Monday 29 April 2013

Game Pie and The Golden Bowl

Tonight's walk took me to Houns Tout, one of my favourite places on The Purbeck. The views to the east and the west are as fine as you will get anywhere and standing on the rocks at the edge of the cliffs is truly incredible.
The walk starts in the woods and, at this time of year, the air is heady with the scent of wild garlic. We were joined by a positive game casserole with Roe Deer, Pheasant and Partridge all making their presence felt.
As the path leaves the woods, the ground to the right falls dramatically away to form The Golden Bowl of the Encombe Estate, to the left there are stone-walled fields that hold crops, lambs and tonight, a handful of Hares.
All in all, a perfect evening.

Saturday 27 April 2013

Water Wings and Feathered Things

When you walk the Isle of Purbeck, it is perhaps not too surprising that you will never be far from water. Whether it be salt, brackish or fresh there is always plenty of water birds to be seen. The difference between these birds is incredible and each is specially designed for living in its own environment.
Watching the sleek dart of the Sandwich Terns that fish in the bays, the beautiful Grebes that patrol Littlesea, the feisty little Oystercatchers that probe the muddy banks of Poole Harbour or the Herons and Egrets that wade the deeper waters of the rivers is always time well spent.

Friday 26 April 2013

Clifftop Walks and Limited Visibilty

Walking in the fog is, in my opinion, one of life's 'must do' experiences. As the day progressed, the Sun burned the fog away and we were left with a beautiful blue sky afternoon.
I managed to spend a couple of hours playing with the Nuthatches and Treecreepers, two wonderful little birds that behave very differently within the woods.

Thursday 25 April 2013

The Family Kestrel

The other highly visible raptor that chooses to hunt along the Purbeck cliffs is the Kestrel. A beautiful little bird and perhaps our most instantly recognisable aerial hunter. Last year we had a family of triplets born and that gave us a great chance to watch the youngsters as they mastered the arts of flying and hunting.
The parents are never too far away and feeding time is truly chaotic but if you get a chance to watch them teach the kids how to catch there own food, you are in for a real treat.

Tuesday 23 April 2013

Peregrine Watch

My brother is probably one of the main reasons that I have such a love for wildlife. He has, for as long as i can remember, been interested in all things countryside and has been very supportive of what I am trying to do. I had a call from him the other day and we chatted as he was watching a couple of Peregrines on a building in the centre of Sheffield. Both Sheffield and Nottingham Universities have superb web cameras giving live pictures of nesting Peregrines, these are not just interesting, but are also extremely addictive. A link to these can be found on the University's websites.
Here on the Isle of Purbeck we have several areas where Peregrines can be seen and, thanks to the cliff paths, you can get some superb views of these beautiful birds as they feed themselves and their young.

Sunday 21 April 2013

Small Worlds

Every now and again I get the urge to get nice and close to the smaller inhabitants of the Isle of Purbeck. This usually means lying in the grass or mud and letting the beasts and bugs crawl all over you. Highlight of the morning was a rather fetching Slow-worm that was even slower than usual but it has been a chilly lately for most bugs to appear.
As things were a little quiet, I decided to spend far too long taking photographs of moss! I can be quite easily pleased.

Thursday 18 April 2013

Hill Top to Cliff Top

As the evenings get lighter, the chances of a wander after work increase quite nicely. Spring seems to be running a little late and mother nature has a bit of catching up to do but there is still plenty to see.
Our local Roe Deer are a long term favourite and I spend far too much time watch and photographing them. At this time of year they can look a bit untidy as they change into their summer coats but even so, getting close is very special.
If I manage to tear myself away from the deer and to be honest I do tend to lose track of time, a wander along the cliffs is always worth while. For the last few years we have had a family of Kestrels grow up here and they really are wonderful birds,
Far too quickly though the Sun sets and its time for the walk home, accompanied by the sounds of small, dark shadows that rustle in the hedgerows.

Monday 15 April 2013

Blue Skies and Big Seas

Blue skies are still in short supply at the moment and so when we do get one, I grab the camera and run! The cliffs that edge the south of the Isle of Purbeck are superb whatever the weather, but on a nice day in the Spring, they really come alive.
As well as the ever-present Gulls, Chiffchaffs start to appear, flitting through the trees and our Adders enjoy can be seen having a cuddle in the sunshine.

Sunday 14 April 2013

Rush Hour

This morning has seen a fine number of birds in the garden, all intent on eating or collecting nesting materials.
This is the first 'proper' garden we have ever had and are still not used to seeing this sort of variety. In the last year we have seen a total of twenty nine different species of bird in the garden, with nine visiting this morning.
Starling, Sparrow, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Blackcap, Blackbird, Dunnock, Jackdaw, Blue Tit and Greenfinch have all been busy this morning.

Wednesday 10 April 2013

Mist on the Frome

There wasn't too much to see on the way to work this morning, thick fog and mist covered the Purbeck. It reminded me of this photograph of the River Frome that I took a couple of years ago.
There is something very special about walking in fog and it is something I do whenever I can.

Monday 8 April 2013

This is the big old Sika stag that I spent a bit of time with last night. These deer always seem braver when they are fully tooled up and they may let you get quite close.
But if you do manage to get close, never forget that these are wild animals and, although they look nice and calm, they are more than capable of doing serious damage to dopey bloke with a camera!

Sunday 7 April 2013

The Five Minute Fox.
Time spent with a wild animal in its own environment is always special. Apart from this Fox, a big old Stag and beautiful Kestrel hung around for long enough for me to take photographs tonight. Each one happy to sit quite close as long as I didn't push my luck.

Saturday 6 April 2013

Dartfords, Greens and LIttle Seas

The first blue sky day for ages and I had several places that I wanted to be.
The first was the beach for a landslip survey, I do this once a month providing the weather is good enough and the tides are ok. After a spot of lunch it was off to Studland to see how the Dartford Warblers were getting on. After such a harsh Winter it will be interesting to see how many of these lovely little birds have managed to keep going. I saw a few, but no where near as many as last year.
Plenty of Greenfinches about though, and they are always good for a photo opportunity.
Tonight, I will carry on with my efforts to take a worthy shot of the Barn Owls, something that I have failed to do up to now!

Tuesday 2 April 2013

Operation Barn Owl: Update.

As names go, Operation Barn Owl has got to be the worst!
Tonight we had wonderful blue skies and a superb sunset but again, no Barn Owls.
There was a bonus though and that was the sighting of at least ten Hares in a just a few fields.
These are beautiful animals and always fun to try to photograph. They hunker down in the grass and almost disappear, until you are right on top of them that is and then they are off like a rocket!

Quiet but never silent.

I missed the Sun this morning, not because I was late but because the early wander was done and dusted by the time the clouds cleared. When...