After a succession of storms, the water levels at Radipole Lake and Lodmoor are high again.  Many puddles on the paths but all passable.  Ducks still around are Tufted, Mallard, Gadwall, Teal, Pochard and Shoveler.  Other birds noted are Grey Heron, Moorhen, Coot, Cormorants including the subspecies sinensis and Snipe. In the reed beds Cetti's are being noisy and in the hedgerows Blackbirds, Robin, Dunnock, Great Tits and Blue Tits. The Black Swan made an appearance over at Lodmoor on 19th February.

On 21st February, a flock of 21 Stonechats were busy up at the North Screen having recently arrived from the continent.  The males are looking their best now, ready for the breeding season.  Later on 26th February, a lone Fieldfare unexpectedly made a brief appearance at Radipole Lake.

Spoonbills have been a frequent visitor over at Lodmoor these past few weeks.  One even arrived on Radipole Lake on 23rd February.  

The most interesting story this month was a Mediterranean Gull seen among a flock of gulls roosting in the car park outside the Discovery Centre.  The Gull had a white ring with the code 31J6.  Edmund Mackrill decided to investigate further and discovered it was first ringed as an adult in the Flanders region of Belgium in May 2007.  Since then this bird has been recorded several times in France and Belgium.  The first visit to the UK, was in March 2010, seen at Langstone, Hampshire and again in Icklesham, East Sussex in April 2010. 

The Gull went back to France then on to Spain and Belgium.  In June 2014 it turned up in Noord-Holland in the Netherlands. Then back to Spain and subsequently recorded again in France and Belgium over the past 5 years, often observed several times at the same sites.  On 18th February 2020 it was spotted by Edmund in the car park at Radipole Lake, its second known visit to the UK.  In all this Med Gull's record shows a total of 42 sightings over 13 years.

This story shows the importance of ringing birds and tracking their movements building up a history of their life; when and where they go, how long they live, their survival and breeding.  Thanks to Edmund for sharing its life story so far.

As many of you know, Radipole Lake has been running its own Bearded Tits monitoring project.  If you see any Bearded Tits with coloured rings, please contact the Discovery Centre with a photo if at all possible.  Contact details below.

Photo Credits: Stonechat, Fieldfare, Spoonbill and Mediterranean Gull by Edmund Mackrill @weymouthbirder

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