Wildlife to look out for in December from Dorset Wildlife Trust wardens
Brent geese have now arrived from Siberia, including some of the pale bellied variety. Look for them in the Fleet Lagoon from the Fine Foundation Chesil Beach Centre. Other wintering birds around the Centre include red breasted mergansers at Ferrybridge and divers and grebes in Portland Harbour. Further west along the Fleet, Butterstreet cove or Rodden hive are good places to look for winter wildfowl, including wigeon by the thousand (on a good day) and pintail at Rodden Hive (the best place on the Fleet to see them). Small wading birds can be spotted on the shore.
For large numbers of waders and spectacular spoonbills, DWT members can also visit Brownsea Island’s lagoon on 9th December. Ring 01305 264620 or see events guide for details.
Weymouth’s Radipole Lake is a good place to spot gulls of all kinds including, if the tide is right, dozens of Mediterranean gulls. Also look for snipe and, if you are very lucky, wintering bittern.
Kingcombe Meadows nature reserve is a good place to hear and see fieldfare and redwing in the hedgerows and, late in the afternoon, tawny owls calling from the trees.
Look out for large pied wagtail roosts in town centres and for starling murmurations over reed beds or groups of trees. These can be very mobile and roost locations vary from year to year, often including gardens and town centres.
Look in wet mud [or snow!] for footprints often the only way we know that we have weasels, stoats, hedgehogs or other small mammals. Not all of them will hibernate and if hedgehog prints are seen, leave out dog food for them because they will probably need to fatten up to the correct weight for hibernating properly.