Next I wandered to the mass of Nettles, which had become home to many Peacock Butterfly caterpillars over the past couple weeks. Today however there were none to be seen; likely all gone into chrysalis as they begin to pupate. I actually took a few home last week to watch the metamorphosis progress, though sadly two have been parasitized by a Wasp – that is to have an egg laid inside it and then eaten from the inside out by a grub!
I continued my walk down through the long meadow, meeting a group of juvenile Robins on the Horse Chestnut tree. I crossed through the field spotting Fleabane, Red Clover and Field Scabious on my way. As I entered the wood, there was an immediate sense of calm, the trees stood still and the waves quietly lapped the shore below. The silence was broken by a noisy Jay calling out somewhere in the canopy above. I headed down to the aviary glade where a single Speckled Wood danced around in the sunlight.
Further on I scrambled down the steep slopes into Durlston Bay, clambering over the great slabs of limestone at the bottom. On the edge of the beach, the brightly coloured Sea Aster has come into full bloom as well as the Old man’s Beard climbing all the way up the landslip. Once again it was fairly quiet down on the shore, just a couple of startled Rock pipits flew out of sight, leaving me with the Seaweed Flies on the shore.
On my way back I wandered down towards the castle, where I spotted the leathery membrane ‘egg’ of a Red Cage Fungus ready to erupt it’s compressed lattice structure forming inside. A little bit further on there were two Painted Lady butterflies fluttering from flower to flower of the castle Buddleia.