We drove through the fog to Poole and caught the ferry across to Brownsea Island – somewhere I have wanted to go since I was a child. Once there, we paid the extra to enter the Dorset Wildlife Trust nature reserve (bit of a gip after paying for the ferry and the island, but hey ho). We followed the board walks to the hides looking out over the lagoon, where hundreds of waders and waterbirds gathered. We saw Avocets and Oystercatchers, Bar-tailed Godwits and Shelduck, but small children and bird hides don’t mix very well, so we didn’t stay for long. We ate our picnic by the Wildlife Trust villa, where happy chickens pecked around and Blue Tits, Greenfinches and Coal Tits visited the bird feeders. We checked out the fish tank containing Common Blennies and other local sea-life. Then, we continued on the trail into the reedbed, where 2 Herons hunched like little old men. Later on, in the woods, a Sika Deer was pottering about, totally unafraid of the crowd of people watching it.
Back on the main part of the island, we finally saw a Red Squirrel, burying chestnuts in the ground and under logs. We walked/dragged the kids past the Peacocks and a plague of Ladybirds to the natural playground, which was pretty cool. We threw pinecones at log targets, then continued to the area of heath. We paused to climb some huge trees and kick Sweet Chestnut leaves at the Horse Field, then walked down to the little beach. We sat on a rock to rest and searched for shells, then noticed the huge, partially buried wasp nest right behind us.
We climbed back up the steps to catch the ferry and drove back home into more fog and a beautiful sunset.
Total wild time – 7 hours