Trip reports

Middlebere and Arne RSPB

Avocet wading in water
RSPB Image

Wednesday, 13 February 2019

A good turnout of 20 people met up on a breezy but nice clear and dry day at the pull in near Middlebere. We started by walking along the old railway track looking across Hartland Moor which, at first scan, looked devoid of any birdlife except for a lone Carrion Crow. However this was soon improved with good views of a Marsh Harrier that flew over, but with little else about we decided to retrace our steps and go along to the hides at Middlebere for the rest of the morning. On the way back Chris caught a glimpse of a pair of Dartford Warblers but, unfortunately, nobody else managed to see them and, despite looking for this target bird for the rest of the day, no more were seen or heard.

On the way to the hides a Reed Bunting and a Song Thrush were seen by some and a Peregrine flew across. At the Harrier Hide a Goldcrest was feeding in the nearby conifers and Curlew, Mallard, a Little Grebe, Shelduck, Canada Geese, Redshank and a lone, partially lame, Avocet were sighted looking across to Wytch Farm. Continuing on around the barns, four Long-tailed Tits were feeding quietly and a flock of House Sparrows were less quiet! At the Middlebere Channel two Spoonbill in front of the hide flew off and then circled the reed-bed before landing out of sight. In front of the hide there were three, possibly four, Spotted Redshank, a male Pintail, plenty of Shelduck and Teal, two Grey Plovers, a few Wigeon, some distant Avocet, and two Buzzard circled overhead.

After lunch we re-assembled in the Arne RSPB reserve car park. Plenty of birds, including some Siskin, were visiting the feeders behind the visitor centre and some had a brief view of a Sparrowhawk streaking past. We then walked around Coombe Heath where probably the same two Spoonbills were seen again flying near Middlebere. Another Goldcrest and some Blue and Coal Tits could be seen on the heath but little else. Near the Curlew Screen there was a large group of at least 200 Avocet sitting out on the shallow water, which gave us spectacular views when they briefly flew off. Other birds included Oystercatchers, Brent and Canada Geese and as we were leaving the screen a Great Spotted Woodpecker flew overhead.

About 50 species were recorded between us during the day.

Malcolm