On a late summer afternoon in early September, we walked for an hour or so around the RSPB Nature Reserve at Arne, where sandy heathland slopes down towards the shallow waters of Poole Harbour in Dorset.
It was a warm, sultry grey day. Emerging from old mixed woodland, we found ourselves on a path that bordered several large, open meadows surrounded by trees. The large resident herd of Sika deer were grazing and resting in the grass, while swallows and house martins swooped above them, feeding on the insects that in turn feed on the deers` droppings. At home, our resident swallows had already left their summer nests to fly south towards Europe and Africa. The migrant birds still passing through and feeding at Arne may have been on their way from northern Britain, feasting on plentiful insects before they set off out to sea, across the English Channel.
So many birds and only one caught on camera!
Patterns in the bark of an old, split tree trunk.
Around a corner, almost hidden in bracken, a Sika fawn seemed unperturbed as we came along the path.
A fuzzy image, but she let us get very near before darting off through the hedge towards the grazing herd.
Down on the salt marsh, where oyster catchers and gulls were feeding on the muddy shoreline.
Grey skies over the Purbeck Hills.
An area of crumbling sandy cliff, where the heather and gorse from the heathland above it were migrating down the slope towards maram grass and the beach.
We walked along the shore and then climbed back onto a heathland path, where bell heather and ling were still in flower among gorse, pine and silver birch.
Dead tree reflected in a salt marsh pool.
Through a wood of ancient oaks.
A pale Sika buck watched us from the shade of pine and sedge
As we left the Arne reserve, we passed through farmland carefully managed to conserve pasture, hedgerow and woodland for a wide range of bird species. Passing Arne Farm, we found the twelfth century village church on a bank beside the lane.
Opposite, the old school house has now become a family house ......
......with fine views across the fields behind it, to the distant harbour mouth at Sandbanks.
Along a narrow, tree lined lane, we walked through peaceful woodland to the car park and then set off for home.
Living in the beautiful New Forest, I am married, a recently retired teacher and the mother of grown up boys who have flown the nest. I share my days with cats, dogs, ponies and the wildlife all around us. Starting this blog is a chance to explore woods, fields, lanes and heath with my camera. A chance to share the simple pleasures of my country life.