After a week of gales and rain we were fortunate to find a fine sunny afternoon for our monthly visit to the Eastcliffs of Portland.
As last month we started with a Holly Blue in the car park, but the only other butterflies seen this afternoon were a few Small Whites and a Wall.
Reaching the view-point above Church Ope Cove we looked down to the sea and noticed a Sandwich Tern fishing the waters near the beach. This bird was later joined by 2 others and we were able to compare the differences between terns, gulls and petrels when a Herring Gull and a Fulmar joined them. A rock nearby held 2 Cormorants and a Shag, another useful comparison.
We decided to make the most of the warm weather by taking the cliff-top path instead of seeking the shelter of the old railway line as we usually do. Walking through the area known as 'Shepherd's Dinner' we found the cliffs covered in flowers, particularly the yellow blooms of Horseshoe Vetch. Further on towards Grove Point we found a patch of the scarce Dwarf Elder, a plant worshipped by the Celtic tribes which were known to once have inhabited this area.
Looking into the vast space of Yeolands Quarry we heard a raucous caw-caw, not a Rook but a young Raven. We soon found the source, on of 3 birds sat on the quarry slopes waiting for their parents to bring them food. After a few minutes a parent dropped in and was immediately mobbed by its offspring. We could see that the young birds were as large as the adult but did not yet have quite such large bills and tails, although their feathers were noticeably more smart and glossy.
Back at Rufus Castle the pair of Kestrels were circling over the ruins, perhaps we'll see their offspring next visit ...
The day's list...
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