Thursday 3 June 2021

Kentish Walks #10 - The Ranscombe Loop - 3rd June 2021

After a sultry night I was up the garden early and giving everything a much needed drink.  The ‘woodland floor’ is looking good beyond my expectations at the moment.  I tinkered around until late morning and then took myself up to Ranscombe for a circuit but given how warm it was I decided to drive there for a change!

I started off alongside the CTRL where the lack of mowing inside the fence has resulted in a wonderful meadow of Oxeye Daisies, Hawkweeds, Salad Burnet and a wide variety of Vetches.

Grass Vetchling

Oxeye Daisy

Meadow Cranesbill - the first two flowers

There were still disappointingly few Butterflies around with just a few Common Blues and Green Hairstreaks but I did eventually find my quarry with two fleeting Small Blues. Hopefully there will be more to come.

Common Blue

Green Hairstreak

Small Blue

Small Blue


There were a couple of Straw-barred Pearl flitting around along with some flower beetles and a Soldier Fly.

Broad Centurian - Chloromyia formosa

Straw-barred Pearl  - Pyrausta despicata

Cydia ulicetana

The Cow Parsley was being used by a variety of insects including Cardinals and Click Beetles, several bugs and a couple of Cheilosia Hoverflies.

Argyra sp - a Dolichopid

Athous haemorrhoidalis - a Click Beetle

Cheilosia variablis - male

Denticulate Leatherbug - thanks Yvonne

Macrophya montana  - a Sawfly

Malachius bipustulatus

Pyrochroa serraticornis


I followed around the edge of Clay Pond Wood where I fund a Honey Bee swarm coalescing on a low Chestnut bough.  I watch from a safe distance and walked around them.  

Honey Bee swarm

A female Broad Bodied Chaser was hunting the edge too and there were lodas of black and yellow Sawflies on the Buttercups while a distinctive Rhogogaster and Arge cyanocrocea were also seen.


Rhogogaster scalaris or Rhogogaster chlorosoma - a Sawfly

Cephidae sp - a Sawfly

Broad Bodied Chaser

Broad Bodied Chaser

Arge cyanocrocea - a Sawfly

My first Bryony Bees of the year were on the flowering White Bryony but getting pics is always tricky as they do not land for long.  I saw them on each subsequent patch so they are obviously doing well.  Small Copper, Brimstone and Green veined White were also seen and two Garden Warblers were singing from the same area as last year but were my first encounter here in 2021.

Bryony Bee

Green Veined White


A small chunky Scarab Beetle landed on me and so it would have been rude not to pose it for photos. Close up I could see the mini ‘horn’ on the front and it became my first ever Rhinoceros Beetle!  It flew away with a flash of either rusty red body or wings – I could not tell.

Rhinoceros beetle- Sinodendron cylindricum

Just around the corner I found another funky beast with a Wasp Beetle lounging on a leaf. It was turning into quite a productive stroll despite the heat.

Wasp Beetle - Clytus arietis

Tree Bumblebee - Bombus hypnorum

After last year's Thistle Trauma I will not even be attempting any identifications!

Sam’s Meadow Clary bench was the next stop and the plants had come on well since the 24th May and there were several purple flowers inviting insect visits.  I suspect it will look great in another weeks time.

Meadow Clary

Meadow Clary


When I last visited I found a few Man Orchids under the trees at the top of Kitchen Field but they had exploded since the 24th and it felt like a couple of hundred yellowy spikes were poking through the grass, so much so that you had to be very careful where you put your feet.

Man Orchids


Most of the White Helleborines were still small and pretty tightly closed as is the norm with a couple showing a glimpse of the insides.  I thought that the ones at Bonsai Bank yesterday were open more than usual but I was simply blown away but a couple of the tall specimens here with their blooms spread wide like a tropical species.

White Helleborine

Nicole and Jason had visited on Monday and found a couple of plants that would be new to me but I still could not find the Ground-pine but was more fortunate with the Venus’s Looking-glass which I found while trying to photograph the even more diminutive Wall Speedwell!

Venus’s Looking-glass - Legousia hybrida

Venus’s Looking-glass - Legousia hybrida

Wall Speedwell - Veronica arvensis

Just a yard away amongst the Scarlet Pimpernel I was even lucky enough to find a nice Blue Pimpernel plant with a couple of flowers wide open and I may have accidentally placed some flints around it to dissuade clumsy feet and aid passing botanists.

Blue Pimpernel - Anagallis foemina

Scarlet Pimpernel - Anagallis arvensis


A nice Eupeodes latifasciatus landed next to me and a fly caught my eye and has been identified as a Rhinophorid - Stevenia atramentaria.

Stevenia atramentaria

I showed a family the orchids and the clumps of Wild Liquorice that will look great when they flower and then headed back up the hill to the main path back home where the Male Ferns alongside the path were looking magnificent but the Lily of the Valley seems to have not even bothered flowering.

Wild Liquorice - Astragalus glycyphyllos - not the stuff you buy in the shops!

Speckled Wood

Male Fern

Several patches of Yellow Pimpernel made it a special trio for the walk and fine way to end a productive walk in the sunshine.

Yellow Pimpernel - Lysimachia nemorum


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