Friday 21 July 2017

Five Go Butterflying in Dorset - Part Two

The cottage in Wareham was lovely, very quiet, comfortable and homely and with a pretty little back garden. I kept the garden light on overnight and on one of the mornings I had a nice elephant hawk moth inside the lantern along with a small fan-footed wave.

 Elephant Hawk Moth, Wareham

Elephant Hawk Moth, Wareham

Small Fan-Footed Wave, Wareham

The weather forecast wasn't looking too good for our time away, dry weather but mostly cloudy, breezy, warm and humid but the forecast seemed to change hourly at times. Sunday 16th July was cloudy and breezy but warm and humid especially out of the wind as forecasted and so we decided to head to Corfe Castle for the morning, somewhere I was looking forward to visiting. 

We parked up at the National Trust car park by the Castle and I wandered over to a sheltered grassy bank in the car park for a quick look around and within a few seconds had found a wall brown along with my target butterfly and the main aim of my trip to this area of Dorset - a Lulworth skipper! I had some nice views before it flew off but I was very pleased to find one so easily.

 Lulworth Skipper, Corfe Castle

Lulworth Skipper, Corfe Castle

We had a look around the Castle which was very interesting and picturesque but was very lacking in information boards. A ravens nest at the top of the ruined keep was empty and there was no sign of any birds nearby, apparently they have been breeding here since 2004. We enjoyed a cream tea in the National Trust tea room overlooking the ruins and with the sun beginning to appear from behind the clouds I headed back to the car park for another look for Lulworth skippers.

On the walk along the footpath at the base of the castle to the car park there were plenty of butterflies flitting about - marbled white, gatekeeper, common blue, large white, speckled wood, small skipper and what I think is a brown argus - and back at the car park I managed to find a few Lulworth skippers flitting about but in the warm sunshine they were very active and mobile and difficult to photograph.

 Brown Argus, Corfe Castle

Lulworth Skipper, Corfe Castle

With the clouds clearing and the sun shining it became very hot, not the weather that was forecast, and so we headed off to the beach at Studland for the afternoon. The beautiful sandy beach was busy but with a £9 parking fee for non-National Trust members it probably was a lot less busy than it could have been. The views from the beach of Old Harry rocks and the Isle of Wight were interesting but a quick walk around the dunes behind the beach only revealed a few keeled skimmers and gatekeepers in the baking heat. The odd Mediterranean gull flew over calling and black headed gulls were scavenging scraps of food along the sands and after a few hours the cloud appeared again and we headed back to the cottage, having had a very pleasant day out.

Black Headed Gull, Studland

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