Monday, 22 September 2014

Beards & Spoons

Bearded Tits and Spoonbills, both birds are new to me and both are not easy to get close to. The Bearded Tits were easier, especially the beautifully marked female, who insisted on checking me out and was never more than a couple of meters away. The male however, sporting a fine moustache, was far more difficult and decided to keep partially hidden a little further away. Quick little birds too, making them great fun to play with.
After this, the Spoonbills were a bonus. They spent their time quite a way away, but it was still a treat to see them.
Male Bearded Tit
Female Bearded Tit
Female Bearded Tit

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Povington Hill and the Whiteway

Today for The Swanage & Purbeck Walking Festival, I took a particularly nice group of people to Tyneham. Now there are many ways to walk to Tyneham, the deserted village that lies in a remote valley on the western edge of the Isle of Purbeck, but today we chose one of the best.
Starting at Povington Hill we walked westward along the Whiteway ridge heading for Flowers Barrow, an Iron Age hill fort that was built over two and a half thousand years ago and is now slowly falling into the sea. The views along the ridge to the north and south are wonderful enough but when you arrive at Flowers Barrow you are in for a real treat.
Once we managed to tear ourselves away from Flowers it was time for the decent into Warbarrow Bay and this takes a great deal of care. The path is steep and on a wetter day would be far too dangerous to use. For us today it was fine, but this is not a path to rush down.
Warbarrow Bay itself is worth the walk, it is very picturesque and, because of its remoteness, never seems to get too busy.
From here the walk to Tyneham is easy. A lane runs between the bay and the village and is only a mile long but it takes a while to see the first of the ruined building as you walk through the trees..
By Christmas Day 1943 Tyneham was deserted and it has stayed that way ever since, giving us an idea of what it may have been like to live in a small isolated village at that time.
 Don't rush your visit here, the village is small and is ready to be explored. Besides, the walk back up to Povington Hill is steep and hard work, with only the promise of those views to look forward to.
Lulworth Castle from the Whiteway Ridge
West from Flowers Barrow
The descent from Flowers Barrow
Warbarrow Bay

Monday, 15 September 2014

The Waverley

Once a year, in September, Swanage plays host to a rather beautiful Scottish paddle steamer called the P.S.Waverley. Built in 1946 by Inglis of Glasgow she has been fully restored and looks splendid as she steams into the bay. She also makes for a few lovely photo opportunities.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

The Purbeck Dolphin

There have been several sightings of Dolphins along the Dorset coast today, with a pod seen of the coast of Bournemouth this morning. After getting word of a pod swimming west towards the cliffs at Durlston on the south eastern tip of the Isle of Purbeck there was really only one thing to do.
A swift walk to the cliffs later and we were greeted with the usual beautiful views but no Dolphins. This soon changed however when we saw a pod of between 15 and 20 animals swimming towards us and moving quite close to the cliffs. The only down side was watching two boats, a speed boat and a Poole registered fishing boat, run down the Dolphins, causing them to separate. There is never any excuse for this and it not good to see at all.

Monday, 1 September 2014

Kimmeridge or Bust

August's Purbeck Footprints Weekend Wander took us from the old quarry on the side of Smedmore Hill, passed Tyneham Cap and along Gad Cliff. From there the views are immense and really need to be seen. In the valley to the north nestles the remains of Tyneham village, the destiantion for our next Weekend Wander. To the West we have Portland, the Bill clearly seen at the southern edge of the Isle and behind you to the east we have the 'v' shaped ridges that gave the Isle of Purbeck its name.
Tear yourself from the views and retrace your steps back towards the Cap before you take the steep trail down from the ridge past Brandy Bay and the ledges of Long Ebb that separate it from Hobarrow Bay. More ledges can be seen with Broad Bench making up the foot of another headland before you can see Kimmeridge Bay itself. The Clavell Tower, high upon Hen Cliff at the eastern edge of the bay, doesn't dominate the view, it is far too small for that, but it does seem to compliment it. Built for no more than the amusement of the land owner it now serves as holiday home for those wanting something a little different.
From the bay we turned inland leaving the breathtaking views behind us, at least for a while. Passing the village of Kimmeridge easy whether you walk through it along the road or stay away the traffic and keep to the fields. To get back to the ridge though is a different matter, the path is steep and at the end of walk such as this you feel every footstep. Don't forget to turn around before you get to the top as, for a final treat, the view is yet again stunning. One of the finest walks taking in some of the finest scenery!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

The Colour of Sunday

A wander through the meadows this morning gave us plenty of colours and not just with the vast amount of flowers. Large Whites, Blues, Meadow Browns, Coppers and a single Clouded Yellow.
Great for another bit of macro practise.

Thursday, 21 August 2014


There comes a time when a wildlife photographer must accept that, despite all of his efforts, he has been seen and no amount of shuffling around behind a stone wall is going to change that. Young Master Fox was out practicing his mousing techniques at a place where I have seen his family for quite a few years. A bound or two later, he looked straight at me and it was obvious that I had been well and truly rumbled. Although he continued to have a sniff around for a while, his heart was no longer in hunting and he wandered off leaving the field a much less interesting place.