Sunday, 27 July 2008

Lydden Valleys

Hottest day of the year so far (and on a weekend too!), so where shall I go? Kingsdown beach, just a few hundred yards away, looking so tempting?

No, the recent warm days should have brought the next generation of butterflies to Lydden bank, so that's the place to be.There were hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Chalkhill Blues along the side of the valley, with males (above) outnumbering females (below) by a large margin, so whenever a female flew she was promply chased by a number of males.This particular chase lasted a couple of minutes, with up to six males boisterously following the female, buffeting her and scrapping with their rivals.
I'm sure it was all done in the best possible taste. Another female was tracked down into the grass, where she appeared to drag her abdomen along the leaves, perhaps laying eggs?
Birds were few up on the downs, but a pair of crows appeared to be much larger than usual, and might have been the local Ravens. A pair of Buzzards have also been seen in the valley.
Earier in the day, a walk along the rifle range in Kingsdown also produced plenty of butterflies - still many Marbled Whites, Meadow Browns, small Skippers, Large Whites, Green-Veins, large numbers of Gatekeepers and the second emergence of Common Blues. By the way, this Lydden Valley is not the same Lydden Valley that is hopefully to be purchased by the RSPB.
That Lydden Valley is to the north of here, between Ham Fen (Kent Wildlife Trust), Fowlmead park (SEEDA) and Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory, so should make an excellent link between these protected sites. Please give generously!


Mary said...

Those Chalkhill Blues are very pretty and I imagine seeing a whole lot of them at once must be great! I've been trying to decide if it is nice for the female to have so many anxious suitors or just very tiring :-) Glad to know that they are trying to protect nature sites and hope they do well.

Greenie said...

Glad you chose the Bank and not the Beach .
The female dragging her abdomen , probably not egg laying , as from personal observation , they are very precise as to where and how they lay , but always on or near the food plant Horseshoe Vetch .
Still to come - those fabulous Silver Spotted Skippers , any time now .

Warren Baker said...

Sounds like a wonderful place to visit. Must be quite awesome to see so many butterflies in one spot.