If you would like to read my Dorset nature notes about any of these featured species or sites please click on the post title

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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

05 February, 2014

Blackwit or barwit?

This is a wader that we see a lot of down here in Dorset, especially around Poole Harbour which is recognised as an internationally important site for them. The black-tailed godwit (limosa limosa) can be seen here all year round but in winter the numbers grow considerably with northern birds coming south and In most years there are over 700 present in the harbour. One of the best places to see them is the lagoon on Brownsea Island, but large numbers can often be seen
at low tide from the Coombe Heath walk at Arne or from the hide near the National Trust cottages at Middlebere.
There are two godwit species here during the winter, the black-tailed (this one) and the bar-tailed. The black-tailed is by far the most numerous but they are not easy to tell apart on the ground, the black-tailed having a longer neck and longer legs than its cousin. In flight it is easier as the black tail of the black-tailed is much more visible, so too the white flashes on the wings. Apart from telling the two godwits apart they should not really be confused with other waders, that long straight beak being unique, the curlew and whimbrel have beaks that curve downwards.

It is lovely to see a massed flock of these birds in flight, but that is probably true of most waders come to think of it.
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