11 Jul 2014

11 July 14 - Local Woodlarks

Having lived in the Purbeck area for 17 years, I sometime forget how lucky I am to live in an area with such a good range of Birds & other wildlife. The day has been spent showing my mate from Cornwall, Brian Field, a selection of the good local Birds, Dragonflies & Butterflies. Earlier in the day, we had seen 12 species of Dragonflies at Arne, some good Butterflies and one of the continental Swallowtails at St Aldhelms. Running through a list of Birds that aren't common in Cornwall, Dartford Warbler & Woodlark went to the top of the list. There are a few sites for Dartford Warblers in Cornwall, but Woodlarks are much harder to see there. There are a number of good sites locally in Poole Harbour for Dartford Warblers and a few sites for Woodlarks. My easiest Dartford Warbler site is next to a local road, so we headed there. A quick scan & I could see some Stonechats about 100 metres from the car. Chances are the Dartford Warblers would be nearby. As we walked towards the Stonechats, a couple of Woodlarks flew up & crossed the road. Great start, but we wanted to see them well & get some photos. After a few minutes of looking, a Dartford Warbler was seen quietly feeding. As we headed back to the car, a male popped up, sang briefly, before disappearing across the road into a bigger stand of gorge. No photos on this occasion, as I left the camera in the car.
Dartford Warbler: Taken in Rempstone Forest (Nov 13)
Stonechat: Juvenile. Taken at Greenlands Farm (June 14)
I planned to drive the car a few hundred metres, to a more open area to look for the Woodlarks. Before I got there, I managed to flush a family party of seven from the roadside edge, which flew a short distance before landing again. They breed on the local heaths, but quite like to feed on these nearby short grassy areas.
Woodlark: Despite the short grass, they were really good at disappearing from view at a distance
Mistle Thrush: Another common resident
Mistle Thrush
Gatekeeper: A final Butterfly to finish a good, but long day in the field