Friday, 27 June 2008

Annual Invasion of the Whites

I'm no good at keeping diaries, perhaps because of the crashing boredom of an average day. But with a blog, it's easy to check back and see what was happening this time last year. At the end of June 2007 (after a wet cool month) we were surprised by an invasion of hundreds of Marbled White butterflies, and here they are again, a welcome crowd fluttering over the long grass.

No need to go very far to enjoy the beauty of nature at the moment then, with skippers also emerging in good numbers, and the summer flowers bursting into bloom.
There are about 40 Pyramidal Orchids flowering near the entrance to the rifle range, and a similar number of Fragrant Orchids (and one Pyramidal) on the verge by the golf course.

Pale Flax

Male Kestrel searching for food for his brood

One special trip was made this week, however, to Park Gate Down, which is carpeted with orchids, including five spikes of these, which I hesitatingly call Late Spider Orchids, although they look very like Bee Orchids. I await correction!
White Fragrant Orchid

And a brief visit to Wye Downs produced a couple of Black Viened Moths, which are now apparently restricted to four fields on chalk in Kent. And none elsewhere in the UK.
Their colouring reminded me of the Marbled Whites, but is more similar to Black-Veined Butterflies, which are now extinct in the UK.

Goldfinch on Sorrel


Sandpiper (Lin) said...

What a fantastic post this is! The butterflies are pretty. The flowers are beautiful. The orchids are incredible! Great shot of the kestrel. The scenery there couldn't be prettier.

Mary said...

That marbled white butterfly is beautiful! Must be gorgeous seeing a whole bunch of them in one place! Your flowers are always so many orchids in the wild!

John Young said...

Great post. I'd have to go for bee orchid as the shape of the petals just doesn't look quite right for late spider orchid too me. If not then maybe you might have found some bee/late spider hybrids?

Anonymous said...

I would have to agree with John re. the Bee / Late Spider Orchids .David Lang's book does list a hybrid but no picture . Keep looking there as I photographed them there 3/4 years ago - only 2/3 spikes .
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Kingsdowner said...

Lin & Mary: it occured to me on the back of your comments that the recent change in policies on spraying verges etc, and the maintenance of local nature reserves have been very successful.

John & Greenie - thanks for your help as always....good to know you've got a blog too Greenie!