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A beautiful day at Radipole Lake today with sunshine and blue skies. Though many of us are still walking around with our T-shirts and sandals there is a distinctly autumnal feel to the reserve. The days are getting shorter and cooler in the evenings. The autumnal chill in the air is becoming more noticeable as we approach the last week of September.
On my way down to the hide, I noticed that there are less flowers around but the hedgerows are becoming abundant with the fruit bringing some welcome colour. Summer flowers still with us are the Hemp Agrimony, Hedgerow Cranesbill, Stone Parsley, Wild Parsnip and Hogweed.
Plants currently fruiting are the Hawthorn, Dogwood and Guelder Rose. We have several apple trees, a pear tree and a plum tree fruiting on Radipole. Their arrival here is likely to be from people's discarded cores or fruit stones.
While the bramble is becoming heavily laden with blackberries, welcome snacks for birds and the smaller furry animals like the wood mouse.
On the way back to the Discovery Centre, I saw a number of dragonflies and a very obliging Red Darter Dragonfly allowed me to get close enough for a photo-shoot. I also saw Red Admirals, Speckled Woods and Small Whites butterflies making the most of the autumnal sunshine.
Other autumnal plants coming into flower now are Mugwort and Clematis.
For me, a sure sign that it's now Autumn is the Ivy coming into flower. Ivy starts fruiting in late October and this plant is invaluable to birds when food starts becoming more scarce as winter approaches.
My visit to the North Hide was rewarded with a Green Sandpiper flying in with two Black Tailed Godwits and a Little Egret. Other recent Autumn bird sightings include: A Citrine Wagtail was briefly at Radipole on 1st September. Yellow Wagtails roost on Radipole in the Autumn, and a peak count (so far) of 650 was recorded on 5th September. A long staying juvenile Garganey has been seen regularly since August and may still be present at time of writing. Finally another mega, in the form of a Spotted Crake was seen on 20th September.
For the latest sightings, 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
Posted by Angelica
Saturday 17 September and Sunday 18 September
10.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m.
Do you want to see Kingfishers in the heart of Weymouth? It's the best time of year to see them so drop into our Discovery Centre over our Kingfisher weekend. We'll have volunteers on hand to direct you to the best view points and telescopes will be set up for you to have a great view.
Photo Credit: Rachel H
In addition there will be kingfisher quizzes, craft activities and loads more fun on this special, free family fun day.
Back in 1976:
Yes folks! 40 years ago this year Radipole Lake became the RSPB's latest addition! A birthday party was held in the Discovery Centre in Radipole Lake's honour to celebrate, attended by RSPB staff and volunteers.
Photo Credit: David Morphew
The fabulous birthday cake was made by Marion Podsiches of Marion Bakes. Marion supplies all our Discovery Centre cakes as well as supplying local cafes and businesses in Weymouth.
The party is in full swing and a visit from Michelle Trafford, former Discovery Centre Manager, here having a celebratory drink and catching up on the latest news with centre staff, Dan Bartlett.
Dan enthusiastically introducing Nick Bruce-White, RSPB's South West Regional Director to the party goers.
Nick saying a few words about Radipole Lake's successes over the past 40 years and more recent achievements. The key highlights from Nick's message are below:
Visitor statistics – since re-developing the Visitor Centre into its current form as a Discovery Centre with a small catering offer in 2012;
After the speech, Nick presents volunteer, Geoff Carey, with the 15 year Service Award. One of Geoff's roles has been the opening and closing of the North Hide.
Next the RSPB staff assemble for the official Cutting of the Birthday Cake . Left to right: Lindsey Death - Discovery Centre Manager, Dante Munns - Dorset and Wiltshire Team Manager, Nick Bruce-White - South West Regional Director, Dan Bartlett - Visitor Experience Assistant
Our South West Regional Director has the honour of cutting the birthday cake.
Happy 40th Birthday Radipole Lake! Folks, raise a glass of bubbly to the next 40 years!
We have been lucky enough to see sightings of some of our more elusive shy furry creatures on both our reserves and we have photographic evidence thanks to some of our visitors.
Photo Credit: Fox Images by Nicki Maslen
The Fox has been seen from our Discovery Centre window several times cautiously stalking the birds much to the delight of our visitors, particularly the children. The Fox is likely to be a cub born this year.
Photo Credit: Otter Images by John Wall
Last week, Otters were seen 5 out of 7 mornings between 5:00 a.m. and 7.45 a.m., but also from the Discovery Centre windows at 3.30. p.m and at dusk. They are probably this years cubs. There may be two cubs, possibly 3 cubs.
Photo Credit: Image by Paula Redmond
The Badgers were seen over at Lodmoor. They are often sighted regularly on the Creatures of the Night Walks.
Well, maybe not quite that many shades. During the summer months of July and August, Radipole's hedgerows have a distinct pinky-purpley tinge to them. Below are the wild flowers you can currently see on the reserve, in their various shades of pink and purple.
Great Willowherb also know as Codlins-and-Cream is a tall plant and easily recognised with its large flowers and softly downy stalk and seed pods. It grows in the damper hedgerows often alongside the equally tall Purple Loosestrife with its four-sided stem
Great Willowherb attracts butterflies and insects, here with a Brimstone Butterfly.
Marsh Woundwort is another tall plant of damp hedgerows often growing in large colonies.
Hemp Agrimony is also abundant, its dense small flower heads attract butterflies.
Spear Thistle attracts insects with its large flowers, it is easily recognisable with its winged stems and yellow tipped spines. The Pyramidal Orchids are now starting to go over, this year's count was 18.
Red Bartsia is a much smaller plant that grows in dry places. These plants were likely to have been brought on to the reserve as seeds when the paths were re-laid.
Strawberry Clover is much smaller than the Red Clover and easily recognisable by its seed heads which look more like raspberries. It can be found on the edge of the paths near the boardwalk down to the North Hide. This plant is often found in damp places near the sea.
Birds are quiet at the moment though we are getting large numbers of Canada Geese, Grey Herons and Coots on the lake in front of our Discovery Centre. Little Egrets are coming in close to the Centre windows offering good views. and the Mute Swan families are growing up fast. The Swifts and Swallows are still around. There was a Green Sandpiper at the North Hide. Butterflies seen in the last few days include the Painted Lady, Red Admiral, Small White and Brimstone.
July is the the time when we starting noticing the changes in birds and flowers which signals that we are advancing towards late Summer/Early Autumn. This month has been warm and dry, water levels are slightly lower than normal, therefore more muddy areas have been exposed which means lots of waders visiting Weymouth! Many of the waders are now on passage and juveniles are fledging and exploring.
Our WaderFest began on 7th July with the arrival of 2 Little Ringed Plover juveniles and on the 8th July 29 Black Tailed Godwits were counted. On 14th July Common Sandpipers, Black Tailed Godwits, Dunlin, Lapwings, 7 Redshank and the first Snipe was seen over on Lodmoor. Green Sandpipers arrived on 21st July and a Wood Sandpiper was seen on 25th, 26th and 27th July. The Oystercatcher pairs on both reserves have successfully raised 2 chicks each. The Common Terns on Lodmoor started fledging on 14th July to date, 20+ juveniles have been counted.
The Little Ringed Plovers, Green Sandpipers and Black Tailed Godwits are still regularly being seen at the moment.
Other notable sightings this month:
13th July - 2 Red Kites at Radipole Lake
18th and 19th July - a Great White Egret on Lodmoor
An Otter with 3 cubs has been seen several times at Radipole in the evenings.
Now is a good time to come to Radipole Lake and Lodmoor to see our resident Marsh Harriers. Both pairs have successfully bred this year with 3 juveniles each so potentially we can see 10 Marsh Harriers on the wing. There were very good views of the Harriers in front of the North Hide lunchtime calling to their juveniles. At times the Harriers were flying very close to the hide providing a spectacular sight. This photo is one that Allan Nielson took in 2011.
It is one of our quieter times for birds but there are Common Terns, Oystercatchers, Common Sandpipers, Little Egrets Swifts and House Martins about. The Cetti's and Reed Warblers continue to be noisy in the reedbeds and Bearded Tits are commonly being seen. Many of our ducks including the Hooded Merganser are now in eclipse plumage.
The hedgerows are becoming very colorful with Purple Loosestrife, Hemp Agrimony, Ribbed Melilot, Perforate St John's Wort to name but a few of our wildflowers. Today I counted 20 Pyramidal Orchids now blooming near the Kingfisher Gate. Butterflies and Dragonflies are becoming more plentiful.
For the latest sightings, contact Radipole Lake Discovery Centre, details below, or pop in and see us. Hot and cold refreshments, snacks and ice creams available.
I am away now for the next 2 week, I hope to update the blog at the end of July.
All of Radipole Lake's orchids are in currently in flower. This is likely to be the last opportunity to see our Brown Bee Orchid at its best this weekend as the flower at the top of the plant is in bloom. A couple of the typical Bee Orchids are still flowering but will be going over in the next week or so.
The Southern Marsh Orchids are at their peak with 30 in flower. Most are on the path on the way to the North Hide but there are odd ones on the Buddleia Loop and one not far from the Discovery Centre.
This week as seen the last of our orchids starting to flower. The Pyramidal Orchid flowers slightly later in July and have yet to reach their peak but 11 have emerged in the past few days near the Kingfisher Gate.
Over on Lodmoor, there are currently several Common Spotted Orchids in flower near the Viewing Shelter.
For more information on 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.
Radipole Reedbed Ramble
Monday 4 July to Monday 12 September
2.30 pm-4.30 pm
Price: £3 per person
Join us for a guided series of walks and activities to help you feel comfortable & confident in the outside environment. We'll be enjoying the natural habitat at Radipole in a sensory way. These sessions are Dementia friendly and open to all.
Cost: £3 per person (covers the cost of staff guides, activities and a hot drink).
Booking Essential on: firstname.lastname@example.org or call: 01305 778313
List of upcoming dates:
Discover Radipole Lake
10 am-12 noon
Thursday 2 June to Thursday 28 July
11.00 am-12.00 pm
Price: £2 per person
Join our regular gentle health walk, it might be the helping hand you need to get a better sense of well-being both physically and mentally.
Maybe you want to lose weight, meet new people, gain confidence or are finding it difficult to get active.
Cost: £2.00 per person
No booking necessary - just turn up!
List of Upcoming Dates:
For more information on the above, contact Radipole Lake Discovery Centre, details below, or pop in and see us. Hot and cold refreshments, snacks and ice creams available.
Grid reference: SY6779 (+2km)
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