Trip reports

Group visit to Arne RSPB 18th October 2015

Dartford warbler perching on heather

Sunday, 25 October 2015

For starters the feeders behind the small information centre provided close views of nuthatch, coal it, great tit and lots of chaffinch. A few were lucky to see a brambling.

I decided to follow the Coombe Heath trail passing close to the toilet block, where sadly no sightings were had of firecrest. A mistle thrush was perched in a tree but initially hidden from view. However it stayed long enough and eventually showed well.

Moving onto the heath, jackdaws and a "yaffling" calling green woodpecker were heard. It was not long before the target bird was seen. In the middle distance a Dartford warbler on top of a gorse bush. It was also associating with stonechat. Not just one but a total of four Dartford warblers were eventually together on dead branches of a bush, much nearer in the open. Their long cocked up tails, their brown chests and slate heads were clearly seen through scopes. They seemed to be chasing around and associating, as usual with stonechats. A reed bunting was also seen here.The sun shone.

Having pulled ourselves away from the Dartford warbler a tree nearby held a small flock of birds. There were coal tits, long tailed tits, great tits and a goldcrest together here. During the day quite a few goldcrests were seen and heard.

The viewpoint overlooking the shallow Middlebere Lake saw 150+ avocet- the majority of them 'sweep feeding' the shallows. A large roost of black tailed godwit with a scattering of redshank and a few curlews were also present. There was an oystercatcher here as well plus a few lapwing. Several little egrets were here as well and another good sighting was a great white egret. Initially its head and long yellow bill were only visible on the grazing marsh. However it eventually stood upright and one could compare its size with a nearby little egret. Duck species included numerous wigeon, gadwall, teal and mallard.

Lunch was taken before the return to the car park and information centre.The afternoon was spent exploring the other part of the reserve north of the car park. A flock of meadow pipits were seen flying across and also landing in one of the fields. A redwing flew over as well and a skylark was heard. Both kestrel and a sparrow hawk were seen here as well.

One of the paths led down to the small sandy Shipstal Beach which had the water of the harbour lapping up to its edge. A mute swan was seen in the harbour here. Retracing our steps the next viewpoint gave us views of at least 25 spoonbills on saltmarsh islands. As usual the majority were asleep - a few did co-operate and gave good views of their large "spatula " bills. Another target species gained.

From the next hide overlooking Poole Harbour there were four distance grey heron. There were good numbers of curlew here - the majority well hidden amongst the saltmarsh. One or two were much nearer feeding in the mud with their long down curved bills. Herring, lesser black backed, greater black backed and black headed gulls were seen here as well. A few cormorant were also seen.

Several more goldcrest were seen and heard in the woodland area on the way back plus a great spotted woodpecker.

Mammals seen included sika deer, grey squirrel and water vole. A total of 65 species were seen today with the obvious highlights being the group of four Dartford warblers together, the 25 "loafing" spoonbills, the great white egret, the numerous goldcrests and the brambling.

George Kalli