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Volunteers use Twitter to track wildlife on Brownsea
The man made islands in the fleet on Brownsea
The islands around Brownsea's lagoon are all man made

Volunteers for Dorset Wildlife Trust are providing the latest wildlife sightings on Brownsea Island online, with daily postings.

The island in Poole Harbour is home to hundreds of migrating birds, and a team of volunteers keep track of them as well as helping other island visitors.

Volunteer, Richard Duffield, hopes the regular online updates will encourage more people to the island.

He said: "We report on butterflies, birds, lizards, anything we see."


Volunteer Richard Duffield
Volunteer Richard Duffield records 'anything interesting'

"We've also been watching the terns on the lagoon, and what's been interesting today is that we've seen two little terns - that's quite unusual for Brownsea.

"We've been following their progress, and the terns are rather late [migrating here] this year because of the cold weather, but they're beginning to settle down and lay eggs."

"We hope that by posting this information on the internet, more people will come over and see what's here. There's some amazing wildlife."

Richard's wife Val, who is also a volunteer, likes to spend time in the island's new purpose built hide watching birds.

It is in the middle of Brownsea's man made lagoon and allows people very close access to the birds as they nest and feed.

International reputation

Brownsea Island
Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour is an important site for wildlife

Val has been volunteering on the island for the ten years, and believes Brownsea's reputation as a haven for wildlife is international.

She said: "We go on holiday to all sorts of places but everyone we meet always knows about Brownsea and its wildlife.

"When we first moved down to Dorset we knew very little about sea birds but each week we're still learning new things. It's a fantastic place."

Abby Gibbs, Warden of Brownsea Island nature reserve, said: "It's an internationally important site for birds, especially the terns at this time of year.

"It's the only place in the world where you can get this close up to them. We're only about 10 or 12 metres away from them."

Abby and the Dorset Wildlife Trust team on the island will post updates of the sightings made by the volunteers every day.

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