(Above) Spoonbill flock © Phyl England
(Below) Spoonbills © Monique Vanstone & Brownsea Lagonn hide © Stewart Canham
A rare sighting of the largest flock of Spoonbills ever seen in Britain has been recorded on the Brownsea Island Lagoon in Dorset.
Paul Morton from the Birds of Poole Harbour charity said, "To have 47 spoonbill in the harbour is a fantastic sight, and goes to show how successful their breeding colonies are doing elsewhere. After looking at their colouring and from previous year’s data, we suspect they have come from Holland or Belgium. For around 50 years Poole Harbour has only ever had 2-3 spoonbills during the winter, but this last decade has seen numbers grow year on year as youngsters follow their parents back to their wintering quarters. What makes this gathering even more special is that people at home, work and school can enjoy the spectacle live on the Brownsea lagoon webcam 24 hours a day. The only question is: how long will it be before they start breeding here?"
A unique sight best seen from DWT hides
Chris Thain, Brownsea Island reserve manager for Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) said, “Every year we are amazed at the sheer number of migrating birds that visit the Brownsea Lagoon. We are absolutely delighted to see so many spoonbills this year, which is a real treat. It’s a unique sight, which is best seen from the DWT hides for a really up-close view.”
Numbers of migrating birds set to rise
In September, 650 black tailed godwits, 1100 oystercatchers and 390 avocets have already been seen on the Lagoon, and numbers of migrating birds are predicted to rise in their thousands.
Visitor Services and enterprises Manager for National Trust, Claire Dixon said, “Brownsea is well known for its internationally important numbers of migrating birds and this is a great time of year to explore and spot wildlife. You can also collect the bird watching spotter sheets from our Visitor Centre, perfect for our younger visitors.”
Come and see for yourself!
As part of the Great Heath Living Landscape Project, DWT is holding an ‘Autumn birds of Brownsea’ event on Saturday 11th October from 11am 1pm so visitors can be guided by experts, learn more about migrating birds, and catch a sight of the spoonbill flocks. Meet at the public hide by the cormorant sculpture (100m from the quay). No DWT charge but boat fares and National Trust admission charges apply. For more information, contact 01202 692033 or 01202 709445 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Check out the webcam
Brownsea Island will be closed to the public for the winter from 2nd November. You can still see all the action on the lagoon on our webcam
DWT members' days for Brownsea Island will be on Sunday 7th Decemeber, 11.30am - 3.30pm, Saturday 10th January 11am - 3pm and Sunday 1st February 11am - 3pm. Cost £10 per adult, £5 per child. If you're a member, phone 01305 264620 to book your place.
Notes to Editor
Britain’s Favourite Nature Reserve* Brownsea Island is open for visitors until 2nd November 2014, Monday- Sunday 10am 5pm. Boats leave from 10am at Poole or Sandbanks. Boat fares and National Trust admission applies. DWT members do not have to pay if they are only visiting the DWT nature reserve, and show a valid membership card on arrival.
*Brownsea Island was voted Britain’s Favourite Nature Reserve in the Countryfile magazine 2013 awards. Dorset Wildlife Trust and the National Trust have been working in partnership on Brownsea Island for over 50 years, for the benefit of wildlife and the enjoyment of people.
For more information please contact Sally Welbourn at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life
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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.
The Great Heath Living Landscape an Urban Living Landscape in Dorset will deliver the following exciting objectives:
- To provide enhanced opportunities for visitors and local residents to enjoy and learn about the area's fantastic natural heritage
- To improve physical access to local green space close to high density urban areas
- To develop relationships with local landowners in order to enhance conservation management of land in private ownership and to open up access to more greenspace in the area.
- To provide increased involvement and volunteering opportunities for people in a variety of wildlife habitats on the urban margin
- To improve access to the marine environment on the fringes of Poole Harbour to improve its conservation value and increase public awareness and enjoyment
Sites include land at Hampreston and High Mead Lane, Award Road, Ferndown Common, Delph Wood, Arrowsmith Copse, Dunyeats Hill, Corfe Lodge Road, Upton Heath, Beacon Hill, Cottage Farm (Happy Bottom), Ashington Paddock, Barrow Hill, Wimborne Road, Rushcombe Bottom, Parley Common, Tricketts Cross, Lytchett Bay and Holes Bay.
The full Great Heath Living Landscape project will cost will be £4.7 million, we have already secured £2 million and have been awarded £2.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and need to raise further funds by public appeal.
The Great Heath Living Landscape is a partnership project involving Dorset Wildlife Trust, the Erica Trust, Poole Harbour Commissioners, Borough of Poole, Dorset County Council Countryside Service and Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust. The project is supported by Bournemouth Borough Council. Christchurch Borough Council, East Dorset District Council and Natural England.
Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported 36,000 projects with £6bn across the UK. For more information, please contact Katie Owen, HLF press office, on tel: 020 7591 6036/07973 613820.