Radipole is alive with wildlife at them moment. After spending 2 days down in the centre on the weekend I couldn't stop myself 'disappearing' out onto the reserve a few times a day to see what was around.
The first thing that will strike you when you arrive is that the water infront of the discovery centre is very low, this is great for attracting in wading birds like snipe and black tailed godwit. In fact the second there was any mud in view the snipe arrived in force, a few flying with their zig zag pattern right infront of visitors in the window. This zig zag flight, as I'm sure you can imagine, means that snipe were particularly hard for wildfowlers to shoot, in fact only the very best shot could. These people came to be known as snipers, a term still used today (although I doubt all the 'snipers' in the army these days know the words origin).
A Radipole Snipe by Camera Happy
We had a bit of a suprise when a male goldeneye duck crash landed infront of the window with some tufted ducks. Although this pretty diving duck is quite common in Poole harbour we very rarely get them on the reserve, and especially not so close. When walking around the reserve at the moment, you cannot fail to see the large numbers of dragonflies zooming around, they are mainly a mix of common darters and migrant hawkers (the larger ones). This abundance of dragonfly was also picked up on by two hobby who were zooming around the reserve all weekend picking off the darters and hawkers and then eating them on the wing. Another interesting yet useless fact is - the inventor of the table top football game 'Subbuteo' origionally wanted to patent his new game as 'the hobby' but was not allowed. he was a lover of birds and the hobby inparticular and so he named it after the falcons lating name 'Falco subbuteo'.
We had a few reports of water vole plopping into the water and sightings of a water rail sculking in a newly cut channel of reed from our brand new structure on the reserve. I knew it would come in handy! Water rail can be very hard to spot, but the trick is to listen out for their call, they are nick named the pig of the reeds for a good reason; they squeal like a pig.
Water Rail (sounds like a pig, doesn't look like a pig)