Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Purbeck, Dorset

I know how boring holiday snaps can be, so here's just a few highlights from a four night trip to the Purbeck area of Dorset last week. With so many National Nature Reserves in that area there's little need to wander far once there. In the order encountered...

Female (top) and male (bottom) Wall Browns. A rare sight in Beds now but Walls were the most commonly encountered butterflies during the week. Just as difficult to closely approach as ever.

Early Spider Orchids, mostly gone over. This is a very localised species in Britain and Purbeck is one of its hot spots, here on its south coast.

Early Purple Orchid(?), maybe. Unlike in Bedfordshire where these are woodland species these were encountered in open grassland in Durlston NNR which makes me worried about my ID?!

As you know I rarely notice birds, but there were so many Stonechats around that I couldn't really ignore them, not that I'm really equipped to photograph them.

Possibly the Burnet Rose (Rosa pimpinellifolia) flowering within a couple of inches of the ground requiring muddy knees to smell, the scent subtle but delightful. Durlston NNR.

A female Raft Spider (Dolomedes fimbriatus) at the RSPB reserve at Arne, one of Britain's largest spiders.

The Heath Tiger Beetle (Cicindela sylvatica) in the dunes at Studland. The only one I saw so lucky to get this close. I met an entomologist who said they'd only just emerged that week.

There are quite a lot of wood ants on the heathlands which I'm presuming to be Formica rufa(?) here devouring an unfortunate caterpillar.

A rather splendid Field Maple on the path from Studland village to Old Harry Rocks (a very pleasant walk).

Sundew at Great Ovens Hill heathland which boasts all six native reptile species, none of which was seen! I didn't know it at the time but there are several sundew species, this one, of which there were many hundreds, I suspect to be the Oblong-leaved Sundew (Drosera intermedia)?

And this may be another one, Round-leaved Sundew (Drosera rotundifolia) which was also present and I only photographed because I thought it looked 'different'.

Finally, a mystery! Along the same wet path on the edge of the heathland as the sundews was a large patch of "this". Any suggestions what this is please...?

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