Well , at least the sun came out for the members of Kent BC , on their visit to High Elms yesterday .Unfortunately , many butterfly species did not . On previous visits , an average of about 23/24 species were seen , this year that figure was 13 , and several species were singletons , and probably wouldn't have been recorded had there not been so many pairs of eyes looking . The saving grace was that the 'main attraction' that several were hoping to see for the first time , including one young lad of about &/8 years old , the Silver-washed Fritillaries did put on a good show , with male , female , mating pair on the wing and female egg laying all being photographed . Another hoped for species , White Admiral , was also seen with three specimens being recorded , but there was no sign of any White-letter Hairstreaks , not surprising as I don't know of anyone having seen the species on site this year .
The species count was 4 better than that recorded on my transect on Saturday , but it was in keeping with this very strange year that such species as Red Admiral , Sm Tortoiseshell , Speckled Wood , Sm.Heath , Common Blue , Brown Argus and Holly Blue were all absent from the notebook . But , with some very gone over Bird's-nest Orchids and the amazing sight of so many Yellow Birdsnest , the members left very happy , much helped by the best sunshine for ages .
I got there early and had a scout around the areas where I would be taking the group , but even
Today , I did the butterfly transect at the set-aside farm , further up the valley from High Elms . It was quite windy , but much drier than my last visit , but still the species count was low , with just 7 being recorded . Sadly , at least one third of the meadows have been cut for hay , and that is not good for species that lay their eggs directly onto vegetation . It shouldn't make too much difference to species like Ringlet and Marbled White , which scatters it's eggs around it's foodplants , so I was somewhat surprised that the Meadow Brown count was 400+ , as opposed to MW-21 and Ringlet-11.
I was hoping to pick up a few less common species around the edges of the meadows , but just a couple of Whites made the notebook . The greatest excitement came when a Roe Deer dived out of the field edge into the wood , followed by another three , a female and two youngsters , probably last year's , a little further on . The female headed straight for the woods , but the two youngsters ran
By the time I finished the transect it was very hot , and as I had to pass by on the way home , I stopped off at High Elms , and walked in the shade towards Burnt Gorse , which when I got there , held less butterflies than yesterday , not surprising given the heat . One of the small , shady glades did
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