Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Green Winged Orchids and Green-veined White Butterflies...

Marden Meadows you won't be surprised to hear is in Marden. Actually, it isn't....quite-it is in Marden Road though.
Marden Meadows is a nature reserve belonging to Kent Wildlife Trust and worth a visit any-time of year but especially in Spring to see the orchids.Listed as a site of special scientific interest, it consists of grasslands, meadows and ponds spread over a 5.60 hectare site.

I really wanted to see and photograph the orchids on this visit but as anyone who knows me will understand, invertebrates are my real interest and so a scout around the reserve to see what was about would have to come before the flowers.

Once again the weather (yes, I know...that subject again) was not especially conducive to bug-hunting but it did improve, temperature wise at least as the morning went by.
It soon became clear this wasn't going to be visit crammed with that many critters I'd soon run out of space on my camera's SD card,not to worry, if I had just one interesting find I'd go home happy.

The other thing to mention is that having started on my search and spent 10 minutes or so screening the usual areas, I had to return to the car and don coat and wellies as the cold and wet was a bit too much today.

Cercopis vulnerata
My first 'spot' was this distinctive froghopper pictured above. I've not seen these at Marden Meadows before and infuriatingly, this one quick snap was all I saw today. They are easily disturbed and once they spring into the air, are then very difficult to re-locate and despite spending quite a time trying to find this or another one, I drew a blank.

Beside the first of the ponds that I visited I found another interesting creature, this time a small beetle...

Gastrophysa viridula
This is one of the leaf-beetles belonging to the Chrysomelidae family of Coleoptera. These leaf-beetles are mostly brightly coloured, smooth and shiny like this one.
The males of the species exhibit a typical leaf-beetle shape but the mated females as we have here become grossly distended, with the elytra (wing case) perched on top of the shiny, black abdomen giving them this strange appearance.

The first butterfly of the day came in the guise of this Green-veined White that was actually sitting  astride one of the orchids at the edge of the meadow.

Green-veined White Butterfly (Pieris napi)

On the long grass in the same area I spotted something small but bright and took a closer look-it was a tiny spider, probably an Orb Weaver and I think this was a male 'Arianiella cucurbitina'

Arianiella cucurbitina-An Orb Weaver Spider

Logically, well at least logically in my mind, what would follow a spider? a fly of course? Well that's what happened today and it turned out to be quite an interesting one (if you find flies at all interesting that is) because what looked at first glance to be a hoverfly that is fairly familiar to me, namely 'Rhingia Campestris' was actually the much less common 'Rhingia rostrata'

Rhingia rostrata-A Hoverfly (Syrphidae)
This one can be distinguished quite easily from its common cousin by the lack of a dark line along the sides of its abdomen. Recent finds in the West Country mean that this isn't as uncommon as first thought but here in Kent, it's still a reasonably rare thing.

My final sighting of the day was a real joy. Another first for me at Marden Meadows too. A fabulous Green Hairstreak Butterfly. I had seen photos taken my a friend and fellow photographer of one of these beauties here at M.M. but wasn't expecting to see one for myself today, especially given the adverse conditions.

A Green Hairstreak Butterfly-Callophrys rubi
Time was marching on, as it always does when I'm out photographing invertebrates,I get so absorbed in what I'm doing that it comes as a shock every-time when I check and find that it's almost always later than I think. Just time to take some shots of the fabulous green-winged orchids that are abundant here at this time of year.

This final shot is of the white form of green winged orchid...

A Green Winged Orchid-Anacamptis morio

That was my visit to Marden Meadows complete and although it was not one of the most productive for me, I shall return soon to see what a new day brings.

Until the next time...


  1. I love the reflection in the Leaf Beetle... very neat! :)

  2. Thanks Cathy-yes, I was aware of that when I was shooting it and careful to ensure that it didn't reflect me!

  3. The green hairstreak is amazing, you've got some beautiful photos there. We had to share it on our FB page :)

  4. Thank-you. I always appreciate it when folks bother to comment and you're very welcome to share, the more people that get to see and appreciate our wildlife the better in my eyes.

  5. The green butterfly is fabulous JJ. I love those hoverflys. I photographed one the other day. Im fairly sure it was campestris though, must check. Derek Cluskey.

  6. Loving the Green Hairstreak and the Rhingia. Looks like a rather nice meadow!

  7. Thanks for your continued interest in the blog Derek.
    Rachel, Yes, the hairstreaks are fantastic to photograph with their wonderful green-sheen! It is a really nice spot too and later expect there to be a whole new raft of wild flowers to follow the orchids.

  8. You got your Green Hair streak then JJ ! Marden Marsh would be a better name for this place at the mo, one field had a huge puddle in the middle of it couple of weeks ago. Will be out that way again myself soon, hopefully it will be a bit drier with more bugs about.


  9. Yeah, was really surprised to spot one Jason but pleased all the same. No doubt I'll be back sometime soon as well-it's only a short drive from home for me.


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