Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Studland Bay Nudist Beach: An Excuse To Do No Revision, And: Anyone Know What This Moth Is.....?

Our College Day Out today was to Studland, which as well as being a Very Important Heath/ Dune Habitat, is also a Naturalist Naturist Beach.

We steered clear of any willies and boobies that might have been on display and stuck with the Dunes (which were beautiful) and the Sea (ditto) instead. The weather was kind to us and we had a nice walk and talk with one of the Rangers, learning about her job and the management that goes in to maintaining Studland.

It's run by the National Trust, who have nine thousand acres across the Purbecks to look after. Studland is home to all six native British reptiles (adder, grass snake, smooth snake, common lizard, sand lizard and slow worm), and it gets a whopping one million visitors a year. 

The beach is beautiful; white sand backed with dunes, and the views look out on a clear day to the Isle of Wight. It's the second largest dune/ heath habitat area in the UK and it contains a fresh water lagoon which is home to three thousand overwintering fowl, as well as two otters.

We'd barely set off on our walk through the heath when Dave spotted this little chap scurrying across the sand. He's a Heath Tiger Beetle. Their numbers are plummeting, due to our old friend habitat loss. As a result, they are on the UK Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP). It is estimated that more than half their population has disappeared in the last twenty-five years :-(

The beetle is now restricted to sites in Dorset, Hampshire, Sussex and Surrey, although new populations have been discovered on MoD land in recent years, where disturbance from vehicle training maintains the open habitat they need, which is some Good News at least :-)


Here are some pics of the dunes and lagoon and a Rather Nice Seahorse Sculpture along the way.....
 
Freshwater Lagoon

Sand Dunes

Seahorse

The dunes took a right old battering in the February Storms and many embryonic dunes (which are important habitats for various invertebrates), were wiped out. You can see the damage in these shots....The buildings on the top will fall into the sea if another storm reaches them.


Collapsed Dunes


The storms have uncovered what is believed to be a WW2 vehicle buried long ago on the beach....


And in fact, there is a WW2 bunker along the hill a little further up the coast....



Further still along the coast is Old Harry, a Sea Stack just off Handfast Coast (any pagan connection I wonder? Handfasting being the pagan equivalent of marriage)....


 

The Life Boat was out in the bay, no doubt practicing for a potentially busy summer season ahead....


There's a Nice View of Bournemouth from the shore....


And here's everyone Listening Attentively to the talk from the ranger....


I found some Harlequin Ladybirds on some nettles and got stung for my troubles taking pics of them...
 

I also found this Crab Shell, which Dave id'd for me as a Masked Crab (also known as a helmet or sand crab). I love the way the prickles (technical term) are so even (and sharp- I can personally testify to that)....


Studland is a beautiful place and well worth a visit if you ever find yourself in Dorset and at a loose end.

Last night as we were going to bed a Moth flew in through the window and landed on my shoulder. This is not an unusual occurrence at chez Countryside Tales, so I wasn't unduly surprised by it. Even M is getting used to This Sort Of Thing happening and merely said in a not-surprised voice : 'you've got a moth by your ear' (having a moth by your ear is nothing when you've had one nearly in your mouth after it landed on your breakfast toast and marmalade, which is doubtless why it didn't signify much to get excited about to M, who had to endure moth-infested marmalade on more than one occasion last summer). 

But this moth was A Rather Excitable Moth, and he launched himself off my shoulder and proceeded to zoom energetically about the bedroom, bumping into the light and racing through the dust and cobwebs (which presents a nicely accurate picture of the not-so spic-and-span nature of our bedroom). He did this for twenty minutes at break-neck speed while I chased after him with the camera. After a while he apparently got the excitement out of his system and decided to alight on the skirting board for a breather, remaining there long enough for me to photograph him. 


I know I have seen him before, but can I find him anywhere? 

No. 

He's not on the 'what's flying tonight' element of the excellent Hants Moths website, and I have posted his pic on the Garden Moth Challenge to get some help. But if any of you know who he is do shout please....I think he is Rather Gorgeous (if you've been reading this blog for a while this will not come as a Great Surprise to you).....

Moth Of Mystery
That's about it from here tonight- wishing you all a peaceful evening.

CT x

19 comments:

  1. Studland is a great place to visit. I have a diagram of the changes in vegetation, as you go up the beach, firmly imprinted on my memory. It is a favourite site for GCSE Geography projects in local schools!

    Sorry to see all the storm damage to the dunes, which have been lovingly tended by the NT in recent years.

    Your Moth of Mystery is beautiful but does look a bit worn out after his/her high speed whizz around your bedroom!

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    1. Thanks DW :-) Yes, storm damage was pretty terrible- quite shocking to see it in the flesh.

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  2. What beautiful pics of the bay...I love the Dorset Coast. Wish we lived closer. Feel very deprived of the sea as totally landlocked in Staffordshire!

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    1. Hi and thanks for the comment :-)

      I love the Dorset coast too- the Purbecks are some of the loveliest stretches of coastline I think.

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  3. I declare him to be a lesser spotted mad zooming moth!!! Sounds like a very tricky character indeed. I hope that you can work out what he is really called. xx

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    1. Sounds like a spot-on ID to me Amy :-) I think he is probably a Pale Prominent (with due thanks to David and Caroline for the id) x

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  4. Studland is place I have wanted to visit for a long time and it certainly looks a great place for a variety of less common crawly things :-)

    I'm not sure about the moth but could it be a Pale Prominent ?

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    1. It is a superb habitat and well worth a visit if you're ever down that way. Thanks so much for the ID. I was wondering about pale prom because of the feathery tale so that makes perfect sense. He just wasn't sitting quite as I'd have expected, but then was probably exhausted from all the dust flying he'd been doing! x

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    2. That should have read 'tail' - I think I'm becoming illiterate in my old age :-)

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  5. Love that picture of Bournemouth all hazy in the background. Never been there but it looks fantastic. Have I missed your Dartmoor pictures? Been out of the loop for a bit so I'd better go back and check! xx

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    1. I see you've caught up Em- I posted them all at once otherwise I knew I'd get hopelessly behind :-) xx

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  6. Studland looks beautiful - we're holidaying in that area this year so can't wait to visit :) Although I had already noted part of the beach might be worth avoiding :) The trouble will be persuading family to visit all the nature reserves in the area I want to go to!!! :( Suspect I'll be lucky to manage a couple.

    I would agree with David about the possible id of the moth (due to those long tail segments!!).

    re: last post. Water vole surveying is really interesting. I did it for several years after the course I went on. Found very little though as water voles are scarce if not now locally extinct in the area I was surveying. I've been visiting About a Brook for ages - its a great blog and what a wonderful hotspot for wv's :)

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    1. Ooh, you'll love it! If you get the chance to drive the hour and a half to Winchester you should try and get to Magdalen Hill for the flutters- big colony of Chalkhill Blue's there. If you do and you can spare an hour drop me a line- I'll meet you there and show you around.

      Thanks re pale prom- I did wonder with the tail and all. It makes sense :-)

      So looking forward to the wv course, there are several pops on the waters here so I am really hoping to see one, which will be a first for me. I shall take the camera, just in case! x

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  7. The beach looks a great place to visit, must be over a very large area as the water looks stunning, I first flick through your photos then go back and read the post, I thought you had found a squished moth, and that was the reason it was not flying to night..... Hope some one can I.D it for you.
    Amanda x

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    1. It is a big section of sand and water and a really interesting dune/ heath habitat with lots to see. Caroline and David have both suggested Pale Prominent for the moth which sounds right to me. Great to have an ID x

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  8. Studland looks beautiful and I love the sculpture. It really is terrible to see the damage up close isn't it. It's one thing when it's man made and can be repaired with the dreaded but strong concrete, but just awful to see the dunes like that.

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    1. It was quite a shock. I know bits of the coast were really battered by feb's storms, but to see several feet of dune wiped out really brought it home.

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  9. Lovely to see your pictures of Studland but sad to see the effect of the storms. How exciting to have an unexpected visitor! Sarah x

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    1. Hopefully the dunes will recover in time. I just love it when moths appear unexpectedly- it's usually when I've been most missing them too :-)

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x