New Forest Wonders

On Sunday we went on a family walk at Cerne Abbas in Dorset. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t great so it wasn’t the best day for wildlife.

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That’s not to say there was no wildlife around though. From the car park I could hear loud screeching which could have only come from a buzzard. Sure enough, I quickly spotted the culprit which was clearly one of this year’s chicks.

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Not far from the famous Cerne Abbas Giant we spotted lots of yellowhammers giving alarm calls. Ironically my bird book says yellowhammers are “typical on warm, sunny days”.

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As the title suggests though most of today’s content comes from the New Forest. It’s always delightful to head out of the town and into the forest but this is probably the best time of year to go.  The boggy areas are drier than usual, there’s still hardly anyone around during the week and the heather is looking fantastic.

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My first spot was a fungus, a Common Earthball (Scleroderma citrinum).

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Near one of the streams, as well as a herd of cows, were loads of dragonflies. I thought I saw two different species but it turns out they were male (blue) and female (yellow) Keeled Skimmers.

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It has become traditional for every post to have a photo of a deer in it and today is no different! This one is perhaps the best yet though, a fallow deer stag.

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I also spotted a young roe deer stag, although this one was a little further away:

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There were lots of birds flitting around the gorse and I couldn’t quite work out what they were initially.

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I think that was a juvenile, or at least a female. When I eventually spotted a male it became clear they were stonechats. It’s amazing how these birds can stand on the sharp gorse.

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I also spotted a more unusual butterfly on the heathland, a brown argus :

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As I came back into the town I finally managed to capture one of the many white butterflies in the area. These butterflies don’t seem to settle very often and I have been trying to photograph one for ages.

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I really struggled to identify this as any one species but I eventually concluded it’s probably a Green Veined White. It certainly looks about the right colour and they are apparently highly-variable.

All in all, it was a fantastic day in the forest.

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