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Animals and Plants on Møns Klint

Dyr

At Møns Klint, you find the world's fastest animal, the peregrine falcon. When hunting, it dives at speeds of up to 400 km/h. The butterfly large blue is found nowhere else in Denmark, and several rare butterflies and other insects enjoy the unique nature of Høje Møn.

The peregrine falcon returned to Møns Klint

At Møns Klint, if you are lucky, you may spot the world's fastest animal, the peregrine falcon. It lives exclusively on the birds it catches in the air, especially doves and starlings. The falcon hunts its prey at speeds of up to 180 km/h and hits it with great force. However, its nosedive is what makes it one of a kind. When diving, the peregrine falcon reaches speeds of about 390 km/h. No other animal can do that.

The peregrine falcon was not seen in Denmark for more than 30 years; however, it is now breeding again at Møns Klint and in a few other locations. It nests in natural caves or on outcrops on the steep chalk cliffs. Ask GeoCenter Møns Klint, where you may most easily observe the bird.

In the spring, migratory birds flock over Møns Klint

Møns Klint is a good place for observing the spring migration. Birds of prey, such as red kites, sea eagles, marsh harriers, hen harriers, rough-legged buzzards and hobbies are regularly seen. The same goes for storks and cranes. Among the rarer migratory guests are black kites, pallid harriers, Montagu’s harriers, lesser spotted eagles, red-footed falcon and black stork. At Jydelejet, you may occasionally spot species such as the wrynecks, bluethroats and the red-breasted flycatcher.

Read more about the bird species at Møns Klint (in Danish)

Denmark's most discerning butterfly flutters over Høvblege

The rare plants of the commons Høvblege and Jydelejet attract many butterflies. One species – the large blue - only lives here. Its very specific habitat requirements mean that it is otherwise extinct in Denmark. The large blue is extremely picky in its choice of habitat. It only lays its eggs in areas where wild thyme or wild marjoram grow. At the same time, it depends on the common red ant finding the caterpillar and dragging it down into its nest. Here, the caterpillar secretes a sugary substance which the ants love. They leave it in peace while, in return, the caterpillar gorges itself on the ants' own larvae. The large blue flies in July.

Read more on the large blue (in Danish)

Encyclopaedia of species (in Danish)


Plants

At Høje Møn, you find Denmark's largest variety of rare plants. 18 of Denmark's approximately 45 native orchids may be enjoyed on the commons and in the forests. The orchids thrive here because they appreciate the high concentration of lime in the soil. On Timmesø Bjerg you find beech trees that sprouted during the reign of King Christian IV.

TobiasMarkussen_Møns-Klint_Orkideer_Høvblege_01

Orchids love limey soil

Møns Klint is one of the spots in Denmark where you find the greatest number of different plants, especially orchids. Some grow only here - on the commons Jydelejet and Høvblege and in the forest Klinteskoven. Of the approximately 45 wild orchids found in Denmark, all of 18 are found at Møns Klint. Many orchids thrive in limey soil. And on High Møn, the soil contains so much lime that in places the white chalk is visible on the surface.

The forest looks after itself

Møns Klint is one of the spots in Denmark where you find the greatest number of different plants, especially orchids. Some grow only here - on the commons Jydelejet and Høvblege and in the forest Klinteskoven. Of the approximately 45 wild orchids found in Denmark, all of 18 are found at Møns Klint. Many orchids thrive in limey soil. And on High Møn, the soil contains so much lime that in places the white chalk is visible on the surface.

The beeches sprouted during the reign of King Christian IV

The oldest beech trees on top of Timmesø Bjerg in Klinteskoven west of GeoCenter Møns Klint sprouted during the reign of King Christian IV. Drill samples reveal that they are now more than 400 years old and, hence, the oldest beeches in Denmark. Their yellowish-green leaves are due to the limey soil. It prevents the trees from absorbing iron and manganese which are necessary for the leaves turning green. This condition is called chlorosis.

Pennyworts blossom in the beech forest

In March-April, you find pennyworts on the floor of the beech forest. They only grow in limey soil. In ancient times, they were used for the treatment of liver disease because the colour and shape of their leaves are reminiscent of the human liver. Like other anemones, the pennyworth is poisonous when raw.

Denmark's largest orchid has man-shaped flowers

When the beeches of Klinteskoven come into leaf in May, the purple orchis follows soon after. It is Denmark's largest orchid and is known for its two-coloured flowers which look like a man with arms that are too long and a helmeted head. The purple orchis is typically found in beech forests along the coast. It is found in only a few locations in Denmark.

Red helleborines can survive underground

The red helleborine is one of our most beautiful orchids. The pink or lilac flowers open around Midsummer and may be up to 3 cm long. Red helleborines are found in beech forests. If the forest becomes too dark for the orchids to bloom, the plants can survive underground for several years.

Types of primroses mix and create new shapes

On the forest floor, you also find hybrids of primroses which have been bred by nature itself. The three wild, Danish primroses - the true oxlip, the common cowslip and the common primrose - do not normally share a habitat. But at Høje Møn, they show all their yellow flowers and are happy to cross-pollinate. And you find all sorts of hybrids on the floor of Klinteskoven.

Common with unique plants

Høvblege is probably the remnant of a larger cohesive common in the western area of Møns Klint. The area was designated an area of outstanding beauty as early as 1917, but was in a critical condition for a while due to sheep grazing the area. The state took over Høvblege and Mandemarke Bakker in 1992 and has made special efforts to prevent the common from overgrowing with scrubs. Only by keeping the landscape open, may the rare plants be preserved.

Purple rarity 

The pyramidal orchid is one of the area's absolute rarities. The purple flowers blossom in June-July and smell of honey. In Denmark, pyramidal orchids grow in only a few locations and its best habitat is on Møns Klint where it grows in commons and in scrubs.

Flax and sweet peas were grown as crops

At Høvblege, you may also find rare plants that were once cultivated as crops. As the name implies, Austrian flax comes from Central Europe but was introduced to Denmark. It really thrives at Høvblege. In June, the southern slope turns into a big blue carpet. The pink esparcet of the sweet pea family was previously grown as fodder.

Food for picky butterfly

Wild thyme and wild marjoram grow on Høvblege. They are a prerequisite for the survival of the rare butterfly large blue. The caterpillar is very picky and will only eat the leaves of these plants.