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About Me

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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

19 January, 2013

House-fly (Polietes lardaria)

A house-fly with the scientific name of lardaria - a pest found in the larder perhaps? Not true! Whilst some related species, notably the now less than common Common House-fly are known to carry disease from dung to unprotected food, many house-flies are never found in houses at all!
This species, which looks a little like a small flesh-fly, likes open country, hedgerows and sparse woodland and often occurs in well stocked gardens from April right through until the autumn. Its larvae are predatory and live in dung.
Find out more here: www.natureofdorset.co.uk/species_panel/House%20fly%20%28P...

Stiletto Fly (Thereva nobilitata)

The pointed abdomen of this species and its relatives have led them to be called stiletto flies. This species reassembles the group known as robber flies and shares some of their characteristics. The are rarely seen on flowers preferring to wait on leaves for passing small insects which they dart out and attack. They have a lot of hairs which protects them against struggling prey.

The larvae are found in leaf litter and are omnivorous eating both rotting vegetation and taking live prey. The adults can be seen from May to August but are most numerous later in the summer when they often form large mating swarms.
Find out more here: http://www.natureofdorset.co.uk/species_panel/Stiletto%20fly%20%5BT%20nobilitata%5D

Horse Fly (Tabanus bromius)

This fly is one of several related species that are pests to horses and so, not surprisingly, are called horse flies. It is the females that bite as they need mammal's blood after mating to enable the eggs to develop. These are large flies and present no danger to human-kind.
Their larvae can be aquatic or semi-aquatic and even terrestrial provided the soil is damp. They are predatory on other insects and worms and so are pretty formidable! The adults fly from May through to September but are most common later in the summer.
This species has been given the common name of the Band-eyed Brown Horse fly because the eyes have a dark band across them.
Find out more here: www.natureofdorset.co.uk/species_panel/Horse%20fly%20%28T...

04 January, 2013

Sun Spurge (Euphorbia helioscopia)

If you are a gardener you will be very familiar with Sun Spurge as it is a common 'weed' of cultivated areas and it spreads willingly growing in the most unlikely places; sometimes where there is hardly any soil, even in cracks by brick walls! Specimens growing in poor or little soil tend to be much smaller than those growing in fertile soil.

It flowers from April to July but it can be seen in a 'leafy' state throughout the winter and is visible in our garden all year round. It is quick growing and soon reappears after you pull a load out! Apparently the seeds are spread by ants.
Find out more here: www.natureofdorset.co.uk/species_panel/Sun%20Spurge

02 January, 2013

Three Cornered Leek (Allium triquetrum)

The Three Cornered or Triquetrous Leek is a plant of the western Mediterranean that has found its way into the British flora having become naturalised after spreading from gardens. It is found almost exclusively in south western Britain and is quite common in the Isles of Scilly and coastal areas of Cornwall where I have seen it on visits there.

It is rare in Dorset and it does occur at Durlston Country Park, usually in flower between April and June which is in line with my reference books which all say exactly that, April to June. Imagine my surprise, then, to find it in flower at the end of December in the middle of Weymouth!

This is a plant that likes a shaded position, preferably quite damp, so you will find it in damp woods, by shaded stream sides and by stone walls and these in Weymouth were on the earth banks of the north and shaded side of the stone walls of Nothe Fort where there are tall, established trees. Perfect habitat but in flower in December - that must say something about how mild our winters are generally becoming?
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Find out more here: www.natureofdorset.co.uk/species_panel/Three%20Cornered%2...