National Trust Purbeck Wildlife

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Old Harry’s birds

Old Harry archI’ve often noticed that coastal birds are much less likely to be disturbed by an approach from the sea. And so it proved on a recent guided kayak tour around Old Harry Rocks. The ever-present oystercatchers, cormorants and Mediterranean gulls sat and watched as we sailed by and the common sandpipers that pass through on migration flitted ahead from cove to cove. An eider on the sea was a surprise at this time of year and it was interesting to see cliff-nesting house martins.
But best of all was a group of four screeching peregrines, an adult and three recently fledged young, flying between various perches above us while another youngster dismembered a freshly-killed pigeon on the shoreline just a few metres from a very appreciative water-bound audience.


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June highlights

silver-studded bluesSo we’re into the month of blooming heather though it’s always sad to see June depart with its fledglings finding their wings and spiralling numbers of flying insects. It was entertaining to see our resident great tits fledge four young from our live-cam nest box (actually their second brood of the year), very heartening after last year’s woodpecker raid on the nest. Another highlight was the gorgeous glut of pyramidal orchids on Ballard Down near Old Harry Rocks. But best of all was the abundance of silver-studded blues on a patch of wet heath at Bramble Bush Bay. Despite being such weak flyers it was still very difficult to get a reasonably accurate count. Certainly more than a hundred and perhaps even twice that.