Sunday, 8 June 2008

Queendown Warren

At last some sunshine and heat. Been a few weeks since I had last been to Queendown Warren so without further ado and the wife came along too. As we got out of the car there were at least 8 Mediterranean gulls flying around overhead amongst a group of black-headed gulls. The med gulls were giving their distinctive cat like calls. I couldn't find any adders around the east banks so we started to walk along the main bank and we saw our first bee and man orchids. It seems that someone has been digging up the bee orchids at Queendown, what a travesty. Quite what possesses someone to do such a thing as the plants will die and be lost forever. I think they are without doubt one of my favourite UK orchids, just stunning.
Bee Orchid

Butterflies were in evidence although worryingly still no skippers. Quite a few brown argus, common and adonis blues though.
Brown Argus. I think this is a male although it would be easier if I had taken a shot of the underwing as females have a white flash on the hindwing.

Adonis Blue (male)

At this time of year, the display of fragrant orchids can be amazing, and in certain patches on the downland the numbers of fragrant orchids were good and some tall spikes exist amongst the grasses. I think another few days of sunny weather and the number of spikes in flower will increase greatly. I was lucky to get a large white feeding on this fragrant orchid.

Another good plant to see at Queendown in June is meadow clary but once again it looked to me as though some of the plant spikes had been picked, such a shame for this rare and declining species.
Meadow Clary

Now for something odd. It must be at least 30 years since I last saw a stag beetle but I think Queendown must be excellent for them given the number of dead beetles that we found lying around the paths. Their softer bellies had been eaten away leaving only the head and wing casings. Quite what had done this was a mystery but there must have been some overnight carnage as we counted at least 8 male heads, maybe bats? Got to be worth an evening trip to see.
Stag Beetle (male)


Josh Jenkins Shaw said...

Hi John, great photos! Do you use a macro lens? I'm going to Queen doen warren in August on a butterfly course with the KWT, I'd love to see an Adonis Blue.

Steve said...

Great post John with some brilliant pictures. I love QDW one of my favourite places. Interesting about the Stag Beetles. I had one fly in front of the car on Friday evening.

Simon said...

Super photos John. Never seen a Stag Beetle before.

Warren Baker said...

Well done with the photography John. I would think bats are the most likely culprit for the Stag beetles.

Kingsdowner said...

Hopefully I'll get to visit both Queendown Warren and Jeskyns tomorrow. Is the flower meadow easy to find at Jeskyns?

abbey meadows said...

Wonderful shots. Love the one of Meadow clary. There are some stunning plants that we miss out on up here. We only have Wild clary but it is only found at two sites in the county.

Mike - Fenphotography said...

Stunning shots John, glad I left the ID of my butterfly to you, now I know who to come to. Cheers.
I've added a link to you also.