Admirals and damsels

Dene Park to the north of Tonbridge is a good place to find woodland butterflies; in late June the purple emperors and hairstreaks should be flying but always seem difficult to find. On a cloudless evening and then again on a sunny morning, there is just a glimpse of a hairstreak in an oak with none coming down on the bracken, and not a sign of an emperor. But the white admirals are both common and obliging; gliding through the rides, nectaring on the bramble, egg laying on honeysuckle leaves and landing on the ground to take salts. The pattern was the same two years ago.

There are, as well, the same supporting cast; red admirals, commas and bounding silver-washed fritillaries. A white-legged damselfly was new; it was unobtrusive yet spectacular. Maybe early July will be better than late June…

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