Posted by: Ross Gardner | September 12, 2017

Isle of Wight, The New Forest and Dorset

Still desperately trying to catch up with myself, so here is the next selection of Big Trip piccies.

It was to the Isle of Wight we headed next, somewhere renowned for its coastal scenery……

Coast Path near Chale - looking west (scaled)

… such as this sunny stretch near Chale.

The coasts are also rich in wildlife…

Cylindera germanica (scaled)

For the fellow creature geeks among you, there are many scarce invertebrates to be found, like the rare Cliff Tiger Beetle, (Cylindera germanica).

Pyramidal Orchid plus Burnet (scaled)

For the more aesthetically minded there are the lovely flower-rich cliff-top grasslands to admire, containing a host of wildflowers like this Pyramidal Orchid (plus Six-spot Burnet).

Back on the mainland a some time spent in the New Forest is essential.  This superb area is widely regarded as one the richest wildlife areas in lowland Britain, home to many wild creatures rare or even absent elsewhere……

Silver-studded Blue (scaled)

… not least the Silver-studded Blue. It was indeed a joy to this drastically decline species so plentiful around much of the heathland we visited.

Beautiful Demoiselle 2 (scaled)

Wonderful also were the dragonflies and damselflies. The most appropriated named Beautiful Demoiselle is a large species of damselfly especially associated with gravelly-bottomed streams and rivers. In the right light the shimmering wings turn to gleaming glass.

Heading west and the very far county of Dorset is another region with a jewel-encrusted crown of natural history wonders.

Bog Asphodel group (scaled)

The south of the county is rightly famous for its wet and dry lowland heaths. The latter provides a home to such rare reptiles as the Smooth Snake, scarce birds like the Dartford Warbler and many an uncommon insect. The former has its own suite of fascinating wildlife, including those dragonflies and damselflies that favour the acidic pools and plants like these Bog Asphodel that colour the bog-lands in summer.

The Fallow Deer and the Magpie 8 (scaled)

Deer are a fairly regular sight. We came across a heard of bucks loafing among the grass. A Magpie appeared and began to do its best impression of an Oxpecker. The deer welcomed its attentions, presumably relieving them of troublesome pests. They would always keep their eyes closed, lest they receive a wayward peck in the eye, but seemed to offer themselves for the opportunistic crow’s services.

Chapman's Pool (scaled)

Dorset also has some of the finest coastal scenery that I know.

Next… the South West Peninsula.

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