National Trust Purbeck Wildlife

Settlers from the South

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Spoonbill by northeastwildlife

Spoonbill by northeastwildlife

Spoonbill by northeastwildlife

Forty years ago, when I started birdwatching, spoonbill, little egret and Mediterranean gull were all rare species and to find any one of them on a day’s birding was a good achievement. Today, I can go and watch them any day of the week without leaving Purbeck.  Perhaps this is a case where climate change has allowed birds to extend their range northwards.

Of the three, spoonbills are the least common though a recent count of sixty within Poole Harbour was a national record for a single site. Look for them at Middlebere or take a harbour boat trip to view birds on Brownsea lagoon.  In fact you can often see spoonbills on a live Brownsea web cam at www.birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk.

Studland is great for the other two species. Little egrets feed in Brands Bay and sometimes commute to Little Sea to roost in the lakeside trees there.  Go to South Beach for Mediterranean gulls where you will see birds scavenging on the shoreline and flocks of up to fifty birds roosting on the sea.

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Author: Kevin Rideout

National Trust Visitor Experience Officer based at Studland

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