Sunday, 14 July 2013

Kiplingcotes Heatwave

On a bright and sunny Saturday we decided to test out my nephew's new camera he bought with his birthday money. We plumped for visiting Kiplingcotes Chalk Pit, which is sometimes at its best at this time of year. We arrived at 9.45, and it was already hot and the butterflies were very active. It is sometimes better to visit such venues on warm but cloudy mornings, as the butterflies are likely to be less active and be static on vegetation for longer. We had to manage the best as we could in the extreme heat.
Marbled White on Greater Knapweed

 Meadow Cranesbill   (Canon 100-400 lens)
 Meadow Cranesbill [Nikon Bridge Camera] (c) 2013 Ben Coneyworth
Fairy Flax [Nikon Bridge Camera] (c) 2013 Ben Coneyworth
Ragwort [Nikon Bridge Camera]  (c) 2013 Ben Coneyworth
 Marbled White on Scabious
 Marbled Whites
 Marbled White & Burnet Moth
 Marbled White on Thistle
 Marbled White on Greater Knapweed
  Marbled White on Greater Knapweed [Nikon Bridge Camera] (c) 2013 Ben Coneyworth
 Marbled White on Ragwort [Nikon Bridge Camera] (c) 2013 Ben Coneyworth
Our first Marbled White was seen before we left the roadside, and on entering the reserve we saw one after another. In all we think well over 150 were on the wing. The floral display was also impressive with Meadow Cranesbill as soon as we entered, plus Birdsfoot Trefoil, Bladder Campion, Thyme, and Hawkbits. There were also plenty of Ringlets, fewer Meadow Browns, and even fewer Common Blues, Small Heaths, and Large Skippers. We climbed the top of the hill and began to see a few Burnet Moths, and several Pyramidal Orchids, and an even stronger concentration of Marbled Whites. A beautiful smelling herb was encountered along the skyline, where there was also many thistles and Greater Knapweed. 
Meadow Brown
 Record Shot of Female Common Blue
Goatsbeard [Nikon Bridge Camera]  (c) 2013 Ben Coneyworth
 Same Goatsbeard [Canon 100-400]
 Robin's Pin-Cushion (c) 2013 Ben Coneyworth
 Rosebay Willowherb [Nikon Bridge Camera] (c) 2013 Ben Coneyworth
 Rosebay Willowherb [Canon 100-400]
 A walk along the bottom of the pit didn't add many new species, apart from several Twayblade spikes.  However, it was rather pleasant in the shade, and it was here we saw our first Rosebay Willowherbs. There weren't many birds about, but Yellowhammers could be heard making their chipping contact calls, and we were scolded on occasion by concealed Whitethroats. 
Common Twayblade [Nikon Bridge Camera] (c) 2013 Ben Coneyworth
 Common Twayblade [Canon 100-400]
 [Nikon Bridge Camera] (c) 2013 Ben Coneyworth
 Swifts over Poppy Field
 Poppy Field [Nikon Bridge Camera] (c) 2013 Ben Coneyworth
 Poppies & a Swift [Nikon Bridge Camera] (c) 2013 Ben Coneyworth
 Goatsbeard aka Jack-go-to-bed-at-Noon
 Goatsbeard from above 

We then drove towards South Dalton where we discovered a bright Poppy field. Although there were fewer Poppies than in the fields around Brockadale, the ones at South Dalton weren't ruined by the intrusion of pylons. There were several Swifts swirling above the Poppies, and it must have been the wild flowers which were attracting the Swifts, because there were none feeding over the adjacent fields which didn't have any Poppies.  On the return journey was a Goatsbeard seed head in almost perfect condition.  This was actually accompanied by one of the closed flowers, which has earned it the other name of Jack-go-to-bed-at-Noon.  

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