There are three big items of news this month.  The first has to be the glorious sunshine and warm temperatures we have been enjoying over the past two to three weeks. The prolonged sunshine means that our reserves are thriving  with life and they are looking fantastic and colourful at the moment.  A family of Tufted ducklings have been seen on the reserve, along with Mallard ducklings and Canada Geese goslings. Also a record 35 Mute Swan cygnets have been counted around the reserve.

10th Anniversary of the Brown Bee Orchid

The next next news item is that 2018 is the 10th anniversary of the discovery of the Brown Bee Orchid (Ophyrs apifera var. atrofuscus).  Radipole Lake has become well known for the 'Atrofuscus' or 'Brown Bee', a variety of Bee Orchid which Naomi Bailey, RSPB Volunteer, first discovered on the reserve back in 2008. (The very first atrofuscus discovered on Radipole Lake is this blog’s avatar). This variety had first been discovered in Sussex in 2001, although it may have previously occurred in Herefordshire and has also been recorded at a site in Leicestershire. The atrofuscus Bee Orchid at Radipole Lake is the first record for Dorset and it is Dorset’s only known site.

The Brown Bee, which the atrofuscus has become affectionately known as, has flowered on Radipole Lake every year since 2008 and has since been found at different locations around the reserve. 

Ophrys apifera var atrofuscus Ophrys apiferaOphrys apifera var atrofuscus Typical Bee Orchid

On 15th June a 10th Anniversary Orchid Walk was held to celebrate this event.  The walk was led by Dan Bartlett, Naomi Bailey and attended by 17 visitors in glorious sunshine weather. Four Brown Bee Orchids have made their appearance this year along with five of the typical Bee Orchids.  

This walk also gave visitors the opportunity to see the reserves other orchid species.  The next one shown to our visitors was the Pyramidal Orchid on the path near the Kingfisher gate.  Normally at their best in late June/early July, five plants were counted with one coming into flower.  The Pyramidal Orchid count on 29th June was 22 plants in full bloom.  Finally, visitors were shown our most abundant orchid on the reserve, the Southern Marsh Orchid with a count this year of forty-eight plants on the path down to the new Viewing Shelter. 

Southern Marsh OrchidPyramidal Orchid


Marsh Harrier Update

The next item of news is the Marsh Harriers.  Over on Lodmoor, four juveniles were seen enjoying the summer sunshine. The superb photos below were taken by RSPB Volunteer, Edmund Mackrill.  All four of the juveniles can be seen in the first photo, then one of them took off to explore the Common Tern colony.

Marsh Harrier juveniles

Juvenile Marsh Harrier and Common Tern

Marsh Harrier Juvenile

Marsh Harrier Juvenile

All Marsh Harrier Photos Copyright: Edmund Mackrill, RSPB Volunteer

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