Wildlife Notes for Great Ovens Heath by John Wright - October

October can be a fascinating month as the weather switches between breezy wet days and mild sunny days. Throughout the month some birds are moving through and other residents are preparing for the onset of winter.
The 5th October was windy and overcast with several meadow pipits and pied wagtails flying overhead, supplemented with a redpoll and a couple of crossbills. These last two species were numerous in Morden Bog throughout October and large numbers have also been recorded along the south coast.

Sika Stag

dig blog post 3

Monday 17th was our first day at Holton Lee. Digging this new site was a last-minute arrangement as the Roman Road dig finished earlier than expected.

de-turfing
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dig blog post 1

The first day of the dig got off to a good start, with eight diggers getting to work in the 15-metre-long trench. The diggers came from as near as Sandford, and as far as Bournemouth, and ranged from the experienced to the first-timer.

Getting stuck in: diggers on day 1
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Wildlife Notes for Great Ovens Heath by John Wright - September

A sunny day on 1st September resulted in several butterflies, including gatekeeper, grayling, common blue and peacock all putting in an appearance.
In addition to emerald damselflies and common darters, a southern hawker dragonfly was also on the prowl. This large species is common in Dorset and appart from its distinctive colours, is also memorable for its tendancy to come up close to investigate you as you walk through the area where it is catching its prey.

Peacock Butterfly

The Digbys - founders of Sandford?

The origins of Sandford go back to the middle of the 19th century when the Digby family owned the land now occupied by the village. Captain Henry Digby, who owned the Minterne Estate north of Dorchester, bought the land in 1814. He had distinguished himself as captain of one of Nelson's ships at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Admiral Sir Henry Digby
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Wildlife records now available

During the course of the year John Wright and Peter Orchard have been recording the wildlife (both animals and plants) that they have seen on various sites around Sandford. The results of their efforts can be now be seen on the Nature of Dorset website, a website that enables the input, display and analysis of wildlife records across the whole county.

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Wildlife Notes for Great Ovens Heath by John Wright - August

Rare plants come in many shapes and sizes and some may not impress. However, my walk on 2nd August revealed the presence of a Nationally Scarce plant which made my day. As you can see from the photo, which also includes a 1p coin, Yellow Centaury is easily missed! Although I only found a few plants, it can occur in numbers in winter-wet habitats subject to disturbance. The same day, a Raven flew over and another male Brimstone Butterfly put in an appearance.

Yellow Centaury

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