Kiplingcotes Nature Reserve – 15/07/12

This reserve is a disused chalk quarry with a chiefly grassland habitat. The quarry floor is kept short by the grazing rabbits, where as the upper area is a lush meadow habitat. The main reason for visiting this local reserve was to see Marbled White butterflies Melanargia galathea, which can occur in good numbers. I’ve tried on two previous earlier dates this year to connect with them with no success, so this was third time lucky. There were at least fifty in the meadow on the upper level, though they were proving a little difficult to photograph due to the stiff breeze, mainly dropping down well in to the tall grasses. With a bit of patience I eventually found the best spot was right at the top of the reserve where the northern boundary hedge was giving a little bit of shelter.

Marbled White - Melanargia galathea

Marbled White - Melanargia galathea

Marbled White – Melanargia galathea

In total there were eight species on the wing including Large Skipper Ochlodes venatus, Small Heath Coenonympha pamphilus, Meadow Brown Maniola jurtina, Ringlet Aphantopus hyperantus, Common Blue Polyommatus icarus, Large White Pieris brassicae and Comma Polygonia c-album. The Comma P. c-albumwas found in the sheltered western end of the quarry floor and was posing well for the camera, enabling a few different shots to be taken.

Comma - Polygonia c-album

Comma - Polygonia c-album

Comma – Polygonia c-album

Meadow Brown - Maniola jurtina

Meadow Brown – Maniola jurtina

Large Skipper - Ochlodes venatus

Large Skipper – Ochlodes venatus

Common Blue - Polyommatus icarus

Common Blue – Polyommatus icarus