Sunday, 22 June 2008

Near Sandwich and Near Canterbury

A quick trip to Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory, or rather Restharrow Nature Reseve (as there were no birds apart from a cute family of diving Tufted Ducklings of note) provided some interesting plants:
Lizard Orchid

Marsh Helleborine

and Marsh Orchids

as well as a few Slow Worms under a sheet of corrugated iron.

Then later, as I was east of Canterbury, it seemed impolite not to visit East Blean Wood to see the Heath Fritillaries. Sure enough, they were fluttering around their usual clearing as if they were the commonest butterfly in the land.
When one flew into the car and sat on the upholstery it occured to me that it represented about 1% of the national population.
Heath Fritillary caterpillars eat Common Cow Wheat, which is actually not common at all, and so their habitat is restricted to a few woods in England. More details about this colony can be found here.
I have to say that I did not consider it impolite not to drive a few more miles to Grove to see a small wader that looks like a stretched Dunlin, so I have to rely upon Steve R's customary diligence for this shot of a White-Rumped Sandpiper (with Shelduck for size comparison).
In compensation, a family of swans waddled past a line of cars waiting at a level crossing, presumably looking for the river. The cygnets had great difficulty in climbing the curb.
Note to keen birders....yes, sometimes I would travel some distance to see a rarity such as a W-RS, but today my heart wasn't in it (just as well, because it had gone by this time).


John Young said...

Nice post Steve, some good variety. Good job you hadn't driven off with the fritilary in your car!

Mary said...

What a neat bunch of stuff all in one post! I love the poppies and the orchids. You see so many beautiful wild orchids. Lovely! I've never seen a slow worm....or even heard of I had to look that up. Sure look like snakes to me! Love the baby swans!

abbey meadows said...

Excellent post. It's just a bit early for our Marsh helleborines.

me ann my camera said...

Lovely flowers in your post, especially the first pic with maybe poppies? And the slow worms look like snakes! I saw my first fritillary of the season a couple of days ago but they were very busy just flitting about rather than landing and posing for a photo for me to take. Its always interesting to see things our countries have in common but I think we are always lagging a bit behind. You seem to have a wonderful variety of wildflowers.

Warren Baker said...

Like the Sloworms Steve. looks like you had a great day out!

Anna Simpson said...

Fantastic photographs. Very well done. I really like the photographs of the Slow worms, Heath Fritillaries, and the Mute Swans. They are great. Keep up the fantastic work.