Open University Exploring Nature Walk, Monday July 30th 2012, Moreton Forest

Before we could start this walk in one of my very favourite parts of Dorset we had to overcome a considerable obstacle – a locked gate. Possibly inspired by the nearby Olympic Games the group used a variety of vaults, somersaults and backflips to get to the other side and I can honestly say that each used a different method. Sadly it was all over so quickly I did not have time to record this on camera, you will have to use your imagination… 

Odonata featured strongly for the first few minutes and it was not long before we had seen no less than 7 species of dragonflies and damselflies. A couple of lizards were sun-bathing on a log next to the path while a Green Woodpecker called from the trees. All this in just a few yards! 

Rounding a bend in the path we could see across the boggy part of the heath where yellow drifts of Bog Asphodel were interrupted by patches of white Cotton-grass, with the fragrant Bog Myrtle adding another dimension to the experience. A Stonechat reminded us we ought to be looking for birds as well and soon we had also found several Coal Tits and heard an annoyingly invisible Crossbill. For me though the highlight was when a shrill shrieking announced the arrival of a Hobby, which gave us several fly-pasts – once in the company of a Buzzard! 

The day’s list…

Birds

Buzzard 
Hobby
Wood Pigeon
Green Woodpecker (heard)
Stonechat
Meadow Pipit
Coal Tit
Great Tit
Crossbill (heard)
Yellowhammer 

Reptiles

Common Lizard

Butterflies

Gatekeeper
Meadow Brown
Grayling
Ringlet
Silver-studded Blue
Small Skipper
Large Skipper

Other Insects

Large Red Damselfly
Common Blue Damselfly
Four-spotted Chaser
Black Darter 

© Kay Mantripp/Nature Portfolio
 
Black Darter?
(click on the image to see if it has been identified on iSpot) 

Keeled Skimmer
Common Darter
Southern Hawker
Soldier Beetle
Garden Chafer 

© Bob Ford/Nature Portfolio
 
Tachina grossa?
(click on the image to see if it has been identified on iSpot) 

© Bob Ford/Nature Portfolio
 
Sericomyia silentis ?
(click on the image to see if it has been identified on iSpot) 

Plants

Bell Heather
Cross-leaved Heath
Ling
Beautiful (Slender) St John’s Wort
Eyebright
Wild Basil
Betony
Self-heal
Marjoram
Marsh Gentian
Round-leaved Sundew
Bog Myrtle
Bog Asphodel
Cotton-grass
Common Spotted Orchid
Common Cudweed
Blue Fleabane
Hard Fern 

© Bob Ford/Nature Portfolio
 
Giant Cat’s-ear?
(click on the image to see if it has been identified on iSpot) 

Fungi

Common Earthball