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!