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Wildlife - May

Migrating seabirds heading east up the channel may include Pomarine and Arctic Skuas, Black Terns, Little Gulls and Manx Shearwaters. Bottlenose Dolphins might still be around (please report any sightings to the Rangers).

On the cliffs, Guillemots, Razorbills and Fulmars are sitting on eggs but Shag chicks should have hatched. Swifts also nest in the cliffs, and look out for Black Redstarts. Migrating birds of prey such as Hobbies are sometimes seen. Specialised, salt-resistant wildflowers like Thrift and Sea Campion form a colourful carpet on the clifftops and may be visited by migrant butterflies like the Painted Lady.

A fine array of downland flowers include the bright blue Chalk Milkwort and the yellow Horseshoe Vetch. The rare Early English Gentian may also be found growing in the short turf.In the meadows Cowslips, Yellow Rattle, Common Vetch and Ox-eye Daisies provide a colourful spectacle. 6-spot Burnet caterpillars may be found on Birdsfoot Trefoil flowers, while the adult Mother Shipton and Cinnabar moths are already on the wing. Keen eyes may find brilliant blue Emperor Dragonflies hawk for smaller insects, often a long way from water. A Stoat may be glimpsed stalking Rabbits.

More and more butterflies are emerging including Grizzled and Dingy Skipper, Small Heath and Wall. Adonis Blues should also appear before the end of the month.

Migrant birds include Whinchats, Whitethroats and Turtle Doves, while residents like Stonechats will have produced a first brood of chicks. Plenty of birdsong to enjoy especially: Yellowhammers, Linnets and Skylarks.

As the days get warmer, Slow-worms and Common Lizards become more active, Bloody-nose Beetles and newly hatched Grasshopper and Bush-cricket nymphs abound.

Most woodland birds are busy feeding young and may become rather secretive. Late-nesting, Sparrowhawks may be seen displaying overhead. Spotted Flycatchers, one of the last migrants to arrive, are a regular sight, making repeated sallies from the same perch. Viewpoints across Durlston Bay should yield views of fishing Sandwich Terns while Swallows, Swifts and Martins hawk insects above the landslip. Warm glades are home to Speckled Woods, Orange Tips and Green-veined Whites while Common Blues are frequent in the meadow. Adderstongue Fern can also be found in the same area.