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It's a dull grey day down here at Radipole Lake. The good news is the water levels are receding and the North Hide is now open. Sightings of the Marsh Harrier have been seen today and Spoonbills made an appearance over at Lodmoor this week.
Our Hooded Merganser known as "The Hoodie" to volunteers and staff was braving the rain. The Hoodie first arrived in Spring 2008 so he is coming up to his 9th year at Radipole. He obviously likes it here with us! If you have not seen The Hoodie yet, he is often found paddling in front of the Discovery Centre window or near the bridge outside. Pop into the Discovery Centre, the staff and volunteers can advise you.
The Discovery Centre are currently serving warmed Dorset Apple Cake with Clotted Cream. I have personally sampled a slice (strictly for blogging purposes of course). I can confirm it is highly recommended ;-) .
There are a number of events coming up this month:
Thursday 11th February - 11:00 to 14:00 pm
"Let Nature Inspire You" Art Workshop with artist Julie Herring, £15 per session. Booking is Essential. Call Julie on: 07720 353454 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday 20th February - 10:00 to 16:00 pm
Duck Day at Radipole Lake. This is a free family event to celebrate our ducks. There are duck quizzes, hook-a-duck game and duck crafts. Duck food is also available at £1.00 per bag. Duck identification sheets are also available to assist you in learning about our ducks.
Saturday 27th February - 10:00 to 16:00 pm
Optics Roadshow, a wide range of telescopes and binoculars on hand and knowledgeable experts will be on hand to guide you through the range. You are welcome to try before you buy! All RSPB branded equipment is reduced by 10%.
Some you may have read a previous blog on reed burning or seen some of the areas that have been burnt on Radipole. There is a file attachment below which shows you a one minute time lapse sequence of a burning day at Radipole carefully worked and watched over by Adam and John from the Environmental Services Team.
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,
Telephone: 01305 778313
Posted by Angelica
It was very wet and grey at Radipole Lake this morning, very few birds about. As you can see from the photos I took this morning, the water levels are high. Some areas are flooded, wellies are essential if you are visiting the North Hide or heading over to Lodmoor. As I write this the skies are now blue and the sun has come out.
The Discovery Centre is running the Big Garden Birdwatch Family Crafts Day on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th January in preparation for the main Birdwatch event next weekend. Both days start at 9:00 am and run through to 4:00 pm. You can make fatballs to take home for the birds in your garden for free and/or paint a ready made birdbox for £5. Big Garden Birdwatch leaflets are available in the Centre for you to take away. The leaflet has all the information you need on how you can get involved in the big event on Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st January. There are pictures of the common birds you are likely to see in your garden or local park. A survey form is included to record your counts and other wildlife.
This is a drop in event, advanced booking is not required. Contact the Discovery Centre for further information. Hot and cold refreshments and snacks are available. We look forward to meeting you!
What is the Big Garden Birdwatch all about?
The Big Garden Birdwatch started as a children’s activity 37 years ago back in 1979. It is still run in the same simple format today. This means the RSPB have collected 36 years of records for their scientists to analyse. Other surveys has shown that it's not just birds that face problems. The RSPB are also requesting that other wildlife is in gardens and parks is recorded.
Why take part in the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch?
With hundreds of thousands of people taking part each year, the RSPB get a snapshot of how the birds in the UK are doing. The more people who count, the more accurate that snapshot will be. The results of the survey help the RSPB to spot problems and find ways of putting them right. For example, results show that numbers of house sparrows and starlings have fallen, which could be due to a lack of food or somewhere safe to nest. That’s why the RSPB encourages people to give nature a home near them.
The Big Garden Birdwatch 2015 Results
In 2015 half a million people participated and counted 8,546,845 birds. The data collected has provided valuable information on our garden birds. For example, there are 80% fewer starlings and 58% fewer house sparrows in our gardens. Other interesting results from the Big Garden Birdwatch 2015:
On the upside:
On the downside:
The Top Ten Species counted in 2015:
The Top Ten Species counted in Dorset 2015:
For more information on the Big Garden Birdwatch and to sign up for your free pack, please visit www.rspb.org.uk/Birdwatch
You can contact Radipole Lake Discovery Centre by:
It's a beautiful sunny day down here at Radipole Lake. As you might expect after the recent rain, the water levels are higher than normal and the reserve is accessible but muddy in places. The North Hide is open but wellies and caution are required as the boardwalk is flooded or slippery in places. Over on Lodmoor wellies are essential as the reserve is flooded.
Radipole Lake volunteer, Peter, wandered around the reserve this morning litter picking. Peter returned with a bag of litter, reported sightings of Marsh Harrier, Kingfisher, Cetti's Warblers and Bearded Tits. Peter was suitably rewarded with a Nice Cup of Hot Chocolate, welcoming on this sunny but chilly day. Thank you Peter!
Another visitor report a Sparrowhawk sighting. The Hooded Merganser was also reported by the bridge near the Discovery Centre. The cold weather has brought in the ducks; Shelduck, Tufted Duck, Teal and Mallard.
This is a good time to take the opportunity to see the Bearded Tits. The weather has brought them into the reeds near the Discovery Centre. where they have been regular visitors for the past few days and can be easily seen through the telescope. The staff and volunteers will be pleased to assist you.
On my walk around the reserve this morning, I saw Robins, Dunnocks and a Wren. The Cow Parsley and Hemlock Water Dropwort leaves are well up and the Alexanders is in flower, normally they flower in March.
It's Otter Day tomorrow from 10:00 to 15:00 pm. Please call the Discovery Centre for further information.
Hot refreshments and snacks are available including a warm slice of Dorset apple cake and clotted cream.
Why Are We Cutting Scrub at Radipole Lake?
As you wander around the reserve you will notice that some parts have recently been cleared as illustrated in the photos below.
Over the next three years our reserve team staff & volunteers will be cutting back a large amount of scrub, initially concentrating on paths around the discovery loop. Scrub has many benefits, so we’re not completely getting rid of it. Scrub provides food & cover for many species of moths & butterflies and Cetti’s warblers breed here.
BUT if left without management it will become a problem.
1. Scrub will encroach on the reedbeds drying it out & changing the nature of the habitat which is called succession.
2. Paths will become overgrown & dangerous causing a continual management burden in cutting back.
3. Too much scrub will restrict views of the wider reserve.
Therefore it is being cut down on a rotational cycle, ensuring a careful balance is left, important for several species without impacting on the biodiversity of the reserve. Radipole & Lodmoor are designated as a reedbed and this special habitat must be maintained.
Why Are We Cutting & Burning Reeds at Radipole Lake?
We want to have a mixed age range of reeds, so therefore they get cut on rotation providing homes for different species. Ultimately we don’t want to reedbeds to dry out, so we are managing them to hold back succession.
The Trucksaw is a large bit of machinery that clears and creates waterways which allow fish and water movement. Certain sections are cut annually to bring wildlife closer to visitors.
Initial cutting creates new views as well as feeding area for bittern, water rail, dabbling ducks and wading birds. As the reeds grow, new reed has bigger seed heads providing great feeding area for bearded tits.
Over the last few years we’ve cut reed with traditional scythes, as educational sessions with school groups, we’ve let local thatchers cut some reed for themselves, used some Radipole reed for the Discovery Centre roof, had staff and volunteers cutting reed by hand as well as experimenting with larger machines. We are still exploring new ways to create a rich patchwork of varied reedbed using a variety of techniques.
You may be alarmed to see us burning the reeds. In order to hold back the reedbed drying out, we need to remove all the old leaf litter & reeds which are not of thatching quality. The most effective and economic way to do this is by controlled and supervised burning.
Happy New Year to you all from the RSPB staff and volunteers at Radipole Lake! The North Hide and boardwalk is unfortunately closed at the moment due to the high water levels. The majority of the reserve is still accessible. On a positive note the Alexanders is starting to flower in the car park and daffodils have been seen close to flowering owing to the current mild weather.
There are a number of events taking place at the Weymouth Discovery Centre in January including the RSPB's annual Big Garden Birdwatch at the end of this month. Hot and cold refreshments and snacks are available in our café at the Discovery Centre for all events.
Otter Day at Radipole Lake
Date: Saturday 16 January
Time: 10:00 am to15:00 pm
Come along to find out about the otters that live on our reserve. Otter Day is our way of celebrating these fantastic animals. There will be fun quizzes and otter themed crafts which includes making otter masks. Staff are on hand to tell you all about these secretive creatures, how to lookout for them and their signs. You may even be lucky enough to see an otter.
Big Garden Birdwatch Family Crafts Day
Dates: Saturday 23 January and Sunday 24 January
Time: 9.00 am to 16.00pm
Cost: £5 per birdbox made
Drop into our Weymouth Wetlands Discovery Centre anytime across this weekend and enjoy a range of craft activities to get you in the mood for our Big Garden Birdwatch weekend which takes place on 30th and 31st January. You can paint a birdbox to take home and put up or make a bird feeder.
Get Inspired by Nature with Local Artist Julie Herring
Date: Thursday 28 January - Booking is essential, call Julie Herring on: 07720 353454 or email: email@example.com
Time: 11:00 am to 14:00 pm
Materials Required: Bring your lunch, sketchpad and pencils.
Walk gently along the beautiful Radipole Lake observing the nature and wildlife. Artist Julie Herring will guide you to make a nature journal with notes and drawings as you walk and explore the reserve. You do not need to be an artist, walker, bird watcher or wildlife expert! This is for everyone, a day out to enjoy nature and creatively capture it.
Binocular and Telescope Roadshow
Date: Saturday 30th January
Time:10:00 am to 16:00 pm
A wide range of telescopes and binoculars on hand and knowledgeable experts will be on hand to guide you through the range. You are welcome to try before you buy! All RSPB branded equipment is reduced by 10%.
RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch Live
Dates: Saturday 30th and Sunday 31st January
Join the Radipole team and help them complete the reserve’s Birdwatch count. How many different species will you see over the weekend?
For more information on the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch 2016 and to request your free pack visit: https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/discoverandenjoynature/discoverandlearn/Birdwatch
We look forward to meeting you! For more information on any of the above events please contact the Weymouth Discovery Centre:
The start of a new year is a great time to start a new hobby like bird-watching. The RSPB are running three Bird-watching for Beginners Courses in early 2016 which are aimed specifically at complete novices. Learn how to identify a range of common birds with friendly experts at a relaxed pace.
Course 1: Tuesday 5th, 12th and 19th January
Course 2: Tuesday 2nd, 9th and 16th February
Course 3: Tuesday 1st, 8th and 15th March
All courses run from 10:00 to 12:00 pm and booking is Absolutely Essential. Tel: 07717 697958 or email Weymouth.firstname.lastname@example.org
Refreshments are available in the Discovery Centre.
Saturday 12th December 1:00 to 3:00 pm
The staff at Radipole Lake are delighted to announce that a very special guest will be spending the afternoon with us here at Radipole Lake - Father Christmas himself! Whilst his eight reindeer rest-up for the biggest night of their year, he called the Weymouth Wetlands Discovery Centre to ask if he could visit our Discovery Centre and help our family visitors connect with some of the nature reserve’s local wildlife and feed the ducks. Well, we just couldn’t say no and we can’t wait to meet him!
Christmas crafts indoors & mince pies for sale!
Duck Food £1
This is a FREE event and booking is not required.
For more information:
Binocular and Telescope Day
Saturday 12th December from 10:00 to 3:30 p.m.
Come along and browse our extensive range of optics, with experts on hand to advise. Try before you buy, brands to suit all budgets!
10% off all RSPB products!
Telephone: 01305 778313 or e-mail: Weymouth.email@example.com
Radipole Lake's patio has been closed to visitors for the past few weeks as it underwent a complete refurbishment and transformation.
The above photos show the patio in September before the refurbishment started. The photos below show the work which took place to transform the patio into a terrace.
View from the Pond Dipping Platform overlooking the reedbed.
View of the finished terrace overlooking the lake.
View of the observation area by the Discovery Centre. The metal safety rails are specially designed so that we can enjoy uninterrupted views across the lake.
The new terrace and pond dipping boardwalks.The new terrace is now ready for tables and chairs and for visitors to enjoy the view.
The RSPB is very grateful to the Coastal Community Fund who funded the project. The terrace was built by Flights of Fancy who are based in Norfolk. They also built the platforms on the reserve, the duck feeding platform, the pond dipping platform so Radipole Lake has had a long association with them.
The terrace will be open to the public tomorrow, weather permitting so...
Grid reference: SY6779 (+2km)
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