Downs Diary


One of the highlights this month will be the glorious meadows with its wide variety of meadow flowers, butterflies and other invertebrates. The flower colour scheme consists of white like the dazzling oxeye daisy, vanilla scented dropwort or delicate fairy flax. Yellow flowers include dandelion-like goat’s-beard, buttercup, yellow rattle, cats-ear and the yellow and red bird’s-foot-trefoil.  Betony, red clover, and common centaury add a splash of pink. The bird’s-foot-trefoil has inspired people so much that it has collected over 70 nicknames, one of the most popular one being eggs and bacon. It is important to the common blue butterfly, both adults and larva, and it provides food for the 6-spot burnet moth caterpillars. Nothing is better than a long stroll through the meadows on a warm sunny day enjoying all the wonderful flora and fauna this site offers.

The other highlight this month is the peregrine chicks leaving the nest. Around this time of the year you can witness their acrobatics in the air as they get to know their wings, with food passes from their parents and eventually successfully catching prey by themselves. Sometimes juvenile peregrines can be seen practising by stooping towards crows and rooks on the grass near Seawalls. This month is definitely the best time of the year to witness these beautiful birds in action at the peregrine watch point.

The six-spot burnet is a day flying moth that is often mistaken for a butterfly due to its bright red spots and under wings. The forewings are dark metallic green with six vivid red spots (sometimes the spots are merged causing possible confusion with other species such as the 5-spot burnet). These moths can be found feeding on scabious or knapweed and are incredibly fast flyers. When walking through the meadows you might see other moths fly away that chose the grass as their resting place during the day. Butterflies you’ll see in June will be the gatekeeper, common blue, orange tip and meadow brown.



Photographs © Denice Stout, Harald Süpfle