Thursday, 7 August 2014


 I paid a visit to the Kent Wildlife Trusts Queendown Warren on Tuesday morning. I hadn't been before and only knew that the south facing, north downs reserve was home right now to two species of butterfly that I hadn't seen before. Chalkhill Blues above and below.......

 ......and Silver-spotted Skipper below.

 I arrived in full sunshine after negotiating what seemed to be miles of very narrow lanes, courtesy of my Sat Nav of course. I ended up parking the car in the lane which wasn't great and all the time I was there I was concerned about its safety.

I was also concerned about whether I could find the two butterflies that were the reason for my visit. I shouldn't have worried, they were everywhere.

 I got a few shots of them but by now the breeze had picked up and i found it quite difficult to get sharp pictures.

There were plenty of other butterflies around too, like the female Common Blue above complete with attendant Crickets and the male below.

There were one or two Small Tortoiseshells like the pristine specimen above.

And my old favourite Brimstones who led me a merry dance as they settled just momentarily before flitting off just as I was about to pull the trigger.
I was still worried about the car and in the end cut short my visit and returned to the lane. On the way I spoke to a lady walking the biggest dog I think i've ever seen. She had it perfectly under control and on a lead thankfully. She told me she keeps it on the lead there because she understands how intimidating it can be for people even though it was friendly, plus of course it's a nature reserve. Nice lady, nice(ish) dog. She also explained to me how to get to the KWT car park. I didn't move the car, the heat was getting to me and I called it a day. I will return soon though.

Wednesday morning saw me with a couple of hours to spare so I paid a visit to New Hythe lakes. Bird wise there was nothing of particular interest to report. So I once again turned my attention to dragonflies, Emperors, Common Darters and the frustratingly elusive and camera shy Brown Hawkers were all seen. But I was pleased to add two more species to my New Hythe list. The first being Ruddy Darter above. The second being this Migrant Hawker below who helpfully hung up in the east scrub when the sun disappeared, giving me the chance to record the occasion 

That was all the beauty. This is the beast. While walking through the West Scrub (and finding my first NH Clouded Yellow of the year) I spotted this horrendous device lying in the undergrowth. It's a trap, of the worst kind. There is a bait platform inside it and when an unfortunate creature investigates, the two powerful hinges snap it shut. I prised it open with my foot and a stick and tried it, believe me it is vicious, in fact the remains of some poor animal, possibly a young Rabbit, were around the trap and I believe its foot was still in it. Quite apart from wildlife, a child could have found it and lost a couple of fingers, or a pet dog could have poked its nose in it.
I disabled and hid the trap and later contacted the Rangers, who were as appalled as I was, they are contacting the Police and searching the area in case there are more. 


Warren Baker said...

Had a visit from a couple of Chalkhill Blues on my patch last year Phil, lovely little Butterflies, a one of occurrence I think though!

Marc Heath said...

Lovely work today Phil, nice butterflies and dragons with shots to match.

Mike Attwood said...

Good pics. Phil. There certainly some evil people around. The trap looks very professional too.

Mike H said...

So glad you found the SSS and Chakhill Blues Phil, its agreat site for these and others. I do understand your concerns about parking in the lanes but they are usually safe and closer to the action than the KWT car park.

Don't like the look of " The beast" dread to think what damage it could do. Will certainly keep my eyes open next time I get down there.

Wilma said...

nice flutters, Phil. Too bad about that nasty trap. :-(

Greenie said...

Phil ,
Well done getting two new butterfly species , and good to hear that for once you had a 'good-ish' meeting with a dog .
Not good news on the trap , there are some 'sick' people about .
Had more LE sightings on Brooklands with Terry yesterday .

Phil said...

Hope they turn up again sometime.

Thanks very much!

Thanks Mike, you are so right.

Phil said...

Thanks for your comment.
Point taken re the parking, although the lady with the big dog did say that her car had been damaged there.

Thanks very much. Nasty is certainly right.
Hope all is good in Paradise :-)

Well done with the LE again, couldn't find it when I went down on Wed. Was cloudy though.

Ken. said...

We can always rely to take us through lanes, they seem to love it. Well done with finding the butterflies you went for.Bit confused, you say that the wind got up and you couldn't get any sharp pictures, well they look good to me Mr SHARP!
Nicely dealt with the trap.

Marianne said...

Wonderful butterfly photos :) I'm glad you were able to sort out that horrible trap - I don't have words strong enough to express what I think of the person/people who set it!