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Something old, something new

Just to clear up first, no I am not getting married. However, this part of the traditional saying rang true this week during my visit to Dorset, where I was room hunting prior to my move down there at the end of the month.

Being me, I absolutely had to do some wildlife-related stuff during my visit. First, the something new – i.e. my new workplace (from February), the Fine Foundation Chesil Beach Centre! Based halfway along the causeway between Weymouth and Portland, it is perched at the eastern edge of The Fleet, a unique lagoon protected by a range of designations and a real hotspot for birdwatchers.

The centre and the Fleet

The centre and the Fleet

I popped in to say hi and actually see my future workplace. It is fab and in a brilliant location! Better yet, I found out that there is a dog in the office, which is always a major bonus for me. Even more of a bonus, I went into the Taste* Chesil cafe (in the centre) and it doesn’t have nuts in the flapjacks – could life get much better?

The beach on the other side of The Fleet - going up!

The beach on the other side of The Fleet – going up!

Well, it seems it could. When thinking of Weymouth, I was sure I had never visited, but upon driving around I saw Radipole Lake, an RSPB reserve in the centre of the town, and had a sudden sense of déjà vu! Why, I had been here before, as part of school geography field trip which must have been almost seven years ago now. Obviously, I adjusted my schedule and made a visit to have a little wander along its walkways.

Currently I don’t know one species of gull from another, so I can’t say if I saw anything special, I suspect not though. However the senior member of staff there soon pointed out a water rail to me – my first one! No photo though as it was only a quick appearance. Apparently they spend the majority of their time hidden away in the reeds, so I was thrilled. I also saw a couple of cormorants drying out their wings, some swans, coots and a variety of ducks.

Resting cormorants

Resting cormorants

Swan grooming itself

Swan grooming itself

One bird I will always love is the grey heron. I know they are everywhere and such, but I think they’re brilliant. I love watching them launch off and fly (which this one didn’t do, but nonetheless I liked watching it).

Grey heron

Grey heron

My visit had a great ending when I was told that they have at least one otter on the lake! Naturally, I immediately asked after the possibilities of collecting some of the spraints (otter poo), as I love taking them apart and identifying what they’ve been eating, and was told that it should be ok. So hopefully there will be some blog posts on that in the not too distant future!

A lovely view from the walkway

A lovely view from the walkway

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