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.”
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.”
In September, 650 black tailed godwits, 1100 oystercatchers and 390 avocets were seen on the Lagoon, and numbers of migrating birds are predicted to rise in their thousands.
Claire Dixon, Visitor Services and Enterprises Manager for National Trust 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.”
As part of the Great Heath Living Landscape Project, DWT is holding an ‘Autumn birds of Brownsea’ event on Saturday 11 October from 11am – 1pm so visitors can be see 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.
If you can’t get to the island to see them for yourselves, you can see all the action on the lagoon on the webcam at: www.dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/webcam