Dorset Walks

Thursday September 15th
Church Ope Cove and Penn's Weare

list of species seen

Trip Report

Starting in fine drizzle the weather soon improved giving a fine, warm afternoon - the first truly 'autumnal' afternoon of the year.
Walking towards Church Ope Cove our first stop was to look at the fossilised tree outside Portland Museum. Nearby we found a good selection of tree species - Ash, Sycamore, Elm and Lime. Next to Rufus Castle a male Kestrel was hovering over Penn Weare. Several plant species were still in flower along the railway line, including Viper's Bugloss, Birdfoot Trefoil, Bristly Ox-tongue, Golden-rod and Ploughman's Spikenard. More were seen that had finished flowering such as Portland Spurge and Horseshoe Vetch. Elms near Rufus Castle
Elms near Rufus Castle
Portland series
Purbeck, Portland and Cherty Beds
The Buddleia bushes held a few butterflies - Red Admirals and Speckled Woods. The cliffs here showed a good succession of rock strata, from the Purbeck Series at the top, through the Portland Series and down to the Cherty Beds. Further along we could see the grey mass of the Portland Sands at Grove Point and the blackish Kimmeridge Clay on the shoreline.
Walking back through the cutting we found the botanical highlight of the afternoon - Maidenhair Fern. A movement underneath the fern revealed a Common Frog hiding in the vegetation. Higher up the cliffs growing in the fossil soil of the Dirt Beds was another rare fern, this time a Sea Spleenwort. Back at Rufus Castle we stopped to watch a pair of Ravens. Maidenhair Fern
Maidenhair Fern

The day's list...


Maidenhair Fern
Sea Spleenwort
Sea Spleenwort
Viper's Bugloss
Horseshoe Vetch
Birdfoot Trefoil
Broad-leaved Everlasting Pea
Wayfaring Tree
Wild Privet
Bristly Ox-tongue
Ploughman's Spikenard
Portland Spurge
Ivy Broomrape

Wood Pigeon
Carrion Crow

Red Admiral
Speckled Wood

Common Frog

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