Its 2015!! and winter has well and truly arrived. Across Radipole Lake amongst the floods we have had freezing winds, frosty nights and icy days. All this hasn’t deterred the male and female marsh harrier from cavorting about as if it were spring, tumbling through the air, sky dancing and people have been treated to fantastic views of the courting couple. Amongst the reeds, bearded tits are being seen in good numbers and a bittern has been spotted both on Lodmoor and Radipole Lake.
Radipole Lake is such a great place to see the often elusive water rail and I have often watched them from the cosy warmth of the Discovery Centre window. At the moment we have one affectionately known as Wally that at dusk has been out on the duck feeding platform.
The elusive and beautiful; water rail. Photo credit: Mike Richards (rspb-images.com)
Over on Lodmoor the buds of the hedgerow bushes like blackthorn are attracting good numbers of bullfinches, the males showing up fantastically well in their pink suits.
Male bullfinch. Photo credit: John Bridges (rspb-images.com)
Don’t forget its Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend, 24 and 25 January, giving people across the UK the chance to be part of the world’s biggest wildlife survey. Around half a million people across the UK took part in 2014 and between them counted more than 7 million birds.
Get counting! Photo credit: Rahul Thanki (rspb-images.com)
As part of the Big Garden Birdwatch, RSPB Radipole Lake nature reserve in Weymouth will be hosting a series of special events during the weekend with something for everyone.
On Saturday 24, get involved in the family fun and make a fantastic magical mini-garden out of natural materials anytime between 11 am and 2 pm. £2.50 per child. Dan Bartlett, Senior Visitor Centre Assistant said “Bring the kids down for a great time using an array of natural materials to make a mini garden, let them run wild around the nature reserve and enjoy the tea and cake in the Discovery Centre whatever the weather.”
On Sunday 25, there will be FREE guided walks around Radipole Lake nature reserve leaving from the Discovery Centre at 10.30 am and 1.30 pm both lasting an hour and a half. Dan Bartlett, Senior Visitor Centre Assistant said, “Come on down to Radipole Lake nature reserve for an easy stroll around this stunning wildlife site, comical bearded tits, majestic marsh harriers, who knows what we might see!
As well as this, you can find out about taking part in Big Garden Birdwatch weekend noting the highest number of each bird species seen in their gardens or local park at any one time then submitting the results to the RSPB. For the second year, running the RSPB is also asking participants to log the other wildlife they see in their outside spaces, to help the charity build an overall picture of how important our gardens are for giving nature a home.
Find out more about the Big Garden Birdwatch at: rspb.org.uk/Birdwatch
Find out more about these events at Radipole Lake at: rspb.org.uk/events or calling 01305 778313.
And lastly some sad news after 10 years as Wild Weymouth Discovery Centre Manager, Michelle Williams has moved on to pastures new. Michelle ensured the smooth running of the centre over the years and was a great people person, fantastic at helping people to have a great experience at Radipole Lake. We will miss you and wish you all the best on your new path. Always ready to dress up in fancy dress it was hard to choose a goodbye picture!
Goodbye and Good luck Michelle from all the RSPB Dorset Team; staff and volunteers alike.