Dorset Walks

Walks on Portland - wildlife highlights for 2020

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Friday February 14th
Church Ope Cove - Pennsylania Castle

After taking a couple of weeks off I set the group a tough target for our walk. Wall Lizards and Firecrests were both distinctly possible so we set out to find both.

Walking down the steps towards the cove we saw very little at all but that all changed when we reached the ruins of St Andrew's Church. The first target species, Wall Lizard, soon revealed itself when a little nose poked out of a hole on the wall. Sadly we never saw any more of it.

While we were waiting for the lizard to come out again a large female Bloody-nosed Beetle was spotted nearby, along with a couple of Sloe Bugs. But the best sighting of all was made on the way back up the slope through the trees when two Firecrests gave us excellent views.

The day's list:
Birds:
Kestrel, Fulmar, Common Gull, Shag, Firecrest, Rock Dove (Feral Pigeon), Chaffinch, Goldfinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit
Insects: Sloe Bug, Bloody-nosed Beetle Reptiles: Wall Lizard
Fungi: Jelly Ear, Turkeytail Bracket Plants: Alexanders, Russian Comfrey, Japanese Spindle, Spring Snowflake, Ash, Horse Chestnut, Sycamore, English Elm, Spotted Laurel

© Bob Ford/Nature Portfolio

Firecrest - photographed on the Rodwell Trail in December

Friday January 24th
Portland Bill - Westcliffs

The target bird, Purple Sandpiper, was found quickly today when a flock of ten of these tough little waders landed right in front of us not long after we reached the obelisk. Further out a huge flock of Gannets and gulls were feeding in the Race.

Carrying on to the Westcliffs we had good views of Razorbills and Fulmars as well as a very smart Cormorant in breeding plumage.

After quickly checking the Observatory Quarry for owls we walked back past a very noisy group of House Sparrows next to the Coastguards Cottages.

The day's list:
Birds:
Kestrel, Buzzard, Razorbill, Guillemot, Kittiwake, Purple Sandpiper, Turnstone, Skylark, Rock Pipit, Fulmar, Gannet, Cormorant, Shag, Stonechat
Fungi: Field Blewit Plants: Alexanders

© Bob Ford/Nature Portfolio

Friday January 17th
Kingbarrow Quarry

A cold north-westerly was blowing today so we decided to avoid it by going underground - or at least a bit lower than the hotel anyway. As soon as we walked down the path from New Ground into the quarry it felt warmer. In fact with the sun on our faces it was really rather pleasant. Nearby was a very smart male Greenfinch sat in a bramble bush obviously thinking just the same thing!

No Little Owls were seen though in spite of a great deal of searching but after all the recent rain at least the lichens were very obvious. I've added a tentative list of the ones we saw below.

The day's list:
Birds:
Long-tailed Tit, Greenfinch
Lichens:
Aspicilia calcarea, Caloplaca aurantia, Caloplaca flavescens, Diploicia canescens, Verrucaria nigrescens, Xanthoria parietina

Friday January 10th
Grove Engine Sheds

Sweet Violet is one of Portland's earliest flowering plants and today's target was to see if it still grew around the engine sheds at the Grove. On reaching the site we could see that the ground had been much dusturbed, perhaps by a rotavator or similar. Luckily there were still plenty of violets surviving near the old walls with a few already flowering.

We were less successful with the British Primitive Goats which could not befound at all around the old rifle range, their favoured home. The same with our search for an early Adder, although we knew that the chance of one coming out of hibernation was very slim indeed. Nearby was a large female ivy bee, although whether it was a late or early record was hard to decide.

We also spent a while reading the Skylark Durston poem that is inscribed in the wall here. You can see a documentary on the poet at https://youtu.be/-8a7Woe48hw.

The day's list:
ivy bee, great-spotted woodpecker, chaffinch, kestrel (3), sweet violet, spear thistle, ivy-leaved toadflax, Canadian fleabane, coral spot, velvet shank

Friday January 3rd
Southwell - Eastcliffs

Very few birds about today but as we walked along the Bill road we did get a very close view of a hovering Kestrel looking for food in the verges. Turning off at Culverwell we enjoyed the rare opportunity of comparing Rock Pipits and Meadow Pipits side by side, with a couple of Stonechats thrown in for good measure.

Reaching the coast path we had a quick look at the crane and the raised beach before walking on to the waterfall where the Culverwell stream pours over the cliff edge. Today it was trickling more than pouring, probably due to the amount of mud washed down in the recent rains.

The day's list:
gannet, guillemot/razorbill, rock pipit, meadow pipit, stonechat, goldfinch, kestrel

Full list of species seen since 2005

click on underlined species to see photos
Birds (154 species)

Great Northern Diver
Black-throated Diver
Red-throated Diver
Little Grebe
Great-crested Grebe
Black-necked Grebe
Slavonian Grebe
Storm Petrel
Leach's Petrel
Fulmar
Manx Shearwater
Balearic Shearwater
Sooty Shearwater
CORY'S SHEARWATER
Gannet
Shag
Cormorant
Glossy Ibis
Grey Heron
Little Egret
Dark-bellied Brent Goose
Pale-bellied Brent Goose
Black Brant
Red-breasted Goose
Mute Swan
Mallard
Teal
Shoveler
Wigeon
Pintail
Common Scoter
Velvet Scoter
Goldeneye
Eider
Red-breasted Merganser
Goosander
Long-tailed Duck
Red Kite
Marsh Harrier
Buzzard
Merlin
Kestrel
Peregrine
Separrowhawk
Great Skua
Great Black-backed Gull
Lesser Black-backed Gull
Yellow-legged Gull
ICELAND GULL
Herring Gull
Mediterranean Gull
Black-headed Gull
Common Gull
Little Gull
Kittiwake
Curlew
Oystercatcher
Woodcock
Snipe
Jacksnipe
Bar-tailed Godwit
LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER
Redshank
Lapwing
Golden Plover
Grey Plover
Ringed Plover
Ruff
Purple Sandpiper
Dunlin
Curlew Sandpiper
Sanderling
Knot
Turnstone
Pheasant
Wood Pigeon
Feral Pigeon
Stock Dove
Collared Dove
Turtle Dove
BRÜNNICH'S GUILLEMOT
BLACK GUILLEMOT
Guillemot
Razorbill
Puffin
Barn Owl
Little Owl
Short-eared Owl
HOOPOE
WRYNECK
Skylark
Kingfisher
Swift
PALLID SWIFT
Swallow
House Martin
Sand Martin
WOODCHAT SHRIKE
RED-BACKED SHRIKE
Meadow Pipit
Tree Pipit
Rock Pipit
Pied Wagtail
White Wagtail
Grey Wagtail
Yellow Wagtail
Wren
Dunnock
Grasshopper Warbler (heard)
Sedge Warbler
Reed Warbler
Garden Warbler
Blackcap
Whitethroat
Lesser Whitethroat
Chiffchaff
Willow Warbler
YELLOW-BROWED WARBLER
Goldcrest
Firecrest
Spotted Flycatcher
Long-tailed Tit
Blue Tit
Great Tit
Stonechat
Whinchat
Robin
Wheatear
Redstart
Black Redstart
White-spotted Bluethroat
Blackbird
Ring Ouzel
Fieldfare
Redwing
Song Thrush
Starling
ROSY STARLING
Rook
Jackdaw
Carrion Crow
Raven
Magpie
Jay
House Sparrow
Linnet
Siskin
Redpoll
Goldfinch
Chaffinch
Bullfinch
Greenfinch
Crossbill
Yellowhammer
Snow Bunting
Lapland Bunting


Mammals (10 species)

British Primitive Goat
Common Shrew
Grey Squirrel
Brown Rat
Oryctolagus cuniculus
Brown Hare
Red Fox
Roe Deer (prints)
Grey Seal
Bottle-nosed Dolphin


Reptiles (4 species)

Common Lizard
Wall Lizard
Slow-worm
Adder


Amphibians (3 species)

Common Frog
Common Toad
Palmate Newt


Fossils (6 species)

Belemnite
Lopha gregarea
Nucleolites clunicularis
(sea urchin)
Aptyxiella portlandica (Portland Screw)
Titanites giganteus (ammonite)
Trigonia gibbosa (oss's head)


Molluscs (terrestrial) (4 species)

Banded Snail
Black Slug
Garden Snail
Striped Snail


Dragonflies and Damselflies (3 species)

Common Darter
Emperor Dragonfly
Migrant Hawker
Crickets and Grasshoppers (7 species)

Common Green Grasshopper
Dark Bush-cricket
Field Grasshopper
Great Green Bush-cricket
Meadow Grasshopper
Roesel's Bush-cricket
Speckled Bush-cricket


Bugs (3 species)

Dock Bug
Horse-chestnut Scale Insect
Green Shield-bug


Butterflies (29 species)

Adonis Blue
Chalkhill Blue
Clouded Yellow
Comma
Common Blue
Dingy Skipper
Gatekeeper
Grayling
Green-veined White
Holly Blue
Large White
Large Skipper
Lulworth Skipper
Marbled White
Meadow Brown
Orange-tip
Painted Lady
Peacock
Red Admiral
Ringlet
Silver-studded Blue
Small Blue
Small Copper
Small Heath
Small Skipper
Small Tortoiseshell
Small White
Speckled Wood
Wall


Moths (42 species)

Brown-tail
Burnet Companion
Chalk Carpet
Cinnabar
Clay
Cream-spot Tiger
Crescent Plume-moth
Dark Arches
Dark Fruit Tree Tortrix
Diamondback Moth
Forester
Fox Moth
Green Longhorn Moth (Adela reaumurella)
Heart and Club
Heart and Dart
Hummingbird Hawkmoth
Jersey Tiger
Knot Grass
L-album Wainscot
Lackey
Large Yellow Underwing
Lesser Yellow Underwing
Light Brocade
Marbled Minor
Mint Moth Pyrausta aurata
Pyrausta despicata
Mother Shipton
Oak Eggar
Poplar Hawk-moth
Portland Riband Wave
Privet Hawkmoth
Scarlet Tiger
Shaded Broad-bar
Shuttle-shaped Dart
Silver Y
Six-spot Burnet
Speckled Yellow
Treble Lines
Vine's Rustic
White Ermine
White-point
Yarrow Plume Moth
Yellow Shell

Bees and Wasps (7 species)

Buff-tailed Bumblebee
Common Carder Bee
Common Wasp
Honey Bee
Ivy Bee
Red-tailed Bumblebee
Nomad Bee


Beetles (9 species)

11-spot Ladybird
7-spot Ladybird
Bloody-nosed Beetle
Ground Beetle
Harlequin Ladybird
Oil Beetle
Rose Chafer
Summer Chafer
Swollen-thighed Beetle


Flies (7 species)

Drone-fly
Greenbottle
Hornet Hoverfly Volucella zonaria
Hoverfly Scaeva pyrastri
Marmalade Hoverfly
St Mark's Fly


Arachnids (7 species)

Crab Spider
Garden Cross Spider
Harvestman
House Spider
Nursery-web Spider
Wasp Spider
Wolf Spider


Marine Life (55 species)

Sea Bean Entada gigas
Thornback Ray (egg-case)
Blonde Ray (egg-case)
Garfish
Triggerfish
Greater Spotted Dogfish
Lesser Spotted Dogfish
Goose Barnacle
Spider Crab
Edible Crab
Shore Crab
Portugese Man o' War
Hydrozoan
Whelk
Netted Dogwhelk
Slipper Limpet
Common Limpet
Common Mussel
Common Oyster
Blue-rayed Limpet
Flat Winkle
Rough Winkle
Edible Winkle
Sting Winkle
Toothed Topshell
Purple Topshell
Painted Topshell
Great Topshell
Grey Topshell
Thick Topshell
Queen Scallop
Common Cockle
Spiny Cockle
Pod Razor Shell
Pullet Carpet Shell
Banded Venus
Keeled Tubeworm
Spiral Tubeworm
Cuttlefish
Squid
Beadlet Anemone
Snakelocks Anemone
Green Sea Urchin
Seasquirt
Dead Man's Fingers
Pink Sea-fan

Knotted Wrack
Channelled Wrack
Spiral Wrack
Bladder Wrack
Sea Lettuce
Carragheen
Laminaria saccharina
Laminaria digitata
Saccorhiza polyschides

Fungi (11 species)

Coral Spot
Dog's Vomit Slime Mould Mucilago crustacea
Dryad's Saddle
Field Blewit
Field Mushroom
Honey Fungus
Parasol Mushroom
Scarlet Waxcap
Shaggy Inkcap
Silverleaf Fungus
Velvet Shank


Lichens (17 species)

Aspicilia calcarea
Caloplaca aurantia
Caloplaca flavescens
Caloplaca holocarpa
Diploicia canescens
Diplotomma alboatrum
Evernia prunastri
Flavoparmelia caperata
Lecanora chlarotera
Lecanora dispersa
Lecanora muralis
Nostoc (blue-green algae)
Parmelia sulcata
Physcia caesia
Placynthium nigrum
Verrucaria nigrescens
Xanthoria parietina
Plants (250 species)

Agrimony
Alexanders
Annual Beard Grass
Annual Meadow Grass
Annual Mercury
Annual Wall Rocket
Apple
Ash
Autumn Gentian
Autumn Ladies Tresses
Bastard Toadflax
Bee Orchid
Birdsfoot Trefoil
Biting Stonecrop
Black Knapweed
Black Medick
Black Mustard
Black Spleenwort
Blackthorn
Bladder Campion
Blue Fleabane
(Brackish?) Water Crowfoot
Bramble
Bristly Ox-tongue
Broad-leaved Dock
Broad-leaved Eyebright
Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea
Buckshorn Plantain
Buddleia
Bulbous Buttercup
Bulbous Meadow Grass
Bulrush
Burnet Rose
Burnet Saxifrage
Bush Vetch
Calamint
Canadian Fleabane
Caper Spurge
Carline Thistle
Cats-tail
Changing Forgetmenot
Charlock
Clematis
Cocksfoot
Coltsfoot
Common Broomrape
Common Catsear
Common Centaury
Common Elder
Common Gromwell
Common Ragwort
Common Spotted Orchid
Common Storksbill
Common Toadflax
Common Vetch
Cotoneaster horizontalis
Cotoneaster microphyllus
Cotoneaster simonsii
Cotoneaster sternianus

Cow Parsley
Cowslip
Creeping Buttercup
Creeping Cinquefoil
Crested Dogstail
Crow Garlic
Cut-leaved Cranesbill
Daisy
Dandelion
Dog Rose
Dogwood
Dropwort
Dwarf Elder
Early Gentian
Early Purple Orchid
Elm
English Bluebell
Fairy Flax
False Brome
False Oat-grass
Fennel
Fern Grass
Field Penny-cress
Field Scabious
Field Speedwell
Fluellen
Fodder Burnet
Germander Speedwell
Golden-rod
Golden Samphire
Grass Vetchling
Greater Birdsfoot Trefoil
Greater Horsetail
Greater Knapweed
Greater Plantain
Great Hairy Willowherb
Great Mullein
Grey Willow
Hairy Bittercress
Hairy Rockcress
Hard Rush
Harebell
Hartstongue Fern
Hawkweed Ox-tongue
Hawthorn
Hedge Bedstraw
Hedge Bindweed
Hemp Agrimony
Herb Robert
Hoary Plantain
Hoary Ragwort
Hoary Stock
Hogweed
Holly
Holm Oak
Honeysuckle
Hop Trefoil
Horse Chestnut
Horseshoe Vetch
Ivy
Ivy Broomrape
Ivy-leaved Toadflax
Japanese Knotweed
Kidney Vetch
Knotted Bur-parsley
Lady's Bedstraw
Lady's Mantle
Lesser Celandine
Lesser Centaury
Lesser Trefoil
London Plane
Maidenhair Fern
Maidenhair Spleenwort
Male Fern
Marjoram
Meadow Vetchling
Melilot
Milkwort
Mouse-ear Hawkweed
Musk Mallow
Musk Thistle
Olive Willow
Oxford Ragwort
Pale Flax
Pear
Pellitory-of-the-wall
Pendulous Sedge
Pennywort
Perennial Sow-thistle
Portland Rock Sea-lavender
Portland Spurge
Prickly Sow-thistle
Primrose
Purple Toadflax
Pyramidal Orchid
Quaking Grass
Red Bartsia
Red Campions
Red Clover
Red Fescue
Red Valerian
Reedmace
Restharrow
Ribwort Plantain
Rock-rose
Rock Samphire
Rock Sea Lavender
Rock Stonecrop
Rough Hawkbit
Rough Meadow Grass
Round-leaved Cranesbill
Rue-leaved Saxifrage
Rye Grass
Sainfoin
Saw-wort
Sea Beet
Sea Campion
Sea Holly
Sea Kale
Sea Lavender
Sea Mayweed
Sea Radish
Sea Spleenwort
Shining Cranesbill
Slender Thistle
Soft Brome
Soft Cranesbill
Soft Shield Fern
Small Scabious
Smooth Hawksbeard
Smooth Sow-thistle
Spanish Bluebell
Spear Mint
Spear Thistle
Spindle Tree
Spotted Medick
Square-stemmed Willowherb
Squinancywort
Stemless Thistle
Sticky Groundsel
Stinging Nettle
Stinking Iris
Strawberry Clover
Sycamore
Sweet Violet
Tall Fescue
Teasel
Three-cornered Leek
Thrift
Timothy
Tor Grass
Toothed Medick
Upright Brome
Upright Hedge Parsley
Viper's Bugloss
Wall Barley
Wall Rocket
Wall Rue
Wall Speedwell
Wallflower
Wayfaring Tree
Weld
Welted Thistle
Western Polypody
Whitebeam
White Clover
White Stonecrop
Widow Iris
Wild Cabbage
Wild Carrot
Wild Clary
'Wild' Gladiolus
Wild Leek
Wild Madder
Wild Mignonette
Wild Parsley
Wild Privet
Wild Thyme
Winter Heliotrope
Wood Sage
Wood Spurge
Woody Nightshade
Woolly Woundwort
Wormwood
Yarrow
Yellow Horned-poppy
Yellow Oat-grass
Yellow Vetch
Yellow Vetchling
Yellow-wort
Yorkshire Fog

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