Adam Wells, Beaulieu Estate’s Wildlife & Conservation Officer reports that despite difficult conditions during 2012 there are good numbers of over-wintering waders and wildfowl at Needs Ore. The islands created on de L’Orne for breeding Avocet have had the desired effect, with flocks of 600 Golden Plover and 300 Lapwing also using them through the winter. Recent Lapwing arrivals have increased the flock to 800. Other waders feeding on the flooded grasslands include Curlew and Black Tailed Godwit, as well as Snipe.
Wildfowl species on the Reserve this winter include Mallard, Wigeon, Teal, Shoveler, Pintail, Gadwall, Pochard, Tufted, Scaup, and Shelduck.
Brent Geese numbers are lower than usual this year following a poor breeding season in Siberia, even so, 800 or more have been counted.
Many species of birds of prey visit the Reserve throughout the year, including Buzzard, Kestrel, Sparrowhawk and Barn Owl. Merlin, Marsh Harrier and Peregrine Falcons have also been seen.
Hopefully the next few months will be drier, giving ground nesting birds a chance of a more successful year. By early March, the first of our breeding migrant birds such as Willow Warbler, Chiff Chaff, Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Blackcap and Whitethroat will be starting to arrive.
In March, Ospreys will also be arriving back from Africa to spend a few weeks feeding on the river and Reserve before heading further North to their breeding grounds. Avocets will also be returning to breed, ready to nest and lay their eggs in April. Lapwing and Redshank start displaying on the Reserve in March ready for nesting in April or May. By mid to late April, Nightingales arrive, signalling the true arrival of the summer breeding migrants to the UK.
Hopefully the Black Headed Gulls will return to nest on the saltmarsh; last year was the first time in a decade they attempted to breed there.
Permits to visit Needs Ore, part of the North Solent National Nature Reserve, can be obtained from the Beaulieu Estate Office: 01590 614621.
News from the Beaulieu River
Harbour Master, Mike Nicholls reports that from Easter, the Beaulieu River will be running its own Marina based water taxi, the first time this service has been offered. Operating over the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, then full time when the river gets busier, it will offer visitors and mooring holders a convenient way to get ashore.
Regular visitors to the river have become used to seeing a large seal, resident on the pontoon at Gin’s. Recently, two new seals, a mother and cub, have been spotted close to the Marina.
Work has commenced on the refurbishment of the Marina’s facilities block and will be completed by the start of the season.
Coutryside Education Trust
March activities include Home Chicken Keeping, 2nd March, Grow it, Cook it, Eat it! covering everything to do in the kitchen garden in Spring, 9th March and a Falconry Photography Day, 23rd March, all at the Out of Town Centre. At the Treehouse join the Whole of the Deer Masterclass, 17th March. Also on the 17th March, at Pig Bush, there is a Forest and Heathland bird watching walk, starting at 9am.
For more information on these and other CET activities tel: 01590 612401 or visit www.cet.org.uk
The Beaulieu Band is looking for new members. Any instrument and level of playing is welcome. Anyone interested should contact Brett or Rosemary Johnson on 01590 612731. The band is available to take bookings to provide musical entertainment at local parties and other events.
Estate Property to Let
A 3-bedroomed house in Beaulieu High Street is currently available to let.
For further information contact Claire Gregory in the Estate Office, tel: 01590 614698.