Saturday 27 August 2022

Kentish Nature Walks #55 - Queendown Warren 27th August 2022

It has been a quiet week with a failed day out to Essex on Monday and a family outing to a crispy Wimpole Hall in Cambridgeshire on Tuesday where a host of Tachina fera on some Spearmint and some mighty fine Shire Horses were the highlight.  Now, I normally hide over the course of Bank Holidays but the unexpected appearance of the Senior Wrens (minus Wrenlings) this morning resulted in Antony and I heading out to Queendown Warren while the ladies went shopping.

It was warm and generally bright and we were pleasantly surprised by the profusion of butterflies still on the wing and in the course of our circuit we found good numbers of Meadow Brown, Gatekeeper and in particular, Brown Argus along with vivid Common Bluestatty lightening blue Chalkhills and gleaming electric blue Adonis.  Some of the latter were still exceptionally vibrant. 

Adonis Blue

Adonis Blue

Adonis Blue

Adonis Blue - so good to see after just a worm spring one

Chalkhill Blue

Chalkhill Blue

Chalkhill Blue

Chalkhill Blue

Common Blue

All three Whites, Speckled Wood, an immaculate Small Copper, Brimstone and at least four Silver Spotted Skippers were seen across the warren. 

Silver Spotted Skipper

Silver Spotted Skipper

Silver Spotted Skipper

Small Copper

Brown Argus

Brown Argus

Brown Argus

Meadow Brown 

Pyrausta purpuralis and aurata were regularly put up and the grass moth, Agriphila tristella were noted amongst many migrant Grass Veneers.  Antony found two other smart little moths with the Pyrausta shaped Evergestis limbata and the dinky strawberries and cream of a Neocochylis hybridella.  Several Hummingbird Hawkmoths careened up and down the woodland edge where Migrant Hawkers patrolled in packs and a Mother of Pearl did the usual trick of alighting upside down out of view.

Agriphila tristella 

Evergestis limbata 

Neocochylis hybridella

Rush Veneer -  Nomophila noctuella

Pyrausta purpuralis 

The usual Grasshoppers were still around and Melitta tricincta was still attending the last of the Red Bartsia along with a few small Bombus pascuorum.  There were a few small Hoverflies along with a couple of Xanthogramma that only posed for flight shots which made further scrutiny difficult as they hold the front legs up over the all important collection of yellow spots!

Meadow Grasshopper

Xanthogramma pedissequum agg

Machimus atricapillis

A few Autumn Ladies Tresses were in flower but the dry weather has, I suspect kept the numbers down this year but had not deterred the Dwarf Thistles from forming painful rosettes wherever you wished to put a knee or elbow.

Autumn Ladies Tresses

Black Bryony string of red pearls

Common Gromwell

Ploughman's Spikenard going to seed

The young Buzzards were still mewing in the main wood and we found at least two or possibly even three Pied Flycatchers although we never saw even the briefest glimpse but it is an unmistakeable call once you know it and Antony found over 20 the other day in the small cemetery near his Lowestoft house so also already had his ear in.  Invisiblefinches came in two species with the obviously leaf coloured cryptic local form of Bullfinch calling around us all the time and a couple of Kentish sky hued Crossbills that we heard calling on a two occasions.

Pied Fly in there somewhere

Some leafmine time produced a good selection of Beech, Hornbeam and Norway Maple before lunch called us back to Strood but not before a huge Hornet Robberfly - Asilus crabroniformis briefly appeared on the path - Antony was most impressed. 

Parornix fagivora  on Beech 

Phyllonorycter esperella on Hornbeam

Phyllonorycter joanisii on Norway Maple 

Phyllonorycter maestingella on Beech

Phyllonorycter maestingella on Beech

Stigmella aceris on Norway Maple

Stigmella tityrella on Beech

Some quality garden lunch time added a few more mines (whilst sitting down and checking reachable leaves!) and a couple more species were added to the garden list by Antony while a Slow-worm showed its displeasure at being handled by Antony and Andrea found a garden first Southern Oak Bush Cricket under the umbrella.

Callisto denticulella folds on Crab Apple

Southern Oak Bush Cricket - female

Araneus diadematus were strung across every gap and Pisaura mirabilis and a female Steatoda nobilis with an egg sac were seen.  The Zygiella x-notata that I found yesterday was in a new web between the vine strings and Speckled Woods, Whites, Comma and a couple of Holly Blues paid a visit.  A different Willow Emerald to yesterday and a Common Darter hunted the aging Blackberries and Migrant Hawkers patrolled the next level up while higher still Hobby, Sparrowhawk and a growling Merlin cut through the blue.

Steatoda nobilis

Zygiella x-notata  - you can see the missing segment in the web

Zygiella x-notata 

Araneus diadematus 

Pisaura mirabilis

Speckled Wood

A most enjoyable day...

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