After cancelling at the last minute yesterday , because of the wet , windy weather , Keith and I headed for Dene Park near Tonbridge , still with a strong wind blowing , but a promise of no rain . Loaded down with enough banana skins to sink a boat , we arrived on site just after 0830 .
We headed straight to the spot where I had had several sightings of 'His Majesty' , the Purple Emperor on my visit last Monday . We added the banana skins to the attractions left by the dogs that had been walked in the area , and waited for 'His Majesty' to arrive , settle on the banana skins , and allow lots of shots to be taken . Well , it didn't pan out quite like that , because after 3 hours of searching , not a single sighting of a Purple Emperor . There were other species to photograph whilst waiting , including a very fresh Holly Blue , a first sighting of the second brood for me . I must admit that the numbers of White Admiral seen on both visits to this site is very high , and when a single Silver Washed Fritillary showed up , it made us feel at home , as if we were at High Elms . As I walked the path for the umpteenth time , the strong wind blew a small moth to the ground in front of me . It turned out to be one I know , having posted it before , Pyraustra purpuralis .m I don't know if it was the same one as last time , but a very agile Red Admiral spent ages , charging up and down the path . A couple of very fresh Large Whites were also recorded , this one , a male , identified as such as the are no black spots showing on the top forewing , and as a Large by the more extensive black tips to the wings than the Small .
We were joined by another couple of enthusiasts from Canterbury just after 1000 , who stayed for a while , then went off looking elsewhere in the wood . They returned about midday , just as the first few sightings of the day . All were right at the top of the Master Tree , but they were pleased to have seen 'His Majesty' . Shortly afterwards , things went quiet again , and Keith went walkabout in search of more . Whilst he was away , another few sightings , and a very quick perch by one male on an Oak behind us . A very hurried shot produced the best shot of the day , albeit , not the wanted shot on the ground . Immediately after the shutter operated , he flew off back towards the top of the Master Tree . When Keith returned , he had had a couple of sightings of his own , which was good . We were then joined by another enthusiast , Phil from Dover , who had also read of the sightings on Adam's /East Malling , Ditton & Barming blog . The two chaps from Canterbury left shortly afterwards , but we started to get more sightings , and more photo opportunities , but still high up and with that strong wind blowing . Phil , good meeting you , left to head for Lullingstone for the Dark Green Fritillaries , and as sightings slowed again , we had a last walk further down the track , and on the way back to the car , found this feisty specimen on the path , Devil's Coach Horse-Staphylinus olens , a member of the Rove Beetle family .
On the way home , we called in at White Hill near Shoreham , for the Chalkhill Blues , but cloud had rolled in and the temperature was dropping . About 20/25 males were seen , but no females yet . Whilst passing under a Yew , something fell to the ground in the wind . At first I thought it was a dead leaf off the tree , but it proved to be a moth , I think , by it's shape and how it folds it's wings , of the Footman family ? Over to you Dean . Once again , Dean comes up with the ID , Buff Footman , many thanks .
Strangest thing to happen today , was meeting someone , Phil , who knew Steve/Kingsdowner !
3 hours ago