Buoyed up by our success yesterday in overcast conditions , Keith and I set off in glorious sunshine , to complete the search for the postponed species . Today's target was the Duke of Burgundy and we set of early for deepest Kent . On arrival at the Forestry Commission managed site , the first thing found on the track were several Glow Worm larvae , and Keith found an unusual centi/millipede type specimen that neither of us had seen before . When we arrived at the spot where I had seen this species before , there was no sign , but within a short time , we started to find them a bit further along the slope . A small butterfly , about the size of a Small Copper , resembling a Fritillary , especially the Heath Fritillary , but smaller , and distinguished by it's fast , whirling flight . It's rarity is comparable to the Woods White that we found yesterday . Both sexes are very similar , but of interest , the male uses just four legs , whereas the female uses all six . Some say it is so that they can run faster than the males ! We saw between 10-15 , all males , but failed to find a mating pair like yesterday .
The site also has good numbers of Orchids , including Fly Orchid-Ophrys insectifera , a species found mainly in the South from Kent to Dorset , and also in the Chilterns and Cotswolds .
Another species found was the Lady Orchid-Orchis purpurea , which is found almost entirely in Kent . Also found were Greater Butterfly Orchid , not yet in flower and a few Early Purple Orchids , along with lots of Twayblades . Whilst searching for Butterflies and Orchids , I came across one of the gardener's friends , a Lacewing-Chrysopa septempunctata , who will happily chomp away on aphids . Other Butterflies recorded on the site included , Red Admiral , Speckled Wood , Green Hairstreak , Dingy Skipper , Brimstone , Orange Tip , Large and Green-veined White , Peacock and my first female Holly Blue of the year , identified by the much larger dark markings on the forewings . Several Wood Ant nests were found , and these individuals were dealing with a fly that they found or caught along one of the paths . Birds seen/heard included my first Turtle Dove of the year , Blackcap , Garden Warbler , Common Whitethroat , Willow Warbler , Chiffchaff and 3 Raptors . Moths recorded included Mother Shipton , Speckled Yellow , Double Purple Bar , and two Pyrausta species , purpuralis and nigrata . Eventually , it got so hot that the Duke of Burgundys retired to the shade , and we started back towards home , making a stop at New Hythe , to see if we could find a Water Vole . Entering from the Water Treatment gate , apart from hearing a Nightingale , we found a pair of Soldier Beetles-Cantharis rustica , living up to one of their common names - Bonking Beetles . Near the Diver's Bridge , we spotted a couple of Hairy Dragonflies and an Emerald Damsefly , along with Large Red , Azure and Common Blue Damselflies . The Common Blue can be identified by the 'golf ball on tee' marking , on the first segment behind the thorax , and the last two segments all blue . We walked the side of the ditch up to the scrub area without finding a Water Vole , but serenaded by 2/3 Nightingales as we did so . On the scrub area , we found a probable Dingy Skipper and another specimen of the moth found yesterday at Dorking , which I still think is a Treble Bar . Walking back to the Diver's Bridge through the Hawthorns in full flower on the other side of the ditch , we found 3 Grizzled Skippers amongst the grass . The walk back to the car failed to find a Water Vole , but it was a very pleasant end to the day .
I only saw one of the Raptors earlier , and failed to get a shot of it , but Keith did manage one before it disappeared over the tree line , and would be interested in what readers make of it , especially that long tail .
In answer to a couple of queries raised over last night's post :-
Dean - Yes , I agree that it does look like a 5 Spot , but the spots on a Six Spot are very variable and they often join together . The habitat , chalk grassland dictates 6 Spot , as the 5 Spot is only found in SW England and Wales and is found in damp meadows , marshes and sea cliffs .
ShySongbird - Fear not of confusing Wood White and Real's Wood White , as the second is only found in Ireland . If you do see them in Ireland , apparently the only way of separating them is by close examination of the genitalia ! As for 'hearing' the Wood Ants working on their nest , in the quiet woodland surroundings , we could hear a constant rustling type sound as fresh Pine needles were brought to the site and dragged to the entrance and the constant work going on about the nest added to the sound .
12 hours ago