BIRD lovers everywhere will be able to enjoy the delights of a unique Poole Harbour habitat in what is believed to be the first live webcam venture of its kind.
For the feathered stars of Brownsea Island’s lagoon there is now no hiding place as two strategically placed cameras will be able to follow their every move.
The launch of the live webcam will give anyone anywhere the opportunity to see the thousands of waders which congregate to rest and feed on the sheltered lagoon at this time of year and breeding gulls and terns in the spring.
“I don’t think anyone else in the country is doing this kind of thing,” said local naturalist Paul Morton.
“While there are webcams pointed at nesting birds, these roving cameras can swivel 360 degrees from their mountings on two hides overlooking the lagoon and zoom in up to 40 times.
“This is pretty groundbreaking and unique, what we are trying to achieve,” said Paul. “We will be able to see tern chicks hatching on the islands.”
A partnership between Dorset Wildlife Trust, which runs the island’s nature reserve, the National Trust which owns the island and the newly launched Birds of Poole Harbour website, the aim is to educate and inspire people to visit.
It has been funded by patron Mark Constantine, who founded the Lush cosmetics company and The Sound Approach publishing company, who donated £22,000 to the project.
“I’m delighted to be involved,” said the enthusiastic birder.
“Part of what this is about is to educate people and explain why the lagoon is so important.”
In winter 25-30 different species visit, including ducks, waders, gulls, geese, spoonbills and birds of prey including peregrine falcon and merlin. The greatest number of wintering avocet recorded is around 1,720, and in summer breeding birds include Common and Sandwich tern, seagulls and for the first time last summer a Mediterranean gull.
“You can’t get the smell on the web at the moment,” said Chris Thain, DWT reserve manager. “You can get the visual impact and the noise and these are really important.”
Nigel Webb, chairman of DWT, said: “There is probably nowhere else in Britain where you can see so much in such a specific area.”
You can view the Brownsea Island lagoon live at dorsetwildlifetrust.org.uk/brownseacam or birdsofpooleharbour.co.uk