Trip reports

Middlebere and Arne RSPB

Adult black-tailed godwit in summer plummage, at the RSPB Snettisham nature reserve, Norfolk
Black-tailed Godwit RSPB Images

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Eighteen members plus a visitor met on a dull day with a cold wind blowing. As we walked down the track few birds were seen in the bare hedgerows, still with little growth. Our first stop was at the hide on the hill overlooking Wych Lake, where we recorded Buzzards flying over the wood. Teal, Curlew, Gadwall, Widgeon and a large number of Canada Geese were seen below. We then made our way to the National Trust cottage and the hide overlooking Middlebere Lake. Due to the number in the party and the two birders already in the hide it was rather overcrowded, so we did our best to help with sightings. Highlights were a smart Reed Bunting below the window and a single Spoonbill on the far bank, near five Spotted Redshanks in winter plumage, with long legs and a long thin bill tapered at the tip. In the main channel were over one hundred Black Tailed Godwits, a few Dunlin, one Grey Plover, several Curlew but no Avocets. However, it was exciting for some members to get a glimpse of a Merlin flying right to left past the hide. On our return to the car park we saw two Stock Doves flying over the barn, and a Buzzard and Grey Heron over the reedbeds.

Some members left us as we then drove to the Arne car park for lunch and, for some, the first view of the shop and café over the road. The bird feeders were active, Tits, Nuthatch, Siskin feeding, and below, Chaffinch and Dunnocks. The party then set off for Shipstal Point with Green Woodpeckers calling around us and Pied Wagtails with cattle in the fields. Arriving at the Point, Poole Harbour provided excellent views of Red Breasted Merganser, Oystercatchers, Brent Geese and two Great Crested Grebes, but no Avocets or Dartford Warblers. We then left for the hide in the woods for views over the Wareham channel, with no new ducks but a fox, which may have been a problem. It was time to head back, and in a field Fieldfares, Redwings and two Mistle Thrushes flew in for our list, as well as a single Firecrest seen by the church. The day ended with 57 species recorded which was more than numbers seen on previous visits.

Don Cotton