Friday, 18 April 2014

Dorset Delights...

Good morning out with Dave H. in Dorset today. Didn't get all of our target species but we had a few crackers made all the more enjoyable by the fabulous weather! Top of the list was this beautiful male Sand Lizard Lacerta agilis, which was happy to bask in the early morning sun - what a stunner! Notice how he's flattened his body out to absorb maximum heat from the sun.

Sand Lizard, male: Dave Helliar
Sand Lizard, male: R. Harris
Sand Lizard, male: R. Harris
This slow worm was freezing cold and needed to warm up before starting its day.
Slow Worm: R. Harris
Slow Worm: R. Harris
Early Spider Orchids are a bit of south coast speciality and the short turf Dorset coast is pretty good for them. They should be blooming in their hundreds about now but we only found about a dozen or so spikes today and they clearly haven't peaked yet.

Early Spider Orchid: Dave Helliar
Early Spider Orchid: R. Harris
Early Spider Orchid: R. Harris
Early Spider Orchid: R. Harris
Early Spider Orchid: R. Harris
Chalk Milkwort - stunning little plant: R. Harris
Cowslip and Bee Fly: R. Harris
Early Purple Orchid: R. Harris
To round things off we had our first Odonata of the year too, a large red damsel and this Libellula quadrimaculata:

Libellula quadrimaculata: Dave Helliar

Nice to see a few migrants today too, including lesser whitethroat, whitethroat, redstart and wheatear. Let's hope the good weather continues. On a more distressing note we were completely stunned to see so many dogs off leads disturbing the sand lizards, adders and potentially smooth snakes! ! We encountered approximately a dozen people,  all completely ignorant to the disturbance they were causing and simply not in control of their animals. Quite frankly I'm amazed dogs are even allowed off leads in such a sensitive area. Sad to see and baffling too - where is the protection for our rarest of herps?

The good weather also brought out more butterflies this week including this holly blue and a few wood whites in Devon. Thanks to Dave Helliar for the update and lovely photos:

Holly blue: Dave Helliar
Wood White: Dave Helliar
Wood White: Have Helliar

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