We walked down the cliff path to the beach at Durdle Door along with many other people and it was already baking hot. The views of the coast and Durdle Door itself were stunning and along the walk I managed to see a small blue, a clouded yellow, a male chalkhill blue, common blue, marbled white, gatekeeper, small skipper, meadow brown, red admiral and lots of Lulworth skippers - fantastic!
Chalkhill Blue, Durdle Door
Small Blue, Durdle Door
Lulworth Skipper, Durdle Door
Walking back up the cliff path was hard going in the heat as was the walk along the clifftops to Lulworth Cove but again there were plenty of butterflies to keep me occupied including dark green fritillary, painted lady and yet more Lulworth skippers.
Dark Green Fritillary, Lulworth Cove
Dark Green Fritillary
Fossil, Kimmeridge Bay
Tuesday 18th July and it was hot and sunny again but very windy and with thunderstorms and rain forecast for the afternoon David and I headed off in the morning to the nearby RSPB reserve at Arne for a walk, meeting the others at the café on the reserve later in the morning. A look for raft spiders on a small pond drew a blank but I did have some nice views of keeled skimmers and small red damselflies, a new damselfly for me. There was no sign of any Dartford warblers in the blowy conditions with a flyover siskin and tree pipit being the only small birds of note but I did get to see an osprey perched in a dead tree eating a fish, a little distant even with a telescope but a bonus bird for the day. A single grayling was also seen feeding on heather flowers in a sheltered spot.
Keeled Skimmer, Arne
Small Red Damselfly, Arne
Small Red Damselfly
Small Copper, Arne
With the clouds rolling in again we drove to nearby Poole for some lunch and a look around the shops. I watched 2 common terns for a while as they flew around the marina before we drove back to the cottage, arriving just as the rain began to fall and the thunder and lightning began.
The following day was cool and cloudy and mizzly and so after a quick look around Swanage where I saw a Sandwich tern in the mist and then some lunch at Corfe Castle it was time to head back to Plymouth - but what an amazing few days away I had had - gorgeous scenery in a stunning part of the UK, butterflies galore (21 species) including 2 lifers, good birding, a new damselfly, a new cricket, a visit to a RSPB reserve new to me, interesting geology and a fantastic time with my family, all in all a brilliant birthday time.