Last week my wife (Bev) and I went to Dorset for a break. The week was a mixture of birding and other holiday pursuits (there is an award winning Real Ale pub in West Lulworth after-all !). In this report I will try and summarize the birding/wildlife highlights.
Sunday 16th May - Worbarrow Tout and Stoborough Heath:
Visited Worbarrow Tout which is a small headland on the Lulworth Ranges (access only available at weekends) had great views of a number of Rock Pipits, Shag, Kittiwake and Sandwich Tern. On the afternoon we popped over to Stoborough Heath and had great views of Stonechats and Sika Deer.
Monday 17th May - Radipole Lake RSPB, Portland Bill & Lodmore RSPB:
Radipole lake was a very quiet place, although we did see the Hooded Merganser that has been kicking around down there for the past couple of years (ok so its not really a tick but its a smart looking bird all the same). Portland Bill was also pretty quiet although did have 6 Turnstone, 2 Spotted Flycatcher and 4 Wheatear (all tending towards the Greenland variety and having a brick red hue to them). Lodmore gave us good views of a Whimbrel, 2 Bar-tailed Godwit and 8 Dunlin.
Tuesday 18th May - Brownsea Island:
What can I say, Brownsea is always worth a visit - even if to just seeing the fantastic Sandwich Tern Colony, which is only a few metres away from the hide. Wasn't lucky enough to see the Roseate Tern that has been visiting the lagoon but did have a Sanderling, 2 Mediterranian Gulls, 7 Bar-tailed Godwit and 4 Dunlin. Elsewhere on the island we saw a roosting Tawny Owl and Sika Deer. The highlight came from the hide overlooking the lakes in the centre of the island, a quiet place where me and Bev decided to have lunch. Whilst eating our rather limp and warm sarnies, a Jackdaw came down in front of the hide and flushed a Nightjar, which in turn flew up and landed on a log in the open (see below photo). We didn't see any Red Squirrel until heading back to get the last ferry from the island, when we saw 4.
Wednesday 19th May- Stoborough Heath:
Popped back to this quiet stretch of Heath early evening and was rewarded with cracking views of ♂ Dartford Warbler collecting insects.
Friday 21st May - Arne RSPB:
Highlights seen on both the Coombe heath and Shipstal trails at Arne were 2 Spoonbill, many Little Egret, Dartford Warbler, Stonechats (inc juveniles), Spotted Flycatchers and Tree Pipits. Broad-bodied Chaser and Four-Spotted Chaser dragonflies were also seen.
All in all, Dorset was a really enjoyable place to go birding and, although we didn't have any rarities whilst down there, it was great to catch up with species that we don't get in Worcestershire or only in small numbers on passage. 90 species of bird were seen in total.