Saturday, 21 April 2018

Early Spider Orchids and Reptiles in Dorset

The orchid season has started; it is a bit like the first day of the football season, only better.   Football starts with that tiresome and pointless Charity Shield match, whereas the orchid season starts with a fanfare, with the first appearance of Early spider orchids in Dorset, in a wonderful location.  A European species, Early spider orchids are confined to a few spots on the south coast; it was curiously more widespread in Britain than it is now.  In a few spots near Worth Matravers such as Dancing Ledge there are hundreds.   I went there yesterday, on  a very warm, sunny day.   Perfect.

There were also a small number of Green-winged orchids.  

Besides the orchids, there were lots of other nice stuff.   A small group of wheatears in one of the arable field I crossed to get to the coast, several butterflies including Small tortoiseshell and Peacock.   Best though were the reptiles; I saw 2 Common lizards and this Wall Lizard pictured below (with identification help from a fellow orchid enthusiast - I was not aware it occurred in Britain), and the best sighting of an adder I have had, moving amongst the limestone rocks at St Aldhelm's Head.   Quite menacing and fortunately my wife missed this trip as I think she would have been terrified (a life-long ophidiophobe).

An excellent day, definitely worth the long journey and delays on the M3.

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