Smooth newt males ready for mating season

This video from England says about itself:

9 April 2013

I’ve finally set out herping. With all this cold weather we’ve been having I thought I would never see the day. But I turned out to have great success in Dorset. I found lots of newts, lots of lizards, and lots of snakes. This video shows you the two species of newt which I found on my trip: the smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris), and the palmate newt (Lissotriton helveticus). Which turns out to be a new species for me. I also encountered some Italian crested newts along the way but was unable to get some footage. :( Maybe next time…

On 3 January 2014, Dutch RAVON herpetologists investigated amphibians in Aamsveen nature reserve in Overijssel province.

They found two male smooth newts, already in full spring mating season colours, waiting for females.

One should hope for them that the winter, relatively mild so far, will not become harsher.

Italian crested newts in the Netherlands: here.

Bird news from Dorset, England

This is a red-throated diver video from Sweden.

A message on Twitter today from Portland Bill in Dorset, England:

Portland Bill: 08:30-10:15 R[ed-]t[hroated] Diver 3, Great Bustard 3, Purple Sand[piper] 1, Turnstone 3, Med[iterranean] Gull 1, Black Redstart 1, Stonechat 1 – 30 sp[ecies] (good)

Biggest spoonbill flock ever seen in Britain

This video from Azerbaijan is called Eurasian spoonbill.

From Wildlife Extra:

Dorset records largest flock of spoonbills ever seen in Britain

The largest flock of spoonbills ever to be seen in Britain was sighted on the Brownsea Island Lagoon of Dorset last month.

The spoonbill is still rare in the UK, and is listed as Amber status of European conservation concern.

“To have 47 spoonbill in the harbour is a fantastic sight, and goes to show how successful their breeding colonies are doing elsewhere,” says Paul Morton from charity Birds of Poole Harbour.

“After looking at their colouring and from previous years’ data, we suspect they have come from Holland or Belgium. For around 50 years Poole Harbour has only ever had two to three 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.”

Birdlife appears to be doing well at Brownsea, with 650 Black-tailed Godwits, 1,000 Oystercatchers, and 390 Avocets seen on the Lagoon last month. Numbers of migrating birds in the reserve are predicted to rise in their thousands.

“Every year we are amazed at the sheer number of migrating birds that visit the Brownsea Lagoon,” says Chris Thain, Brownsea Island Reserve Manager for Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT).

“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.”

For those unable to visit Brownsea to see the action, you can visit the reserve virtually via webcam at

Bird report from Dorset, Britain

This video is called Winter birds at Long Rock, Swalecliffe – Kent, UK.

Debby Saunders from Weymouth, Dorset in England reports in a Twitter message today:

2 Yel[low] Wag[tails], 3 Com[mon] Sand[pipers], 5 C[ur]’lew, 3 S[an]d[er]’ling, R[ed]’shank, Bar[-tailed god]wit, 2 L[ittle] R[inged] P[lover], 18 T[urn]’stone, 7 Swift, S[and]d Martin, 2 Sp[arrow]’hawk→S[outh], lots Swallow.

Rare orchid flowers at English sewage works

This video from Britain is called Early Spider Orchid in Oxeye Meadow, Durlston Country Park in May.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

Rare orchid blooms at sewage works

Early spider orchid found growing on the grass roof at Swanage treatment works in Dorset by ecologists

Press Association

Thursday 22 May 2014 14.31 BST

A rare orchid has been discovered in a surprising spot – on the green roof of a sewage treatment plant.

The early spider orchid was found growing on the grass roof at Swanage treatment works in Dorset by ecologists, who had been told by members of the public that another rare orchid had been spotted there last summer.

After going to look for the bee orchid, staff at Wessex Water changed the mowing process on the roof, and discovered the early spider orchid – a smaller and rarer species.

The early spider orchid is protected by law, making it a crime to uproot, cut, sell or destroy it.

Ellen McDouall, senior conservation ecologist at Wessex Water, said the limestone coastal cliffs around Swanage, on the Isle of Purbeck, were one of only three UK strongholds for the species, along with Kent and Suffolk.

“The roof has only existed for 10 years and the orchids can take that long to flower. We don’t know how this got on the roof – whether seed was in the soil or blown in from nearby.

“Thankfully the roof of the sewage treatment works is under no particular operational pressure so we are hopeful that we will be able to actively manage the land for the benefit of the plant.”

A spokesman for Dorset Wildlife Trust said: “This is a lovely find as the early spider orchid is nationally scarce, with around 75% of the population being found in Purbeck, and the rest along the south coast to Kent and Suffolk. They are so special to Dorset that Dorset Wildlife Trust use it as part of our logo.”

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