Whilst gardening today I was aware of so much wildlife around us even this late in the year. The bird feeding stations were unusually busy and birds moved though the borders searching for insects and seeds. Nuthatches have returned this year after a three-year absence and the blackcaps have arrived for the winter. The mixed titmice flocks lead by the Long Tails visit regularly and bring the garden to life. There are still insects around and the occasional bee and wasp. The Field Voles and Shrews make forays into the borders in search of their meals. It has not taken a great deal of effort to encourage our wildlife but certainly benefit from seeing and hearing it all around us whenever we are in the garden, so why are there not nature reserves on every spare patch of land in town and country? Look out for a future blog about our wildlife gardening efforts.
When on holiday in Dorset in the early autumn we were amazed by the RSPB reserve in Weymouth, Radipole, which is a true wildlife oasis in this busy seaside town. It is a wonderful place! So much nature just where you expect to see very little. We were treated to sightings of kingfisher, hobby, marsh harrier, little egret, snipe, reed bunting and warblers aplenty.
We found the walks around the reserve easy as they were flat and comfortable and refreshments were at hand via the bountiful blackberry bushes alongside the tracks. One section of the track is bordered with buddlejas specially planted for butterflies and wildflowers abound.
The reserve is home to rarities such as bittern, bearded tit and cettis warbler as well as many species of wader, duck and warblers such as sedge and grasshopper. As well as the birds otter are regularly spotted. The huge variety of species here is due to the variety of habitat which include lagoon and reedbed.
And all this is found alongside busy town roads, bustling junctions and retail parks. We thought we were lost when we found ourselves in a town car park until we spotted the thatched roof of the little visitors’ centre right at the far end. The welcome is so warm – all RSPB centres give a warm welcome to their visitors but the welcome here is warmer than the norm. The volunteers are full of useful information and will talk you through recent sightings and the best places to get good views. We arrived in a heavy downpour but enjoyed a good cup of coffee a chat with a volunteer and a view over the lagoon from the centre’s huge viewing window. We had a brilliant day and can recommend it to anyone visiting the South West.