Saturday 28 May 2011

Iping Common

Lesser Stitchwort Stellaria graminea
Following Michael Blencowe’s report of Silver-studded Blues emerging at Iping Common I paid it a visit in the vague hope of finding them. I didn’t see one butterfly, although there were plenty of moths. This was my first trip to Iping Common and I will return when the sun shines! It is a fascinating area of heath, bog, ponds, heather and pine woods with some flora and fauna unique to the diminishing heathlands of Britain.

pond covered by Bog Bean (below)
Bog Bean Menyanthes trifoliata 
Common Foxglove Digitalis purpurea
Mouse-ear Hawkweed Pilosella officinarum
young Bracken fronds
Bell Heather Erica cinerea

Heath Bedstraw Galium saxatil
leaves of the Heath Bedstraw
Heath Bedstraw Galium saxatil
Sailor Beetle Cantharis rustica
one of the soldier beetles
Identified using this site:
Comfrey Symphytum officinale
A country name for this plant is Knitbone due to a belief in its medicinal healing properties for broken bones. Sue's father gave her a daily drink of a leaf infusion when she broke her leg and she did heal well.
bumble bees at work

Red ants

Tormentil Potentilla tormentilla

Many-zoned Polypore coriolus versicolor
a bracket fungus which grows on tree stumps
beautiful antennae on this unidentified moth
Ragged Robin Lychnis flos-cuculi

a buttercup
Silverweed Potentilla anserina 

Friday 27 May 2011

Common Blue at Rewell Wood

We visited Rewell Wood this afternoon and saw just one butterfly, a Common Blue. There were plenty of woodland flowers on display.
Common Blue 
Ants and eggs under tarpaulin 
busy bumble bee 
Columbine Aquilegia vulgaris, garden escapee

Silver-ground Carpet moth
Common Tormentil Potentilla erecta

Wednesday 25 May 2011

Heath Fritillaries at East Blean Wood

Yesterday I visited East Blean Wood near Canterbury to see the Heath Fritillary which emerged a week ago. As I parked I could see a photographer at work next to the fence. The clearing next to the car park was teeming with more fritillaries than I have seen in one place before. I observed six tumbling in an aerial group, mating pairs and half a dozen nectaring on the same head of bramble flowers. I was told that last year cow wheat, the larval food plant, was abundant in a nearby clearing. Then the HFs were flying in clouds but that this year cow wheat was absent from the clearing and so were the Heath Fritillaries.

mating pair


Common Cow-wheat Melampyrum pratense, larval food plant of the Heath Fritillary

mating pair
ants harvesting black fly
ant nest

poppy in car park
The Heath Fritillaries were nectaring on the ox-eye daisies in the car park

ant nest

clearing by the car park
where most of the Heath Fritillaries were found

mound in the car park covered by ox-eye daisies