Tuesday 14 May 2019

A Deep Purple Haze

Kent 14th May 2019

Yesterday was all about recovering from a seven and a half day week and there may just have been a bit of GoT binging while slumped, sloth like on the sofa.

This morning I felt slightly more with it and after the rush hour I headed south of Maidstone to search out Marden Meadows KWT reserve and its fields of Green Winged Orchids.  Despite being a relatively common and prolific species, I cannot honestly ever remember seeing them before.

The local back roads did their best to thwart me with seemingly everyone ‘closed except for access’ regardless of the direction of attack and diversion signs that certainly did not aid in any way. Ten minutes of circling and eventually ignoring a road closed sign and I was there to be greeted by a massive field of swaying Buttercups and male Bullfinch than bimbled past my window.

I made my way around this meadow passing a couple of orchid spikes on the way but a purple haze in the next one drew me on and through a gate where I was greeted by a swathe of deep purple splashed amongst the vibrant Buttercups.

I spent the next hour by myself in this most magical of meadows crouching down to check out a different colour variant one minute and taking in the whole vista the next. If only it had been scented too. 

I shall try to group them into some semblance of colour type as they ranged from various purple shades through lilac and every shade of pink through to snowy white. Some were plain, others well marked with spots and paler inner centres, some the green lines stood out and in others they were barely noticable. Bewildering in their diversity.




And a magical White:

Yellowhammers and Reed Buntings sang in the hedgerows and Buzzards mewed overhead.  Ancient stag Oaks, mostly long dead dotted the edges of the dew ponds that contained Moorhens and Coots at the very least but I was disappointed to not find one dragon or damsel and a solitary Small Copper was the only butterfly seen. A couple of young Wild Service Trees were a pleasing find and Bugle and Stitchwort flourished around the meadow margins.

Wild Service Tree



Pleased with my rewards I wended my way north east to Hollingbourne to find the track up onto the North Downs where I have been told a butterfly haven exists but despite my efforts there was not a butterfly to be seen and I suspect I am just a smidgen too early in the season for the first Adonis and friends.  It was not a wasted effort as the views offered to the south and east were immense and somehow even the M20, Eurostar and local railway were all secreted away in valley bottoms. 


The Oak and the Yew

All Saints Church, Hollingbourne - some lovely mature Copper Beeches

Oxslip I think

Hounds Tongue

Crosswort - thanks Enid
I sat on a chalk bluff and watched the world go by; I could see for miles but the sky was almost birdless.  A Skylark sang behind me but other than a couple of Jackdaws I did not see another bird above the tree line.  Where were the soaring raptors or startled Woodpigeons or even gulls heading back to the coast?

The retort of multiple bird scarers designed to put off non-existent Woodpigeons from the pea fields broke through my slightly depressing reverie and I scrambled back down the slope and headed for home...

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