Wednesday, 27 June 2007

Hawkshill Freedown

The small patch of land on the top of the ridge between Walmer Castle and Kingsdown remains uncultivated (partly thanks to being an airfield) and has a good selection of plant and bug life.
The Hawkshill Newsletter reports that the grass is getting shorter, and that therefore the Pyramidal Orchids are getting more plentiful, but I think this year's rain will have strengthened the sward - there's only a few orchids to be seen, whereas last year there were 80.

A cloudy day was not ideal for insects, but Small Skippers, Meadow Browns and a Marbled White were seen. I'll check for blues when the sun's out.
Small Skipper

One insect that was there in profusion was the Common Field Grasshopper, and the grass boiled with colonies of these nymphs jumping away from my footsteps. The nymphs are like the adults, but are smaller (at the moment) and have no wings - as the summer progresses they will grow out a number of skins, and eventually take on the adult form, breed and die.

Common Field Grasshopper

A good summary of the natural history of the site is on:

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