Wildlife of the Rodwell Trail
birds seen from the trail in 2018

108 species so far this year

Great Northern Diver
Black-throated Diver
Black-necked Grebe
Slavonian Grebe
Red-necked Grebe
Great Crested Grebe
Little Grebe
Grey Heron
Little Egret
Dark-bellied Brent Goose
Canada Goose
Red-breasted Merganser
Common Scoter
Red Kite
Bar-tailed Godwit
Golden Plover
Ringed Plover
Common Sandpiper
Black-headed Gull
Mediterranean Gull >
Common Gull
Herring Gull >
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Yellow-legged Gull
Great Black-backed Gull
Little Gull
Sandwich Tern
Arctic Tern
Common Tern
Little Tern
Wood Pigeon
Feral Pigeon
Stock Dove
Collared Dove
Green Woodpecker
Great Spotted Woodpecker
House Martin
Meadow Pipit
Pied Wagtail
Grey Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail
Dunnock >
Song Thrush
Cetti's Warbler (heard)
Grasshopper Warbler
Sedge Warbler
Reed Warbler
Common Whitethroat
Lesser Whitethroat
Garden Warbler
Willow Warbler
Yellow-browed Warbler
Long-tailed Tit
Coal Tit
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Jackdaw >
Carrion Crow
House Sparrow >

Black-necked Grebe eating pipefish, Underbarn Beach, 14 January 2018

Common Scoter at Smallmouth, 30th October 2018

December 31st
A superb end to the year with a rare addition to the mammal list, a Bottle-nosed Dolphin "surfing" off Downclose.

December 28th
Fifteen Black-necked Grebes off Downclose was the largest number seen so far this winter. A single Great Northern Diver was not far away and a Great Spotted Woodpecker was calling near Old Castle Road.

December 23rd
Four Shelduck were in flight with a Great Northern Diver a long way off Downclose this morning. Yesterday a Goldcrest was just north of Wyke Road, the first I've seen on the trail for a while. Last week one or two Chiffchaffs were in the same area.

December 14th
Today the first Great Northern Diver of the winter was off Smallmouth. Recently a Grey Wagtail has been at its usual spot in Rodwell Cutting.

December 8th
Two Black-throated Divers were off Downclose this mornng with a couple of Slavonian Grebes nearby.

November 25th
A new species was found for the trail today when a superb adult Little Gull flew along the beach just north of Smallmouth. Shortly afterwards I saw my second Grey Seal ever from the trail, some distance out in the harbour opposte Whitehead's Pier.

November 18th
A snipe heard this morning above Old Castle Road was only the second record for the trail. At least eight hundred Wood Pigeons were seen moving south in several enormous flocks over Downclose.

November 17th
Yesterday a Jay flew across Newstead Road and disappeared into the Horse Chestnut just north of the bridge. Today a flock of six or seven Redwings were flying north in the same area.

November 5th
The hundredth species of the year was a Cetti's Warbler heard singing near Wyke Road tunnel. The first Great Crested Grebe of the autumn was off Downclose.

October 30th
The first mergansers of the autumn were close in at the southern end of the trail and a female Common Scoter was feeding at Smallmouth (see video above).

October 28th
Quite a few birds were flying north into the cold wind today including a few Chaffinches at the northern end of the trail with Skylarks, about twenty Redwings with a single Fieldfare at the southern end. Yesterday a Yellow-browed Warbler was calling near Chickerell Road.

September 30th
Three new birds for the trail year list today. First a party of nine Siskins heading north over Newstead Road, then at the other end of the trail a pair of duck flew in which turned out to be a Wigeon with a Teal!

August 30th
Wyke Cutting was the most productive area again today with a new juv Stonechat accompanied by two older birds, one of which was its tail-less male parent bird. A very smart Lesser Whitethroat was not far away, possibly a locally-bred juvenile. A fly-over Grey Wagtail was the first of the autumn for the trail.

Rodwell Cutting has produced plenty of evidence of breeding Sparrowhawks this month, with several sightings of adults near Buxton Road and a squeaking fledgling raptor heard on almost every visit.

August 2nd
The Wyke Cutting produced two juv Stonechats today with nearby a couple of Stock Doves flying north away from Downclose. In the harbour a record number of three Gannets were patrolling around.

July 31st
A juvenile Yellow-legged Gull at Smallmouth was the 150th species seen on the trail since 2007. From the same spot at Whiteheads Pier I could see a Peregrine hunting over Portland Port, with the juv Stonechat feeding on the path next to me. A few minutes earler a young Skylark had ventured close enough at Smallmouth to be entered on to this year's Trail list. On the way back a Whimbrel appeared over the harbour calling loudly and flying west.

July 22nd
A red kite high over Wyke could be seen distantly from Downclose this morning, the second this year.

July 18th
A pair of Common Scoter have been off Smallmouth this week.

July 10th
Wyke Cutting has been very productive recently with breeding strongly suspected for Common Whitethroat, Lesser Whitethroat and Stonechat. No definite juvenile birds seen yet but adults of all three species behaving very much as if they are feeding young. At the other end of the Trail Rodwell Cutting has had a flyover Peregrine recently and two sightings of an adult Sparrowhawk, probably a female.

July 1st
A new bird for the trail today (no. 149) when an adult Cuckoo flew north along Downclose embankment. Nearby in Wyke Cutting the Lesser Whitethroat has been singing all week, with two or three birds seen on one day suggesting that they have successfully bred here. No sign of young Stonechats yet but the male has been around all week. In Rodwell Cutting a Goldcrest has been singing most days this week.

June 22nd
The treecreepers were heard again this morning, with the first Stock Dove of the year also heard, both near Rodwell Halt. A Reed Warbler was singing near the Outdoor Education Centre and at Smallmouth a Lesser Black-backed Gull was on a sandbank and a Curlew flew overhead calling.

June 14th
A pair of treecreepers and a singing garden warbler were the highlights today, both near Rodwell Halt. The windy weather also brought the first gannet of the year into the harbour, seen from Downclose.

June 9th
For the second day running a reed warbler has been singing in the bushes at Downclose. This morning a lesser whitethroat could be heard distantly from Wyke Cutting, the first for a month.

May 24th
A fulmar flying over Smallmouth and along the Beach Road this morning brought the bird list up to 148 species since 2007. The pair of stonechats are still in Wyke Cutting and looking very much as if they have a brood of young somewhere. The raven family (two adults with two young) were in the Sailing Club car park.

May 23rd
An osprey over Smallmouth was the second for the Trail this year. Sat on the seat opposite Dover Road I had a close encounter with a sparrowhawk which disappeared into a bramble bush inches off the ground right next to me.

May 19th
A smart male stonechat in Wyke Cutting yesterday was followed today by a female in the same spot, the first there since February. A male sparrowhawk was hunting low along the trail near Marsh Road this morning.

May 16th
After yesterday's reed warbler a sedge warbler was singing above the Sailing Club. A male peregrine shot east over the northern end of the trail early this morning.

May 15th
A pair of very late brent geese in the southern end of the harbour were most likely pale-bellied but were too far away to be sure. A pair of shelduck flying around the centre of the harbour may well indicate that they are breeding somewhere on the breakwaters. Little terns were feeding off Smallmouth today in some numbers (10+) and the Bincleaves ravens appeared with their two young on their first flight away from home. Nearby a reed warbler was singing on Wyke Embankment,where there are stll a couple of singing common whitethroats but no sign of any lessers.

May 8th
Today's highlight was a red kite low over the trees near Asda. Plenty of singing warblers today with about 5 blackcaps, 4 common whitethroats and 2 or 3 lesser whitethroats. At Bincleaves an adult raven was feeding 2 well-grown young on the shore, the first time breeding has been proved here.

May 4th
The first two whitethroats were singing on the trail today, one at Downclose and one in Wyke Cutting. A single merganser was flying around the harbour. In the afternoon a buzzard and a peregrine were circling high over Newstead Road.

May 1st
A male sparrowhawk was displaying over Marsh Road this morning with blackcap, chiffchaff and willow warbler singing nearby. In Rodwell Cutting one or possibly two goldcrests were singing. Just off the trail at Bincleaves three stock doves were seen and a juv raven was already flying well. Two mergansers were in the harbour.

April 27th
A real surprise today when a crossbill appeared over Old Castle Road and landed in a tree right next to me!

April 23rd
Walking along the coast opposite Wyke Cutting I unexpectedly disturbed a common sandpiper and two wheatears. A pair of whimbrel arrived shortly after. A lesser whitethroat has been singing in Wyke cutting for the past two or three days. All mergansers appear to have left the harbour now.

April 18th
Smallmouth was the place to be again today with a couple of wheatears on the rocks and a grasshopper warbler reeling in Wyke Cutting.

April 15th
Two new species for the year at Smallmouth today, a pair of common terns and a flock of four whimbrel.

April 7th
An arctic tern was a very rare site just south of the trail at Smallmouth this morning, along with thirteen Sandwich terns. A flock of sixty mergansers off Downclose Embankment was one of the largest seen this year. The first swallows were seen today.

April 11th
An osprey circling high over Abbotsbury Road this afternoon would have been easily visible from the northern end of the trail.

April 2nd
Sandwich terns have just arrived in the harbour, although a single bird, possibly an over-winterer, has been around for a couple of weeks. Nine black-necked grebes were seen today, grouped together for the first time this winter. A male sparrowhawk was opposite Dover Road.

March 12th
A pair of stock doves at Rodwell Halt today, where one was singing two days ago. The great spot has been calling and drumming a lot lately and today a goldcrest was singing there as well. A coal tit and a blackcap were near Buxton Road bridge and two Canada geese flying over Smallmouth was a new species for that end of the trail.

March 6th
A skylark singing high over Smallmouth was the first time they have been heard singing over the trail. A blackcap was also singing near Hillcrest Road.

March 2nd
More birds arrived on the second day of snow, most notably two woodlarks in Wyke Cutting. The ringed plovers were still at Smallmouth but today were joined by a lapwing and several golden plovers. A group of four bar-tailed godwits near the sailing club were a new species for the trail. Apart from these rarities fieldfare, redwing and linnet were seen for the first time this year.

March 1st
On a snowy, windy day any cold weather movement seemed to bypass the Trail altogether, with if anything less birds than normal. For instance no long-tailed tits have been seen at all since the cold weather started a week ago. Very few other tits either. I did add a couple of new birds to the year list at Smallmouth though where there was a small party of dunlin and ringed plovers feeding.

Mediterranean Gulls at Castle Cove, March 1st 2018

February 26th
The first grey wagtail of the year was just north of Wyke Road Tunnel this morning. Apart from wrens there were very few small birds about in this very cold weather.

January Summary
Plenty of black-necked grebes this month but no slavonians at all. One or two great northern divers present most days but often in the southern half of the harbour. Woodpeckers have been very noisy in Rodwell Cutting with two or three great spots joined on one occasion by a green. Drumming has been heard all month, since December in fact. More bullfinches than usual at the southern end with a pair often seen in Wyke Cutting.

January 14th
The black-necked grebe at Sandsfoot Beach was filmed with a pipefish this morning. On the trail a great spotted woodpecker was at Old Castle Road and a green woodpecker was heard at Rodwell Halt.

January 3rd
A close black-necked grebe was seen just away from the trail at Sandsfoot Beach with a jay and calling green woodpecker nearby. On the trail all was quiet in the windy conditions but a great spotted woodpecker was heard at Rodwell Halt.