Saturday, 16 July 2016


Lullingstone country park, nestling near the end of the Darent valley, is the only reliable place I know to catch a glimpse of the Dark Green Fritillary and the commoner Marbled White Butterfly. and the River Darent running through the park always has good numbers of Banded Demoiselles, so plenty to see if you re lucky.

Your best chance is an early morning visit, at the right time of the year, that's about now, hopefully the sun will be shining.

The best place I have found in the park is the so called Orchid Bank, a strange area of rough grassland set aside in the middle of the golf course, fortunately plenty of waymarked paths and plenty of Greater Knapweed, a purple flower which this species seems very attracted to.

Greater Knapweed
The walk up the valley sides is always interesting, at this time of the year, the wild flower meadows are full of Pyramidal Orchids, Meadow Brown and Ringlet Butterflies, and huge numbers of  Common Blue Damselflies.

Pyramidal Orchid
Common Blue Damselfly ?
As I approached the Orchid Bank, I could see plenty of Greater Knapweed clumps scattered around the grassland, and there was my first target the Marbled White Butterfly, a very attractive looking butterfly in my opinion.

Marbled White Butterfly
Huge numbers of these and very approachable as they enjoyed the nectar from the Knapweed.

It wasn't long until my first Dark Green Fritillary shot past me and led me on a merry chase through the grassland, where I eventually caught up with it, I needn't have worried, as I photographed this individual several more appeared.

Dark Green Fritillary 

I was feeling well pleased with those sightings, I don't get to see that many scarcer Butterflies, its all a question of locating the sites where the more unusual Butterflies can be found I suppose.

So now for the River Darent and hopefully a Banded Demoiselle sighting, It was'nt long before the first male fluttered into sight and landed on the riverside vegetation, not the best view, certainly nice to watch, no females seen on this visit unfortunately.

Banded Demoiselle

It makes you realise how lucky we are in this country to have " Country Parks " that are accessible and open to all. Long may they survive.

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