24 August, 2009

Dorset and a Rare Butterfly...

Yep. I've finally gone through all the photos from a recent 3 day holiday in Dorset. Luckily, the weather was brilliant and allowed lots of trips to this mostly untouched coastline.

Most of the first day was spend on the beach at Sandbanks. I have to admit, even though I am not a fan of busy beaches... the swimming there is magical; the temperature can only be a few degrees less than that of the Mediterranean. But it wasn't all sun and sand. There were birds too (both feathered and non-feathered). A few juvenile Common Terns were sitting it out in the midday heat...

Common Tern

Common Tern

The gulls were showing us the drabber side to their plumage...

Black headed Gull

Herring Gull

Herring Gull

On Day 2, we took a trip to the beautiful and untouched Dancing Ledge, a few miles from Lulworth. Due to its coastal hillside habitat, I was hoping to find Britain's rarest breeding butterfly... the Lulworth Skipper.

Dancing Ledge

Whilst I waited for the Skipper, there was plenty to watch. A Kestrel hovered high over the hilltops, and Common and Chalkhill Blues were fluttering about the grass.


Finally, the Skipper decided to show. After spending 20 minutes watching 15 Lulworths darting about the chalk hillside, we started the journey down to Dancing Ledge.

Lulworth Skipper

Lulworth Skipper

At the bottom were two Rock Pipits eagerly awaiting their pictures to be taken... not!
The 'arrggh a photographer, better hide' pose, or as I prefer 'arse end shot'...

Rock Pipit

The 'head down walking away' pose...

Rock Pipit

On the way back up the to the car park, a Magpie Moth played dead in a spiders web, only realising it was going to work on a Spider a little too late (I'm sure it really appreciated me rescuing it).

Magpie Moth (Abraxas grossulariata)

On the final day, the plan was to spend a couple of hours at RSPB Arne looking for Dartford Warblers, and then to return to Sandbanks to for a hour, before rejoining the M3 bound for home.

It soon became apparent that RSPB Arne is a gem in the middle of nowhere. The views are spectacular and the site boasted a very large variety of wildlife. The reserve is also home to the Dartford Warbler, a species I have always wanted to see. However, through long, hard searching (about 5 minutes to be precise!), none turned up. Instead, Stonechat showed on the tops of heather, and every so often, would dip down and pick up a fly...



... and Little Egrets were along the estury, as where Avocets, Grey and Golden Plovers and Curlews.

Little Egret

But it wasn't just birds. Sika Deer were roaming the outskirts of the many fields and meadows. It would be very unwise to go closer to these deer for a 'better' shot as (even though imported into Britain) are totally wild and can pack a punch. I have to admit, when a young male ran across the field towards us, I was totally shiteing myself!

Sika Deer

Various insects that we encoutered around the reserve included Small Tortoishell.

Small Tortoishell

... lots of Common Darters...

Common Darter

... and some aboslutely massive Red Wood Ants. The same species used in that scene from the crappest and newest Indiana Jones movie!

Well, thats it from our trip to the Dorset coast. If you have been bothered to read this extremely long and boring post (which I don't blame you if you haven't) then you would agree with me when I say... Dorset is cool! Next up... we're in the New Forest!

So I leave you with this shot of Poole Harbour in all its beauty...

Poole Harbour


FAB said...

Thanks for sharing the Dorset experience Bill. By the way I don't think I've seen Dartford at Arne either! Nice to capture the Lulworth Skipper. FAB

GRAMPS said...

Hi Bill. Been very busy of late, but I have now managed to catch up with your super adventures which are to be envied! Love the Dorset series. I spent several years at Portland and got to know the Dorset coast - I agree, it is lovely, as your pictures show. What with Suffolk, Surrey, Dorsetshire and Hampshire you are rapidly becoming an expert on flora and forna south of the Wash. Looking forward to the next publishing. Gramps.