Thursday, 28 June 2012

Thursday 28th. June 2012

I suppose I should have been going to Deptford , South London for my first target this morning , once the grey clouds started to break up , but in keeping with the Camberwell Beauty butterfly and the Dartford Warbler , none are now found in the places that make up part of their names . So , it was down to Farningham Woods , near the junction of the M25 and M20 , and whilst on site , having to put up with the drone from the motorways . As I walked up the fieldside , I was pleased to find an
odd plant in flower , especially as I told someone earlier in the week that they would be . And the
super little flower I had come to see , Deptford Pink / Dianthus armeria . Knowing that there would be many more further on , I didn't photograph the first flowers found , but when I reached the main population , a strong wind was blowing the plants sideways . I attempted to get some shots , and failed , and nearly had a heart attack when a nearby Crow scarer went off . So it was the more sheltered plants lower down that made it to the viewfinder , along with a few along the way ;
Lucerne (also known as Alfalfa) /Medicago sativa , which also comes in yellow , green and black .
Common Poppy / Papavera rhoeas ,
Field Pansy / Viola arvensis , and
Common Mallow / Malva sylvestris .
My second target was handily on the was to my third , and being a rare member of the Orchid family , am always surprised to see it each time , alongside a layby on a busy road . But there it was ,
Green-flowered Helleborine / Epipactis phyllanthes , not exactly the most exciting of Orchids , and ,
even when the floers do appear , they have hardly any colour either . Must remember to go back and take exciting shot of flowers . Leaving the layby , I headed for Lullingstone Country Park / Golf Course . Having seen what I thought were Dark Green Fritillaries at Down House yesterday , I headed straight up to the Orchid Bank in the middle of the golf course , and as I crossed the fairway to get to the bank , had a flyby DGF , great . As soon as I got to the bank I could see male DGFs , searching the ground vegetation for emerging females , and every now and again , stopping at the 'service stations' , the Greater Knapweed flowers . Whenever I have been to see the DGFs , the wind has always been blowing , and today was no different , which made photography very difficult , with the object of the shot swaying crazily on the flower head , but with a mixture of high shutter speed , waiting for a slight lull in the severity of the wind , and luck , I managed to get a few shots of the
testosterone charged males , this specimen nectaring from one of the bi-colour Greater Knapweed flowers . I found hot-spots of butterflies all over the bank and on the areas above the bank , and
eventually found the first of three , less colourful than the males , females . All three females were approached by males , but they seemed much more intent on nectaring than mating . The underwing
of this species is very attractive , especially when caught in the sunshine , and the green wash on the undering , this one on the normal coloured Greater Knapweed flower ,  gives the species it's name . Other species seen to and from and on the bank were , Meadow Brown (25+) , Ringlet (3) , Small
Skipper (5) , Large Skipper (2) , Marbled White (4) - pictured , Speckled Wood (1) , Common Blue (1) , Small Heath (9) and Red Admiral (1) . My estimate on DGFs was (35+) . Lots of Pyramidal
Orchids on the bank , but no sign of the Lizard Orchid that I was hoping to find , nor Bee , but a few Fragrant ( pictured) , in various stages of growth were found . On the way back to the car park Henbane / Hyoscyamus niger , one of the most poisonous plants to be found , seems to have made a
comeback after not appearing last year . These are the last of the flowers , the majority having
finished and now the fruits are maturing in their place . Further down the track , I found it's relative ,
Deadly Nightshade / Atropa bella-donna . And finally , looking like little jewels in the long grass , Grass Vetchling / Lathyrus nissolia , most definitely a species that wouldn't be noticed if it wasn't for
their flower . When I got back to the car , the thermometer was reading 32C , time to get in the shade .


Mike H said...

Great account of your day out and visits Greenie. Love those DGF photos,never seen these, and taken in such blustery conditions.

ShySongbird said...

Another excellent day Greenie. I remember you looking for the delightful Deptford Pink last year, what a shame it has become so scarce. Well done with the rather unglamorous Green-flowered Helleborine too.

The DGF is a beauty and one I have never seen. Lovely photos throughout Greenie, it is so difficult to get good photos in gusty conditions!

Rohrerbot said...

Gorgeous butterfly shots! Looks like it was nice photography day:)

Warren Baker said...

That was one sticky humid day Greenie, you did very well to get the DGF shots, very pleasing for you though I bet!

Even windier today!