Tuesday 12 July 2022

Kentish Nature Walks - #47 - The Ranscombe Loop - 12th July 2022

Yesterday was just too hot with clear blue skies and not a breath of wind.  Today was looking to be similarly hot but without the clear sky so I headed up the road just after nine for what was meant to be a short sensible amble around Ranscombe. 

As usual I walked further than I anticipated before the oppressive heat sent me home.  I started by heading down alongside CTRL to check on the Field Scabious.  There was masses in flower but there never seem to be any Andrena hattorfiana up this end.  There were however plenty of Nemophora metallica with those crazy antennae flitting between blooms.

Nemophora metallica 

Field Scabious

Wild Basil

the most wondrously pink Yarrow

There were a few Whites, Skippers and Browns and a couple of Brown Argus in the mix but no second gen Small Blues as yet.  White Admiral dropped down for just a few moments and showed off spotty eyes and there were a few new Peacocks on the Buddleia but very few flies anywhere so I was very pleased to find a pair of mating Gymnosoma rotundatum that sat for a few seconds in the shade.  

Gymnosoma rotundatum

White Admiral



Essex Skipper

Brown Argus

Brown Argus

Sawflies at work on sallow

The skeletonized result...

I retraced my steps up the other side of the railway and then veered into the main clearing at the top.  It was very sultry and I took it slowly as I was fully in the open.  The display of Common Centaury was superb with clumps of Yellow-wort dotted between them. Enid subsequently helped me with a couple of small flowered Willowherbs that I discovered.

Common Centaury 

Common Centaury 

Epilobium ciliatum 

Epilobium ciliatum 

Epliobium parviflorum

Epliobium parviflorum


There were several very funky Misumena vatia Crab Spiders and a single Oncocera semirubella stopped for a pic along with only my second Cinnabar cats this season. There was a good selection of other insects too.

Andrena flavipes

Andrena flavipes

Green Shieldbug nymphs

Not sure but I think it may be a Chryptocephalus sp

Deraecoris ruber 

Deraecoris ruber 

Misumena vatia and a missed Tachinid lunch

Misumena vatia

Misumena vatia

Oncocera semirubella

I looped round onto the farmland track and approached Birch Wood Corner where the Wheat fields had now been harvested and the Jackdaws, Magpies and Woodpigeons were poking around in the very short stubble. 

Rowdy Jackdaws

I soon got back into the shade despite the grey skies and then dropped down through Kitchen Field past the Hogweed stand.  It was now almost all over with just a few Lucilia, Red Soldiers and aphid munching Seven Spot Ladybirds although I was pleased to find quite a large Neoscona adianta nestled on her silken platform.  I am not sure if I have seen this species here before.   The yellow composite field of the other week was now a stippled white with their fluffy seedheads with the new yellow of Ragwort now showing through.

A Click Beetle - possibly Athous bicolor 

Neoscona adianta

Speckled Bush-cricket

A very funky Icnumen if anyone out there can help

Marbled Whites jostled with the Meadow Browns as I made my way up to the flower filled Brockles.  It was a magical carpet of Red and White Clover, Wild Carrot, Knapweed and Ladies Bedstraw and was alive with more Marbled Whites.  Several fresh Brimstones and Small Heaths were seen and there was a general susurration of Grasshoppers.

Black Horehound

Marbled White

Red Clover



Cronking Ravens greeted me at the next corner and five got up from the field to be joined seconds later by a sixth from the trees.  They circled off toward Cobham vocally showing their displeasure at being disturbed.  This is the biggest group I have seen local and I suspect must be more than one pair and young.  The twin seat Spitfire was doing circuits and you could hear it coming miles away.

Six Ravens and a photobombing Jay

There were no Chalkhill Blues out yet but I did add Common Blue before cutting through and up to the Darnley Mausoleum passing a clearing with three Silver Washed Fritillaries in it on the way.  They never stopped once and my staked out Brambles only held a big Queen Bombus hypnorum.

Bombus hypnorum

Scenes of a full on Badger bust up!

A family Kestrels were active once at the top and the walk back down through the main track towards home was quiet as usual although I did see my first two Brown Hawkers of the year.  It was actually quite breezy and very grey when I got to my Oak tree and there was not a canopy butterfly in sight.


Nettled-leaved Bellflower - I found it growing at few more spots this time

Ploughman's Spikenard


Merodon equestris

And with help from Grant H - a Pompilid of the genus Priocnemis

Volucella pellucens

A magnificent Sweet Chestnut bedecked in flowers

I was quite literally melting and the humidity at 30c with no sun was just silly.  I retreated thinking only of putting my head under a cold tap…

On the 28th June I discovered the disembodied head of a Bear in Merrals Shaw -
today I found it over a mile away similarly displayed in a tree - I wonder where it will get to next?

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