Bit of a crazy-busy weekend, across in Essex for my brother's wedding. We did manage a spot of walking along the coast on Mersea Island, and it was nice to be staying so close to the shore you could hear the oyster catchers calling in the evening and morning.
I wisely decided to take today off to recover and allow normal life to resume - this, of course, means a quick potter on Martin Down!
The cowslips have been quite patchy this year, and are already going over, but the anthills seemed covered in speedwell, with patches of milkwort, kidney and horseshoe vetches scattered about. And one bank was just covered in early purple orchids, but no others seen elsewhere. It was quite sheltered in some spots along my walk, meaning that the butterflies were out and about - orange tips, brimstones, holly and common blue, and quite a few dingy skippers too.
This was accompanied by skylarks, ravens, yellowhammers, whitethroats, chifchaffs, a cuckoo and several turtle doves. Summer is here! I always find it amazing when you hear so many birds that have made their way - battling against the Maltese/Italians/Greeks shooting at them on hillsides- from sub-Saharan Africa to the Down. Sadly, numbers of many species (particularly turtle dove) are decreasing, and I can't contemplate a time when the reserve doesn't have a gentle background purring when walking.