For my birthday on 23rd June my husband asked me what I would like to do. It was promising to be a hot day so we headed to Martin Down on the Dorset/Hampshire/Wiltshire border, (it’s just inside Hampshire so managed by Hampshire County Council) to go Butterfly watching for a couple of hours. Martin down is chalk downland on the Cranborne Chase and a wealth of wildflowers, Butterflies, birds and much more.

We had just started to walk on the reserve when we met a man who told us there were Dark Green Fritillaries around and pointed us in the right direction which was kind of him. It’s was new sighting for me, I’ve seen pictures of them on Social Media but none in the field, so I was looking forward to seeing them. I wasn’t disappointed although it took a while to spot them and they were on the move. But our patience was rewarded and they started to settle and it was mostly on the Knapweed flowers that were in abundance. If I hadn’t seen anything else I was happy!

Dark Green Fritillary, Speyeria aglaja
Dark Green Fritillary, Speyeria aglaja

Dark Green Fritillaries, gallery (click on a picture for a bigger view)

There were quite a few Marbled White Butterflies about and I managed to get some images of them with closed wings they are very beautiful with their wings open or closed.

Marbled White, Melanargia galathea
Marbled White, Melanargia galathea
Marbled White, Melanargia galathea
Marbled White, Melanargia galathea
Marbled White, Melanargia galathea
Marbled White, Melanargia galathea

I also spotted a few Forester Moths, a beautiful iridescent green colour, there are a few species of the Forester moths but not sure which one this is.

Forester Moth
Forester Moth

Also some Small Heath Butterflies about, very small and not easy to spot I understand their conservation priority is high.

Small Heath, Coenonympha pamphilus
Small Heath, Coenonympha pamphilus

I spotted the insects below on the yellow flower I wasn’t sure what was going on but I believe it may be two mating Robberflies (Asilidae) and the Meadow Grasshopper maybe an offering perhaps?

Robberflies and Grasshopper
Robberflies and Grasshopper

As we were travelling along the road we spotted a Kestrel hovering above, luckily we were able to stop so I could take a picture.

Kestrel
Kestrel

 

2 thoughts on “Martin Down

  1. Marilyn

    You didn’t mention skylarks. Every time we have been to Martin Down we have been deafened by skylarks, like nowhere else I’ve been. Or do they stop singing at this time of year?

    Jack

    1. Oops yes there were plenty of Skylarks singing, I had my brain concentrating on Butterflies and not birds and I do love to hear them!

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