Wildlife of the Rodwell Trail
last year's birds:
2019 (94 sp)
2018 (108 sp)
2017 (94 sp)
2016 (76 sp)
2015 (75 sp)
Dec 2013 (50 sp)
Jan 2013 (50 sp)
Jan 2010 (60 sp)
Nov 2008 (57 sp)
Oct 2008 (57 sp)
2019 (94 sp)
2018 (108 sp)
2017 (94 sp)
2016 (76 sp)
2015 (75 sp)
2014 (75 sp)
2013 (66 sp)
2012 (79 sp)
2011 (84 sp)
2010 (99 sp)
2009 (98 sp)
2008 (97 sp)
100 species so far this year
Great Northern Diver
Great Crested Grebe
Dark-bellied Brent Goose
Mediterranean Gull >
Herring Gull >
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Great Spotted Woodpecker
Cetti's Warbler (heard)
House Sparrow >
Juvenile Sparrowhawk, Rodwell Halt, 9 August 2020
A Fieldfare at Newstead Road this morning was the first of the autumn and the 100th species for the year. On the afternoon's low tide a record flock of 50 Brent Geese were feeding off Sandsfoot Castle. Walking back through Rodwell Cutting a calling Great Spotted Woodpecker was the first here for some weeks.
An adult male Crossbill flew north just above treetop level at Rodwell Halt this morning.
The first two Redwings of the autumn were in the trees at Marsh Road this morning.
A Yellow-browed Warbler was calling loudly at Rodwell Halt this morning, possibly the same as I thought I heard a couple of weeks ago. A distinct westerly movement this morning, including several Pied Wagtails, Skylarks and Chaffinches. A Stonechat was at Wyke Cutting again, where there was also a Reed Bunting calling. Here also the now very regular Kestrel and a few more Chiffchaffs than have been seen lately.
A number of species were involved in a general movement of birds south and east this morning, the first calm and dry morning for a week or so. Finches were the first birds noticed with ten or twenty Chaffinches heading south over the middle part of the trail, with a lone Siskin over Wyke Road later. At Downclose a couple of Stonechats were the first seen for nearly a year. Reaching Smallmouth a Redshank was seen to arrive from the east and a total of ten Brent Geese flew high across the harbour. Another first for the year list, a Red-throated Diver, flew over Ferrybridge and up the Fleet.
Eight Skylarks flying west over Downclose today were the first seen on the trail this year. Siskins have been heard overhead frequently in the last month but today's flock of five flying north were the largest group seen so far. The Kestrel was about again over Wyke Cutting.
The only Spotted Flycatcher so far this year on the trail was near the Outdoor Education Centre today, while the Kestrel at Smallmouth has been around for a few days.
Although they've been going over for several days now today was the first time this year that Siskins could be heard over the trail.
A Grey Wagtail, possibly the same one as four weeks ago, was back at Rodwell Halt today.
Incredibly another specues was added to the trail bird list today when a Greenshank was heard calling high over Newstead Road.
The first migrant Grey Wagtail of the autumn flew south high over Downclose this morning, just after two late Swifts flew low over the trail heading west. Yesterday two Turnstones were at Smallmouth along with two Common Sandpipers. This time the Turnstones were actually on the trail, or at least right next to it.
Suprisingly today's Turnstone seen from Smallmouth was the first I've ever seen from the trail.
The first Yellow Wagtail for the year was heard flying over Downclose this morning and the first Whitethroat of the autumn was at Wyke Cutting.
One of the two young Sparrowhawks in Rodwell Cutting was visible this morning, but there was no sign of its sibling. Two Common Sandpipers were at Smallmouth, the first seen on the trail this year.
The presence of a family of Sparrowhawks in Rodwell Cutting was confirmed this morning when an adult was seen flying away from where two calling young could be heard. At the same spot a Raven was heard calling low over the tree tops.
What sounded very like a young Sparrowhawk or two were heard calling in Rodwell Cutting this morning. Last year they were first heard on August 13th.
Reports of a Grey Wagtail at Rodwell Halt recently were confirmed today when an adult male was photographed in its usual spot at the southern end of the platform. At the other end of the trail the Fulmar turned up again, this time flying south over Smallmouth.
Adult male Grey Wagtail, Rodwell Halt, 30 July 2020
An adult Willow Warbler below the searchlight platform was an interesting record this morning as it was very close to where a bird had been singing through April and May.
A flock of 42 Shelducks passing west high over the harbour this morning was totally unexpected, most likely birds on their way to the Bristol Channel to collect with others before moving on to Germany.
The pair of Kestrels were back this morning, at Smallmouth this time, again being very vocal. Nearby at Dover Road a young Great-spotted Woodpecker was on a telegraph pole, also being very vocal.
For the first time in many years a pair of Kestrels were hunting together over the trail, near the Sailing Club. Whether this is the same pair that hunts over Curtis' Fields to the north-west I don't know, but would love to find out.
After being seen again yesterday, today the Fulmar was seen a third time. Early this morning it spent some time circling in front of Sandsfoot Castle, as if prospecting. It then flew off towards Newton's Cove. On the beach at Underbarn the pair of Ravens were feeding two well-grown young.
Good birds all along the trail today. First was a Stock Dove heard singing from its usual tree at Rodwell Halt. Even more rare was the male Bullfinch nearby, the first I've ever seen in this part of the trail. Newly fledged Robin and Carrion Crow were also good records here. At Downclose a Bar-tailed Godwit flew in and started feeding on the beach near the Sailing Club. The Lesser Whitethroat was showing well at Wyke Halt but no sign ofvthe Common Whitethroat that was there yesterday. Finally Smallmouth produced a female Wheatear and, probably the most unexpected sighting of the day, a Song Thrush hopping along the path on the last few yards of the trail.
A flock of seven small geese high over the Trail at Wyke Halt may well have turned out to be Egyptian Geese had I got my bins on them sooner. On the way back a Fulmar appeared again at Downclose and over Newstead Road there were three Buzzards and a Red Kite.
The first Little Terns were at Whitehead's this morning and a Little Egret flying high over Newstead Road was a rare record for that end of the trail. A Willow Warbler has been very vocal recently, singing from various spots near the Wyke Road Tunnel, suggesting that a pair may well be breeding on the trail this year, probably the first time this has happened.
A Grey Plover calling at Smallmouth and a Lesser Whitethroat singing at Marsh Road today were both new birds for those sections of the trail.
The first Swift was flying south over Downclose this morning.
A Fulmar flying north along the shore at Downclose was today's highlight being only the second I've ever seen on the trail. In Wyke Cutting a Common Whitethroat was singing for the first time this year.
A Bullfinch at the end of Hillcrest Road was a big surprise this morning. Nearby Cetti's, Reed and Sedge Warblers could all be heard but not seen. In the harbour three Great Crested Grebes appeared to be the only wintering seabirds left.
The first Lesser Whitethroat of the year was back at its usual spot in Wyke Cutting this morning. At the very end of the trail a Wheatear and a Common Tern were also the first seen on the trail this year.
A Whimbrel heading north over Downclose was the first for the trail this year but the most surprising sight today was the Great Northern Diver still present off the embankment. No mergansers visible in the harbour today.
Still lots of Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers about today, along with a Whitethroat and a Reed Warbler at Newstead Road. Two Mergansers are pretty much the only wintering seabirds left in the harbour.
A major event today when a Knot turned up at Smallmouth, number 154 for the trail bird list. Apart from that a large number of migrants all along the trail.
The first Sedge Warbler of the year was singing near the bottom of Old Castle Road early this morning and the Kestrel was back hunting in its usual spot at the end of Dover Road. Offshore a Grey Seal surfaced not far from Sandsfoot Castle.
Dunnock at Downclose, 18 April 2020
A pair of Mallard at the sailing club was a good record for the trail this morning, with two Common Scoter still offshore here.
This morning the This morning the first Whitethroat of the year was below the Marsh embankment along with a mini-fall of Blackcaps, Chiffchaffs and Willow Warblers. The Kestrel and the Cetti's Warbler were both back at Downclose.
Another shock today when four Mute Swans flew low over the trail at the end of Dover Road.
A real surprise today when a Cetti's Warbler syddenly burst into song above the Sailing Club. Lots of Swallows flying north across the harbour too.
A flock of over 40 Red-breadted Mergansers off Downclose this morning was the most seen in the harbour for a week or two. The regular Great Northern Diver and the flock of 5 Common Scoter were still present, along with 3 Sandwich Terns and a Grey Heron flying across from Portland.
A very unexpected Kestrel turned up this morning at Wyke Halt. Previously a regular sight on the trail for the last ten years or so they have been very scarce. A pair of Pied Wagtails have been nesting again somewhere just off the southerh end of the trail but today a second pair was at the Sailing Club, a new site for this species.
The first Willow Warbler of the year was at Sandsfoot Halt this morning. A Great Northern Diver was off Downclose, as it has been all week.
The first three Sandwich Terns were off Smallmouth this morning, and a Gannet was diving close inshore off Sandsfoot Castle.
A unprecedented four Red Kites, in two pairs, were circling over the southern end of the trail this morning. Over Buxton Road a Buzzard was performing a very dramatic display flight, the first time I've seen such a thing on the trail. Yesterday a Great Spotted Woodpecker was drumming loudly at Rodwell Halt, the first time this year.
Red Kite over Wyke Halt, 26 March 2020
The flock of Common Scoter were still off the southern end of the trail, numbering five this morning with the young male Eider not far away. At low tide five very smart Mediterranean Gulls were withthe other gullsat Whitehead's Pier.
A Buzzard over Smallmouth was the first I've seen at the southern end of the trail. Oddly it was soon followed, at a lower altitude, by two Magpies which then proceeded to fly in the same south-easterly direction across the harbour. Today's wind was north-easterly.
Greenfinches have been more numerous this year with up to nine seen in the Downclose - Wyke Halt area.
Four Shelduck in the middle of the harbour was a very rare record thus morning. Black-necked Grebes have all been in breeding plumage for several weeks now; today there were just one or two off Downclose.
The first Blackcap was heard singing near Hillcrest Road this morning. A Black-throated Diver was off Downclose in the morning, with a GreatNorthern there in the afternoon. Eight Black-necked Grebes were also seen, several in full breeding plumage. At Whitehead's Pier the male Eider was back and at low tide two Curlew were feeding.
A few more birds off Downclose this morning with two Black-necked Grebes and three Common Scoter readonsbly close in near the Sailing Club. Towards Smallmouth and a lot further out was what may well have the female Eider again after an absence of several weeks.
A very bright Chiffchaff at the southern end of Downclose Cutting somehow looked very like an early migrant, although with no pollen on its face I can't be sure. Two Great Northern Divers were offshore and five Black-necked Grebes were just south of Smallmouth.
A Sandwich Tern was off Sandsfoot Castle this afternoon with four Great Northern Divers, a Black-necked Grebe and a Common Scoter further out. A smart male Bullfinch was in Downclose Cutting where there was also a Linnet and several Greenfinches.
Three new birds for the year today with two Common Scoter off Sandsfoot, a Coal Tit calling at Buxton Road and a Bullfinch opposite Marsh Road.
The first Firecrest of the year was at Rodwell Halt and the female Eider was still at Smallmouth.
A very quiet start to the year with two Eider at Smallmouth the only notable record.
Grey Wagtail at Rodwell Halt, 05 January 2020