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Radipole Lake - BirdForum Opus

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England, Dorset


Within the town of Weymouth in Dorset and close to Lodmoor Reserve, this RSPB reserve consists of a reed-fringed lake, water meadows and areas of dense scrub which once formed the estuary of the River Wey.


Notable Species

Breeding birds include Reed Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Grasshopper Warbler and Cetti's Warbler in the reedbeds, as well as Bearded Tit and Reed Bunting. The scrub has Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler and Common Whitethroat and Lesser Whitethroat and there are breeding Great Crested Grebe and Little Grebe, Mallard and Gadwall on the lake.

During passage periods large numbers of migrants pass through the area and in autumn this is one of the best sites for the rare Aquatic Warbler. Other migrants include flocks of hirundines and wagtails which often roost in the reeds.

Unusual waders, terns and gulls are frequently seen in autumn and Spotted Redshank, Wood Sandpiper and Green Sandpiper, Spotted Crake, Black Tern and Mediterranean Gull and Little Gull are regular. Ring-billed Gull is frequently present as is Yellow-legged Gull in autumn and winter.

In winter waterfowl include grebes, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard and Tufted Duck and Greater Scaup is regularly seen. Most winters, particularly colder ones, bring one or two Great Bittern to Radipole.


Birds you can see here include:

Little Grebe, Great Crested Grebe, Great Cormorant, Great Bittern, Grey Heron, Mute Swan, Common Shelduck, Eurasian Wigeon, Common Teal, Mallard, Gadwall, Northern Pintail, Garganey, Northern Shoveler, Common Pochard, Tufted Duck, Greater Scaup, Common Goldeneye, Eurasian Sparrowhawk, Eurasian Kestrel, Merlin, Northern Hobby, Peregrine Falcon, Water Rail, Spotted Crake, Common Moorhen, Eurasian Coot, Little Ringed Plover, Ringed Plover, Northern Lapwing, Little Stint, Curlew Sandpiper, Dunlin, Ruff, Common Snipe, Eurasian Woodcock, Black-tailed Godwit, Bar-tailed Godwit, Whimbrel, Eurasian Curlew, Spotted Redshank, Common Redshank, Common Greenshank, Green Sandpiper, Wood Sandpiper, Common Sandpiper, Mediterranean Gull, Little Gull, Black-headed Gull, Common Gull, Ring-billed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, Yellow-legged Gull, Herring Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Common Tern, Little Tern, Black Tern, Common Cuckoo, Common Swift, Common Kingfisher, Eurasian Skylark, Sand Martin, Barn Swallow, Northern House Martin, Meadow Pipit, Yellow Wagtail, Pied Wagtail, Common Nightingale, Whinchat, Northern Wheatear, Eurasian Blackbird, Cetti's Warbler, Common Grasshopper Warbler, Aquatic Warbler, Sedge Warbler, Common Reed Warbler, Lesser Whitethroat, Common Whitethroat, Blackcap, Common Chiffchaff, Willow Warbler, Bearded Tit, Common Magpie, Common Starling, Reed Bunting

Other Wildlife

The reserve is of some entomological interest with large numbers of butterflies attracted to the many Buddleia bushes in the reserve and the lake has many dragonflies including Emperor.

Site Information

History and Use

To do

Areas of Interest

A new Family Trail will open from May 2012 to complement the duck-feeding and pond-dipping platforms already in place. It will include new boardwalk trails, viewing platforms, some of them raised to give bird’s eye views into otherwise hidden areas of reedbeds, ditches and open water. There will also be a new storytelling and general recreation/picnic area.’

Access and Facilities

The reserve has an information centre and paths both equipped for disabled visitors as are the three hides. The entrance is beside the Swannery public car-park which is just north of Kings Roundabout, off Radipole Park Drive but the reserve is signposted from Weymouth seafront.

Grid reference: SY671804

NB The Visitor Centre is closed from January to May 2012 for renovations.

Contact Details

Tel: 01305 778313

External Links

Content and images originally posted by Steve


lark o'dell's review

good place to bird defintaly a day job


  • near the sea


  • in a town

teamsaint's review

Radipole Lake is not a great reserve in my opinion. Often there is little to see although the Bearded Tit and Cetti's Warblers usually make it worth a visit.


  • excellent for warblers
  • bearded tit
  • bittern


  • not great for other things

Diver Graham's review

Set in the coastal town of Weymouth a magnificent opportunity to observe migrating and resident birds. Easily accessible and close to amenities.