Saturday, 28 June 2014

Longfield Chalk Bank

This small Kent Wildlife Trust reserve close to my front door held a surprise this afternoon in the first marbled white butterflies that I have seen there. In all at least 4 were flying around in the pre thunderstorm gloom along with about 30 ringlets, 6 meadow browns, 4 large skippers and a couple of small skippers. Quite a few 6-spot burnets were also on the wing.

 Large skipper feeding on thistle.

 Marbled white
Male small skipper on scabious

There was also one small pyramidal orchid which was tricky to see within the chalk grassland.

Last weekend was the Longfield festival and it was a pity that the rubbish aftermath cleanup had not extend to the chalk bank reserve which is directly adjacent to the footbal pitch that the festival is held on. Needless to say the football pitch had been carefully picked clean of rubbish whilst the chalk bank reserve was still littered. I do get very fed up with the neglect that some of the locals seem to have for this fantastic small pocket of chalk grassland we have on our doorstep.
litter and broken tree branches :-((

Whilst i'm in the mood to moan, i'm getting very fed up with the folks that decide to mow an area of grassland opposite a KWT roadside nature reserve that holds 2 species of orchid and other wild flowers. Last year the roadside verge was mowed and trashed with equipment left on it whilst railway bridge repairs were carried out. It was even driven over. This year the verge has been mowed twice, cutting down the pyramidal orchids that had tried to flower since the first mowing as for the bee orchids, I have seen none now for two years and they are the best examples of bee orchid I have seen in Kent, if they are given a chance to flower, grrrrrrrrr!

The KWT roadside reserve with 459 pyramidal orchids opposite the devastated grass verge below.

Needless to say I have complained to the folks responsible for the grass verge cutting.


Greenie said...

John ,
Another case of people not knowing what they are doing or couldn't care less .
2 years running on a local SSSI , the ride edges were strimmed , destroying Orange Tip eggs and larvae , after being promised it would not occur again after the first time .
Last Summer on the same site , the Conservation fields were 'scalped' before grassland plants had set seed and whilst grassland butterflies were still egg laying . Needless to say , flowers and butterflies are down .
A roadside verge , containing Kent's only colony of Green-flowered Helleborine was mowed with the plants in full flower .
Another LNR with Small Blue and Glanville Fritillary , the mainland's only productive site for the second , has had sheep grazing all Summer , devouring everything in sight , including eggs and larvae of the two species . We are fighting to keep them off .
The same Wildlife Trust has turned the best local Marbled White site , 250+ count at peak , into a horse paddock , with 2 Dartmoor Ponies and 6 goats , and possibly the sheep off the other site . My best MW count last year , 6 .
If the people entrusted with caring for wildlife act like this , then what chance has wildlife got ?
End of support rant .

Dean Ashby said...

The marbled whites are beautiful! Its a real shame when management of these smaller reserves doesn't seem to take wild flowers into account