Arriving at the North Hide this afternoon to lock it up I was immediately greeted by the sight of a large white bird gliding towards me.
It was a spoonbill, one of four that have been at Lodmoor in recent weeks.
Here is a sequence of a pair feeding at Radipole this time last year.
All the Radipole and Lodmoor records of spoonbills presumably involve birds that have flown over from Poole Harbour, which has the largest regular flock in the UK of up to 60 birds. They can be seen there at any time of year but never attempt to breed, even though the heron and egret colony on Brownsea Island would seem to be ideal. If they were all young birds then it would make sense as a non-breeding population but they are not. Many of them are adults without the black wing-tips that the young birds have.
We know that they come from Holland as some of them have coloured rings on that can allow them to be traced to their place of origin.
Perhaps they will start to breed one day.