Monday 16 May 2022

Kentish Nature Walks #30 - A micro-Ranscombe circuit 16th May 2022

I have been indoors doing pc stuff today and with it being grey, cool and breezy outside I did not feel too aggrieved but at about 2pm the sun came out and I could see blue sky so I stuck my boots on, picked up my camera and headed up to the end of the road for a mini walk around Ranscombe.  It was simple loop down alongside the CTRL, over the Green Bridge, through the woods and back up through the big new clearing to my starting point.

It was an enjoyable hour and the weather held until I made it back to the car and a bank of rain leaden cloud obscured the view once again.

I was hoping for some butterfly action and I do not think it was quite warm enough to bring much out but I was very happy to see a couple of tiny immaculate Small Blues on the wing although their choice of perch was somewhat inconvenient.

Small Blue

Small Blue

A single chocolate Brown Argus and several male Common Blues were also seen but the breeze was making things tricky for them and therefore me too as they always went to the most hidden bloom.

Brown Argus

Brown Argus

Common Blue

Common Blue

I found one Twayblade up on the first bridge but there were no sign of the Bee Orchids at all and I could only find a handful of Bee spikes alongside the railway where there were nearly 300 last year.  There were still the odd Early Purple hanging so perhaps there will be time yet.


Bee Orchids

Salad Burnet

I did find some lovely Broomrape though with little clumps of what I resume is Common but was surprised at one huge solitary spike that was at least 18 inches high!

Common Broomrape


The Chestnut woods were quiet but the floor was alive with countless egg sac carrying Wolf Spiders that I think are Pardosa saltans along with a few strangely terrestrial Pisaura mirabilis. Eyes to the ground also produced some lovely Scarlet and Yellow Pimpernels and Heath Speedwell.

Pardosa saltans

Pardosa saltans

 Pisaura mirabilis

Yellow Pimpernels

Heath Speedwell

Blister Galls on Sweet Chestnut

I found a stand of Early Purple Orchids amongst the Bluebells that were still in pretty good shape considering the date and the solitary clump of Lady Orchids that were a little past their best already and look to be lost soon under Bramble and Birch saplings unless some ‘gardening’ is undertaken.  Brimstones and Green-veined Whites were in the clearing and I found two day moths.

Early Purple Orchid

Early Purple Orchid

Lady Orchid


Common Carpet

Cochylis atricapitana (thanks Antony)

And that as they say was that.  A breath of fresh air and a stretch of the legs but as usual there was always something wild to draw the eye and distract the busy mind.

And I almost made it back to the car when I spied this Red-and-black Froghopper - Cercopis vulnerata

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