the tea machine, I thought I would have a look at the reed bed by the patio as I hadn't looked lately. I discovered a plant right next to the wall! After a Radipole cuppa, Danny found me a step ladder and some wellies and I went over the top and surveyed the area. I counted 30 plants. If you look over the wall of the patio you can see several plants. There are some very good specimens next to the DC. Ask the DC staff who will be pleased to show you
Other plants I found were the Celery Leaved Buttercup which likes marshy areas and the Marsh Yellowcress which favours areas which dry out.
Water Chickweed also favours marshy ground while the Redhank, also known as Redleg, likes bare ground and mud. I have noticed in the past the Golden Dock and Redshank are often seen in the same location suggesting they prefer the same conditions.
It was nice to find a large clump of the Common Orache which prefers bare disturbed ground.
If you require further information, please contact the Discovery Centre on 01305 778313.
The Lodmoor Marsh Harrier pair and their 4 fledglings have now dispersed as have the Radipole pair with 2 young.
There are chicks, ducklings and cygnets about on both reserves. Oystercatchers at Lodmoor have 2 healthy chicks, Mute Swans on both sites have good numbers of cygnets with them. Great Crested Grebe chicks can be seen outside Radipole Discovery Centre and Bearded Tit juveniles may be seen around Buddleia Loop or from the Concrete Bridge. Ducklings, including Tufted Duck, Shoveler, Gadwall and Pochard may be seen on both reserves.
The Common Terns from Lodmoor have dispersed, having had a tough season due to gull predation. They only raised 3 young this year.
Mediterranean Gull numbers are building back up (230+ counted on 17th July).
A greater variety of waders is being reported from Lodmoor, and there have been more reports of Bearded Tits as their youngsters have become more mobile.
Roe deer have been seen regularly on Radipole. Bat species include Pipistrelle, Noctule, Serotine and Daubentons Bats most of which are being seen on our regular Bat Walks, ask staff for more details.
Butterflies, Moths and other insects
Our survey team have recorded Painted Lady, Brimstone, Holly Blue, Large Skipper, Scarlet Tiger, Hummingbird Hawk-moth, Common Blue Damselfly, Blue Tailed Damselfly, Broad Bodied Chaser and Tree Bumblebee recently, as well as many commoner species.
The most exciting news is the discovery of an extremely rare (for the UK) spider species called Hyposinga heri. This tiny spider (approx 3mm) was on the point of being declared extinct, when they were discovered by our Survey Team at Radipole and then at Lodmoor. Ask staff for more details.
June and July are the best times to look along the sides of the paths for Orchid species. These include Pyramidal Orchids which are in flower and Strawberry Clover has been recorded on the way to the North Hide. In the hedgerows are meadowsweet, fleabane, wild angelica, wild parsnip, wild carrot, ribbed melilot, stone parsley, hedge parsley and mugwort. In the wetter parts of the reserve there is water mint, marsh woundwort, purple loosestrife, square stemmed St John's wort, water figwort, water chickweed and marsh bedstraw. Buddleia and hemp agrimony are in bloom attracting the butterflies. Along the paths is red bartsia.
If you have any questions pop into the Weymouth Discover Centre or telephone on 01305 778313.
The Lodmoor Marsh Harriers were joined by 3 fledglings around 20th June, and then a 4th youngster in the first week of July. Marsh Harriers also nest at Radipole and 2 fledglings were see from the North Hide on 6th July. A Bittern was at Lodmoor on 21st June.
There are chicks, ducklings and cygnets about on both reserves. Oystercatchers at Lodmoor have 2 healthy chicks, Mute Swans on both sites have good numbers of cygnets with them. A Great Crested Grebe juvenile can be seen outside Radipole Discovery Centre and Bearded Tit juveniles may be seen around Buddleia Loop or from the Concrete Bridge. Ducklings, including Tufted Duck, Gadwall and Pochard may be seen on both reserves.
The Common Tern chicks at Lodmoor have suffered from Herring Gull predation this year, with only 3 chicks left on one of the main islands on 9th July. A few of the adults are attempting second broods.
Other recent sightings include Cetti’s Warbler (which are everywhere) Hobby, Mediterranean Gull numbers are building back up and the Hooded Merganser is still around but looking very scruffy as he is in eclipse plumage.
An Otter was seen twice on June 12th. Bat species at Radipole include Pipisterelle, Noctule, Serotine and Daubenton’s Bats, most of which are being seen on our regular Bat Walks. Ask staff for more details. Water Vole sightings are on the increase too.
The most exciting news is the discovery of an extremely rare (for the UK) spider species called Hyposinga heri. This tiny spider (approx 3mm) was on the point of being declared extinct, when they were discovered by our Radipole Survey Team. The spiders were also discovered on Lodmoor. Ask staff for more details.
June and July are the best times to look along the sides of the paths for Orchid species. These include Bee Orchids, including the nationally rare Atrofuscus Brown Bee Orchid. See staff or the Radipole Map in the DC for locations. Southern Marsh Orchids are going over now, and Pyramidal Orchids are coming into flower.
The Pyramidal Orchids are now in flower here at Radipole Lake. I counted twenty plants on my walk this morning and I am sure more will appear in the next week or two. They can easily be seen after the kingfisher gate, about 50 paces on the left hand side of the path on the way down to the North Hide.
Elsewhere on the reserve, the hedgerows are beginning to change to the yellow and pinks of summer wild flowers. The Greater Willowherb is starting to bloom in the wetter parts of the reserve. This plant can grow up to 1.8 m tall. Near the Pyramidal Orchids is a stand of Perforate St John's Wort with its large yellow flowers.
Over at the Discovery Centre there were two Little Egrets on the island and five Grey Herons nearby. Over at the North Hide, the Marsh Harriers, Peregrine, Kestrel and Hobby have been seen. The Bearded Tits have been seen by the Discovery Centre more frequently in recent days.
The Brown Bee Orchid is still attracting visitors on the reserve. The very last flowers at the top of the spike are now in bloom. The photos below were taken this morning.
Join us for a guided mini beast hunt followed by a bring your own picnic by the lake. Suitable for children of all ages, accompanied by an adult. at 11:30am Thursday; 28th July, 4th,11th and 18th August.
Booking essential - cost £3 per child or £e per child if RSPB member
Contact Lindsey on: firstname.lastname@example.org or 01305 778313 to book.
Grid reference: SY6780 (+2km)
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