Sunday, 26 November 2017

Sunday Morning: Just Before Breakfast.

It was cold on the cliffs this morning! The sort of cold that catches your breath and makes you wonder if you have enough layers on!
Even now though, on a Winter's morning the heat of a distant Sun still warms and soon you can enjoy what has to be the best part of any day. I had a time limit this morning (I had to be back home to drop the dogs off before returning for my walk at 10.30 and I don't like being late) and the worst thing you can have on a morning like this is a time limit.
There was still a chance to be impressed by the views from Durlston Head: north past two bays to Old Harry and beyond, across the water to the Isle of Wight or just straight out to a distant horizon, they never get boring. When you reach the southern cliffs the views change and the activity increases with sea birds taking to both the air and the water and the most perfect soundtrack accompanies you. In prime position this morning, giving me a look that is reserved only for a apex predator, was a Peregrine getting ready for breakfast.

Friday, 24 November 2017

An Afternoon at the Ledge

How long it takes to get to get to Dancing Ledge is up to you! The walk along the cliffs from Durlston will take an hour or so if you want to rush, longer if you take time to read the landscape around you page by page. From Langton it takes barely 20 minutes: the walk is easy and the view, when you reach the ridge, across to St.Aldhelm’s Head hits you in the face much more powerfully than the wind. 

Yesterday was blowing well, I knew that from my wave watching at Durlston just a few hours before, but wind can do nothing but improve a walk here. Roe Deer can be seen along the hedge rows here, keeping out of the wind, and two separate families were on show. It is always good to see this year’s youngsters doing well and both family groups had successfully increased the small numbers that we have on the Isle of Purbeck. Later a lone Roe Buck, a big lad at the peak of his fitness, burst from the undergrowth and ran from a Lurcher that was doing its best to keep up but there was more power in the deer’s legs and the dog soon gave up. I have a similar dog and it is a reminder as to why I keep mine on the lead when there are deer around.
Dancing Ledge was deserted when I got there but the waves didn’t care who was watching and continued to hammer the rocks with far more force than any quarryman. Cracks are visible along the cliffs and they widen with every impact: it was obvious that the next fall would not be too far away as the process of erosion reshapes our coast. 

When it is time head up the hill it is impotant not to forget to look behind you, you leave the sea soon enough so make the most of the views while you can.

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Close but not too close.

Everywhere you look Autumn has well and truly taken hold of the Isle of Purbeck and there is no better example of this than our precious heathland. Life here changes rapidly as winter closes in but there is still plenty of activity within the shadows it just takes a bit more time to find it. Away from the main path, amongst a bed of multicoloured heather and sheltered from the light winds by deep, thick gorse, Sika can be found enjoying the heat of the Sun before the cold night changes their world again. It can feel like trespassing if you get too close, and you would probably be right, but the thought of disturbing these animals should make you keep your distance. Close is always good, but close without being too close is much better.

Monday, 6 November 2017

Still dark at the pool

All was quiet when I reached the path high above Chapman's Pool, the Sun wasn't awake enough reached the water, the Pheasants that joined us for the walk were keeping themselves to themselves and the dawn chorus was made up of distant sheep and cows.
In the bay below a single fishing boat was checking pots and amusing the gulls, a yacht appeared in the distance and made the most of a light breeze but apart from that all really was quiet.
From here you can see for miles, the view stretches past Houns tout, Kimmeridge and Lulworth with the Chesil bank and Portland providing the horizon: the lack of anything happening does nothing to spoil my time here.
There are many fine views on the Isle of Purbeck and this part of our coast provides my favourites.

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

A Different Day

The atmosphere up on the cliffs this morning was completely different from yesterday with more sound, more light and more birdsong. The Sun seemed slightly redder than usual: there was a haze along the horizon, but whether this was Portuguese smoke or Saharan sand I don't know. Waves had been whipped up and were rolling along the rocks giving an undulating rumble, making some of the finest background music you will find anywhere. Behind me in the Gorse the chatter of birds was as constant as the waves, with Robin and Wren trying to out-shout each other, then suddenly a Firecrest popped up. This tiny little bird, our smallest and about the weight of a 20p coin, makes the Wren look positively chunky and disappeared just as quickly as it arrived.


Monday, 16 October 2017

The Calm Before the Storm.

As Ophelia slides up the coast of Ireland blowing in excess of 80mph, life was quieter and a little less turbulent on the cliffs this morning. Waves were rolling and crashing against the rocks but the sea wasn't too rough, clouds were building but they weren't too dark and a few drops of rain fell but it wasn't too wet.
As the usual Jackdaws and gulls made the most of a freshening breeze a slate-grey Peregrine, only slightly darker than the blue-grey sea, patrolled the cliffs looking for breakfast.
There was nothing to sea here, nothing at all!

Friday, 13 October 2017

The Triple

 We have more than our fair share of wetlands around here, from the shores of Poole Harbour to along the river valley and also at Weymouth. This gives us a great chance to see many different species of water bird including the the Great White and Little Egrets and the faithful old Grey Heron. It was more than a little special to see these three in the same place though.

Sunday Morning: Just Before Breakfast.

It was cold on the cliffs this morning! The sort of cold that catches your breath and makes you wonder if you have enough layers on! Even ...