28 Jun 2014

28 June 14 - The Best Of The Rest On The Chalk

In the last post I covered some of the birds seen on a drive around the Cranborne Chase border of Dorset & Wiltshire. But I also saw some other interesting wildlife.
Brown Hare: Near Sixpenny Handley is a small area of set aside close to the road, allowing excellent views of these great Brown Hares
Brown Hare: A second animal trying to dry itself after a heavy downpour. Note, the long black tipped ears, long legs and overall bulky appearance. I had always assumed they were native to the UK, but it is believed they were introduced in Iron Age times to the UK
Rabbit: A common species that all UK residents will immediately recognise. This is a young Rabbit just over half size. Note, the small ears, gentler face, smaller build & shorter legs compared to the Brown Hare. They are also smaller & prefer areas of short grassland as well as arable fields, whereas, Brown Hares are predominantly found in or near arable fields. Rabbits were introduced into the UK by the Normans & for several centuries were a delicacy of the nobility with strict penalties for any commoners found poaching them. I always assumed they were native to Western Europe, but was surprised to read they are native to the Iberian Peninsula & Southern France, and introduced by man elsewhere in Western Europe
I found a great small roadside quarry just to the North of Win Green. This had a good selection of Butterflies in it.
Marbled White: A very distinctive rough grassland & downland Butterfly
Large Skipper on a Pyramidal Orchid: Female. Large Skippers have this bright mottling markings on the upperwing, whereas the other common Skippers, Small Skipper & Essex Skipper, have a plainer orange upper wing. This is female as it doesn't have a broad black line in the upperwing which the males show
Large Skipper: Another view of the same female
Large Skipper: Male. This shots shows the distinctive black line in the upper wing. This is a sex brand of specialist scent scales (Crowle Moor, Yorkshire, 1 July 12)
Large Red-tailed Bumblebee: One of my favourite Bumblebees & one that seems to regularly come to light if I run a moth trap in my garden
Pyramidal Orchid: There were about 10 of these in this small quarry
Pyramidal Orchid: A close up of the flowers. The tight head of flowers in a pyramidal shape makes this a distinctive Orchid to identify. Apparently, the flowers are shaped to only be pollinated by Butterflies proboscis