Friday, 28 June 2013

New things in old places

A new tick for the Kingsdown rifle range! The first bee orchid I've seen there, to add to the early spiders and pyramidals. It seems to be a good orchid year with bits popping up all over.

On a very different site by the lakes between Chartham and Chilham we saw a host of bee orchids....

....and a veritable forest of meadow vetchling, which I've previously only seen as individuals peeking out from long grass on chalk. This habitat of gravel pits doesn't make you think of chalk downland, but perhaps it's rich from dumped soil in the past.

Beside one of the fishing scrapes was a length of fencing, which held half-a-dozen dozing lizards. It wasn't warm despite occasional sun, so their usual skitterishness was constrained - they just lay there and posed.

Back on Walmer beach in the evenings we have seen four painted ladies, lovely butterflies which I like for their undersides .... much as for their spectacular upper wings. No cloudies yet but I'm hoping maybe this weekend?

The Western Heights hold some excellent chalk habitat with a carpet of common spotted orchids and a good population of small blues, but this year there's an additional sight ..... early gentian Gentianella anglica.

OK, it looks just like autumn gentian Gentianella amarella but it's interesting to see it among the lush growth of early summer.
And finally, a photo of a "what's that" plant on the Lewes Downs, which I subsequently realised was hairy rock-cress Arabis hirsuta which has an eastern outpost between Kingsdown and St Margarets, but I've not seen it here. More searching required!


Michele said...

And a lovely orchid it is! I saw my first Painted Lady last week and a couple of other species of butterflies yesterday while hunting for dragonflies.

Anonymous said...

Super photos! Lovely to meet you both at Folk by the Oak. Was a comfortable ten minutes early for the train and enjoyed hearing Oysterband quite clearly from the platform. Essex skippers in the morning followed by fab music, a perfect day! Best wishes, Ailsa

Kingsdowner said...

Hi Michele,
There's not many more painted ladies to report this year unfortunately. I hope you're having better luck.

It was good to meet you, and I'm sorry you missed Oysterband who were very good! The fireworks detracted rather than complemented, however.
If you'd like to follow up the comment, please email me on

All the best,