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for late June 17-30, 2013

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SUNDAY JUNE 30 - 2013



Jean and I went for a morning stroll through Emsworth. Passing through Bridge Road car park we stopped to look at the two Bee Orchids that Jane Brook and I found there last Monday and found another one in flower close to the others. It's amazing how these plants just pop up unexpectedly. We had a Bee Orchid on the New Brighton Road Junction wayside last year, but there's no sign of it this year. Also, on the Bridge Road verge, the Sulphur Cinquefoil is now looking very good with three flowers fully open and more to come.

Here is a fine example of Moth Mullein in flower on the east bank of Peter Pond. Ralph Hollins corrected my original identification of the plant 'Dark Mullein'. The size of the flowers and they way they are widely separated on the stem indicates it is a Moth Mullein. As always, Ralph is spot on and I am always grateful to him for checking my blog for errors. Blamey, Fitter and Fitter describe Moth Mullein as 'stickly hairy only above' which can be seen on today's photo of the plant.


We saw two Speckled Woods on the Dolphin Creek wayside. Then on Brook Meadow we had yet another Small Tortoiseshell - sunning itself on the gravel path north of the north bridge on Brook Meadow. This is the 4th Small Tortoiseshell I have seen here in the past week or so. Let's hope this indicates a revival in the fortunes of this once very common butterfly.

Water Voles

While we were standing on the small footbridge on the Lumley Path, Jean and I watched a small brown mammal swim across the Lumley pool. We did not get a good look at it but it swam like a Water Vole and almost certainly was not a rat. We met Malcolm Phillips on Brook Meadow. He had already seen what was probably the same adults and youngster that he saw yesterday from the south bridge.


Malcolm also saw a Moorhen with a family of 4 chicks by the sluice gate. Here is Malcolm's shot of three of the chicks.



Orchid count

Nigel Johnson and his team from the Havant Wildlife Group counted 7,420 Southern Marsh Orchids on the South Moor at Langstone on Saturday morning. This is a good number, but continues the downward trend over the past 3 years from a high of 9,234 in 2010. Here is Derek's photo of the counting team taking a break.



Mute Swan news

The Mute Swan family from the Peter Pond nest was on Slipper Millpond this morning with their 3 remaining cygnets. Interestingly, while I was present the swans and the cygnets swam within a metre of the centre raft where both of the adult Great Black-backed Gulls were present with their chicks, but the gulls took absolutely no notice of them at all. This is good news for the cygnets. I think the sluice gates are more of a threat to the cygnets than the gulls at present.

The Mute Swan family with their 3 cygnets (including the white (Polish) one) from the marina nest was in the main low water channel in the eastern harbour. But there was no sign anywhere of the 2 cygnets from the Peter Pond family that went over the sluice gates in the past two days. I assume these will now have been swept out to sea with the tide and perished.

Meanwhile, the pen Mute Swan was on the town millpond with its scraggy-necked cygnet. The cob was driving off other swans that were nearby.

Plants on beach

There were, as usual, a good variety of plants on Emsworth east beach near the steps. They included both Spear-leaved Orache and Grass-leaved Orache and my first flowering of Perennial Sow-thistle (or Corn Thistle as Blamey, Fitter and Fitter prefer to call it). I have included a leaf in the photo as added proof of the identity of this plant.

Water Voles with young

Malcolm Phillips is back from holiday and was on Brook Meadow today seeing Water Voles. The first sightings we have had since he went! From the south bridge he saw two adults and a youngster. Here is Malcolm's photo of the youngster.

FRIDAY JUNE 28 - 2013


Swan cygnet drama

There was a mini drama on Slipper Millpond this morning when two of cygnets from the Mute Swan family from the Peter Pond nest got caught in the strong current of the outgoing tide and were swept over the sluice gate of Slipper Millpond and into the low water basin below. Watched by an admiring audience, a 'local hero' named Roger clambered down to bring them back. He managed to catch one of the cygnets and put it back on the pond with its parents, but the other cygnet swam off into the main harbour. Well done, Roger!

The Mute Swan pair continued to hang around the fast flowing sluice with their three remaining cygnets, much to the consternation of the people watching, but eventually they all moved off to the other end of the pond.

Interestingly, the swan pair were left with only 3 cygnets, which means they must have lost another one since yesterday when they had five. This missing cygnet must have been the one that Maurice Lillie saw yesterday afternoon join the marina family of three cygnets (including the white one) in Dolphin Lake. It too must have gone over the sluice gate. Maybe, the one that escaped into the harbour today will also join the marina family to make five? I would be grateful for any further observations of the the Mute Swan families.

Sandwich Tern

Far less dramatic was the presence of a solitary Sandwich Tern sitting on a yellow buoy in the centre of the town millpond this morning. Terns are uncommon on the millpond.


Burnet Moths

Regarding the 5-spot Burnet Moths I saw on the Lillywhite's patch yesterday, Ralph Hollins says they were most likely to be 'Narrow-bordered 5-spots' which are now far more common in Hampshire than the 5-spots. For more on these two moths, Ralph referred me to the Hants Moths web site at . . .



Brook Meadow

The Great Burnet is still looking good on Brook Meadow with about 20 bright red flower heads on 6 plants in all. Interestingly, all the flowers on Great Burnet are bisexual with 4 short stamens and an undivided stigma. These can just be seen opening at the top of the flowerhead in the photo. In contrast, the upper flowers of Salad Burnet are female with 2 red-purple feathery stigmas; the male flowers are in the lower part of the flowerhead. That confirms the identification of this plant as Great Burnet and not Salad Burnet.

I had a very close encounter with a female Banded Demoiselle by the Lumley Stream.

Lillywhite's patch

I had a mooch around on this patch of grassland to the west of Peter Pond. It is owned by Lillywhite's Garage, but since it is adjacent to Brook Meadow I usually include it in meadow surveys. Today, I found lots of Smooth Tare, distinguished from Hairy Tare by having pods with 4 seeds and not 2 and more (1-2) larger flowers in the head. There were also good number of 5-spot Burnet Moths feeding on Meadow Vetchling.


Ralph Hollins says the 5-spot Burnet Moths were most likely to be 'Narrow-bordered 5-spots' which are now far more common in Hampshire than the 5-spots. For more on these two moths, Ralph referred me to the Hants Moths web site at . . .


I also had a 'Nursery-web spider' (Pisaura mirabilis) guarding its nest of spiderlings.

Peter Pond

I could hear 2 Reed Warblers singing on Peter Pond, one from the main reedbeds to the north of the pond and the second from the reeds in the south west corner of the pond. Shaggy Soldier is flowering on the traffic island on the A259 opposite Peter Pond. It also flowered here last year.

Slipper Millpond

The Mute Swan family of pen and 5 cygnets, all feeding quite nicely, was in the north west corner of the pond near the Chequers Quay estate.

Dolphin Creek

I checked this wayside where I found a good growth of Saltmarsh Rush for the first time. Here is a specimen held up with the creek in the background.


Wolf Spider

Peter Milinets-Raby has been taking photos of creepy crawlies in his garden. Here is a dramatic one he sent to me showing a fearsome Wolf Spider catching a small fly.

From Wikipedia I learn that Wolf Spiders are members of the family Lycosidae and there are an astonishing 2,300 species around the world, some with venomous bites! They are robust and agile hunters with excellent eyesight. They live mostly solitary lives and hunt alone. Some are opportunistic hunters pouncing upon prey as they find it or even chasing it over short distances. Some will wait for passing prey in or near the mouth of a burrow. They resemble the more familiar Nursery web spiders (family Pisauridae) - see previous photo, but wolf spiders carry their egg sacs differently.



Emsworth Millpond

I know a lot of people are anxious about the scraggy-necked cygnet from the "litter nest" on the millpond. Well, this morning, I found the whole family, pen, cob and youngster, some way up on the millpond. All three were feeding and the adults were stirring up the muddy floor of the pond for invertebrates for the cygnet. As for the 'litter nest' it looked totally deserted and it seems as if the pen has finally given up brooding the addled eggs.

The regular growth of Yellow Oat-grass was showing well along the uncut grass verge on Bath Road. Alas, the verge was cut when I passed by this afternoon! Quick work. But I picked a few stems for my wildlife vase before they were strimmed to oblivion.

Slipper Millpond

There was no sign of the Mute Swan family when I visited the pond this afternoon. Nor were they on Peter Pond. I have to assume they must have gone over the sluice gate into the harbour at high water. A sensible move, to get as far away from the Great Black-backed Gulls as possible.


Wet field

Having read Bob Chapman's blog about finding Sea Clover and Sea Barley at Farlington, I cycled over to Nore Barn to see if I could find them there. Ralph Hollins did find a growth of Sea Clover in June 2009 on the wet field west of the woods, but as far as I am aware it has not been seen there since then. I had a look around this field, but it had cattle grazing and they had eaten virtually everything of any interest. There was certainly no sign of any Sea Clover. I did find some barley, but it was Meadow Barley and not Sea Barley. One Meadow Brown was my sole butterfly of the morning!


Lesser Sea-spurrey was in flower with the sepals longer than the petals. There was also a few patches of Common Sea-lavender, but not as much as I would have expected. No sign of any Lax-flowered Sea-lavender. The most eye catching plant on the saltmarshes west of the stream was Red Fescue grass with red panicles, which it does show when growing near the sea, according to Rose. Some panicles were open and others remained closed despite showing anthers.

I found some English Scurvygrass in flower. I had a close look at the basal leaves which were wedge-shaped tapering into the stalk as were those Bosham Harbour last week, which I thought looked like Common Scurvygrass. Some bright green Glasswort was showing well, but no sign of any flowering of Golden Samphire as yet.

Nore Barn Woods

I found a Tutsan bush in flower in the middle of the woods. False Brome grass is starting to open on the west side of the woods. Rough Chervil was common on the path west of the woods with rough stems turning red. Grid Ref: SU 73595 05176.


Bumblebee numbers

I seem to be seeing lots of Bumblebees around this year. So, I asked our Bumblebee man Bryan Pinchen if he thought they were having a particularly good year. He thought bumblebee numbers had been really low this year, until yesterday when he was out surveying and saw ten species! But most were males feeding on flowers and looking for queens to mate with and so are usually more evident.

TUESDAY JUNE 25 - 2013


Emsworth Millpond

The surviving Mute Swan cygnet was on the water with its mother this morning, but is still looking scraggy about the neck and needs some natural high protein insect food to develop properly. The pen was doing her best by stirring up the mud at the bottom of the pond to release invertebrates to the surface for the youngster, but it is still very much 'fingers crossed' for its future. I get the impression that the pen was not all that keen to get back on the 'litter nest' with the cygnet, which is good news, though the cygnet did clamber up onto the nest while I was there.

Slipper Millpond

There is no change in the Mute Swan family from yesterday with all 5 cygnets present and looking healthy. This pen was also stirring up the mud at the bottom of the pond for her cygnets, just like the millpond one. Good mothers? Maybe, but I would be happier to see the swan family back on Peter Pond, away from the Great Black-backed Gulls.

Tom Bickerton told me about a violent confrontation he witnessed over the weekend between the Great Black-backed Gulls on the centre raft and a visiting Cormorant. The match, of course, was quite unequal and the Cormorant was driven off with 'its tail between its legs'.

Tom also saw one of the gull chicks taking a Coot chick 'in one gulp'. That must have been one of the Coot's second broods. I wonder if they could get a cygnet down in one gulp? Interestingly, Tom says with the arrival of large shoals of cuttle fish in the harbour, there is actually plenty of natural food for the gulls, though the presence of a live Coot chick nearby is clearly beyond their temptation. Tom thinks stopping feeding of the Coots and swans would help, but there is no way to control this.

MONDAY JUNE 24 - 2013


Jane Brook and I carried out our regular Monday morning survey of the Emsworth waysides.

New Brighton Road Junction

We started at the New Brighton Road Junction where we added 12 new plants to take this year's list for this wayside to 49 species (grand total over the years is 90). Creeping Bent-grass was in flower for the first time. We also found a small patch of low growing moss like plant which I think must be Procumbent Pearlwort, though the leaves are very fleshy. Confirmation would be appreciated.

Railway Wayside

Moving to the Railway Wayside we looked first at the barren area of ground on New Brighton Road outside the metal gate. There we examined the two remaining spikes of Black Grass which were still showing well.

Hoary Willowherb is now in flower, not only inside the small fenced area in front of the large advertising poster, but also outside the railings along the edge of the road.

Other plants in flower on this wayside were Hairy Sedge, Selfheal, Tufted Vetch, Hedge Bindweed, Wild Carrot, Meadow Vetchling, Common Knapweed, Spear Thistle, Creeping Bent-grass. The plant list for this year alone stands at 120 for the Railway Wayside with 161 on the complete list including last year.

Long Hoverfly

We also found a tiny hoverfly with yellow and black bars across its abdomen which I don't recall having come across before. It was feeding on the Field Forget-me-nots. I have tentatively identified it as a male Long Hoverfly (Sphaerophoria scripta). The insect gets its common name from the fact that the male shown here has a body longer than its wings. It is common over much of Britain.

Bridge Road Wayside

We were delighted to discover two Bee Orchids in flower on the grass verge just north of the Goat Willow tree - the first ever Bee Orchids on the Bridge Road Wayside. However, one plant which does not seem to be present this year is the rare Narrow-leaved Water-plantain which grows in the Westbrook Stream. I fear the heavy rains were had earlier in the year may have washed. However, I will get down into the stream sometime to have a good look around.


Emsworth Millpond

The Mute Swan and her one cygnet were on the water at the top of the millpond and not on the 'litter nest' which had just two eggs visible. Hopefully, the pen has finally given up brooding them. While I was there, I saw the pen and the cygnet swimming into the tunnel under the main road. The culvert leads through to Bridge Road Wayside. I have seen swans in previous years come through to feed on the lush vegetation of the wayside, but that is no longer possible as a new grill has been installed at the end of the tunnel preventing access to the stream in the car park.

Slipper Millpond

The Mute Swan family from the Peter Pond nest were on Slipper Millpond again this afternoon, but the brood was down to 5 cygnets from the 6 that were here yesterday. As before, I suspect the lost cygnet has been taken by the Great Black-backed Gulls that are nesting on this millpond.

SUNDAY JUNE 23 - 2013

English Scurvygrass at Bosham

I sent the photo of the Scurvygrass that I found at Bosham Harbour on June 15 and that I thought might be Common Scurvygrass (Cochlearia officinalis agg) to Mike Shaw the Botanical Recorder for West Sussex.

Mike replied to say he has had no recent records for Common Scurvygrass which was very rare here in the south. He said the crucial characters for identification of this species were:
(1) the shape of the basal leaves. Cuneate in English Scurvygrass (C. anglica) and cordate in Common Scurvygrass (C. officinalis) and
(2) the size and shape of the fruit. Cochlearia officinalis fruit is generally smaller than anglica (3-7mm against 7-14mm).

The fruits on the specimen I collected originally were 7mm or less, thus fitting the Common Scurvygrass identification. However, I did not have any basal leaves in my specimen, so I went over to Bosham this afternoon to check the plants again. I had no trouble in finding them on the eastern side of the harbour, opposite the town, in front of a line of posts marking an area of coastal erosion - Grid Ref: SU 80507 03286.

I found:
(1) Most of the plants I looked this afternoon had large fruits (above 7mm) ie larger than those on my original specimen, so I must have chosen a particularly small plant.
(2) The basal leaves were definitely not cordate, as required by Common Scurvygrass, but were wedge-shaped tapering into a stalk, as illustrated in Francis Rose's 'Wild Flower Key' (New Ed p.219). So, clearly on the basis of both these features the plants were English Scurvygrass (C. anglica) and not the very rare Common Scurvygrass (C. officinalis) .

Bumblebee nest in roof

There is a Bumblebee nest in the eaves of my immediate neighbour's house. Bees have been constantly entering and leaving a small hole under the slates of the roof. My photos of the bees in flight show a white tail, dark abdomen and ginger thorax.

I sent the photos to Bumblebee expert Bryan Pinchen who confirmed the bees as Bombus hypnorum. He added, "It is quite likely to be nesting inside the roof somewhere, possibly in an old bird nest. It is quite typical of this species to nest, as it were, arboreally, hence the sometimes used English name of 'Tree Bumblebee'.

Bryan added, "You can reassure your neighbour that they are not harmful, not causing any damage and in all likelihood the nest will have completed its cycle in the next three to four weeks - this is usually an early nesting species, delayed a bit this year by the cooler spring. Once new queens and males are produced (they will leave the nest at this point), activity by the workers will dwindle until they dessert the nest/die. They pose no real threat from stings; unlike wasps, bumblebees in particular need to be excessively provoked before they even think about stinging. I only saw my first hypnorum workers on Weds last week".

Bumblebee on flowers

I also noticed two worker Bumblebees with bulging pollen sacks feeding on the flowers of a Spiraea shrub in my garden almost immediately beneath the nest hole. I wondered if they could be from the nest. The photo clearly shows the white tail and two yellow bands indicative of Bombus terrestris or Bombus lucorum.

Bryan Pinchen confirmed the identification as either Bombus terrestris or Bombus lucorum but said this bee was not from the nest in the roof, but, just taking advantage of an easy to access food resource. He added, "From my bumblebee studies many years ago it was typical of workers to fly long distances for food, even when there were suitable food resources right outside the door. One of my marker worker B jonellus, did a 28 minute foraging trip, returning with large loads of snapdragon pollen, the nearest this plant grew to the nest was 2km away, when there were brambles etc. just a few feet from the nest."



Emsworth Millpond

The pen swan was back on the 'litter nest' with its young cygnet when I passed this morning. The cygnet is starting to look a bit scraggy around the neck - as shown in this photo by Juliet Walker. It is probably an indication of poor diet.; the poor little thing really needs more natural foodstuffs than it is getting at that nest site.

Slipper Millpond

There was no sign of the Mute Swan family on Peter Pond, but I found the two parents at the far southern end of Slipper Millpond with just 6 cygnets. I guess they lost the other two cygnets to the Great Black-backed Gulls as they would have needed to pass their nesting raft on their way to where I saw them. I am not optimistic about the others if the swans remain on Slipper Millpond with their brood. They would be better off in the harbour.

The pair of Great Black-backed Gulls were on the centre raft of Slipper Millpond along with their 3 rapidly growing chicks. Fledging time is said to be 55-60 days after hatching which should be in about another 4 weeks. But the chicks are already flexing their wings.

Coots are back in the nest boxes on the south raft and the north raft, but with little real hope of producing any young.

Sea Couch and Red Fescue now line the footpath down the western side of Slipper Millpond.

The Mute Swan family with 3 cygnets from the nest on the marina embankment was on Dolphin Lake, all looking healthy. One of the cygnets is white - Polish - but the mother is a normal swan with black legs and feet. .

FRIDAY JUNE 21 - 2013


Great Burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis)

I can now confirm that there is a small colony of six plants of Great Burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis) on Brook Meadow at Grid Ref: SU 75068 06131. South Hants Recorder, Martin Rand confirmed that it is rare in Hampshire; most of the populations in South Hants are small. Martin has no theories about how it got there. The photo made the ID clear enough, but he would like to see it at some point. He may have a chance to come by the week after next when doing a recce for another meeting.

Blue Water Speedwell (Veronica anagallis-aquatica)

I found two plants of Blue Water Speedwell flowering on the west bank of the Lumley Stream in much the same place as in previous years - Grid Ref: SU 75155 06054. The flowering spikes were relatively short suggesting it is the pure form of Blue Water Speedwell (Veronica anagallis-aquatica) and not the hybrid with Pink Water Speedwell ie Veronica x Lackschewitzii. This identification is supported by an old record of the pure strain of Blue Water Speedwell in The Hants Flora in this exact location in Emsworth in 1982.


One way to distinguish the hybrid from the pure form of Blue Water Speedwell is by counting the flowers on the longest raceme. The Plant Crib 1998 (p.263) gives a mean of 25 flowers (range 15-40) for the pure form and a mean of 60 (range 30-90 for the hybrid. I shall need to look again at these plants as they have not yet opened fully.

Other plants

Four plants of Brooklime were flowering in the same area as the Blue Water Speedwell Grid Ref: SU 75152 06055. The Brooklime is similar to the Blue Water Speedwell, but the flower spikes are shorter and the flowers deep blue and the leaves are oval not lanceolate. Water Dock is in flower in the same small area on the west bank of the Lumley Stream. I also found just one flower of Celery-leaved Buttercup in the "Lumley puddle" area. Ref: SU 75141 06017.

Grasses workshop

I had the very good company of three ladies (Lesley Harris, Jennifer Rye and Caroline French) for a grasses identification workshop session on Brook Meadow this afternoon. I introduced the main features of grasses used in identification. Then we went through the meadow examining and identifying (and admiring) the various grasses, sedges and rushes on show! I have recorded 22 of the 33 grasses on the Brook Meadow list so far this year.

Meadow Barley

The most recent find was just four spikes of Meadow Barley on the west path through the north meadow. There must be more somewhere, if only we can find them among the mass of other grasses.

Plicate Sweet-grass

I only found today was a single spike of what I assume is Plicate Sweet-grass (Glyceria notata) in the "Lumley puddle" area at Grid Ref: SU 75141 06017. I have only previously seen this on Brook Meadow growing in the River Ems. I did not pick it!!

Other grasses

Other grasses of interest were the Festulolium Hybrids (Festulolium loliaceum) along with its 'parents' (Meadow Fescue and Perennial Ryegrass) on the north eastern path close to the seat by the willow tree. Grid Ref: SU 75089 06158.

On the way to the meadow I found a good growth of Water Bent on the pavement outside house number 24 Victoria Road.

Toad Rush

Toad Rush is also out in the "Lumley puddle" area near the Lumley gate. I was surprised to find another patch of Toad Rush on the side of the north east path through the north meadow. This is a completely different habitat to the "Lumley puddle" area, though Rose does say it occurs on the bare moist soil of paths, which is exactly where I found it.


Small Tortoiseshells

I saw at least two and possibly three Small Tortoiseshell butterflies as I was walking up the north west path towards the north gate. Each one settled for a few seconds on the path. I did not notice the first two until they flew, but I managed to get the binoculars on the third one, but could not manage a photo. These were not the first on Brook Meadow, as I saw one on May 7.


Chris Cockburn provides the latest up date: "Things are still looking good at the Oysterbeds. The first of the black-headed gull fledglings are now making short and weak flights over the Oysterbeds' lagoon. The fledging date is very similar to that in 2012, despite the cold weather this spring. There is still a multitude of black-headed gull chicks on the islands - estimating the numbers of successfully fledged gulls will probably prove be a bit of a challenge. Mediterranean gull chicks are often showing well close to peg 'Q' on the curved (easternmost) island.

If some of the common terns really have been sitting on eggs since the last bank holiday, the first eggs should be hatching within the next few days. Hopefully, any tern chicks will not be targeted by the Mediterranean gulls that have been visiting the site to feed on eggs and small black-headed gull chicks. Late news: Common tern eggs started hatching yesterday (thanks Phil) - so more cute chicks to view. The most obvious chicks are to the left of the furthermost 'F' peg (two chicks per pair). There were lots of good sized silvery prey fish being brought in today. Some common tern/black-headed gull bill-to-bill clashes looked a bit dangerous; but nothing compared to treatment handed out to black-headed gull chicks straying into wrong territories. Next week's big spring tides have the potential to flood out the oystercatcher nest on the western end of the linear (westernmost) island. Although some little terns have been regularly seen, even fishing in the lagoon, it seems most unlikely that they will nest on the newly imported shingle this year. However, little terns are using the shingle recharge on South Binness Island.

There are reports of Bee Orchids on the Billy Trail (south of the Hayling Halt car park)and insect s are becoming more numerous (at least one Painted Lady butterfly was seen on 19 June)



Railway Wayside

The wayside is really developing nicely with a variety of wild flowers on the embankment below the new ramp. There is also a good growth of grasses, mostly Perennial Ryegrass, on the lower rubble area.

New plants for the site: Oxeye Daisy, Rough Hawkbit with a single bright yellow daisy at the top of very hairy and leafless stem rising from a rosette of leaves. There was a very attractive Goat's-beard seedhead in full bloom! Numerous plants of Wild Carrot are just starting to open its flowers.

As for insects, there were several Bumblebees feeding on the flowers, including a Bombus pascuorum) on Tufted Vetch. I saw my first Meadow Brown butterfly of the year, a male showing only its underwings with a single black spot. A Common Blue was also flying on this wayside.

Christopher Way verge

There are just two flowering Wild Clary plants on the mown verge to the west of the main wayside. There are in fact about 10 plants in all on this verge. So, they have not all gone!

Westbourne Open Space

The female Ash trees look perfectly healthy and are loaded with bunches of keys. So no sign of any Ash die back here.

Emsworth Recreation Ground

The first of the Creeping Bent-grass is now out on the grassland behind the bowling green. It can easily be recognised by its red flushed tightly closed panicles. Lesser Stitchwort is also flowering on the grassland area.


Male and female Bullfinches were on the feeders at around lunchtime today. It is amazing how frequent these birds are this year. Four Swifts were screaming around the houses in Bridge Road.


The pen was off the 'litter nest' at long last and was on the main millpond with her cygnet. Let's hope she stays there, though I would not hold my breath over this! The Coot is back on the 'tower nest' which was swamped by the high tides.

The Mute Swan family on Peter Pond is still intact with 8 very healthy looking cygnets.

TUESDAY JUNE 18 - 2013


There appear to be two Great Burnet plants on the orchid area growing close together. The taller one has three four heads and the shorter one two. I marked the spot with two conspicuous twigs.

The Mute Swan family on Peter Pond with all 8 cygnets was in the water beneath the seat when I passed this morning. The parents were being fed with bread.

The Great Black-backed Gulls have allowed two Cormorants to share their raft on Slipper Millpond.

Patrick Murphy had a male Bullfinch yet again on his garden seed feeder today. They do seem to be coming into gardens more often this year. Shortage of natural foods?


On June 15 while walking round Bosham Harbour I found some white-flowered plants which I thought at first were English Scurvygrass on the roadside embankment on eastern side of the harbour opposite the town. I brought a sample home and on closer inspection they appeared to fit the description of Common Scurvygrass (Cochlearia officinalis agg) in my guides. In particular, the upper leaves were clasping the stem and the pods were rounded. See photo.

In English Scurvygrass the leaves narrow gradually into the stalk and the pods are flattened. However, Common Scurvygrass is not found in SE England according to the local floras, so presumably that rules that out! It must have been either Danish Scurvygrass or English Scurvygrass.

However, South Hants BSBI Recorder Martin Rand thought the photo certainly looked like Cochlearia officinalis. He says this is not completely impossible as it was recorded (correctly or not) in the eastern part of Chichester Harbour in 1986. He thought Mike Shaw the West Sussex recorder would be very interested to follow it up. So I have sent a photo of the plant to Mike with directions as to its location.

MONDAY JUNE 17 - 2013


Jane Brook and I surveyed the waysides in north Emsworth this morning. Here are a few observations of interest.

On the Southleigh Road (west) wayside we found lots of Ladybirds in various stages of development including larval, pupal and the newly emerging Ladybird which as the following photo shows is yellow with the spots showing through.

Here is the life cycle of the Ladybird

We also found a bee feeding on a White Dead-nettle flower. It looked a bit like a solitary bee, so I sent the image to Bryan Pinchen for identification. Bryan says it's a worker Bombus pascuorum, probably a first brood worker hence the small size.

There were a large number of Ash saplings along the Southleigh Road (west) verge, most of which were probably seedlings from the mature Ash trees on the other side of the road. However, some appeared to have a substantial base suggesting a coppicing effect from the regular cutting. Both the Spencer's Field site and the Barwell Grove path have substantial Common Elm trees without any signs of disease. The latter path also has a growth of Elm suckers. Timothy grass is now showing flower spikes.


Great Burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis)

Following a query from Ralph Hollins, I checked what I thought looked like a red buttercup seedhead on the orchid area of Brook Meadow (previously photographed on June 14). I was wrong it was certainly not a buttercup. In fact, it looked like Salad Burnet with the flower heads just starting to flower. If so, this would be a first for Brook Meadow. Here are photos of the flower head and leaves. I would appreciate confirmation.

Martin Rand confirmed that the red headed plant was Great Burnet (Sanguisorba officinalis), or something close, because:
1. It's possible to see the (dark) remains of anthers in the upper florets - the upper flowers of Salad Burnet (S. minor) are all female.
2. The styles are disc-shaped and sunk at the bottom of the flower, not feathery and protruding.
3. The lateral leaflets are stalked. That said, the stalks aren't that long and the leaflets are a slightly odd shape for Great Burnet (S.officinalis) (rather pointed), but they'd be an even odder shape for Salad Burnet (S. minor). There is a cultivar 'Thundercloud' that seems to have more this leaf shape.
4. Also the shape and colour of the flowering head is Great Burnet (S.officinalis).
Martin added "If you haven't seen it before at Brook Meadow, it's likely to be a recent introduction. As a native in South Hampshire it's confined to the New Forest where it's one of several "hay meadow" constituents of base-rich flushed heathland in the south of the Forest."

Other flowers to catch my eye this afternoon were the red flushed panicles of Reed Canary-grass and a great display of Yellow Flag north of the causeway.

Yellow Flag in flower above the causeway on Brook Meadow

For earlier observations go to . . June 1-16