You are here

Twitter

16 Apr 18

Martin Adlam - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 10:22
Broadcroft Quarry Lane, Coastal Path, Rufus Castle, Church Ope Cove and Pennsylvania Castle Wood.

An early morning walk started off dry and sunny at 7:00am, but then a couple of showers rolled in, before the sun came back out again. A bit disappointing bird-wise, I had hoped to have seen a few migrants, but the best i could was 5 Chiffchaffs (with one singing), a single Swallow and a chat. as to whether the latter was a Stonechat or Whinchat I couldn't say as the brief view I had of it was to quick to ID properly.

The best of the morning was a Green Woodpecker "yaffling" from Bumpers Lane. The first time I heard it, it appeared to be about here. About 5 minutes later and it called again from around this area, but try as I could I couldn't locate it. It was probably in someones back garden feeding on a lawn.

Here are few images from this morning:

This Herring Gull is not to happy with this Raven..........
.......and eventually drives it off.
A Jackdaw up by The Grove......
......where there were several Herring Gulls in the horses paddock.
A few finches about including this Goldfinch at Church Ope Cove.
And in the grounds of St Andrew's Church this Robin is still collecting nesting material.
He didn't seem to bothered by my presence and just waited until I left.
Black Slugs, Arion ater. on the coastal path. More on this slug here.
Also along the path Garden Snails, Cornu aspersum
A Red-tailed Bumblebee maybe!!
A plant to ID.
As above
And again.
Masses of these in Pennsylvania Castle Wood.
And a close-up of the flowers.
And another plant to ID.
As above.
The sun rising from the east as a rain cloud passes overhead.
Way out on the horizon, I thought I was looking at a boat. And then I realised they were huge rollers heading into Weymouth Bay. I've no idea of the size but they were big!!
The waves crashing into Church Ope Cove.
Birds Recorded: 5 Fulmar, Kestrel, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Wood Pigeon, 1 Green Woodpecker, 1 Swallow, 4 Meadow Pipit, 4 Rock Pipit, Dunnock, Robin, Stonechat/Whinchat, Blackbird, 5 Chiffchaff, Long-tailed Tit, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, 1 Raven, 1 Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, Linnet and Goldfinch.

Also seen a bumblebee sp. (Possibly Red-tailed Bumblebee), Black Slugs (Arion ater) and Garden Snails (Cornu aspersum)
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

The nature of Dorset in tweets, charts, photos and maps ... 15-04-18

Nature of Dorset Records Timeline - Mon, 04/16/2018 - 08:11
Click/tap the logo to proceed to the page.

The nature of Dorset yesterday in tweets, charts, photographs and maps along with other sources of news of nature conservation and general wildlife interest:

  • Yesterday.s recorded sightings of mammals, birds, insects, plants and more
  • The current recording "hot-list" - the best recorded 30 species in the last 30 days
  • A map of sites where yesterdays records came from - what was seen near you?
  • Yesterday's records in graphical form to show the highlights
  • The pick of the photographs that came with the tweets
  • Interesting news items, notices of events and links to blogs
  • Links to the Nature of Dorset Daily newspaper and to various other blogs from Dorset conservation organisations

Everything you wanted to know and more ... and it's free of charge and free of adverts!

 

Published Date: Sunday, 18 March, 2018 - 09:30 newsdesk logo.jpg
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

15th April

Portland Bird Observatory - Sun, 04/15/2018 - 22:44
A day when the relative lack of numbers on the ground was more than compensated for by a couple of oddities and a steady sea passage. One of yesterday's Hoopoe was still about in the Obs/hut fields area and a Hawfinch was a nice new arrival at the Obs; numbers were well short of yesterdays, with 50 each of Blackcap and Chiffchaff making up the bulk of the total at the Bill, where 5 Redstarts and singles of Tree Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Ring Ouzel, Firecrest, Pied Flycatcher, Redpoll and Bullfinch were all of note; elsewhere, the 'Eastern' Lesser Whitethroat remained at Southwell, another Ring Ouzel was at Barleycrates Lane and a Wood Warbler was at Blacknor. The sea got plenty of attention until mid-afternoon (we presume from reports from elsewhere that plenty of Manx Shearwaters were missed after this), with the Bill returning totals of 600 Manx Shearwaters, 346 Common Scoter, 23 Dark-bellied Brent Geese, 20 each of Sandwich Tern and commic Tern, 10 Red-throated Divers, 8 Arctic Skuas, 6 Great Skuas, 3 Whimbrel, 2 Teal and a Bar-tailed Godwit; Chesil chipped in the more of the same, together with additions that included 7 Little Gulls and 3 Little Terns.

The Hoopoe looked good in the field but it really was one of those birds that looked even more amazing in the hand where it was possible to fully appreciate its spectacular plumage © Geoff Orton:


It was a good performer in the field where it spent much of the day on the lawns amongst the beach huts © Peter Moore petermooreblog (still) and Martin Cade (video):


Hawfinches can be remarkably furtive: today's bird was seen briefly twice in the Obs garden soon after dawn but was assumed to have then slipped away unnoticed - 10 hours later it turned up completely out of the blue in a mist-net! © Martin Cade:


Categories: Timeline, Twitter

Sightings - Sunday 15th April 2018.

Dorset Bird Club - Sun, 04/15/2018 - 22:25
Brent Goose(Pale-bellied) - 3 Weymouth Bay.
Red-throated Diver - 7 past Chesil Cove.
Great Northern Diver - 3 Poole Harbour.
Manx Shearwater - 300 past Chesil Cove.
Marsh Harrier - 3 Lodmoor RSPB, 1 Poole Harbour.
Hen Harrier - 1 Poole Harbour.
Red Kite - 3 over Sherborne Lake.
Whimbrel - 4 Swineham, 3 past Chesil Cove, 1 over Longham Lakes.
Common Sandpiper - 2 Poole Harbour, 1 Chesil Cove.
Arctic Skua - 3 past Chesil Cove.
Bonaparte's Gull - 1 Longham Lakes.
Hoopoe - 1 Hut Fields, Portland, 1 Bridport.
Yellow Wagtail - 1 Portland Observatory.
Redstart - 1 Wareham.
Wheatear - 2 Christchurch Harbour, 1 Stanpit Marsh.
Ring Ouzel - 1 Barleycrates Lane, Portland.
Wood Warbler - 1 Blacknor, Portland.
Pied Flycatcher - 1 Portland Observatory.
Great Grey Shrike - 1 Morden Bog.
Lesser Redpoll - 20 Canford Heath.
Serin - 1 over Lodmoor RSPB.
Hawfinch - 20 Lower Bryanston, 7 Leigh Churchyard, 1 Portland Observatory.


Great Grey Shrike – Morden Bog © Colin & Gail Davis. 
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

15 Apr 18

Martin Adlam - Sun, 04/15/2018 - 17:34
Portland Bird Observatory, Crown Estate Fields and Hut Fields

A break in the weather and the miserable rain from this morning drifted away to leave a warm sunny afternoon. I couldn't resist a visit to the Obs and spent a couple hours walking around the local fields and hut area.

One of the Hoopoe's from yesterday was still about and I had amazing views of it feeding in the hut field. Close-by a male Pied Flycatcher had been sighted and I managed a fleeting view of it as it flew along the edge of the Obs Garden wall.
In the Crown estate Fields a Common Redstart had been sighted, but despite my best efforts I couldn't locate it. However, scanning the hedges and fields it was great to see a Short-eared Owl quartering the rough grass area above the horses field. It was doing quite well catching voles, which didn't go unnoticed by a pair of Great Black-backed Gulls, and eventually it ended up losing a vole to a very persistent gull. Poor vole having been caught by the owl it was quickly dispatched by one of the Great Black-backed Gulls.
As I crossed back over the main road, I thought I'd have another look for the Pied Flycatcher. I didn't find it again, but I did watch a Hawfinch fly over my head and into the Obs car park. Needless to say I shot back round to the Obs, only to watch it fly towards the patio area. As I got to garden area I realised it had flown into the mist nets, where within seconds it was bagged up for weighing and ringing.
What a great afternoon.
Here are a few images and a video from this afternoon.

A flighty bird this Hoopoe couldn't make up its mind where it wanted to feed.
Eventually it flew back to its favourite field......
.......and started feeding again.
This very obliging Hoopoe was feeding in the hut field close to the Observatory.
The top right Wood Pigeon had an almighty escape from.....
......this Peregrine Falcon. As the "woody" came into land the Peregrine narrowly missed catching it.
This female Hawfinch was originally in the hut field, but flew into the Obs car park before ending up in the mist net.
This is one of those birds where a bird ringer uses all their skill and expertise to handle a large finch with bone crushing mandibles. Scientists have measured the crushing force of a Hawfinch bill and found it to exceed 50kg.
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

The nature of Dorset in tweets, charts, photos and maps ... 14-04-18

Nature of Dorset Records Timeline - Sun, 04/15/2018 - 08:37
Click/tap the logo to proceed to the page.

The nature of Dorset yesterday in tweets, charts, photographs and maps along with other sources of news of nature conservation and general wildlife interest:

  • Yesterday.s recorded sightings of mammals, birds, insects, plants and more
  • The current recording "hot-list" - the best recorded 30 species in the last 30 days
  • A map of sites where yesterdays records came from - what was seen near you?
  • Yesterday's records in graphical form to show the highlights
  • The pick of the photographs that came with the tweets
  • Interesting news items, notices of events and links to blogs
  • Links to the Nature of Dorset Daily newspaper and to various other blogs from Dorset conservation organisations

Everything you wanted to know and more ... and it's free of charge and free of adverts!

 

Published Date: Sunday, 18 March, 2018 - 09:30 newsdesk logo.jpg
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

14th April

Portland Bird Observatory - Sun, 04/15/2018 - 00:38
South Portland fared pretty well today out of conditions that are more often a write-off than a bonanza: reduced visibility had been a feature all day yesterday but overnight the mistiness thickened into full-blown fog that blanketed most of the island for the duration. A Hoopoe on West Cliffs at the Bill set the ball rolling soon after dawn and it wasn't long before a second individual popped up at Southwell; the latter escaped further attention but the Bill bird - although always rather mobile to the extent that it was considered that there might be two individuals involved - remained for the day. Scarcities were otherwise not a feature but a good spread of grounded common migrants at the Bill - many of which seemed to be dropping out of the fog as the morning wore on - included around 100 each of Blackcap, Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff, 60 Wheatears, 15 Redstarts, 4 Tree Pipits, 3 each of White Wagtail, Yellow Wagtail and Siskin, 2 each of Whimbrel, Ring Ouzel, Goldcrest, Firecrest and Pied Flycatcher and singles of Mistle Thrush, Redwing, Whinchat and Lesser Whitethroat; finches were on the move overhead at the Bill, with a short sample count coming up with 250 Linnets, 80 Goldfinches and a Redpoll. Elsewhere, the 'Eastern' Lesser Whitethroat remained in a private garden at Southwell. Seawatching was always hampered by the poor visibility, but 7 Red-throated Divers passed through off the Bill and 52 Common Scoter, 4 Velvet Scoter, 2 Arctic Skuas and a Shoveler passed Chesil.

The Bill Hoopoe on a closer than usual fly past near the Higher Light © James Phillips:

It's not unusual to encounter Pied and White Wagtails with wacky head patterns and this White was one such that got a second glance at the Bill © James Phillips:

It's ages since we did a little photo feature on ageing Redstarts but the simultaneous capture this morning of an adult male and a first-summer male (...or second year as we've captioned it here) prompted us to have another go at it:




The differences don't really need explaining but it's worth noting that in our experience confusion can sometimes arise in two ways: novice ringers are often fooled by the presence of brown tips to the greater coverts of adults - that are often a good deal more striking than on our adult here - into mis-ageing them as first-summers (it's the colour of the edges of these feathers that's the thing to look at), whilst on field views the flight feathers of adults are often browner than expected (they'd have been be glossier and darker when freshly moulted in autumn but that's before they've had to spend a winter in the African sun) and thus not that unlike those on a first-summer © Martin Cade: 

Categories: Timeline, Twitter

Sightings - Saturday 14th April 2018.

Dorset Bird Club - Sat, 04/14/2018 - 21:58
Velvet Scoter - 4w Ferrybridge.
Goosander - 1 redhead Coward's Marsh.
Red-throated Diver - 1w Ferrybridge.
Great White Egret - 1 Avon Causeway, 1 Hampreston Fields.
Whimbrel - 5 Stanpit Marsh, 1 over Arne.
Bar-tailed Godwit - 1 Christchurch Harbour.
Common Sandpiper - 1 Ferrybridge.
Little Gull - 1 Coward's Marsh.
Bonaparte's Gull - 1 Longham Lakes.
Cuckoo - 1 Durlston CP.
Hoopoe - 1 Portland Observatory area, 1 SE of Southwell, Portland.
Meadow Pipit - c250 Hengistbury Head.
Yellow Wagtail - 1 Portland Bill.
Redstart - 4 Portland Bill, 1 Durlston CP.
Black Redstart - 1 Ferndown, 1 Portland Bill.
Ring Ouzel - 1 Portland Bill.
Lesser Whitethroat - 1 "blythi"(presumed) Reap Lane, Portland.
Pied Flycatcher - 1 Portland Observatory.
Linnet - c20 Hengistbury Head.
Hawfinch - 25 Lower Bryanston.

Peregrine Falcon – Bournemouth © David Wareham.   Black-tailed Godwit – Hengistbury Head © Clinton Whale.
Hawfinch female – Lower Bryanston © Michael Coleman.



Categories: Timeline, Twitter

Brownedge Bonnet

Nature of Dorset Reference Database - Sat, 04/14/2018 - 19:19

Common on short turf, often on lawns and amongst mosses.

 

Photograph by: Charlie Richardson The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail: Sites List Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

Rusty Dot Pearl

Nature of Dorset Reference Database - Sat, 04/14/2018 - 19:05

A migrant species that can occur at any time of year, sometimes in large numbers

 

 

Photograph by: Internet Open Source The records for this species have been organised into reports, charts, maps and photos. Click a pic below to see the detail: Sites List Distribution Map Some Charts Some Photographs Original Tweets Relatives Guidance Notes
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

14 Apr 18

Martin Adlam - Sat, 04/14/2018 - 12:24
Higher Lighthouse and Sweethill

A tweet early this morning was of a Hoopoe seen on the slopes up to the Higher Lighthouse. I decided to park in Sweethill, as the obs car park was probably going to be packed and I walked along the footpath adjacent to the old Admiralty building. I'm glad I did as there was a Firecrest in the hedgerow along here.

Having managed to keep on my feet along the mud-bath of a path I eventually I arrived on the west cliff and met up with other birders looking for the Hoopoe. It hadn't been seen for a good 20 minutes or so, but after another 10 minutes it suddenly appeared from the direction of the Crown Estate fields and landed on the slopes above the Higher Lighthouse.

Yet again it disappeared and then popped up further north along the coast path where it headed off towards the direction of the Crown Estate Fields again. I decided that having seen it I would head of towards the barns at Sweethill. As I did so the Hoopoe popped up in front of me at this spot here.

Pete Coe joined me with another birder and we managed brief views of it before it flew over a wall into Helen's Field, but despite our attempts to locate it, it had disappeared again. While we searched for it a male Kestrel landed 5 metres away from us on a post and then started watching the grass below. Eventually it dropped down and caught a vole before flying off.

Another tweet came through that there were possibly 2 Hoopoe's about, with another in Southwell. I was heading back that way to car so I kept an eye out in case this other Hoopoe appeared. As I did so a Yellow Wagtail flew overhead, heading north over the barns at Sweethill. Another good year tick.

Here are few images and videos from a very grey and misty morning:

A Hoopoe above the Higher Lighthouse this morning..........
.........and the same bird above Culverwell on the track to Sweethill.
Lovely views of a Hoopoe along the track close to Helen's Field.
A male Blackcap on the coast path.
This male Kestrel flew down onto the post just 5 metres from Pete Coe and myself.
As Pete Coe and myself stood on the track, a male Kestrel flew down onto the post and after a few seconds dropped onto an unsuspecting vole. Sometimes you can be in the right place at the right time.
Birds Recorded: Kestrel, Pheasant, Black-headed Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Stock Dove, Wood Pigeon, 1 Hoopoe, Skylark, 5 Swallow, Meadow Pipit, 1 Yellow Wagtail, Dunnock, Robin, 2 Stonechat, Blackbird, 1 Blackcap, 5 Chiffchaff, 3 Willow Warbler, 1 Firecrest, Great Tit, Blue Tit, Wren, Magpie, Rook, Carrion Crow, Jackdaw, Starling, House Sparrow, Chaffinch, 50+ Linnet and Goldfinch.
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

The nature of Dorset in tweets, charts, photos and maps ... 13-04-18

Nature of Dorset Records Timeline - Sat, 04/14/2018 - 07:52
Click/tap the logo to proceed to the page.

The nature of Dorset yesterday in tweets, charts, photographs and maps along with other sources of news of nature conservation and general wildlife interest:

  • Yesterday.s recorded sightings of mammals, birds, insects, plants and more
  • The current recording "hot-list" - the best recorded 30 species in the last 30 days
  • A map of sites where yesterdays records came from - what was seen near you?
  • Yesterday's records in graphical form to show the highlights
  • The pick of the photographs that came with the tweets
  • Interesting news items, notices of events and links to blogs
  • Links to the Nature of Dorset Daily newspaper and to various other blogs from Dorset conservation organisations

Everything you wanted to know and more ... and it's free of charge and free of adverts!

 

Published Date: Sunday, 18 March, 2018 - 09:30 newsdesk logo.jpg
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

13th April

Portland Bird Observatory - Sat, 04/14/2018 - 00:23
A day with maybe more about than met the eye but there again nothing that even approached being described as a good Portland mid-April fall. It was always dreary and misty enough that migrant activity was subdued at best, with the clearest idea of numbers coming from captures in the Obs garden mist-nets that suggested Blackcap and Willow Warbler reached about 50 each in the Bill area; Chiffchaff got to half that number, with 6 Redwings, 3 each of Tree Pipit and Yellow Wagtail, 2 Short-eared Owls, 2 Ring Ouzels, the first 2 Lesser Whitethroats of the year and singles of Whimbrel, Wheatear, Black Redstart, Brambling and Bullfinch making up the rest of the tally there and additional singles of Ring Ouzel and Black Redstart at Barleycrates Lane and Black Redstart at Blacknor of note elsewhere. A frequently invisible sea returned totals of 46 Manx Shearwaters and 1 Red-throated Diver through off the Bill.

In the immigrant moth line singles of Rusty-dot Pearl at the Obs and Diamond-back Moth at the Grove were both first records for the year.

Joe Stockwell had his recording gear deployed at the Obs overnight and has passed us a short report on the night's happenings: Despite what was clearly a nice still night for migration, things still weren't in the mood and only a small selection of birds were logged. Obvious highlights included 9 passes by Moorhen(s) over an hour between 11pm and midnight - whether or not this was actually 9 different Moorhens remains a mystery although at one point one flew so close to the microphone that its wing beats were audible. Fog set in around 1:30am which prompted a little burst of thrush passage - including 7 Redwing and 3 Song Thrush - as well as 2 Water Rail, Sandwich Tern, Oystercatcher, Turnstone, Chiffchaff and Black-headed Gull.





A freshly arrived Tree Pipit that dropped out of the murk at the Bill this morning © Joe Stockwell:


Joe's early round of the Bill also turned up this Black Redstart that he duly trapped:


Conventionally, these grey 'cairii' birds are unsexable and not necessarily even straightforward to age, although the heavily worn, brown tertials and primaries of this individual did at least allow it to be assigned as a second year rather than an adult. On close inspection it turned out that this bird had moulted a good deal more of its wings than would have been expected (generally only some of the coverts are moulted in the post-juvenile moult) and we took it that since the selection of new inner secondaries didn't have the broad white edges of a male then we were safe to assign it as being a female.


Since these 'cairii'-type individuals could be of either sex and both age classes they're usually overwhelmingly the most frequently encountered Black Redstart at this time of year; adult males are less frequent, whilst 'paradoxus' second year males are the scarcest of all - this one was Southwell in April 2006 all Black Redstart photos © Martin Cade:
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

Sightings - Friday 13th April 2018.

Dorset Bird Club - Fri, 04/13/2018 - 22:33
Cattle Egret - 1 Meadow Pool, Abbotsbury.
Marsh Harrier - 1 Wick Hams.
Tree Pipit - 1 Portland Observatory.
Black Redstart - 1 Portland Observatory.
Great Grey Shrike - 1 Morden Bog.
Hawfinch - 28 Lower Bryanston.

Kestrels – Hengistbury Head © Clinton Whale. 
Purple Sandpiper – Hengistbury Head © Clinton Whale.
House Sparrow – Hengistbury Head © David Wareham.Woodlark – Morden Bog © Clive & Rosemary Hargrave.
Great Grey Shrike – Morden Bog © Clive & Rosemary Hargrave.


Categories: Timeline, Twitter

13 Apr 18

Martin Adlam - Fri, 04/13/2018 - 16:57
Ferrybridge

Several Swallows heading north along the beach. Several Oystercatchers on the shoreline and still a few Sandwich Terns in Small Mouth.
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

Blog Post: April 2018 RSPB Radipole Lake Update

RSPB Weymouth Wetlands - Fri, 04/13/2018 - 16:52
The Radipole Lake Big S pring Clean (aka Litter Pick) Saturday 24th March saw a gathering of around 30 local volunteers to give the Radipole Lake Drive a long overdue spring clean of all the rubbish and litter which had accumulated alongside the road and edge of the lake. The volunteers first gathered in the car park for a preliminary chat and health and safety briefing by Dan Bartlett, Visitor Experience Officer. Equipment and bin bags were distributed and the volunteers got stuck into the wet and sometimes muddy task in hand with great determination and enthusiasm. A substantial amount of the litter gathered was food and drink related, with bottles, cans, wrappings from confectionery/sandwiches and takeaway tea/coffee plastic cups. Many of these items had accumulated by the fishing /viewing platforms and made the area very unsightly.  Our volunteers were willing to wade in up to their knees getting as much litter out of the lake as possible and make it a much cleaner, safer and pleasanter for our wildlife and for visitors to enjoy.  Larger items such as tyres, picnic tables, gas canisters, road signs and bollards were also pulled out. After three hours of labour intensive litter picking, the fruits of the volunteers labours was gathered together in a parking space in the car park. Over 70 bags of litter were piled up while Dan looks on proud of all our volunteers efforts. The entire length of the road was cleared and looking a much better place.  A special mention here for our newish roving reserve guides;  Colin Grant, Kei Little, Neil Bowler and Carlo. After a successful morning's hard work and efforts, our volunteers were duly rewarded with a free hot drink in the warm welcoming Discovery Centre. The RSPB are hoping to run a similar event early next year.  If you have the time and would like to do more litter picking throughout the year, you would be very welcome.  Contact the Discovery Centre, details below. The RSPB would like to sincerely thank everyone who donated their time and effort to this event: Radipole Lake RSPB Volunteers Friends of Radipole Park and Gardens Dog Friendly Weymouth Photo Credit : All litter pick photos by Martin Jones-Gill, RSPB Volunteer March at RSPB Lodmoor - Conservation Work Dave Morphew, RSPB Estate Volunteer writes: So that’s official, it’s no longer winter and while it’s sunny as I write this, I’m not entirely convinced the weather forecast will back up my claim. But so far as the RSPB Estates Team are concerned winter ends when April begins and we can’t cut any more scrub until the birds have finished nesting. In fact the tree felling season has already ended but that’s another story. So while RSPB Radipole Lake has been having something of a makeover thanks to contractors cleaning out the channels in the reedbeds, the Estates team volunteers have been at Lodmoor for most of March. Job number one on the list was to prepare the islands for the return of our Common Tern colony who have been spending the winter somewhere even sunnier than Weymouth. The birds nest on the ground so every year we weed the islands to provide plenty of bare stones for them and brush cut the areas where there is reed on the islands. If you’ve ever tried pulling reed out by hand you’ll know why we use a brush cutter. Photo Credit : Martin Jones-Gill, RSPB Volunteer This year we’re trying something new; a fence around one of the islands to see if we can reduce predation by gulls. This is a difficult topic but although the tern population is rising the number of birds fledging isn’t and the gulls have to take a large part of the blame. When gulls fly over the island the terns fly up en-masse to chase them away, but if the gulls are sneaky and fly in low, they can often grab a chick before the birds have time to react. Will it work? Honestly we don’t know, it seems to work at Brownsea and we figured it was worth trying. It probably won’t stop predation but we hope it will make it more difficult. Photo Credit : Dave Morphew, RSPB Estate Volunteer Moving on, the Lodmoor paths have had their winter cut . You may remember that scene in Poldark, where Ross was in the meadow with a scythe and his shirt off. It’s just like that apart from two details: Lodmoor is far too cold for shirt off antics We use a mower to do the hard work. If you have a garden you’ll know there’s always something that needs doing, so we also knock back the bramble and vegetation that encroaches on the paths every year. This makes access easier and we hope to see more flowering plants which of course will be nectar sources for insects. In fact Brimstone butterflies are already on the wing. This winter we’ve also widened the path that runs from Southdown Avenue back to Overcombe. Most birders don’t venture down there but they’re missing out because it’s the best place on Lodmoor to see Sika deer. And then working on the parts of the reserve that aren't open to the public we’ve been maintaining the paths and bridges that the cattle will use when grazing starts again and clearing more blackthorn scrub on the wet grassland area to the north of the reserve, which of course will make it a better place for wildlife. Photo Credit : Dave Morphew, RSPB Estate Volunteer Now all of this work has been done by volunteers with a little help and direction from the RSPB Wardening team. There’s always more to be done so if you have some time on your hands and like the idea of working outdoors we’d love to hear from you.  Weymouth.reserves@rspb.org.uk   It’s only fair to warn you that you will get muddy, wet and probably scratched by blackthorn, but on the plus side you’ll be working with a great team, get to know the reserves really well and perhaps learn some new skills.  Other Radipole Lake News : Our new Visitor Experience Assistant, Emily Dragon, arrived just before the start of the Easter weekend. Emily comes to us having spent a year with the RSPB London team as a volunteer membership recruiter. She has a degree in Marine Zoology, and enjoys scuba-diving and snorkelling. She has worked at a manatee rescue centre in South America, and is with us full-time for at least 6 months. There are two other new faces in the centre. Sally Maslin and Patricia Mailer have also joined the Discovery Centre team. Our resident Hooded Merganser appears to have been one of this winters victims, and hasn’t been seen since mid January. Hoodie was 10 years old, so he's not done bad for a wild duck. Photo Credit : Martin Jones-Gill, RSPB Volunteer New spring migrant arrivals this month include: Willow Warblers, Reed Warblers, Swallows, House Martins, Sand Martins.  An Osprey was seen on Thursday 12th April.  Over on Lodmoor this week, Grasshopper Warbler, Wood Warbler, Redstart and the first Cuckoo of the spring calling. For all the latest sightings, contact Radipole Lake Discovery Centre, details below or pop in and see us. Hot and cold refreshments and snacks available. Telephone : 01305 778313 Email :  Weymouth.reserves@rspb.org.uk Website :  www.rspb.org/radipolelake
Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

12th April

Portland Bird Observatory - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 23:43
A quieter day than yesterday with only a light scatter of new arrivals dropped from a largely clear sky. An Osprey that snuck over at Barleycrates Lane late in the morning and the lingering Ring Ouzel at the Bill were about as good as it got on the ground, where common migrant totals at the Bill included 50 Willow Warblers, 40 Chiffchaffs and 20 Blackcaps, with 6 Yellow Wagtails, 3 White Wagtails, 2 Black Redstarts, 2 Firecrests, a Mistle Thrush, the first Sedge Warbler of the season and the Green Woodpecker the pick of the less frequent arrivals; the 'Eastern' Lesser Whitethroat at Southwell, a Grasshopper Warbler at Blacknor and a White Wagtail at Ferrybridge were the best on offer elsewhere.

The Ring Ouzel was today's crowd-puller (...we were astonished to discover that, as another rather dispiriting example of what modern birding's come to, it was even being twitched by birders from neighbouring counties) © Richard Phillips:

...but from our point of view the bird of the day was the Green Woodpecker that put on its best show so far as it paused in the Hut Fields during yet another lap of the island in what must be an increasingly frustrating quest for a mate © Geoff Orton:



...and finally, it'll be of no interest to anyone from the mainland but just for the Portland archives it was nice to capture one burst of advertising song from the woodpecker:
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

Sightings - Thursday 12th April 2018.

Dorset Bird Club - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 21:07
Arctic Skua - 1 past Durlston CP.
Cattle Egret - 1 still West Bexington.
Grey Plover - 3 Stanpit Marsh.
Spoonbill - 1 Stanpit Marsh.
Tree Pipit - 1 Durlston CP, 1 Morden Bog.
Yellow Wagtail - 1 Durlston CP.
Redstart - 1 Morden Bog, 1 West Bexington.
Ring Ouzel - 1 Crown Est. Fields, Portland.
Lesser Whitethroat - 1 "blythi"(presumed)Reap Lane, Portland, 1 West Bexington.
Grasshopper Warbler - 1 Blacknor, Portland, 1 Durlston CP, 1 West Bexington.
Great Grey Shrike - 1 Morden Bog.
Serin - 1 over Durlston CP.
Hawfinch - 10 Lower Bryanston.

Linnet – Hengistbury Head ©Clinton Whale.
Categories: Timeline, Twitter

Dorset Wildlife Trust launches 2018 Prize Draw

Dorset Wildlife Trust - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 16:51

The Dorset Wildlife (DWT) Trust prize draw has returned for 2018, with some great quality prizes for people who want to help support Dorset’s wildlife and wild spaces.

Categories: Twitter

Ring Ouzel - Portland Bill, Dorset - 12th April 2018

Charmouth Birding - Thu, 04/12/2018 - 14:14
A beautiful male spring Ring Ouzel appeared in the Crown Estate Fields opposite Portland Bird Observatory early this morning. Picking it up as it flew from the north west corner along the fence line I had good 'scope views as it began to feed at distance. Unfortunately it quickly moved out of view behind some bushes. Walking round to the east side with sun behind me I got stunning 'scope views from near the Privet Hedge with the bird feeding at a distance of 200 metres or so. The bird was well marked showing the typical pale (almost white) half moon to breast, pale scaling to sides and distinct pale edges to its wing feathers. A handsome bird.









Categories: Blogs, Timeline, Twitter

Pages

Subscribe to The Nature of Dorset  aggregator - Twitter