Wildlife - September
Seawatching can be excellent, especially when strong winds blow skuas, Shearwaters, Phalaropes, Terns and the rarer Gulls closer inshore. Gannets are regular and, towards the end of the month wintering wildfowl can be seen passing up-channel. Also on the move are thousands of Swallows and House Martins. Ravens and Peregrines may also glide overhead.
Along the clifftops, Sea Aster and Golden Samphire are in full flower; providing nectar for migrant butterflies like Painted Ladies and Clouded Yellows. Grey Bush-crickets chirp from the taller vegetation.
Bottle-nosed Dolphins are sometimes in the area. Please let us have your wildlife sightings.
As the leaves slowly turn to shades of yellow and brown, small woodland birds begin to form flocks which may include Long-tailed and Marsh Tits, Treecreepers, Goldcrests, Chiffchaffs and even a rare Firecrest. High up in the canopy, Pied and Spotted Flycatchers catch insects to fuel the long flight to Africa. Sparrowhawks soar overhead while Sandwich Terns may be seen fishing down in Durlston Bay.
The sweet smell of Ivy blossom usually attracts Red Admiral and Peacock butterflies. In the evening Pipistrelles, Noctules and other species of bat are busy feeding up, prior to their winter hibernation.
Hundreds of small migrant birds such as Wheatears, Redstarts, Whinchats and Whitethroats feed up on the rich crop of insects and seed heads of Wild Parsnip, Woolly Thistles and Teasels. Elderberries are also greedily consumed, particularly by Blackcaps and Garden Warblers. With luck, a rare Wryneck or Red-backed Shrike may be glimpsed, while the sky should be scanned for passing birds of prey. Africa-bound Sand Martins, and Swifts may attract the attention of a passing Hobby.
Two late-flowering specialities are the tiny white orchid Autumn Lady's Tresses and Autumn Gentian, provide splashes of colour.
In fine weather, butterflies may still be seen, especially Adonis and Common Blues, Lulworth Skippers and Small Heaths. While on the late flowering Fleabane and Knapweed, Meadow Browns or Marbled Whites may be seen.
Great Green Bush-crickets 'sing' from the depths of berry-clad bramble bushes.