Well it was inevitably going to happen. I only really get weekends to go out and take photos and this week family duties called. As a result I won't have any new species to share with you. Instead I thought I talk a bit about some of my favourite stomping grounds that I like to visit.
Arne Nature Reserve is based up on the peninsula overlooking Poole harbour. It's a fantastic place to look for birds, and while I've been there several times now, there are plenty of species that continue to elude me there. The great thing about Arne is its sheer variety. While it's predominantly heathland, there are also stretches of forest, pastures, bog land and even a small private beach - in short it's a lovely secluded paradise which is home to a lot of rare and uncommon species, most notable the Dartford Warbler.
It's manned by a group of friendly rangers, and while they're obviously there to sign up new members and care for the reserve, they're always a pleasure to speak to. The same can be said for those that visit the area. The average age of a bird watcher is around 42. As a result they tend to be a lot more mature and friendlier, only too happy to fill you in on the birds they've seen or point out the ones you've missed. This last point is quite interesting, as though bird watchers are a friendly bunch - at least the ones I've met - they're also competitive taking great glee in knowing they've seen birds you haven't. It's swings and roundabouts though, as it's impossible for everyone to see everything. It's usually harmless fun and I've already been told about plenty of great places to visit going forward.
I've been to Arne three times now and every time I've discovered surprises. From having a Sika Deer run out mere feet in front of me, to coming across a group of breeding dragonfly, there's always something of interest to see there. The following images will hopefully highlight both the diversity of the nature and flora found at Arne. Of course the real beauty of this blog (at least for myself) is even if I don't see any new birds, I always have a satisfying time.