Every year Nigel and I try to get over to Kent to see the woodland Duke of Burgundy butterfly as well as some of the other special insects and orchids that thrive in the area. As Nigel has now started to get his state pension and I no longer have to pay for prescriptions we are both at an age where we can moan about everything concerning how the human population is destroying the planet, and with a bit of time in the car we could really go for it!! (at the same time putting more exhaust fumes in the air)!!
With the weather forecast not being particularly favourable we did hope that we would have the place to ourselves, and although we did see a few others it was much quieter than is often the case.
Straight away we started to find some Duke of Burgundy butterflies. This little beauty is the only British butterfly that belongs to the Riodinidae family. It is also a very interesting butterfly as it is found generally on North facing Downland. This colony however, is in woodland where they fly amongst the rare Lady Orchids.
One of the ways to tell the sexes apart is that the female uses all 6 legs, whereas in the male the 2 front legs are tiny and unusable, so if you can see all 6 legs it will be a female. As it happens the first Duke I saw was a female. Most seen however were males.
Female Duke of Burgundy. (note the six legs and the plump abdomen).
Male Duke of Burgundy.
This area is also superb for rare micro moths, and they don't come much better that the Anania funebris, some people use the name White-spotted Sable. A very tiny moth that is now an extreme rarity in Sussex, but in this woodland in Kent it is still regularly seen.
Strangely, just 2 days later I did see one of these beauties in a private Sussex woodland.
The Lady Orchids once again put on a great display throughout the wood with many shades of colour. We later moved onto another woodland looking for the delicate Fly Orchid.
A Pink Lady Orchid.
Another great day in Kent as a couple of old contented blokes returned to Sussex.