Thursday, 30 May 2013

Once more unto the beach, dear friends

A new house, a new patch and a new transect. And just to make it interesting, a new technology ..... a tablet, so we'll see how we get on. And just for the record, I'm using a new version of ACDSee which, while not free like the previous one, is much easier to use.

Anyway, back to the transect.......

I had mapped out a butterfly transect that covered the shingle beach, varied grassland, chalk downland, mature trees and suburban gardens.
As luck would have it, however, on my very first walk I met a local chap who I knew had covered this general area for years, but whom I had never met.
He confirmed that he already does a transect that incorporates part of my planned route, so that I can reduce my treks by about half in the safe knowledge that the other half is in good hands.
Fortunately, the remainder covers a shingle hollow that holds kidney vetch and small blues, and I'll spend a lot of time here this summer I hope. A count of 11 small blues made it into the notebook, which was a pleasing start. Nearby, two male common blues fluttered together, out early on the razzle, presumably.

The rest of the walk included holly blues, a selection of whites and two speckled woods promising a reasonable amount of interest in the coming months. [As a point of interest, 33 small blues, a small copper and a small heath were reported at the Campbells Garage site by the "local chap" on the same day].

On the botanical front, further up the beach were 16 early spider orchids, the "early" part of the name being somewhat of a misnomer this year.

Later in the weekend, a cool breeze but bright sunshine prompted a long-overdue visit to Monkton Nature Reserve, which turned out to be a little gem. Recovered from a council plan to turn a chalk quarry into a landfill site, it is a wonderful natural oasis hemmed in by busy roads. It also has an astronomical observatory and an excellent second-hand bookshop - we immediately became members, and shall return in a couple of weeks when the orchids should be out.

A few man orchids were starting to bloom, but the prize for me was three green hairstreaks that hung around to be photographed. Unfortunately I haven't yet found a software package that removes pesky blades of grass, darn it.

So dear friends, after many changes.... here's to the future!