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

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