Saturday, 21 May 2011

East Kent tour

The best laid plans of mice and men

On Thursday I planned a day out to photography butterflies and,whilst it did not turn out that way, I did not come home with an empty memory card.

Temple Ewell

With light winds and slightly overcast conditions being forecast I headed first for Temple Ewell. My reference book gave a rather obscure location for the reserve car park and I did my best to program the sat-nav and, yes, I ended up at an old people's home (I'm not ready for one of those just yet). Having accosted a local and got proper directions I headed off the half-mile down the road where I drew up, somewhat relieved in the car park and re-programmed the Tomtom with the current location - sorted.

My impression of an oxeye daisy

I made my way up the path to the meadow areas which were awash with daisies. There were a few common blue around and a number of other butterflies that I failed to identify properly as they were extremely active and despite my best attempts failed to get any decent shots. In my defence I claim three mitigating circumstances: it was quite breezy there; before kneeling or laying down one had to check the ground carefully  - there was more dog sh!t than a Paris backstreet; when one did hit the deck the local ant population was on you like a rash.

I decided to cut my losses and try a different location - Park Gate Down. Luckily this site was already in the sat-nav so I was quickly on my way, albeit with my tail between my legs.

Park Gate Down

My visit here a few weeks ago coincided with the end of the early purple orchid display. These had well and truly expired by Thursday and I wasn't sure whether anything else would be showing. Luckily in the middle section of the reserve was a patch of about 30 monkey orchids. These were in various states of condition, not helped I'm sure by the very dry conditions we have had.

Photographically, the wind was a constant challenge; I used my two 50cm reflectors as wind shields but there was still too much movement of the plants for my liking. 

Monkey orchid. They ranged from ~10 to 20 cm in height
Getting in a bit closer
... and a bit closer still ....
As with Temple Ewell, the butterfly population was quite low but I did manage to get to this orange tip that posed for a few minutes.

Orange tip resting on large leaf
Denge Wood

After a spot of lunch I decided to move on to another new location for me - Denge Wood. This is a delightful spot and I managed to track down another orchid first for me - greater butterfly orchid. Unlike the bold vibrant colours of lady and monkey orchids, this species is pale and delicate. I only saw this lone example, which was close to the edge of one of the paths and, being tall (30cm) and delicate it was also a challenge to photograph with the breeze (although it was more sheltered than the open spaces of Temple Ewell and Park Gate Down).

Greater butterfly orchid - delicate with pastel colours

Individual flower close-up

1 comment:

  1. Like the close-up one in particular Martin