Pretty much instantly distracted by the bird feeders next to the new Information Kiosk (I say new, but then I haven't been for 3 Years). Teeming with life, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Coal Tit, Robin & a pair of Nuthatch all visiting on some kind of chain line. Also strutting his stuff beneath the feeders a male Peacock, not your average bird table sighting.
We headed first out on the Shipstal Point trail towards the Salt marshes and Poole Harbour beyond. First sighting a rather large herd of Sika Deer grazing on a paddock field in the middle of the reserve.
|Grazing Sika Herd|
The first birdlife encountered as we headed towards the shoreline, the haunting call of a Curlew, another 100 yards through to the edge of the Salt marsh and the culprit could be seen, joining a passing group of Avocet heading towards the Middlebere Channel. Now I'm not sure what it was that flushed the birds as it moved so fast, falcon-like low over the crests of the waves as it disappeared around the corner of the headland. But if I had to take an educated guess I'd say a Merlin however I can neither confirm nor deny.
Further on around the path whilst trying to get a picture of a small flock of birds dropping in and out of the heather, to which im 99.9% sure were Meadow Pipits, The arrival of 2 Sika Bucks on the path below rather whisked me away. We got so close that I slowly moved to the other side of them in the end, walking straight past, as the light was better for a picture. Bit disappointing as its supposed to be a Wild beast but Im not complaining about the pictures. The path ended in about 30 yards right on the edge of the large area of Salt marsh overlooking Poole Harbour and the distant town of Poole. About 50-60 yards out was the remaining Sika herd, probably 40-45 deer.
|My Fave I Think - Sika Buck|
|The Big Boy|
Now the Middlebere Channel at this time of the day (3pm) looks quite an impressive stretch of river, but quite deceiving really as the tide was heading out, more and more small groups of Avocet headed down to the where the rapidly retreating water left and increasing expanse of mudflat. Numbers ranging into the thousands traveling westerly down the channel. Brilliant stuff having not seen the graceful Avocet before in the wild. In front of the hide large numbers covered the width of the river, the water appearing quite deep coming no further up than the tops of there stilt like legs. Also sifting through the shallow mud more Black-tailed Godwits, Redshank, Teal & Snipe. A large flock of Lapwing circled in the distant fields.