Tuesday 10 July 2012: a good day in the dunes
...today was a good day, actually, a great day! It was not especially sunny, in fact there were occasional rain showers, but when the sun did come out, it was warm. Great weather for reptiles.
After all the recent lack of sun or warmth, lizards are keen to pop out for a sunbathe at every opportunity. With that in mind, we headed for the sand dunes on Studland Heath. Within minutes, we were rewarded with this beautiful male Sand Lizard Lacerta agilis. Without doubt, the most highly coloured we have seen all year.
Despite the good showing of the Sand Lizards, there were no Adders or Smooth Snakes to be seen anywhere. However, as we were scanning the heather either side of one of the paths, I saw what I first took to be a piece of rotting wood but, as I looked at it, it looked back at me! Realising what I was seeing, I slowly raised my camera to my eye but she, the most beautiful nightjar I have ever seen, flew off. What a sight! Then, to add to this already brilliant sighting - she was only two metres away - I noticed two eggs in her scrape. We moved away to some cover to make sure that she returned, which she did, and then headed off to alert the National Trust warden. He was excited and delighted when I took him back to the nest and will be discussing with his team just what they need and can do to protect it. I promised that we would make regular trips to check on things.
I have posted a few more images, including the Nightjar scrape, here...