Wednesday, 30 July 2008

The Warren Revisited

Back to the Folkestone Warren today, to have another go at finding a Grayling. Guided by instinct (hah!) I tried the western part which seemed to be largely unwooded, with a good chance of open land which could be attractive to them.
What I didn't realise was that it was very hillocky and in places steep, with scarce paths, deep grass and plenty of small scrub. It's actually the site of a huge cliff fall that closed the railway line from Dover to London in the late stages of the First World War - news of the fall was covered up, as it would have told the enemy that there was now only one train route out of Dover, and therefore it would have been at risk of attack. The line wasn't cleared until after the war had ended, and it is now one of the most expensive high-maintenance strecthes of line on the country.
Soon I was scratched, sweaty and disorientated, but there were quite a few butterflies around - 10s each of Marbled Whites, Common Blues, Meadow Browns and Ringlets.

Each brown was scrutinised for signs of Grayling, and even this Painted Lady looked interesting at first sight.
There were also three Wall butterflies, looking very like the target species, but when they opened their wings and flew they showed their true colours.
Now, I wouldn't be dismissive of Walls, woul dI? They are quite scarce now, and I've only rarely seen them in the last few years (well, decades). There is a colony on Folkestone's Castle Hill, about a mile away.

This Wall shows signs of a narrow escape, with a torn wing and an outline of a bird's beak.

When I got home, there was a kind email directing me to where the Graylings can be found - it sounds even more inaccessible.


abbey meadows said...

Interesting post. Plenty of butterfly variety down there. Impressed with the Dingy skipper on a previous post. They only have one brood up here.

Mary said...

You are so very single-minded and determined that I'm sure you will find one eventually! Very informative post and I like what you did find :-)

Greenie said...

It certainly isn't through lack of effort to find the elusive Grayling .
You seem to have a thing about cliffs , either hanging over the top or staggering around at the bottom .
Interesting re. the railway line .
Good luck with the search .

me ann my camera said...

Now I am curious, I shall have to keep checking back to see if you have found any yet!