ISLE OF WIGHT & DORSET SPRING WILDLIFE BREAK

Thu 23rd - Mon 27th May 2024

It was so good to return to the Southwest for a five-day tour looking at the best wildlife this region has to offer.

We kicked off with two days on the Isle of Wight where we connected with all our target species including the gorgeous GLANVILLE FRITILLARY which offered us great views on the wildflower strewn coastal paths. Other butterflies included DINGY SKIPPER, SMALL BLUE and COMMON BLUE. Whilst on the island we saw RED SQUIRREL, some lovely WALL LIZARDS basking in the morning sunshine and two mighty WHITE-TAILED EAGLES from the recent reintroduction programme.

Moving onto the New Forest, the wonderful weather gave us the opportunity to see some raptors including up to three NORTHERN GOSHAWKS and EURASIAN HOBBY. WOODLARK, COMMON REDSTART, COMMON FIRECREST were found in the woods and scrub. We rounded off the day watching PEARL-BORDERED FRITILLARIES in a sunny forest ride as they nectared on the wildflowers.

The following day was spent around the Isle of Portland and Weymouth where seawatching produced MANX SHEARWATERS, NORTHERN GANNETS, RAZORBILLS, COMMON GUILLEMOTS, COMMON SCOTER, BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKES and NORTHERN FULMARS. After a walk around the headland, we had a lovely lunch, and the Portland Crab sandwiches were very popular! The afternoon was spent searching for butterflies and we found lots of COMMON BLUES and a few WALL BROWNS. We rounded off the day with visits to Ferrybridge and Lodmoor RSPB reserve where arctic-bound waders were seen including SANDERLING, DUNLIN, BAR-TAILED GODWIT, RED KNOT, COMMON RINGED PLOVERS and GREY PLOVER. Other species of note included WESTERN MARSH HARRIER, COMMON SWIFTS and good numbers of LITTLE & COMMON TERNS.

Our final morning was spent at Martin Down NNR where we saw GREY PARTRIDGE, YELLOWHAMMER, CORN BUNTING, RED KITE, EURASIAN SKYLARK and COMMON CUCKOO.

Butterflies were on the wing and new species for the tour included GRIZZLED SKIPPER, GREEN HAIRSTREAK, ADONIS BLUE & MARSH FRITILLARY plus there were some beautiful orchids including BURNT-TIP, CHALK FRAGRANT & COMMON SPOTTED ORCHIDS.

As we finished lunch, the heavens opened, and we headed back to Essex after a fantastic tour with so many wildlife highlights, amazing weather (how lucky were we!) all spent with a lovely group of customers.

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