The Radipole Lake Big Spring Clean (aka Litter Pick)

Saturday 24th March saw a gathering of around 30 local volunteers to give the Radipole Lake Drive a long overdue spring clean of all the rubbish and litter which had accumulated alongside the road and edge of the lake. The volunteers first gathered in the car park for a preliminary chat and health and safety briefing by Dan Bartlett, Visitor Experience Officer. Equipment and bin bags were distributed and the volunteers got stuck into the wet and sometimes muddy task in hand with great determination and enthusiasm.

Dan addresses the volunteer crowd Volunteers litter picking

A substantial amount of the litter gathered was food and drink related, with bottles, cans, wrappings from confectionery/sandwiches and takeaway tea/coffee plastic cups. Many of these items had accumulated by the fishing /viewing platforms and made the area very unsightly. 

 Food and drink packaging in the marshOne of many bags of litter

Our volunteers were willing to wade in up to their knees getting as much litter out of the lake as possible and make it a much cleaner, safer and pleasanter for our wildlife and for visitors to enjoy.  Larger items such as tyres, picnic tables, gas canisters, road signs and bollards were also pulled out.

Willing to wade inTyres were hauled out

After three hours of labour intensive litter picking, the fruits of the volunteers labours was gathered together in a parking space in the car park. Over 70 bags of litter were piled up while Dan looks on proud of all our volunteers efforts. The entire length of the road was cleared and looking a much better place.  A special mention here for our newish roving reserve guides;  Colin Grant, Kei Little, Neil Bowler and Carlo.

70 bags of litter 70 bags of litter

After a successful morning's hard work and efforts, our volunteers were duly rewarded with a free hot drink in the warm welcoming Discovery Centre.

Volunteers enjoying a hot drink in the CentreVolunteers enjoying a hot drink in the Centre

The RSPB are hoping to run a similar event early next year.  If you have the time and would like to do more litter picking throughout the year, you would be very welcome.  Contact the Discovery Centre, details below.

The RSPB would like to sincerely thank everyone who donated their time and effort to this event:

  • Radipole Lake RSPB Volunteers
  • Friends of Radipole Park and Gardens
  • Dog Friendly Weymouth

Photo Credit: All litter pick photos by Martin Jones-Gill, RSPB Volunteer

March at RSPB Lodmoor - Conservation Work

Dave Morphew, RSPB Estate Volunteer writes: So that’s official, it’s no longer winter and while it’s sunny as I write this, I’m not entirely convinced the weather forecast will back up my claim. But so far as the RSPB Estates Team are concerned winter ends when April begins and we can’t cut any more scrub until the birds have finished nesting. In fact the tree felling season has already ended but that’s another story. So while RSPB Radipole Lake has been having something of a makeover thanks to contractors cleaning out the channels in the reedbeds, the Estates team volunteers have been at Lodmoor for most of March.

Job number one on the list was to prepare the islands for the return of our Common Tern colony who have been spending the winter somewhere even sunnier than Weymouth. The birds nest on the ground so every year we weed the islands to provide plenty of bare stones for them and brush cut the areas where there is reed on the islands. If you’ve ever tried pulling reed out by hand you’ll know why we use a brush cutter.

Common Terns

Photo Credit: Martin Jones-Gill, RSPB Volunteer

This year we’re trying something new; a fence around one of the islands to see if we can reduce predation by gulls. This is a difficult topic but although the tern population is rising the number of birds fledging isn’t and the gulls have to take a large part of the blame. When gulls fly over the island the terns fly up en-masse to chase them away, but if the gulls are sneaky and fly in low, they can often grab a chick before the birds have time to react. Will it work? Honestly we don’t know, it seems to work at Brownsea and we figured it was worth trying. It probably won’t stop predation but we hope it will make it more difficult.

The tern fencefrom the inside

Photo Credit: Dave Morphew, RSPB Estate Volunteer

Moving on, the Lodmoor paths have had their winter cut . You may remember that scene in Poldark, where Ross was in the meadow with a scythe and his shirt off. It’s just like that apart from two details:

  • Lodmoor is far too cold for shirt off antics
  • We use a mower to do the hard work.

If you have a garden you’ll know there’s always something that needs doing, so we also knock back the bramble and vegetation that encroaches on the paths every year. This makes access easier and we hope to see more flowering plants which of course will be nectar sources for insects. In fact Brimstone butterflies are already on the wing. This winter we’ve also widened the path that runs from Southdown Avenue back to Overcombe. Most birders don’t venture down there but they’re missing out because it’s the best place on Lodmoor to see Sika deer. And then working on the parts of the reserve that aren't open to the public we’ve been maintaining the paths and bridges that the cattle will use when grazing starts again and clearing more blackthorn scrub on the wet grassland area to the north of the reserve, which of course will make it a better place for wildlife.

Volunteers work in all weathers

Photo Credit: Dave Morphew, RSPB Estate Volunteer

Now all of this work has been done by volunteers with a little help and direction from the RSPB Wardening team. There’s always more to be done so if you have some time on your hands and like the idea of working outdoors we’d love to hear from you.  It’s only fair to warn you that you will get muddy, wet and probably scratched by blackthorn, but on the plus side you’ll be working with a great team, get to know the reserves really well and perhaps learn some new skills. 

Other Radipole Lake News:

Our new Visitor Experience Assistant, Emily Dragon, arrived just before the start of the Easter weekend. Emily comes to us having spent a year with the RSPB London team as a volunteer membership recruiter. She has a degree in Marine Zoology, and enjoys scuba-diving and snorkelling. She has worked at a manatee rescue centre in South America, and is with us full-time for at least 6 months. There are two other new faces in the centre. Sally Maslin and Patricia Mailer have also joined the Discovery Centre team.

Our resident Hooded Merganser appears to have been one of this winters victims, and hasn’t been seen since mid January. Hoodie was 10 years old, so he's not done bad for a wild duck.

Hooded Merganser

Photo Credit: Martin Jones-Gill, RSPB Volunteer

New spring migrant arrivals this month include: Willow Warblers, Reed Warblers, Swallows, House Martins, Sand Martins.  An Osprey was seen on Thursday 12th April.  Over on Lodmoor this week, Grasshopper Warbler, Wood Warbler, Redstart and the first Cuckoo of the spring calling.

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.

Telephone: 01305 778313