Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Dorset 1 - Gone with the Wind

I suppose in some ways my interest in Dorset wildlife began with Aidan Brown's 'A Dorset Diary' blog on surfbirds http://www.surfbirds.com/blog/DD/ A good mix of birds, butterflies and flowers from a range of places with names like Arne, Middlebere, Hartland Moor, Morden Bog, to quote just a few recent examples. It's one I check regularly because it's not wildlife I see locally. So when we decided to have a short holiday down there I did a little research. The Dorset heaths are, apparently, home to hobbies (never had a good view), sand lizards (never seen), smooth snakes (ditto) and the almost mythical Dartford warbler. I'd have been happy to see one of this list. Let's face it for reptiles you really need a bit of sun (we had a few minutes here and there), and for the DW it was always going to be pot luck. The guide said they were skulking birds that flit from gorse bush to gorse bush, and DON'T LIKE WIND. The gales didn't let up for 5 days so you can guess the rest.

So you won't see any of the above. But don't despair, there are other more common heathland birds. As always click on the link to my 'latest' web album for better quality pictures. The wind did make clear shots a little tricky, but some worked out.

Surprisingly hard to get near at Durdle Door where we were staying, but I eventually found a pair feeding young. The female was more accommodating.
A later visit to Arne produced better views of this male (clearer on the web album)

The most common with several family groups flitting around Durdle Door.

A little shyer than I expected, but eventually some passable shots, again at Durdle Door.

Meadow pipit.
To my surprise, sitting next to a fence to try and get some linnet produced some good close views of this Mipit.

More Dorset to follow in a later post - I just bet you can't wait.

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