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Newborn Lambs, Dumbfounded Daffodils and Walk for Wildlife…Spring finally here?

April 5, 2013

Hello Again World!

Yes.  You there…that includes you…and you…and you…

You see, we’ve not forgotten about you 🙂 and intend to keep you informed of what we’ve all been up to since we last blogged and – dare we say it? – perhaps even entertain and inspire you with this, our latest bubbly blog.  So hang on in there!

Dumbfounded daffs, looking a bit sad in the snow

Dumbfounded daffs, looking a bit sad in the snow

‘Eggciting’ goings on this Easter

Or news in brief, if you like.  Here’s the Skills for the Future wildlife headlines…

  • Some great sightings on Brownsea Island over the last few weeks. Highlights include; a brief glimpse of a Stone-curlew having a quick rest on its migration route and we flushed a Woodcock from its hiding place as we were walking through woodland.
  • 22 Mermaids’ purses found on the Great Kimmeridge Eggcase Hunt on Good Friday, from 4 different species of skate & some small spotted catshark eggcases too, plus over 30 skate and shark eggcases found at Worbarrow Bay, mostly Spotted ray eggcases, plus a blonde.  The data will be collated and be added to the Shark Trust’s records to help identify the nursery grounds of these vulnerable creatures.
  • A Sparrowhawk was spotted plucking its prey at Ashley Woods in the beautiful Sunshine on 2nd April.
  • Easter always causes the mind to conjure images of Daffodils, Easter eggs the size of your head and…new life, in the form of Easter chicks and lambs and one of our West Dorset ewes didn’t fail to disappoint on that front!  She had a surprise for us recently, delivering Ram-bo into the world safely and soundly, but this is no ordinary lamb as his name may suggest, but a mega-lamb born at 11pm on March 20th, weighing in at a hefty 20.5lbs (9.3kg).  Poor gal – may ‘ewe’ be congratulated for this feat!  See Ram-bo on the left below with one of the “normal” sized lambs.
  • There’s a Kentish plover at Chesil Beach at the moment and 2 Sandwich terns.
Meet "Ram-bo" our mega-lamb

Meet “Ram-bo” our mega-lamb

Skills Snippets in a Sentence or three…(what we’ve each been up to)

Sally, Brownsea Island – There’s been a great deal of interesting work to do on Brownsea this year, such as fencing the Tern islands in the lagoon and restoring reed bed by clearing the encroaching Alder trees. We had a brilliant day cutting down inaccessible Rhododendron on the lake side. With the aid of a tiny leaky rowing boat, some blunt bow saws and much-needed chest waders we managed to hack them all down. There were some cracking near misses falling in as our rowing skills were pretty hap-hazard!

I also passed my chainsaw assessment CS31, really exciting and a brilliant opportunity with Skills for the Future.

Me (Sally) and our vessel!

Me (Sally) and our vessel!

Megan, Chesil Beach Centre – I’ve been busy getting involved with all the Easter events at the Chesil Beach Centre.  We had a great start on Good Friday when over 20 kids took part in the ‘Great Chesil Beach Eggcase Hunt’; swapping the real shark, skate and ray eggcases they found along the beach for a chocolate version.

Lilli, Kai, Sienna Kenway (permission for photo use granted)

Lilli, Kai, Sienna Kenway (permission for photo use granted)

Emma, Kimmeridge – I too have been focused on getting ready for Easter helping to lead some Easter Eggcase hunts at Kimmeridge and Worbarrow Bay.  It’s great seeing how eggstatic (sorry!) the kids (and big kids!) are when they find their first one.  I’ve also been looking to put together a programme of outreach activities to engage a variety of marginalised groups with the work we do at Kimmeridge and equip them with some skills that they might like to put to use on their local beaches. 

Skate eggcase - look out for them on your local beach why not log on to the Shark Trust's website to record what you find?

Skate eggcase – look out for them on your local beach and why not log on to the Shark Trust’s website to record what you find?

Amy, Upton Heath – With the winter work coming to a close with the last of the controlled burns held last week, we’re welcoming Spring and Summer by giving our reserve some much-needed TLC repairing bridges and fences damaged by the winter weather.  We’ve also been working hard, improving accessibility for horse riders by making gates and paths more horse friendly.  The Urban and East team are also busy planning a summer filled with events for all the family to get involved and interact with the urban wildlife that is so abundant in Dorset.
Claire & Charlie, Mid Dorset Team – We’ve been busy putting up deer fencing.  The fencing is constructed on a rotation around various coppice plots that are coppiced every ten years to allow sufficient regrowth as the deer can have a large impact on the young tree shoots. The photo below is an example from Ashley Woods reserve.

You could grow peas on these 😉 Deer fencing at Ashley Woods Reserve

Kerrie & Tom, Kingcombe Centre and Meadows – Our Kingcombe lovelies have been busy too,  so busy in fact that you need to watch this space and we’ll add their news just as soon as we’re able to pull them away from their busy schedule 🙂

And finally (as they say on the news!)…

Today, our brave and fearless leader – the one and only Steve Davis, aka purveyor of cakes, biscuits and the same chap who hands down would win the award for proudly sporting the shiniest walking boots in the ‘shire, or even the land (we clearly need a training session in such standards) – managed to find a red kite for the team that braved the icy chill of the Purbecks (just to the West of Worth).  This proved to be a ‘lifer’ for Charlie, she explained as we admired the acrobatic flight of such a large raptor.

In fact, we’ve all done our bit in helping to prepare for Sunday’s Walk for Wildlife event, where 2 routes are on offer to those wishing to take in the spectacular scenery of the Jurassic Coast whilst raising all important funds for conservation work across the county.  We’ve walked the route, deciphering instructions and ensuring that the route is clear for all participants and even walked it again in order to attach some signs to reassure people that they’re going the right way whilst en-route! We hope to see you all there on Sunday 7th April, as most of us will be donning an attractive hi-vis as your friendly marshalls for the day 🙂

– Emma

For more information visit

Stunning views on offer en-route!

Stunning views on offer en-route!

One Comment leave one →
  1. April 5, 2013 8:12 pm

    What an eggcellent blog post… (sorry, couldn’t help the Easter pun) honestly guys this has to be one of the best posts I’ve ever read on here (really!). Inspirational, funny and interesting. Have a great time on Sunday. I’ll be flying across the Atlantic thinking about you all 🙂 – Jane

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