(Above) Grey phalarope spotted in the pond on the reserve © Steve Smith
(below) Grey phalarope in flight © Monique Vanstone (below) Pond digging team © Ali Quinney
A rare inland sighting of an arctic breeding wading bird, the grey phalarope, has been recorded on the largest of six new ponds which have recently been created on Dorset Wildlife Trust’s (DWT) Tadnoll and Winfrith reserve.
Classed as ‘scarce’ in the UK and rarely found so far in-land, it is thought the stormy weather had encouraged the grey phalarope to feed on one of the newest ponds in the Prison Fields area on the reserve, just weeks after its creation as part of SITA Trust pond link project.
Ponds are a success for other wildlife too...
The new ponds are proving a success for other wildlife too, as conservation officers have spotted green sandpipers, snipe and grey wagtails using the ponds. Diving beetles, water beetles, lesser water boatmen and mating common darters dragonflies were also recorded just two weeks after the ponds were created in September.
Fantastic to have rarities visiting the area
DWT’s Assistant Conservation Officer, Ali Quinney, is leading on this project. She said, “It is so exciting that so many new species are already using the ponds at such an early stage, and to have rarities like the grey phalarope make use of the pond is fantastic. The site has so much potential and this conservation work will not only improve habitat for the wildlife already in the area, but attract new wildlife too. We’re looking forward to seeing even more invertebrates, plants, birds and hopefully more rarities too.”
Following on from the success of wetland creation works in 2007 in this area, these ponds have been built to connect two existing areas of wetland habitat, and create a network of new ponds and wetland habitat.
Get involved and visit the reserve
The project has enjoyed support from the local community, and with further up-grades to the bird hide and dragonfly identification workshops planned for the next year, there are still opportunities to get involved. Please contact Ali Quinney on 01305 264620 or email for more information.
To find out more about the Tadnoll and Winfrith reserve, visit the reserves page or phone 01305 264620. Map ref SY804865.
Notes to Editor
The SITA Trust Pond Link project includes Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT), SITA Trust, The Environment Agency and the Wild Purbeck Nature Improvement Area.
For more information please contact Sally Welbourn at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
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Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.