Thursday, May 05, 2016

Durlston Orchids

A leisurely trip down to Weymouth. Departure delayed to post 9am to avoid the M25, then detour through Bournemouth, Sandbanks, and the Chain ferry to Swanage. Poole Harbour and the Purbeck Hills looking fantastic in the bright spring sunshine.

And so to Durlston Country Park where I spend a couple of hours in search of Early Spider Orchids. eventually I find a couple of assistants in the shop who tell me, contrary to my experience, that they are all over the place, particularly in the Lighthouse field and in the top fields. Once you get your eye in of course ... so back I go and eventually I find a few by a pit. Little gems they are too, and close up quite scary little gems. Anywhere here's a few pics with my super new Sigma Macro lens.

Other orchids were not hard to find. Early Purple Orchids were widespread with their longish purple spikes all over the site. 

I found a couple of orchids without spots on the leaves and more clustered flowers, and subsequent reading confirmed these as Green-Winged Orchids. Needless to say, it appears not to be a cast-iron rule that Early Purples have spotted leaves and Green-winged have unspotted leaves, just a general case with exceptions. But those wings with the veins are really something!

There were lots of Cowslips, in fact fields full of them, and some bees buzzing round. Photographing bees is proving to be quite a challenge as they are either whizzing round or else are deep in a flower with only their lower halves sticking out. Here's one, and I'm thinking Carder Bee but am open to suggestions.

Then off to Arne. at this time of year it is full of fantastic wildlife, but late on a windy spring day most of it is hiding. A few deer (I assume Sika Deer) at ease in the presence of people, and then in the car park a Fox. I stood still hoping it wouldn't notice me and run off, but inevitably it saw me. It looked at me, came over and stood two yards away looking impatiently at me as if to say "where's the food?". And so I met Derek the fox, famous resident of the Arne car park. Needless to say in this metro-sexual world, Derek is a vixen.

Finally I rolled into Ferrybridge in the early evening and in the low sun had 9 Wheatear, 6 Sanderling, 2 Whimbrel, 3 Little Tern on the mud with more flying around and lots of Dunlin and Ringed Plover. The Wheatears were looking quite soft-toned and plump, so I'm guessing Greenland Wheatear?

So overall not much of a bird list, but a cracking day overall. The main reason for coming down is that overnight the wind swings to the south. Migrants will pour onto Portland, seabirds will stream past, and from dawn tomorrow I will be in place and surely will absolutely clean up. 

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