A RARE inland sighting of an arctic breeding wading bird, the grey phalarope, has been recorded on the largest of six new ponds which have recently been created on Dorset Wildlife Trust’s (DWT) Tadnoll and Winfrith reserve.

Classed as ‘scarce’ in the UK and rarely found so far inland, it is thought the stormy weather had encouraged the grey phalarope to feed on one of the newest ponds in the Prison Fields area on the reserve, just weeks after its creation.

The new ponds are proving a success for other wildlife too, as conservation officers have spotted green sandpipers, snipe and grey wagtails using the ponds.

Diving beetles, water beetles, lesser water boatmen and mating common darter dragonflies were also recorded just two weeks after the ponds were created.

DWT’s assistant conservation officer, Ali Quinney, is leading on this project. She said: “It is so exciting that so many new species are already using the ponds at such an early stage, and to have rarities like the grey phalarope make use of the pond is fantastic. The site has so much potential and this conservation work will not only improve habitat for the wildlife already in the area, but attract new wildlife too.

“We’re looking forward to seeing even more invertebrates, plants, birds and hopefully more rarities too.”

Following on from the success of wetland creation works in 2007 in this area, these ponds have been built to connect two existing areas of wetland habitat, and create a network of new ponds and wetland habitat, she said.

The project has enjoyed support from the local community, and with further upgrades to the bird hide and dragonfly identification workshops planned for the next year, there are still opportunities to get involved.

Contact Ali Quinney on 01305 264620 or email aquinney@dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk for more information. To find out more about the Tadnoll and Winfrith reserve, visit dorsetwildlifetrust. org.uk or phone 01305 264620.