Sunday, 26 July 2009

Not just Ladies

With a warm southerly wind coming up from the continent, it looked good for clouded yellows I reckoned. And indeed by 8am I'd found one on the rifle range. Then I read a comment that these could be the emerging generation following a May immigration - who knows?
By 9am I'd seen eleven species, including a few hundred PLs, about 30 fresh common blues
and a wall - certainly the year's second emergence.
As if that many species was not enough, it was time to drive up to Covert Wood near Barham, for an instructive walk led by Fran of the local Butterfly Conservation group.
White admirals were fluttering around the car park and butterflies were rarely out of sight during the stroll through woodland, clearings, heath and finally chalk downland.

I've got a jaundiced view of woodlands, and so many of them have too much shade and too few clearings, with the result that the fauna and flora are dull. Fran's Denge Woods project which has links to other woodlands in the Canterbury area, aims to persuade landowners to manage them more sympathetically. Covert Wood has interesting plants, bird and insect life, and is a good example to follow.
Gatekeeper on that's what it looks like!


Devil's bit scabious -no.1 on my 'to find' list this month, so that's a good result (thanks to the incredibly-knowledgeable Alf for the ID on this and a variety of other rarities, and indeed for relocating the tiny basil-thyme, here sheltering under some wild basil).
Finally, another clouded yellow flew across the down and landed, well-camouflaged, in a patch of hairy St.John's wort. A bright, obvious butterfly when flying or settled on a green twig or leaf, this is clearly its plant of choice for hiding. Even the brown blotches on the leaves are mimicked by brown blogs on its wings.


Warren Baker said...

Had my first clouded yellow yesterday steve. I know what you mean about our woods, they need a bit of management!

Anonymous said...

The similarities in colour and marking between the Hairy St John's Wort and Clouded Yellow are remarkable. Well spotted!

Greenie said...

Steve ,
Wall is one I don't get up here .
Sounds like a good meander .
Glad you caught up with the Devil's Bit Scabious - once again well ahead of here .
Great Clouded Yellow shots , perhaps they might become native in the near future .
You sure that Fleabane wasn't Samphire ?

Kingsdowner said...

Thnaks for the comments gents - I've just eaten a good portion of golden samphire, so I hope it's not fleabane!

Rob, we were fortunate that the clouded yellow landed on the plant beside us, otherwise we would have had no chance.

Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,

It was nice meeting you on Saturday. Your blog is always very interesting, keep up the good work! There are always lots of interesting plants to see in Covert Wood. It is also worth a visit in June when the Slender St John's Wort, Heath Milkwort and Heath Bedstaw are flowering and also Lesser Century on Jumping Downs. Good luck with your explorations of East Kent! I might bump in to you again sometime soon!