Thursday, 28 April 2016
A superb 5 mile coast path walk from Durlston Head to Dancing Ledge and back over the top path fields and meadows. A Glorious sunny day but with a gale force wind. Our mission was to find the Early Spider Orchid and the fields didn't disappoint the rough grassland had hundreds of them. A beautiful orchid which lived up to its name and looked just like a spider complete with eyes.
We had some great views of Guillemot, Razorbill and Fulmar from the cliff top near the castle info centre as well as gulls and Raven flying overhead. A male and female Peregrine were seen at regular intervals along the coast path and again we had some great views. The top meadows towards Durlston were filled with Cowslips an amazing sight. These meadows were roped off as the location is ideal for nesting Skylarks. The combination of the Skylarks melody and the thousands of Cowlips was just magic. As we approached the end of our walk we were rewarded with a beautiful male Redstart flitting round the scrub, fantastic to see but impossible to photo!
Key species for the day were Fulmar, Razorbill, Guillemot, Kestrel, Raven, Peregrine, Stonechat, Linnet, Rock Pipit, Whitethroat, Skylark, Redstart, Gannet, Wheatear, Yellowhammer. Not forgetting the Early Spider Orchid and a Spotted Bee-fly.
Guillemots from the cliff top
So pleased to find this Spotted Bee-fly
We paid two visits to Arne one a short afternoon visit only to return the next day at 8:30 in the morning for a full day of exploring the area. We were able to cover both the walks across Coombe Heath and the Shipstral Trails both areas stunning in their own way. Sika Deer were seen all across the reserve and we had some great views. A beautiful vixen came really close to us in the car park. As usual we had some great views of Siskin and Nuthatch from the feeders. Quite a few Dartford Warblers were seen never keeping still long enough for a good shot. Not too many photo opportunities but a good amount of wildlife was seen and observed. This together with the stunning views and unique pine tree and heathland coastal environment makes Arne a special place to visit.
Highlights for Arne were Siskin, Nuthatch, Mistle Thrush, Black tailed Godwits, SandwichTern, Dartford Warbler, Linnet, Meadow Pipit, Brent Goose, Whimbrel, Redshank, Great black backed Gull, Raven, Fox, Sika Deer and an undentified lizard.
This vixen surprised us by getting close in the car park
Dartford Warbler a fleeting view