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 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.
The new ponds are proving a success for other wildlife too, as conservation officers have spotted green sandpipers, snipe and grey wagtails. 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.
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.
The project has enjoyed support from the local community, and with further upgrades to the bird hide and dragonfly identification workshops planned for the next year, there are still opportunities to get involved.
To find out more about the Tadnoll and Winfrith reserve, visit www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/tadnoll_winfrith_reserves or phone 01305 264620. Map ref SY804865.