Birdwatching in Emsworth
RETURN TO . . . Emsworth Wildlife - Homepage


for earlier years see . . . Havant Wildlife Group -main page

SATURDAY DECEMBER 30 - 2017- Chichester Gravel Pits
Ros Norton reported on today's walk

Today 7 of us met at North Mundham car park for a walk among the Chichester Gravel Pits on a sunny and mild windy morning. There was a lot of wildlife activity at the car park including robins, blue tits, a green woodpecker, rooks, long tailed tits and a grey squirrel.

On many of the lakes were coots and tufted ducks. Other ducks included gadwall, shoveller, pochard, mallard and teal. There were several great crested grebes and one little grebe.

As well as mute swans there were 4 black swans including 2 juveniles.

A few sightings of a little egret and one grey heron and both greylag and Canada geese were seen. There were brief sightings of goldcrests, kestrel and bullfinch. Wren and dunnock were heard. There were distant gulls on the lakes.
Just a few plants in flower included winter heliotrope, daisy, yarrow, white deadnettle, field speedwell, cow parsley and hogweed. Some pink fruits on spindle added colour to the hedgerows.

SATURDAY December 23, 2017 - Langstone
Tony Wootton reported on the walk by Havant Wildlife Group

Six of us set off on a grey damp morning and it stayed a grey damp morning all morning. Did that bother us? Not a bit, nor did it bother quite a lot of the birds because they are obviously pairing up. We saw Mute swan, brent, shelduck, wigeon,gadwall, teal,mallard,pintail, shovelor, red breasted merganser, little grebe, great crested grebe, cormorant, little egret, cattle egret, grey heron, moorhen, oystercatcher, golden plover, grey plover, lapwing, dunlin, black tailed godwit, curlew(63), redshank, greenshank, common sandpiper, blackheaded gull (1 with black head),common gull, herring gull, stock dove, woodpigeon, collared dove, great spotted woodpecker, grey wagtail, pied wagtail, wren, dunnock, robin, stonechat, blackbird, songthrush, redwing, chiffchaff, goldcrest, longtailed, , blue and great tits, jay, magpie, carrion crow, starling, house sparrow, greenfinch and by no means last, goldfinch. No raptors.
Finally, to make half of the groups day, a wren with it's alarm call, alerted us to a weasel.
Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year to everyone.

SATURDAY December 16, 2017 - Farlington Marshes
Helen Penfold reported on today's walk by the Havant Wildlife Group

Fourteen of us met on a bright, chilly morning at Farlington. Our walk started well, being greeted by a charm of goldfinches, and then seeing 15 avocets on a mudbank in the channel. As the tide covered the mud, they moved across to the lake, where we later counted 40 + of them. There were ducks on the lake, including pintail, wigeon and teal. A flock of redshank were nestling together on the mud and two snipe were preening themselves on the bank.
A bit further on we were delighted to see 20+ bearded tits, swinging on the reeds, giving us a wonderful view of them in the bright sunlight. Two reed buntings were also seen.

A Raven pecked its way across the field, where there were also plenty of Brent geese and Canada geese and a solitary white goose, as well as lapwings and curlews.Looking out towards Portsmouth we could see many birds on a mudbank, including shelducks, dunlins, knots, grey plovers and oystercatchers. Walking eastwards, we saw shovelers, stonechats, a song thrush in the grass, a buzzard, a kestrel and a few bar tailed godwits.
As we turned inland towards the hut, we saw many black tailed godwits, pecking in the grass, and when we were nearly back at the car park we enjoyed watching a goldcrest taking a prolonged bath in a muddy puddle, just in front of us.

Derek also managed to get a photo of a Rock Pipit (left) and later a Water Pipit (right),
the latter showing its distinctive white supercilium.

Other sightings included egrets, little grebe, rock pipits, two water pipits, a heron, gadwalls, moorhens, coots, mallards, a wren, robins and magpies. A water rail was heard by a few of the group.

SATURDAY December 9 2017 - Pagham Harbour
Heather Mills reports on yesterday's walk by the Havant Wildlife Group. 11 met on a very bright and cold morning at Pagham Harbour RSPB Reserve.

The group taking a coffee break (minus Heather the photographer)

We were serenaded with a fine Robin in the car park and set off in reverse to our usual route due to the path being blocked off due to the construction of a new hide overlooking the lagoon. Many small birds, Blue and Great-tit fed off the feeders provided, with Chaffinch and House Sparrows in attendance below. A Song Thrush gave good views in the Hawthorn above. As we reached the shore path the usual Redshanks and burbling Curlew called and could be seen easily. At the viewpoint overlooking the small inlet from the lagoon Caroline brought our attention to a Spotted Redshank happily sitting on the side of the bank with a few Teal. Looking eastwards 6 or so Black-tailed Godwits fed on the mud. Two very good flocks of approx 100 Wigeon grazed across the road on the fields to the left of the lagoon and to the right a large flock of Canada Geese. Apart from 2 Black tails nothing else hereabouts. We moved along the footpath and came across a Reed Bunting female avidly feeding which gave us time to scope it for closer inspection. A pair of Stonechats avidly worked the thistles on the opposite side of the footpath and seen again at the end of the walk by most of us. One lone male Yellowhammer flew past and rested in a tree some way off and as I called to inform the group some did manage to get a good view of it. As we proceeded to the channel inlet we were aware of a strange noise behind and turned to see a mass of Brent flying over the centre eastward to the sea.

A dozen Avocets with Shelducks and other waders could be seen far off resting on the bend of the channel. Having our coffee break gave a chance to scope for more waders and we were rewarded with at least 9 Little Grebes in the sea channel towards Church Norton to where we eventually ended up walking. Fine views were had of resting Cormorants far over on the shingle bank and Pintail. One Curlew came very close feeding in the vegetation. We all managed to see the differences between the few Knot and the many Grey Plovers with hundreds of Dunlin feeding on the mud. An extremely confiding Robin walked amongst our feet as we made our return. 51 species seen with a calling Chiffchaff in the bushes at the start of the walk. Flowers seen White dead nettle and the flowering Gorse.
A very fine morning and we were very fortunate looking out at today.

SATURDAY December 2 - 2017 - Forestside
Steph Dale reported on the walk:
Thank you to the 5 people who turned up in good spirits on a very grey day for our walk from Forestside. The wildlife was trying hard to keep hidden on a fairly cold morning but we did see a beautiful male bullfinch, fieldfares, redwings, a mistle thrush, a kestrel, buzzards, lots of robins, house sparrows, blackbirds, blue tits, starlings, jackdaws and rooks. We also saw spindleberries, butcher’s broom, cloudy agaric and King Alfred’s buns.
There are still a few flowers around – we saw yarrow, smooth sowthistle, meadow buttercup, hogweed, bramble and white dead nettle.

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 18 - 2017 - Pulborough Brooks
Nicola Hammond reported on today's walk by the Havant Wildlife Group. "A group of ten met on a crisp but gloriously sunny morning at RSPB Pulborough Brooks.

The highlights of the morning were views of both a hen harrier and red kite from Winpenny Hide, clear views of male bullfinches from Hanger View and a large flock of whistling wigeon which flew over us as we walked along. Other birds seen included a little owl, kestrel, buzzard, redwings, fieldfares, meadow pipit, lapwings, teal, pintail, shoveler, mallard, shelduck, Canada geese, mute swans, black tailed godwit, dunlin, redshank, heron, common gulls, jackdaws, starlings, pheasant, pied wagtails, blue and great tits, blackbirds, robins and dunnock. We also saw a large group of fallow deer.

Red Kite . . . Song Thrush

Sadly the hoped for snipe eluded us so we consoled ourselves at the end of the walk with hot soup and sandwiches in the café!"

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 18 - 2017 - Hayling Oysterbeds
Ros Norton reported on this morning's walk by the Havant Wildlife Group
A group of eleven hardy souls met on a drizzly morning at Hayling Oysterbeds to be greeted by a singing song thrush heard from the car park. We could see many birds including brent geese, redshanks, turnstones, grey plover, pintail, dunlin curlew and a little egret.
We walked to the Oysterbeds where we saw in the harbour near a group of roosting oystercatchers, 2 velvet scoters and 5 black necked grebes diving in Langstone Harbour. In the Oysterbeds was a group of about 13 red breasted mergansers and a group of 6 little grebes.

We walked further north and had our coffee break by a seat. Flocks of dunlin flew over. The rain started to get heavier and visibility worsened so we could not appreciate the often spectacular high tide roost at about 11a.m. but retreated to the car park early.
A few species of wild flowers are still hanging on including bristly oxtongue, prickly sow thistle, common mallow, mayweed, ragwort, buttercup and creeping thistle.

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 11 - 2017 - Thorney Deeps
Ros Norton reported on the Havant Wildlife Group walk
On Saturday 11th two people ventured out on an overcast morning with a little light drizzle at times and a brisk wind. Parking at Thornham Lane Junction we walked along a path towards the Deeps (west Side). Along the path we saw robin, blackbird, wood pigeon and some goldcrests.
At the little Deeps were many coots and mallards, 2 mute swans, a wigeon and we heard a little grebe. A heron and egret along the water channel flew away at our approach, a pair of swans had one large cygnet and a goldcrest was spotted in a nearby bush.
At the Great Deeps brent geese flew over, two great crested grebes dived , more herons and egrets seen, Shelducks, a gathering of cormorants on the far bank, two very noisy black headed gulls, a greater black backed gull and some distant ducks entertained us during a coffee break.
The tide was very low but in the harbour were distant oystercatchers, curlews , brent geese and redshanks. We returned via the farm path where a party of long tailed tits flew along a hedgerow.
Among the flowers seen were bristly ox-tongue, annual mercury, periwinkle, black knapweed, smooth and prickly sowthistle, red and white deadnettle, red clover, gorse, ivy, yarrow, hogweed, wild carrot, ragwort, meadow and creeping buttercup, periwinkle, dandelion and daisy.

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 4 - 2017 - Keyhaven
Tony Wootton reported this morning's walk by the Havant Wildlife Group
Just 5 of us set off in the pouring rain this morning, but boy were we rewarded. We even sat in warm sunshine eating our lunch.
2 kingfishers, Dartford warbler, 100 yes a 100 curlew roosting together, at least 60 pintail, a red breasted merganser and finally a grey phalarope. 55 species in all.
mute swan, brent, shelduck, wigeon, gadwall, teal, mallard, pintail, shoveler, Red-breasted Merganser, pheasant, little grebe, gc grebe, cormorant, little egret, grey heron, marsh harrier, kestrel, coot, oystercatcher, grey plover, dunlin, lapwing, snipe, blacktailed godwit, curlew, redshank, greenshank, turnstone, black headed gull, lbb gull, gbb gull, hering gull, wood pigeon, collared dove, kingfisher, meadow pipit ,rock pipit, pied wagtail, wren, dunnock, robin, blackbird, cetti's (heard), dartford warbler, blue tit, magpie, jackdaw, crow, starling, greenfinch, goldfinch, linnet and reed bunting.
Flowering plants, courtesy of Ros. Common toadflax, mayweed, red clover, white clover,gorse, dandelion, purple toadflax, smooth sowthistle, yarrow, hogweed, cow parsley, ragwort, common mallow, oxeye daisy, wild carrot, bramble, thrift, creeping buttercup. (18)

Heather Mills sends a selection of photos taken by Derek as follows: Pintail, female Red Breasted Merganser, Grey Phalarope, female Marsh Harrier and flock of standing Curlew.

SATURDAY 28 October 2017 - Stansted Forest
Heather Mills reported on the Havant Wildlife Group walk
9 met this morning on a decidedly Autumnal morning with low mist in some of the dew laden fields with bright sunshine leading up to Stansted House.

As we took the road on the eastern side of Stansted, Caroline heard a Raven call and it appeared in the top field with the cattle in. The birds were surprisingly quiet until we turned into the road with the cottages on the corner. We were dismayed to see a large group of runners from the South downs all leading dogs, some of which were off lead. They quickly disappeared leaving us to enjoy the delights of a group of Yellowhammers in the tree protectors over the hedge on our left. We thought there were at least 6. Skylarks were evident and a lone Roe deer watched us from the middle of the trees in the adjoining field. The crows, pigeons and Jackdaws were the most numerous hereabouts.
We were pleasantly surprised as we looked over a gate northwards, to see 2 male Bullfinch. As we were about to move off after the delights of the hedgerow birds a large group of walkers were coming in our direction. We retraced our steps at Tony's suggestion in case the Bullfinches had returned. This was our best bit of the morning as many male and female Blackbirds and a couple of Song Thrushes with Blue-tits, Jay, Long-tails gave us good views alighting the field edge. On our walk at the North eastern edge we were heading for our coffee break when a small flock of Red legged partridge appeared in the hedgerow. Some also saw Goldcrest in the fir trees with a calling Chiffchaff.
Some of us heard a snippet of Woodlarks but we did not see them in the surrounding fields this time. 28 birds species seen or heard.
As we retraced our steps along the main road I spotted the Parasol fungi that used to be prolific in the corner with the stunning Sweet Chestnut trees. We ventured into the woods here but could not locate any more due to the scrub taking hold.

Ros counted at least 15 plant species in flower but nothing unusual. Butterflies still about were Red Admiral and Comma.

SATURDAY 7 October 2017 - Chidham
Heather Mills reports on this morning's walk by the Havant Wildlife Group at Chidham.

"A decidedly blowy day at Chidham did not deter 9 of us enjoying the morning. We took the footpath to the shore and saw a large flock of Pipits. Also seen with a few Skylarks, one of which attempted to sing. As we neared the shore a Greenshank flew up and off over the rising tide. One of the early highlights was a group of 4 Grey Partridge hunkering down out of the wind.

Another was a Bar-tailed Godwit feeding on the tidal edge as we walked around the lagoon. Some managed to catch the Kingfisher on the mud bank before it flew off into the distance. We had a constant companion Rock Pipit feeding close by, and good views of Curlews and a Great Blackback Gull. Cormorants resting up along the shore with a Sandwich Tern fishing as we returned. 36 bird species seen and heard.

4 Roe deer made a quick dash into the copse as we walked back. We made a stop to admire Ivy in flower being bombarded by Hornets.

Some of the flowers out included Musk and Common Mallow and Sea Lavender and Sea Aster, Field Speedwell, Self-heal with plenty of Black Nightshade on the field edge. A good morning even though we were blown along!"

SATURDAY 30 SEPTEMBER 2017 - Nutbourne
Fay Durant reported on the Havant Wildlife Group walk

Nine hopefuls met on an overcast Saturday morning in Farm Lane , Nutbourne . We walked across the field to the coastal path . In the field to the right were belted Galloway's grazing , attractive beasts . Two moorhens were spied with two fluffy chicks . There was the usual gathering of sparrows in the bushes. Reaching the shore , Heather had already spied two wheatears , darting amongst the rocks and seaweed - very visible to all .

Out at sea were a mass of wigeon plus a number of Great crested grebe . A cormorant landed , rather inelegantly , in the water .Heather saw a turnstone on the spit and a group of ringed plover , who took off leaving one on its own , which might have been injured . There were the usual gulls , oystercatchers and a curlew . Walking towards Prinstead , Heather again saw a whinchat , which was a rarity and good views were had by all .

Little egrets were seen everywhere . A charm of goldfinch rose and descended on the thistles and teasels . In the distance two big flocks of geese flew over , one was definitely Canada geese , the other could possibly have been Brent .Further on , to the left , on a narrow spit , a possible whimbrel was seen . A couple of pied wagtails flew up from the sea wall .It was nice to meet up with Caroline near the coffee stop at Prinstead . We returned via the fields and old orchards , following the footpath that goes off to the left . Very little was seen , a hovering kestrel . As rain drops descended , the group made haste back to the cars .No unusual flowers were seen , a nice show of common mallow , plenty of bristly oxtongue , sowthistle , fleabane , hogweed , yarrow , hedge parsley , white dead nettle , mayweed and red clover .A shortened walk but , nevertheless , very rewarding .

SATURDAY 23 SEPTEMBER 2017 - Medmerry Reserve
Tony Wootton reported on this morning's walk by the Havant Wildlife Group

Lovely morning which just got warmer and warmer with plenty of clothes being stripped off by the finish. We need to check the accuracy of the grid reference for the future. Overall a very pleasant mornings walk. We saw red admiral, large white butterflies and common darters.
Birds included mute swan, canada geese, brent geese, gadwall, teal, mallard, pintail, tufted duck, cormorant, little egret, grey heron, sparrowhawk, kestrel, coot, lapwing, common sandpiper, BH gull, herring gull, wood pigeon, sky lark, swallow, meadow pipit, rock pipit, yellow wagtail, dunnock, robin, stonechat, wheatear, blackbird, cetti's (heard only), chiffchaff, blue tit, magpie, starling, house sparrow, greenfinch, linnet.

Plants courtesy of Ros included The mauve form of wild radish, water mint, rock Samphire, bulrush, bristly ox-tongue, perennial sow thistle, meadow buttercup, yarrow, mayweed, red clover, white deadnettle, fleabane, great willow herb, creeping thistle, birds foot trefoil . tufted vetch and ox-eye daisy.

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 9 - 2017 - Farlington Marshes
Ros Norton reported on Saturday's walk by the Havant Wildlife Group
"A group of 6 people did an anticlockwise walk around Farlington Marshes on a lovely sunny morning with light winds. The tide was high at 9am when we arrived. We saw lots of birds on the lake including a large flock of Black-tailed Godwits which gave a good display when disturbed by a peregrine. Also in the lake area were heron, little egrets, mallard, coot, redshank, lapwings, gadwall, pintail, moorhens and shoveller. The highlight was a large number of bearded tits flying around and calling in the reeds.

In the bushes were many robins and some blackcaps, stonechats, whitethroats, goldfinches, chiffchaffs, cettis warblers and pipits. On the marshes were Canada geese and little egrets with a sparrowhawk and hovering kestrels above. We had a coffee break by the Deeps where dunlins and godwits were feeding . Swallows and house martins flew above. Near the hut a Ruff was feeding and 2 Godwits fighting and more bearded tits were heard.

We went back across the fields where we were delighted to see several yellow wagtails near grazing cattle.

Butterflies seen were several small whites, small heaths speckled wood and comma. Flowers included lots of bristly ox-tongue, hawkweeds, ragwort, fleabane, black medick, red bartsia, red and white clover, yarrow, spear and creeping thistles. The rock samphire along the sea wall and glasswort by the water were at their most colourful.

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 9 - 2017 - Havant Thicket
Heather Mills reported on this morning walk by the Havant Wildlife Group

Eleven met up this morning with a lovely change in the weather boding well for a stroll around Havant Thicket. Nuthatch was one of the first birds to be heard from the car park.
We took the main route out of the car park turning north and following the extremity of the woodland. Some of our group had not been before and were surprised to learn that Nightjars and Woodcock make an appearance, together with Glow-worms and plenty of butterflies throughout the summer. Today we tried to identify a couple of the fungi. Without our knowledgeable Jim and Rosie, it was hard going. We did agree on a False Chanterelle and Birch Polypore. The birds were definitely in hiding for most of the morning. Robins and Jays were heard easily enough but the latter not seen. Some did catch up with two fleeting glimpses of male Bullfinch as they flew over us. Coal Tits were heard high in the Scots pine and eventually we caught up with one poor speciman that surprised us being on the woodland floor. We soon gathered that this bird had a problem with it's primary feathers. The wing being misformed and so the bird constantly preened to try and straighten the tip of the wing for flight, without success. Ros pointed out the types of Heather with Cross leaved Heath and Devilsbit Scabious showing well. Tormentil, Fleabane and Hemp Agrimony were abundant along the sides of the pathways and Ros also found a small patch of Golden-rod. We were not so sure which type of Mint was very abundant, possibly a Water type.
We saw two types of dragonfly Hawkers, Southern and Migrant. Meadow Brown, Speckled Wood, Red Admiral, Large White and a fresh Peacock also seen along with a Hornet and large Hoverfly not identified.
A female Roe deer made an appearance as we returned.

Southern Hawker and Migrant Hawker

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 2 - 2017 - Testwood Lakes

Valerie Mitchell reported on this morning's walk by the Havant Wildlife Group

"First Saturday in Autumn, and 10 of us met at Testwood lakes in glorious sunshine, after a brief history of the lakes and mention of the Middle Bronze age (1,500 BC) bridge found when excavating, we went around the Little Testwood Lake, then along South side of Testwood Lake, after coffee we visited the visitor centre (only open 10-12 on 1st Sat. of month due to lack of volunteers). There is a very attractive water efficient garden here, with plenty of butterflies and insects. We then headed North to Meadow Lake, the Sand Martin hide and very successful sand martin wall (plenty of sand martins were here 5 weeks ago), and then to the Heron Hide where 13 herons were seen, 5 of which gave us an aerial dance display. On leaving the Hides we retraced our steps and went along the North side of Testwood Lake back to our cars.

It was good to see many trees laden with berries, nuts and acorns, and plenty of thistles and plants laden seeds ready for the birds winter feeding. We saw plenty today, so I'll just list 'our specials'.
Birds included Cetti's Warbler, greenshank, sand martins, great crested grebes, lapwings, TWO kingfishers, tree creeper, white throat, Mistle thrush along with starlings, eating the ripe elderberries and blackberries in the sunshine, nuthatch, cormorants, spotted fly catchers.
Numerous insects included ruddy darter, migrant hawker, speckle wood, red admiral, comma, small copper, whirly gig beetle.
Plants included angelica, orange balsam (apparently non invasive), plenty of purple loosestrife, honeysuckle, water dock, water mint.
We spent a very enjoyable four and a half hours here and look forward to returning sometime.

Mystery caterpillar is Red Admiral
Andrew Brown came to the rescue to identify the mystery caterpillar. The larvae is a pale form of Red Admiral.

 The caterpillar feeds on Common Nettle leaves and lives hidden in a tent of one or several leaves folded over and fastened together by silk. No wonder I have never seen one! When fully grown it is plump, spiny and very variable in colour from light to dark. The chrysalis hangs suspended inside the caterpillar's last tent. The emerging adult feeds and flies around. Most perish in winter, but some manage to survive and can be seen fluttering around on warm days in mid winter.

SATURDAY AUGUST 19 - 2017 - Old Winchester Hill
Jean reported on this morning's walk.
This morning 8 of us set out to walk round Old Winchester Hill. Before we left the car park, 2 female black caps were spotted. There was also a Red Admiral butterfly on the elder berries. Other birds seen were a pair of jackdaws, ravens and kestrels. We heard a green wood pecker correctly predicting wet weather. Other butterflies seen were common blues, speckled wood and meadow browns.
Flowers worth noting were a carmine thistle, yellow wort, agrimony, wild parsnip, rest harrow, shiny leaved black bryony with green berries, white bryony with red berries, rest harrow, wild clematis, a few round headed rampions, eye bright, Autumn gentians and, unusually, a white knapweed. Small swathes of hair bells were enjoyed.
Juniper berries were tasted, Thank you once again to Ros and others for their fount of knowledge.

SATURDAY AUGUST 12 - 2017 - Magdelen Down
Tony Wootton reported on this morning's walk by the Havant Wildlife Group
6 of us met on a slightly overcast and occasionally drizzly morning to walk over one of Butterfly Conservation sites.
But it soon warmed up and we had some bursts of warm sunshine. Our reward was large whites, brimstones, small whites, meadow browns, gatekeepers, red admirals, fresh small tortoiseshells, common blues, chalkhill blues and a holly blue. Plus a Mother Shipton and and several Pyrausta Purpuralis.
Flowering plants identified by us and certified by Ros included comfrey, marjoram,yarrow, red bartsia,field scabious, tufted fetch, creeping thistle, birdsfoot trefoil,black meddick, white campion, black hoarhound,meadow vetching,greater knapweed, hedge bedstraw,rosebay willowherb, St John's wort,goats beard,knapweed broomrape, wild basil, eyebright, wild carrot, dew berries,rock rose, wayfarers,wild parsnip, harebell, mellilock, field speedwell, agrimony,mignonette,musk mallow,clustered bellflower,sainfroin,dark mullian,kidney vetch, autumn gentian, scarlet pimpernel, meadow cranesbill, field poppy and lesser burdock.
Unsurprisingly birds were few and far between, but we heard a green woodpecker, and saw a great spotted woodpecker, goldfinch, 3 kestrels and quite a surprise 2 ravens.
Underneath 3 corrugated sheets I would like to say we found a boa constrictor but we saw precisely nothing.

SATURDAY AUGUST 5 - 2017 - Wild grounds Reserve, Gosport
Tony Wootton reported on this morning's walk by the Havant Wildlife Group
9 of us went to this reserve this morning on which I think is the groups first ever visit. The weather was lovely, warm but not too hot with a nice fresh breeze. Except we got a good soaking from an unexpected heavy shower right at the end.
This is not a detailed report because we saw little of anything different or unusual. The half of the reserve we covered is heavily wooded, mainly old oaks some of which were pollarded which is unusual for oaks. One lovely large rowan heavily laden with berries. Made some of us think of Gwynne Johnson.
We did see a large mixed flock of tits, a jay, buzzards, green and great woodpeckers. Lesser Woodpeckers are reported to be there, so perhaps another visit next Spring. Heather heard a chiffchaff and a kingfisher was also heard on the lake.
Other sightings include, clear winged hornet, roe deer, water vole droppings, numerous unidentified dragonflies, broad bodied chaser, common darter, fringed leaf waterlilies, watermint, purple and yellow loosestrife.
I think a Spring visit would be warranted when less leaves would reveal more birds and woodland flowers.

SATURDAY JULY 22 - 2017 - Broadmarsh
Fay Durant reports on Saturday's walk by the Havant Wildlife Group.

Saturday dawned bright and sunny , much to my surprise and remained relatively dry until midday so we were very lucky . Nine of us met up at the slipway car park , Brockhampton . We walked round either side of the Hermitage and Brockhampton streams to the Budds farm pools , including the stretch along Harts Farm Way , which is unavoidable . We returned along the coastal path and then retraced our steps .

We saw a great variety of flowers but the high light of the morning , as seen in Derek's photographs , were the common sandpipers . We had great views on both sides of the water and much time was spent observing them .

We also saw spectacular displays of starlings , in great numbers , along the coast . Also wonderful views of goldfinch along the lower section of South Moor Lane , they were everywhere . Three herons flew over , probably from Budd' s pools . We were pleased to see a gadwall with two duckling on the pools plus a number of dab chicks , the inevitable coots , little egret , tufted ducks and mallards . Other birds seen and heard : herring gulls plus young , black headed plus young ,great black backed , lesser , whimbrels , redshank , oystercatchers , turnstones . Also swallows , house martins , a kestrel , sparrow hawk , long tails and the song of blackcap and wren , plus blackbirds and blue tits .

A vast list of flowers but , probably the most striking is the bright blue of chicory , on Budd's farm mound .

Others of interest : stone parsley ,vervain , mullein , mugwort ,black horehound , wild Arun , field madder , small burdock , teasels , bristly oxtongue ,hawkweed oxtongue , fleabane , white campion , perennial sow thistle , nipplewort , greater plantain and burnet rose . Plenty of cherry plumbs on the ground and sloes on the blackthorn . Many of us enjoyed tasting the blackberries ! A few butterflies : small white , red admiral , gate keeper and speckled wood .A very rewarding morning .

SATURDAY JULY 22 - 2017 - Stansted Forest
Steph Dale reported on this morning's walk by the Havant Wildlife Group
Thank you to the 5 who bravely joined me at the Sling, Stansted today despite the forecast for rain later. We walked along the footpath in the field above Finchdean Road in relative dry (even sun for some of the time) but then it got decidedly wet! We stopped to have coffee and sheltered under some trees and then walked back through the forest.

We did see a good assortment of flowers in the field; many of these were relatively stunted due to recent grazing by sheep. They were hedge and ladies bedstraw, hogweed, meadow vetchling, wild basil, agrimony, yarrow, field and small scabious, birdsfoot trefoil, wild marjoram, eyebright, red bartsia, St John's wort, crosswort (no flowers), white clover, black knapweed, self-heal, ox eye daisy, dark mullein, old man's beard, common ragwort, lesser hawkbit, purging or fairy flax, mignonette, dovesfoot cranesbill and teasels. We saw four different thistles - creeping, spear, great marsh and musk.

Musk Thistle

In the woods, we saw upright hedge parsley, herb Bennett, water pepper, hemp agrimony, lesser burdock and enchanters nightshade. We heard a yellowhammer and a skylark and we enjoyed watching stonechats in the nearby barleyfield and sparrows in the hedges.
We had 3 sightings of roe deer in the valley and I think it was generally agreed that 2 of these were the same animal so we probably saw 2 roe deer in total!
Insects seen were gatekeepers, meadow brown, ladybirds and soldier beetles.
Afterwards we were invited to Val and Dave's for coffee and also delicious homemade quiche and chocolate cake! Thank you for cooking for us, Val, and sorry you were unable to join us for the walk.

SATURDAY JULY 15 - 2017 - Brook Meadow
Brian reported on this morning's walk through Brook Meadow, Emsworth.
This morning 11 members of the Havant Wildlife Group (including me as leader) assembled in Bridge Road car park Emsworth for the annual walk through Brook Meadow. It was good to meet up with old friends and new members who have joined since last time. Thanks to Caroline for taking the photo.

I have not attended the walks for some years, but they are still going strong under the leadership of Heather Mills. I always publish the walk reports on the web site. Details of the group which was originally started by Ralph Hollins in 1995 can be seen on the dedicated pages at . . .

Railway Wayside
Before going to Brook Meadow (as I revealed in yesterday's blog) I had a little treat for the group. We did a slight detour to visit the wayside behind Emsworth Railway Station which currently hosts a fine display of wild flowers. I think most members of the group (apart from Caroline French) did not know the wayside existed, so this was an eye-opener for them. We walked up and down the access ramp at the rear of the station from where the wayside could be viewed easily. Young Caroline was agile enough to climb through the fence onto the embankment to check out individual plants. Here are some of the group on the raamp looking at the wayside. Sorry my camera was on the wrong setting for this photo.

We paid particular attention to the Marsh Woundwort flowers which are the best anywhere in the local area. With the help of Ros Norton we confirmed the identification of Upright Hedge-parsley.

Brook Meadow
Entering Brook Meadow through the Seagull Lane gate we stopped to study the superb painting for the interpretation board.

We also examined the galls on the larger of the planted Oak trees and with the help of Heather identified them as spangle and marble galls. There were also other galls which we were not sure about. We also looked at the other smaller Oaks that were planted as saplings in 2012.

From the north bridge we walked down the new ramp onto the meadow. Several members sampled the aroma from the Meadowsweet.

Heather's sharp eyes spotted a dead Ringlet in the vegetation near the Lumley area, though some live ones were seen later. (My photo below). We also came across lots of Meadow Grasshoppers jumping around in the grass (photo by Malcolm Phillips a couple of years ago).

At the Lumley entrance we stopped to examine the plants in 'the Lumley puddle' (now quite dry), including the tiny but robust Toad Rush which Caroline held up for others to see.

Heather spotted a Song Thrush in the red leaved Cherry Plum tree on the causeway, which I think Fay and others are looking for.

We did, in fact, get a much better view of a Song Thrush and a young Robin near the south gate. Photos by Derek.

Heather tried to make friends with the Robin.

We stopped at the main seat overlooking the meadow for coffee break. It just so happened that Debbie Robinson (the group's secretary) was set up there with sun shade and table conducting a visitor survey. Debbie was delighted to collect several £3 subscriptions from some people who were not members which will help towards maintaining the meadow in good order.

After the break we walked down the new path by the Gooseberry Cottage bund where we came across several Bush-crickets. My photos were hopeless, but Derek got a good one.

On the way back we met David Search who had taken over the visitor survey from Debbie. As David is our resident insect expert, we consulted him about the Bush-crickets. He was not sure at the time, but confirmed later that it was a Dark Bush-cricket. David said something about examining the genitalia which so shocked us, that we all beat a hasty retreat!

David did have some very interesting and surprising news that he had seen two Kingfishers fly across the meadow while he was on the seat. Wow! We were all very envious. Kingfishers in summer are very rare in this area (though common in winter). These may have been youngsters dispersing from early broods further up river.
Coming back along the main path we got a good view of a male Beautiful Demoiselle by the river, which had looked for but missed at the south bridge. My photo.

PS I have just received the results of the visitor survey: 186 adults, 17 children, and 87 dogs went through the meadow between 10am and 5pm.

SATURDAY JULY 8, 2017 - Portsdown Hill
Ros Norton reported on the Havant Wildlife Group walk
Today a group of 8 visited Portsdown Hill , West of Churchillian as far as roundabout starting behind Fort Widley and returning on south side of hill on a warm and sunny morning with little wind.
We saw many butterflies, mostly gatekeepers and meadow browns, some marbled whites, a brimstone, speckled wood, red admiral, whites, and a few common blues. Other insects included burnet moths, bumble bees, soldier beetles, ladybird, grasshoppers and black fly.

We also saw a possible Essex skipper. Brian's note: Your Essex Skipper looks good - with black clubbed antennae

Birds seen and / or heard were buzzard, swallows, house martins, yellowhammer, linnet, greenfinch, goldfinch, blackcap, stock dove, chiffchaff, whitethroat, wood pigeons, magpies, jackdaws and crows.

The flowers were amazing in variety and quantity. Pyramidal orchids were still in flower. Knapweed broomrape had a good year. Other highlights included lesser centaury, musk mallow, mouse-ear hawkweed, bristly ox-tongue, hawkweed oxtongue, perennial sow thistle, wild marjoram, wild basil, field scabious, small scabious, Lucerne, mellilot, tufted vetch, kidney vetch, yellow-wort, St. Johns wort, rosebay willowherb, squinancywort, fairy flax, eyebright, flax, spear thistle, creeping thistle, fleabane, wild parsnip, red bartsia, rest harrow, yellow rattle, travellers joy, hedge bedstraw, ladies bedstraw, agrimony, hemp agrimony, greater knapweed, black knapweed, yarrow, common toadflax, common poppy, nettle leaved bellflower, weld and mignonette. The hill was ablaze with colours and flowers at their peak.

Lesser Centuary


Helen Penfold reported:
Eight of us had a lovely walk yesterday around the flower filled chalk pits of Noar Hill, very ably led by Nigel, who shared his great knowledge and enthusiasm for the local orchids.
We saw and heard a yellow hammer, before we even left the road, and saw several more along the way. We were accompanied much of the morning by the song of song thrushes chiffchaffs and chaffinches , but only got occasional brief sightings of them. We also saw buzzards, a kestrel and a few swifts.
The flowers were wonderful, particularly the pyramidal orchids which were everywhere. We also saw common spotted, fragrant, frog and lots of musk orchids, and somewhat gone over twayblades and a bee orchid.
Other flowers seen included rest harrow, birds foot trefoil, kidney vetch, black medick, tufted vetch, pink and white clover, ox eye daisies, agrimony, hemp agrimony, hog weed, wild parsley, hedge bedstraw , ladies bedstraw, self heal, yellow rattle, wild marjoram and wild thyme, wild clematis, meadow buttercup, small and meadow scabious, greater knapweed, knapweed broom rape, cat's ear, mouse eared hawkweed, hairy St John's wort, fairy flax, hare bell, yellow -wort, eyebright, milkwort, clustered bell flower, rock rose, ragwort, willow herb, juniper, the seed heads of goatsbeard and more.
Butterflies seen included lots of marbled whites, several skippers, meadow browns, ringlets (positively identified by the rings on the under wings), small heath and a silver washed fritillary.
Steph and I had a to leave after coffee, so it maybe that lots more was seen after we left.
A lovely morning. Thank you Nigel.

SATURDAY JUNE 24th 2017 - Milton Common
Fay Durant reported Havant Wildlife Group walk
Six of us met up at Moorings Way , Milton, on a grey , damp morning. We walked along the bus lane to the small nature reserve, over looking Eastney Lake . We then made our way to the mouth of the canal , then along the coastal path to the People's Memorial, returning on a path the other side of the lakes. There was little to see in the harbour apart from gulls , swans and a little egret .
The most interesting aspect was the wild flowers . The contractors working on the sea defences had thrown down wild flower seeds and for the first time we saw corn cockle , corn marigold and the deep blue of cornflowers among numerous clumps of mayweed , the blue amidst the white making a stunning picture . A list of other flowers seen : marrow , great bindweed , field bindweed , smooth sow thistle , bristly oxtongue , meadow vetchling , birds foot trefoil , common ragwort , creeping thistle , slender thistle , spear thistle , fennel , sea radish - white and yellow , black knapweed , black horehound , red dead nettle , great willow herb , wild carrot , hemlock , hogweed , hoary cress , hedge mustard , woody nightshade etc ! Where would we be without Ros with Davids help ?
On the lakes we saw coot with young : baby and juvenile - interesting to compare the two . Also moorhen , tufted , mallard , little grebe and swans with two fluffy grey cygnets . Dipping and diving above us were House martins , making a delightful display .We mainly heard black cap , green finch , dunnock , wren , with sightings of gold finch , great tits , black bird , crows , sparrows and starlings .The rain did ease off and three brave souls made it to the end - well done ! Thanks to everyone for turning up

SATURDAY JUNE 11th 2017 - Langstone
Jean reported on this morning's walk by the Havant Wildlife Group
Eight of us set out on a lovely sunny morning from The Ship Car park. We crossed the road to view waders which included shellduck, redshank, oystercatcher a Brent goose and a curlew. The flowers we saw were hedge bedstraw, Lady's bedstraw, black knapweed which had a six spot burnet moth feeding on it, yellow toad flax, sea buck thorn, mallow, field scabious, cinquefoil, sea beet. White dead nettle was seen later.

Brian's note: I can only see 5 spots on the Burnet Moth, but Heather says the outer two spots can fuse.

Crossing back to the car park, we made our way towards the windmill, noting the ivy leaved toad flax in the flint wall. At the windmill we took the narrow path inland to the field, where we saw field buttercup and dock. Elder flower trees were flourishing. A song thrush was heard close by. A pair of Meadow Brown butterflies and a white were enjoying the sun. Following the stream on our right, we saw nipplewort and many birds flying to and fro too quick to identify. Two wood pigeons were on the wires above us and a collared dove was heard. On the ground we saw a young speckled robin A wren was seen and heard - a blackcap heard. A green woodpecker landed in the field where we had our first view of the little egrets nesting.

A heron was also nesting. From the coastal path we had good views of the little egrets panting as it was so hot. We had close views of young swallows being fed by their parents and a reed warbler singing.

In the pond were a pair of swans, mallards, a tufted duck, coots and a moor hen. A young heron was learning how to fish, picking up a stick! Fay spotted a damselfly. Many thanks are due to Heather and Ros for their knowledgeable input.

SATURDAY JUNE 10th 2017 - Portsdown Hill east
Ros Norton reported on yesterday's walk by 8 friends of wildlife joined by one more later. They met in car park south of George Inn, Portsdown Hill on a sunny but windy morning and walked east towards Fort Purbrook area.
"We saw many insects including several small blue butterflies, meadow browns, a large skipper, large white and a cinnabar moth. On flowers were several. male swollen thigh beetles (Oedemera nobilis). Some grasshoppers, crickets and a female broad bodied chaser dragonfly were seen.

Birds included jackdaws, robins, a rock dove, a buzzard, jay, song thrush, blackbirds, swifts, swallows, wood pigeons, wrens, black headed gulls and 2 adult kestrels flying with young in the fort.

Highlights among the flowers were the many pyramidal orchids near the fort.

There were also some common spotted orchids and a bee orchid. Other flowers included common gromwell, aquilegia, mouse-ear hawkweed, rough hawkbit, creeping cinquefoil, sainfoin, vipers bugloss, red valerian, wild carrot, rockrose, marjoram, dogwood, hedge bedstraw, cleavers, bladder campion, milkwort, self heal, rosebay willowherb, birds foot trefoil, black medick, greater and black knapweed, dog rose, tufted vetch, thyme, crosswort, agrimony, hemp agrimony, yellow wort, quaking grass, flax, smooth sow thistle, herb bennet, yarrow, white bryony, meadow vetchling, woody nightshade, knapweed broomrape, mignonette, rest harrow and bramble.

SATURDAY JUNE 3rd 2017 - Chichester Marina and canal
Steph Dale reports on the Havant Wildlife Group walk

Saturday 3 June was a lovely bright sunny breezy day and ten of us met up at Chichester Marina to enjoy a walk around the north side of the marina and also along the nearby canal. We saw a lot of birds with young including coots, moorhens, swans and blue tits.

In the vicinity of the marina we also saw 3 roe deer, cormorant, heron, tufted ducks, shelduck, Cetti's warbler, pheasants, pied wagtail, reed bunting, swallows, speckled wood butterflies, red admiral, penny bun fungus, common mallow, a southern marsh orchid and common spotted orchid.
We saw a great variety of flowers along the canal including yellow waterlily, yellow iris, red campion, hedge woundwort, prickly sow thistle, sweet briar, lesser calamint, creeping cinquefoil, hemlock water dropwort, yarrow, spotted medick, ribwort plantain, birdsfoot trefoil, buckthorn, germander speedwell, red and white clover and hedgerow cranesbill. Then, having passed it once without noticing it, we saw on our way back, a beautiful specimen of a bee orchid.

During the coffee break some of us enjoyed watching a reed warbler dodging in and out of the reeds on the opposite bank.

There were damsel flies and dragonflies along the canal. Other birds observed during the walk were buzzards, linnets, kestrel, whitethroat, black cap, wren, swift, black headed gull, male bullfinch. The calls of the greater spotted woodpecker, lesser whitethroat, chiff chaff and sedge warbler were heard. Thank you all for your company and expertise,

SATURDAY MAY 20th 2017 - South West Hayling
Ros Norton reported on this morning's walk by the Havant Wildlife Group
Today a group of 7 walked a circuit of West Hayling from the Gun Site lay by clockwise via Gunner Point and ferry on a day of mixed weather.

The masses of tree lupins were spectacular as most had not been eaten by aphids this year. Sea kale was equally spectacular but we were too late for the green winged orchids. A few plants of Nottingham catchfly were seen. Other flowers included yellow horned poppies , sea sandwort, beaked hawksbeard, mouse ear hawkweed, hoary cress, spring beauty, tamarisk, hares tail grass, birdsfoot trefoil, storksbill, spindle and thrift.
Several common blues, a white and a painted lady braved the weather. Caterpillars of lackey moths, Oak Eggar moths and possible white satin moths were seen.

Birds seen or heard included skylarks, whitethroats, blackcaps, chiff chaffs, a mute swan, tufted ducks, linnets, greenfinches, greater spotted woodpecker, greater black backed gulls and long tailed tits.

Our current walks programme is near the end so we are having a meeting at Ann's house, 52 Roman Way, Bedhampton on Monday 5th June at 7pm for people who could lead a walk. If you have a walk but cannot get to the meeting please send details to Heather.

SATURDAY MAY 13th - 2017 - Portchester Castle
Fay Durant reported on yesterday's walk by the Havant Wildlife Group

Seven of us met up in the Portchester Castle car park for our Saturday morning amble . The sky was overcast and we had a few drops of rain but gradually conditions improved. The water in the castle moat was very green, plus the ditch along the sea wall but we did see a cormorant fishing in the latter . We walked south , round the castle walls , observing the wild wallflower plants , still showing flowers , growing in the castle walls plus large patches of valerian . We caught sight of swifts flying overhead and later swallows dipping and diving under the bushes , delightful .
Along the sea shore were oystercatchers , a large black backed gull and two whimbrels , well camouflaged against the seaweed . Heather picked out a great crested grebe out at sea and then a small flotilla .
Other birds seen were sparrows flitting in and out of bushes bordering the sea path , masses of crows , (Hitchcock ! ) starlings , greenfinch , dunnock , great spotted woodpecker ,Robin , blackbird , blue tit , goldfinch , long-tailed tits and one whitethroat ! Wren , chiffchaff and blackcap were heard singing .
We returned from the coastal path , up hospital lane and across to the picnic benches for coffee , later proceeding north , along the sea wall and back across the grass . A good number of flowers were noted , with the help of Ros , where would we be without her !
List : cow parsley ,rattle , red clover , buttercups : creeping , field and bulbous , cleavers, oxeye daisies , goats beard , common vetch ,black medic , beaked hawksbeard , birdsfoot trefoil , Portsmouth weed , alexanders , smooth sow thistle , bladder campion, white comfrey ,green alkanet , herb Robert , herb bennet and one bright blue flower of chicory . David discovered a large clump of horseradish , close to the picnic benches , quite tall with dock- like leaves and small white flowers on long stalks .
Few butterflies : a speckled wood , a white and possibly a red admiral .
A productive walk , much enjoyed .

SATURDAY APRIL 29 - 2017 - Heath Pond, Petersfield
Valerie Mitchell reported on this morning's walk by the Havant Wildlife Group.

A group of 7 met at Petersfield Heath Pond Car Park on a sunny morning. We explored the heath & woodland before walking around the pond, although we could hear the birds in the trees, with all their fresh green foliage, we saw only a wren, long tail tits, robin, blackbirds, magpies, hedge sparrows.
On the pond we saw a pair of Egyptian geese looking after their one gosling, while the mallards had 5 ducklings, several Canada geese, coots, crested grebe and black headed gulls. We had a brief glimpse of a few sand/house martins in flight, a holly blue, a common green capsid and a red admiral.
We turned our attention to the many plants & flowers, Jack in the hedge, alkanet, creeping buttercup and other types, plantains, heathers, greater stitchwort, honesty, white dead nettle, wood avens, cleavers, red campion and large bittercress. We admired the fresh growth on spruce and larch.
Dave found the remains of an old hornet 's nest near a dead old silver birch tree.
It was an enjoyable, very warm, leisurely walk, despite so many families & dogs coming out to enjoy the sunshine !

SATURDAY APRIL 29 - 2017 - Farlington Marshes
Heather Mills reported on this morning's walk by the Havant Wildlife Group. Photos by Derek.

"Although it was a very cold and dull start to this morning's walk, eleven enjoyed the variety of birds to be seen on Farlington. We began in the car park listening to a Common Whitethroat on the Elder. Soon onto the reserve we had a Song Thrush and Blackcap. The latter keeping well out of sight but the song unmistakable. Dave spotted a Crow nearby and after getting the scope onto it, found it to be tucking into a large frog, which it gathered up and flew off with. A pair of Tufted duck swam on the pond and our first Wheatear out on the shore gave us a brief close view when it flew onto the sea wall. Singing Reed Bunting could be seen in it's usual habitat in front of the reed bed. Two Dunlin in summer plumage were avidly feeding on the lake and a Greenshank visible here and on the mudbank to the west.

Pairs of Med Gulls "mewed" overhead. Tony spotted a lone Brent goose. A visitor told us that there were still two Short Eared Owls present and so we made haste to the point. As we took a coffee break we encountered a Little Tern flying on the edge of the incoming tide. A Sandwich Tern was seen much later. The cold Southerly wind kept the Owl out of sight until we turned the point to go North. It was hunkered down inside the barbed wire fence, enjoying a leisurely preen.

A close Sedge warbler gave good views along with several male Linnets. As we got to the lake five Avocets were to be seen. One stayed motionless on a little mud isle-let, hopefully nesting. A pair of Wigeon seemed quite at home along with Shoveler as we were alerted to squabbling Redshanks by Fay. Skylarks pleasantly serenaded us constantly it seemed the length of our walk.

As we looked out to sea, twelve Whimbrel flew to the edge of the incoming tide. Some were able to hear their call and notice the difference between that of the Curlew. We had been told of a possible Nightingale on Peter's pond and so most of us visited but we were not able to hear it. We retraced our steps to the hut and heard the Reed warbler and another Bunting. Some had heard the Bearded Reedlings. Most noticeable by their absence were the Black tailed Godwits.

A good morning made even better by the warmth of the now visible sun as we finished. One small white butterfly and an Orange Tip seen. Plenty of Cow parsley, ground Ivy and Rape and Wintercress, with Alexanders and a Chickweed. A large Sea Kale grew out of the wall at the point.53 species seen and 3 heard.

SATURDAY APRIL 22- 2017 - Thorney Island
Ros Norton reported on the Havant Wildlife Group walk
A group of 11 met for a walk from Thornham Lane junction to Thorney Deeps (west). Much birdsong greeted us including blackcap, willow warbler, sedge and Cetti,s warblers, whitethroat, skylark, wren, greenfinch and goldfinch. On the Little deeps wwas a pair of gadwall and a little grebe. At the Great Deeps we saw oystercatchers, lapwings, shelducks, a black backed gull, redshanks, black headed gulls and a nesting swan. Cormorants and swallows flew overhead. Kestrel, buzzard , a pair of stonechats, mallards, coots and moorhens were seen. In harbour feeding on an outgoing tide were 2 greenshanks, oystercatchers and 2 well camouflaged whimbrels. We caught a glimpse of a redstart near an abandoned farm.

Greenshank colour-ringed G+LG

Herons nesting?

Flowers included bluebells, cow parsley, coltsfoot, common vetch, garlic mustard, ground ivy, bulbous buttercup and lots of gorse. Some gorse had mystery webs that may contain spider mites possibly. Other webs of browntail moth caterpillars were on bramble bushes. A holly blue and a green veined white butterfly were seen.
A bloody nosed beetle was seen at the Great Deeps and we also saw mystery roundish dark, segmented insects on hedge bedstraw nearby. Searching the internet we found that they are the larvae of the bloody nosed beetles.

SATURDAY APRIL 8- 2017 - Baffins Pond
Fay Durant reported on yesterday's Havant Wildlife Group walk

Six of us met at the recreational ground car park, adjacent to Baffins pond, for our Saturday morning walk. We were soon joined by a seventh, who had parked elsewhere. We started in thick fog but it soon lifted and we were in bright sunshine.
Walking through the small wood to the pond we saw clumps of wild garlic, dotted with Spanish bluebells. A very white fronted cormorant sat at the end of one of the islands. Black headed gulls and young herring gulls perched on the pond posts and we saw a female mallard with thirteen very small ducklings, we did wonder how many would survive. They were so delightful.
Brian's note: there were 11 ducklings on Baffins Pond on Sunday. See the Emsworth blog at . . Current wildlife 'blog'

Helen then performed her good deed for the day by rescuing an upside down bumble bee from the water, using a willow frond, before a coot could devour it! There were nice clumps of king cups. Moorhens wandered along the bank and there were tufted ducks everywhere - great to be able to see them up close. There were less Canada's than usual and one seemed to have paired with a white goose. A wren serenaded us from a tree and kept company with us.

Heather then identified blackcap and we then heard many more, finally spotting one just before we left the green - success! Later woodpeckers were seen flying .
We had a few problems identifying bushes and trees . The alders were easy, with catkins and small cones dangling. A row of flowering bushes we weren't so sure about: cherry , plumb or pear ? Also a line of silvery grey trees , a type of birch ?

Brian's note: Heather sent me this photo
It looks like White Poplar from the catkins and colour of leaves

We walked up beside the Baffins volunteers centre , as far as the Brent geese field , across and east , beside the college and across to the path beside Langstone Harbour .
We had coffee at the memorial . A swallow was seen dipping and diving . Heather heard 2 Sandwich terns calling . Many chiffchaffs were singing , plus greenfinch and goldfinch . Cetti's song was very noticeable then we saw one flying amongst the reeds , very satisfying! A couple of med gulls flew overhead and a little grebe was seen on the lake.
Flowers seen : cow parsley , alexanders , charlock , Portsmouth weed , red campion , plenty of red dead nettle , shepherds purse , gorse and a nice clump of honesty .
Butterflies : several peacocks , small white , brimstone , small tortoiseshell and a speckled wood . A perfect Saturday morning .

SATURDAY APRIL 1- 2017 - Kingley Vale
Heather Mills reports on this morning's walk by the Havant Wildlife Group

9 met this morning for a leisurely walk first through Stoke wood and on up to Kingley Vale. It was a pleasure to welcome Nicola and Peter who have moved to enjoy our wonderful coast.
This was a flower fest as well as enjoying the bird song. An early view of a pair of Bullfinch and singing Coal Tit gave a good start to the walk with a calling Tawny Owl for added pleasure. The Bluebells were just beginning their spectacle of colour. We had a delightful view of Lesser Celandine with Wood anemones and Moschatel or Townhall Clock as some know it. A good patch of Early Dog violets livened up the walk with colour. A few Sweet violets also. Cow parsley and Herb Robert joined White and Red Dead nettle. Ros also noted Hogweed and Charlock later.

Leaving Stoke wood behind us we had good views of our first pair of Yellowhammers. Coal, Great, and Blue tit, Goldcrest, Robins, Wren, Blackcap, Chaffinch and Song Thrush all singing with an occasional Green Woodpecker yaffle. As we proceeded in an easterly direction towards Kingley another Yellowhammer appeared on top of a bush. There were several male Chaffinch in the sown field to our right and we then noticed several Yellowhammers to our left. As we looked in earnest I counted 18 in all. Mostly they looked like males with one or two females. A real highlight to see so many. A Brimstone also darted out along the path as it warmed up. Later we saw Peacock and Comma.

We ventured to the dew pond and although it was very clouded up with mud, we saw a few pond skaters and at least 3 newts. They did not stay up long enough to ID. There were a few tadpoles too. This area is now fenced with a partial break to enter. There was evidence of cattle. Also a new water butt was evident earlier on with a feed crate for sheep.

On our return 2 more Yellowhammers sat in the usual hedge separating the fields on the west side, whilst a Buzzard flew overhead. A very enjoyable morning.

Coffee break

SATURDAY MARCH 25 - 2017 - Alver Valley, Gosport
Tony Wootton reported on this morning's walk by the Havant Wildlife Group. 11 had a lovely Spring walk this morning. Just occasional blasts of a Northerly wind reminded us that Winter hasn't quite gone yet.

We saw butchers broom, ivy leaved speedwell, Alexanders, primrose, celandine, and more coltsfolt than anyone can remember anytime anywhere. Here are just some of them snapped by Heather.

Both male and female brimstones and 2 commas (does that make a full stop). Numerous bees and a common lizard.

Birds included mallard, moorhen, sparrowhawk, buzzard and kestrels gave us a courting display. Stock dove, green woodpecker, GS woodpecker, skylark, meadow pipit, wren, dunnock, robin, blackbird, heard cetti's and blackcap. Dartford warbler, chiffchaff, long tailed tit, blue tit, great tit, treecreeper, jay, magpie, carrion crow, greenfinch.

Ralph's move
After 49 years and 8 months living in the same house in Havant Ralph Hollins (the founder of the Havant Wildlife Group) has moved into a flat near St Mary's church on Hayling Island from where he will be able to start his personal natural history of the island . For his first entries after the move see his wildlife diary at . . .

SATURDAY MARCH 18 - 2017 - Hook with Warsash
Tony Wootton reports on this morning's walk.
Just when you thought Spring was here , we were back to a grey day again. Still it wasn't cold and the Northerly wind wasn't too strong. We saw butchers broom , field speedwell,coltsfoot, gorse, white violets, sweet violets, primrose, celandine, vinca, alexandra, pussy/goats willow, and chickweed.
We heard chiffchaff, cetti's, skylark and green woodpecker.
We saw avocet, gadwall, pintail, teal, shelduck, shoveler, brent, Canada, mallard, godwit, moorhen, Med gull, herring gull, black headed, turnstone, oystercatcher, curlew, dunnock, robin, great, blue and longtail tits, song thrush, blackbird, starling, linnet, stock dove, little egret, redshank, magpie and meadow pipit.
We also saw 3 roe deer and a polar bear.
Finally, we had a very interesting chat with a coastal ranger for Bird Aware Solent. This a partnership of local councils and conservation bodies whose aim is to educate the public on the importance of maintaining peace and quiet for breeding birds. The rangers job, as well as bird counts, was to approach and educate any member of the public who he thought were unsettling breeding birds.
Not a body that any of us had heard of. Their website is

SATURDAY MARCH 11 - 2017 - Huckswood Lane.

Tony Wootton reports: The intrepid leader and his trusty sherpa set off into the far North of Rowlands Castle into what I believe the Scots call a dreich.
We were rewarded with blue tit, great tit, chaffinch,song thrush, blackbird, magpie, wood pigeon, robin, several skylarks singing,jay,jackdaw, carrion crow, linnet, yellowhammer, house sparrow,starling and Med gulls mewing overhead.
Flowering plants included (we think) white dead nettle, red dead nettle, celandine, dog's mercury,primrose, field speedwell, wood anemone, bittercress, wood spurge and an unidentifable wort.

SATURDAY MARCH 4 - 2017 - Stansted Forest

Heather Mills reported on the Havant Wildlife Group walk
Four met on a glorious spring morning filled with an assortment of Stansted's birds singing. Robins were the most prolific. Nuthatch, Goldcrest, Chaffinch and most noticeably at least 3 Song Thrush in the vicinity of the car park. As we slowly progressed along the main thoroughfare towards the house we could hear Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming. The Jackdaws were vocal and a Stock dove called.
The grounds were busy with joggers and cyclists, so we took a muddy footpath beside the main road. Here we saw our first Redwing and had a very close encounter with Dunnocks foraging under our feet as we progressed eastward. In the gardens of Stansted were masses of Primroses. The Highland cattle had 2 young calves. Behind the first cottages we heard our first Yellowhammers. I counted at least 4 along this stretch starting their song, with one nearly completing the "little bit of bread and no cheese". Here we had good views of 4 Meadow Pipits and a singing Linnet. Dog's Mercury was abundant but Celandine only seen at the entrance to the gatehouse, where Snowdrops and a small patch of Violets were evident. A small patch of Wood Spurge seen. As we walked towards Walderton we kept a lookout for the Green Hellebores which were in flower.

Although several Bullfinch called along the way, we did not locate them. A small party of Long-tailed Tits pecked for insects as we turned north alongside the fields to take the footpath back to the road. We came across 2 Marsh Tits along the hedgerow, whilst Coal Tit sang and we caught a snippet of Skylarks singing, but not for long. Beyond the 2 cottages in the past we have been fortunate to see Fieldfare and Redwing. Today only Redwing visible with about 20 foraging on the ground around the trees.

31 bird species seen. A very pleasant outing.

SATURDAY February 25 - 2017 - Pulborough Brooks
Ros Norton reports on the Havant Wildlife Group walk

A group of 10 met at RSPB nature Reserve at Pulborough Brooks on an overcast day with a cold wind. We started at the furthest viewpoint and hide, visiting them all before having lunch in their café.
Many birds were on the water including wigeon, teal, shelduck, shoveller and mallard. There were many Canada geese and one greylag. some cormorants, lapwings , mute swans, little egret and a heron. A pair of stonechats were in vegetation in front of our hide. Woodland birds included a bullfinch, a treecreeper, greenfinch, a goldcrest , rooks, crows, a song thrush and jays. Both green and greater spotted woodpeckers were heard. Pied wagtails were in the grass near the water and a snipe was hidden in the reeds apart from its head. Raptors seen included a marsh harrier, sparrowhawk, buzzard and kestrel.

SATURDAY February 18 - 2017 - Chichester Gravel Pits
Heather Mills reported on this morning's walk by the Havant Wildlife Group:
6 met this morning on a positively spring like morning with Great Spotted Woodpeckers drumming in the distance. We took our usual course onto the lakes from North Mundham as Ros noted that a Long-tailed duck had been reported. Blue and Great tits and Chaffinch song filled the air. Long-tailed tits were very active in the brambles immediately in front of us in Copse Lake, with no fear of our presence. Pochard and Tufted ducks with Great Crested Grebe gave good views with the Greylags. It was then obvious that one of the Tufted ducks was in fact a female Scaup. This was followed in the next lake by a distinctive male. We looked for the singing Cetti's warbler who showed well before disappearing into the reeds. The Great Crested Grebes gave a small inkling of their mating intention of mimicking each other's moves. We slowly moved on and tried a slightly different path overlooking West Trout Lake, on the south. The usual Coots and Black headed gulls were seen with Mallards. It was when we rejoined the main path that Ros spotted the Long-tailed duck in winter plumage, without the long tail. We all had good views before it made itself scarce. Word soon got around as more birders appeared looking for the aforementioned birds.

After a leisurely break, we retraced our steps noting the Common Gulls and listened to the song of Goldcrests flitting along the footpath.

A Chiffchaff appeared with one of the Goldcrests, but it did not sing. One of the birders reported that a Bittern had flown out, much to our chagrin. We ended the walk going north along "Steptoes yards", alongside Runcton Lake. The spectacle of nesting Cormorants was worthy of note with their white thigh patches and quite a few with grey heads.

It was noticeable that no Herons were seen. Although a couple of Little Egrets sat in the bushes. Here a flock of Shovelers took off to rest at the back of the lake. 41 species seen on a warm sunny and eventful morning.

SATURDAY February 11 - 2017 - Blashford Lakes
Tony Wootton reported on this morning's walk by the Havant Wildlife Group
It was a really cold grey morning today with occasional flurries of sleety snow to contend with as well as an icy wind blowing into some of the hides of the lakes. Many thanks to the 9 members who braved it all to support me.
As well as many lovely scarlet elf cups, we saw, mute swan, canada goose, shelduck, wigeon, gadwall, mallard, pintail, shoveler, pintail, tufted duck, goldeneye, goosander, little grebe, great crested grebe, cormorant, little egret, buzzard, coot, lapwing, blackheaded gull, lesser blackbacked gull, herring gull, wood pigeon, great spotted woodpecker, wren, dunnock, robin, blackbird, song thrush, mistle thrush, redwing, longtailed tit, blue tit, great tit, marsh tit, nuthatch, jay, magpie, jackdaw, carrion crow, chaffinch, brambling, greenfinch, goldfinch, siskin, redpoll and reed bunting. 47 species in all.
It is always lovely to be in the woodland hide and see so many species in such numbers. Well done to the rangers of HWT

SATURDAY February 4 - 2017 - Southsea
Fay Durant reported on the Havant Wildlife Group at Southsea.
Eight resilient people met on Saturday morning after a day of strong winds and rain . Amazingly the day started dry with no wind and then the sun broke through and the sea was sparkling , quite a morning to remember .
We met on the Eastern Esplanade and made our way to the beach , round the pitch and put , where we watched a herring gull attack a plastic bottle ! ( A large group of gold finch were gathering in one of the trees ) .Much of the shingle on the beach had been washed away or deposited on the prom and cycle path . We examined the tide line where dead star fish were scattered along its length . They were large and small with great colour variation , from a delicate pink to a much deeper colour . A fine selection of shells , including razor shells , whelks , cockles etc Also cuttle fish , egg cases of whelk and two different shaped purses , later identified by Ros as Mermaids purses - the smaller one with tendrils was possibly a dog fish egg case, and the other darker larger ones as Ray.

A couple of sea anemones were spotted one in good condition , plus sea weed and other sea debris .After much examination of the beach we walked through the rose gardens where Robin , blue tit , numerous blackbirds , dunnock were seen and heard.

We then circled the Canoe Lake , full of swans at this time of year plus various varieties of gulls . Back on the promenade we examined the shore line again and then made our way to Rocksbys for a welcome drink , stopping on the way to admire Hilary's memorial bench where several group photographs were taken .

We finally made our way to Southsea Castle , where the tide was suitably low for us to view two very busy rock pipits feeding and then , the high light of the walk , seven purple sandpipers , running at great speed across the rocks , stopping now and then to forage .
We then returned by Brian Kidd Way , through the rock gardens , admiring rosemary in full flower , probably a special cultivated variety , along the prom and back through the rose gardens . There were many herring gulls along the shore line but none seem to be interested in the star fish and we wondered why they appear inedible ? A very pleasant winter morning .

SATURDAY JANUARY 28 - 2017 - Hayling Oysterbeds
Report by Ros Norton
A group of up to 9 visited Hayling Oysterbeds on a lovely sunny morning . There was a noticeable wind and high tide was 11.44. We had a look from the car park and saw some Brent geese, lapwing, turnstone, dunlin, redshank and grey plover.
We then walked north along the Billy Line and saw 14 magpies together in trees. We heard several singing greenfinches and saw blackbirds, a stonechat, linnets, pied wagtails, a greenshank, redshank , kestrel and some godwits.
During our coffee break we watched large flocks of dunlin flying in for the high tide roost. Some saw a kingfisher. There were some great crested grebes, goldeneye ducks, mergansers and a group of 3 slavonian or black necked grebes far out in Langstone harbour. Nearer were wigeon , gadwall and little grebes . Pipits flew by.
There was a very large number of birds on the Oysterbed islands, bunds and spits. These included groups of dunlin, oystercatchers, redshank, brent geese, grey plovers, turnstones and a few ringed plovers and curlew for the high tide roost.

SATURDAY JANUARY 21 - 2017 - Hayling Billy Line
Report by Jean Hildersley
On a frosty, sunny morning 3 of us set out to walk along The Hayling Billy Line. In the car park, a wood pigeon was in a tree, enjoying the sun. Several crows flew over. In the hedge row area, numerous black birds were seen and heard 'clucking' away in alarm, probably because of the many dog walkers. Robins, wren, were seen and heard. A great tit was heard and a flock of brent geese flew over. When we reached the bay, we saw oyster catcher, redshank, godwit, dunlin and shelduck. Curlew and grey plover were heard. Seeing the red seed pods of stinking iris led to much discussion. Walking back to the car park gave us time for interesting personal chat.

SATURDAY JANUARY 7 - 2017 Titchfield Haven
Report by Tony Wootton
9 of us met on a misty but amazingly mild (11 degrees) and still January morning. We only went up the Eastern hides plus the spit of gravel on the far side of the harbour. We saw on the walkway, great tit, blue tit, longtailed tit, both goldcrest and firecrest, jay, blackbird,wren, great spotted woodpecker.
Then from the hides, blackheaded gull, common gull,lesser blackback,wigeon,gadwall,teal,curlew,blacktailed godwit,magpie,pheasant,carrion crow,lapwing,shovelers, moorhen,wood pigeon,shellduck,cormorant,little grebe,heard water rail,buzzard, marsh harrier,kingfisher.
Out on the spit,dunlin, oystercatchers and a lovely female snow bunting came to look at us.