Friday 4 June 2021

Martin Down

I didn't have the whole day, but managed to get up and back before 1115am. Martin Down lies on the Dorset/Hampshire border. My target was Burnt-tip Orchid and, thanks to some info from Bill Macdonald, I managed to find some (thank you Bill). Not as many as I was expecting but, given the vastness of the area, I think its a miracle I saw any at all - they're pretty tiny. They're also absolutely stunning - my new favourite I think. Also found, in the short time I was there, was Chalk Fragrant, Common Spotted, Early Purple and Greater Butterfly Orchid. Additionally I was pleased with my first Field Fleawort, Hairy Violet and Lungwort. It was too cool and overcast for any insect activity, in fact I didn't see a single butterfly!

Birds included Red Kite, Turtle Dove, Lesser Whitethroat, Cuckoo, Grey Partridge, a migrant Reed Warbler, several Yellowhammers and two or three Corn Buntings.

Roe Deer seemed less wary, and less willing to run off than what I'm used to. This one was very vocal.

These were good - we just don't have Brown Hares in Exmouth.

This is Bokerley Dyke - an ancient excavation that skirts the reserve - it's  good for flowers - I found Chalk Fragrant, Common Spotted and Greater Butterfly Orchids in it, and Lungwort and Fleawort alongside it.

Chalk Fragrant Orchid - only just coming into flower...

I know it's a dreadful photo but it's the first time Grey Partridge has ever featured on this blog, such is its rarity/non-existence in Devon nowadays.

Lovely to see and hear this Turtle Dove - a disappointing photo but I didn't want to approach too close for obvious reasons.

Corn Bunting - a male singing by the lower carpark.

Common Spotted Orchids were only just coming out. I should think I timed my trip a week or two, too early but it's back to work next week...

I found this single Common Hound's-tongue (thank you Neil!) - a really lovely-looking plant, and one I've not yet found in Devon.

Having seen my first Dropwort on Berry Head the other day, I was 'tuned in' and able to pick out quite a lot today.

Field Fleawort - I wrongly assumed I'd see this everywhere - just the one little patch on my stroll this morning.

Crosswort - big glowing, yellow-lime swathes of this on Martin Down.

Greater Butterfly Orchid - not too long to go and this will be in flower...

I suspect this is Chalk Milkwort but not sure it's doable?

My first ever Hairy Violet - instantly recognised as being different to the numerous Dog-violets that I'm used to seeing. Note the bluntly-rounded stipules, purple spur and hairy stem.


  1. Some wonderful fauna & flora there. The plant you've labelled as Lungwort is Common Houndstongue, Cynoglossum officinale. Lungwort normally refers to Pulmonaria.

  2. Hi Neil - Am annoyed with myself for not checking that - I was so sure of myself as it's such a big and distinctive-looking plant! Thank you for the correction. I'll amend it straight away. All the very best. Matt