. . .
FEBRUARY 23 - 2018
Laying on Brook Meadow
I went over to
Brook Meadow this morning for the second and final day
of the special work session hedge-laying on the
Seagull Lane patch. Present were Rachel, Maurice,
Tony and Dan. They completed the final section of
hedgerow just after 1pm, fully laid, staked and woven
and matching up neatly with the earlier one done by
Here is the compeleted
For the full report
and more photos go to . . . https://www.brookmeadow.org.uk/conservation-news/
in garden - advice
Mike Wells has
a few ideas for Peter Milinets-Raby's dilemma
regarding the fox family in his garden - see
"Many years ago, we
had a similar problem under the shed and, not wishing
to harm any foxes I was simply advised to just take
steps so that they no longer liked their environment.
I had peered under the shed to see two cubs curled up,
and obviously there were adults somewhere. It was at
the time when everyone had a container of creosote in
their shed/garage, which the mature amongst us will
remember has a very strong distinctive odour. I simply
placed two flat flower pot saucers containing old rags
soaked in creosote either side of their entrance one
evening and by the next day the family had moved on,
possibly with their eyes watering, which was the same
effect that the creosote had on me!
Two years ago, my
elderly widowed neighbour, a nature lover, was quite
excited to tell me she had foxes under her shed and
couldn't wait to see the cubs playing in her garden. I
offered to 'move them on' but she declined my offer.
Later she told me how nice it was to see two small fox
cubs frolicking on her lawn and around her pot plants
and shrubs. Within a week or so her pristine garden
was being wrecked, with all manner of damage. She
belatedly accepted my original offer 'to move them
on'. Firstly I changed the lovely dry environment
under her shed by jetting water down their entrance
and the result was immediate! Two half grown cubs plus
one adult came out like missiles and disappeared down
the garden. I continued this drenching to make their
den totally uninhabitable. Unfortunately, no longer
possessing any creosote, I went to my collection of
nasty after-shaves, deodorants, body lotion etc , all
collected as unwanted Christmas gifts and normally
used to freshen our rubbish bin, to select the 'worst'
after-shave, which, as before, I soaked the rags in,
and left just inside their entrance. The fox family
did not return. For a few days I could still smell
this after-shave from my garden, two doors away if the
breeze was in the right direction!
No foxes were harmed
by my actions. I know of other people who have adopted
a similar tactic. "
FEBRUARY 22 - 2018
Meadow hedge laying
I went over to
the meadow at 10am for a special work session
organised by Maurice Lillie and led by Rachel Bryan of
the TCV. The plan was to continue laying the mixed
hedgerow on the western edge of the Seagull Lane
patch, started by Mike Probert and others last year.
Working from south to north this hedge was planted in
three phases; the first one around 2010 and this was
the one laid by Mike. The second one, which is
presently being laid, was planted in Jubilee year
2012. The third one to the north was planted later.
Rachel thought the second hedge, comprising mostly
Hawthorn with some Hazel, Cherry and Holly, was ideal
It was a fine sunny morning for the four volunteers,
Maurice, Phil, Terry and Gordon plus Rachel, who all
set to work cutting and bending over the small trees
ready in preparation for staking.
The work continued in
the afternoon session when new volunteers, Dan and
Tony joined Maurice, Phil and Terry and continued the
laying. Work finished at about 3pm and will resume at
full report of the hedge-laying plus more photos go to
. . .
- to come
winter's view of the south meadow
I met up with
Michael Reed and team of tree surgeons at work tidying
up fallen trees and branches in Palmer's Road Copse
for the conservation group. Here is a shot of Mike
removing a branch on the path leading to the car park
that I banged my head on just now!
The first image
appears to say 'Is that all for me?' and the second
I was very
pleased to spot a male Blackcap feeding on the nice
rosy apple that I had positioned in the Buddleja tree
in the back garden specifically with him or his mate
in mind. I had male and female in the garden together
last week, but did not see the female today.
Milinets-Raby was out this morning for a walk around
the Warblington area (9am to 11:40am - low tide):
In the field west of the cemetery: 7 Little Egrets
with one Cattle Egret - showed well after standing
still in one place for 30 minutes - see photos. 1
Goldcrest singing in cemetery
Ibis Field: 5 Moorhen,
2 Song Thrush.
In fields behind Conigar Point: 5 Meadow Pipit and 1
Rock Pipit in rotting hay mound (only half left as the
farmer has been collecting it). 9 Pied Wagtails, 2
male and 1 female Reed Bunting, 2 Linnets.
8 Skylarks (two singing at least) - see 'Dog flushing
Conigar Point: 1 Med Gull, Male Pintail, 1 Great
Crested Grebe, 176 Brent Geese, 1 Lesser Black-backed
Gull, 2 Grey Plover.
Off Pook Lane: 7 Red Breasted Merganser, 70 Wigeon,
137 Brent Geese, 7 Grey Plover, 30 Bar-tailed Godwit,
47 Shelduck, 30 Dunlin, 4 male and 4 female Pintail,
Male Shoveler, 83 Teal, 3 Stock Doves.
318 Brent Geese feeding in the field south of the
All 8 Skylarks
in the fields behind Conigar Point were flushed by a
dog that I have encountered several times before. The
dog came bounding up to me as I stood in the middle of
the field, after dashing erratically about chasing the
Skylark as they took to the air. No sign of any owner.
Five minutes later, a man with a whistle walks by
along the path, whistling frantically for his mutt to
heel. The dog ignored the whistle and basically just
darted off through the next hedge and field and
flushed a feeding flock of 40+ Wood Pigeons. Totally
irresponsible! I bumped into him later on the beach
and his dog was still dashing everywhere with no curbs
on it frantic behaviour. The man was still using his
dog whistle, but the dog was totally ignoring him.
den in garden - query
Peter sent a
photo of what he thinks is a Fox den that is being dug
under his wooden summer house.
"Now the dilemma is,
do we allow this to happen or fill the "den" in. I am
worried about the small size of our garden and the
fact that I have never seen any Foxes around the area.
I doubt very much if the Fox would put up with us
looking out the window at it as the garden is so
small. Do these creatures dig lots of "dens", then
choose. What do your readers think. I am half tempted
for the photo opportunities of baby foxes, but as I
have never seen a fox in the area, I do not hold out
much hope of it being "tame". Any suggestions/comments
for Peter are very welcome!
Here is a view of
FEBRUARY 21 - 2018
and Palmate Newt
took a short walk along the causeway on Brook Meadow
yesterday evening just before the Conservation Group
committee meeting during which he counted at least 2
dozen Frogs on the path between the Lumley gate and
the central seat. It's that time of the year with
frogs looking for mates. Frogs are fairly common on
Brook Meadow, often disturbed during work sessions.
Here is one I snapped during a workday in Oct 2008.
Among the Frogs David
noticed what looked like a young Palmate Newt;
he thinks the identification was correct and not fully
grown. David put it in the wet grass by the Lumley
information board, remembering that there's a pond in
Gooseberry Cottage. Here is an image of a juvenile
Palmate Newt from the internet.
had a walk around Nore Barn Woods yesterday and got
some nice photos of the local birds, including Jay,
Goldfinch and an unusual shot of a female Great
Spotted Woodpecker possibly preening.
Brian also got a shot
of the regular Spotted Redshank in the stream. On the
basis of previous years it could be with us for
another 3-4 weeks.
For the complete
records of this remarkable bird go to . . .
Redshanks at Nore Barn
I am grateful
to Ralph Hollins for passing on a link to a report on
the remarkable West Rise Junior School in Eastbourne,
East Sussex. Among lots of other things the school
owns a swarm of one million bees, has a herd of Asian
water buffalo, and is currently constructing a Bronze
Age village on marshland opposite the school site.
Children get the chance to light fires outside, use
knives, fire shotguns, fish with reed rods and goose
feather quills, and practise archery. Some have
skinned rabbits, plucked pigeons and cooked over an
open fire, all with the aim of learning about the
countryside, conservation and land management. Wow!
Now that's what I call education!
Go to . . .
Milinets-Raby had a late afternoon visit to Langstone
Mill Pond this afternoon (3:05pm to 4pm - high
Off shore: 148 Brent Geese (some nice and close for a
photo - see photo). 14 Common Gull, 2 Teal, 63 Wigeon,
3 Red Breasted Merganser, 2 Lapwing.
Off Conigar Point: 45
Shelduck, 10 Med Gulls, 2 Red Breasted Merganser, 11
Wigeon, 236 Brent Geese.
Flooded Horse Paddock: 12 Teal, 3 Song Thrush, 3
Little Egret, 4 Wigeon, 14 Moorhen, 3 Pied Wagtail, 1
Pond: 1 Little Egret roosting, 1 Chiffchaff, 1 Little
Grebe with a Cetti's Warbler feeding in the reeds
behind - lucky!
Grey Heron colony: Top of Holm Oak: Still faint calls
of young - none seen. Other Holm oak: Adult sat on
nest. And on Nest 3 there was a Magpie feeding in the
nest, probably on eggs - shame!! This nest had an
adult sitting about two weeks ago.
FEBRUARY 18 - 2018
Milinets-Raby had a quick hour long visit to Nore Barn
this afternoon from 2:30pm - tide in - thinking about
The Spotted Redshank was showing off
exceedingly well, down to four metres - see photos.
With only a handful of
Brent Geese (32) around and not much else I wandered
around the wood. I could only find 1 Firecrest
(seen twice, but probably the same bird). The woods
were alive with small birds and I managed to see 1
Goldcrest, 1 Nuthatch, 1 Great Spotted Woodpecker, 1
Coal Tit, 4 Long-tailed Tits, 8 to 12+ Great Tits, 4
to 10+ Blue Tits, 2+ Wren and 5+ Robin.
When I arrived back at the car, two Mediterranean
Gull flew over from the north. Both were calling
as they did so (Aarhhh, Aarhh) and then they landed on
the water with graceful white wings. Both had full
black hoods - spring has truly arrived!
FEBRUARY 17 - 2018
Milinets-Raby had a wander around Emsworth and
Warblington this morning 7:20am to 9:26am - low tide
throughout, though it was coming in.
Emsworth Harbour from sunrise: 25 Wigeon -
unusually high for this bit of the shore.
1 Little Egret, 7 Turnstone, 13 Lapwing, 7 Coot with
25 on the pond, 55 Canada Geese, 4 Red Breasted
Merganser, 3 Greenshank (one with rings in the pond
outflow RG//- + BY//- see photo).
note: Greenshank RG+BY was ringed by Pete Potts
and his team on 13-Mar-2013. Originally it had a tag,
but this has since been removed. It has been a fairly
regular visitor to Emsworth Harbour, this being my
22nd record of the bird. The last sighting was on
1 Adult winter
Mediterranean Gull - Actually heard calling - Spring
has officially arrived - what a lovely sound! 362
Brent Geese, 32 Shelduck, 10 Grey Plover, 18 Teal
(highest count for the harbour in this month), 1 Great
Crested Grebe, 608 Dunlin, 2 Ringed Plover - one with
rings metal//- + N//YL - a new colour ringed bird.
16 Dunlin, 15 Wigeon, 10 Shelduck, Green Woodpecker
heard, 4 Grey Plover, 8 Teal, 2 male and 2 female
Pintail, 19 Brent Geese.
Nore Barn: 70
Teal, 39 Wigeon, 2 Shelduck, 27 Dunlin, 49 Brent
From 8:41am: 1 Cattle Egret with 6 Little Egret. The
Cattle Egret is a scruffy bird, as per the photo
yesterday on your website. Two days ago I watched a
bird with warm buff wash on the head and nape. I have
always suspected two, but never had them
Off Pook Lane:
1 Great Crested Grebe, 35 Wigeon, 36 Teal, 15
Bar-tailed Godwit, 381 Dunlin, 11 Grey Plover, 74
Lapwing, 2 male and 2 female Pintail, 5 Red Breasted
Merganser, 42 Shelduck, 3 male ad a female Shoveler
feeding along the tide line, 108 Brent Geese, 2
Redwing in the cemetery.
FEBRUARY 16 - 2018
There was only
one place to go on such a beautiful morning and this
was Hollybank Woods. I had a lovely walk in the warm
winter sunshine. The only jarring note was a huge pile
of fly tippings just inside the north gate.
I was pleased to have
a chat young Andrew in his 'woodland home' behind the
Lowtons seat on the eastern bridleway. Andrew is a
great enthusiast and a fund of information about
woodland matters. He said the tipping took place one
evening after he had left the site, but it had to be
dealt with by the council.
Here is a shot of
Andrew's work area
While we were talking
a pair of Buzzards flew leisurely overhead. Andrew
said he had last seen a Goshawk about 3 weeks ago. I
noticed lots of fresh Bluebell leaves along the north
I heard my
first Blackbird song of the year from the electricity
substation at the south end of Bridge Road car park at
about 3.30pm. I managed to catch the male bird on
camera, though not singing at the time as he was
distracted by the appearance of a female. This is the
date I would expect to hear the first song at this
location. Last year is was a bit later on Feb 24, but
in the previous 2 years (2015-16) the first date was
Feb 15 and Feb 16.
had a walk around Warblington today and saw plenty of
birds and signs of spring with Snowdrops and bees.
Brian also got a shot of the Cattle Egret on the farm
field. This Bumblebee looks like Bombus
FEBRUARY 15 - 2018
I went over to
Brook Meadow this morning for the regular 3rd Thursday
in the month work session. The ground was very wet
after yesterday's rain. Today in contrast was fine and
sunny and positively warm! Only 7 volunteers, so
Maurice decided to carry on with clearing the
intertwined vegetation and removal of the old wire
stock fencing around the Willow and Alder copse in the
west side of the north meadow.
For Maurice's report
and more photos go to . . . https://www.brookmeadow.org.uk/conservation-news/
I noted the first
flowering of Summer Snowflake (Leucojum
aestivum) close to the Oak that I planted on
the Seagull Lane patch. As it grows from a bulb, it
comes up in the same place each year.
This plant is misnamed
as it flowers in early spring. I was surprised to read
that it is native to this country, though is far more
widespread as a garden escape, which is what I suspect
this particular plant is.
afternoon I popped over to Nore Barn just in time to
catch the Spotted Redshank before the tide receded too
far, looking sprightly as always.
Apart from a small
flock of Brent Geese, the bay was fairly deserted. I
reckon most of the wintering birds are now on their
way towards their breeding grounds in the north. It
was good to meet Jo Bray from Westbourne - she was the
one who had a Hawfinch in her garden! Jo was a bit
anxious about the possible effects of the housing
development behind Westbourne Avenue, but I said not
to worry as it would not do much harm and the houses
and gardens would benefit wildlife.
I went over to
Warblington Church where I looked for the Cattle
Egret, but only saw 7 Little Egrets in the large field
west of the main cemetery. The Yews in the churchyard
are now loaded with full pollen sacs. I knocked the
twigs, but no pollen was given off - a bit early for
FEBRUARY 13 - 2018
Milinets-Raby had a quick visit to the Langstone Mill
Pond this afternoon 3pm to 3:45pm - very low tide.
Off shore: 1 Kingfisher dashing across the channel, 59
Teal, 10 Red Breasted Merganser, 12 Dunlin, 14 Grey
Plover, 2 male and a female Goldeneye, 1 Great Crested
Grebe, 26 Shelduck, 581 Brent Geese, 90 Lapwing, 23
Langstone Mill Pond: The pen of the Mute Swan pair was
building up a nest close to where the last pair built
a nest - seen reasonably well from the path behind the
Grey Heron colony: Holm Oak nest. Noise of young still
being heard, but no sign in the cold chilly conditions
The original nest in the Other Holm Oak had two birds
standing up on it today. The first signs of interest
in this nest.
Flooded Horse Paddock: 3 Oystercatcher, 53 Teal, 1
Little Egret, 16 Moorhen, 1 Green Sandpiper.
Peter Milinets-Raby visited Warblington 7:40am to
10:04am. He only walked as far as a pile of rotting
hay in the field east of the SSSI field and spent the
whole visit taking photos of the pipits that were
milling about and feeding on this dollop of discarded
cow poo and rotting hay. Here is an abbreviated
version of Peter's report with a selection of his
"The mound attracted
7+ Meadow Pipits, 7 Pied Wagtails, a single Grey
Wagtail (very elusive), 2 Water Pipits and 2 to
probably 4 Rock Pipits. The birds were impossible to
photograph. I had to wait until one perched on the
summit of a mound and invariably this turned out too
be a Rock Pipit. I took over 660 photos and on viewing
them I just became very confused indeed on how to
identify Rock from Water Pipit. The two obvious Water
Pipits would often fly off the short distance to feed
in the watery trickle emanating out from the plastic
sheet mound of silage about 30 metres away - good
scoped views on one occasion with the two birds
together with 2 Rock Pipits. They would fly back to
the mound of rotting hay and vanish in the valleys.
After reading loads of articles on the identification
of this group, I am none the wiser on how to separate
Here is a
selection of Peter's photos:
Meadow Pipit . . . . . . . . Rock Pipit
Water Pipit . . . . . . . . Water and Meadow
FEBRUARY 9 - 2018
Waterlooville garden today, Barrie Jay saw the two
extremes - the largest and the smallest. A Grey Heron
was on his neighbour's roof, waiting to swoop down to
his pond and a Goldcrest was on one of the feeders -
one of the resident pair always around this winter.
Barrie, you are a lucky chap to get such good views of
this delightful bird.
Barrie also had the
ever present Song Thrush showing off the camouflage
effect of its mottled breast and a delightful Wood
mouse ran underneath of the feeders. At first, Barrie
thought it was a Wren as their movements are similar.
Talking about Wood
Mice, I think I have a little colony (if that is the
right word) of them currently living in our compost
heap at the bottom of the garden. They have scooped up
the soft compost soil and piled it in mounds. It could
be Rats, but I think we would have seen one by now.
Geese on Heath Pond, Petersfield in
Geese in Hampshire
adds some local flesh to the facts I quoted in
yesterday's blog about Egyptian Geese. Ralph used the
HOS search facility to list all the Hampshire sighting
reports between Jan 1 2017 and the present and to
summarise a very long list it looks as if pairs may
have attempted breeding at around 30 sites in
Hampshire and in the winter they congregate at
Harbridge in the Avon Valley (just across the river
from the Blashford Lakes) where the max count in Jan
2017 was 46 and 37 in Jan 2018. Ralph added that this
apparent decrease in the winter population should not
be taken as a trend as the birds do not necessarily
stay in Hampshire - there is a sighting of 4 seen
flying over Southsea to the IOW.
Egyptian Goose was
listed in Birds of Hampshire in 1993 as 'a very scarce
visitor' with no more than 5 birds being seen together
in the county though a small breeding population had
already become established in Berkshire. That is still
reflected in the current site with the highest non
winter count being the Eversley Gravel Pits on the
Berkshire border. Other than that the only other sites
with big counts are Petersfield with 21 on June 7 and
Ripley Farm Reservoir (further down the Avon Valley)
with 23 on Feb 5 this year.
wonders if the black berries the Blackbird was eating
on Brook Meadow in yesterday's blog could be Privet? I
think that is almost certainly the case. I just came
up with Elderberries off the top of my head, not
thinking of the more obvious Privet which is fairly
abundant in that area. Thanks, Ralph.
Mill Pond - Herons start breeding
Milinets-Raby visited Langstone Mill Pond this
afternoon - 1:09pm to 2:20pm - very low tide. His
Very little on the
pond, except 2 Mute Swans, 32 Mallard, a single Little
Egret and some new Grey Herons. The only activity in
the Grey Heron colony was from the top of the main
Holm Oak. An adult bird flew in and started to
regurgitate food items into the nest. The other adult
stood up and the faint sound of chicks could be heard.
After five minutes, the adult that stood up from the
nest, ate three large morsels from the regurgitated
pile and then flew off. I did not see any chicks, but
could clearly hear them. Spring has
note: I do not apologise for repeating Peter's
of a Grey Heron parent and young at a nest in February
In the flooded horse
paddock were: 5 Oystercatcher, 2 Teal, 1 male
Pheasant, 1 Redshank, 12 Moorhen, 1 Buzzard.
Off shore: 1 Greenshank (G//R + BR//-), 638 Dunlin, 72
Shelduck, 1 male and 2 female Pintail, 1134 Brent
Geese - An impressive flock was disturbed off the
north Hayling Island fields and they flew en masse and
landed on the mud to allow me to count them. 15 Grey
Plover, 70 Lapwing with 4 Golden Plover amongst them,
58 Wigeon, 86 Teal.
Male Shoveler out feeding along the low tide line. A
pair were on the pond on Wednesday. This is a very
unusual wintering record. I hope they stay to breed.
23 Black-tailed Godwit.
FEBRUARY 8 - 2018
home from the village I found the first of the Sweet
Violets in flower on the path behind Lillywhite's
Garage. Soon there will be many more.
The river in full
flood in Palmer's Road Copse, giving no access along
the river path without wellies, which I did not have,
so I skirted around the car park, but not before I got
this nice shot of fallen trees and flooded banks.
I waited for a while
on the south bridge with my camera at the ready (doing
a Malcolm), but all I managed to capture was this
chirpy Great Tit digging for insects in the rough bark
of the willows.
The large Crack
Willows on the main path through the south meadow are
festooned with a variety of plants including Ivy,
Cleavers and a feather moss (Brachythecium
Just before I reached
the north bridge I spotted a pair of Blackbirds in the
bushes on the west bank, plucking at the remains of
what looked like Elderberries. Here is the male.
The small Alder
sapling that grows at the outfall on the north bend is
looking very attractive with its fresh reddish catkins
and last year's knarled cones.
Trust for Ornithology reports that Egyptian Geese,
native to central and southern Africa, have been
present in Europe as an exotic species since at least
the 17th Century. Naturalised populations in Germany,
the Netherlands and eastern England remained
relatively small, but have expanded considerably since
the 1980s. Egyptian Geese are early breeders, with
pairs defending potential breeding sites from January
onwards. Cavities in trees are favoured, but it may
also nest on the ground.
See . . . https://bto-enews.org/NXN-5FCC5-3GJW16-2ZVC2L-0/c.aspx
I know there has been
a pair of Egyptian Geese for some years on Heath Lake
at Petersfield. Here is a photo I got of them in March
2015 and they have bred. Tony Wootton got one of the
pair with a clutch of goslings in April of the same
year. I do not know if they are still present.
Intended to be
a one-off survey for British Birds magazine in 1928,
the BTO Heronries Census is now in its 90th year and
still going strong! It is probably the longest running
data set for any breeding bird in the world. Although
focused on Grey Herons, the census also covers
inland-nesting Cormorants and Little Egrets, with
scarcer herons also counted at a handful of sites.
Around two-thirds of the UK's heronries are surveyed
annually by the census, with 'apparently occupied
nests' counted at each site, in order to estimate the
UK population each year. See . . . . . .
Locally, we have a
well-established Heronry in the trees behind Langstone
Mill Pond which Peter Milinets-Raby does a good job at
counting each year. See his annual report for more
details . . . . https://peterspurplepages.files.wordpress.com
Here is a
great shot Peter got of parent and young at a nest in
FEBRUARY 5 - 2018
This morning I
had a walk from the parking area at the junction of
Thornham Lane and Thorney Road to the harbour wall and
back via the old Marina Farm in bright and chilly
I found plenty of fresh green leaves of Alexanders
along the edge of Thornham Lane, but no sign of
any flowers as yet. Alexanders is an early flowering
plant and should be out in a few weeks, at least.
is flowering well at the start of the main path to
the seawall. This is a very common plant on disturbed
and waste ground and flowers all year round. Male and
female flowers occur on separate plants (dioecious),
the male flowers, as shown in this photo (not yet
open), are in erect catkin-like spikes. It is an
ancient introduction from Europe, present for at least
1000 years and still spreading!
I came across a fine
rosette of Spear Thistle on the Emsworth Marina
seawall which was muddier than I have ever known it.
Things are changing on
the old Marina Farm site which has been
derelict for some years. The tall fence separating the
site from the public footpath has been removed, so it
is now possible to walk through unhindered. New
fencing has been erected along the driveway and new
gates at the entrance. A large horsebox was present,
so maybe the stables will be preserved. Let's hope so
as Swallows nest there each year. I spoke to a young
chap who was busy installing lights on the new fence.
He thought the place had been recently purchased and
that bungalows were planned. Photos from the back and
had a female Blackcap in a Pyracanthus bush outside
his kitchen window in Waterlooville. She kindly waited
while John found his camera to get the following shot.
He hopes she will find my garden welcoming enough and
stay a while. She certainly looks very cosy and snug
in the sunshine.
FEBRUARY 4 - 2018
I went over to
the meadow for the regular first Sunday in the month
work session. Weather was bright with a cold NE wind.
Fairly good turn out of 9 volunteers led by Jennifer.
The main task was to make a start on tidying up the
small copse on the west side of the north meadow and
removing the wire stock fencing that no longer serves
any purpose. Here is a view of the copse in question.
This copse, comprising mainly Crack Willow and Alder,
was planted over 20 years ago by HBC to shield the old
gasholder from the houses in Lumley Road.
Removing the wire
fence was not an easy task and will have to be
continued in future sessions. Regarding clearing, I
sounded a note of caution as I suspect this copse is
well used by birds (including Blackcap and
Whitethroat) for nesting. Meanwhile, Maurice and Peter
installed new reinforcement boards in front of the
main seat and on the north river bank.
Here are the
volunteers having a well earned coffee break
For the full report of
the work session plus more photos go to . . .
Terry pointed out to me the first Butterbur flower
spike beside the main path near the sluice gate. I
found several more just emerging on the large
Butterbur area below the main seat. This is not
especially early. In some years I have found them out
I had a little mooch
around in the Lumley copse. It is not easily
accessible, but OK if you go carefully. I found plenty
of fresh growth of Lords and Ladies (Arum)
leaves. I also noticed a few fronds of what I assume
is Male Fern.
There was also, lots
of a light green feather moss growing on trees and
twigs. I will tentatively identify this as
Brachythecium rutabulum, which is one of
the mosses that Rod Stern identified during his survey
of the site in 2001. The photo shows fruiting of
inclined capsules which are produced on rough reddish
stalks in autumn, winter and spring.
FEBRUARY 1 - 2018
was at Nore Barn today at high water and got this
interesting shot of the Spotted Redshank with a Common
Redshank. Graham was a little concerned if the bird
had lost a leg or was it tucked under. No problem,
Graham. Spotted Redshank in common with most other
waders occasionally roost on one leg, presumably as a
way of relaxing - a bit like when we cross our legs.
For history of the
Spotted Redshank in Emsworth go to . . .
Redshanks at Nore Barn
I am grateful
to ecologist John Norton who corrected the
identification of the plant I photographed yesterday
in Hollybank Woods. John pointed out that the plant is
not a moss (as I incorrectly thought), but a foliose
lichen with crinkled lobes called Platismatia
glauca. As far as I can discern it does not
have a common name. It is described as 'widespread and
often very common on acidic bark and twigs' and its
distribution covers all of Europe, plus Eastern and
Western USA as well as in the tip of South America.
JANUARY 31 - 2018
I had an hour
to spare this morning so I decided to try out my new
Derry boots for a walk in Hollybank Woods. It was
certainly very wet, but the boots were excellent.
Incidentally this is now my 4th pair in about 20
years. I parked on Emsworth Common Road and did a
short circuit in the north-east sector. I have not
been in the woods for a few months and it was so good
to walk along the eastern bridleway with the trees
glistening and the birds singing, notably Robin and
There were masses of
Sweet Chestnut husks beneath the trees,
indicating a bumper autumn harvest which I missed.
Young Andrew was not
in his usual work area, but he is still very busy
cutting stakes, etc. He also has erected a gazebo to
shelter from the rain since I was last here.
Wandering around this
area, I noted plenty of bright green Bank
Haircap moss which I can identify.
Nearby I found another
green moss (or liverwort?) with crinkly edged leaves
growing on a dead twig which I recognised as familiar,
but could not identify. My very tentative guess is
Marchantia polymorpha though I would
of the winter Blackcaps
It is now well
known that a population of Blackcaps over winter in UK
gardens and research evidence provided by the BTO
Garden BirdWatch scheme has established a firm link
between increased in Blackcaps over wintering to both
garden feeding and warmer temperatures. See . . .
More recently, there
was excitement in November when a Blackcap fitted with
a tiny tracking device was recaptured by Glynne Evans
in his Hampshire garden where it was tagged nine
months earlier. Preliminary analysis of the tag data
indicates that the bird left Britain at the end of
March and spent the summer in France, before returning
by early November. But is this pattern the exception,
or the rule? And why did this bird decide to come
north for the winter when it was already in southern
France? BTO hope to find the answers to these
questions and many others as the project continues.
See . . . https://bto-enews.org/NXK-5CCTM-3UEDCR-2ZGQNA-0/c.aspx
For a general summary
of this fascinating project on the movement of
Blackcaps organised by BTO, and Oxford and Exeter
Universities see . . . https://bto-enews.org/NXK-5CCTM-3UEDCR-2ZGQNC-0/c.aspx
Personally, I have not
seen any wintering Blackcaps in my Emsworth garden,
though I certainly have had them in previous years.
However, Barrie Jay has had a female in his
Waterlooville garden - see blog for Jan 22.
the previous month go to . . . January