It's been a windy few days at the Weymouth Wetlands as storms Ali and Bronagh make their way East. Surprisingly there are a number of brave butterflies and dragonflies around the reserve being buffeted about in the breeze.
The Little Egrets and Great White Egrets are still being regularly seen but the limelight has currently shifted to the latest arrivals on the reserve, the Cattle Egrets. These Egrets are being sighted both at Radipole Lake and at Lodmoor. As the grazing cattle have now been moved to the north of the reserve, the new Viewing Shelter is a good place to see them. Our roving photographer, Edmund Mackrill, managed to capture this encounter between the Cattle Egret and one of the Cattle.
Photo Credit: Edmund Mackrill, RSPB Weymouth Wetlands Volunteer
Photo Credit: Martin Jones-Gill, RSPB Weymouth Wetlands Volunteer
Martin also managed to snap two these two Cattle Egrets together. These Egrets have been sighted most days since 10th September, with a record 8 seen on 17th September at Radipole Lake and 5 seen at Lodmoor on 21st September.
Other recent sightings include a Bittern on the Buddleia Loop on 8th September and seen again on the13th. The highest count of 29 Grey Herons at Radipole Lake also on 8th September. Lodmoor saw a number of notable sightings: a juvenile Caspian Gull on 8th September, on 12th September over 250 Mediterranean Gulls were counted. On 17th September an Osprey was seen and while 20th September saw a Pectoral Sandpiper and on Beachdown Way, a Spotted Crake was observed by a number of visitors.
Our volunteer reserve photographer, Martin Jones-Gill, is sadly leaving us shortly and moving away from the area. We wish Martin all the very best for the future. Below a last couple of snaps from Martin.
For more information and 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
There is an distinctly autumn chill in the air now as the summer starts turning into autumn. Great White Egrets are still being seen daily at Radipole Lake and over on Lodmoor, often three birds are sighted.
RSPB volunteer, Martin Jones-Gill, managed to snap this one taking off outside the Discovery Centre.
Other notable sightings include a Spotted Redshank seen at Lodmoor on 28th August. Yellow Wagtails are regularly being seen with c.160 counted on Lodmoor on 2nd September. On Wednesday 5th September over 150 House Martins and over 80 Swallows were counted at Radipole Lake no doubt preparing to leave for sunnier climates, a Yellow Legged Gull was also noted. A Bittern was sighted on Radipole Lake on Thursday 6th September and a Wryneck reported on Lodmoor on 7th September.
Another bird being sighted at the moment is the Kingfisher, which is good news for the upcoming Kingfisher Day at Radipole Lake on Saturday 15th September. Adults birds arrive back from their riverside nest-sites and are often accompanied by this year's young. Volunteers will be out and about on the reserve looking out for the birds, it can be really easy to get good views of these iconic beauties. There will be Kingfisher crafts for kids in the Discovery Centre, pond dipping and of course the chance to see one of the UK's best loved birds. No need to book for this free event, just turn up and join in the fun.
Kingfisher Photo Credit: RSPB Volunteer Martin Jones-Gill
Now is also a good time to visit RSPB Chafey's Lake close by Radipole Lake, another quiet oasis in the town. The reserve is currently alive with woodland bird song, such as members of the tit family including Long Tailed Tits,and species of Warblers. Hedgerows are groaning under the weight of blackberries and sloes.
As it's name suggest Chafey's has as small lake and some of the reserve is damp in places which attracts the Dragonflies and Damselflies. Currently on the wing are the larger Emperor Dragonflies, common at large well vegetated ponds and urban gardens and the red Common Darter which frequently occurs around lakes, ponds, rivers and ditches.
A recent butterfly survey recorded 10 common species in one day including the Comma, Speckled Wood, Common Blue, Peacock, Small Tortoishell and Red Admiral.
Many of the plants on Chafey's are the same as on Radipole as the environment is similar. At the moment Purple Loosestrife, Fleabane, Hemp Agrimony and Michaelmas Daisy are all in bloom. Near the entrance of Chafey's is a patch of Strawberry Clover, a plant also seen on Radipole Lake on the path near the new Viewing Shelter. The Clover is much smaller and more delicate than the frequently seen White and Red Clovers. It is easily identified when it is in fruit when the seed pods become inflated looking like a strawberry.
For more information on the forthcoming Kingfisher Day or Chafey's Lake and all the latest sightings, contact Radipole Lake Discovery Centre, details below or pop in and see us. Hot and cold refreshments and snacks available.
August is traditionally a quiet month for birds but we have been lucky enough to have one of our largest visitors, the Great White Egret, visiting our reserves this month. A Great White Egret has been recorded daily over at Lodmoor since 30th July. On 10th August two were seen and the very next day three were counted and were around for a few days. On 15th August the Great White Egret was seen outside the Discovery Centre window at Radipole Lake and has been seen every day from the Discovery Centre since. Three were seen at Radipole on 20th August. This week both reserves have had at least one present every day.
Photo Credit: RSPB Radipole Lake volunteer, Martin Jones-Gill, snapped this photo from the Discovery Centre window on Wednesday 22nd August.
One of our resident Mute Swan families, often seen by the viewing platforms on the Buddleia Loop, were seen today all snuggled together having an afternoon snooze.
This month the Purple Loosestrife is becoming abundant in the hedgerows and in the damper areas of the reserve. From the large viewing platform near the Discovery Centre among the Purple Loosestrife is one of Radipole Lake's rarities, the Golden Dock.
The plants are a yellow-green when flowering but turn golden when in fruit. This species is only seen in three sites in Dorset - Radipole Lake, Lodmoor and Overcoombe which means it is also a Dorset Rarity.
Finally, a juvenile Cormorant was seen from the Discovery Centre window performing a contortionist act preening his feathers and keeping our younger visitors entertained.
Photo Credits: RSPB Radipole Lake Volunteer, Martin Jones-Gill
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.